As the battle between Film and Digital rages on, a battle in which the veteran is also the underdog, the medium of Film has been dealt a crushing blow in the form of legendary director Martin Scorsese finally making the switch over to Digital for his next feature, The Wolf of Wall Street. While the director’s previous landmark effort, Hugo was also filmed Digitally so as to capture it in 3D, Scorsese’s longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker was quoted as saying “It would appear that we’ve lost the battle. I think Marty just feels it’s unfortunately over, and there’s been no bigger champion of film than him.”
I’m not here to discuss the merits and de-merits of either form of technology, even though my own personal preference has me leaning towards Film because of its unmatched quality, but the fact remains that Digital is both cheaper and easier to use, resulting in a recent boom in amateur filmmaking in today’s internet-dominated era, so it’s no surprise that many are turning towards it. But the resulting decline in the medium of Film that has been taking place on nearly every single level, is a rather devastating one. Filmmakers are slowly but surely choosing Digital over Film. Theatres are rapidly switching to Digital projection. And Film developing and processing labs are shutting down all over the United States.
In a few years time, Film itself may be no more.
This isn’t a sudden realization, this has been the case for quite some time now. Soon it’s going to be impossible to buy or process Film stock in New York City, the college I’m about to graduate from with a degree in Film will no longer be able to teach Film production in a few years time, and now that legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese seems to have given up on the medium, there doesn’t seem to be much hope left. Of course, I don’t fault him for his decision, nor should anyone. He’s had a massive influence over the art form for nearly four decades now, and he clearly has a much better idea of the entire debacle since he’s not only witnessing it first hand, but is an integral part of it. Yet I still can’t help but be disappointed.
Most directors seem to be leaning towards the move over to Digital. At this point, it’s almost unavoidable. And while there’s still a pocket of strong rebellion in the form of Christopher Nolan and a handful of others, it seems they might be outnumbered.
My own personal stance on the subject stems from the belief that while both mediums have their respective advantages, the option should still exist. At the end of the day, they’re both tools to tell a story, and it’s up to the storyteller to decide how to use them. I’m just disappointed that celluloid is dying out just as I’m about to enter the world of film myself.
It hurts to say it, but I might as well say it now…. Goodbye, Film. It’s been magical.