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Mindel shares these concerns.
"Until very recently, most cinematographers were left alone to shoot and manipulate because people were afraid to engage in any technical conversations — because they really didn't understand the process," he says. "What has happened with the advent of Photoshop and iPads is that a lot of people know a little. Therefore they feel, especially directors, that they can manipulate the film in any direction."
He pauses, the language of this new world having not caught up with the reality. "Should I rephrase that? Not 'film' — 'images.' So, the relationship between the director of photography and the director has to be built on trust."
With digital, he says, that amalgamation of art and science doesn't exist.
"[Digital] is something else, and that's fine," Mindel says. "But personally, I love the aberrations that film gives me — the grain exploding under stress from light sources that one doesn't want to control. It enables me to add texture and sympathy, empathy, something that's indefinable."
Digital photography continues to replace film. Physical prints of feature films will no longer be distributed by studios to theaters by the end of this year. So even if directors and cinematographers continue to shoot on film, the result will still end up being projected and seen in a digital format. The larger issue here, as Mindel points out, is not the issue of new technology and equipment, but the loss of an art form that took a century to develop on the basis of a particular (analog) medium, and its usurpation by an imitative one that is unresponsive — and, ironically, too responsive — to tactile craftsmanship.
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