Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Death of the Film Camera

Woke up to this distressing news. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but it doesn't make it any easier!! I'm trying to look on the positive side and imagine when Digital = Film as technology improves but right now it's hard to get excited about this development.

Just as a side point - this is not so much about film cameras as such but digital projection, and to illustrate the "unevenness" of all things digital (not saying 35mm is perfect but humour me for a sec). A quick run-down on three films I saw projected digitally recently and what they looked like:
  • Source Code (St. Lukes) - this was the best of the bunch. Crisp, fine-grain-look, great colour. But the image also felt like there was no life. The flicker is missing!
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (Gold Class, Queen St) -  it looked like Blu-ray projected on the big screen. Sharp, but sterile and lifeless image.
  • The Devil's Double (Rialto) - one of the worst I've ever seen. Smeary, blown-out, lacking detail. It was pretty much DVD on the big screen.
I guess what I'm saying is there is a "living" aesthetic to film that digital lacks at the moment. When I go to the movies, I want to watch something that moves. I can save sharp Blu-ray/HD-whatever for the home. I want a different experience at the movies.

Anyway, back to film cameras - a massive pet peeve I have is when you can detect the video-y look slipping into an otherwise good-looking digitally shot pic. Way to take you OUT of the goddamn movie. This occurred when I watched Fright Night recently. 80% of the film looked ok, but then in the last reel heaps of shots started to exhibit really awful video blur/motion that looked like they were last minute re-shoots (imagine a slick big budget film that suddenly looks like something you could've shot on your consumer-grade DV cam). I'm not the most technically minded person but I appreciate aesthetics and I see what I see, and if I see something crap... well, it's crap. If anyone can explain to me the nature of this "effect", I'd love to hear it.

1 comment:

  1. I see your point about the look of digitally filmed films, but what I really like is digital projection: NO scratches and dirt on the picture, NO cuts, NO picture movement. I couldn't watch Rodriguez Grindhouse flick, because it was digitally scratched and cut to make it look like a worn out copy and I can't stand this. The picture stability is also something I highly appreciate with digital might look a bit "lifeless" for those who are used to shaky copies, but I rather like to watch a film as it's supposed to look like.