Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi: Why Digital is Far Superior to Film

A little over a week ago Jay posted about an upcoming documentary entitled Side by Side, which focuses on the ongoing debate in film circles about analog versus digital film-making. Now Jay was being more than a bit hyperbolic when he called it a “war”, as its been apparent for sometime that analog film is hardly the present, let alone the future of cinema. Films have long been edited digitally, a growing number of theatres are equipped with digital sound systems, and increasingly, more and more films are being shot on digital cameras. If this is a war, its long since won.

But while the end of this conflict is hardly in doubt, I still find the debate to be fascinating. Granted, the most visible segments of this debate are the directors and DP’s who make the movies, and supply you with the thrills and chills that keep you coming out to the theatre week after week. But the digital vs analog debate hardly ends there, and that’s where I come in and I thought that I could shed a bit of light on my side of the cinematic coin.

Cinephiles cry out about the loss of film citing the lower picture quality and the dangerous precedent set on the levels of their oh so precious film grain, but frankly, after being in the film exhibition business (i.e. movie theatres, for those unencumbered by the burden of industry jargon) for over a decade, I see digital as a welcome upgrade. And in some instances, a god damn savior. Here’s why.

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One, Two, Three, Four. Who Declared a Streaming War?

While recent format wars have garnered loads of media attention, in recent weeks there has been a dearth of information on a cold war that has been going on for some time, of that between online streaming services. And what has been seen by many as an insignificant war of attrition soon looks to have several sizeable blows attempted in upcoming weeks, escalating these skirmishes into an all out battle for supremacy.

Netflix has essentially been the industry leader for a format that seems to be still struggling to gain a large following. But while Netflix has been seen as head and shoulders above its direct competitor (that being Blockbuster), there have been several competitors quietly growing in the wings, specifically Hulu and Amazon.

Hulu has quickly gained traction with its power grab to seemingly stream every television show that is playing ever. And when they acquired the rights to Criterion’s small, but critically revered library, it was seen as a blatant shot at Netflix’s hold on films. But while Hulu’s television licensing has been impressive, they were recently put on sale, thus putting into question just how viable a property it is.

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