Update: BBC News has an article about the film, which is due out in UK cinemas from yesterday (15th February 2013)
As somebody who’s spent six years at a big post-production facility in London, I’ve seen the transition from film to digital progress very rapidly indeed. It’s advanced to the point that after four years having left the post-production industry, my former employer’s parent company, Technicolor, no longer directly processes film and has contracted that out to Deluxe for that purpose.
Four years later when I was working for Imagineer Systems, I was in Los Angeles shooting a promotional video for our forthcoming NAB presentation. We stopped off at a company in Santa Monica (whose name I unfortunately now forget) that was one of (if not) the very last post-production houses in the area that still had it’s own film lab. With chemicals and everything!
Film is dying, people. All hail digital filmmaking.
So yes, I’ll be going to see Side by Side at the earliest opportunity..
.. although I find it somewhat ironic that a documentary about how digital technology is empowering filmmakers and the film industry will only be available to watch, by and large, by people at home. From what I been able gather, Side by Side has had a very limited theatrical release in the US and I’ve yet to discover what plans they have for releasing the film in the UK (attempts at contacting the Side by Side team via Twitter have so far failed).
All this technology for making cost-effective beautiful looking films is all well and dandy, but none of this matters not a single jolt unless you can persuade cinemas to exhibit your film. No amount of fancy-pants digital jiggery pokery is going to get YOUR film to where it should be shown first and forthmost: the cinema. You still need talent and good marketing for that.
The problem watching films at home is the myriad of devices available to the consumer that can playback movies. They all vary in specifications, but the quality of the camera and audio kit used to shoot the film is far superior to what the average consumer is going to have access to. It’s such a shame to shoot a film at 4k resolution and have it’s audio mixed to a high level of precision, only for it to be watched on an Xbox at 720p on a 19″ TFT screen with stereo sound in some kid’s bedroom.
And let me just take this opportunity to repeat what David Lynch said about watching a film on your mobile phone..
Don’t get me started on the (very) long-term archiving of digitally shot film.
Hoping that Side by Side gets a reasonable UK theatrical run, otherwise – sigh – I’ll have to watch it at home.