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Digital versus film photography

3 Replies, 4058 Views

Which one do you prefer?

Popular supporters of classical film/film prints: Tarantino/Nolan/..

Supporters of digital cinema: George Lucas/Peter Jackson/..
Once upon a time, I'd answer "photography"... when I was sure analog was always better than digital... when CD sounded harsh... when MiniDisc was too compressed... when VideoCD was worst than a bad VHS... when the first DVDs were a blockyness mess and laserdisc versions of the same film were clearly superior, watched on our big 32' CRT...

Then came DVB, with good bitrates (talking about DVB-S) and no interference problems... then DVD video quality increased... then Plasma TV took bigger images in our homes, with good quality... when BD (HD-DVD almost went unnoticed here) hit the stores, I finally understand the lesson: is not important if the medium is analog or digital, it should have the right bandwidth to "include" the audio/video signals intended to be stored inside it...

Also, sometimes the master makes the difference; in few cases, we still have laserdiscs with video better than DVD, while we have A LOT of cases where "mere" laserdisc stereo track is far superior than even Blu-ray, due to different mixes used...

So, now my answer is: "it depends..." Wink
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
I'm a big supporter of film. Even in these modern times that's my preference. Its the grain, the dynamic range and stops, the color range. All those elements combine to create something that looks alive. Even when run through a DI and color timed I prefer film. I can always tell a digitally shot film from the very moment I see it. Especially cameras that push a harsh look like the Red series or Sony's F series.

The one digital camera I do love is the Arri Alexa. Unlike their competitors who sought to create a digital camera in its purest form,  Arri started by asking what makes film look so great. They asked cinematographers what they wanted in a digital camera and created a machine to meet those requirements. It is the most film like camera. It looks so good that even though it was design for TV production, people quickly pressed it into movie production. I'm very curious to see what their "65mm" sensor camera looks like in action.

But at the end of the day, film is just about dead. They stop manufacturing cameras about 5 years ago. Kodak almost shut down film production last year until it was saved at the 11th hour. Digital isn't the future, its the now.
(This post was last modified: 2015-06-04, 04:21 AM by PDB.)
I see the advantages of digital, but I love the look of film. It looks more "alive" to me. This is one of the reasons I love the look of TWD, because they decided to shoot on super16mm to achieve the "gritty" look they wanted. But I agree, that this is a rarity and film is nearly dead which is a damn shameSad

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