Side by Side

In 2012, director Christopher Kenneally, Justin Szlasa and famous actor Keanu Reeves teamed up to create a documentary about the current divide between filmmakers using digital versus photo-chemical film creation techniques. The introduction of digital filmmaking fiercely disturbed the world of cinema. Some filmmakers embrace the new technology and emphasize the opportunities it offers, whereas others see it as a threat to the traditional art of filmmaking.

In the documentary, Reeves interviews a great variety of famous directors, producers and editors. The two technologies are compared side by side, discussing how digital cameras have influenced image quality, filmmaking techniques and editing compared to photo-chemical filmmaking. Both proponents and opponents of digital filmmaking get a say, each side of the discussion giving valid arguments.

You might call those that prefer photo-chemical filmmaking conservative and afraid of the future compared to the pioneering, innovative and adventurous digital filmmakers. On the other hand, you could also argue that digital filmmakers are too quick in abandoning the art of traditional film, focusing more on commercial value than quality, whereas photo-chemical filmmakers are the true artists that value the beauty of the craft. In any case, Side by Side is very able to show both sides of the story, giving us hope that there might be a future for both technologies in the art of filmmaking.


One thought on “Side by Side

  1. My favorite part of the film is when they discussed the importance of movie theatres and how special they used to be. Now with all these different media devices anyone can watch a film at any given time. That’s why I can imagine those who prefer photo-chemical filmmaking are “afraid” of the future, like you said in your post. However, if digital cameras were never used and experimented with, our generation wouldn’t have some of the greatest movies that we know of today. For example, Avatar, The Hobbit, and all the Harry Potter series were shot with digital cameras therefore making the editing process a whole lot quicker than traditional film.


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