Reel or Digital? The battle continues

Sunday, 17 February 2013 - 1:01pm IST Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2013 - 1:31pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

In the continuing battle between the reel versus digital, pundits predict that the latter will rule the roost.

Hollywood leads, and Bollywood follows.

After West showed the way with digitally filmed Skyfall and The Amazing Spiderman, Hindi filmmakers have started flirting with the technology.

Until a few years ago, B-Town was following the old school. But after films like Amol Gupte’s Stanley Ka Dabba were well-received, it looks like the digital format is here to stay. Just as photo rolls have become redundant, it is only a matter of time before the film reel goes out of fashion.

Digital is cheaper
Although many independent filmmakers were quick to adopt digital cinematography because it is cheaper, for a mainstream Bollywood directors, it’s been a question of aesthetics; to their eye, digital has not always captured the richness of film.

However, with the rapid advancements in digital technology, a lot of leading filmmakers are converting. From Sudhir Mishra (Inkaar) to Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag), filmmakers are increasingly adopting the digital medium. Producer Mukesh Bhatt says, “Raaz 3 was in 3D and was shot in digital.

We ended up saving around Rs30 lakh on stocks alone. In digital you shoot on tapes which is way cheaper. When you are shooting abroad lightweight digital cameras are easier to carry. All my future films will be shot in digital as it is the way forward.” Normally on a big budget film, a producer could end up saving up to Rs 2 crore per film by using the digital format.

Faster, easier and versatile
Adil Afsar, who is the first director of photography in Yash Raj Films to shoot in digital, says, “Apart from the cost factor, in digital medium you get instantaneous feedback as you don’t have to undergo the cumbersome process of developing the film. So, it works faster. According to my estimates 60% of the commercial market has been captured by digital.”

He also points out that the audience sitting in the cinema hall would not be able to tell the difference between the two technology as digital output now matches film’s.

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