August 5, 2014

Martin Scorsese on Why We Have to Save Film

With Hollywood studios and filmmakers rallying together last week to save Kodak film from going extinct at least for the next few years, many in the industry have spoken out about the situation. Director Martin Scorsese, who has shot on film the majority of his career (though has recently experimented with digital on some of his more recent projects, including the completely digital Hugo), issued a very personal statement about the state of filmmaking and why it's important that we don't let film die.

Here is the entire statement from Scorsese (courtesy of Indiewire):

We have many names for what we do – cinema, movies, motion pictures. And…film. We’re called directors, but more often we’re called filmmakers. Filmmakers. I’m not suggesting that we ignore the obvious: HD isn’t coming, it’s here. The advantages are numerous: the cameras are lighter, it’s much easier to shoot at night, we have many more means at our disposal for altering and perfecting our images. And, the cameras are more affordable: films really can be made now for very little money. Even those of us still shooting on film finish in HD, and our movies are projected in HD. So, we could easily agree that the future is here, that film is cumbersome and imperfect and difficult to transport and prone to wear and decay, and that it’s time to forget the past and say goodbye – really, that could be easily done. Too easily.

It seems like we’re always being reminded that film is, after all, a business. But film is also an art form, and young people who are driven to make films should have access to the tools and materials that were the building blocks of that art form. Would anyone dream of telling young artists to throw away their paints and canvases because iPads are so much easier to carry? Of course not. In the history of motion pictures, only a minuscule percentage of the works comprising our art form was not shot on film. Everything we do in HD is an effort to recreate the look of film. Film, even now, offers a richer visual palette than HD. And, we have to remember that film is still the best and only time-proven way to preserve movies. We have no assurance that digital information will last, but we know that film will, if properly stored and cared for.

Our industry – our filmmakers – rallied behind Kodak because we knew that we couldn’t afford to lose them, the way we’ve lost so many other film stocks. This news is a positive step towards preserving film, the art form we love.

Film is no doubt going to keep getting more expensive, but keeping it alive, at least for the foreseeable future, means even more people will have the chance to experience how movie-making has been done for over a century. There is a different level of respect required when film is running through a camera, and must be loaded and unloaded in total darkness. If you get the chance to shoot on film, even if it's just a roll or two, I think you should take it (especially since we don't know how much longer it will be around). By keeping film rolling through the Kodak factory, people can at least have the option of experiencing the process the way it has been done since the beginning of the industry.

[via Indiewire]

Your Comment

74 Comments

As long as Scorsese, Tarantino, and Spielberg want to keep shooting on film, I say let them. They will still have to work within the studio budget, but they should use whatever tools they need to tell the story they way they want.

August 5, 2014 at 11:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Not to mention Christopher Nolan.

August 5, 2014 at 11:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Digital is cheaper but if someone out there would make film camera to run cheaper and export faster, i'm sure film will be kept alive. This life changing art must not die.

August 5, 2014 at 11:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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David Yap

I'm a lot lower down the food chain. My business only became viable as a way to make my living when digital capture arrived (in my case originally for stills).

So while I'd like to see film remain as an option if people want that aesthetic, film has been irrelevant to my business for over 12 years already. None of my films would have been made without digital capture. If the top end people want to rescue film, I suggest they spend their money to do so.

Why don't Scorsese, Nolan, Tarantino et al form a consortium to buy out Kodak labs, and keep film alive? Perhaps they could run it as a charitable institution to make sure film remains an option for the next generation?

August 5, 2014 at 11:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hywel Phillips

I preferred film.
Going to the movie theater it's not fun any more for the first time the image quality decrease
the sound and the FX are the only thing improve in digital it's just wide TV.
But film must survive and be a artistic choice.
To reduce the price to made this choice available why not the film division at Kodak became a no profit organization to made film emulsion, developing it and scan it for the ART.

August 7, 2014 at 11:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pierre Samuel Rioux

The word "business" shouldn't appear in this conversation, man. Filmmaking is art and science, not business, so saying that film is irrelevant in filmmaking is a lot like saying that artists are not needed in society.

Who cares about "your business". Life isn't always about the money, and industrial power shouldn't be given by defaults to those who want to make money, but people who have a rich work philosophy.

