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Fuji Ceasing Motion Picture Film Production, Kodak is on Life Support. Is Celluloid Done For?

10.1.12 @ 1:40PM Tags : , , , , ,

About a year ago, the last motion picture film camera rolled off the assembly line, marking a historic day in film history. Now we have Fujifilm deciding that it will no longer be producing motion picture film, and Kodak is continuing its bankruptcy proceedings, selling off its still photography division, and ending its printer business. Just five years ago, the idea that motion picture film may be going the way of the dinosaur was unimaginable. Sure, RED had come along and given us the first real glimpse of the true digital replacement, but the technology still seemed a long ways off. With the economic downturn — and certainly some mismanagement along the way — Kodak was the first to show signs of danger, and now Fuji sees the writing on the wall, and is getting out of the game before it’s too late. But what else will contribute to the demise of film?

Here is Fuji corporate explaining the situation:

…However, in order to adapt to the recent rapid transition of digitalization in the shooting, producing, projecting and archiving processes of motion pictures Fujifilm has decided to shift its business operations to provide products and services designed for digital workflow of motion picture production and projection. Digital cinema camera shooting has been gaining momentum, and digital editing that heavily uses CG composition and VFX processing has now become common in motion picture production. There is also an increase in the number of movie theaters that converted to digital projection, following the increase of 3D motion pictures, implying the dramatically advancing digitalization in the motion picture industry. In such trend, Fujifilm has strived to reduce the costs of the production process for its existing negative films and positive films and continued to supply such films. However, the dramatic decrease of demand in the last few years has become far too great a burden to be covered by corporate efforts. Therefore, it has been decided to discontinue the sales of negative films, positive films, and some other products of motion picture in a prospect of March 2013.

The answers seem to be clear from Fuji’s press release. It’s a number of factors, but a huge source of income for both Fuji and Kodak has been film release prints. Even with many moving to digital early on, film release prints still dominated the landscape because most theaters had not converted over to digital yet. Today, that situation is vastly different, and with each progressing day, a lot of major theaters now have only digital projectors, which require a Digital Cinema Package consisting of a number of files to play the movie.

The return of 3D forced theaters to hurry with their conversions, or risk losing out on the bigger studio releases throughout the year. Since the 3D of today is digital only, cinematographers are being forced to leave behind film on those particular projects. In the process, many are finding that the digital files give them results they’ve never seen before — especially in regards to clarity and grain. Roger Deakins has moved on from film, as has Dariusz Wolski, who has worked recently with Ridley Scott and was responsible for the Pirates films. Jeff Cronenweth, a common DP for David Fincher, has all but abandoned silver halides as well. Once they try digital, many DPs are choosing not to go back, and for obvious reasons — they get a cleaner file, with similar dynamic range, and better sensitivity in lower light (not to mention the simple fact that they can see their results while shooting, rather than waiting for dailies).

These are the very same people that Kodak and Fuji have relied on to buy thousands and thousands of feet of film negative, and when they decide that they either can’t or don’t want to shoot film, there’s no turning back. No one could have predicted that the transition would have happened this fast, and come March of next year, Kodak will be the only motion picture film game in town. Kodak as a company is a few business quarters away from disappearing forever, and has been selling off patents to try to stay afloat. It’s also selling off it’s still photography and printing businesses, with the former being decimated by digital many years before.

So how much longer does film have left? Has the last major motion picture to shoot on film already done so? Neither answer is clear, but Fuji getting out of the game may actually give Kodak a second chance on life. Digital projectors will continue their move forward, but almost all films are finished through a digital intermediate, and have been for quite some time. Once Kodak goes, however, that will do it for major productions shooting on film. We may still get archival film prints from both companies, but negative shooting stock will all but disappear. This is not the “end of the world” speech on a busy city street corner, this is really happening. Film developing labs have been closing left and right, and so even if a company decided to continue dealing with motion picture celluloid should Kodak’s business bite the dust, people will have a hard time actually developing that film material without labs to facilitate the process.

