The Death And Rebirth Of Movies On Film

   Debra Kaufman, reports in Creative Cow Magazine, that movies made on film are going the way of IBM Seclectric typewriters and telegraph keys.   She reports that the companies that made the cameras that make the movies (or used to) are stopping production because nobody’s buying.

According to Kaufman, ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have quietly ceased production of film cameras within the last year to focus exclusively on design and manufacture of digital cameras. That’s right: someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.”

It’s interesting that while the industry goes digital, the ArchLight theater chain is bringing back old movies.   I went over to see a film  – well, a digital movie, actually – and was informed by the Archlight greeter that the chain is bringing back old films starting with the musical “Funny Girl” starring Barbara Streisand, and “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson, for Halloween.   I see the ArchLight theaters in Sherman Oaks and Hollywood, are already running “Ghostbusters.”

One must presume that if these older films draw an audience, then the ArchLight chain will continue going part retro, leading to some interesting possibilities.  One, is that accomplished acting, good directing and creative writing actually trump special effects, even for teenage boys.  Another,  is that film gives a motion picture something the stark and sometimes overbearing reality of digital, simply does not have.  I don’t even want to get into the impact of 3-D, which will probably turn out to be exactly what it’s been in the past, a fad providing only limited draw.

You have to wonder how long it’ll take the industry to bring out a digital camera that exactly mimics the look of film?  Except that it won’t be.   That won’t matter though, because there will still be non-linear editing and all the other tricks digital brings to the table.  Can’t fight the inevitable.  Anyway, even if you don’t like it, “who ya gonna call?”

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