Re: [Frameworks] Analog and digital

From: Flick Harrison <>
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2011 19:12:26 -0600

As for the retroactivity of defining film as analog, I'd say, if the word "digital" is a late arrival to film theory, you might consider that counting on your hands (the original digital system) is pretty old, even by the standards of the oldies around frameworks...

I'd call film analog because each grain is exposed to a light of varying colour and brightness, for any amount of time, focused by any amount, then processed with more or less chemicals and time, all of which are analog variables. The placement of grain on a frame is also random and analog.

[I'd also say exposure to light is an electronic process ;-) . Marshal McLuhan called the light bulb the simplest electronic medium.]

In digital imaging, by contrast, each pixel is given a numeric value (like 0-255 in red, 0-255 in green, and 0-255 in blue) and assigned a place on a set grid.

Some people might call film digital anyway, because each frame is discrete, that is, they are consistent units which are assembled to make the movie.

I've had long discussions with digital theorists who insist the alphabet is a digital medium, in that it's the set range of discrete values which are assembled in a sequential pattern in order to transmit information.


On 2011-08-27, at 12:44 , Francisco Torres wrote:
> The problem about calling film analog is that film is not an electronic process. The Analog/Digial dichotomy being used to differintiate/compare two electronis proccesess.
> Film is a photochemical/mechanical process.
> As far as I know. before the advent of digital imaging in the 1980s film (or photography itself)was never called analog.
> Anyone here read The Cinematic Apparatus (1980)? It is a collection of articles presented at an academic conference in the late 80s that deals with some of the aspects that make film unique among imaging technologies. Worth the trouble of finding a copy a the time spent reading it.
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Received on Sat Aug 27 2011 - 18:12:39 CDT