It’s definitely a sad development for those who love film, but the time has come to accept that digital is not going anywhere, and shooting on film will continue to get more expensive. With the ability to make your RAW digital images look like film, the benefits become increasingly slim — just a bit of nostalgia, really. In just a few years, all but the smallest art house theaters and museums will be completely digital. As each cinematographer moves on from the format, it means less and less future films will be shot that way. I would not be surprised if another five years from now, motion picture film is finished. Digital camera technology is moving far faster than anyone could have predicted, and young people are growing up having never shot a piece of motion picture film. I’m thankful that I got the opportunity to shoot both motion picture and still photography film, but the time has come to say goodbye. A few will cling to the very last days, and freezers will surely be stocked full of raw negative, but short of The Impossible Project getting into motion picture film, we’re only a couple years away from the end of the line. There will not likely be any fanfare at the end since people will be shooting film until all remaining stock is exhausted (and of course we may still be archiving on film), but Fuji seems to understand something that Kodak will soon learn: shooting on motion picture film is dead.



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  • This isn’t a bad thing. I feel like it’s a sign of progress.

    Ultimately, a good story will be enough to satisfy the movie-goers.

    • Shooting on film will become a novelty process and go the way of the VHS tape. (which also happens to be a type of film). Some people will still do it but it will lose most of it’s practicality and strictly be an “artistic” thing. Evolution.

    • Im not a film professional just a lover of cinema and lover of shooting my own film and stills. I couldnt agree more that content and acting is everything in movies. Special effects are great but gor instance in one of my favorite films “Independence Day” …special effects galore…my favorite part of the movie is when Bill Pullman as President makes his speech to the troops before battle. All acting and setting but THE make the hair on the backof your neck stand up emotional connection from the audience scene.
      Having said that I do still love the more organic look of film. Sure digital is getting better but to throw away a tool like film is foolish. Im a skilled tradesman by profession and when I get a shiny new power tool I sure as hell dont throw my old tools away. They still have thier place and usefullness at the proper time and place.
      Speaking as an amatuer photo and cinematographer I dearly love being able to shoot family members and functions on real film. I feel the film far outlast the digital video and photos I take for future generations. Lets face analogue film is an actual small picture visible to the naked eye. The film I shoot and save will easily last 100 years or more with reasonable care and could someday be viewed by decendants that never even knew me alive. One of my most treasured possessions are the old b&w 8mm film that my Grandfather shot of my great grandparents. Sure I still need a functioning projector, but thats not hard to maintain unless its been really REALLY abused. Nothing dependent on a compatable computer (disposable device) the proper OS, codec, media drive etc. My old VHS tapes certainly wont last much over 20 years (as if you could buy a VCR even now much less in 20 years LoL) One more example, should we deactivate and tear down our hard wired phone system because cell phones are so prevalent these days (The large phone companies are currently petitioning the government to do exactly that) … hey, I love my cell phone its convinient and has its uses. But its not always that reliable, the sound quality sometimes sucks and if your someplace with signal your out of luck (ive never had my home phone “drop” a call yet lol)
      My point is that just dumping an older technology in the name of “Progress” is almost never a good idea. We should look harder and the benefit to society as a whole. IMO. Progress = Corporate profits usually.
      One final thought, remember the Voyager space probe. Its still hurtling through space as you read this. The Sounds of earth recording on it (you know, the one for just in case some alien civilization finds it) is a gold plated analogue record (which of course is a winding print of the actual soundwave used to create it) not a sound file on the onboard computer, not an mp3, not a link to itunes. Hmmmm maybe the NASA scientists and engineers knew a little something about long term data storage. Just my 2 cents :)
      “Make new friends but keep the old, One is silver the other gold” !!!!

  • john jeffreys on 10.1.12 @ 2:32PM

    Whats the point of film when alexa footage looks just as good.

    • Joe Marine on 10.1.12 @ 2:52PM

      That seems to be the prevailing wisdom, and it’s hard to argue against. If I can get an image that looks as good, if not better than film, and see it immediately on set, and not have to wait for dailies, film becomes a much harder sell for everyone involved.

      • Let’s not forget all the chemicals invovled in developing film – digital is a nice clean way to help the environment as well.

        • Joe Marine on 10.1.12 @ 3:14PM

          Definitely, that’s a good point, there are a lot of chemicals involved that we are better off not having to wash down the drain.

        • Arthur Love on 10.2.12 @ 3:18AM

          Not to nitpick, but film is the much greener form of capture. Most of the chemicals involved in film are organic chemicals which can be broken down and disposed of in a clean, environmentally friendly manner. Film labs have a strong financial incentive to follow this process as that is how the silver is recovered. Secondly, a film camera never has to be just chucked away in favor of a new technology. How many VHS camcorders litter the landfills around the world? And lastly, film can be archived on a shelf, requiring no power besides a little climate control. Digital requires near constant maintenance and migration to new formats. Over 50 years, that power bill would add up.

          Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of film, and wish that it and digital could coexist peacefully instead of constantly trying to kill each other off. Why is everything nowadays a _________ killer? When is fewer choices for an artist ever a good thing?

          • Striking 2,000 + film prints and distributing them across the country is about the farthest thing from “green” as possible. Then again I guess that’s why you specify “capture”…

          • Digital equipment contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Old equipment easily contaminates land and water tables when just tossed out. Often they end up in the landfills of poor nations like India, The Phillippines and Vietnam. So, the digital boosters need to get off of their high, green horse.

            Film chemicals have been recycled or disposed of properly for decades.

            There are proper disposal methods for both technologies. But to presume digital is “greener” than film isn’t necessarily correct.

          • Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to shoot IMAX from now on.

      • john jeffreys on 10.1.12 @ 5:09PM

        Its also like a hundred times cheaper.

        • Going digital is far more expensive than shooting film. How many digital cameras have you bought in the last 10 years, and at what cost? how useful are they to you today? How many will you buy in the future? How many computer programs, computers, hard drives, media cards and proprietary accessories will you be purchasing? You will be constantly upgrading and managing data to stay current. There is no better preservation media than film for the for see able future. Will you be converting any of your Mini DV films to 2k or 4k DCP?

          I have an Arriflex BL 16mm camera, It was built in 1965, It’s a swiss clock and built like a tank. It shoots better quality footage now than it did when it Debuted. Over the years It’s sound capabilities have improved by a crystal sync unit, By having the gate modified to be wider It’s image quality has improved by a 30% increase. It’s low light sensitivity and dynamic range capability has improved 10x by the constant improvement of filmstocks. It will accept modern lenses and accessories. It has out lived every video camera I have ever owned, If you’ve never shot film don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It is and will continue to be my preferred method of imagining.

      • The Alexa does not look as good or better. It looks good sure, but still it is trying to replicate the look of film which is what all digital cameras do to some extent. DIgital is zeroes and ones, period. It is not organic. Do you also think that a Gilclee’ is as good or better than painting with oil on canvas? or that a kindle is just as good as book? We are destroying an art form for the sake of the corporate dollar, but the crazy thing is that the corp devil has convinced the artist to go along :-(

        For me as a FILMMAKER not a videographer, I am deep saddened.

        • john jeffreys on 10.5.12 @ 6:20PM

          Oh please. You sound old and conservative as fuck.
          Film is complicated, cost prohibitive, time consuming, and limiting. The most painful feeling in the world is waiting overnight for dailies. Sure, it looks good, but alexa and other high end digital cameras capture the essence pretty much, AND you can mess with it infinitely in post, and even DURING shooting (see: on set color correction with Drive, etc). It sets you free, and you can do whatever you want, you can set those 1′s and 0′s to represent whatever your heart desires.

        • Honestly, with the amount of grain reduction and post-processing that happens with film, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference most of the time. I guarantee everyone who visits this site has been fooled by something shot on digital that they thought was shot on film. Digital can be made to look very close to film, and if film were that much better, the top DPs in the industry would not be moving to digital, they would stick with film.

          The only area where film still has the upper hand is in larger formats like 65mm – but digital will eventually catch up to that format as well.

          • They reduce the grain during the transfer to digital to mask the fact that 4k digital can not handle the “image data” 35mm is capable of capturing, When 35mm first came into use theaters seated 3500 people and they built 120ft wide screens. 35mm was considered to be acceptable at these sizes, now days a 70ft wide screen is considered standard IMAX, and I’d say that most multiplex theater screens are far smaller. Some folks dislike the grainy quality of film. Did anyone see Lincoln in 4k? No visible grain during the entire film, but the sharpness suffered due to grain reduction process and the reduction to 4k projection. Also Digital projection really suffers at dealing with motion, Every thing gets jerky when an actor starts moving around most noticeably during close-ups and when sitting close to the screen and look up at it.

            I feel that rating 35mm film at a 4k resolution is very low there is alot of color and subliminal information that can’t be measured or captured digitally.

