Death of 35mm Film

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micdavis

Master Member
yet one EMP and an entire generation of photography, illustration, literature, animation, etc. would vanish.
So IF the EMPs are being let loose, do you really think a priority will be what movies are still available on film.

I think we'll have slightly more important priority than that.
 

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jlee562

Sr Member
Digital films can look good, no question about that. But it's not the same as film. Film has its own aesthetic.
 

Laffo

Sr Member
So IF the EMPs are being let loose, do you really think a priority will be what movies are still available on film.

I think we'll have slightly more important priority than that.
Well, I guess all the art that survived the last, say 9000 years of wars, should have been burned along with the cities and such because there were higher priorities.
Got it.
I have a feeling Humans would survive 24 months without electricity - and EMPs - don't need to be a nuclear weapon and wouldn't be worldwide. But let's make sure that all the art and film that is only digital is lost after that.

Good thing all the cinema, illustration and photography from before WW1 and WW2 and anything in central Japan from the end of the war wasn't left to that attitude.
Laffo.
 
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Laffo

Sr Member
Only if I drive three hours :unsure
There's a ton to do in town. Make it a weekend.
Center for Puppetry Arts, Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain, Zoo Atlanta, Starlight Six. I can point you to the right places so you eat like a King while you are here.
Laffo.
 
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nightwind1

Active Member
To play devil's advocate (and again, I prefer real film thank you), the argument that formats change is disingenuous. Technology chnages too. So the projectors that show the 35mm prints may be so obsolete in a century you can't project the prints you've preserved. Try finding an 8 track player for instance.
But with film, if it hasn't degraded in, say, 100 years, you could still view it. With digital, who knows if any format in existence today would be readable 100 years from now?

It's one of the reasons I hate the overabundance of digital cameras that people are taking all of their family photos with now. In 50 years, will those pictures even be available? Whereas, I have photos and negatives my grandparents shot back in the '40's.
 

micdavis

Master Member
Well, you're right about that. Don't leave "art" in my hands.

To me most of that stuff isn't worth the canvas it's painted on.

I'm doing my part. I own 110 reels of 16mm film.
 

Chrisisall

Sr Member
Little anecdote here: Back in '79 or '80 I bought a Super 8 two reel magnetic sound version of Superman: The Movie. 40 minutes of sheer eye candy. No VHS OR DVD has ever looked as sweet. There IS no comparison.
 

CB2001

Master Member
Cool..thanks for sharing.

Pixar studio stories - The movie vanishes (full) - YouTube
If anyone is skeptical about the Pixar story, the incident was addressed in the Blu-ray special features. Check the above clip where they explain it.
You're very much welcome. I may have a DSLR that shoots video at 24 FPS, but I believe there's no school like old school when it comes to certain films. Though John Carpenter would probably have shot on a digital camera if the technology had been available at his first time (he's stated in this video back in 2006), I doubt any of Hitchcock's films would work if they had been shot on digital.

To me, the argument of digital vs. film is completely pointless. I see the decision between film and digital no different from deciding on a film stock. Depending on what kind of story you're telling should be the deciding factor on if you want to shoot on film or digital. Is it cheaper to shoot on digital? Yes. But also shooting on unused film stock left over from a film production for almost half the price. The story is what makes the film. And depending on what its shot on can help enhance or dilute the experience of the film. 28 Days Later was shot on a MiniDV prosumer camera. One of the perks was allowing to quickly set up shots on London streets and allowing for a less shooting time on location in those streets, cutting down on time that they had to hold up traffic for those in London. But, one of the things about using that format was that it added a sense of realism that seemed almost documentary-like, thus enhancing the story and the realism. However, when it comes to film, Vertigo wouldn't be the same if Hitchcock had the same technology we have now available to him back then.

