The Advantages of Digital Video for Content Creators

For over 100 years Hollywood has used the classic film stock to make its many movies, but that changed when Red Digital Cinema Camera Company announced the production of 4K digital cameras at a 2006 trade show. Now, ten years later, digital filmmaking has gone from a small niche to one that stands alongside film as the industry standard. Many companies, such as Smile TV, have chosen to adapt digital technology to produce their media, largely because of significant advantages to content creators.

  1. (Almost) Unlimited Shooting to Work With
    With no film stock to worry about, filmmakers can get as many takes of a shot as they need without worrying about running out of film. And with flash drives and memory cards more affordable than ever, if a drive gets full, they can put a new one in and continue filming right away.
  2. Ability to Review Shots Immediately
    Mere seconds after taking a shot, filmmakers can review it and decide if they need to get another take, or move on to another shot. With traditional film, it can take up to a day to develop the film and see the results of the shot.
  3. Ease of Workflow
    Film stock needs to be developed before being scanned into a computer to be edited. Digital files, by comparison, can be uploaded and worked on in a fraction of the time.
  4. Lower Long-Term Costs
    There’s no denying it: Digital cameras are expensive to buy and can become obsolete within a few years. But balancing out the initial cost of the camera and memory drives is that filmmakers can go out and start shooting without having to worry about how much film they’ll have to buy and subsequently develop.
  5. Allowing Filmmakers to Take More Risks
    Without having to worry about the expense of film, filmmakers can take more risks on getting shots, knowing that if something goes wrong, they won’t have wasted expensive film. As cinematographer, Bradford Young, who shot Selma and A Most Violent Year digitally, said in an interview with Hitfix, “For me [digital is] a lot more comfortable… It’s nice to have your head in the game for other things and not have to worry about, ‘Is it going to come out’ and ‘Will there be no image at all?’”

The number of blockbusters being shot digitally continues to increase with each passing year. Did you see the three Hobbit films, Jurassic World, Avatar, or Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire? All were shot digitally. Though many filmmakers, such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan, and Quentin Tarantino are committed to traditional, film-based techniques, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, George Lucas, and James Cameron are among a growing number of reputable filmmakers who have made the switch to digital.

While the debate about the advantages of digital vs. analog filmmaking persist, Smile TV Productions will continue to embrace digital filmmaking to produce the finest in media for our clients and viewers.

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