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"Someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.”
October 13, 2011 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Cinema is dead.
posted by Fizz (103 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Trurl at 4:17 PM on October 13, 2011


Cinema is dead. Long live the new cinema.

or to put it another way: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:27 PM on October 13, 2011


oh you mean capturing and storing images on film is dead
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:27 PM on October 13, 2011 [25 favorites]


"Almost nobody is buying new film cameras. Why buy a new one when there are so many used cameras around the world?"
posted by Artw at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Print is dead.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


False.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:31 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to do a double-blind test to determine if people really can tell high-quality, post-processed digital from film. I suspect the answer is "yes," but I'd like to know for sure.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:31 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Watch out, Laszlo Panaflex!
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:32 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cinema is fine. And there are, like, a million film cameras still out there in the world. When film stock stops being produced, we can have this discussion.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:33 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Print is dead.

That's very fascinating. I make a lot of movies myself.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:33 PM on October 13, 2011


Unfortunately it is true. Cinema overdosed outside of the Viper Room and died. Fortunately, its little brother will continue on the legacy.
posted by griphus at 4:35 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm a twentysomething and I'm the only person I know who doesn't own a record player. Half my friends own Polaroid or analogue cameras. I collect books. I don't know much about film or cineaphilia, but I suspect in 20 years the next Tarentino will shoot on film.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:36 PM on October 13, 2011


Good! Film is a pain in the ass. Hell, tape is a pain in the ass too.
posted by fungible at 4:36 PM on October 13, 2011


What a weird way to frame a post. It has nothing to do with the linked article.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:36 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a weird way to frame a post. It has nothing to do with the linked article.

Incorrect aspect ratio?
posted by phaedon at 4:39 PM on October 13, 2011 [17 favorites]


I can see a time when film camera maintenance might be a lucrative line of business.
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on October 13, 2011


When film stock stops being produced, we can have this discussion.

Film stock in general is still being produced, but for still and motion picture film, Kodak and Fuji are discontinuing stocks left and right, consolidating their lines. I don't know when film stock will stop being made - that will probably take decades - but film is not exactly a thriving business.

I don't know much about film or cineaphilia, but I suspect in 20 years the next Tarentino will shoot on film.

I am suddenly reminded of how good House of the Devil was. That said, film is very expensive and time-consuming, when you're in the micro-budget tier. I suspect that the next Tarantino will shoot digital, but will also make use of alternative distribution schemes.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:41 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a twentysomething and I'm the only person I know who doesn't own a record player. Half my friends own Polaroid or analogue cameras. I collect books. I don't know much about film or cineaphilia, but I suspect in 20 years the next Tarentino will shoot on film.

Lovecraft in Brooklyn, respectfully, you and your friends are hipsters.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:41 PM on October 13, 2011 [28 favorites]


What a weird way to frame a post. It has nothing to do with the linked article.

Incorrect aspect ratio?


Faliure to follow the instructions regarding this FPP left in Stanley Kubrick's will.
posted by Artw at 4:41 PM on October 13, 2011


Le cinema est une invention sans avenir.
posted by grounded at 4:42 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can see a time when film camera maintenance might be a lucrative line of business.

If you're a good, skilled projectionist with proficiency with 35mm and projectors (building up and breaking down reels well, maintenance, replacing parts, etc.) -- yeah, you've got yourself a nice little trade where the places you can do your job are disappearing, but the people who can do your job are disappearing faster. So yes, I agree.
posted by penduluum at 4:44 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]



I'm a twentysomething and I'm the only person I know who doesn't own a record player. Half my friends own Polaroid or analogue cameras. I collect books. I don't know much about film or cineaphilia, but I suspect in 20 years the next Tarentino will shoot on film.

Lovecraft in Brooklyn, respectfully, you and your friends are hipsters.


Er, yes? And? There are no hipster directors? No hipster films? Fine, let me change that. In 20 years, the next WES ANDERSON will shoot on film.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:45 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meh. Fetishizing film stock pretty much ended for me earlier this year when I saw Dog Day Afternoon projected in a stunningly gorgeous digital transfer at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Did not miss film projection one iota.

