It’s actually going to make movies better. Here me out, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this.
Being a current NYU student, therefore meaning I am stuck up and pretentious, I adore film. It is not just the gold standard, it is the double platinum, diamond encrusted Billboard #1 hit for six months standard. The sight of film cans ignites a flame in my often cold and cynical heart, I get giggle whipping out the little black changing bags and go to load up a roll. The whir of that beautiful celluloid passing through the gate of the camera is like Barry Manlow himself counting out those 24 frames. The texture, the grit, the craftsmanship required, I love it all. Everything about film is tinted with a warm tungsten glow, the light through the projector, the methodical turning of the the wheels and gears…it’s poetry, pure and simple. And for hopeless romantic film makers, it is the tangible end to our lives labor.
But…it’s expensive. And time consuming. And slow. And did I mention expensive? The unfortunate truth is, I can rent a Arri Alexa or a RED Camera with a good set of primes for less then the cost of getting film developed and processed, not even purchasing the stock itself. And I got to be honest, those cameras produce some good looking images. Really, really good looking images. And I can see right away if some idiot extra walked through the frame during the actress’s best moment. And if I hate my editor, I can start the camera rolling, only stopping to change memory cards, and keep rolling forever, and it doesn’t cost me a dime. I have to admit, being a very, very broke grad student who is about to owe a borderline irresponsible amount of money to the US government, the flexibility the digital medium provides is important. It’s nice to be able to produce professional looking work for a (comparably) reasonable price. The bottom line is, digital was always going to “win”, even a dire hard hold out like Roger Ebert (http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2011/11/the_sudden_death_of_film.html#more) and myself must admit that. All the talk of art and cinema is all well and good, but the business of making movies is exactly that, a business, and business’s must have bottom lines. That’s just the reality of things.