Side By Side

Side By Side


Reviewed by: Owen Van Spall

Keanu Reeves narrating a documentary about the rise of digital technology in filmmaking? It seems unlikely, but here it is - the monotone one himelf taking us on a journey through the last 20 years of film development. In between several made-for-schoolkids animation sequences showing the technology and science behind the digital capture of light inside a camera, Reeves can be seen in front of the camera interviewing - with often hilarious results - a number of renowned filmmakers including David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Lars von Trier and James Cameron. Yes, that’s right- Keanu Reeves and David Lynch, in the same room as each other.

What saves the film is the fact that over the course of its 90-odd minutes it does actually take the subject quite seriously and does at least address both sides of the chemical versus digital filmmaking debate, at a time when Hollywood is stumbling through a transition phase.

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The film also deserevs credit for focusing not just on the directors and their work on set, with an increasingly dizzying range of digital cameras, but the lesser known team players who work on a modern Hollyowood picture, such as those who work in the editing and color timing phases. There are also stop-offs along the way to look at visual effects and the surprisingly complex issue of digital data storage - hard drives might offer on the surface eternal life for stored data but, in reality, can freeze up if left unspun for too long, and can burn out if kept running - and the diffculty in ensuring the correct playback technology will be avallable in future to match the many formats of stored digital film data. You will learn a few things here, even if you are a film buff.

Its also a chance to be reminded of where different directors draw their lines. David Lynch reiterates that he has long ago waved goodbye to analogue film processes, but interestingly director-of -the-moment Christopher Nolan is adamant that aesthetically speaking, he will be sticking with celluloid... for now.

Reviewed on: 16 Feb 2012
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Documentary exploring the science behind the development of digital cinema technology and its effects.

Director: Chris Kenneally

Year: 2012

Runtime: 99 minutes

Country: USA

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