Which is better, digital or celluloid film? You want to get into a heated debate with a filmmaker just ask this question. Recently filmmakers have seen a phenomenal transition from traditional film photography to digital photography, led primarily by the cameras on the smartphones just about everyone carries.
As smartphone cameras improved, the convenience and quality they could deliver were suitable for most people's photo needs. However, some amateur and professional photographers still believe that film cameras deliver superior quality for cinema quality.
The answer to which is better is dependent on what you want to achieve. Here we have listed some advantages and some disadvantages each so you can best decide for yourself.
Why Shoot Film
Film gives the filmmaker greater control over the final product. Two big advantages of using film are the depth-of- field and the exposure latitude.
When shooting film, shallower depth of filed is better than digital. The filmmaker can create areas in the frame that are soft focus or blurry is easier.
This means that underexposed and overexposed areas are rendered better on film than on digital. For instance, on video, a corner of the frame with little light could go completely black, whereas on film is would still show details.
This is important for cinematographers play with light, so a broader exposure latitude medium offers them more opportunity.
Why Shoot Digital
Digital is spreading quickly and quickly become the norm. As technology evolves, video will soon become Hollywood standard. It's impossible to know when, but the push towards it has already begun. The main reasons to choose digital is price, convenience, and usability.
Shooting film is expensive. An 800-foot role of film stock costs about $200 which is about 20 minutes of film – and when cut for final production it usually comes out to maybe 5 minutes of useable footage
With digital filmmaking, you can have no limit to how much you can shoot – the only limit is computer space.
Digital film can also really speed things up. With film, prior to the shoot, someone has to load the magazine in a light-safe area. After the shoot, the film must be developed, processed, and then digitized for theatre or the internet. Film is digitized because most editing are now done in computers, using programs like Avid or Final Cut Pro.
If you shoot digitally, you can skip these labourous and expensive steps. You record straight onto the hard drive.
While Hollywood filmmakers prefer to use film, more and more are using digital. The technology will eventually catch up to film and be able to gave filmmakers the exposure latitude and the depth of field they are used to. When this happens, digital will be superior and allow filmmakers to cut their production budget.
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