The New Star Wars Will Be Shot On Film

The New Star Wars Will Be Shot on Film, Which Is Probably Great

Last night, Star Wars: Episode VII cinematographer Dan Mindel announced that the J.J. Abrams-directed movie will be shot on 35mm film, as opposed to digital video. The decision symbolizes the changing of the guard from the reign of George Lucas, and hopefully adds some much-needed vigour to the beloved franchise.

Back when The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, it was a big deal that some scenes were shot with high-definition video cameras instead of 35mm, and the choice helped pave the way for the widespread adoption of video in production of Hollywood features. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, for instance, were both shot entirely with a high-definition 24-frame system.

Some critics felt that the switch made the films feel clinical or lifeless; video cameras, the argument went, were unable to reproduce the subtle tonal qualities of traditional film-stock. Of course, this perception may have had more to do with cinematography choices than the technology used, but the assessment was symbolic of the feeling that George Lucas and company was focusing on technology and special effects at the expense of artistry and story.

Despite the fact that digital video technology has evolved into an medium capable of artistic use — Slumdog Millionaire, The Social Network, and others have used it to good effect — it's not uncommon these days for feature films to be shot on film. It especially shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Abrams will employ it here, given that he's opted for film on recent blockbusters like Super 8 and Star Trek. In addition to being preferred by some directors for its visual qualities, film still carries a symbolic weight, that of sophistication and craft.

That symbolism is likely to feed into fans' expectation that the new films will be a cut above the much-maligned prequels. At this point, so early in the film's development, it's their only hope. [Boba Fett Fan Club via Slashfilm]

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    So... they are using obsolete technology... why?

      Film is generally a lot better in terms of image quality, so most film makers will still prefer it over the digital counterpart.

        Then again most audiophiles prefer valve-based amplifiers over the more common and more portable transistor-based amplifier. However the masses don't really give a rat's what is making the sound as long as sound is coming out!

        That's hilarious. We are way past digital capture being of higher quality; colour, noise, resolution, DR. Oh but the grain gives the film character, the hiss and snap crackle and pop make sa record sound better than cd blah blah blah

      Because they are going to be stuck in nostalgia instead of doing something new.

      It was the same problem that held back the last indiana jones film. The over thought all this stuff and then tried to do that, while losing all the magic.

      They should use whatever is best and surely this film will have a lot of effects, so the whole thing will be scanned to digital anyway.

      Because all the tech heavy sequels pretty much sucked.

    That JJ is going to be one busy boy with both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises. They put so much money into making these, shoot it on both, digital and film??

    Chris Nolan has used film to good effect. I say go for it

    nothing wrong with using film. the process may be more complex, but when done properly, the images produced are far more appealing. they look and feel more natural.

    check out the 70mm IMAX film images in the dark knight and the dark knight rises. amazing.

    Star Trek into darkness looked great as did the first one, I think whatever the film-makers feel most comfortable with is best.

    It as not the media that made the pre-quals crap it was the writers and directors.

    Shoot digi and put the fortune saved on film post into effects/costume/better actors...

    I don't get the idea of film providing a "better feel". If its digital, it can "feel" however you want. Seems to me there's no visual you could produce on film that couldn't be produced digitally, but the same couldn't be said the other way round.

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