Why You Should Shoot On 16mm Film

When you work with a cheap format like digital, you end up trying out lots of things. You try to achieve a very lively, almost freeform atmosphere. With digital, you can just keep the camera rolling the whole time. But with film, you start to capture things after rehearsals – when your scene is about half way there. With digital, you never do the thinking until it’s done.

With film, it forces you to think and to re-think. It forces you to devise the choreography and build the mise en scéne. Then, when you’ve done that, the moment when you start shooting the scene, there is a special moment where everyone just focuses that little bit more. It adds a drama to the shoot, which you don’t get with digital.

My tip for shooting on film is, don’t respect the material too much. If you’re too coy about using the film you have, you end up with lots of short fragments. By all means plan the shoot, but play around a bit too. Use it. Also, remember, when you’re choosing the material, don’t think that film is better than digital. It’s more about asking what’s best for the film you’re making. It’s the difference between doing an oil painting and a pencil sketch. They’re completely different forms.