Side by Side is a documentary full of Hollywood’s biggest stars all being interviewed by Keanu Reeves about the changes being made from film production to digital production. As someone with little experience in film production, it was interesting to see how these changes are occurring before our very eyes without many of us even knowing about it. Many members are torn about how the feel about the changes taking place throughout the film industry and the way things are being produced. Some feel that these are natural changes that need to occur as technology advances while others feel that the original style in which films were being shot and produced still remains superior to these new technologies.
While watching these movies I found it very interesting that so many renowned producers, actors, directors, and cinematographers were so torn as to how they felt about these changes. While some argued that shooting on digital film was much easier and was able to produce better images, others felt that there is nothing that can compare to the look of original film production. Pioneers such as George Lucas have played an important role in the switch from film to digital production. Lucas has worked to help advance technology while using many of these newfound techniques within his Star Wars movies. Some feel that Lucas’ improvements have changed Hollywood forever, while others still feel that these advancements still don’t compare to the original style in which movies are shot.
As film has switched over to digital production so have many of the other aspects associated with the entire movie production. Special effects and reels of movies being sent to theaters to play are all for the most part now completely digital. This allows theaters to store the reels easier and play the movies for longer without the tape being damaged, a problem that used to be very prevalent within theaters.
Because digital movies are so much easier to shoot, many of these movies are able to have lower budgets for film production which in turn gives them more freedom to shoot what they want. In the 1980s and 1990s many producers and directors began experimenting with handheld camcorders as a source of film production. Although at first the quality did not compare to film, these cameras were so much lighter and could record for so much longer that it was able to give these producers and actors much more freedom within their productions without having to cut every few minutes.
While watching this movie it was hard to not feel that these changes taking place were just a natural transition among the industry as technology improves throughout the world. Although some film professionals are taking longer to jump on board than others, I feel that over time these people will have no choice but to switch to digital in order to stay current within the industry. As with all big changes it is normal that this one was met with resistance, but over time everyone will see how much more can be done with digital production and I believe that it will become the norm in Hollywood just as film was for so many years.
To view a clip of the documentary, click here.