Live Cinema and Its Techniques

Liveright: Norton. Sept. 2017. 240p. illus. index. ISBN 9781631493669. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631493737. FILM
Well-known film director Coppola ("The Godfather" trilogy, Apocalypse Now; The Conversation; Rumble Fish; et al.) has mostly used film as a production medium, but as he notes in this book's opening pages, almost no one shoots film anymore; everything is digital. This leads him to the concept of "live cinema," which in essence is "live video switching"—staging the action for multiple video cameras and then "editing" the image live in the control room by picking whichever feed (wide shots, close-ups, over-the-shoulder shots, etc.) the director feels is most effective. In the very early days of television, director John Frankenheimer did some astonishing work with live switching for Playhouse 90, which ran on CBS from 1956 to 1960, presenting a new 90-minute play each week as "live cinema." This book is dedicated to Frankenheimer, but in the end, it is more a diary of Coppola's experiments with the process than anything else. He suggests that "live cinema" may be the wave of the future, but it's really 1950s live television all over again, ultimately streamed on the web, or via satellite, rather than through broadcast TV.
VERDICT Only for Coppola completists.
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