          • Why does everyone want the cheap way out? What’s the point of making digital look like film? If you are after the look of film,just use it.

    • The Doctor on 10.1.12 @ 6:15PM

      Alexa still can’t generate an image specified for IMAX like 70mm does. As far as I know, there are about four cameras in the world that can shoot film specified for IMAX.

      • I agree 70mm IMAX is the ultimate imaging system right now. I do believe digital will soon overtake it as well though.

      • john jeffreys on 10.1.12 @ 6:33PM

        Big deeealllllllll

        • Have you seen the Dark Knight Rises? Samsara in 4k?

          • john jeffreys on 10.1.12 @ 11:42PM

            Id rather have an incredibly written film in 2k with great casting and design and audio and lighting than eye candy hollywood bullshit in 3493843984k

          • @john jeffreys

            Not all films are narratives…nature docs (which are most of IMAX films) are 95% about spectacle and visuals.

          • john jeffreys on 10.2.12 @ 3:05PM

            If I want a nature doc I’ll go camping.

          • @john jeffreys

            If I want a narrative, I’ll read a book.

          • john jeffreys on 10.2.12 @ 5:20PM

            sure, but i feel that films/images are more efficient at narrative than a book

          • Samsara was an experience… Really interesting and my first time seeing a film like that… Haven’t seen Baraka yet but will most definitely see it soon.

            As for the role of film, it’s still locked with a strong control of several key components of the industry… It’s the only true archival medium we have for motion pictures… 1′s and 0′s tend to misbehave over time and files go bad… well stored celluloid can last quite a while… Big budget specialty films, like samsara, and other imax films are the best viewing quality (for now) available and film will cater to those projects..

            However Digital is the base of the mountain if you will. As you climb down the budget cliff, digital completely takes over and many new filmmakers, like myself, will probably never touch, process and work professionally with the film format for the reasons outlined above. Workflows are dynamic, yes, can be overwhelming sure, but speed, flexibility, low-light performance, improving resolution (all the time) and most importantly falling costs (BMCC) for higher end recording formats means the mountain, and industry are shifting to all digital… In a few years I wouldn’t be surprised to see 60% or more of motion picture movies shot on digital and only 30% being shot on film. The exact opposite of what happened last year.

            If only we could find a proper way to safeguard and archive digitally… Until that happens then film will always have be absolute necessity and not become obsolete.

      • No digital system can…yet.

        65mm (70mm is the audio print included) is about 12k resolution. We’re now currently focused on super 35mm resolutions, being 4-5k. Once true 65mm digital foot productions begin, we’ll have sensors capable of such resolutions, just as we did focusing on s16, 35 anamorphic and s35.

        Rome wasn’t built in a day, man :-)

    • I don’t agree. Even the Alexa and Red Epic cannot compete with the image of film, yet. In all digital cinematography highlights are still blown out and the overall image is too colorful and flat. Boring to say the least. I think that most directors who have worked with both will revert back to shooting on film regardless whether projected DCP or not.

  • trackofalljades on 10.1.12 @ 3:22PM

    I know this is a “religious war” kind of topic, and on the production side of things I personally fall well over on the digital side of the fence when all’s said and done. However, I think there’s a much weightier topic to be addressed as film literally becomes scarce with regard to archival after-the-fact.

    Proper, sensible, durable, and maintainable digital archival is NOT impossible. However the portion of filmmakers and cinephiles who understand the cost and work and challenges involved is far, far smaller right now than it has ever been among the celluloid crowd. If you ask me, this is the really significant angle on “the digital dilemma.”

    When someone screws up, and we lose a digital asset, there’s no running back to the Library of Congress to grab some paper frames from an old copyright record. Sometimes an asset is just gone, instantly, forever. Recovering damaged data isn’t at all like recovering damaged frames, damaged physically separate images, especially with the growing use of “long GOP” compression methods.

    Regardless of how one feels about making digital “films,” we all have a long way to go on educating peers and the public on how to preserve these works for the future.

    • Joe Marine on 10.1.12 @ 3:35PM

      On the positive side of that, regardless of what happens to Kodak, it seems at least Fuji is committed to still producing archival motion picture film.

      • trackofalljades on 10.1.12 @ 8:21PM

        …and also on the positive side, communities like that which has formed around this site serve to further educate folks about smart digital workflows – including what should happen after you’re all done! :)

    • Well there’s a new technology to store digital media, perhaps indefinitely:
      I’m sure we will see a similar technology in the future, as I can’t really see anyone actually liking the use of hard drives for long-term storage.

