Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #916: Go Digital Or Go Home?

Christopher Nolan, the master of the intelligent blockbuster, made two announcements at a recent conference of people in the movie business. The first one is that he's not going to do another Batman movie, which is probably a sensible call, and the second is that he doesn't care for digital film-making, preferring to keep using film until they pry the last reel from his cold dead hands.

Okay, I exaggerate his stance a little bit. 

He really just believes that digital film-making hasn't quite reached the technical and economic standards that he thinks film still has, and won't get into using digital cameras until they do.

He might be right, he's way deeper into the current technology than I am, but he's also speaking from a bubble of great comfort. If he wants to shoot on film no studio, especially not Warner Bros. is going to say no to a man whose movies have made well over a billion dollars at the box office in the past 10 years.

Everyone else though has to accept the certain home truth that digital is inevitable.

I can understand Nolan's ambivalence, and I will give him credit for acknowledging that he's not completely writing off digital. That would be like writing off sound or color, a blatant denial of the fact that the medium is changing via new developments in technology, and if you don't learn to use it, you're going to lose it.

I for one welcome the coming of digital technology, for two reasons...

1. It's cheaper than film.

2. It's easier to work with than film.

Now the big studios are thinking that it's a great thing since it chops millions off the costs of production and distribution.

That's a good thing for them, but also a bad thing for them. And what makes it a bad thing for them makes it a good thing for film as both an art & a business.

Does that make any sense to you?

Then allow me to explain...

Right now competing with the big studios has three major hurdles...

1. The high cost of production.

2. The high cost of distribution.

3. The high cost of marketing.

Digital film-making slashes a lot of the expense from production and distribution. Couple that with alternative mediums born from the digital revolution and the marketing opportunities that come from that, the cost of marketing movies can also be brought under control.

Also, digital technology is constantly improving thanks to the intense competition between equipment manufacturers while film has pretty much hit its peak, and I don't see it going any farther. So digital will reach a level capable of pleasing Christopher Nolan a lot sooner than anyone will think.

The revolution will be digitized my friends.


  1. As someone who saw the photography world undergo a similar transition 10 years ago, you've nailed it. It'll be interesting to see how the digital transition allows power to shift between studios, filmmakers, and theaters.

  2. Guy should at least be honest like Jack White and say he won't go back unless he's really desperate.