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When and Where Is the Digital Revolution in Cinematography?

Gerald Sim

Keywords: ADOPTION OF DIGITAL CAMERAS; BLOCKBUSTERS; DIGITAL CINEMATOGRAPHY; FILM AESTHETICS; FILM HISTORY; FILM STOCK

Abstract

This article questions the standard history being constructed about the adoption of digital cinematography in commercial cinema, a narrative whose broad assumptions resonate with industry professionals, including cinematographers. Digital image acquisition is frequently taken to be motivated by an industrial push to cut production costs, which impinges on the creative autonomy of film artists. This perception overlooks parts of Hollywood's current business model concerning production values and theatrical exhibition that will sustain film cinematography in the foreseeable future. These findings then lead the article to address filmmakers and critics who fear that photorealist aesthetics will be supplanted by digital images that possess a different visual signature. Prognostications that the digital look will replace that of film as the norm appear inaccurate.

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