Hunger Games & Jurassic World Decide to Go Analog in Increasingly Digital Industry


At a time when digital production workflows are becoming more and more ubiquitous within Hollywood, the news of a director utilizing an analogue workflow on a big production always seems to strike a chord with those who appreciate the aesthetic and feel of film.

Thankfully, for those of you who do enjoy such news (myself included), two major directors are choosing film over even the highest-of-res digital for their upcoming (and already released) blockbusters.

First is director Colin Trevorrow, announcing via a tweet that for the fourth installation of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World, they’ve decided to use film.

Making use of both 35mm and 65mm Kodak film, in combination with Panavision equipment, they’re opting out of shooting digitally. While he’s yet to give a definitive reason, a bit of quick research on IMDB gives you the impression that he’s trying to keep the aesthetic of the first three films, all three of which were shot on Panavision equipment and Kodak film.

The second is director Francis Lawrence (no apparent relation to Jennifer, I checked), who took over the direction of The Hunger Games series starting with Catching Fire.

He’s also electing to go “old school” by using Panavision cameras and lenses because he wants to bring back the “intimate and flawed experience” that analogue film provides.

Lawrence’s director of photography, Jo Willems, backs up his director’s choice. “I think there’s something very human about shooting with film,” he tells Yahoo! Movies. “It feels less machine-made […] I find digital always a little bit clean.” Willems also added that the grain structure and flawed aesthetic is something that draws him in.

Analogue film may not be making a strong comeback, but in an age of RED cameras — and comparatively disposable 5DMIIIs and D800s — it’s nice to know there are those willing and even excited to use the physical format. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, so to each their own, but let us know which you prefer in the comments down below.

(via Fstoppers and The Phoblographer)

  • David Liang

    I think Film’s decline in terms of sales and demand is near bottoming out. Fuji is still cutting more lines every year but Kodak Alaris seems committed. Ilford is showing no signs of stopping and last year Ferrania was announcing their return to film.

    I believe as this article shows that people are shifting perspectives on film vs. digital. It’s no longer a whats better in terms of cost and quality and go with that. It’s shifting to a more creative choice as in how do we want our final product to look, and what’s the best medium to get us there.

  • Sean Mason

    I shoot both film and digital. I’ve never been happy with the filters or digital grain features on Lightroom or Photoshop. If I shoot digital, I keep the image clean. If I shoot film, I let it look like film.

  • Jigsaw

    That’s nice to hear. While I appreciate the ease of shooting digital I will always have a soft spot for how film looks. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s there.

  • eperkins

    The “workflow” is still digital. That film will be scanned and every other part of the workflow will be digital.

  • David Liang

    That’s true the workflow is digital, but the process is very elongated with film regardless of final output medium. One of the biggest problems of shooting film was how different the work flow is. If you’re shooting film the cinematographer has to get it right and the crew has to trust the shots will look as they imagined. The dailies are shipped and developed overnight, and watched the following day. With digital you can have a feed from the camera to the directors tent and you can fix problems on the spot. The delay and additional cost in developing dailies means there’s far less room for error when shooting film, and if mistakes are made by actors, by set by camera, every foot of extra film costs money.
    The other thing is the film reels themselves. Depending on the length you use it’s anywhere from 3 minutes to 32 minutes of shooting. Generally films use 8-10 minute reels and the whole crew takes a break while reloading happens.
    With digital you can shoot until the hard drives give out. The workflow differences in cost and time are significant and a large portion of that is still analog.

  • Alan Klughammer

    I want to applaud the directors for an artistic vision, but a cynical side of me wonders if they are just headline grabbing. And if so, how much the average moviegoer cares…

  • araczynski

    that’s all well and good, but I doubt my opinion of whether a movie is good or bad will ever be swayed by whether it was done in analog or digital… this strikes me more as artsy-fartsy, i.e. only to be ‘appreciated’ by an elite few, while costing significantly more to produce. Chalk it up for dying spasms.

