Have you heard of the expression “everything comes back into style“? That statement definitely stands when it comes to fashion, but in this article we’re not going to talk about fashion, we’re going to talk about the technology within the art industry. You surely weren’t expecting that, right? The subject of technology is rarely connected to something coming back into style. An old computer is just old, it’s not going to become “vintage” just because some hipster called it that, and it most certainly is not going to come back into everyday use. Cameras on the other hand are a completely different story.
Analogue technology became trendy again, and it is the hottest topic amongst the old and the new generation of photographers and videographers these days. The same buzz that was elevated about the digital recordings a few decades back is now coming to a dead end, and the conversation is going back the way it came from. At the moment analogue recordings are very popular amongst the circles of true visual artists.
We’re not saying that the digital era is finished, far from that, commercials, blockbusters, fashion photoshoots and so on, will still be done with digital cameras, there is no way our generation is ever giving up Photoshop or any type of video manipulation program for that matter, not a chance. It is quite nice and also practical when you have the ability of “improving” a not so good picture or scene, it definitely beats doing the shooting all over again.
But not everything is always about being practical or perfect. Sometimes we just need to experience life in all its imperfection, and that’s one of the main charms connected to the analogue type of recording. The workflow on the other hand is more straightforward when it comes to digital cameras, because you are able to see the material right there on the set, there is no need for late night viewing of the footage right after a shoot. But that aside, there are still photographers which quite enjoy the complete process of capturing and developing photos. The thought of creating something from scratch with their own two hands, leaves them with a certain kind of fulfilment which none of the digital cameras can provide. Developing your own photos has an amazing feeling, and each photographer should experience it at least once in a lifetime.
When videographers use analogue cameras they always praise the famous “organic look”. It is just the way the light is captured, and all the subtle transitions between brightest highlights and darkest shadows, as well as the colors which altogether feel more natural. The famous part of analogue film is the “film grain” which is today very popular and quite often is added to digital footage in postproduction to make it look more organic.
When talking about video recordings, the best thing to say is that both digital and analogue have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re going for more of a modern look it would probably be more appropriate to use a digital camera, it will give you perfectly sharp and detailed image. Footage captured on film looks less “clinical” but that’s just the reason why analogue cameras are perfect choice when you need to achieve that organic vintage look.
Quentin Tarantino always films his movies with analogue film cameras, the last one being the great spectacle “The Hateful Eight“, shot on large Ultra Panavision 70mm film format last used in 1966 for the movie “Khartoum“. He even went so far to say that only movies shot and projected on film are “true cinema”. Some legendary directors such as Martin Scorsese, J.J. Abrams, Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson, Judd Apatow and of course Quentin Tarantino still prefer classic analogue recordings. As a matter of fact, they love the “old tape” so much that they offered to help support the cause of saving Kodak and the film stock from extinction.
It looks like their joined forces helped because Kodak is getting back on “track” whit its new Super 8 film camera. This new stylish incarnation of old school technology is a great and innovative way of saving the almost forgotten form of recording.
We can only hope that analogue footage will overcome the future challenges of the film industry because usage of that almost forgotten technology will divide the “bad ass” photographers and videographers from the rest, cause let’s be honest, you need a better skillset and more experience to handle all that the analogue camera has to offer.
Even though it is great that we live in a world with so many possibilities, it would be such a shame to lose one so beautiful and traditional as analogue recording, because let’s face it, today everything is over processed and maybe a bit too perfect, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to hold on to a little piece of our humanity.