I’ve used the Arriflex 535B dozens of times on commercial shoots in the past, as an operator and as a DP. Sometimes you just take it for granted that it’s a tool to get a specific job done. But now, as a Professor of Cinematography, I watch my students learning the camera and rediscovering celluloid. I see that joy and wonder back in their faces the minute the camera starts running and they see the flicker through the eyepiece. It is so powerful.
When you’re shooting on film, 80 percent of the creative process happens outside of the camera. You have to think about your lighting plan, contrast ratios, and overall dynamics in a much more organic way. All of these things are also important when shooting digitally but the way they are approached is slightly different.
When working with film, you have to be more intentional at the outset. You’re not able to preview your imagery like you can with digital. There are no look-up tables or wave forms for you to rely on. You have to rely on your knowledge of the film stock and your light meter to tell you what’s going on. This causes you to pause and take more time with what you’re doing, as there is far less room for error.
The immediacy of digital technology and how it gives us what we want so quickly has really flavored how we approach image making. Film is the shoulders that digital stands upon. If we could all just take a step back and remember what film has given us, we will really think about what it is we are capturing, how we are capturing it and most importantly, why.
Thanks to Guest Blogger, Joey Kolbe, a talented Wildlife Photographer, Cinematographer, and Cinematography Professor for sharing his insight and experiences shooting with film. Be sure to follow him on Instagram!
ABOUT JOEY KOLBE: Joey Kolbe is a Wildlife Photographer and Cinematographer for Live Action Narrative, Formula One and MotoGP, Special Effects and Stop Motion Animation. He also teaches Cinematography at Emerson College, Lesley University, and the Massachusetts College of Art where he shares his passion for filmmaking with the next generation. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two daughters.