After colour television, the Telehor TV transmitter, holography, the semi-automatic camera and the computer, a Hungarian innovation is once again helping the entertainment industry: the CinProCaS application, which facilitates the preparation of films, TV productions and broadcasts, is now available to the industry and allows for much more cost-effective work than ever before.
Most viewers know that a film shoot starts with a famous crew, but few realise how long and costly the pre-production process is before that moment. And yet it is no coincidence that Sidney Lumet, one of the undisputed masters of cinema’s golden age, and winner of the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, devoted more than a third of his 1996 study How a Film Is Made, some 100 pages, to the preparation of a film.
A practical filmmaker knows that good planning affects the fate of the whole production: it is a crucial process, both aesthetically and cost-wise, Alfred Hitchcock, for example, admitted to having the whole film in his head before he shot the first frame, while the notorious pope of shoddy filmmaking, Ed Wood, became legendary for his lack of preparation.
The cameraman wanted to make his own job easier
Cinematographer Zsolt Árpád Varga also wanted to make his own work easier when he first thought of creating an application that would allow him to start planning his next shoot at home, even while sitting in the bathtub. When he first sketched out the idea for the now deceased Vilmos Zsigmond, the Oscar-winning cinematographer of Third Encounters, he was so impressed that he was surprised no one had thought of it before.
“I created the CinProCaS app because I wanted to make my own cameraman’s job easier and I wanted to be prepared. It saves me a lot of time and money so that I can work on any scene in my film I’m shooting in a park, on the bus or on the plane while travelling. The idea often comes out of the blue, it’s good to have my office in my pocket,” said cameraman Zsolt Varga Árpád.
But what exactly is CinProCaS?
CinProCaS (Cinematography Production Cards System®) is essentially a program that breaks down an existing literary script into scenes, which can be used to create a technical script. The director, cameraman or production manager can also create a concrete storyboard of the scenes, mark camera positions and angles, determine lighting placement, brightness, colour temperature and a range of other set-up issues that the crew needs to be aware of before the actual shoot. And you can export the draft in pdf format and send it to your crew members, so they know what they need to know before they arrive on location.
“We’ve been looking for a similar software like CinProCaS to help students prepare, but we couldn’t find it. We used spreadsheets and 5-6 different programs with the students because there was no similar service on the market. CinProCaS is a great application to use in education, it contains all the functions that help the cinematographer in the preparation of a production,” said Tamás Babos, Béla Balázs Prize-winning cinematographer and teacher at the Metropolitan University.
The Hungarian-developed software is already on its way around the world
CinProCaS is a continuously updated software/application and is now available for subscription in Hungary on Google Play and the App Store. According to the developers, the app is already being used by American, Australian, Indian and Indonesian cinematographers and producers, who use it primarily to design TV series and feature films.