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10 Reasons Why Filmmakers Should Shoot Film (According to Kodak)

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire September 18, 2013 at 8:54AM

At a Kodak-sponsored panel during IFP Film Week, filmmakers discuss the benefits of shooting on film.
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"Want the Film Look? Shoot Film" panel
IFP "Want the Film Look? Shoot Film" panel

Now that Kodak is out of bankruptcy, it wants to reassure filmmakers that they are still in the business of making movies.

"We will be making film for the forseeable future," Bob Mastronardi, sales and technical manager, Kodak, said yesterday during "Want the Film Look? Shoot Film," a Kodak-sponsored panel during IFP Film Week. "I want to reinforce the fact that film is still here and we are still here."

Despite the prevalence (and affordability) of digital, there are still films being shot on film, including some of the best indies of recent years, such as "Beasts of the Southern Wild, "Fruitvale Station," and "Blue Jasmine."

"In this day of everything digital, it seems like film is never even considered," said Mastronardi. "If you are interested in doing your project on film, you should consider film."

The panelists included cinematographer Brian Rigney Hubbard ("Circumstance"), producer Nekisa Cooper ("Pariah"), cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz ("Daddy Longlegs") and director Andrew Renzi ("Franny").

They all provided some strong reasons why film is better than digital. 

Here are the Top 10 Reasons Why Filmmakers Should Shoot Film:

1. It's simple.

 "When you're shooting digital, you're creating these huge files that go into a hard drive that have to be backed up on a set. Film comes in a can. You shoot it and you put it back in the can and send it to the lab. It's very simple." -- Mastronardi

2. Film provides better color.

 "You're losing all of this information with the digital medium. When it goes big, the shadows won't be comprised of color. With film, it's still actually recording information in there. It still has the granularity and a certain amount of color." -- Rigney Hubbard

3. It forces you to be efficient. 

"If you're shooting on film, your day is going to be more efficient. You have to know the in and out. It's good to have this discipline and limitation which forces you to be efficient. It's almost freeing because you have to work harder ahead of time." -- Jutkiewicz

"Preparation breeds freedom. You have to have a clearly articulated aesthetic and you've got to test that ahead of time." -- Cooper

4. It creates an atmosphere of trust.

"When you can make a case for your film being shot on film, it's almost freeing a little bit because you have that trust. You're probably not getting dailies back every night and being able to watch them. Producers aren't able to make sure everything is going okay at every step up the way...That kind of mindset translates to the work environment and the feeling of a flow that you get shooting on film that you don't always get shooting on digital when you have monitors showing you exactly what the final image is going to look like. Film reintroduces a trust which is a great environment to work in." -- Jutkiewicz

5. It's flattering. 

"A lot of actresses desire to be shot on film. It has that softer look. When you're aging, you prefer that." -- Mastronardi

6. It's easier to edit.

"I hear from editors sometimes if there are multiple cameras on the set, they're up all night trying to figure out what's going on with all the footage." -- Mastronardi

7. It's a safer bet.

"People have been given a lot of PR saying film is expensive, you'll save money if you do it on video or digital. As you go through that process with your producer and start researching what your goals are, you find out very quickly that there are a lot of options. A lot of times film can be an option on a very low budget. It can guarantee a deliverable in the end that isn't compromised." -- Rigney Hubbard

8. You can make changes later.

"I know a really good 'hard drive.' It's film. It's there. It's scannable. You can do stuff with it's later. To have film and to be able to work with it in post-production is really exciting." -- Renzi

9. It looks like film.

"If you want that film look, just shoot film. I don't know of a process that can do what film can. That randomness of the grain is the difference of film. Film has information even in the empty space between your characters – there's something going on all the time."

10. Put bluntly: It just looks good.

"Film looks good, really good." -- Jutkiewicz

This article is related to: Kodak, Film Versus Digital, News, IFP, Independent Film Week





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