Digital vs Film: The Cinema Showdown

Side by Side (2012), a documentary directed by  Christopher Kenneally &  produced by Keanu Reeves.

By Jakesepher Hohenheim    Jan. 11, 2016

The craft that is film-making has been around for over 100 years since the invention of moving pictures. For the most part, the “gold standard” in the movie industry has been the use of film to capture motion pictures but for over the last decade there has been a new trend that is quickly making film obsolete. Thanks to the innovations in technology with collaboration between the filmmakers and camera manufactures they have produced a more cost efficient and practical method in the development of cameras that capture footage digitally.

“Movies were shot, edited and projected using photochemical film. But over the last two decades a digital process has emerged to challenge photochemical filmmaking.” – excerpt from Side by Side The Movie Website

T5.PNGCanon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II Digital SLR Kit

This compelling documentary explores the history of filmmaking, tried & tested methods, and insights from renowned figures in the industry on the debate between Digital and Film. On one side, the argument is that Film provides texture, authenticity, and character to the picture that is captured. On the other, Digital is simply practical for its mobility, clarity, and advantages in digital that just cannot be achieved with film. There are some who say Film is simply atrocious to watch and others who say digital looks “too perfect”. And then there are many who see the benefits of having either or both.

“Digital brings you speed. And it almost challenges you in the sense of, can I think that fast? Do I need time to breathe.” – Darnell Martin, Side by Side (2012)

“My big concern is of the image, ultimately with CGI, I don’t know if our younger generation is believing anything anymore on screen, it’s not real.” – Martin Scorsese, Side by Side (2012)

It is typical when there is change, many will resist it. But I see this simply as another convenience like the DSLR camera or digital painting software, and yet there are plenty of people who still paint on canvases and develop photos in dark rooms. I mean come on, there are people who still use Polaroid. Although I do agree that the use of film will be wiped from  the industry standard, I see it will just be another option of various mediums of art for us to choose from.

“In a way, cinema was the church of the 20th century.”- Michael Chapman, Side by Side (2012)

Reeves sits down with various directors, producers, actors, and in particular Directors of Photography (DP) or also known as Cinematographers. Including: James Cameron, Lana & Andy Wachowski, Robert Rodriguez, George Lucas, and much more.

See ‘Side by Side’ on Netflix


wdlens.PNGCanon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras


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