film ecology

From: David Tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Mar 03 2006 - 10:34:21 PST

To kind of agree with jarrod but shift the point of emphasis, the point is
not that digital imaging (at this point the term 'video' is meaningless)
is here to stay, but that 16mm film is soon to be NOT here.

Brittany wrote

> people can still use film projectors that were built half-a-century
> ago & feasibly even watch films from that time too.

This is at best misleading. Film prints deteriorate quickly with use, so
yeah you can watch a 50 year old print -- if nobody else has been watching
it in the interim. And that's assuming it's printed on BW or kodachrome,
since all the other color stocks vinegar and turn a ghastly shade of
purple. And you can only use that 16mm projector if it works, and most of
them don't (I know, I have about 15 of them). Mechanical devices rely on
various parts that deteriorate over time (rubber dries or rots,
'permaneent lubrication freezes up) whether the device is use or not.
Parts for commercially obsolete technology are difficult to come by, as
are competent service people, and they are not cheap.

> the digital answer to aging & fading is continually buying and
> throwing away, so we everything is always new & never dies.

This is true, of course, and a serious problem. Dead electronics of any
sort are not lanfill-friendly for a variety of reasons.

> repairing a
> broken print just requires glue or tape.

My concept of 'repair' is more like 'functions as before' not 'shows
horrible distracting scars.'

Your notion that film is somehow more earth friendly than digital strikes
me as extremely niave. How do you think they get the silver? Have you ever
been in the same room with a film processing machine? The chemicals could
not be more toxic.

The throwaway nature of digital tools may be evil, but the actual
production of digital work vs. film is far more environmentally benign.

(This is one reason Kodak will eventually ease out of the film business
altogether: the restrictions of environemental legislation ala Kyoto will
severely limit the world market. Kodak made a very large finacial
investment to reformulate BW 16mm stocks to make the process less toxic,
but I doubt they have or will recoup the investment...)

The question is: how do we preserve the magic, the soul, of the existing
body of film work, and make it available to the people who NEED it, once
it's body (16mm technology) dies?

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.