Renaissance of (Digital) Film
FROM FILM PRINTS TO FILM FILES Filmmaking today thrives as an independent, personal and industrial form of creative expression within today’s global digital, web-based and television environment. Until recently, the use of 35 mm film stock has been utilised in over 95 per cent of productions destined for the cinema theatres. Currently, with the advancement of digital projection systems, the prohibitive cost of 35 mm film stock, and the resolution capabilities of evolving camera and lens systems, ‘film-image’ digital capture practices have transcended the silver halide emulsion process. In 2012, the UK distributed over 80 per cent of its movie productions digitally. Within the next few years, distribution companies will not be making available any film prints and all cinemas will have completed the transition to full digital projection. The great cinematic camera companies, such as Panasonic, are no longer developing 35 mm technologies and are now focused on advancing high-definition digital image capture and lens quality to suit. What we are witnessing in cinema today is the grandest technological shift since the advent of the voice and soundtrack that transformed spectator experience. This contemporary transference is more than this new technology’s software and hardware upgrade; it stimulates convergence and diversity for filmmakers and audiences while contributing to social development and practices. It can be readily argued that with the range of digital equipment at our disposal, from student to Hollywood studio, the aesthetic concepts of how film stock captured its image, mise en scène, light and character has been transferred to its digital counterpart. Thus, the term ‘digital film’ is an applicable notion and moniker, for today, that represents the amalgamation of traditional cinematic concepts (as originally achieved on celluloid) with today’s digital formats and practises, including 3D holographic and IMAX systems.