Film or video? The debate has been going on since the introduction of video. Will it replace film for motion picture production? Several factors have recently heated up the debate. One is the introduction of Sony's new 24p camcorder (the HDW-F900 HDCAM).
Those who favor video are always faced with the criticism that it looks too real. Film, on the other hand, has that dreamlike quality that moviegoers tend to like. Almost all movies are still shot on film, even though video developers have done their best through filters and other technology to make video look more like film.
The dreamlike quality of film lies in the way it records at 24 frames per second. Now, Sony has come out with a new 24p camcorder that mimics the quality of film. According to a Sony spokesman, "We wanted to give a tool to those filmmakers who had an open mind about the possibilities of digital acquisition, but did consider the 24 frame rate a crucial part of the film look. As we evolved our high-definition cameras and worked more with cinematographers, we learned more about what really constitutes the film look. We realized that we could technically implement the film look in a digital camera, and we have done that."
The feature film Star Wars Episode II was the first to use the 24p video. Remember that while video technology has been advancing, so has film technology. Panavision suggests, "What we have to realize is that the technology that exists today is very much in its infancy in terms of its ability to provide the cinematographer and director with the tools that they take for granted in motion picture film. It's going to take some time to evolve."
Any new technology will take a while to be adopted. In the meantime, we're seeing better video and better film. Will one replace the other? It's too soon to tell. One thing is for sure: we have all benefited from the advancements.