Okay, I meant as a film fans. I only shoot on digital, I’ve never shot on film, so I can’t honestly compare the two. At the same time, though, somebody who shoots a great film on digital is no less of a craftsmen than somebody who shot a great film on, well, film. Take a look at Night of the Museum 2. I’m sure the DP knows his stuff and everything is well-lit and in focus but are you going to tell me A Night at the Museum 2 has more skill and craft going on than Public Enemies because it was shot on film? Come on. A good movie is a good movie, regardless of the format it’s shot on.
So let’s pretend for a second we don’t make films and we’re just speaking strictly as film fans. What are we losing? I’m going to be bold here and assume the guy that wrote the book you were talking about isn’t a filmmaker and he’s speaking as a fan. Maybe I’m wrong but I didn’t recognize the name. So what’s being lost in his opinion (and possibly yours)?
What book are you refering to? I don’t think I brought up a book, did I? Ah man, don’t make me go back and reread my posts! No, I don’t think I mentioned a book; you must be talking about somebody else.
But to address your question, I agree – as a filmgoer, who cares? You’re just sitting there with your popcorn not doing anything but looking at images on a screen. Who cares what the origination medium was? If this is what the director intended, so be it. Michael Mann intended Miami Vice to look the way that it does – who am I to say different? I think it looked that shit but that’s his decision. Same goes with Lynch and Inland Empire. I’m not going to argue that point. Digital is introducing a new aesthetic and one audiences I’m sure will embrace (the same way they embraced widescreen, color, 3D, whatever). I’m not the person to argue otherwise. However I stand by my position that I prefer film and it’s difficult for me to seperate the filmmaker from the filmgoer because they’re completely intertwined.
Okay, sorry, someone else brought up the book. Yeah, preference is great, it’s just people that flat-out dismiss it that annoy me. Film can look like shit, too and the format really doesn’t matter when the movie ultimately sucks. All those awful Epic Movie, Date Movie, Meet the Spartans, etc. are shot on film. Is anybody in their right mind going to use the words “craft” or “skill” in the same breath as those unholy piles of shit?
What a lot of people fail to see is that film is inherently imperfect and that’s the beauty of it! The more digitial tries to be perfect (that is more sharp, more detail, more clear) it seems less and less like film and seems more and more artificial.
Capturing an image digitally and then releasing it digitally can make for a superb image. That’s really the best and only way to experience this technology. I don’t care to see a celluloid image transferred to a file and then projected digitally. The image is not only different, it becomes inferior. I love the imperfection of film. These artifacts, mistakes, give it its realist personality. That is lost with digital technology. Those accidents which occurred during the process of filming. What would be the point of seeing a technically cleaned-up, digitally restored version of “A Woman Is A Woman”, beyond the archival reason? The inherent imperfections of the filmmaking process is an important aspect of the overall endeavor. That’s what will be lost. The human element becomes endangered. ""Mistakes in filming, like Freudian ‘slips’ in language, ‘puns’ and the like, very often contain the meaning that was covered up through error as well as the reason for erring"~ Stan Brakhage. That will be lost. During the filmming of “Les Carabiniers”, Godard took old film stock and scratched it on the floor to achieve an effect. He no doubt knew that Robert Wise induced the same effect during the newsreel section of “Citizen Cane”. That will be lost. In some cases during the viewing of older films you can see the stitches that hold a particular cut in place. You’re noticing the hand of the artist and his technique, which create meaning. That will be lost.
Someone mentioned recording artists applying “scratches” and “pops” to music. Robert Rodriguez applied the digital equivalent to his ‘Planet Terror", but it was cheap and tawdry. A pointless exercise for ignoramuses who are divorced from history. If you listen to early records by A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets or De La Soul, you will hear them incorporate scratches and pops into their music. And it works, because they are invoking history, they are honoring the legacy of R&B which came before. It’s all there in the music. Rodriguez can’t even manage that much because he is a huckster. On the flip side, electronic musicians such as Oval and Vladislav Delay have also sampled these analogue artifacts, in their case to invoke a history we only thought we had. Their project being to convey the sense of deterioration and decay of memory through the digital process. The digital artists which interest me are taking the technology and re-using it, detourning it against itself to create a different meaning. I’m not interested in the equivalent of adding layers of muscle onto Spartan soldiers.
