by Jacob Dodd.
As a college professor teaching filmmaking students in the “digital age,” I often encounter many misconceptions as to the true cost of shooting and finishing a film on celluloid. Students mistakenly believe that if it was not for the “digital revolution” and the “democratization” of the moving image that they would never have had the means or capability of producing a film due to the “high” price tag of film stock and lab costs. Guests visit our campus and say the same thing “we could not have done this if it wasn’t for digital.” When the guest artist is then asked about how much their project costs, they say “$60,000.” Wow! I have priced out feature 35mm films for under $20,000.
What about the many young filmmakers who made films on film for over 120 years? They shot many films on celluloid and made masterpieces…on very low budgets! As moving image artists, we should feel free to use the medium of our choice and know the truth about the tools we use. The unfortunate thing is that students and new producers and directors are sincerely unaware of the actual cost of shooting on film. The intention of this article is not to disregard the creative attributes of digital technology, but to make the reader mindful of the price tag that comes with working with digital video as well as film.
Read the rest of this article from James River Film Journal.