It’s a rivalry as old as…well, the early 2000s. Should a movie be shot on film or digital? We’ve long since gone past the point where film is commonplace, and most movies that make it to release are shot on digital. Most of those Marvel movies? Digital. Sure, every now and then, you get franchises that mostly stick to film — Star Wars turned back to film with the Sequel Trilogy…mostly (more on that later) — but for the most part, everyone else goes digital, mostly because it’s easy.
Rian Johnson, in the past, has generally stuck to film. Whether be it for reverence, because he’s used to it, or because he genuinely believed it to be the best, he’s thought of generally as a film guy. However, with Knives Out, he opted to go fully for digital (with an exception of one shot). So, why the change?
“For me, it was almost like an existential crisis, the choice of shooting digital on this one,” Johnson admitted to the Reel Blend podcast. “I have just been a big film guy my entire life. It was Steve Yedlin, my cinematographer’s idea…he’s shot all of my movies, which we’ve always done on film. And he’s also a very technically-adept color science guy. Steve basically has a philosophy, it’s based in facts. From Steve’s perspective, right now with imaging technology, there’s no reason that what you capture your image on needs to define the look of what you’re doing. What he told me over and over again is it’s harder for him to make film look like film, than make digital look like film.”
Johnson then went on to describe that, following being captured, the content is sent through the same digitization process, and that the application of grain isn’t something that’s difficult to do. Johnson then went on to reveal there’s a single shot in Knives Out in the climax that was captured on film, and assures audiences they’ll never be able to tell the difference.
Perhaps the biggest film-related reveal was that half of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was apparently shot on digital — so Knives Out wasn’t actually his first rodeo on the format.
“We shot about half-and-half. The truth is we started shooting mostly film, and by the end we were shooting mostly digital.”
Well, damn. Could’ve fooled me.
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SOURCE: Reel Blend Podcast