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May 28, 2009

LAMBlog-a-thon: Digital Cinema

So for this month's LAMBlog-a-thon, Joseph wants our takes on Digital Cinema. As he puts it, "Do you hate it? Do you love it? What does it mean for distribution? How is it superior/inferior to film based productions?"

Well, what if I'm largely uninterested?

I guess that's not totally true. Of course I have an opinion, and of course, since I'm a Libra, I see both sides of the argument and can't make up my mind which I prefer. On the one hand, I tend to be old skool when it comes to these things - I hate the designated hitter and am opposed to the NFL stretching their season out to 17 or 18 games, after all. Tangible or no, there's something magical about film. However, anyone would be hard-pressed to argue that digital cinema is not progress, and it seems dumb to attempt to stop the inevitable only because we've fallen in love with imperfections. Sure, there are plenty of people that are keeping vinyl alive, but it's not as though radio stations are using phonographs these days, and it would be expensive, inefficient and downright nonsensical if they were to start to.

So I guess it's a question of practicality vs. nostalgia/aesthetics when you get right down to it. There aren't any logical reasons to continue to use film - it costs more, is harder to distribute, and though it may be the look we prefer, it certainly doesn't look better. Personally, I don't really care, because I don't have to (or I just don't feel like I have to). I live in a large enough market that I don't often feel like I'm shorted on films due to distribution issues. I don't see how the change would wildly affect me financially - I mean, even if producers can save money making films, it ain't like the cost savings are going to be passed down to me. If anything, the cost might go up, as theaters require newer (and I'd assume more expensive) equipment. But I'd also imagine that, spread out over a long enough timeline, those costs would be immaterial.

So I have to think of others. And the potential benefits of those that might see limited release films that they aren't seeing now is a big one. And, nostalgic or not, I'm not a Luddite; technological progress is a good thing, even if it means no "cigarette burns" or that George Lucas wins. And besides - it's not as though film will ever completely go away; just as with LPs, there will be purists who keep the medium around forever. So I guess my mind is made up: Go digital. Kill film. But remember the past and don't let it die a complete death.

2 people have chosen wisely: on "LAMBlog-a-thon: Digital Cinema"


...or that George Lucas wins.


Mikey Filmmaker said...

I am a strong film supporter. After going to film school, I realized how much better it captures colors and gives you a superior depth of field.

I don't hate digital. It does save you serious money and digital cameras are getting very close to film quality. Still though, I just love the look of film. Just like how I love listening to vinyl records.

I think P.T. Anderson says it best in this interview back in 1999.