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Old 03-02-2011, 10:47 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: How are analog formats doing?

Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Polly, Bo and everyone, actually.

This actually gets to the crux of the issue. Polly says about her mother, 8Mile, Bo and Grunter about cameras. The analogue formats force you to make decisions earlier because there is no going back and changing it - or it's at least a lot, lot harder to change it.

I think that's the real advantage (or is it?) of digital everything is that you can go back over and edit more easily with an 'undo' button at your disposal. We can argue about analogue sound and the number of grains a ISO200 film might have over a 5MP camera (for the record, I have a small collection of film cameras - a Pentax SFXN, and a pair of student Prakticas (MTL 3 and 5 - the 3 is jammed though) as well as a couple of other lying around and I was brought up with a photography mad Dad)) - so I understand the appeal of the film formats and their tangible quality as well as the downside.

It's arguably more critical in film and video to edit the minute detail because the eye is generally more discerning that the ear, and I agree - if I'm doing quick shots for something like DW, then I'll use an old digital camera because it's quicker, easier and more productive. If I'm doing it for pleasure, I'll use the film if I can - because I actually think it's more 'fun'.

If you're talking about art, then this is where it all gets a bit stickier. I record to digital because it is cheap, quick, high quality and simple. More-or-less all the things that tape isn't, but I often get caught in the 'endless mixing' loop because my workflow doesn't have to be defined by the equipment. The endless freedom to chop and change makes it much harder for me to be productive - so for me, the only solution is to use analogue outboard and effectively use Pro Tools only for playback and recording to stereo from the desk. That forces my workflow and ensures that I'm actually making decisions. I'm sure that if I were a professional, this wouldn't be a problem but as a (fairly experienced) amateur - it absolutely is. I can mix in analogue in two hours (for say, a static 16 - track, four minute mix) and get a decent enough result. I can spend literally triple that doing it 'in the box' because nobody is forcing my decisions. And I need my decisions made early! Like with a typewriter, like with a film camera.
You know, if Ansel Adams were around today - I bet he'd be touting the advantages of the digital medium. Just as music artists tout the advantages of digital too. But the process of making music or images, is the same. You still have to have the ideas to execute. And if you can't seem to get anything done and in the can, that's not the fault of the gear. It's like folks with huge drumsets and folks with small drumsets: how do you use the gear?

Granted, I think the problem is that there's so many ways to get something done, that everyone has to take their time to come up with their own workflow solutions to their end product. Back in the days of film and analog recording, it was a simpler process because you had less choices on how to get it done. But that's not a problem of the gear, that's the brain's fault for not seeing the forest for the trees.

I got a chance to hear professional LIFE photog Joe McNally speak at a conference and he says he'll never go back to film (and the man has been in his business for almost 40 years now). His view of these newfangled digital thingamabob cameras is this: you just bought yourself a Ferrari - don't drive it like the Little ol' lady from Pasadena who only drives to church on Sundays at 30 miles per hour!

My little Zoom R16 16-track recorder is something that the Beatles would've killed for back in the day - it's so easy to do CD-quality recordings with it. It's up to me to max it to its full potential and attempt to make art with it. If anything, having gone digital has made it increasingly hard for me to blame the gear when the images suck or the recording is not up to snuff. And I think that's a good thing.
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