Shooting on Film
Behind the Scenes
Nice as Heck | Fudge, directed and shot by Andres O’Beirne on 8mm film.
For over 100 years, film has been an integral part of the filmmaking process. In fact, it's still one of the most common mediums used today despite the emergence of digital video. But why do filmmakers choose to shoot on film? Why not just use digital? Here are a few of our favorite reasons and some insight about the shooting format:
The Emotional Attachment
There are many reasons why we choose to shoot on film for our commercial video productions, but one of the most important is that it’s a nostalgic medium.
The aesthetics of film have been around for longer than any other medium, and for good reason. Film has a rich history with so many wonderful artists creating beautiful work that we’re still enjoying today. The quality of the image is unparalleled in terms of depth, texture and detail. The lighting is natural and can’t be replicated digitally - no matter how good your computer graphics are! It's also nice to know that nothing has been added or taken away from the original footage; it has not been manipulated or changed in any way since it was originally shot on set by our cinematographer (with the exception being color correction). In short: film looks better because it IS better!
Film is still relevant in our industry for a reason.
Now, we're not trying to tell you that film is the best option for every production. We're not saying that it's the only option for every production, either. But what we are saying is that film has its place in our industry—a place that it deserves and will continue to hold as long as there are producers who know what they're doing and want their productions to be viewed in a certain way by their clients.
Film can bring your commercial to life.
Film can bring your commercial to life. In fact, film is the most versatile medium we have at our disposal. It can be used to create a mood or feeling, tell the story of a product or service, give depth and dimension to an otherwise flat image, create a sense of nostalgia and magic.
Here are two recent commercials we've shot on 16mm and 35mm film:
Asphaltgold | Lost & Found, directed by Viktor Heinz. Shot by Elias Köhler on 16mm film.
YMI | A Love Letter to Jeans, directed by Bertram. Shot by Emerson Duggan on 16mmm & 35mm film
If you want to ensure your video production is going to stand the test of time, film might be a wise choice. Film has been around since it was first created it in the late 19th century and it’s still being produced today. If you look at any major motion picture released in the past decade, there's a good chance it was shot on film. The same goes for commercials, short films and documentaries – many filmmakers continue to use film because they know how well it captures images and how it can help tell their stories.
Additionally, consumers are also choosing to shoot with film because of its unique aesthetic presentation that cannot be replicated digitally. Film provides an organic look that gives viewers an immersive experience when watching content - something which many people value highly these days!
Here's the truth: film is more expensive than digital. And it will be for the foreseeable future, because there are fewer people shooting on 16mm and 35mm film, so there's a smaller market to buy stock from. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't shoot on the medium—it just means you have to plan ahead and budget accordingly.
The cost of film is worth it because it gives your video production an aesthetic that digital can't provide. And if you're targeting Gen Z's, they drool over film- the rise of point and shoots, disposable cameras and Super 8’s in recent years directly speaks to this. The graininess of 35mm can make even the most mundane location look legendary; the colors of 16mm add depth and warmth to any scene. And if you want to add some extra character? You can get creative with different lenses or filters on your camera!
Film is like a fine wine: it gets better with age. As an art form that has been around since the early 20th century, film still has relevance in today's digital world. It’s truly unique and offers a number of benefits to commercials and advertising content.
At the end of the day… what makes a great commercial or film is storytelling. And film isn’t going to automatically make your story great. But, it’s process, aesthetic and contribute to another valuable tool we have available to enhance the stories that shape our world.
If you want to learn more about our process and why we prefer film over digital, reach out to our Co-Founder & Executive Producer, Andres O’Beirne.
We look forward to shooting your next commercial on film!