October 31, 2017

Film in Workflow


Photo L-R Ron Price Editor BC,Thom Berryman Pinewood Digital International, Haris Zambarloukos BSC GSC  Nigel Horn  i-Dailies, James Corless Head Pinewood Picture Services, Hugh Whittaker Director Panavision/Panalux.

Film as an image capture medium is holding its own in the booming British Film Industry.

The existence of two first class Film Laboratories in the UK has been vital in attracting foreign investment  to the UK. This was voiced at a forum in London organised by the Production Guild and the new Pinewood film laboratory.  It was an opportunity to examine proper price comparison in the cost differences between film and digital workflows.  In the past year 30 new digital cameras of various shapes and sizes have appeared: the Arri Alexa alone has 14 different shooting formats.

A solution to the Digital Dilemma of the longevity of the digital capture format is still work in progress, admitted James Corless, Head of Pinewood Picture Services. The time lottery for the deterioration of the pixel is ongoing. Film Is still the most trusting capture acquisition process, stated Haris Zambarloukos BSC GSC who conceded that digital the advantages of digital night shooting had contributed to a more relaxed night’s sleep as a cinematographer. The panel questioned the automatic assurance that digital production was cheaper than film. The five plus million plus footage of film being shot annually had encouraged Pinewood and Kodak, mainly through the championing of film by Nigel Horn, to set up the new laboratory in the Studios to replace the void left by Technicolor. The new laboratory encompasses all film formats and had greatly impressed the editor of the British Cinematographer, Ron Price.

A decade has passed since the BBC decreed the death of film. The BSC in response together with all the major companies, including Kodak and Fuji, Arri and Panavision, set up an Image Forum. The purpose was not to argue the merits of film versus digital but to ensure impartial information to assist productions. It championed the right of cinematographers, producers and directors to choose the most creative format for image capture. The existence to originate image capture is a testimony. 

The future of film, although helped by Tom Cruise and others mandating the format be used on their films, will depend on the choice of producers, directors and cinematographers.

This meeting succeeded in giving many producers present an incentive to examine the true costings of the respective workflows.

Nigel Walters BSC