Is there still something to be said for shooting on film? Everyone always waxes rhapsodic about the "feel" of something shot on film; there's a lot of talk about graininess. Yeah, I guess. I think it's something you could replicate digitally these days if you really wanted to. Even if not, I don't particularly care. I suppose it's always a shame when artists have fewer options, but if something's gotta go I'll give up the "feel" of analog in exchange for the economy and versatility of digital.
posted by eugenen at 4:48 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tarantino should make a video game.
posted by oulipian at 4:49 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Films is just so damn expensive. I could see the next James Cameron (i.e. a director who can get the studios to give him whatever he asks for) shooting on film, as a kind of big-budget vanity thing, maybe.

Digital is good for cinema: making it easier to make movies means more movies, which means more good movies. Of course, 95% of everything is crap, but it was always so.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:50 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


How many major film projects don't go through a digitization step anyway these days? Getting rid of film is just getting rid of an unnecessary step in the process.
posted by fatbird at 4:54 PM on October 13, 2011


Er, yes? And? There are no hipster directors? No hipster films?

That got me thinking. Some would say Wes Anderson is the hipsterest director. I myself lean towards Noah Baumbach. As proto-hipser, it is hard to beat Jim Jarmusch. Knowing his films was practically a litmus test for early hipsters.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:55 PM on October 13, 2011


> There are no hipster directors?

No, because that actually requires people to do things, as opposed to talking about how lame the act of doing things is.
posted by scruss at 4:55 PM on October 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's probably some guy you wouldn't have heard of.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on October 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Er, yes? And? There are no hipster directors? No hipster films? Fine, let me change that. In 20 years, the next WES ANDERSON will shoot on film.

Not that at all, just the Tarantino and Anderson both looked backward to certain eras for inspiration. It's very possible that the next ________ will emulate the late '90s style of YouTube, or the odd lighting and cheap digital quality of soap operas, or porn. I'm just saying, we can't predict what the next style maker will be inspired by, but it probably won't be the same thing that inspired the previous generation of auteurs.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:58 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


My lovely girlfriend spent an interesting two years working at Seattle's local film lab, Alpha Cine. It was not an environment in which much good news was being heard - moving employees to part time and layoffs (including her, unfortunately) have been sufficient to keep the doors open but there just isn't the demand for film development that we had 50 years ago. Back in the 1970's the folks at Alpha used to develop the film for KING-5's 5 o'clock news, a market completely obliterated by the introduction of video in the 80s.

The main work they do these days has been mostly for productions seeking the now-discontinued Washington Film Credit and independent productions that want to work with a smaller company. On price, the demand at the larger labs has been so low that small labs have a hard time turning a profit on basic development - the big guys can run thinner margins.

My girlfriend was in charge of Digital-to-Film transfer. Indie/arthouse theaters mostly only have the capability to project film, so Alpha would use a $1m ARRILASER to write, pixel-by-pixel, your digital film onto filmstock. As digital projectors become more common in and affordable on the secondary market, I think you're also going to see this go away - though there will still be digital filmmakers who will want a film print copy of their project just to see it in the flesh, much like authors and the printed word.

While it's easy to romanticize shooting and projecting movies on film, the logistics of making several thousand dollars in prints and then shipping them around the country from theater to theater is tough to justify. Once you're no longer distributing on film, and lord knows you weren't editing on film anymore, then why not keep the whole process digital?

As a side note, since the View-Master uses 16mm film slides in their cartridges, Alpha Cine for many years has been contracted to develop and print those. The machine they have for assembling them is pretty cool.
posted by lantius at 4:59 PM on October 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


the late '90s style of YouTube

Is this some sort of late 90's steampunk kinda thing? (Flannelpunk?)
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:00 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hyperbole much? Cinema is not dead. Film--actual, physical rolls of film in film cameras--may be dying, but it's not yet dead, and cinema certainly isn't. What does seem a bit scary and uncertain is the film (we'll need to rename that) industry is undergoing a sea change, a paradigm shift. The economics of studio financing and indie films and distribution is just very different than it was even 15 years ago. If Kevin Smith were fifteen years younger and made Clerks today, it would've been shot for even less money on a HD camcorder, and he'd upload it to his website, or would try to get it on a pay cable channel. Or NetFlix. Even the mid-90s indie boom is ancient history.

