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Technology, economy change moviemaking realities

A little more than a year ago, Rick Shaw, owner and founder of Hollywood-based Pinlight Studios, was putting the finishing touches on a five-minute short promoting “The Wordz Project,” a rap music interpretation of the words of Christ in the New Testament.

Today, the completed hour-long project, shot with the Canon XL-H1 camcorder and Red ONE camera, is in national distribution. Since the last time Shaw checked in, a lot has happened to the technology — and the economy. The impact of lower-cost production and post technology, which tend to make older approaches financially unsustainable, has only been amplified by people looking to do more with less during this recession.

I spoke with Shaw to find out how one independent Hollywood producer is navigating through these changing economic and technological times. Specifically, I wanted to learn how he’s dealing with digital filmmaking technology that on the one hand makes production more straightforward and less expensive and on the other is rocking the financial status of traditional partners upon which Shaw often depends.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.