The never ending debate of Film vs Digital; Top DPs discuss the differences and evolution

Sep 16, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

The never ending debate of Film vs Digital; Top DPs discuss the differences and evolution

Sep 16, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It’s the debate that just won’t go away. Whether photography or cinema, film vs digital is a constant source of both controversy and amusement. In this video from Cooke Optics, we hear some insights from a different perspective. Heavyweight DPs such as Phil Meheux (Casino Royale), Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave), John Mathieson (X-Men: First Class) and many others offer their insights.

While some of their opinions are of a technical nature, a lot of it boils down to personal preference and workflow. Some prefer the look and character of film. Others prefer the efficiency of shooting digitally.

YouTube video

While the video does centre around the world of cinema, a lot of it rings true for stills photography as well. There are some parallel debates between the two worlds.

Film is and was so expensive and you could load so little, that you took fewer takes. With digital, there is a tendency to overshoot, and record more takes, just because it requires little extra effort on the part of the camera crew. That’s one of the big arguments for film with stills, too. “It slows you down”, “it makes you think more”, “you waste less shots”.

The ultimate message, though, is a simple one. Content is king. If the idea and story are there, it really doesn’t matter what you shoot it on. The principles of photography don’t change either way. That was the conclusion drawn pretty much unanimously from each of the DPs, regardless of which they prefer.

So, shoot stories, not cameras. Have a good message, a good story, and people will see beyond what it was created with.

Do you prefer one over the other? Are you forced to shoot digital and pine for the days of film? Do you not miss film one bit and are so pleased with the new digital world? Or do you still shoot both? Let us know what you think in the comments.

[via No Film School]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “The never ending debate of Film vs Digital; Top DPs discuss the differences and evolution”

  1. Delene Fuller Avatar
    Delene Fuller

    Hard to believe she is 8 already! She’s a cutie!