Saturday, January 16, 2016

Film vs. Digital, with Steve Yedlin

I'm going to start out by straight-up quoting John Gruber's post about this in its entirety:

Jim Coudal:
Check Steve Yedlin’s Film vs. Digital Tests, plus this series of tweets from Rian Johnson who is directing SW Episode VIII with Yedlin as DP, and finally this conversation about the matter.
This is a deep rabbit hole for film nerds, but I ate the whole thing up over the weekend.
(and yes, that post itself quotes someone else's post.  Blogception, everybody!)

All three of those links do indeed make for a great rabbit hole to fall into.  It's very interesting seeing such an articulate and well-backed-up take from the Cinematographer of "real" films I admire (particularly Brick and Looper).  Overall, I definitely agree;  while there was still a strong argument to be had back when I was in college, high-end digital acquisition not only caught up to, but in many cases surpassed 35mm film in most technical attributes (ability to resolve detail, dynamic range, low-light sensitivity) a few years ago now.  The prevailing argument since then has mostly been one about the supposedly-innate aesthetic "looks" of each medium, but I think Yedlin makes a very strong case that the malleability of digital image processing makes these sort of argument relatively moot.

That said, I'm still glad he will be shooting Episode VIII on film.  It may not make a lick of difference to the image itself, but the touchy-feely emotional connotations are still real.  (A cynic would call this "marketing," but would still agree...)