I think of the Space Shuttle retiring and how not upset and not unhappy I was about that. We're still going to explore space, we're just going to go about it with different tools. There's no need to be maudlin about the demise of film cameras, unless you make film cameras. Or unless you feel the quality of digital isn't up to par to that of film. That's debatable I suppose, but as far as ease of use and cost, digital can't be beat.
posted by zardoz at 5:01 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


hipster directors

There may be hip directors, or self-consciously pretentious directors, but making even a terrible movie takes vast amounts of energy and project-management and just plain getting shit done.

So, no.
posted by everichon at 5:03 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I nominate Ti West as hisperest director.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:06 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can see a time when film camera maintenance might be a lucrative line of business.

Yeah, that's basically what the big cinema equipment suppliers do. Shops like Claremont Camera own many millions of dollars worth of high end cinema equipment. Studios don't own cameras, they rent them from places like Claremont. Some directors even prefer vintage equipment, or specialized rigs that haven't been manufactured in decades. These rental companies basically buy almost the entire output of the cinema camera manufacturing industry. They have been maintaining these cameras for many many years, and even have the capacity to manufacture specialized camera equipment. So that mythical "last film camera" was made, it probably went to a rental company who will maintain it until film is no longer made, which will probably be like never. There will always be things that digital cameras can't do.

Anyway, I was surprised to hear the big 3 cinecam companies had ceased film camera production. But I couldn't believe that NO film cameras were still being manufactured. It appears that 8mm is having a bit of a renaissance, Kodak has introduced new 8mm film stocks and companies in Japan like Gakken are still producing film movie cameras. Nothing pro level apparently, there is a ton of vintage 8mm pro gear out there.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:08 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Miranda July
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:08 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


To continue this line, people own typewriters.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:08 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


there's a lot of talk about graininess

Working in visual effects, I have seen every level of graininess in both film stock and digital - I really think that because there is so much variation possible within both methods, it would be really hard for people to be able to reliably tell the difference - there aren't really any particular defining characteristics that I can see in digital. I like digital for a few reasons - you end up with more material to work with - shooting more doesn't cost much more with digital, and if I need to use a different take for whatever reason, it's almost immediately available, I don't have to wait for them to scan it. No neg dirt or scratches to clean up. Lowering the cost of production means that creating a film is more accessible to lesser known filmmakers - you end up with a greater variety of projects that are more likely to be spread around a bunch of smaller companies.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:08 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Harmony Korine.

Contest over.
posted by griphus at 5:10 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


If Kevin Smith were fifteen years younger and made Clerks today, it would've been shot for even less money on a HD camcorder, and he'd upload it to his website, or would try to get it on a pay cable channel. Or NetFlix. Even the mid-90s indie boom is ancient history.

What's sad about this, but what might also be exciting about this, is that a large part of what made Clerks work was its grubby, black and white, 16mm look and its confident, victorious plod through the festival circuit. It might not have been the first movie about minimum wage losers, but it certainly felt like it.

Nowadays, there's barely any market for fresh feature films, let alone ones that feel as fresh as the movies of the mid-90s boom often did. The ones that can squeak by are microbudget affairs that march lockstep with Sundance tropes - twee dramedies with aggressively pleasant soundtracks, or Very Serious Films about Very Serious Issues. We don't really have the environment any more to launch careers as with, say, the Coen brothers, who most often made small- to mid-budget genre pictures.

There are exceptions, but in the main, the savings of digital over film have not cancelled out the generally dismal financial climate for American independent movies.

So, that's all pretty much sad, but I had also said it was exciting. And it could be exciting: where there's a crisis, there's an opportunity. Someone is going to try something new, especially in the realm of getting a project off the ground, especially financially.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:11 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Harmony Korine.

Contest over.


If Korine's involved, I'm glad it's over.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:12 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Larry Clark.
posted by box at 5:12 PM on October 13, 2011


"When a colleague told me I was about to see a new film from Larry Clark, the director of Bully and Kids, I said, 'I wonder how many scenes will pass before we get shirtless teenage boys?'" - Richard Roeper

I now have "'shirtless teenage boys' 'larry clark'" in my browser history so you people better enjoy that quote.
posted by griphus at 5:18 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I saw Karmony Korine and Chloë Sevigny agt a screening of Foxy Brown. I never felt so cool in my entire life, except for the time Flea shoved me while he was getting into his limo.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:19 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I star in a film edited by Damon Packard that will probably never get released.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:20 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I saw the trailer for that. You play Jesus?
posted by Ad hominem at 5:22 PM on October 13, 2011


Is this the thread where we're cool because of tenuous connections to hip celebrities? Because this one time I told Jared Leto to pull his pants up.
posted by griphus at 5:23 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


You get extra credit for not knowing who he was.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:26 PM on October 13, 2011


I saw the trailer for that. You play Jesus?

