Going Digital, Does Martin Scorsese Have it Right?

Healthcare is grabbing the headlines and the Chattersphere today, but one thing appears to be certain: It's curtains for film. OK, maybe a stretch of a segue, but here's the thing. Sure, there are some high profile holdouts and even digital-converts will attest to the quality and feel of film. But when Martin Scorsese is ready to make the perma-switch, then the slow inevitable demise may have just been given an extra boost.

Scorsese will go digital for his next film and appears resigned to the format going forward. Speaking with Empire at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the director's longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker said, "It would appear that we've lost the battle," confirming his next film, The Wolf of Wall Street would be shot digitally. "I think Marty just feels it's unfortunately over, and there's been no bigger champion of film than him."

Of course Scorsese's last film Hugo won an Oscar for Best Cinematography. It is also a de facto call for film preservation, something near and dear to the filmmaker's heart. "It's a very bittersweet thing to be watching films with him now that are on film," said Schoonmaker. "We're cherishing every moment of it. The number of prints that are now being made for release has just gone down, and it would appear that the theaters have converted so quickly to digital."

Scorsese and Schoonmaker get to work on The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Jean Dujardin the second week of August.

And what do you think about the switch to digital?

[Source: Empire]



Comments

  • Alex says:

    Hugo was shot on an Arri Alexa digital camera. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118046712

  • Jake says:

    Film purists can eat it. I guarantee 95% of them can't tell the difference between something shot digitally and something shot on film unless it was shot in IMAX and exhibited in IMAX.

    Digital is great. It's cheaper, allows for immediate review in a high def monitor, and generally makes every step of the way simpler.

    So the holdouts can hold out while the world is busy making movies without them. And they can go the way of film itself. To extinction.

    BTW, almost nobody, and I do mean NOBODY, shoots film anymore. It's already de facto dead and has been for roughly five years. Even commercials that are making 30 second spots don't shoot film anymore. That's how comparable digital is to film. Film isn't worth shooting even for 30 seconds of finished work.

  • Bill Pryor says:

    This article doesn't make sense. Scorsese is already digital. As noted in an above post, "Hugo" was digital, shot with the Alexa.

  • Darla Shelby says:

    One should consider that even with the demise of film, film will still be exist; at least for a while, as an acquisition medium. Why? To flippantly dismiss film because there is a more advanced recording medium is akin to asking why still use a brush and paint when art can be produced digitally and more efficiently in a computer?

    Filmmakers, be they a Martin Scorsese or a fledgling film student, will always determine the esthetics of their project and that includes on what medium it is recorded. What makes visual sense for one project obviously may not be for another, but as long as the manufacturers continue to provide it, why not continue to offer a film choice?

    For a certain generation of moviegoers it is more appropriate to ask if they could remember watching the Godfather or Seven in the theater for the first time and then imagine removing the texture and enhancement that film provided for those movies. The subtlety of an organic recording medium projected does make a subconscience impact on our perception, but that may not be necessary for the majority of today's films and filmgoers.

    While the question of "film" vs "digital" is inconsequential in 2012; actually it sounds more like "Epic" vs "Alexa" these days, the real discussion will always be about the esthetic choice and what is appropriate for the project.

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