Will Film Actually Die?

December 17, 2012 - Ian Planchon

For those of us in mourning over what seemed to be the looming extinction of film, some good news.

For over a hundred years, film has been king. It has those pleasing skin tones, the wide variety of stocks to choose from that will handle light, dark, flat, contrasty and any other situation you throw at it. Arguably, the RED camera began the downfall of film in major studio pictures. Directors like Soderbergh, Finch, Jackson, all flocked to the new camera system. It saved them tons of money in the camera budget, and opened up whole new avenues to explore.

It was an obvious choice for the more “average” production companies that were looking to slim down their budgets. Cutting out the use of film meant you didn’t have to buy reels and reels of film stock, let alone have it developed and transferred before you could watch your dailies. Instant gratification for you and your client. It was a win win.

So Kodak and Fuji have been slowly dying out. Within the past year, all the major film camera manufacturers have announced that they are ceasing production of their film camera line up and focusing solely on digital. And those who want to shoot, or develop film are left with severely limited options.

This all got me thinking. In a recent post, I talk about taking an average shoot and trying to make it unique. The other day I was looking at a project and thought to myself “man, it would be cool to try and shoot that on film”. It dawned on me that the video/film production world is, like most things, a cyclical world. Take a look at the resurgence of Super 8mm film: Kodak just announced a new Super 8mm film stock for the masses.

Our good friend and team member Dave Poyzer loves turning to Super 8 to add a little creative flair to his projects, and he isn’t alone. While in China shooting for Where The Trail Ends, our DP was regularly busting out his new 8mm film camera to add a little color to the project.

In the end, while the digital era is reigning supreme, I think it won’t be long before DP’s around the world are choosing to revert back to 8, 16 and 35mm film to differentiate them from the competition. While I can’t say if that means the film camera manufacturers will decide one day to bring their line-ups back, I am confident that, while times may look bleak, film will never really die.

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