Look at the state of cinema now. Don't you think that the digital revolution has contributed to this ongoing decline?

Hear me out: nowadays anyone owning a camera can call themselves filmmakers, regardless of how untalented they are. Back in the days of film, only true experts could make films. Shouldn't that rate enough to make us all want to preserve film?

Same phenomenon happened in photography. Quantity has replaced quality.

And before you call me an old-school purist, you gotta know I'm 27 and I'm from the digital generation. I embrace it as an alternative, but not a replacement.

August 10, 2014 at 12:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Raph Dae

I'll be the first to agree that film - and films - should be preserved. Most of us age 35 and up who are either hobbyists or working professionals making a living creating moving images dabbled with film at some point. Truly there IS an aesthetic there - much the same as with vinyl records (which are also enjoying a great renaissance, I'm happy to see) - that should be maintained and taught to those coming into the field.

Personally, I don't WANT to work with film anymore, because it's too expensive and time consuming. But it shouldn't be. If deep pocketed film lovers like Scorsese et. al REALLY want film to endure, they'll put their money behind efforts that will go beyond bandaging the current problems and help develop ways to innovate film technology so it is an inexpensive and less time consuming medium with which to work.

I personally don't care for the sharp-edged, high-contrasted video camera-esque images coming from today's 1080p televisions when watching movies. I like the soft, warm, grainy look of film. Maybe that's because I grew up with that look and feel, but I want to believe that it's more than just nostalgia - that it's an appreciation for a true art form.

All of the efforts mentioned above though, are of no consolation to the hundreds of small town and regional theaters that have been forced to close their doors because they couldn't bear the expense of conversion to digital projection. Lots of jobs lost and beautiful old theatres left to slowly dilapidate.

And don't even get me started on the expense of going to the movies these days.

Maybe it's time for another medium's renaissance. We've had our go now with digital for a number of years now and cameras are inexpensive enough that the indie filmmaker can access really great gear with which to create his or her project. But let's not just give film a token stay of execution. Let's bring it back and KEEP it so that future film students, professionals, theatres and audiences can enjoy it forever - and a day.

August 5, 2014 at 11:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Very well said. I absolutely agree with the points expressed. I live in London, and recently the magnificent Coronet in Notting Hill had to shut down because of the expensive and wholly unnecessary digital conversation blackmail that is ruining the very heritage of film that it says it wants to preserve. Sad days...

August 5, 2014 at 12:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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In a near future, theater screens will be made out of the tiny LED beads and activated much like any computer monitor. At the present, this technology is cost prohibitive for theaters and is largely used for digital signage. Sony and Leyard already have 355 inch models out (Sony is using 1.9mm pixels, Leyard just released a 1.2mm model)
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http://www.led-search.com/news-view-2774.html#.U-ERAWPQo10
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As to the current technology, all one'd need is 2-4 front projectors and a seamless blend technology like this.
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http://www.cinemassive.com/products/video-wall/blended-projection-video-...

August 5, 2014 at 1:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Theater conversion to digital is necessary. Projecting film cost an awful lot to the distributor. They have to print it and ship it. Digital can be uploaded from the internet. So if you make a blockbuster and you intent to project it in 5000 theatre, that means you have to print 5000 copies and ship them to 5000 locations! Digital? Here's the URL with the secure connection. They don't even need to ship HD anymore. Just need good servers, and that's not a problem now a day. And you can project a digital copy a million time, it will never get dirty or scratchy. 8 tracks tapes are dead too. We moved on.

August 5, 2014 at 3:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert

So it's a good idea for distributors (no shipping) and studios (no film prints) to save tons of money at the huge expense to small theaters?

August 6, 2014 at 3:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Charlie

Gee, thanks mister!

August 5, 2014 at 12:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Martin Scorsese...

Another great and well written letter by Scorsese. The only part I didn't agree with is the analogy about artist not choosing an iPad over canvas and paints. Of course painters still use canvas and paint because it's much cheaper than an iPad. And that's what the film vs digital argument boils down to, cost.

August 5, 2014 at 12:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bob

Actually? No. Good paint and a good canvas can cost a heck of a lot more than an iPad depending on how big you go and how many colors you use.

