by Michael Phillips.
“It’s the death of shadows!” a gaffer, i.e., movie-set electrician, said to a Los Angeleno friend of mine. He was decrying how the digital filmmaking revolution had compromised the image quality (not to mention his own freelance employment) in feature filmmaking.
The death of shadows. That phrase, however hyperbolic, stuck with me. Could this be true? Is digital filmmaking really eliminating the sort of supple, evocative, high-contrast light and shadow we learned to take for granted on 35 mm film?
Though it’s too early to call the coroner, and though digital cameras improve by the hour, I do wonder what we’re losing as film rapidly recedes into our cultural memory, taking with it a richness of imagery digital may yet match.
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