Digital Change in Filmmaking
In recent years, the world of filmmaking has completely changed. It has become far easier to access. More and more filmmakers are now embracing digital recording technology and are veering away from the use of traditional film. Sure, there are a few filmmakers out there who still use film to record, but these are in short supply at the moment, in part due to huge funding limitations. So, what is this digital change in filmmaking all about?
Cost of film production
The digital change in filmmaking has made it easier than ever to break into the industry. Anybody who recorded just over a decade ago will tell you that film is remarkably expensive. In fact, for an amateur filmmaker, the amount of film that you needed to purchase would easily suck up the vast majority of the production budget. This is not good. There are far better things to spend your cash on, something that would take your production to a whole other level. With digital recording your ‘film’, for the most part, will be nothing more than an SD card. These are ridiculously cheap, even for the bigger sizes.
Digital filmmaking will allow you to produce ‘longer takes’ of the action. In fact, the length of your take, with even a reasonably sized SD card, is going to be hours. With film stock, you are going to be lucky to get 11 minutes out of a single roll of 35mm film. This isn’t a lot at all. Think how much that film stock will cost when you take into account the amount you are going to film! (hint: it is not going to be cheap)Remember, SD cards can easily be overwritten too. A film recording can’t be. It is far too much hassle to overwrite film. This means that if mistakes are made whilst making your production, you can just erase them from the SD card. No issues. If a mistake is made during film recording, you either have to live with it or jump through hoops to make the changes that you need. This can really slow down production, particularly if you are dealing with a number of ‘bloopers’.
In addition to this, you do not need a fancy camera to record your productions. In fact, if you are just getting started in filmmaking, you can pick up a camera that is able to record digital for a couple of hundred dollars. If you really want something ‘basic’ then you can just whip out your smartphone or tablet and record like that. It isn’t the fanciest of methods to use, but it just goes to show that the digital change in filmmaking has made production accessible for just about everybody. It is no wonder that there are more people entering the world of filmmaking than ever before. You only have to look on sites like YouTube to see this.
One of the benefits of the digital revolution is quite easily overlooked by many a filmmaker. This is the superior ability for digital cameras to shoot in low light situations. Standard film stock will have different ISO ratings. The higher the ISO rating, the better the film will perform in low light situations. However, you also have to be aware that a high ISO rating will lead to film grain. This is not ideal for the vast majority of productions. Digital cameras tend to perform far better at a higher ISO rating. This means clearer recordings, even in low light situations. You also have the side benefit of not having to switch between different types of film for different situations. Again, that is going to be costly.
The benefits of the digital change in filmmaking do not end when production wraps either. These benefits will carry over into post-production too. All you need to do is plug your storage device into your computer, normally an SD card, and away you go. It is easy to edit the scene however you wish. Anybody who has ever worked with film will know just how terrifying the idea of post-production is. For longer films, you have to go through days of scanning that film into the computer before you can even begin editing. Basically, it is an incredibly time-consuming process. With digital film, you can edit whilst you are still in the production phase. In fact, many filmmakers will have somebody working in editing, even as the film is still being made. This means that the production will be wrapped up far quicker. This is great when it comes to saving money.
Now, that is not to say that there are not benefits to filming on film. There is a good reason why many directors out there, including JJ Abrams on the latest Star Wars film, still use film stock to record. However, until you reach the upper echelons of the industry and have huge budgets at your disposal, there is no need to veer away from digital too much. In fact, even then, most directors just use film stock for ‘artistic purposes’ as opposed to anything else. This means that you have absolutely no excuse not to embrace the digital change in filmmaking.