August 7, 2014 at 5:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Painter/Filmmaker

Oil painting requires much more time and cost than acrylic, watercolor or digital painting. It does not mean we should abandon it altogether.

August 5, 2014 at 12:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Y

Let film support itself. If it can't, let it die.

August 5, 2014 at 1:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bertzie

Exactly.

August 5, 2014 at 5:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Vox

Isn't it ironic that a lot of the same people rooting for Kodak are in fact huge fans of "pure capitalism"? By that logic, film lost the competition to digital years ago. That's it.

August 5, 2014 at 10:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

nope.. does the funding for film come from the government? If not then it's completely capitalistic to make your voice heard to save a product.... is kickstarter anti-capitalistic by your standards?

August 5, 2014 at 11:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stevie

Rendering everything in the computer "Avatar"-style will be cheaper soon (maybe it already is?). Don't get cocky, kid.

August 6, 2014 at 12:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Indiana Ford

I'm not "rooting against kodak". I'm merely suggesting we stop trying to force a dead format to keep drudging along. Kodak makes other products than just film. They need to restructure their business model.

But you're right in that film did lose the battle. Over 90% drop in use over the last 10 years. This gambit isn't to save Kodak, it's to keep them producing a dead format.

August 6, 2014 at 10:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bertzie

So market equilibrium should determine what artistic mediums govern the making of art?

When two indigenous tribes start killing each other, should we intervene or let them do?

Those are complicated questions to answer, both for the same reason - can human intervention be considered natural?

August 10, 2014 at 12:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Raph Dae

This sounds more like fear of change. Digital is here it's not perfected but it will replace film completely with the exception of the living who have had a long affair with it. Digital will move forward and because of those advancements it will mimic (at some point) exactly how film behaved (if there is a market to do so). Existing film will be preserved as a part of history - but the medium of film will be gone when those who used it are gone. Film is not the same as an antique car that will be preserved rebuilt and used. Film is a tool for telling stories that is fast becoming obsolete and likely to only be used for expensive "art" projects.
Just my guess though...

August 5, 2014 at 1:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jer

"This sounds more like fear of change."

No, in the hands of top professionals, film looks better. It's as simple as that.

I hope film continues to exist for acquisition until digital can *at least* match the look of analogue. I'm not sure that's possible with the current sensor technology.

August 5, 2014 at 5:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Indiana Ford

Film will be niche. Again, studios have stopped shipping prints. You're still making a DI. Film is on life support.

Just about every DP is going digital.

Roger Deakins
John Seale
Jeff Cronenweth
John Toll
Dean Semler
Amir Mokri
Emmanuel Lubezki
Guillermo Navarro
Robert Richardson
Don Burgess
Peter Deming
John Mathieson
Darius Khondji
Dick Pope
Steven Soderbergh
Caleb Deschanel
Dariusz Wolski
Seamus McGarvey
Chris Menges
Newton Thomas Sigel
Shelly Johnson
Trent Opaloch
Dante Spinotti
Jo Willems
Peter Suschitzky
Claudio Miranda
Aaron Morton
Andrew Lesnie
Simon Duggan
Benoit Delhomme
Paul Cameron
John Schwartzman

August 5, 2014 at 5:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Vox

Vox on 08.5.14 @ 5:17PM

"Film will be niche. Again, studios have stopped shipping prints. You’re still making a DI. Film is on life support."

I think everyone knows that film is on life support - that's the whole point of this article. I said "I hope film continues to exist for acquisition", which is nothing to do with shipping prints to cinemas. Digital projection makes sense (although 4k would be nice), digitial acquisition would make sense for feature films with a decent budget *if* digital was superior to film.

August 6, 2014 at 12:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Indiana Ford

I think it's wrong to look at cinematographers who have shot digital and say they've "gone digital". Sometimes it's budget and production companies mandating digital... Some of that list would rather shoot film...and some go back and forth. I think most DP's want the tools that are right for the project.

August 14, 2014 at 7:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

"Film, even now, offers a richer visual palette than HD."

I'd guess that 99 out of 100 "regular" people - i.e., people who are either paying to go see a movie or watching it at home - couldn't tell the difference between a movie shot on film and one shot digitally. Has anyone - any regular person - ever gone to a movie because of what type of camera was used?

