Saturday, November 19, 2011

What's the difference between shooting on film or shooting on video?

I'm studying film at uni and we shoot on DV, and I've heard people talk about the advantages and disadvantages of shooting on video or film but I've never really got what's the difference? Is one better than the other? More importantly, does one look more professional than the other?|||In general, film has much better exposure latitude and colors. And unless you use a really high end video camera, film also looks much more professional. You can often very easily distinguish between a movie that has been shot on film versus one that has been shot with video.

One example really comes to mind..."Public Enemies." It was shot on video and it LOOKS digital. I saw that movie in the theater with a friend, and I could tell right away that there was something just "wrong" with it. It looked very amateurish and it looked as if the whole thing had been shot with a hand held video camera. It looked like a re-enactment on a low budget documentary. Sure enough, when I got home I looked it up and it was shot with digital. Granted, the jarring, sloppy look might have been intentional, but to me that was a horrible idea to shoot a period movie with video. It would have been much better with film.

Most movies, and even tv series are still shot on film. Even movies with a lot of special effects, like "Terminator: Salvation" were shot on film. In fact, I was reading about a special developing technique they used, called "bleach bypass." It skips one of the chemicals during developing, which causes the colors to be muted and gives the movie a surreal look. They did that to fit the post-apocalyptic story. Bleach bypass has also been used with some other movies, like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Minority Report."

Even most music videos are still shot on film. Digital video has its place, but film in general just looks better.

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