Apr 25, 2014

Comment on Richard Brody’s article by Pamela Vizner

Comment on Richard Brody's article

by Pamela Vizner


After reading Richard Brody's article "Don't Worry About the End of Film" I couldn't help noticing the distinction he makes between "film" and "video". I have to admit I was a bit confused about it. Correct me if I´m wrong, but it seems that his idea of video is what we normally call digital film. To be completely accurate, that's what digital film is: a digital video. However, I believe that in people´s mind the word video triggers some undesirable ideas of low image quality and amateur recording. I can't imagine a movie trailer saying "new Universal video production coming soon". But at the same time we shouldn't call it film, because it isn't. But what do we call it then? Which leads me to the following and persistent question: what is film?


At this turning point of shift from analog to digital, I believe that last question is more important than ever and specially when talking about preservation. What is it that we are preserving? Is film ultimately the cinematic experience? According to Brody there's more to it than that because "it certainly is a good idea for movie lovers in the age of digital projection to know what film projection looks like" with its flaws and imperfections. However, I can't help but wonder how many people really notice the difference of a film projection versus a digital projection and how much of that awareness is our responsibility as preservationists in educating people, especially when participating in restoration projects. I agree with Brody when he says "restorations of classic films, while offering the pleasure of visual clarity, often feel denatured". How will we preserve film and the film experience if we don't keep the material's inherent imperfections? I believe that film and its looks can be preserved even when shown as a digital file by undertaking restoration projects that are respectful of both the content and the media.


Finally I think that when Brody says "ultimately, what matters is not film or video but the idea", I think that a distinction must be made. This statement is valid for new productions; film is not better than video if it helps you achieve your aesthetic goals and a convincing narrative. But careful when saying that in a preservation environment; still video is not better than film, but it's certainly different in terms of preservation source and/or target medium.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.