Film clings on in the still world but there's more justification for it there, since there are large format film options that aren't available in digital. Consumers don't perceive there is a difference between film and digital, so film for movies is unlikely to survive in any meaningful way.

August 5, 2014 at 2:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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FergusH

I didn't bother going to see "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" because the (digital) image looked so bad. At the very least, "The Phantom Menace" looked like a film, and not a badly rendered, computer game cutscene.

Cinema revenues are down quite a bit this year. Maybe the audience notices more than you think?

August 5, 2014 at 5:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Indiana Ford

They're not going to movies, because the stories suck. Not because they are shot digitally. Also, the current economy is sh**.

August 5, 2014 at 5:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Vox

"Cinema revenues are down quite a bit this year. Maybe the audience notices more than you think?"

Attack of the Clones was released more than 10 years ago. That was, in effect, pre-digital: the technology didn't exist to make a movie on a digital camera that looked as good as film. That's not true any more.

I very much doubt if most people can tell the difference between a movie shot on film and one shot on a recent, 35mm camera (e.g., Alexa, Epic or CineAlta).

August 5, 2014 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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FergusH

Most movies shot on the analog film medium, are scanned and processed/displayed digitally anyway. So....

August 5, 2014 at 5:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Erwin

Audiences might not care or be able to tell the difference between digital and film, however, the people who make those films do care and can definitely tell the difference.

August 6, 2014 at 6:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Since they aren't paying the bills, what they prefer might not matter too much.

Don't get me wrong: I hope that film doesn't go away. But I think it probably will because there's almost zero financial motivation otherwise.

August 6, 2014 at 10:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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FergusH

"Would anyone dream of telling young artists to throw away their paints and canvases because iPads are so much easier to carry?"

Totally wrong analogy. Artists use the paint and canvases to create their artwork. Film is just a recording medium. Yes it is! I find it funny when I read that this to that camera has more of a film look. With all the color grading done on films these days, nothing looks like film anymore. Even film.

Die film die! Enough with the chemical pollution.

Oh! Let's keep having car that runs on gas because that's how it has been for one hundred years. We shouldn't go electric!

Die gas cars, die!

And Scorsese knows very well that if he shoots in film, well, it's going to be digitized anyway because no major studio on earth will edit manually from negative film anymore. That's just insane. Can you had three frames here? Well, I already cut the negative. I will patch the pieces together. (patch) No, actually maybe we need 5 frames instead (patch) No, it was better before (patch).

Time to move on for these guys. I shot Toyota commercials on films. Never again! You have to deal with crappy video assist, you get lousy playback. Cost a fortune. You shoot digital, you see the "final" result right away, full HD, full quality. You shoot Alexa, you can see the results right away on a laptop!

Hey, let's use wood ovens while we're at it because that's how it was done for hundreds of years.

Enough with the nostalgia...

Sorry, having a bad day. ;-)

Go ahead with the hate replies.

August 5, 2014 at 2:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert

Actually, a wood oven is a really nice warmth that you just can't get with electric....

August 12, 2014 at 1:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Shooting on film takes faith, conviction, patience as well as more skill because you don't have everything right in front of you...I find those limitations are an asset. I would love to shoot film more often.

August 14, 2014 at 7:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

I shot a fair amount of 16mm and even some 35mm for some projects in the past. Even last month, I shot some Super 8mm for a music video. While I think it has a very cool aesthetic, I certainly don't miss the whole experience of shooting film. It is a PAIN IN THE ASS, unless you have a decent sized crew. I will definitely never miss loading and unloading film, that's for sure.

The one that I do miss was the cool sound and flicker that film makes when looking through the viewfinder. Made it feel special, maybe because I was burring a hundred dollars every minute.

August 5, 2014 at 3:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene Sung (Non-...

Why doesn't Kodak start investing in other revenues. For example, they could start researching digital archival technology, build a giant building filled with servers that hold every movie ever made. Those servers could be constantly upgraded and swapped out. You don't see google or Apple worrying about their hard drives packing it in. They're invested in digital technology. Instead Kodak hugs it's film tightly and cries when no one cares about them anymore.

