Filmmakers Struggle With The Transition From Film To Digital

- - The Future

You will probably get a laugh watching these filmmakers talk about making the transition from film to digital, because 5 or so years ago in the photography world it all seemed worth discussing, but now it seems like a waste of energy… and they made a documentary out of it.

There Are 23 Comments On This Article.

  1. Photographers were eventually forced by the marketplace to switch, “it has to be shot digitally!”. I think that these directors are making the choice themselves or do you think it is coming from higher up?

  2. God bless Paul Thomas Anderson for shooting “The Master” in 70mm, but honestly folks, film is over…its a digital world for the foreseeable future. Get used to it.

    • I saw a 70mm print of The Master and frankly, it makes everything else out look pretty sad.

      Digital is here and film is on its way out because as usual, good enough is good enough.

  3. That’s surprising to hear David Lynch say he’s finished with film, while Chris Nolan is on the other end. Photographers figured out 5 years ago that each project has different needs, and sometimes film still fills those needs better.

    The bigger issue here with cinema, is the studios new refusal to release traditional projection films to specialty theaters – forcing them to buy digital projectors, and basically running the independent theaters out of business.

  4. I think filmmaking is not different than photography the majority of project will be done digitally and a few will be done on film until someone stops making stock.

    I shoot film occasionally, 35mm or 6×7, when it fits the project and story. What I keyed on was a statement by George Lucas. I think it hold true to a photographers output too, there is so much out there that looks virtually the same, so finding the right shelf space to sell it is difficult. ( I hope I quoted him correctly)

  5. Different doesn’t mean better or worse, it just means different. And what’s better? Well, there are countless criteria you can use to define “better” and each project is going to have its own criteria.

    I know what I prefer (MF film). I know what I think looks better (MF film). But I shoot about 70% digital because on those shoots digital is better (budget, timing, etc, etc).

    It’s great to (still) have options… Sadly those options are going away.

  6. It’s also a higher up / market place decision. For the price of a four week 35mm film camera rental you can now own a Red, and shoot until you are blue in the face. The editing process has been digital for more than a decade, the scanning and retransfer process just adds unnecessary costs to the storytelling, and theaters are switching all to digital projection anyway. For a producer there is just no reason for film. It’s a purely creative decision … if the director can find a producer who is willing to budget for it.

    • The vast majority of stories don’t need film to tell them. So it becomes a business decision, and digital is where it’s inevitably going to end up, because yes, it’s cheaper but also more flexible in what you can do with it.

      At that point it stops being profitable to even manufacture the film, so it goes away almost entirely.

      Tiny 35mm film has no advantages over digital. In stills at least you can still say that an 8×10 has something that single-shot digital does not.

  7. I don’t know why Rob get’s a laugh out of this. I saw the movie (it’s available on iTunes) and it’s quite good.

  8. My take on digital has been this…It’s not better, it’s different and different can often makes things better. In the end, as with still photography, good imagery has nothing to do with the camera. Film will become artisanal just like good beer, house made sausage and fine art. Digital is here to stay and frankly it opens the door to so many people who could never have been able to express themselves before. That’s a good thing.

    • I think Mr. Penner is on to the right idea. It’s hardly even about what’s better anymore, but about access to the technology and opening up the door to anyone who wants in. If film sticks around for long enough, perhaps youngins like myself will have the chance to fall in love with it as our own medium (as I did). But I don’t think that the downturn is anymore sad than anything else being automated or digitized. Ultimately, we do have some democracy in our choice of medium and unless we, at any and all levels, decide that we are absolutely done, we will never be absolutely beyond anything.