Episode 29 of the excellent Red Centre Podcast consists of an interview with L.A. based director of photography Rodney Charters, who makes the assertion that entertainment industry strikes have hastened the demise of film as a shooting medium.
“Out of 100 pilots this year,” reports Charters, “only 3 are being shot on film.” This is a dramatic decline from years past, a much faster rate than one would expect in the natural evolution to high-end digital shooting in the 21st century. Why?
As you are probably aware, SAG has for some time been threatening to strike, having failed to come to an agreement with MPAA in 2008; after the writer’s strike which cost the California economy some $2.1 billion, this has caused a good deal of consternation on the part of producers. It also apparently led to a split with AFTRA, the sister union to SAG which traditionally is the “television” unit where SAG is feature film.
AFTRA’s contract stipulates that shows featuring its members be shot electronically (the television link) and therefore, in order to avoid the unexpected, producers have apparently been demanding AFTRA agreements. Thus, the vast majority of new television projects, including dramatic series that would traditionally have been filmed, have been shot with cameras like Panavision Genesis, Sony F35 and RED.
Whereby, according to Charters, “the actors have single-handedly killed film.”