In February this year an event was held in the famous Turbine Hall of London's Tate Modern, the most visited modern art gallery in the world. Presented by the British Society of Cinematographers, the Guild of British Camera Technicians, Directors UK and the Production Guild of Great Britain, the event was a celebration of the medium of film, sponsored by ARRI and a range of other companies in the industry. Demand for tickets was overwhelming and the crowd of 800 attendees included directors, producers, cinematographers, actors, editors, and postproduction professionals.
The Turbine Hall was chosen because it was housing a work of art that not only celebrates film, but also poses questions about the future of film in an increasingly digital age. The Unilever Series: FILM, by artist Tacita Dean, is an 11-minute silent 35 mm film projected onto a 13-metre monolith; the piece was produced and postproduced entirely on film. Dean, who regularly works in the medium, spoke publicly at the event and implored manufacturers and filmmakers to take a stand against its demise.
As a subscriber to Dean's belief that the film/digital discussion is too polarized at present and that the co-existence of these two formats means more creative choices for creative people, ARRI is committed to supporting film-based systems for the next 10 years at the very least.
What does this mean in practice? It means that ARRI will continue to support and service the ARRI film cameras, ARRISCAN scanners and ARRILASER recorders of its customers. Not only that, but the company will seek new ways to improve film systems as technology emerges; an example of this would be the HD-IVS high definition video assist units that ARRI recently developed for its existing film cameras.
Perhaps most crucially of all, ARRI's commitment to film will help preserve, restore and archive the billions of feet of exposed film materials that exist in collections all over the world. The ARRISCAN and its state-of-the-art archive accessories have an important job to do in this regard - a job that in fact has barely begun. For this reason ARRI is actively developing new technology that will help get the best out of film and preserve as much of our cinematic history as possible. The most recent of these innovations is Hoverscan, an on-the-fly stabilization tool for delicate film materials that has been developed in close collaboration with HS-Art and is being previewed at NAB 2012.
The fact that film remains the most proven and reliable long-term image storage solution is another major reason behind ARRI's ongoing support of the format. This issue of storage, brought to the industry's attention by the AMPAS 'Digital Dilemma' papers, was touched upon by Tacita Dean at the Tate Modern event when she noted, "Even some directors titanically invested in digital are still too afraid to rely 100% on digitally archiving their films." With the ARRILASER film recorder, which won its developers an Academy Award of Merit® earlier this year, ARRI allows valuable image-based assets to continue being stored on the only medium to boast longevity that can be measured in centuries.
We get a glimpse during the filming of ARGO, directed by Ben Affleck and shot by Rodrigo Prieto ASC, AMC on ARRICAMs, ARRIFLEX 435, ARRIFLEX 235 and ALEXA.