  • Ah, but there are somethings that can’t be mimicked by digital. Like the enticing glow of celluloid on the screen… it’s caramel warmth… the analog 24 frame rate flicker… REAL film grain…

    Digital projection is the real monster… If we can get a digitally projected image to draw a viewer in like film can, then we’re making real progress. Unfortunately the blue, electric zing of digital projection is winning the war.

    As far as the chemicals providing environmental harm, this is a valid point. However, the negative effects of processing film are minimal compared to many other environmental detriments out there.

    • john jeffreys on 10.1.12 @ 5:12PM

      Use old/vintage lenses, filters, print to 35mm for exhibition, its not that hard to get the old-school look and feel.

    • Álex Montoya on 10.1.12 @ 5:31PM

      Standard, average digital projection is much, much better than standard, average traditional projection.

    • Um, there is nothing analog about 24 frames per second. By definition it is quantized.

      • I suppose you could be talking about the shutter which could in some ways be considered analog, but does anyone actually miss that? Everyone seems to consider its passage a relief.

    • Well, technically, film-grain and flicker actually distract the eye from the whole image; digital projection is flicker-free and, when properly exposed, the image can be nearly noise-free. I don’t see how film visually draws the audience in more so than digital projection, as common sense dictates that a cleaner image works better on all accounts.

      Not trying to be abrasive, just pointing out something!

  • This story is about 3 weeks old. I am not digital person. So this sadden me a lot to have heard fuji has giving up on film. Has anyone in here shot film? I am more curious. Because people who actually have shot film usually love the feel of it more than digital.

    My problems with digital:
    1) digital doesn’t teach new filmmakers discipline.
    2)Gaffers and DPs light to the monitor. When they should be relaying on their light meters more.
    3)Directors are indecisive. Shooting digital doesn’t make the director learn from their mistake as quickly. Because when they shoot $150 roll of 16mm film or $650 roll of 35mm plus processing. You learn very quickly what you want as a director.
    4)To me actors are little bit more on their game when they are being shot on film.
    5) Over saturation of low budget indie features. I don’t have problem with low budget films but there are so many and they are usually bad. And you have to thank digital for that.
    6) I hate 3D movies. Thanks James Cameron for bring this gimmick back.

    • vinceGortho on 10.1.12 @ 5:46PM

      Those are lousy reasons.

    • Same ole tired arguments IMO.

    • The biggest difference I see in young filmmakers between shooting on film and digital is that since film was relatively hard to shoot on, your work automatically got more attention. Now with digital, it has to be *good*. Obviously certain people will be bitter.

      • Film is and was never hard to work on. It’s actually a very simple process that just requires a collaborative effort, which is what the medium has always been about.

    • 1) Discipline is up to the individual…not the technology.
      2) Seeing how the image looks is good, not bad.
      3) See #1
      4) See #1
      5) An abundance of bad films, rock bands, amateur painters, slam poets, etc. is not bad…it’s just human
      beings trying to be creative…but you don’t have to watch any of the bad stuff.
      6)See #5

    • john jeffreys on 10.1.12 @ 6:37PM

      Film is expensive, and it gives only holywood/rich people a creative voice in film. Fuck that.

      • Film isn’t expensive it amounts to a very small part of a hollywood budget. I maybe generalizing but Film stock, processing and printing is only a few million dollars on a hollywood production far less than an appearance fee from Nick Cage or Angelina Jolie. For me $35 for a 3min roll and processing of Super8 film and $50 for a camera on ebay isn’t a huge investment.

    • Agree with you 100%, Jack. For me it’s not even about the image, but the process film informs and what you learn along the way. I was hoping for a world where celluloid and digital (including more video-y looking DV stuff ie. Ten, Festen, Dancer in the Dark, not just digital cinema cameras) could live side by side and be used the same way one may use a pen for one project, oil paints for another, or a combination of the two. It’s a damn shame.

      A really great quote from master cinematographer Christopher Doyle on his preference for film: “You use a pot, not a microwave, to make good rice.”

