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Talking Your Tech | Ron Howard
Talking Your Tech | Ron Howard: Ron Howard has moved from Mayberry to Twitpic. The former child actor turned director talks about his online photo habits, and judging a Canon photo contest. Produced by Jefferson Graham
Film director Ron Howard. / Jefferson Graham / USA Today
Howard often posts snapshots from sets to Twitter. / Kevin Mazur / WireImage

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Ron Howard, film director (A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man) and former child actor (The Andy Griffith Show), has a new part-time career: social media shutterbug.

The two-time Oscar winner posts iPhone shots and point-and-shoot photos daily on Twitter (@realronhoward). We met Howard at a Hollywood sound stage to discuss photography, filmmaking and how the Internet helped revive one of his most beloved and little-seen TV series, Arrested Development.

His own photography. Howard takes an iPhone and point-and-shoot Canon Powershot with him everywhere, and shoots “family birthday parties, behind-the-scenes location shots, maybe a cool sunset. ... I could offer up, on Twitter, images I thought people would like to look at.” Recent posts include office toys, a purchase of gelato and a visit to the sound stage where he worked on The Andy Griffith Show.

Directing with digital SLRs. He filmed two shorts for the Funny or Die website with the Canon 5D Mark II, a digital SLR that’s used often for video, as well as on series such as Saturday Night Live, and in the recent film The Avengers. For big-budget films, “I’m sure there’s still a place for film, but much is gained (with DSLRs) and almost nothing is lost. The flexibility is remarkable,” he says. “It offers another level of spontaneity. It’s one less complication. You’re not running out of film and waiting four minutes for a reload at a crucial moment.”

Editing home videos. “I keep meaning to. It’s one thing to take some shots and send them out to the world, but I don’t want to take my home movies and turn them into films. That’s my day job.” The clips “just end up on my computer. Maybe one day.”

Future of film. “Every intern I work with can edit video, and they can make something that could become a feature. All these limitations and barriers have broken down. How exciting that it’s that accessible. I know people are making movies [that will endure] on these cameras, and editing on a laptop for next to nothing.”

Arrested Development’s return. Cult favorite Development, produced by Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and canceled in 2006, returns with cast intact (including Howard as the off-screen narrator) on Netflix in 2013. “The Internet ... really kept the show alive. There’s no doubt that bloggers, e-mailers, they’re the ones who would not let up.”

Howard’s tips for future directors: “Go shoot, but don’t forget to write, and don’t forget to watch. One of the drills I’m always proposing — find a scene you like and watch it, enjoy it, watch it again, and then turn the sound off. That will begin to tell you: What did they really do? How many times did they cut back to the same shot? All these things become very hard to track when you’re influenced by the sound. Now, you’re beginning to think like a filmmaker.”

Jefferson Graham’s Talking Your Tech runs Wednesdays in USA TODAY.

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