The Science, Art, and Impact of Digital Cinema
For almost one hundred years there was only one way to make a movie — with film. Movies were shot, edited and projected using photochemical film. But over the last two decades a digital process has emerged to challenge photochemical filmmaking.
A new documentary produced by Keanu Reeves, Side By Side takes an in-depth look at this revolution. Through interviews with directors, cinematographers, film students, producers, technologies, editors, and exhibitors, Side By Side examines all aspects of filmmaking — from capture to edit, visual effects to color correction, distribution to archive. At this moment when digital and photochemical filmmaking coexist, Side By Side explores what has been gained, what is lost, and what the future might bring.
“Film purists will criticize the lack of blur and strobing artifacts, but all of our crew — many of whom are film purists — are now converts. You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience. It’s similar to the moment when vinyl records were supplanted by digital CDs. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re heading towards movies being shot and projected at higher frame rates. Warner Bros. have been very supportive, and allowed us to start shooting The Hobbit at 48 fps, despite there never having been a wide release feature film filmed at this higher frame rate. We are hopeful that there will be enough theaters capable of projecting 48 fps by the time The Hobbit comes out where we can seriously explore that possibility with Warner Bros. However, while it’s predicted that there may be over 10,000 screens capable of projecting The Hobbit at 48 fps by our release date in Dec, 2012, we don’t yet know what the reality will be. It is a situation we will all be monitoring carefully. I see it as a way of future-proofing The Hobbit. Take it from me–if we do release in 48 fps, those are the cinemas you should watch the movie in. It will look terrific!”