By BRENT LANG
Colin Trevorrow prefers to watch period pictures that are shot on film instead of on a digital camera, the director behind Jurassic World said during a press conference at the Sundance Film Festival in the US recently.
“There’s something in my brain that says, ‘well they didn’t have video cameras then’,” said Trevorrow.
A belief that digital cameras are anachronistic will impact his choices on his next project. When Trevorrow slides behind the camera on Star Wars: Episode IX, he plans to use film stock.
“It’s a period film,” Trevorrow joked. “It happened a long time ago.” Trevorrow’s comments came during a panel discussion on the merits of film at a time when many theatres are switching over to digital projectors and studios are pushing directors to abandon shooting on film, arguing that the process is cumbersome and expensive.
He was joined by Christopher Nolan, who has tried to keep film alive in the blockbusters he makes such as Inception and Interstellar, and Rachel Morrison, the cinematographer of Fruitvale Station. Nolan seized the moment to hit back at claims that shooting on digital is cheaper and the way of the future, decrying a “corporate conspiracy” and “a culture around wanting to kill film”.
As evidence, he noted that the media pounced on reports of technical glitches during an early 70MM screening of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. The revisionist western embarked on an elaborate roadshow, dusting off projectors that had been retired in the recent digital overhaul of the country’s cinemas, and investing time and millions of dollars to screen the picture in the way Tarantino intended.
Yet, instead of praising Tarantino’s commitment, Nolan slammed commentators for seizing on “some little technical glitch as if it was his fault. As if he built the projector.”
Nolan argued that digital projectors break down too, but those hiccups are rarely reported. He also hit back at claims that digital is cheaper and thereby more practical.
“There needs to be a choice,” he said. “As a medium it will continue to exist. It has to continue to exist. It’s pointless to pretend it has to go away.”
Nolan, by his own admission, has the clout to demand that his movies be shot on film. But Morrison noted that low-budget movies can be shot on celluloid, if sacrifices are made across the production and costs are cut in other areas.
It’s worth it, she said, because film creates an “inherent empathy” in its images.
Like Nolan, Trevorrow said directors needed to evangelise about the benefits of celluloid, because “there’s a danger to it turning into vinyl”. At a time when the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and improvements in television sets are creating a competitive drag on movie theatres, Nolan expressed confidence that cinema would be able to withstand the threats it currently faces.
“They’re going to have to get better and better as home entertainment systems get better,” said Nolan.
“My hope is the screens are going to be bigger, the seating is going to be better, and the premium idea of the experience is going to be enhanced,” he added. – Reuters