Hollywood ditches film for digital

Several of the biggest movie camera manufacturers have stopped making film-based devices as directors embrace a new generation of digital cameras.

According to Salon, the three big movie camera companies, Aaton, ARRI and Panavision, have quit making film cameras, and as writer Debra Kaufman at Creative Cow put it, “Someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.” 

As Salon continued, “What this means is that, even though purists may continue to shoot movies on film, film itself may become increasingly hard to come by, use, develop and preserve.”

Steven Spielberg recently told The Guardian, “Today, [film’s] years are numbered, but I will remain loyal to this analogue art form until the last lab closes.” 

And as we recently reported on TG, when the new Canon digital camera, the Cinema EOS, was unveiled at Paramount, none other than Martin Scorsese sang its praises, with the director even shooting his recent movie, Hugo, on digital himself with the Arri Alexa camera. 

Yet in the face of all this news, Kim Snyder, President of Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging Division quoted Mark Twain on Kodak’s website:

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. We are still making film – billions of feet of it! Sure, digital technology has impacted how filmmakers approach their work…But Kodak is a company with a long and brilliant presence all built on ground-breaking science and technology. We are committed to continuing to do so, even in today’s landscape where film and digital coexist.”

And indeed, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, The Dark Knight Rises is being shot on celluloid, because director Christopher Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister “prefer to shoot on film.”