As anyone even vaguely familiar with filmmaking knows, breakthroughs in digital technology (both in the actual hardware and software and in the relatively low price of such equipment) have made it much easier and much less expensive to produce films. Boston-based filmmaker John Farrell has not only taken advantage of this technology in the production of two intriguing and challenging feature films, but has also written a new book providing detailed instruction on how to use the technology to its fullest.

Farrell, who has written extensively on high-tech subjects for such outlets as Salon and National Review, has just published Digital Movies with QuickTime Pro (Charles River Media, $49.95, 362 pages). The book, which comes with a companion DVD-ROM to enable visual examples of what is being discussed, literally covers the whole gamut of digital video production. Designed for both Windows and Mac users, the book highlights every possible aspect of the QuickTime Pro technology in crisp, user-friendly language. Even the most cowardly technophobe will not have a problem in following the very, very easy instructions created by Farrell.

In a rather nice surprise, Digital Movies with QuickTime Pro goes beyond tech talk and offers highly practical advice for any aspiring filmmaker who wants to get into the business. Literally all major aspects of independent film production are covered here, from the beginnings in putting together and incorporating a production company through the exhaustive (and often exhausting) process of getting a digital video feature into theatrical exhibition.

Farrell has plenty of experience to enable him to writes from the high-tech end. A Harvard graduate, he runs Farrellmedia, a new media production house that delivers specialized content to consumers, students and teachers who can be reached over the Internet. As part of the team producing the Virtual Patient Project for the Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education & Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Farrell shoots, edits and prepares video in D-9 format for delivery on CD-ROM as well as the web. And in terms of independent film production, Farrell is responsible for the creation of independent features that offered provocative modernized versions of classic English literature: Shakespeare’s Richard the Second (which had a New York theatrical engagement in 2001) and the 1495 morality play Everyman (which won an Honorable Mention at the American Film Festival in New York).

Film Threat caught up with Farrell at his Boston offices to discuss his book and the state of digital technology in filmmaking.

Get the interview in part two of JOHN FARRELL: A BYTE OF CINEMA>>>

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