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Digital Filmmaking is the Future

"Four years ago, if you had a video and you wanted people to see it, you had to invite them all over to your house for a beer. With the web, it's possible to produce a movie with almost no budget and get a million people to watch it". - David Trescot, Group Product Manager, Adobe With a digital camcorder in hand, you can now make your very own professional quality film at a fraction of the cost it takes to make a feature film with the traditional celluloid camera. Plus, with no film reel needed, you avoid the film processing costs which are a major chunk of a small budget film's budget. Digital Filmmaking has truly arrived with a bang in the present day world.

While most professionals agree that a digital camera, however top notch it may be, cannot match the film/35mm resolution; they also contend that the cost advantage more than covers up for it. You can make a digital movie at one-fifth the cost when compared to a movie made with celluloid camera. I think technology has always been relative, you know. "I think yeah, there's a hell of a lot of more you can do technically now than you could ever do before. It's never been cheaper to make a movie and get more people to see your film than ever before. You can get a digital camera for a couple of thousand dollars and your own desktop editing system for a couple of grand, and you're making movies".

- Dan Myrick, co-director, The Blair Witch Project Since Mr Dan made those comments, the price of both shooting and editing equipment has more than halved. Of course, for theatrical showings you can always later transfer your digital movie to film stock. If, for example, your ultimate goal is to someday have your video projected from celluloid in a movie theater, you'll need to consider shooting your source footage at 25 frames per second, which will make for a smoother transition to the 24 frames of traditional film stock. To do this, you'll need a PAL-formatted camcorder (commonly sold in European markets) rather than a camera that shoots at the standard 30frames per second. In addition, if you're interested in widescreen projection, there are some cameras specifically designed for capturing images in the elongated 16:9 aspect ratio. These considerations are critical to your success with video-to-film projects, so carefully examine any prospective camcorder for the appropriate features and consult a film transfer facility to see what they recommend.

Another type of cameras which are a great help in transferring to film stock are 24P cameras. 24P refers to those cameras which have a frame rate of 24 frames per second, equivalent to the frame rate of a film stock. It is an ideal aspect ratio for video projects that will eventually be transferred to film, because it doesn't necessitate dropping frames when converting formats. Pioneered by Sony, and now available from several makers, this technology has the ability to record 40 minutes of HD footage on a compact $70 cassette (compared to the $400 for 4-minutes of 35mm motion picture film, with processing costs).

One example of such a camera is the Sony HDW-F900. Digital filmmaking is truly the future of Cinema, with better technology, rising film costs and competition paving the way for it.

The author is a film student and a part time short film maker. He even has a blog on digital filmmaking.

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