Longtime Film Advocate Martin Scorsese Abandons Film for Digital
Though Martin Scorsese's Oscar winning Hugo featured some of the best use of 3D we've seen so far, many still aren't embracing the new technology and are still waiting for the "fad" to go away. Well, when names like Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Ridley Scott start using 3D to tell their stories, chances are it's here to stay. Another aspect of filmmaking that's likely here to stay? The practice of using digital over 35mm film. Scorsese's longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker told Empire that Marty, a famous advocate of celluloid, has already made the switch. Looks like even a legend can tell when the times are changing.
"It would appear that we've lost the battle… I think Marty just feels it's unfortunately over, and there's been no bigger champion of film than him… It's a very bittersweet thing to be watching films with him now that are on film. We're cherishing every moment of it. The number of prints that are now being made for release has just gone down, and it would appear that the theatres have converted so quickly to digital."
Scorsese's switch has already happened, as Schoonmaker also revealed that their upcoming drama The Wolf of Wall Street will be shot digitally, but for those of you who hate wearing glasses at the theater, rest easy. This one's comin' at ya in good old fashioned 2D. Still, the number of directors out there who are holding out for film is dwindling quickly, with only Christopher Nolan as the lone holdout and guys like Steven Spielberg and Jon Favreau preferring it a lot of times and trying to keep it alive whenever they can. It's a shame to see Scorsese make the switch, but this really should be a turning point for the format when someone who has as much invested in celluloid as Scorsese does comes across the line to your side.
He's well known for his restoration work, and he's one of the country's most influential and knowledgeable film historians, so it really must speak to the fact that the technology is finally "there" for him to commit to directing movies digitally from now on. It'll be interesting to see how guys like Nolan and Spielberg respond to this move, almost like a chess game being played between the two sides. Will they give in and eventually embrace the new way, or hold out and keep 35mm alive? Personally, I can see the value of both sides.
When I look at something like Michael Mann's work on films like Collateral, it's easy to see a look that film just can't provide, and that absolutely works for some specific film stories. On the other hand, looking at a movie like Cowboys & Aliens (despite the quality - or lack thereof - of that specific movie), I totally get why Favreau wanted to use film to emulate the expansive look of an old John Ford movie and capture the western backgrounds in his movie. It's a debate that rages on, but it's interesting to see one of the world's most legendary filmmakers take a solid stance for one side. Where do you stand on this?