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Renowned cinematographer Roger Deakins says: "Whether I'll shoot on film again, I don't know"

02.09.2011

If you're a fan of gorgeous-looking pictures, then you likely have cinematographer Roger Deakins to thank for it. The man is a nine-time Academy Award nominee and a regular collaborator with the Coen Brothers (he's nominated this year in fact for their western TRUE GRIT), as well as being responsible for the look of films such as Martin Scorsese's KUNDUN, Andrew Dominik's THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES (pictured), and Andrew Niccol's upcoming sci-fi thriller NOW.

In fact, it's NOW (formally I'M.MORTAL) that marks Deakins' first attempt at shooting a film using digital cameras. So what are the thoughts of the master cinematographer that's been shooting on celluloid now for over 30 years? This is what he had to say in a recent interview with /Film:

"This film Now, Iím shooting on a digital camera. First film Iíve shot digitally, because, frankly, itís the first camera Iíve worked with that Iíve felt gives me something I canít get on film. Whether Iíll shoot on film again, I donít know. [Shooting on Digital] gives me a lot more options. Itís got more latitude, itís got better color rendition. Itís faster. I can immediately see what Iím recording. I can time that image on set with a color-calibrated monitor. That coloring goes through the whole system, so itís tied with the meta-data of the image. So that goes through the whole post-production chain, so itís not a case of being in a lab and having to sit and then time a shot on a shot-by-shot because this has already got a control on it thatís set the timing for the shot, you know?"

But for all the talk about film vs. digital and which one is truly better, Deakins cuts through all the bullshit and states the fact that has and always will remain true:

"The grain is unique, but on this film Now that Iím doing, Iím probably going to add grain for certain sequences where I feel that they would benefit having grain, just the look and the texture of it. Yeah, there are certain things about film emulsion that I love, and for certain projects, absolutely. I would certainly consider shooting film again, but you can add grain to a digital image. And, frankly, itís not the technology that makes the great movies. I mean, if you went back to see Citizen Kane and you looked at it on a big screen and you looked at the quality of the image, I mean, frankly, some of it is not veryÖwell, goodís not the right word, because technically itís not as sharp. Some of it is very grainy. The lens quality is not as good as modern lenses. ButÖ[Laughs] itís still a better film than ninety-nine percent of what are made today. So, you know, itís not just about technique and equipment."

You can read Deakins' entire quotes on the subject RIGHT HERE.
Extra Tidbit: Will film inevitably go away completely? Or will there always be someone like a Steven Spielberg that will keep celluloid alive?
Source: /Film

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