Boohoo.

August 5, 2014 at 3:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Craig, Kodak made the first sensors for all the nikon cameras when digital came to the forefront. If you bought a hi end nikon digital back in 2002 or so, the sensor was from kodak. In fact, they made a great dslr way back. The kodak DSC. they just didn't commit to digital fully and it seems hanging onto the film world did them in.

August 5, 2014 at 6:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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steve chase

Kodak had some of the first digital cameras. They were amongst the 1st into digital. They're not a flexible adaptive company (Apple being the most flexible blue chip company I can think of...)... Basically, they sucked at change (other than developing awesome new stocks. From around 1990 thru 2000 or 2005 or so, their stocks are revolutionaries different...it's not like going from VHS to Alexa, but it's like going from HVX to Alexa...& in the roughly same number of years.

August 14, 2014 at 7:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

film is the great for advertisements and feature films

August 5, 2014 at 4:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DIO

Basically Hollywood admitted film can only survive being plugged to life support machine from this point, it's not making enough money for Kodak to stay in analog film business for long. Fujifilm already quit.

August 5, 2014 at 6:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

I have been directing television commercials for 28 years. Up until 3 years ago, 100% of my work was on 35mm film. I fought like crazy to keep shooting film as I thought the early digital cameras were horrible! The footage from the first red, and the Panavision Genesis etc. were barely watchable. But what's happened in the last 3 years alone with the advent of the Alexa and the Dragon, The argument to shoot film is gone. The images captured on these cameras are truly beautiful. Not film, not Video, but something beautiful in their own right. Here's the harsh reality. FILM IS DEAD. Too expensive to buy, too expensive to process and too expensive to transfer and print. I don't see too many still photographers shooting film anymore. Pro or amateur. Why? because that technology was around first and got to the point where digital could me shot in very filmic ways. The same is happening to moving pictures. What exactly is the point of shooting film, transferring it to digital internets, processing all the colors and efx digitally and then presenting it on hi-def TV's and digital projectors. As i said, I've been doing this a long time. This fight to keep film alive is futile. The world at large doesn't want it or could even tell the difference. And it's funny to see Scorsese make this statement when in the Documentary Side by Side, he basically says to move on and make great movies with the equipment we have today. Good documentary about this subject by the way.

August 5, 2014 at 6:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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steve chase

Wait a second...

Hugo = Alexa
Wolf of Wall street = Alexa
and the last Seven movies he has produced and last five TV shows were all Alexa...

and he wants to rescue film....

He can afford film, choses not to, and proclaims it needs to be rescued. Who falls for this crap?

August 5, 2014 at 8:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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SeAn Drake

Actually Wolf was primarily shot on 35mm. The Alexa and C500 were also used though (mainly for night shots and aerials).

August 6, 2014 at 12:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert

August 6, 2014 at 12:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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David White

Yeah, in American Cinematographer, in Prieto's blind test to Scorsese, Scorsese chose film. Because of some large sets and night scenes, digital was better (for various reasons) for those, so they used a hybrid approach.

August 14, 2014 at 7:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

But how do you archive digital? Hard drives have a short shelf life compared to film. Then theres the every changing file formats to deal with. I'm all for the digital revolution as I've been highly invested in it for years but still have never found a solution to long term archiving thats better then Film was.

August 5, 2014 at 8:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tim M

You can do tape, hard drive, solid state drive, etc. There is also newer technologies in the offing.
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And it's quite likely that the next generation of sensors and cameras will be better than film in every respect.

August 5, 2014 at 9:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

The LTO tape backups are intriguing but i'll admit i don't know much about them. Hard drives can't lay dormant for a period of time or else they'll stop working. SSDs seem more reliable but are also prone to failures. I love digital. I work with digital. I just think people are too quick to jump off the film train when there is still a big issue to address that no one seems to have the answer for. In 50 years i can still shine a light through a piece of film and see an image on the other side. I have zero confidence in any drive around me lasting 50 years,

August 7, 2014 at 7:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tim M

If you look at the capacity alone, digital storage is far more effective. We need to update our thinking on archiving. Instead of thinking that something has to last for hundreds of years we should look at the advances that allow warehouses of information to fit into something the size of a cabinet. With automated backups we could set archives to maintain themselves digitally on an ongoing basis with far less cost than paying people to transfer and maintain rolls of film.

