RTS Technology Centre members visited the Cinelab centre in Slough in July and discovered that film is alive and well in the digital age
Cinelab focuses on film processing, scanning, restoration and post-production and, despite the prophesies of some, film clearly still has a key role in the presentation of the moving image.
Host for the evening was Adrian Bull, Cinelab’s MD, whose persuasive case for film challenged the attitude of those who think “film is dead”. That is not to say that digital does not have a complementary role, particularly in distribution media.
There are also hybrid methodologies where a story is shot digitally and then transferred to film to give it a filmic look and feel. Those present saw an impressive visual comparison between the various formats, from super 8mm to 65mm Imax, which clearly showed the nuanced difference in look.
Recently, Bull explained, there has been a resurgence in shooting on film, particularly for big-budget movies and high-end TV. At the Oscars this year, a disproportionate number of winners were shot on film, and many top directors and DoPs prefer to shoot it this way .
It is also an efficient way to store data, in terms of capacity and longevity in the archive.
After the presentation, a tour of the facility showed how Cinelab combines state-of-the-art technology in film processing with the high-end craft skills of its employees.
Bull reminded the RTS visitors that, despite any benefits that artificial intelligence may bring, the look and feel of film is something that will continue to be very much in demand for the foreseeable future.