    • My problems with your issues:
      1) Neither does film; hard work begets discipline
      2) Why leave something to chance when you can light with 100% certainty?
      3) $650 running through the camera will teach a director to just choose an option to save money, not necessarily make better choices
      4) I can see how actors will be less inclined to ask the director for more takes
      5) Cream rises to the top regardless
      6) Well that’s just an opinion, you can’t say that’s an objective problem of digital

  • Just watched dredd 3d.

    Blew my mind. Red and phantom footage mixed well. They made the whole movie for 45 million and it looks great. Shame it is doing poorly in the usa.

    And since you cant really shoot 3d with film….film will die off.

    Thats life.

    • c.d.embrey on 10.2.12 @ 2:05AM

      Arch Obler’s 3D movie Bwana Devil was released in 1952, I didn’t know that there were digital cameras that long ago ;-)

    • JJ Abrams is shooting the New Startrek on 35mm it will have a 3D release, The Phantom menace also originated on 35mm and was recently released in 3D, it did poorly not because of 3D converted film material but due to the fact that the pod race even in 3D is still terrible.

  • out with the old in with the new………time to Adopt… so called real film maker…..all joke aside, why some are acting like they did not see this coming?

  • c.d.embrey on 10.2.12 @ 3:03AM

    Film is dead NOW, not in two or three years. Film shoots that are now in production will be the last. Maybe someone will shoot a indie T-Scope feature with short-ends, if there are enough left, but why would they??

    I started shooting film, both 16mm and 35mm, way back in the 1970s. I won’t miss film. And I won’t miss the grain.

    • john jeffreys on 10.2.12 @ 3:08PM

      No, most major productions still shoot on 35mm. A quick stroll through IMDB will tell you that.

      • I work in the industry. You’re wrong. Most major productions do NOT shoot on film. Frankly, we were all shocked when feature I’m on, right now, chose film. We joked that we might be the last feature ever. Film is still used, for sure. But, it’s not predominant.

      • Keep in mind there’s a year or two delay between when a movie is shot and when it comes out…so the movies currently coming out are representative of the state of the industry a year or two ago, not of how it currently is. I think you’ll find most movies being shot right now are digital.

      • john jeffreys on 10.3.12 @ 3:05PM

        I don’t work in the industry, so y’all are probably right. But whenever I read about a new upcoming high budget film, its almost always on 35mm for some reason.

        • There are a lot of films shot on digital that slip past ones radar…I know I’ve been surprised when I start researching films and realize a bunch are shot on digital that I assumed were on film.

          I looked at the Box Office Mojo list for top grossing films in 2012…of the films that grossed over $100 million, 7 were shot on film and 7 were shot on digital. And three of the films shot on film used digital for secondary cams…two digitally shot films used film for secondary cams.

  • A sad sad day.

  • I just dont get it. why is it difficult for companies like kodak and fuji to adapt to the current market. If film is dying then why dont fuji and kodak start manufacturing digital cinema cameras. its simple, if there is no market for one product, replace it with another.

  • I think film will go the way of analogue tape in music recording. People who prefer the sound/image quality you get from tape will still use it when they have the budget, then edit/mix and release digitally.

    I guess this makes Christopher Nolan the Jack White of the film industry.

  • An inordinately morbid post that I, for the most part, agree with. Film students today are going to be the last real film students.

  • Like many others on this post, my intro to photography and film making began with a Bolex and a cutting block. I’m 41 now, and my ALL of my 30′s were a blur with fascination and aggravation as a “standardized” digital platform was being built around me by an extremely polarized industry.

    But even then, while listening to peeps bash digital because “it didn’t look like film,” my gut feeling was not to compare the 2 media, but rather to learn to love the nuances and work with the limitations of the new digital realm. I was getting older and (in my 30′s) began to acquire a sense of historical perspective I never had before, remembering that when color film first appeared in the mid 1920′s, it was bashed by critics of the new art form largely because of it’s newness that challenged an established medium.

    Digital resolution will in every way surpass that of film (yes, even IMAX). And if a nostalgic sentimentality requires a 1979 Kodachrome look, or 1999 Velvia look, well then, an algorithm in post will take care of that. Aside from a fear of change, or a love affair with a moment in pop culture of the past, I don’t even understand why there’s ANY lament for the death of film. It was an incredibly cost prohibitive, environmentally, destructive process that was only a century old. I don’t ever want to be the old guy in the room complaining about how easy kids have it, and how hard it was to make movies back in the day blah blah blah…

    isn’t it a wild time to be a “film” maker? Even the word itself will have to change – we (us now) will personally have to invent a new one.

