But- what really makes Reeves the ideal guide in this debate is the fact that as a superstar, the big-name directors, including Steven Soderbergh, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and David Fincher- totally open up to Reeves- who's on their own level in regards to fame. As a result, he gets a lot out of them, particularly David Fincher- who's incredibly blunt about how he feels a DP working on 35mm usurps his authority over the look of a film, and George Lucas- who's visibly irritated and bitter over the way he was attacked by deciding to shoot ATTACK OF THE CLONES on digital,
Overall, SIDE BY SIDE is an extremely compelling look at this shift. The film takes you right from the early days of DV- with the Dogme 95 movement, right up to the proliferation of high-tech, 3D digital blockbusters, and the effect it's had on financing, exhibition and more. While DV means more movies can be made- cheaper, it's also acknowledged that with new tools like digital intermediate color grading, more and more people who aren't the director or DP can impact the look of a film. Nolan, along with his cinematographer Wally Pfister restate over and over that film, for them- is the only way to shoot, but a guy like Fincher, who wants to be the final authority at all times on his movies, pushes the other side of the argument. It all makes for compelling viewing- especially when Lucas, who helped develop the first DV cameras that could compete with 35mm, and pioneered digital prints in theaters, goes on record about his own battles with the limitations of 35mm. This is good stuff.