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What is Film Sampling?
February 19, 2003 11:39 AM   Subscribe

What is Film Sampling? According to Mike Myers and Dreamworks Films, it's a revolutionary way to insert himself into old movies by using the wonders of technology. Have we created so much content in the past 50 years that it needs to be recycled before there is room for anything truly new? Will this work for films the way it's 'worked' in Music? Will the next generation of filmmakers be Puff Daddy clones reworking classic films, and are there films that should never, ever be touched?
posted by cell divide (28 comments total)

 
Hasn't it been done already?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:44 AM on February 19, 2003


are there films that should never, ever be touched?

IMO, yes, just like there are films that should not be remade. But, there's money to be made.
posted by DakotaPaul at 11:47 AM on February 19, 2003


So I guess Hollywood, really has run out of ideas...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:48 AM on February 19, 2003


Hasn't it been done already?

Sure has. We can only pray that this is Mike Myers' idea of a joke.
posted by soyjoy at 11:49 AM on February 19, 2003


We are digging it at the Creative Commons, where I posted about it. It's a great example of cool stuff you can do with derivative works.

Much of Mike Meyers' career is derivative. He spoofs and parodies old spy thrillers (the last one featured seventies songs mishmashed into new melodies), and he spent much of his time on SNL parodying and spoofing other works too.
posted by mathowie at 11:50 AM on February 19, 2003


And done the other way arround, too, in that commercial where they doctored the Fred Astaire movie to make it look he was dancing with a vacuum cleaner.

I'm afraid this won't work out very well for Mr. Meyers - I think his talent will pale next to that of even B movie actors in a feature length film.
posted by Jos Bleau at 11:55 AM on February 19, 2003


I get friends together to do Video Hijacking (ala Woody Allen's Whats Up Tiger Lily). Turning Barney the Purple Dinosaur into the "plot ends" of a porn flick so far has been the favorite. Even more fun is having your cast read blind (not knowing what video their talent is being put toward, nor knowing the other characters' lines).

Also, redubbing porn with the sounds from Team Fortress got a fair amount of laughs, although "The Enemy has your Flag" and "Excuse me, I'm in need of medical attention" earned a few quotes of 'you're sick Matt'.
posted by m@ at 11:59 AM on February 19, 2003


As long as they acquire the rights, as they say they will, there's really nothing wrong with this. And to say that Hollywood has "run out of ideas" is wrong. It's just as hard if not harder to construct a new film by tinkering with old footage than to create something entirely new.

On the whole, remakes undeservably get a bad rap. This is going beyond a simple remake (in both concept and skill), and will likely get a worse rap, even though it's less deserved.
posted by dogwalker at 12:01 PM on February 19, 2003


It would be neat if all the movies that tanked in a given year could be offered up as fodder to anyone who wanted to try and make an entertaining picture out of the raw materials. MST3K it, Kung Pow it, whatever. It would be fun and interesting.

This film sampling thing seems like no big deal to me. They're not destroying the original, what does it matter? In fact, in the case of Kung Pow they actually had to go through the costly and time consuming effort of restoring the picture they wanted to "sample" because it was all rotten and faded. So in the process of making their dumb hack rip-off movie, they preserved the original one.
posted by frenetic at 12:12 PM on February 19, 2003


Maybe the guns they replaced with walkie-talkies in E.T. will appear in some other movie...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:40 PM on February 19, 2003


Kung Pao... at least mike meyers diddn't do the sprockets movie.
posted by dancu at 1:02 PM on February 19, 2003


I wonder how Mike Myers would feel about being digitally sampled out of one of his movies.
posted by Cyrano at 1:06 PM on February 19, 2003


'Have we created so much content in the past 50 years that it needs to be recycled before there is room for anything truly new?'

No, there's always room for 'truly new' stuff in any field. Whether such a thing exists, or ever has.. is a different story. But this doesn't change whatever ability we do have for creating it.

There is, however, also room for new techniques and the possibilities they throw up to be explored. And ample space for things which are deeply ingrained in our culture, our pasts, our personal and collective identities, to be played with and parodied. Artists right back into history have used culture as a pallette by taking existing ideas/creations and evolving or otherwise reinterpreting them - from the simple storyteller to the modern filmaker.

That's all most film does anyway - sample and rearrange reality - so why not sample and rearrange it?

Whilst it can be hard when something we love and think of as 'classic' gets tinkered with we can, luckily, choose not to watch, listen, or otherwise experience it.

Even if we do check it out, and if it turns out to be crap, i'm not sure why that should blight our enjoyment of the super fabulous 'original'. If it's so great that one would wish to protect it, then it's powerful enough to transcend any weak rehash treatment.
posted by Kino at 1:07 PM on February 19, 2003


I really don't have a problem with this as a technique. But, like any special effect, it will depend on how it's used. Anyone who tries to substitute themselves for Bogart in Casablanca is going to get justifiably burned. Inserting someone into a classic scene as a joke would probably work better.
posted by Cyrano at 1:30 PM on February 19, 2003


Martin Arnold has been working with sampled film images for some time. He takes clips of film and reworks them, going back and forth over one insignificant moment (a man walking into a room, for example), in the same manner that a dj might scratch a record, and through this repetition and distortion, something new and weird and exciting is created. Not that I think Mike Myers will be doing anything as neato as this- please note that he's comparing himself to P. Diddy.
posted by faustessa at 1:36 PM on February 19, 2003


How is this any amount different than retelling old stories?
ie: Disney's snow white, sleeping beauty, any adapted screenplays, remakes of old movies

or how about any art made from either found objects, materials or older art?

