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The Digital Revolution: Instant Garbage

The digital revolution has made filmmaking a lot more accessible to those of us who aren’t obscenely rich. Normally, for a guy who wants to make films such as I, you’d think I’d consider that a good thing. In a way it is, but digital has its problems. The accessibility is a welcomed gift, but in no way is film better off as a result of the digital revolution. The composition of high definition is hard to manipulate. There are two choices. Bright reddish brown and dark red brown, i.e., night and day. Colors, in daylight, tend to pop on the screen. They assault and bombard you to distraction. You have “sunny” and that’s it. When you mute the colors, the scene comes across in a warm brownish hue. That’s it. There is no in between. Gone is the art of manipulation. People today want clarity. They want to see the little line on Jennifer Aniston’s right eye that you could not see even if you were standing right next to her. It handcuffs filmmakers, but they don’t seem to mind or care.

On the other hand, many contend digital makes it easier to integrate CG effects. Yes, that is true, but the problem is you trade away depth. One example that comes to mind is Vin Diesel’s 2013 film, Riddick, which had all the shot depth and composition of a picture painted on a cardboard box. Not to mention, if the computer graphics in Riddick are an indication of the ease with which filmmakers are now able to work, I say, what’s the point. The CG in that film was plain garbage. Lack of depth is a huge detriment to digital, almost fatally so. Another film that really underlines this fact is Noah, the recent film starring Russell Crowe. Besides the fact that Crowe brings new meaning to the term ‘boring’, the film’s cinematography lacks depth and the CG is possibly the one thing worse than Crowe’s acting. The watchers, condemned to Earth in the movie in the form of stone golems, were ridiculously bad. Obviously, director Darren Afronsky had OD’d on the Transformers before he started work on Noah. Why is it the more films supposedly become three-dimensional, the more they look utterly flat? Avatar was just as guilty.

Production of film by Kodak has dropped 96% percent the past seven years. Luckily, there have been a number of filmmakers who have come out in favor of saving Kodak, the ailing last maker of film. Quentin Tarantino is probably the most vocal supporter of film, having shot all his works that way. JJ Abrams is shooting the next installment of the Star Wars franchise on film, as well. Along with Christopher Nolan and others, Tarantino and Abrams’ recent pressuring of studios to place long-term orders with Kodak may not only have saved Kodak’s plant in Rochester, N.Y., but also the precedent for high-quality filming. Hopefully, more filmmakers will realise its value and follow suit.

 

Tags: JJ Abrams Noah Quentin Tarantino Riddick Star Wars

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