August 15, 2014 at 2:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dandy

The word archive means a place for long term storage. I'd be happy if digital lasted 5-10 years let alone hundreds but it doesn't. So your still expected to transfer all your files to a new storage drive within that time. I cringe at the idea of having to transfer large amounts of files every other year as most of my corrupt files have come from incomplete file transfers. Your idea of this cabinet sized storage solves none of the listed problems, just shrinks the physical size of your archive.

August 19, 2014 at 7:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tim M

Hope I'll get the chance to use film for something other than a special effect...

Being one of the "digital Generation" I got nothin but respect for those who have worked their magic with the celluloid medium.

August 5, 2014 at 9:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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T.D. Adtler

The man just wants a tool of the trade to remain accessible. How does such a statement garner such emphatic responses?

August 5, 2014 at 9:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steve JL

Because everyone knows film will only get more expensive, like ridiculously expensive. It's already a privilege and great honor to shoot 35mil.

August 5, 2014 at 10:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

While I can easily share his sentiments, the arguments are somewhat strange.
-First, what is "HD" for him? Does he display a technical ignorance here?
-"young people who are driven to make films should have access to the tools and materials that were the building blocks of that art form" Why? Should automobile engineers have access to horse carriages, since those were "the building blocks of that technology form" back then? Should authors first learn to write on clay slaps?
-"dream of telling young artists to throw away their paints and canvases ...?" Absolutely. Painting died with the invention of photography. Time to move on to computer and video arts! (OK, I bit radical, but you get the idea)
-"Film, even now, offers a richer visual palette than HD" Right this year. But maybe not in 2 years time, with a general introduction of ACES, and next generation sensors.
-"We have no assurance that digital information will last, but we know that film will, if properly stored and cared for". Well, no. Film does degrade over time, however it is cared for. Theoretically, it is easier to maintain digital Information than film. Shit happens, but that holds for film as well (buildings can burn down, right?) The one colour film best suited to long term conversation, Kodachrome, is _not_ part of the deal.

August 6, 2014 at 7:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

that should have read conservation, not conversation :-)

August 8, 2014 at 1:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

Film is exactly how light hit the film.
Digital is an electronic interpretation of it.

August 6, 2014 at 8:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kurt

As an amateur enthusiast, I've recently switched from shooting shorts on my 7d to super 8mm / regular 8mm film.
I'm not going back. Small gauge film is kicking my ass and forcing me to be a better film maker.
My ratios are tighter and my preparation more thorough because they HAVE to be.
It affects my script writing too. I won't shoot until I've absolutely finalized what I'm shooting.

To any enthusiast like me who started on digital, I would recommend renting a camera, and shooting a roll.
It's not that expensive, and it will improve your craft.

Man up.

August 6, 2014 at 10:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ruben huizenga

Well written.

August 7, 2014 at 2:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael

I own a 30 year old Arri 35 BL, and all I can say is that with decent glass, and new kodak stock loaded, it can create an image just as beautiful as any of the newest digital cameras, and I don't have to spend $2000 a day to rent the camera. Really, unless you are rolling the camera constantly, I think indie film makers should take notice that a lot of fine motion picture cameras are available on ebay right now at a such low prices, that, if one does the math, they will find the cost of shooting film to be actually a bit cheaper than renting a Red Epic or an Alexa. And that would be including the cost of film stock, processing and telecine.

August 7, 2014 at 1:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Spencer Adams

But how much do you need to spend on lighting for the indoors shoots?

August 7, 2014 at 2:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Kodak's fastest stock is 500ASA (the used to have an 800ASA stock.). The Alexa and RED MX are both 800ASA. That's a 2/3rds of a stop, and that's without pushing, which many people do b/c the stocks have such a fine grain that a lot of filmmakers *want* the grain and the abstraction of it. I haven't seen such a huge change to lighting packages between film and digital. There are lots more kinoflos and LED (which I hate) now, so lighting has gotten smaller/lighter, but that's just because you get more lumens per watt now...not because you're using less of it.

