About every month or so, I read or watch an interview with a filmmaker where they lament how much their art is being destroyed by people watching things on their smartphones. But, like it or not, that’s a trend that seems only to be accelerating. Jason Brush, EVP of User Experience Design at Possible Worldwide, decided to take that trend and run with it. FastCo.Design has a wonderful story on Brush’s concept of "elastic cinema":
"Filmmaking hasn’t responded to the fact that the mode of distribution has fundamentally changed, forever," Brush says. "Most filmmakers would love to have everyone see their movie in a theater, but that’s just not how it goes anymore." People watch movies on TV, TV on the web, the web on their phones, and every permutation thereof. "But watching media on your phone is much different than on your TV, which is much different than in the theater," Brush says. "Elastic cinema" asks: Why not design the film in a way that it can transform to fit each of those distribution platforms (and make more money), rather than — like Lawrence of Arabia — be an amazing experience on one of them, and a disappointment on all the rest?
It sounds fanciful, but some mainstream filmmakers are already exploring the possibilities. Brush cites Olivier Assayas’s critically acclaimed film Carlos as an innovative example: Assayas and his collaborators shot and edited the film as a multipart TV miniseries, and then repackaged a two-hour version for a theatrical run. "It wasn’t just about lopping out whole scenes or storylines," Brush says. Indeed, Assayas redesigned the theatrical version from the ground up out of the same raw materials: re-editing scenes, restructuring the plot, even changing compositions and pacing from shot to shot.