  • semaha

    These days, only 5 minutes of the movie is actually shot on film, and the other 95 minutes is done digitally (CGI). No big deal here.

  • ryfter

    I understand Jurassic. It is to compliment the other films, and create a similar look. Lawrence wants a flawed look. That is an aesthetic preference, but I prefer less flawed, myself. It’s just weird saying I am shooting a multi-million dollar movie, and I want to start with a flawed product.

  • mirek

    I find digital always a little bit clean.” Willems also added that the
    structure and flawed aesthetic is something that draws him in’.. this
    is something the average punter considers.. i think not and the workflow
    is completely irrelevant to them…. movies for movie makers?? We all
    know the arguments about blind testing, and the old argument of digital
    and analogue based on personal bias.. but then why not

  • Julian Callan

    You just cannot beat the dynamic range of Kodak Vision 3 with digital.

  • Christina

    Why not shoot with both? I mean, as a back up? Shot the movie with both cameras side-by-side! At the very least it would serve as a great film/digital experiment.

  • mrberns

    I’m happy that anyone is choosing to shoot with film. There are certainly drawbacks to either medium and on productions this large, the difference in cost is going to be a minor factor, so if a director or DP thinks they need film to get the look they want, and a workflow and set environment they feel most benefits their skill set, then I’m all for it.

  • Zos Xavius

    Cost. 2x the cameras and 2x the operators and that’s just for starters.

  • imajez

    It is not flawed if it is the right aesthetic for the film.
    Capt Philips was partly shot using 16mm and it suited the documentary style nicely and got a BAFTA nomination too. 35mm, ARRI Alexa and GoPros were used as well.

  • greenarcher02

    They don’t and I really don’t think final chapter of Hunger Games and a new dinosaur movie needs any more headline grabs…

  • Alan Klughammer

    Any publicity is good publicity….

  • greenarcher02

    True, but I just don’t think this is all purely for publicity…

  • Glenn Robinson

    This is incredibly stupid. There is no point for these sequels to be shot using film. They will only add to the overblown budget and will not enhance the creative vision, especially when so much digital work will be done in post(I’m trying to avoid claiming that these films don’t have a creative vision in general). These directors should get their artistic expression out with a bolex and their friends and call it a day. What a waste.

  • Dez

    Spoken like someone who’s never set foot on a film set. How is it a “Waste” and how will it “add to the overblown budget”, exactly? Do you even know the difference in workflow or cost?
    Posts like these add nothing to the discussion, they’re just baseless opinions born out of ignorance.

  • Dez

    Not much of a headline really, the majority of big budget features are still shot on film. Digital is more dominant in low budget features and television.

  • Dez

    Video assist has been around since the 70’s, nothing new or revolutionary about a director seeing a feed at video village.

  • Michelangelo

    I work in the film industry as vfx artist. At the end there’s no big difference in budget. Film is quite expensive, but the ratio between what you shoot and what ends in the final edit is usually 1:10. With digital could reach 1:50. The money you save in film and process, are spent with more time on set.
    By the way I recently worked on a couple of features, Jack Ryan and Edge of tomorrow, both shot on film…

  • Michelangelo

    Always me, an insider from the cinema industry.
    Today about 70-80% of big budget features are shot with digital cameras. Alexar is the most used at the moment, followed by Red.

  • Glenn Robinson

    You guys are right, it was a very ignorant comment. People in the film industry who shoot digital find many ways to be just as wasteful as people who shoot with film.

  • Nino

    What “age of RED cameras”? Most films are shot with Arri Alexa.

  • Colin Moisson

    I prefer film over digital, i dont like the look of a digital image. Film seems smooth and watchable, 24fps no need to constantly color correct for a film look.

  • Ivan Ribeiro

    Video assist for film is not accurate it is a rough version of what is actually framed, video assist is not Full HD and not trustworthy when working on film.