With all the hype surrounding the 70mm engagement for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, you could be forgiven for thinking the film vs. digital debate were still ongoing. According to cinematographer Roger Deakins however, the debate is over and film is dead.
Deacons – cinematographer on such films as Skyfall and Sicario – told Variety “I’m sorry, it’s over” before chalking format’s demise up to “just the technical problems with film.” A frequent collaborator with the Coen brothers, Deakins revealed that the duo also discussed switching to digital formats for their upcoming Hail, Caesar!, their decision not to leading to issues in production.
“Apparently Ethan at some point was talking about shooting the next film digitally. And then it turned around. They’re really debating it. I was in Albuquerque shooting Sicario and they were talking about it and they said, ‘I don’t know how you feel about it, but I think we want to go on film.’ And I said, you know, ‘I don’t mind. I’ll shoot it on a cell phone if you like. I don’t mind. I really don’t’.
Film stocks today are nothing like the film stocks they shot with back then. Do you know what I mean? So you can’t make a choice. You can’t even process differently these days. You don’t have that option. You’re pretty restricted with what you can do with film these days. So I mean there’s now many stocks now? Four or five? Your choices are very limited. But as I say, that was fine. I wasn’t going to do much in terms of the way it was processed, so I probably wouldn’t have gone that way even if I had the choice.
We did have some problems. We had some stock issues and stuff like that, which was really disconcerting. And I’ve heard that’s happened to a lot of people lately, you know, stock and lab problems. That’s unnerving. I mean I never really remember having those kind of problems before. But it makes me nervous now. I don’t want to do that again, frankly. I don’t think the infrastructure’s there. “
Hail, Caesar! opens in the UK on March 4th.