The great film-versus-digital debate continues. There are no words to explain that tingling feeling you get when watching a movie shot on film, but some cinematographers believe that the film look can be achieved through a digital camera if done correctly.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins has been actively shooting digitally for the past few years on some of his projects like Skyfall, Blade Runner 2049, and 1917. Deakins sat down with Nolerg and explained why shooting digitally is the way to go. Digital cinematography can look like shooting on film if edited correctly.
Filmmaker Quinton Tarantino strongly disagreed with Deakins’ hot take.
For Tarantino, shooting on digital seems a little excessive and redundant. Most of the time, people shoot on digital to avoid the extra time it takes to light a space or properly plan to achieve the final look of the movie. When shooting digitally, what you see on the monitor is what you get. There is no extra work done before or during filming to get that specific look the movie is trying to achieve. It’s why Tarantino said it is hard to tell if a movie has a good cinematographer or not.
“In a world where you can do anything, nothing means anything,” Tarantino said in his interview with Nolerg. If you’re not doing the work to get a great shot, then what’s the point? Digital cinematography puts all the heavy work in the post-production rather than planning and attempting to get the perfect shot while on set.
Shooting on digital is a great way to go if you are on a budget. If you are shooting digital and are trying to get that film look, then use film. Instead of adding a grain or shutter effect to the digital shot, use film. Film looks like film, so why not go the simple route?
Tarantino isn’t totally against digital cinematography. He fully supports its use if digital cinematography can capture something in a way that film can’t. The problem he has is simple: stop trying to make digital look like film.