Re: why we shoot film (was: the word is out)

From: Mitsu Hadeishi (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 05 2006 - 06:06:45 PST

I think that's a beautiful homage to film. I also think it's obvious that
film has very interesting and unique properties and I hope there will be some
way this will continue to be an option for artists long into the future.

And I understand that you and many others have a very personal connection with
this one medium, this one technology, this one process. I have a different
experience but then again I grew up with computers, etc., and they just seem
like a normal part of my life --- I don't experience them as alien intruders
into the "natural" landscape of analog, or whatever. However, I am certainly
not blind to the aesthetic qualities of film -- who is? I find it
interesting, however, that images captured on film and then transferred to
digital often preserve quite a bit of their original look in a way that
images captured on standard definition video do not. This indicates to me
that there's a ray of hope, so to speak --- as long as one isn't allergic to
the new cameras, at least, as various electronic light-capturing technologies
improve, with the proper post-processing (or even in-camera processing), it
ought to be possible to reproduce to a large degree (and perhaps even surpass
someday) the light-capturing qualities of film. Even now, with a high-end HD
camera and good post-processing, you can get very impressive results.

I think I know what you mean, also, by the "intentions and excitement" and
punchiness of a film and how this is lost when transferred to DVD --- except
that as I keep saying a lot of this has to do with the equipment. For
example, I first heard of Tarkovsky right after he died --- I never saw any
of his masterpieces in a theater. So my first exposure to him was on video,
and later on DVD. But a few years ago I got a copy of Solaris on DVD and
watched it projected on my Panasonic PT-L300U and it was a completely
different, stunning experience. I had seen this film many times on very good
televisions with excellent DVD players, but the experience of seeing it ten
feet wide was sparkling, thrilling. And I've had similar experiences
watching other great films transferred to DVD on my projector --- I can't say
why, exactly, but intellectually I know the process is reducing the
resolution, but sometimes the visual impact for me (and I am not alone in
this) is sometimes even greater than when I saw the film in a theater; merely
using DVD equipment and a high quality projector.

In any event, I certainly join in the sentiment of hoping that film doesn't
die --- but I also hope that we can at least try to maintain a connection
between traditional avant garde cinema and what is happening now and in the
future with younger artists. It would be tragic if there were some sort of
historical break and a loss of continuity of vision because of a shift in


On Sunday 05 March 2006 05:25, Pip Chodorov wrote:
> This debate seems to have become about artists vs nonartists, film vs
> nonfilm, and who is Joey Beercan with the 2.3 children, which is all
> starting to bore me. I feel so far from these issues. My relationship
> to film is incredibly personal, and it may be interesting to share,
> to foster more constructive debate.
> My very personal feeling about filmmaking, and I'm not sure how many
> on this list share it: the film medium inspires me, the textures,
> colors and punchiness of the image, the smell, feel and weight of the
> machines. I don't happen to take photographs, I don't happen to use
> video, and I don't "make things" with scissors, paper, pens, paint -
> I am not an artist in that sense. But I like working with 8 and 16
> and capturing light in that way, as I have done since I was 6 or 7,
> and I doubt I would continue on another medium. Nothing against the
> other media, and nothing against the Duchampian artists who create
> out of whatever they happen to find. I just have never felt inspired
> in that way, not driven as I am to shoot film. Just seeing the sun
> makes me want to shoot a roll of film. I don't think we choose these
> things. If film disappears I'll go back to playing the guitar. I
> don't think film will disappear in my lifetime, seeing the momentum
> of the artist-run film labs and smaller manufacturers of film stock
> in eastern Europe and the proliferation of projectors in the
> unlikeliest places.
> Now, I learned to project when I was even younger, maybe 4 or 5. And
> the films that have inspired me most, I have gotten into the habit of
> programming, distributing and even publishing on video. But when the
> image doesn't inspire me anymore, I am not interested in sharing it
> with others. This often happens to me when I see certain films I love
> transfered to DVD. I lose interest. Digital compression has removed a
> little too much of the textures, colors and punchiness for my taste.
> The intentions and excitement are lost. But the prints are still
> around and they are still easy enough to show and share and get
> people excited in them.
> This is all very personal and must have something to do with earliest
> childhood and not meant to refute anybody's argument, but sometimes I
> wonder where people are coming from when they get all worked up on
> this list because the avant-garde is about to die because Kodak is
> mismanaged - might as well complain about polar ice caps melting,
> it's not going to help much.
> Our love for film is not simply nostalgic. We live with film. I feel
> very close in sentiment to many of the established experimental
> filmmakers of the past who simply captured the world around them and
> translated it into light and color and movement, or who got excited
> by what film can do and played with that, and I don't think they
> worry much about all these issues such as Joey Beercan buying HD
> plasma screens to watch football games. Dorsky is sitting on a few
> hundred rolls of Kodachrome and will continue quietly making his
> films and processing them at Dwayne's. Jonas's Bolex is dusty and his
> Hi-8 is rusty so he's just got a PD-170 and learning Final Cut at the
> age of 83. It's up to each of us to do what feels right in the
> circumstances.
> So for me, the question is not whether film is a replaceable medium,
> but simply why and how it inspires. This list is of course an hommage
> to experimental film and everyone on this list has some kind of
> direct relationship to it or they would not be on this list.
> Filmmakers have always bickered; I am not encouraging us to stop
> bickering; this list is also an hommage to bickering filmmakers. But
> sometimes the debates seem to undermine the very reason we are all
> talking to each other. We love film. Don't we?
> -Pip Chodorov
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

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