Alex McDowell on Technology in Production Design

Alex McDowell discusses the inevitability of meaningfully adopting new visual effects technologies into the production design process

“We’re in 100 percent digital film space now. I think the industry has to accept that this is like the transition to talkies — it’s massive and it’s game-changing and it’s happening. You can say “talkies are a gimmick and I’m a silent film man,” but your career is effectively over once you’ve made that decision. Fundamentally these ever-changing tools are just a way to enhance our creative process. I don’t know how to use any of this stuff, but what I’ve discovered is that my ignorance is a real asset — I don’t know anything about the limitations of the technology, so I can expect it can do whatever I imagine. And usually that’s the ideal relationship to have with engineers and technologists, because they love the challenge to create under the pressure of a creative demand.”

Alex McDowell


How do you feel about Alex McDowell’s statement? Have you adjusted to the increased use of technology in the practice of production design?

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

  1. He’s 100% correct and has been on the forefront of digital technology. You don’t have to be a carpenter to design a house…

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  2. He echos the comments of production designer Ralph Eggleston made in 1994 when designing the first digital feature, “Toy Story.” Nothing’s changed.

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