But most importantly, the Pixar story, though showing the horrific event of almost losing a film, is a cake walk in comparison to something else I myself have read. Back in the 1950s, they started to utilize video. When it came to the show of I Love Lucy, the producer refused to shoot it on video and chose to shoot it on film while all other producers competing against him chose to film on video. Look at I Love Lucy now. Its still being able to view as the first day it was broadcasted because it was shot on film. The other shows that the producer was competing are not on the air because the video they were lost due to various circumstances all relating to video (such as being accidentally recorded over, being placed near equipment that produced a magnetic field that wiped them out and others. Even the first few episodes of Doctor Who were thought to be lost because they shot on video (recently, they were recovered by NASA and the BBC because they discovered broadcast signals that had made it to space, so they were able to recover those episodes that had been thought to be lost).

That's why I believe that storing copies of the actual films on 35mm is important. Thousands of formats have come and gone while film has managed to survive for almost a century of use. That's saying a lot.
 

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BlobVanDam

Sr Member
Even the first few episodes of Doctor Who were thought to be lost because they shot on video (recently, they were recovered by NASA and the BBC because they discovered broadcast signals that had made it to space, so they were able to recover those episodes that had been thought to be lost).
You do realize that was an April Fools Day joke and that never actually happened, right? :lol

What they really need is to come up with an "archival" digital medium that won't get knocked out by any "magnetic mishap", perhaps something optical like Bluray, but higher capacity and designed for this purpose with a long shelf life without degradation.
 

Laffo

Sr Member
April Fools! 35MM, 8 Tracks and the Flash Cube are healthy and doing well. They share a time share with Hitler and Jim Morrison in Argentina.
Whoop whoop!
Flash Photography party over at The Hit's later!
Gonna watch some 8mm stag films too.
Laffo.
 

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franz bolo

Sr Member
I miss the Phenakistascope, Zoetrope and the Mutoscope. Film totally ruined them!!

Also sound totally screwed up movies! They went from being viewed universally to language specific.

FB
 

GotWookiee

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I work in post production. I'm cutting my first RED show right now and I must say I'm impressed. I'm also looking forward to cutting stuff shot on the C300 and the Alexa. When HDR video gets there, it will be even better.

So I've got no problem with digital production, post, and distribution. My main concern is the archival issue.

I also know how to run a Steenbeck and cut film. In fact, one of my first jobs out of school was prepping some pre-WW2 nitrate film for telecine. Despite the fact that it was pretty old it was in great shape.

If we all died out tomorrow and 500 years from now aliens found the earth, they could play our films. Even without a projector you can hold the film up to the light and SEE what it is. So even if future human or alien archaeologists don't have any working 35mm projectors, the images can be recovered.

On the other hand, a hard drive, EMP or not, will lose its **** after just a couple of years sitting on a shelf. I believe it's called bitflux. To retain the integrity of their data, hard discs need to be spun up and "refreshed' periodically. Google did a study a few years back and determined that after only 1 or 2 years without being powered up, hard discs ran a serious risk of data loss.

So much of production has gone tapeless now and the archival issue is one of the big concerns. Most serious post houses who know what they are doing are using LTO or DLT tape backup, with multiple copies (one stored offsite), but most in production seem to be unaware of the archival issue. A few months back I was dropping off some footage at a local production company that does their post in house. I asked what they were doing for archival of client projects. They just threw stuff on a hard drive and put it on a shelf in the closet. I asked them what they did to refresh the data and they were clueless. Not long ago they called about that footage again; they had needed to re-edit the project and low and behold their "backup" had corrupt data.

My other concern is that making the switch to digital and keeping up with the perpetual upgrades after that will crush independent theaters, leaving nothing but the multiplex chains that show the same crap everywhere you go. I like big hollywood blockbusters and oscar bait as much as the next guy, but I like to see arthouse and foreign films too, or catch a screenings of the old classics. I got to see Stanley Kubrick's first film Fear and Desire at 35mm screening a few years back. They had a marathon of Clint Eastwood's films at the local arthouse theater a year or so ago, all on 35mm.
It's nice to have choices, but when small businesses get replaced by big box stores and other corporate chains you lose the unique cultural flavor that makes each city or town its own place, rather than another franchise in White Bread America Inc. It's a shame when you can travel 2000+ miles and feel like you are 10 minutes from your house because it has the same shopping malls, big box stores, and chain restaurants.
 

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