Thursday, August 22, 2013

Side By Side on PBS Film vs Digital

PBS is airing Side By Side: The Science, Art, And Impact of Digital Cinema Friday August 30 at 9 pm ( see your local listing). It's fascinating to see so many great film makers discuss the evolution of digital and and their feelings about film and digital.

It's an age old dilema, embrace the new or stay with what you know, as is always the case there are things to be gained and lost in either decision. According to producer Keanu Reeves, to some extent in the 2-3 years since he made this film, the struggle is over and digital has won. Though film is still being used digital seems to be dominating. In the film George Lucas makes a great point that film has reached it's apex and digital is in it's infancy with so much growth in it's future. His point being let's keep moving ahead.

Here's a video clip from the film Side By Side

The entire debate reminds me of Charlie Chaplin clinging to silent film when talkies had long since taken over. Even in his 1957 film A King In New York where he has incorporated sound he can't help taking a moment to make a comment about how ridiculous he finds modern film story telling and the ludicrously large screens of the era. The argument was the same for him then as it is now, how to best tell the story.

Chaplin's A King in New York clip

Personally, I have no dog in this fight. I love the grain of film and the depth that brings. But digital is like landing in Oz and having your black and white world become color. Still, watching a scratchy old print has a nostalgic quality, I would miss. I could go back and forth all day.

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