I play myself.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:29 PM on October 13, 2011


I'm confused as to why Tarantino isn't a hipster.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:46 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, because people like him, so they'll make excuses.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:47 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's nothing wrong with being a hipster. There's nothing wrong with retro-fetishism.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:48 PM on October 13, 2011


There's nothing wrong with being a hipster, unless you ask a hipster, and then they'll explain at the things that are terrible about those other people over there who are hipsters.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:49 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


The hipster that can be hipstered is not the true hipster.

Or something.
posted by everichon at 5:51 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well congrats, this thread fucking sucks.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:03 PM on October 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


As someone who works in film postproduction, in other words, who has to deal with the physical film a lot, and who has to deal with the limitations of imagina processes a lot, I say, Good Fucking Riddance. Digital is as good as film now, but even if it wasn't, it's so vastly much more convenient that I was wishing for film to die even 5 years ago.

If you disagree, get back to me when you've carried 10 2000-foot reels of 35mm film through an entire studio complex to get to the damn parking lot.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:16 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


People who collect books are hipsters?
posted by starman at 6:20 PM on October 13, 2011


Hipster as a term is pretty much dead. It's basically a way to dismiss someone else as being somehow inauthentic, and because it doesn't mean anything you can say it about basically anyone and there's no way to prove you wrong.

Anyway, film. I remember David Lynch made Inland Empire on digital, and he basically said that the digital camera was so flexible that he felt free to improvise and he wasn't sure he could go back to film. Which is great for David Lynch, but it also explains why Inland Empire was kind of a mess and didn't have a plot. I have to wonder whether the actual physical difficulty of shooting and editing on film wasn't good for some directors, without even considering the optical qualities.
posted by vogon_poet at 6:21 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


This thread is making me more angry at hipsters than usual.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:22 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Something I'll miss about film is honest grubbiness. Now that clean digital output is available for much cheaper than grubby Super 16, all movies will have to either have that clean look or the postmodern wink of faked grubbiness.

I'm sure people will think of creative solutions to this problem, but until then...
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:27 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


vogon_poet: "I have to wonder whether the actual physical difficulty of shooting and editing on film wasn't good for some directors, without even considering the optical qualities."

Not to worry. Arri is hard at work bringing the inconvenience and difficulty of shooting on film to digital as we speak.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:28 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ha!

Recently a friend of mine stumbled upon some old slides of me and me droogs hanging out back in aught two. It made me nostalgic so I dug up my old photos from when I had that newfangled sub-megapixel Canon coolpix. The pictures are horrible. The color is wrong, there is never enough light, or they are blurry. What do you expect from a turn of the millennium camera?

The slides we had to hold up to the light and were so very tiny, but they conveyed so much more than my pictures ever did. I still have that terrible, bleeding edge Canon, although now I wish I had never bought it.

I know it's a different technology altogether now but I can't help but feel that we still are a long way away from easily being able to convey all the lighting, color and emotion digitally when a simple choice in your film can do all of that for you.

Yes, it will still be easier to make movies digitally, but if you are making art, film will never die as media.
posted by chemoboy at 6:30 PM on October 13, 2011


This thread is making me more angry at hipsters than usual.

Ugh. Is this thread really just going to turn into people dumping on a manufactured social group that's just a locus for whatever annoys them about people with different hobbies than they have?

Hey, if we're going to invent a group that we hate, at least lets make them magic! I hate elves! What have those fuckers ever contributed to film?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:32 PM on October 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Stitcherbeast: I can absolutely tell the difference and it's weird to me that others can't. Seriously, on the occasions when The Wire would switch between film and video it took me as out of the moment as a kick to the crotch. And well-shot film ALWAYS looks better than the most perfectly shot video. This isn't a luddite thing or a snob thing. Our eyes basically process sight pretty closely to the way that film does, and at about the same "frame rate" as well (at least according to my old professors. there might be new data which suggests otherwise.)

