Why Oscars winners don’t use film & how about all these resurrections?

Who’d have thought it?  The two biggest winners at the Oscars in 2009 would be films shot on, well, digital.

‘Benjamin Button’, shot by legendary director David Fincher, on the Viper HD camera, and the brilliant Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, with 65% of it being shot on digital (the rest was S16mm).  Whose DPs end up with the nominations (and ultimately a win)?  Mr Anthony Dod Mantle BSC and Claudio Miranda.

What more can you say really?  Two Directors and their DPs using the technology in two very differing ways but ultimately achieving in both cases, visually stunning pieces.  For Fincher, the ability to have a smaller crew, a tighter control over the edit (for more info see March’s HD mag) as well as a proven record from Zodiac.  With Boyle, a need to be able to record high quality images while not drawing attention to the cameras (in most cases using the tiny SI-2K camera with recording backpack).

Could this moment be where the balance tipped to Digital capture?

I believe so.

RED Epic, Sony F35s, SI-2K, Genesis, D21 and Phantom HD vs. 35mm Vision 3 (and Fuji of course)

Lets see where we are with the nominations next year – a slate of RED movies perhaps?

So this week has seen a number of post houses go into administration, or change of ownership.

There are many companies that have been resurrected almost immediately, I won’t put them down here as not all of them make it into the public eye and its not my intention to damage anyone’s reputation thats for sure.  You can search any of the phoenix’s via this website though, if you go into administration it’ll end up here:


I’m a little confused by how it all works though.  I always thought going bankrupt was disastrous, and yet I am surrounded by other post houses, who seem to go bust one day, to then re-open the next day (sometimes with a change in management) and carry on with the same trading name.  In recent months a number of high profile facilities have done a phoenix (or management buyout) with MD’s previously from other bankrupt ventures taking over.  Unfortunately its not always victimless, in some cases, creditors are left out of pocket permanently which doesn’t seem fair to me (that impacts on my business for a start) – but of course it does keep people in jobs which is important in this current climate.

With the market supposedly so saturated (and actually, to be fair it is), it looks set to stay that way as a phoenix from the ashes seems to be an real alternative in some form or other for MDs.  From a business financing point of view, which finance company would want a bunch of broadcast equipment back at their lockup – how can you sell it on?!  Probably best to let the new phoenix companies just keep it and hope you can get at least something for it all.

I finish up by referring to an article last year from Broadcast Editor Lisa Campbel, I think she thought that we’d see a lot of facilities go under – well we have, but only for a day……:

Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt times are tough in Soho – and about to get tougher, according to one seasoned facility chief who expects to see another 10 casualties before the current shake-out is over.

In some ways a period of belt tightening could be beneficial. Those that survive are likely to be the businesses with the most cast-iron business plans rather than those with a reputation for doing deals at the bar. The best placed are those which have the right profile to appeal to all, from cheaper, high volume jobs to high end creative finishing services, or who add value by developing additional services.

Some have been hit harder than others. The turmoil is particularly tough on mid-market facilities which are not as fleet of foot as smaller boutiques but can’t offer the economies of scale of the larger players.

There’s no doubt that the industry has to face some hard economic facts of life. The falling cost of kit has meant it’s never been easier to launch a facility and many have – it’s an oversupplied market.

Sources include:




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