Film vs. Video
Film and video language evolved along seperate technologies. Film is primarily
photography and grew up around sets, actors, sound, departments, studios. Video
began in the TV studio with electronics the beast that wagged the dog. Much
time was spent waiting for the technicians to tune the tools and then they shot
live with no ability to edit out their mistakes. They were good. Camera operators
pulled their own focus and zoom and pushed their own dollies. They had limitations
though that kept their quality of imaging down. They needed a lot more light
than film at the time. The camera were very heavy and couldn't be hand held
and exterior locations gave lighting problems difficult for early video systems.
Dealing with contrast was a constant problem.
Then came the portable video cameras and VTRs and finally the camcorder. The
news people scrapped 16 mm and took up video. These news people were originally
film people. That generation is mostly retired. The new cast of news people
are electronically oriented. They shoot fast and don't worry much about backgrounds,
performance, and other fine points. They are good at getting images under difficult
Film people have always looked down at video. Video countered with the "film
look". Often "film look" demos were shot by technicians who didn't know much
about photography. I still haven't seen much difference between film and video
on TV other than how good the camera person knew his craft. Check out a copy
of "Electronic Cinematography" by Harry Mathias and (Unfortunately, it is out
of print and written around an old "film style" video camera that didn't make
it.) But the points made are valid.
So where are we today. Film people who aren't working enough but have film skills
should learn about video because Hi Def is breathing down our necks and Hi Def
will need lots of product. People have seen all the old movies and will demand
new product, but shot with smaller budgets. After the initial equipment costs,
tape can be cheaper to shoot, but editing and distributing is still a big challenge.
Video people should learn some film style control that will make their product
salable on the bigger TV screen. Film people should learn the new generation
of video cameras that are truly amazing. Hi Def will need quality product and
people to shoot it.
© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.