June 25th, 2017

R.I.P. the movie camera: 1888–2011

Matt Zoller Seitz comments on reports that the three major manufacturers of cinematic film cameras have all, within the last year, ceased production in favour of digital:

What this means is that, even though purists may continue to shoot movies on film, film itself will may become increasingly hard to come by, use, develop and preserve. It also means that the film camera — invented in 1888 by Louis Augustin Le Prince — will become to cinema what typewriters are to literature. Anybody who still uses a Smith-Corona or IBM Selectric typewriter knows what that means: if your beloved machine breaks, you can’t just take it to the local repair shop, you have to track down some old hermit in another town who advertises on Craigslist and stockpiles spare parts in his basement.


I’ve abandoned CDs in favour of digital music, but I didn’t grow up with vinyl records and thus have no nostalgic affinity for their sonic texture. I do, however, love nothing more than seeing films projected on film; scratches, specks of dust and all. I can’t help but think that this will take some (more) of the character out of going to the cinema in the coming decades.

(via Paul Anthony Nelson)

About Bradley J. Dixon

Bradley J. Dixon is a freelance writer and blogger from Melbourne.

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