Anyway, I miss working with Aaton cameras. I'm no longer in that business but Aaton prods are awesome and cheap, and back in the day I used to shoot my stuff on the weekends on the same ones that the Sex in the City crews were using during the week, which was always a mild trip to me.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:33 PM on October 13, 2011


Ça plane pour moi (moi moi moi moi)?
posted by bpm140 at 6:33 PM on October 13, 2011


Additionally, somehow today was the first time I'd come across the word "locus" and I came across it like three times.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:34 PM on October 13, 2011


It's the Day of the Locus.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:35 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Navelgazer: "Our eyes basically process sight pretty closely to the way that film does, and at about the same "frame rate" as well"

If your eyes processed things at the same frame rate as film, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between film (at 24 fps) and higher frame rates. But you do.

30 and 60 and so on actually looks better and closer to real life, but it's become associated with TV, while the slightly jerky, stroby look of film is associated with "movies", so we feel it's better.

I suspect our kids or grandkids will no longer feel this way.

I'm also at a loss by what you mean with "our eyes basically process sight pretty closely to the way that film does". If you mean that film's response curve is similar to that of the eye, then yes, it's not too far off, but so's good digital.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:41 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Navelgazer: "Anyway, I miss working with Aaton cameras. I'm no longer in that business but Aaton prods are awesome and cheap"

The Aaton booth at NAB this year was one French guy in a suit, speaking bad English and showing the same Penelope with digimag they've been hawking for the last 4 years or so. 2k with "4k in the future", and so on. It was kind of sad, actually.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:43 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty lame/misleading post title, yeah. The market is *full* of 35mm cameras. Like where it was said above, tell me when Kodak is no longer creating Visions and we can talk about chemical film being dead.
posted by cavalier at 6:50 PM on October 13, 2011


cavalier: "Like where it was said above, tell me when Kodak is no longer creating Visions and we can talk about chemical film being dead."

Well, there is that persistent rumor of Kodak going bankrupt. I'm not sure that's true, but they're sure as hell not doing great. Just the loss of stock sales for release print has got to hit them hard, and that's accelerating. They still sell camera and intermediate stock, of course, but the volumes can't even be within an order of magnitude of what they used to sell of release print stock just 5 years ago.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:56 PM on October 13, 2011


Bellflower achieved some interesting effects with their homebrew digital camera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk1OQcF9um0
posted by erikgrande at 7:05 PM on October 13, 2011


Not to worry. Arri is hard at work bringing the inconvenience and difficulty of shooting on film to digital as we speak.

You're talking about the Alexa? What don't you like about it? I haven't shot with it personally but people I know have liked it and I've edited stuff shot on it and I thought it looked better than Red. Workflow was ok too, preferred it to Red but then again the assistant editor handles that all so I don't really know. Was a little suspicious about the resolution but Drive looked good on a big screen.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:14 PM on October 13, 2011


La cinema, c'est mort.
posted by surplus at 7:23 PM on October 13, 2011


Bellflower was filmed on my street and has my friend's bewbs in it! I quite enjoyed the film. Everybody see it.

Cinema is dead. Yawn! Snore! What else is new? People have been claiming this since 1910. Seriously. I don't find it a very productive approach to new media.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:27 PM on October 13, 2011


Anyway, film. I remember David Lynch made Inland Empire on digital, and he basically said that the digital camera was so flexible that he felt free to improvise and he wasn't sure he could go back to film. Which is great for David Lynch, but it also explains why Inland Empire was kind of a mess and didn't have a plot.

Well, except Mulholland Drive was the same way, and it was shot on film. That's just David Lynch.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:28 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


> There are no hipster directors?

Well, not of features, no. I mean, that's pretty mainstream.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:29 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


lol Inland Empire a mess with no plot. I think it's fabulous and a culmination of his work on female sunjectivity, one of his most coherent films. Some people shouldn't be allowed to claim to enjoy David Lynch. I swear, it's because he has a simple name or something, people think he's a great entrypoint to experimental cinema. He's really, really not.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:31 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I heard people were saying things about INLAND EMPIRE other than that it was fantastic, so I got my screwdriver.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:32 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


nathancaswell: "Not to worry. Arri is hard at work bringing the inconvenience and difficulty of shooting on film to digital as we speak.

