Adapt and overcome
Digital filming as opposed to 35mm film. Keanu Reeves examines the pros and cons in the documentary Side by Side (2012), which I watched the other day. And although I agree with Hollywood director Christopher Nolan that digital filming cannot top 35mm, it is not always case of quality and look-and-feel. Let me tell you why.
In this documentary big happening Hollywood D.O.P.’s and directors such as James Cameron and Christopher Nolan elaborate on the pros and cons of digital filming and 35mm film. I believe it is easy to say 35mm is the match winner for Christopher Nolan. He has acquired a status of ‘carte blanche’ in Hollywood. Each film he has made up to now has proven to be a blockbuster success. So he is one of the lucky few that can actually afford the enormously time consuming and expensive production process of film. However 35mm film is simply not suitable for the commercial league we film agency’s operate in – the digital way of filming did give the rest of us film loving people a tool to realize our own spectacular visions in an affordable manner.
King of the set
True, digital filming requires a new work ethic. For the director, for the actors but mostly for D.O.P.’s. I know what I am talking about because my first D.O.P. is an old BBC guy and during production of our short WW2 film Lost Lives we had quite some discussions about topics like colour balance or work flow. Being the director at the time it gave me the advantage of having the final say, but he did have a point. D.O.P.’s were forced to hand in their past status of being the king of the set. With digital filming, dailies can be viewed right after a shot and everything is filmed in ‘raw quality’ because the colour correction is done in the post. Nowadays D.O.P’s feel like their art form has been taken away from them.
In a way this might be true, but adapt and overcome is my devise. I know the new generation of D.O.P.’s has to find new ways to come up with shots and angles that are unique. My D.O.P. did just this and exactly that is what made him stand out once more. He is the king of our set again.
So whether you are Christopher Nolan and you worry about millions of dollars or you are just a small filmmaker, it all comes down your own creativity. Whether you film on a iPhone or on 35mm film, you are the painter of your own canvas. Even when you work small, think big and you will make a difference.