So You Think I Am A Complete Lunatic?

I have received more than one email that in one way or another asked about the state of my mental health. Some of them not so nice. Of course these were related to the use of the F word. No the other four letter F word - FILM. I could write about digital shit all day and night 24x7 and suggest every piece of equipment and software known to mankind. I could probably contradict my recommendations 24 hours later and nobody would ever question it.

I mention film and old cheap fantastic equipment that can be had for a song - I get emails telling me I am off my rocker and how EVERYONE knows how badly film is beat about the head by just about any digital camera. Hmmmm ummmmm, welllll. Uh let's see.

If you have the budget the choice is almost always film in the world of visual quality, easy of capture, consistency, lighting options, overall look, etc. As long as cost is no object and it doesn't need to be put on the web in the next 5 minutes film is the capture medium of  choice. Yep even in 2011.

Of course the ONLY place in the visual world that cost hasn't been totally self-destructed is in motion. For the most part still photographs are a bust - NOBODY is willing to pay for quality, well generally not many people. Most people don't care. They didn't care when it was film - hence 110, fixed focus cameras, box cameras, etc. Consumers drive the vast majority of the imaging market. You think Vince LaForet who does the whole video on the DSLR thing is at the high end of the market? Wrong he is a still photographer that saw a way out - look at the equipment he is gravitating to. DSLR? Nope - if he didn't make a lot of money showing you guys "how-to" with your DSLR and if you actually got a couple of drinks in him he would probably tell you he would LOVE to shoot 35mm film in the big pond with the big fishies.

Now once you have the production crew, and the booms, dollies, train tracks, cranes, lighting - now you are talking big budget. That's how you make things look good, have a big production - big crew - big money - you shoot film. Heck they even use film for a lot of high-end commercials - mostly 16mm scanned to HD but in some cases 35mm as well.

Wanna see some? Take a look at the Under Armor commercials of late - I thought they looked fantastic and the lighting was pretty amazing and pretty "not-digital" looking to me, so I looked it up. What do you know - A roll on 35mm Vision3 Kodak B roll all hand held on 16mm Kodak Vision3. Most of the visual effects were even done in-camera like the speed changes and exposure changes. If you can't tell the difference here you could probably live with your iPhone for the rest of your life and be happy - just sharpen and crank the local contrast and saturation - that should make it nice and LOUD but unfortunately not luscious like film does with light that nails the look right out of the can. 7 stops exposure latitude? Nice flexibility to boot. RB

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