You're talking about the Alexa? What don't you like about it? I haven't shot with it personally but people I know have liked it and I've edited stuff shot on it and I thought it looked better than Red. Workflow was ok too, preferred it to Red but then again the assistant editor handles that all so I don't really know. Was a little suspicious about the resolution but Drive looked good on a big screen
"

I'm kind of joking, but shooting Alexa with the Codex recorder is a pain and results in huge amounts of data (since Arri insists that raw has to be uncompressed). And the Alexa Studio actually reintroduces the optical rotating mirror viewfinder on a digital camera, which is about the most backwards thing I can think of.

The argument I've heard people use for an optical finder is "You see exactly what you get", which is of course perfectly false, you see exactly what you don't get, since the 180 degrees you see are the 180 degrees that are not exposing the sensor.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:33 PM on October 13, 2011


Here's a good article for covering the "cinema is dead no now it is no really now" thing.

My classmates in 2007 published a volume with the theme Deaths Of Cinema, which attempts to adapt the idea into something epistemologically useful.

Just, be aware this is a recurring claim. That's what makes it interesting.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:46 PM on October 13, 2011


lantius, you must know Don Jensen.
posted by bz at 8:29 PM on October 13, 2011


Dammit, I'm still mourning the end of the zoetrope.
posted by not_on_display at 8:35 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Time may prove me wrong, but the problems with the supply of physical tapes caused by the earthquake in Japan meant that many studios that were 'eventually' going to move to Internet-based or otherwise digital, tape-less distribution got the kick in the pants to actually make that move. Tapes aren't going to disappear overnight, but at this years NAB, the writing on the wall: 'tape is dead.' was quite clear.
posted by fragmede at 8:58 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every single movie that makes it to the theater, DVD, or television that happens to be shot on film is immediately transferred to digital video within days of being shot. There are no exceptions.

No movies are edited on film. No movies have effects done on film.

All post production from the initial telecine through editing and digital intermediate to until final creation of theater film copies occur within a digital video environment.

The days of actual cutting film neg are long gone.

The transition to digital cameras took a bit, until the lenses got good enough and the latest generation of sensors can mimic the range of light capture that film has. Grain is simply a knob in an editing room these days.
posted by Argyle at 9:03 PM on October 13, 2011


fragmede,

The earthquake in Japan destroyed the one place in the world that made HD-CAM SR videotape. HD-CAM SR is the primary format for physically moving HD level content from place to place. The shortage of HD-CAM SR tape forced many major studios to move toward electronic delivery of films/shows. No small feat when you consider that a single movie can be 250GB. The difficulty in moving such large files rapidly and en mass is significant.
posted by Argyle at 9:06 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great, now it can go back to being art.
posted by minkll at 9:08 PM on October 13, 2011


From my perspective as an exhibitor/historian/archivist, the lousiest possible outcome of this will be if preservation on film - which, as the article says, is still the most stable archival medium for moving images - becomes impossible. If they discover a stable and long-lived way of preserving digitally originated moving images - great. But it'll be a damn shame if it becomes too much of a financial risk to run a film print through a projector. The idea of not being able to see works that originated on film in their home medium is as tragic to me as the idea of not being able to see Van Gogh's paintings (or even Warhol's screen prints) in the original. Life sized posters wouldn't be the same.

From the perspective of an artist whose medium is celluloid, Tacita Dean (whose exhibition inspired by this very subject just opened at the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall) said it best: "Digital is not better than analogue, but different. What we are asking for is co-existence: that analogue film might be allowed to remain an option for those who want it, and for the ascendency of one not to have to mean the extinguishing of the other."

But part of film's grandeur, part of what made it THE medium of the twentieth century, was its intimate, inherent ties to industry and capitalism - and it doesn't look like it'll survive that.
posted by bubukaba at 9:36 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


on the occasions when The Wire would switch between film and video

what?? you can't do that any more than you can switch film stock mid-scene.

Also, unless you have carefully researched every single film you've watched, and know for sure how it was made, you can't possibly know if you have seen anything that was shot digital and you didn't notice.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:16 PM on October 13, 2011


I feel the same way about people moaning about the death of analog technologies as I do about geeks exclaiming how great Foveon sensors or RISC processors are compared to what people actually use.

