Im guessing its the first time that a feature film or documentary has ever been made with Keynote as its basis, says Lesley Chilcott, coproducer of the Sundance Film Festival hit An Inconvenient Truth.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim, the film eloquently weaves scientific facts with practical solutions and spikes of humor from the likes of Matt Groenings animated series Futurama as it documents former Vice President Al Gores lifelong effort to reverse the effects of global climate change.
A longtime and respected advocate for the environment, Gore has given some 1,000 talks on climate change since 1989 at first using slides in a carousel with easels and charts. He switched to Keynote on his PowerBook, Chilcott says, after Gores wife Tipper said, Well, Mr. Information Superhighway, why dont you put your slides on your computer?
An Inconvenient Truth captures Gores traveling global warming show and punctuates it with filmlets of his personal journey to show why, out of the worlds menu of issues, Gore has remained so passionate about the environment.
A Genome of Slides
When we were trying to figure out how to best film Als presentation, Chilcott recalls, we looked at a variety of options when designing multiple screens for him. Once we started investigating Keynote and its capabilities, we realized that it was best to actually film the presentation using Keynote on multiple screens.
Its just a phenomenal program, Chilcott adds. Al keeps what he calls a genome of all his master slides whether they are charts or graphs or images or QuickTime clips in Keynote, so he can tailor his presentation to different audiences. Gore also downloads new photographs or animations while hes on the road so he can include new information, often relating directly to his audience, the day of his talk.
Al Gore reviews satellite images of hurricanes roaring toward the Florida coast in 2005.
Giving Earth an HD Look
When film production began, none of the filmmakers had ever used Keynote. Yet they wanted to polish Gores presentation with high-resolution graphics and video that could be projected onto plasma displays and a screen measuring 15 by 45 feet.
Within a few days, everyone filmmakers, editors, researchers were using Keynote to create and update material for Gores presentation. One of the great things about Keynote, Chilcott points out, is that we could import and export video and images at extremely high resolution to give the presentation an HD look.
When the production team needed to change some charts or graphs to accommodate new data, they used Keynotes Inspector tool. Its quite easy to change these things with very little experience, Chilcott says. We were dropping, altering and adding slides less than an hour before we were to shoot. If we had used playback tapes, we would not have been able to make these types of adjustments and stick to our hectic schedule.