This could take us into very recondite areas, which might be a discussion for elsewhere, over a shared pizza and a few beers.
I just wanted to briefly bring this thread back to let people know that there are two great articles in the June edition of American Cinematographer dealing with this issue. Specifically, the ASC and PGA recently did an extensive test of several top of the line digital cameras along with an Arri 435. The results won’t be published until the Sept. issue but the article is very detailed into exactly what the tests consisted of (they tested the Arri D-21, Panasonic HBX3700, Genesis, RedOne, Viper, Cinealta F23 & F25).
Also, there’s a great interview with John Bailey, ASC talking about DI and the post production process. Very informative and often funny interview b/c you could tell he’s a little pissed about this whole process and the direction it’s going.
Yeah, thanks for the heads up on that.
@Michael – I have some bad news for you. Public Enemies looked like shit. I’m definitely not lying when I say I could this film was shot on a digital camera. Easily one of the worst looking films I’ve ever seen. Cartoonish blacks, strobing, stuttering zooms – Mann has the nerve to shoot a lot of the scenes handheld, even though one of the weakest areas of digital cameras is that they have trouble with action (see Apocalypto). This film was an atrocious mess. The only time the camera handled anything well was day exterior. That’s it.
The whole time I was watching the film I was distracted by how it looked. It completely took me out of the film. And the film was pretty disappointing by the way.
Meh, most of the reviews have been complimenting the look of the film. You’ve given your thoughts on digital, so I really didn’t expect you to like it. I’ll let you know what I think.
It’s funny because there have been only two films that I’ve seen where the digital really took me out of the picture so much I had a difficult time enjoying the film. And those two films, Miami Vice and Public Enemies. Interestingly to note, I thought Tetro looked beautiful and not only is it one of my favorite films of the year, it’s also one of my favorite looking films of the year (although I think digital does a better job with black & white so that may be part of it).
I just wanted to butt in here for a minute and blab a little bit of why I think film is still champion as far as a filmmaking means to an end.
Digital may have a clearer picture and more vibrant colors, etc..
But film gives you an otherworldy quality. Dreamy. Slow, staurated. Darker, more hypnotic.
The viewer is able to be transformed from the theater into another world.
The cast and crew’s vision of a time and place.
These advances in technology (CGI-the ultimate cartoon, who framed roger fucking rabbit -slap in the face, bullshit brand of special effect), digital cameras, etc…cannot YET compensate for film’s ability to actually transfer the film lover or average viewer to that other world.
Sure, you’ll get lightning fast tracking shots, quick white flash cuts, ARTIFICIAL film scratches like that WRETHCED Robert Rodriguez Planet Terror…but you won’t get Altered States.
You won’t get Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
You won’t get Diva.
Not that you would get that anyway on digital, at least, not nowadays. Shame, too.
I’m all for digital. I wish I could afford a digital camera that would slice and dice with compatible editing software that didn’t choke on HD footage without having to break my bank..I’m sure that day will come.
I will definitely try and replicate the look of film, or, at least, the MOTION of a MOTION picture with the digital medium as best I can to preserve the most important aspect of film’s aesthetic, for me, personally. And that is: ESCAPE.
If I wanted to watch a damned REAL WORLD REALITY show on the big screen, I’d know about it.
I don’t know shit about that and I’m glad.
So again, for me, digital is great and I don’t condone adding artificial scratches and burn marks to digital pictures (as that seems all the rage currently), but I also have a strong knowing of why film works for me and it is all in the details.
Of course..NONE of this matters until film makers stop peddling crappy 3D, HI DEF movies with brainless dialog and non charismatic actors with refried bean storylines and remakes.
None of it really matters, anymore.
For the small percentage of films that DO matter…I prefer film (for now).
Digital will probably adapt to the more slowly saturated and softened characteristics of film.
I really cannot invest too much into a MOVIE if it’s got high speed shutter giving me epileptic seizures, sorry!
It’s sort of fun reading over this thread. The same discussion we’re having now we had three years ago.
Not much has changed. lol