In Hollywood’s continued attempts to evolve as an industry and remain relevant in the modern age of motion pictures and television, one of the biggest debates regarding direction continues to concern the medium by which directors, producers and studios are forced to shoot their projects. As digital camera and projection systems continue to grow in ubiquity and quality while simultaneously reducing in price, the format has slowly supplanted over the halcyon days of shooting on physical celluloid stock. Because of this, there currently remains only one U.S. production plant still making the material, a Rochester plant owned by Kodak.
Recently, it came to light that the company was going to shut down its remaining film plant and switch to a 100% digital-based business model. However, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, those plans have changed after filmmakers including Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams and Quentin Tarantino pleaded with the company, in addition to various studios, including Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount, Disney, and The Weinstein Company, all agreeing to order a set amount of stock over the next few years.
It’s hard to say where the future of big budget filmmaking is headed. From a business perspective, the use of digital technology is what’s made it possible for many lower budget affairs to stay viable in the age of giant blockbuster box office, not to mention that digital systems are a big reason why television’s taken hold so tightly in the last decade. Digital, by its nature, fits the television shooting model of one episode in eight days perfectly, thus making it possible to get more done is less time (hopefully leading to higher quality programs).
However, many purists believe from an aesthetic point-of-view that physical film stock still serves a place and that without it, the industry will lose something that made it the powerhouse that it is today. For now, they can take solace in the fact that the medium isn’t going away just yet, but if things don’t change soon, the victory might be short lived.
Do you think Hollywood shoot commit to saving film stock? Let us know in the comments below.