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For those who are obsessed as I am with image quality, what do you think about the 35mm and digital film debate? I know that both have their own pros and cons, but as a whole, which do you think is more effective?
Personally, I'm hoping film makers continue to use 35mm film. One potential problem I'm seeing is that a lot of theaters are adopting digital projection, which sort of bums me out. Any thoughts?
From experience, I can't really give you the best answer because Ive only worked with 16mm. I know 35mm produces considerably better picture quality than 16mm.
Having said that, I much prefer working with digital than with film. Its cheaper, faster and more convenient. There are a lot of problems you have with film that don't exist when using digital. And the whole idea that film produces better picture quality than digital is just not true.
I know theres a documentary coming out called "Side by side" that is about this very issue. Keanu Reeves, who produces and did all the interviews for the film said that at the end of making the documentary he fell on the side of digital.
It sort of goes back to what I said: both have their pros and cons. In terms of digital film making, of course it is a lot cheaper and more convenient, but it's not necessarily the best option as a whole. From everything I've seen, it appears that 35mm, overall, produces better picture quality, especially after viewing 35mm scans. The clarity is better and it has a wider range of color. Several directors such as Quentin Tarentino and Christopher Nolan have spoken for 35mm.
Don't get me wrong, I have seen instances where digital produced amazing images. It really sort of depends on the environment and what you're using it for. I just think as a whole film produces better quality.
Fair enough. You make a good point. Maybe there is a difference, I haven't really examined it up close. But I think the difference is very slight. Right?
I know Nolan, Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson are really the three big film-makers most opposed to the whole digital era. Nolan says its because film produces better picture quality and I would assume he knows what he's talking about so I believe him. Tarantino and PTA have a more nostalgic view of it. But you also have a lot of other people like George Lucan, James Cameron, Steven Soderbergh and Robert Rodriguez who are completely in support of digital.
I would certainly love the opportunity to make a short film or student film on 35mm. I think I would learn a lot from the experience. The only real thing holding me back is the cost and the time. I certainly don't think film camera or film projectors should be phased out. That would be losing part of our history and something that made movies great. But you have to embrace the new digital era. Its only going to improve with time and in my opinion, its just a matter of time before it surpasses film (if it hasn't already).
I completely agree that digital is a lot more budget friendly. Also, like you said, the difference between both formats are very slight. I have seen some incredible digital work, but more often than not, I see 35mm winning out in terms of clarity and the wide range of colors (blacks look incredible in 35mm). As of now, IMAX (70mm) really reigns supreme in terms of image quality.
But you're right when you say that digital will eventually win out. Theaters are adopting digital systems and more directors are forced to shoot in digital. Moreover, technology gets better in each and everyday, so maybe one day digital will surpass 35mm film. But as of now, I'd probably side with film.
Completely agree with you on the IMAX thing. Watching a movie in true full size IMAX is just one of the greatest experiences ever.
I heard they're working on a digital IMAX camera. This was like a year ago too. Don't know if that worked out or not.
One of the things im most looking forward to is Douglas Trumbull's next film. There are rumors that he's going to shoot the entire thing in IMAX and that he's developed some new camera technology specifically for the film. He has confirmed though that he's going to shoot it at 5K resolution at 120 FPS in 3D. Sounds too good to be true but if anyone can do it, its Trumbull.
Yeah, legit 70mm IMAX is breathtaking to watch. I've never experienced anything else like it. As far as digital IMAX: I know that a lot more theaters are implementing Digital IMAX theaters, but they lack a lot of the expansive aspects found in 70mm theaters. In regards to digital IMAX cameras, I'm not surprised. 70mm IMAX cameras are really large and loud and film makers are looking something a little more convenient.
Finally...120 fps?!?! That sounds like it would be incredible, but wouldn't that make it seem too 'real' and too 'videotaped'? It reminds me of Peter Jackson's recent preview of the Hobbit. Audiences were given a chance to see the results of 48 fps recording, and it garnered some negative reviews. Some reviews were also extremely positive, so who knows. I really want to see the difference for The Hobbit. I couldn't even imagine 120fps! We just have to wait and see...I'm for anything that advances film making.
I will always be on the 35mm side of things. I know digital can be easier to film with, I believe there is more of an art to filming with 35mm.