I got into the cinematographers department after joining the I.A.T.S.E. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States. I worked in the film industry throughout the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s. I cannot describe days on the film set. After graduating as an electrical engineer from California Institute of Technology I was hired by Byron Haskin, ASC, and head of the Warner Bros. Special Effects Department on Stage 5 in Burbank. Since this was the largest such department in the movie business, I was able to work with some of the top cinematographers in the effects field, such as ASC fellows Edwin DuPar, Hans Koenekamp and Warren Lynch.
One thing I don't buy at all is people saying that the best way to archive digital material is on film. Sure, there are plenty of concerns about codecs going in and out of use, but you're telling me that physical celluloid, which is subject to the ravages of time, temperature, fire, mishandling, and accidents, is a better archival material than 1s and 0s which can be stored as exact lossless copies in many locations? If you're worried about future-proofing your codec choices, output your archival file in several formats.
Not to mention that you can keep the NLE timeline and source files in the digital realm, though good luck opening that FCP7 timeline in Final Cut Pro X! Point for film, I guess. Anyway, we're going to see plenty of films shot on celluloid for years to come, but for all intents and purposes the last motion picture film camera has already been manufactured. While the debate has raged over whether or not film is dead, ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have quietly ceased production of film cameras within the last year to focus exclusively on design and manufacture of digital cameras. That's right: someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.
"The demand for film cameras on a global basis has all but disappeared," says ARRI VP of Cameras, Bill Russell, who notes that the company has only built film cameras on demand since 2009. "There are still some markets--not in the U.S.--where film cameras are still sold, but those numbers are far fewer than they used to be. If you talk to the people in camera rentals, the amount of film camera utilization in the overall schedule is probably between 30 to 40 percent." FILM PRINTS GO UP IN SMOKE Neither Kodak nor Fuji have made noises about the end of film stock manufacture, but there are plenty of signs that making film stock has become ever less profitable. The need for film release prints has plummeted in the last year and, in an unprecedented move, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group and Technicolor--both of which have been in the film business for nearly 100 years--essentially divvied up the dwindling business of film printing and distribution.