And with the extended dynamic range of film, you don't have to use as much light during daytime exteriors before it's a blown out mess.

Before you tell me the Dragon is 2000ISO, yeah, but it has more noise in the shadows than MX, so even though you have better highlight range, it makes it behave more like film, so it's not as much of an improvement as you make think it is. It still looks better as lower ISO's.

August 14, 2014 at 7:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

Archiving is a concern. I see people throwing out a technology without testing alternatives at long term. When I talk "long term", digital archives have not been tested yet. The last 1987 Robocop's blu ray is a state of the art in scanning the archive and you can see all it's quality. Tapes can work, yes, but no one can tell how they will work in 30 years (because no one have made tapes backup of their feature films 10 years ago), unless you keep making backups.

Another thing I'm seeing here in comments is people talking about DI and digital finish, so there's no sense in shooting with film. How a movie's workflow is gonna be have nothing to do with the director's choice of acquisition of the image.

Question:
If I want to shoot some scenes of a movie in 65mm/70mm, can someone tell me what would be my options, in digital, to replace a medium format film stock in this case? Don't come with 6K/4K sensors options, it's not about the detail only. I'm talking about all the implicated physical differences from a super 35mm film area/sensor, being it 4:3 or 16:9.

Just for the kicks, a interesting link with 70mm in context:
http://in70mm.com/news/2011/roadshow/index.htm

August 7, 2014 at 8:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rodrigo Molinsky

There are no 4K MDF digital cams yet, with Pentax 645Z only capable of 1080p. But the (Sony) sensor is available commercially, so something is bound to pop up sooner or later.
.
As to storage ----- "(Sony and Panasonic) ... will develop a "next-generation standard for professional-use optical discs," saying that a 300GB flavor could be ready in two years or so".
.
http://www.engadget.com/2013/07/29/sony-panasonic-300-gb-optical-storage/

August 7, 2014 at 5:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Poppycock. What Scorcese failed to mention, or the word he failed to use, is "storytelling". Storytelling is really what cinema or filmmaking or movies is all about. Storytelling is about experience. Storytelling is about the journey. As such, the story requires film, as much as I require a horse and buggy to go on a road trip. Any vehicle will do to get me where I want to go. Any vehicle will do to help me experience the journey. Film is just a vehicle and there's nothing magical about it. If you get to the end of a movie, and you can't tell which format it was shot on, then it makes no practical difference. People get attached to the things they know. People get attached to the romanticism of their youth and the experiences they had in their youth. But there is nothing inherently valuable in film from the perspective of the journey. From the perspective of telling a story. If you prefer Film, that's your preference, but I think it's a waste of time lobbying for the preservation of the horse and buggy.

August 7, 2014 at 9:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marcus Briscoe

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August 9, 2014 at 1:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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August 9, 2014 at 2:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Filmmaking used to be a privilege of a few who now use tools that even I can afford. That bothers them because talent can now surface outside of their control, diminishing their "greatness" and making them bitter and arrogant in the process. The don't fear change more than they fear change of status.

August 9, 2014 at 10:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Markoh

if a paint brush, paint, and canvases costed me $200 a piece --with not being able to afford to make a mistake. I'm sure we'll have more iPad artists. I get it, FILM IS BEAUTIFUL. Who wouldn't want to shoot with it. But it's too darn expensive.

August 12, 2014 at 12:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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August 12, 2014 at 4:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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August 25, 2014 at 9:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Times change, cameras get better and cheaper. Maybe film is important to some, but film/digital/video- in my opinion- is just a means to an end to tell a story or to communicate an idea. The medium is not film or digital, 35mm or 4k, it's visual storytelling.

I like that filmmaking is becoming cheaper. It puts the medium in the hands of people who were once not able to afford the ridiculous costs, in places other than Hollywood or New York or London.

When film was the be all end all, some technical monkey who just knew how to get focus and exposure would be working and getting all the jobs. Now with digital, the playing field is leveling out, putting power in the hands of people who are CREATIVE. I think the death of film and the rapid advancements in technology are making film an ART FORM and not some medium dominated by people obsessed with performing professionally.

August 27, 2014 at 10:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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utibay