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  1. As someone who loves film and the process of it all, and wanting a lucrative career in filmmaking, I would fight anyone who says shooting digital is better (than film) or anyone who puts film down for any reason because I believe film is superior. I still do, when it comes to the approach and the finished product. Well, fast forward into reality, I was about to throw down $3,000+ on an Arri BL4 (plus extras), spoke to a few owners who were more than willing to sell. And although I had that driving force to shoot film and have a big ol’ bad camera, something was bugging me, something was holding me back. Now, I am not a rich man, I’m just like you. But I started thinking, hmmm…most people can’t even tell the difference or don’t care about the difference in picture quality. They also aren’t helping me when I have to purchase, process and scan a 1000’ foot reel. Also, if I differ the costs to the client, then I price myself out of the market if I want to do any ‘for hire’ work. I’m also investing in a camera that will be hard to find parts. So what am I fighting for? Why do I want this uphill battle? Oh, right, the picture quality is supburb and digital still sucks. But it is getting better. Now as nostalgic as Super 8mm is, digital surpassed it. I don’t know if anyone out there could tell me they would want to see a feature length movie on Super 8mm. And as economically as it is to shoot 16mm to a certain extent, digital passed it in regards to resolution and clarity. And it’s just a matter of time before 35mm is caught up with, maybe this year by the new Alexa 65. With filmlabs dwindling in the world, and with Kodak one economic hiccup away from closing, why would I want any counterparty risk to be able to do my work? Yeah, yeah, Star Wars is supposed to be shot on film, etc. etc. etc. but if there’s an economic crash like is expected this year (possibly in the Sept. time frame), then Kodak will be gone, or will become super expensive. And if Kodak goes bye bye, then J.J. Abrams and team will be like, “Uhm guys, let’s do the George Lucas thing and shoot digital seeing that we can’t find any film. And Christopher Nolon might be crying in the bat cave.” And if there’s no film, then I doubt there will be any filmlabs. (Note: If you do not think we are set for a market crash or for an ever spiraling down of the U.S. economy, I invite you to take any U.S. currency bill out from your wallet (if you have any) and I guarantee you, you will not find a bill printed past 2009 (that includes that new $100 bill with the blue stripe…if you’re looking for some tangible proof to what I’m saying that is). You’re money is already monopoly money, you just may not know it yet, shh….mainstream news doesn’t want you to know. To this, l will say one thing and quote J.P. Morgan himself – “Gold is money, everything else is credit.”) So, do I want to buy a BL4 and possibly have nothing to feed it in the near future, and very limited places to process it when digital whom the masses have already accepted helps my wallet? Plain and simple, the infrastructure to shoot film is disappearing more and more everyday. Case in point, the two CVS stores that would develop my C-41 took their machines out last week. Now I have to travel or mail it somewhere. I don’t mind waiting for personal stuff, but for work and clients, I need it today. Now, I will still shoot film for personal use, my old Nikon FG is still kicking, or if I find a 16mm camera at a garage sale, or if a friend is shooting a 35mm movie and needs my help or my own little project, but for my work and my dime, uh-uh, I rather keep as much of my money as I can and shoot digital. What I do like about film is that it allows you be as artistic as you want to be, digital isn’t there yet, but it’s getting there on some level. And I’m not looking for a digital cam that will look just like film, that a pipe dream, but if I can find something I can at least work with, that could be something. I did see one video recently that got me thinking. It was footage shot with the Blackmagic production camera and here’s the link… Is the footage perfect? No, but it does have a different feel I think from the Alexas-Reds-Sonys-Genesis of the market. I could do something with this, I can work with it. The camera housing is butt-ugly, I would have to get passed that. And if not this camera, then another, but the bottom line is, digital makes a lot more cents. Where was my breakthrough you ask? I realized I was emotionally attached to film, and I needed to break that. It was clouding my mind from looking at things objectively. I didn’t want to do Blockbuster’s mistake and not foresee the trend and inadvertenly have my butt kicked to the curb by Netflix and Redbox. Big deal, I can’t call myself a ‘filmmaker’ because I’m not actually shooting physical film through a 40 lb. iron movie camera, oh well, I’ll just have to let that title go for a lucrative career. I’m sure I can find something else to call myself, like, ‘the camera guy,’ or ‘digitizer of the world’, whatever, who cares, at least I’ll have work and food in my stomach as I enjoy my craft. Just sharing my journey, maybe someone else can relate. Best regards, Alexander
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