  • In terms of dynamic range and resolution all Arri, Red and Sony are there or just half-year away from it. They should work a bit harder on getting colors better and more film-like, though. In respect of the celluloid effects (like grain) applications and plugins like FilmConvert will do the job (there’s a room for improvement obviously). It’s not gonna look exactly like real thing, but it’s good-looking enough, at least to my eye.

  • Celluloid is NOT done as yet. What are we going to shoot if next project is in alaska or north/ south pole, in sub Zero temperature? Video cameras wont work. Wind up camera like Bolex 16mm will work in those conditions. So 35mm/70mm might dissapear but 16mm will be around.


    Hey guys,

    I NEED YOUR HELP in my dissertation. I am studying “The Creative Decision – film or digital?” and the debate going on the comments are really interesting.

    My area of study is not only the technical differences and this fight between FILM and DIGITAL, but the creative or artistic decisions that we, as filmmakers, make when we are thinking about a new project.

    There’s a survey going on at and it shouldn’t take more than 15 min to answer.

    Feel free to contact me,



    • Joe Marine on 10.4.12 @ 8:48PM

      Guima asked for my permission to post the survey, so if anyone is interested, feel free to participate.

  • Agni Ortiz on 10.5.12 @ 6:27PM

    It is delightful to watch family movies, all the way back to 1927, and amazing at the same time, but the past and the future only exist in our minds, all we have is our present reality, completely affected by an all pervasive digital counterpart that it is way more than just a medium of expression or delivery form, it is the transformation of one thing into another, zeros and ones become sound or images and can be anywhere without the weight and the wait, and back. Beyond Film making is Multimedia making. 45 seconds. Great Rice.

  • I’d like to meet the cinematographers who all swore by film not too long ago, when I predicted they will be outdated as well if they don’t adapt. Film technology was intimidating to many and that’s why celluloid cinematographers could insulate themselves and charge hefty sums to shoot premium projects. The experimenters could never hope to get to that position, because so much money was riding on the whole secrecy aspect of shooting film, seeing it processed, the fiascos at the lab with grading and opticals and all that nonsense, just for image quality good enough for projection. Now with digital, a whole lot more creativity is getting unleashed, and despite the monkeying around, is great for the future of cinema as an art form.

    For some people, it is obviously hard to come out of that ‘film is film” mindset, but no producer is going to want to even consider shooting film two years from now. NONE. Kodak shutting down is like the fall of the Roman empire. It could have been all that it was, but now it is just history. Enjoy the show!

  • It’s not my intention to be disrespectful, but I get a kick out of people trying to defend one way or the other for all of the wrong reasons. Some people choose to believe that film is greener than video. Couldn’t agree more. I love the smell of E-6 in the morning. Nothing better than taking a good whiff of blix! I recommend trying it at least once.
    On the other hand, playing offense against digital simply because it’s just 1′s and 0′s doesn’t make any sense. I swear, it has become such an obnoxious catch phrase. “It’s just 1′s and 0′s, man.” That is not a real argument.

  • Andrew Turner on 11.5.12 @ 1:26PM

    I would just like to point out that 3D films can still be made on film. Either via a two camera setup or with a stereoscopic lens attachment. The 3D film can be projected via two interlocked 35mm projectors or by a single 35mm projector using a 3D lens converter as used in the current Technicolor system that is installed in hundreds of theaters right now. Probably the best 3D movie made in terms of effectiveness was ‘House Of Wax 3D’ starring Vincent Price.
    Not much has been mentioned about the difference of motion depiction between film and video. Your much vaunted digital footage looks like news footage just more resolution. If you want the true film look then I am afraid you will have to shoot film. Sure if you are happy with the video look keep using digital but don’t claim it looks like film when the motion depiction is very different.

  • beenie babies on 08.9.13 @ 2:16AM

    The more youngsters are convinced that EDM is grand, and older cinematographers love the easiness of digital, the more room there is for my own moody, filmic film movies.

    It’s like the 1970s when everyone was throwing out their tube guitar amplifiers. “They’re unnecessary! Expensive! Annoying! Unreliable! (well, except film once developed is many times more reliable) ”

    Yes, yes– please believe it. Please shoot some more ironic, cool stylish video.

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