That they're more interested in the toolbox than what can be made with it.
posted by unmake at 1:10 AM on October 14, 2011


No more checking the gate. No more flying in a new loader because the last one flashed a mag. No more gift slates for the director, DP and gaffer because the digisync slates are way too expensive to pass out as swag. No more Teamsters sticking up for the crew and their missing wages by hijacking the day's shooting until everyone got paid. No more heating the camera truck overnight so the stock didn't freeze. No more heated barneys. No more rolling off a couple of seconds of crew ass while everyone else was at lunch for the processors to enjoy. No more stealing short-ends for your student roll. It's the little things.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:43 AM on October 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with retro-fetishism.
Lovecraft in Brooklyn

Today is better than Yesterday. Yesteryear is incomparably worse. Our ancestors strived to get away from it, so many dying for so many different causes that it led to us, here-now. This world we live in is a gift handed down through time, as we'll hand it down to our descendants.

If it's just that you like old stuff, or new stuff made to look old? Well and good. Rail against the dying grainy light and the slightly less grainy darkness. Let us listen to delightful records and I will pretend to notice a difference in sound quality between them and my mp3 player. Show me your original space war arcade cabinet that we may bask in its glory together!

The mores of previous ages were discarded for a reason though. They didn't (don't) benefit everyone equally, they did (do) contort and compress the human spirit in ways that are horrific. The people of a few hundred years from now will shake their heads in awe at the way we comported ourselves.

Tell me of the glorious loot from ages past, but speak not of the glorious cultures.
posted by Peztopiary at 3:37 AM on October 14, 2011


Film, not cinema, assnuts.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 5:48 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The shift to digital in just about any arena is largely about convenience. With any luck, quality comes along later to catch-up with what digital supplanted.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:03 AM on October 14, 2011


on the occasions when The Wire would switch between film and video

What video sections are you talking about? The Wire is shot on Super 35, not digital.

If you're talking about the security camera footage, then that's not what I was referring to about digital. I'm talking about things like RED cameras. I think you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between brand new post-processed 35mm footage and brand new post-processed RED footage.

The shift to digital in just about any arena is largely about convenience. With any luck, quality comes along later to catch-up with what digital supplanted.

Some argue that digital is too "clean" and not nearly grainy enough. We'd gotten used to the film look, endearing flaws and all, so now we have a format where it's so hi-fi that it'd be artificial to scale it back.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:12 AM on October 14, 2011


I feel the same way about people moaning about the death of analog technologies as I do about geeks exclaiming how great Foveon sensors or RISC processors are compared to what people actually use.

SPEAKING OF FOVEON
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:13 AM on October 14, 2011


Some argue that digital is too "clean" and not nearly grainy enough.

In modern film stocks, grain is pretty darned imperceptible (though, you can certainly use film stocks that are purpose-designed for grain, or shoot in a way to bring-out grain).

What people see in film vs. digital is more "atmosphere" than grain. That subtle scrim of light between camera and subject. Digital methods don't capture this without special lenses or post-production. This is why digital has a much more immediate or "news-camera" impact, which is neither good not bad, just a different sensibility to take into account when planning your production.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:30 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I swear, it's because he has a simple name or something, people think he's a great entrypoint to experimental cinema. He's really, really not.

I can't imagine what it feels like to so definitively make a statement so utterly wrong.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:01 AM on October 14, 2011


Because this one time I told Jared Leto to pull his pants up.

Nicolas Cage circa "Honeymoon in Vegas" glared at me disdainfully in a San Francisco restaurant. Does that count?

The "cinema is dead" frame was obviously contrived to provoke hand-waving and teeth-gnashing and it worked.
posted by blucevalo at 9:49 AM on October 14, 2011


I'd like to do a double-blind test to determine if people really can tell high-quality, post-processed digital from film. I suspect the answer is "yes," but I'd like to know for sure.
I'd say the quality is probably better. The thing is, with digital you can have a much larger sensor then you can with film. You could put a 70mm sensor in a normal sized film camera and even much, much larger sensors in something the size of an IMAX camera, maybe even 300mm. You can simply distinguish between a larger number of image points.
posted by delmoi at 7:18 PM on October 18, 2011


Foveon style stacked sensors will probably be much more popular once the patent expires and people can actually use them.
posted by delmoi at 7:20 PM on October 18, 2011


I'd say the quality is probably better.

I agree, but people don't always want what's "better." People have an attachment to how film looks. Hell, I have an attachment to how film looks.

Foveon style stacked sensors will probably be much more popular once the patent expires and people can actually use them.

Are you implying that the people who make Sigma cameras aren't truly people? Because I might agree.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:57 PM on October 18, 2011


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