Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix Trilogy) being interviewed in Berlin.
Having conducted so many in-depth interviews ("Some would last a good hour," notes the director), Reeves and Kenneally both agree that the biggest surprise was that there's still no strong consensus on the film versus digital argument. "At the very start of this, I thought it would probably be a generational thing—that all the older guys would swear by film, while all the younger people would be totally into the digital technology," admits Kenneally. "Or that all the DPs would be in love with film and the directors would be embracing digital. But it didn't break down like that at all. A DP like Michael Chapman seemed fine with the idea of digital completely supplanting film, while other people like Chris Nolan have very strong pro-film opinions. So a lot of it is down to personal feeling and opinion, and as a documentary filmmaker it's great to have people with very strong opinions and passions. But we really found that most people are still on the fence about it and are very thoughtful about it. They're not just writing off digital and saying it's crap, or saying that it's better than film and then sacrificing all this great skill and craft they have developed over years. People are still forming their opinions, and the technology is still evolving and changing quite rapidly."
The film also reveals that most people are happy to use digital techniques, depending on the project. "Digital is just another tool you can use to create images and may suit one kind of film better than another," notes Kenneally. But he and Reeves make it clear that the choice between film and digital may not be around much longer. And image capture is the last bastion for film.
"It's interesting how digital really took over in the post process first," says Kenneally, "and now it's taking over exhibition and the way people shoot."
"Even Chris Nolan admits that film, if not dead, is now on life support," says Reeves, "and it's just going to become more and more difficult to even get film."
Visit the film's website at www.sidebysidethemovie.com.
|Man Of Tai Chi
Codex Digital provides workflow support for Keanu Reeves' directorial debut
Fresh off his experience coproducing Side by Side, Keanu Reeves' latest project, Man of Tai Chi, marks his directorial debut (he also stars), an homage to kung fu films of the past that features more than 40 minutes of martial arts-style fight sequences. It's not surprising that Reeves chose a digital workflow with the ARRI ALEXA and Codex Onboard recorders.
Cinematographer Elliot Davis is using ARRI ALEXA Studio cameras and Hawk lenses to shoot ARRIRAW in anamorphic format, captured by Codex Onboard recorders. "Our action film needed the freedom that onboard recording brings to shooting digital, and the Codex Onboard recorders give us maximum recording resolution in a small, reliable package," explains Michael Taylor, the film's supervising technical engineer. "We push our gear hard during the average shooting day, but we have had no issues with material, so we have great confidence in our system."
The digital pipeline for Man of Tai Chi also includes a Codex Digital Lab and a Codex Transfer Station for Mac OS X used to produce dailies and archive digital negative to LTO-5 tape. "We can turn our material around very efficiently," notes Taylor. "Our system of backup and transcoding is simple and fast. What we shoot in the morning is being edited in the afternoon, and I know our director loves that.
"The Codex Digital Lab and the Transfer Station give us everything we need to duplicate, archive, transcode and distribute our footage with minimal fuss, with color correction and in a variety of forms," adds Taylor. "I've used Codex systems on many films over many years, and I have to say there's always great reliability and great support."
Codex equipment on Man of Tai Chi is being supplied by China Film Group. The film is slated for a 2013 release by Universal Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and China Film Group.