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Science Nature & Tech Programs

Side By Side: The Science, Art and Impact of Digital Cinema

This special, hosted and co-produced by film star Keanu Reeves, investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation.

Side By Side: The Science, Art and Impact of Digital Cinema

Watch Friday, August 30, 2013 at 9pm on WMHT TV

Produced and hosted by Keanu Reeves and directed by Chris Kenneally, SIDE BY SIDE: THE SCIENCE, ART, AND IMPACT OF DIGITAL CINEMA is a provocative and in-depth examination of how digital filmmaking is challenging traditional celluloid film as the gold standard in moviemaking. SIDE BY SIDE captures the essence of the film versus digital debate through unprecedented access to influential filmmakers such as James Cameron, David Fincher, George Lucas, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Robert Rodriguez, Lana and Andy Wachowski, Steven Soderbergh and many more. Presented by Maryland Public Television, SIDE BY SIDE premieres on Friday, August 30, 2013 at 9pm on WMHT TV.

For almost one hundred years there was only one way to make a movie — on film. But over the last two decades a digital process has emerged to challenge photochemical filmmaking. In 2009 Slumdog Millionaire won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, the first time the award was given to a film shot almost entirely digitally and not on film.

“Cinema is at a tipping point. Digital has challenged, and in some ways completely overturned, a process of making movies on photochemical film that has been a tradition for over one hundred years,” says director Chris Kenneally.SIDE BY SIDE is an intimate conversation between Keanu and the top professionals in the industry about this revolution and its impact.”

SIDE BY SIDE investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation, and how — at least for now — the two forms coexist side by side. The evolving relationship between art and technology is revealed through clips of groundbreaking films, as well as visits to movie sets. Directors, producers, cinematographers, colorists, editors and actors offer anecdotes and candid opinions about how the digital revolution is transforming their storytelling tools and techniques.

SIDE BY SIDE examines what is gained and what is lost both practically and philosophically in the changeover from film to digital. Those who embrace digital cite how it democratizes the filmmaking process and allows for infinite creativity.

“I’m always looking for whatever is new to help invigorate storytelling to push the art form even further,” says Sin City and Spy Kids director/cinematographer Robert Rodriguez, who sees digital as the future of filmmaking. Others, such as The Dark Knight cinematographer Wally Pfister, champion film for its artistic integrity and unique ability to create evocative, nuanced images. “I’m not going to trade my oil paints for a set of crayons,” he says. But most agree that digital filmmaking is here to stay. As Martin Scorsese says, “The issue is that it is different. How to you use it and how do you use it to tell a story? It’s up to the filmmaker.”

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NOVA scienceNOW News

Five Reasons to Eat Insects

Save room for bugs! They're the future of green cuisine.

Profile: Shaundra Daily

This software engineer and dancer found her groove teaching children about their emotional lives.

Nature follows one of the most fearless animals in the world: the honey badger.

PBS Nature News

Snow Monkeys: Behind The Scenes: Making of Snow Monkeys

Pontecorvo and his wife Nimmida Pontevorco followed an individual snow monkey troop of over 160 members for over a year to truly get to know these fascinating creatures.

Snow Monkeys: Video: Monkey Babies Start to Explore

As winter months fade away, the forest becomes a nursery for this troop of snow monkeys: The newborns are full of energy and curiosity, and are blissfully unaware of dangers or troop politics.

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