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Even though Kodak’s name won’t be mentioned at the Oscars ceremony, the company will still have a significant presence. Seven of the nine Best Picture nominees were shot on Kodak film.

Hollywood directors still like film. But how long will that last? No one really knows:

“Though reports of its imminent death have been exaggerated, more industry observers than before accept the end of film. “In 100 years, yes,” says AbelCine’s (Moe) Shore. “In ten years, I think we’ll still have film cameras. So somewhere between 10 and 100 years.”

Kodak is still a big player in Hollywood. It makes billions of feet of movie film a year and is continuing to develop new kinds of movie film. Kodak has also innovated in the area of digital cinematography. It licensed its laser projection technology to IMAX.

Movie film has some things working in its favor. The cameras last for years and it’s a well-established technology. Famous directors, including Steven Spielberg, love film. Most movies in India are shot on film. Film has tremendous archival properties. Movies shot on digital begin to deteriorate after as little as 5 years and technology changes can render digital movies obsolete.

But almost everyone sees the writing on the wall. Camera manufacturers have all but stopped making cameras for movie film. Theaters are going digital to save on the costs of making and shipping prints. More directors are choosing digital photography, The technology is making movie production much more accessible to independent filmmakers.

The consumer photography transition to digital is complete. The same absolutely cannot be said for the movie industry.

“It’s going to be less of a debate,” (filmmaker Jeff) Cronenweth added. “In all fairness, we’re at the infancy stage of digital cinema.”

6 Responses to Film is Dead! Long Live Film!

  1. I saved up for a long time to buy a Leica 35mm camera and now, high quality film is hard to obtain, save for the RIT bookstore and on line. I now have a digital camera that cost me less then a tenth of the price of the Leica, takes great pictures and is more convenient.

  2. February 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm Carlos Mercado responds:

    Perhaps digital will comletely overtake motion picture film, but not till it has the same resolution and you and create the same atmosphere with it – things like shadow and brilliance.

    • Most everything you see these days is digital. From big budget blockbusters to small indie films. Duplicating the look and feel of film with digital is most certainly possible today.

      Kodak should cement their future in the Motion Picture industry by buying out a company like RED Camera, who’s cameras are what Digital filmmakers are using. Their biggest problem is that they can’t keep up with demand. If there’s one thing that Kodak CAN do, it’s make cameras.

  3. There is a scene in The Artist where the main character George has a fit because he is living in the past and sets fire to all his old films – except for one can. I jokingly told my friend that that was Kodak right now and it is. But when others turn away is the time to preserve what you have and value it even if others don’t (for the moment). Most silent films were destroyed out of neglect and for the value of the silver nitrate. Mary Pickford went around buying up the rights to all her old films because she feared laughter of a public that thought they were old fashioned. Many of the Technicolor film cameras were sold off on the cheap to China which helped Zhang Yimou make his early films so beautiful. It is important in a time when Kodak is being scolded, ridiculed as being too old fashioned and living in the past to not forget the value of what they have and allow much of it to be preserved even if they move on to new projects.

  4. June 8, 2012 at 3:40 am Greg Cosh responds:

    Beautifully put, Lynn. They said vinyl was done, and look what happened. Film will never die, because digital is flag and fleeting. Film is gorgeous, and forever- at least 150 years.

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