Film in 2019
I've just seen a summary of the cameras used in the 2019 set of oscar nominations.
In spite of reports that film is dead, quite a few of the movies were recorded on film.
At a talk I attended, some years ago, the speaker said film was a waste of time because all modern movies go thru a Digital Intermediate process for effects and then deliver on DCS 2K.
Do people agree it is a waste of time or is there benefit from film that can make it through the process to delivery?
[mark thompson] "Do people agree it is a waste of time or is there benefit from film that can make it through the process to delivery?"
...obviously SOMEBODY thinks there's a benefit to it, or it wouldn't still be in use. As long as you have the budget, it adds that "je ne sais quois" to the look.
Most of the benefits are not entirely quantifiable. The ones that ARE quantifiable: film records great detail and dynamic range, and can be rescanned years later to make new digital copies. It's a great long-term storage medium. 70mm IMAX film is still the highest-resolution capture format available, by a long shot. Just ask Christopher Nolan about it!
Other unquantifiable benefits; unique color processes, grain structures, processing tricks, and things that are theoretically possible to replicate on digital, but in practice, just "feel" better.
For example ARRI's offering in this area:
I'm making an assumption that device has an ARRI XT chip inside.
So why not just record on an ALEXA SXT ?
I did find another resource:
However, in there, only Geoff Boyle even mentions Digital Intermediate. They are deftly avoiding what happens afterwards (i.e. after conversion).
Also IMAX is the unquestioned leader in resolution. However due to the expense and difficulty of changing film I read somewhere that IMAX films mix content filmed on the camera with content filmed on lesser cameras. I'm thinking of the Shuttle and ISS movies. Don't quote me on that I can't recall the original source.
[Blaise Douros] "As long as you have the budget, it adds that "je ne sais quois" to the look. "
Which no one can differentiate in blind tests from digitally captured content.
[Blaise Douros] "It's a great long-term storage medium."
If you spend boatloads of money to ensure it's in a properly-controlled storage, sure. The same can be said for any medium.
There is, sadly, today virtually no justifyable reason to shoot film... or even consider it.
Please note that I AM a film guy. I've shot around a bazillion feet of 35mm, and a few zillion feet of 16mm. I love film. I love shooting film. I love the smell of it when you open a can in the darkroom. I like feeling it in the dark when loading a mag. I like putting my ear to the camera and hearing the whirring sound of the motor. I like the pressure of knowing THIS HAS TO BE RIGHT when lighting a scene, because you never know exactly what it's going to look like when it gets back from the lab. I like the pressure that it puts on actors to deliver a killer performance because shooting film on a set means "This is the real deal," and it has to count.
All that being said, I never shoot film anymore, and wouldn't even consider it in the future.
I sold all of my film cameras a few years ago. The last 35mm body shipped out about, oh, five years ago. Kept the lenses, sold the cameras.
Today's electronic cameras are just too good, too "instant," too easy.
If you want to shoot film today...
Just try to buy the filmstock. Oh sure, you can still buy it from Kodak, but the open-cans and short-ends market has gone away (I once bought all the open cans from the second season of The Sopranos for 4 cents a foot... an incredible score for almost 100,000 feet!). Now, I'd have to pay the exorbitant full price.
Just try to find a lab. There are a few still around, but the one I used (and the only one within driving distance to me) is no more.
Just try to find repair. Need a camera worked on? They are mechanical beasts, and need attention. Lens techs are still around, but camera techs are virtually impossible to find.
Again, cameras today are just too good. There's no point in shooting film. It's very expensive, very time consuming (which is often even a greater expense), and cumbersome.
BUT... I do wish the next generation would have the opportunity to learn to shoot film (and I doubt most film schools even have real film bodies around any more, except maybe as novelties). Knowing how to do it is, to me, much more important than actually doing it. I'm a much better cinematographer because I know how to shoot film. Take someone who really knows how to DP with actual film, that guy or gal can shoot with an electronic camera in their sleep. The reverse is not true, not by a long shot.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not shooting film. I don't have budget for that.
Film is one of those things that, for me, might not be super useful because of the expense. But again: the benefits are intangible, and it seems like Mark is partially answering his own question when he opens by pointing out that the professionals at the absolute top end of our profession still choose to use film. They're not doing that because it's easier, because as we all know, it ain't!
Frankly, it's not really relevant whether IMAX films use other sources--many of those docs are limited by available footage. The point is that the IMAX medium is different, and measurably better, than any current digital option. Will that change someday? Probably. But for the same reason plenty of art photographers still use medium and large format film and develop manually using chemicals, I believe that it would be a mistake to abandon celluloid entirely.
I just went to the kitchen for something and realized we still have a half dozen cans of 35mm in the fridge. Anyone need em?
There's several short-ends and re-cans... but also what looks to be a factory-fresh roll of 5279, not a re-can. I hated that stock, btw (never liked the grain structure at all), which is probably why it's still in there. It's all old, but I've shot with film that was as much as 10 years past its "expiration date"... usually as long as it has been kept refrigerated it's fine.
You never know what you'll find around here.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
[Blaise Douros] " But again: the benefits are intangible, and it seems like Mark is partially answering his own question when he opens by pointing out that the professionals at the absolute top end of our profession still choose to use film. They're not doing that because it's easier, because as we all know, it ain't! "
Of course not, it's all because of an emotional attachment to it...nostalgia.
I found a bit of an answer near to me, as to the growth that is, there is a company called Cinelab that started up a few years ago. Formed from the remnants of the companies that did really well when film was popular. Reading the blog part of the website, demand has grown over the last few years - from amateur to professional movies.
They still don't really address why film is better but as long their business grows...