Robert Rodriguez, an Austin-based filmmaker and founder of Troublemaker Studios is no stranger to technology. In fact, he makes a point of stretching the limits of his equipment on each film by utilizing as many features of the technology as possible. Recently, he sat down to talk technology and movie making at an AMD event.
He sat down for a surprise interview at an event held by AMD in Seattle, WA to launch their new APU (Accelerated Processing Units) line of processors, which combines a standard processor with a graphics processor on the same chip. As he explains in the interview, his partnership with AMD is based on a need for a “bigger gun” in the wild west known as the cloud.
Having the right amount of processing power in a movie studio is very important. As movies have evolved, so have the demands of the technology. Video encoding, rendering, and various other high-priority tasks need to be done as quickly as possible during the process of filmmaking. A clip is created, rendered, tested, and remade sometimes dozens of times over as the editor works towards that perfect take. As Rodriguez notes, everything he does has to work absolutely perfectly on a multitude of formats, and that takes a lot of testing. Faster and more powerful processing can make this process much easier.
On his first film, “Bedhead”, Rodriguez took a wind-up camera (obsolete by today’s standards) and thought of ways to use what may have been considered a downside of the technology as a feature in his film. The idea of introducing telekinesis to the film was the result.
To Rodriguez, technology is a tool (much like a paintbrush) that can be used creatively.
He attributes being based in Austin, as opposed to Los Angeles, for much of his ability to think outside the box. Being away from the bulk of the industry can appear to be a setback to some, but not to Rodriguez. This separation can give you more room to expand, and think outside the box. Where Hollywood has a tendency to be slow to adopt to new technologies, an independent filmmaker has the freedom to try things in their own way.
Robert Rodriguez was one of the pioneers of digital and 3D filmmaking. He promises to expand his technological and creative horizons even further with an upcoming film that features “4D”. What that will mean for the future of cinema, only time will tell.