Or how is this potentially any different than the millions of formulaic movies continually rehashing tired action/drama/love story cliches?

This could be as bad or as good as the sampling content, loops in music.
This could be as good or bad as remakes or cover songs - original lyrics intact, or re-interpreted.

I say let's judge the final work and not what we judge the process to be before it's even started . . .
posted by cinderful at 1:43 PM on February 19, 2003


I was luckily able to participate in a lecture/presentation given by Arnold a couple years ago at RIT.

his films were both disturbing, frightening, and hilarious.
All using incredibly mundane 15 second or so clips from old movies.
It's amazing what things he could pull out of a scene - a 1/10th second unintentional angry look - repitition of motion to produce suggestive movement.

It was pretty awesome.

sadly, or hilariously he was introduced as "Martin Arnold - all the way from Australia!!!"
(He's Austrian)
posted by cinderful at 1:49 PM on February 19, 2003


Anyone think that we'll see what's happening to the music industry happen to film?

I mean, complaints about file trading aside, more and more people are making more and more good music and making money of it. They're just not going thru the 'industry' to do it because they can sell their own CD's and whatnot at their gigs and make more profit than they ever could thru an industry standard recording contract.

The result is more good music, but with fewer mega-acts that are famous nationally - they are famous to their friends, instead.

"Film sampling" will allow many more people to make may more good (or at least visually good looking) movies than ever before - but fewer people will see any one of them.

Will film makers then bypass Hollywood and hock DVD's of their works outside theaters?
posted by Jos Bleau at 2:03 PM on February 19, 2003


Kung Pao

No, Kung Pow

at least mike meyers diddn't do the sprockets movie.

He's doing The Cat in the Hat instead. Give me Sprockets any day.
posted by mikrophon at 2:20 PM on February 19, 2003


"Will this work for films the way it's 'worked' in Music? Will the next generation of filmmakers be Puff Daddy clones reworking classic films"

Unfortunately, the shabby chancing pop-culture cash in application of new techniques can soil many peoples gauge of a new forms validity .. and hearing them moan about it wholesale, when it's obvious their gripes are based only on having experienced the money swindling plagiarizing aspect, and not the inventive artistic use, is often even more irritating than the products which caused them to think that way.

Especially considering many of which were commissioned and pushed at them by the very same companies who sold them their beloved 'originals' in the greedy hope of aggressively marketing their stale back catalogues to a new generation thus breathing new life into their 'artists' deservedly stagnant careers.
posted by Kino at 2:23 PM on February 19, 2003


Anyone think that we'll see what's happening to the music industry happen to film?

Not yet, at least.

1. The kind of sampling effects found in music still aren't easy enough to produce at home with video editing and compositing software. Rendering time, software capabilities, and disk space continue to be issues with video.

2. People still like to see movies in theaters. The quality of cheaply-produced sampling effects aren't yet good enough for projection. Not to mention the fact that the theatrical distribution system still heavily favors studio productions, and it's going to require a huge industry shake-up to change that.

There are, of course, exceptions to these rules. I'm just saying that it's going to be a while before independent, homemade videos and films become as common as independent, homemade music.
posted by faustessa at 2:41 PM on February 19, 2003


Also, by the time video capabilities catch up with where music capabilities are today, it's likely that the music industry and the RIAA will have come to some sort of workable solution for dealing with independent production and sampling and file sharing, and the film industry will most likely apply this solution. It becomes kind of hard to speculate on independent film/video's future without knowing what the music industry's solution is.
posted by faustessa at 2:46 PM on February 19, 2003


1) Mike Myers = Satan's hammy, desperately cloying little spawn, the most miserably unfunny human being since Stalin.

2) Film sampling - Billy Crystal does this every time he hosts the Oscars.

3) DIY filmmaking - now that "independent film" is a joke, we may see a new wave of digital filmmakers. Problems, though:

- A home video image, transferred to film and blown up on a 40-foot-screen, looks fricking awful. And theatergoing is still a big part of the film experience. Although if the theaters keep showing 20 minutes of commercials beforehand, that could change...

- Technology is not a substitute for decent storytelling. Final Cut Pro doesn't have an "add rich dialogue" button.

4) Myers. Sucks. Hard.
posted by solistrato at 4:17 PM on February 19, 2003


I for one am looking forward to all new episodes of classic Star Trek, and all those other great shows that were cancelled. They will be made from recycled episodes (ala that one episode of DS9).
posted by blue_beetle at 5:20 PM on February 19, 2003


On the whole, remakes undeservably get a bad rap.

Remakes aren't always necessarily bad. The Maltese Falcon, for example, was a remake; earlier versions appeared in 1931 and 1939.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:43 PM on February 19, 2003


I wonder how Mike Myers would feel about being digitally sampled out of one of his movies.

Oh groovy baby, yeah.

I'm sorry
posted by jdiaz at 9:31 PM on February 19, 2003


What's the problem? Remixing a film doesn't replace the original film - it creates a new film in addition. What on Earth is the problem?
posted by nthdegx at 5:14 AM on February 20, 2003


What on Earth is the problem?

People grow up believing that their opinions should be gospel.

THAT, in my opinion, is the problem.
posted by dirt at 1:18 PM on February 20, 2003


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