Quentin Tarantino Really Doesn’t Like 4K and Digital Filming

by on October 6, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – October 6, 2014

The major debate that supposedly exists between digital and film formats isn’t really a debate. Digital is winning and while film might stick around, there is no reason to believe it will play a major part in theaters down the road.

The bottom line is that digital filming of movies or even digital transfer of film stock to the big screen are both dramatically superior than celluloid directly to the screen via projector –not to mention much easier to manage.

However, try telling this to Quentin Tarantino. The renowned film director has clearly stated his position on digital and absolutely rejects it as a theater medium. Not only does he reject digital (DCP) movie presentations, he’s also lobbying hard for the Hollywood studios to keep purchasing and using 35mm film stock for new release theater movies. Naturally given his point of view, Tarantino himself refuses to film with DCP and still uses celluloid in all of his own feature films.

According to the directors own words about his lobbying efforts, “What made me say ‘now is the time’ –aside from wanting to do it for a long, long time— was the whole death of 35mm for the most part, as far as this town [Hollywood] is concerned. And I’m just really, really against it” He said in a recent interview with L.A radio station KCRW.

According to Tarantino, if he can’t keep shooting in film stock, he’ll stop making movies altogether. And views the overall culture in Hollywood as one of acquiescing to digital projection piece by piece. In his exact words, “We’ve already ceded too much ground to the barbarians”

“The fight is lost if all we have is digital and DCP presentations, because to me, that’s just television in public, any way you cut it” added Tarantino during the recent interview.

He also claimed that a screening of “A fistful of Dollars” presented at Cannes earlier this year in DCP remastered digital projection, which he attended left him depressed as to the quality of the movie in its 4K digital presentation and was what really motivated him to start intensifying his advocacy of continued cellulose use.

While Tarantino claimed that the movie did look nice, it was only nice in a “conventional” digital sense, like DVD or laserdisc and that he felt as if he “should be pointing the remote control at the screen and hitting play”.

In Quentin Tarantino’s view, seeing a movie on 35mm celluloid film isn’t necessarily about how objectively good the visual quality is, instead it’s more about texture and the underlying story of each specific film print along with all of its little flaws and distortions that form over time. According to Tarantino’s view of movie projection, these little details tell a story for each movie print roll and that’s something that should be preserved in Hollywood.

In other words, Quentin Tarantino’s entire effort against the advancement of 4K and digital projection (and filming) in general reeks of somewhat self-absorbed and highly personal nostalgia for little details that many audiences would not agree are that important.

Digital transfer and filming, whatever their flaws, eliminate exactly the kind of grainy glitches from movie reels that have for years limited their full glory as originally captured by the film reel itself or intended. In fact, with 4K digital projection (and eventually 8K projection) the celluloid films of decades past can finally be seen in all the detail and color that was originally captured on them. This is something that’s only possible with the advent of Digital Ultra High Definition filming, transfer and projection technology.

A Fistful of Dollars in 4K

The 4K rendition of “A Fistful of Dollars” “disappointed” Quentin Tarantino

Most audiences, viewing the same screening of “A Fistful of Dollars” in a Cinema Grade 4K resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels at Cannes or elsewhere would be amazed at the sheer never before seen clarity of the movie in a format that allows it to finally be displayed in its full detailed totality.

Tarantino’s dislike of this is not a rational thing, it reeks of highly personal nostalgia instead. This wouldn’t be problem by itself, but the fact that the director is also lobbying Hollywood to continue indulging that love of graininess and film reel “stories” in older movies and using the same technology for newer films that would last far better in digital is an imposition on the rest of the movie going world that mostly wants high quality imagery instead of black dots and washouts in their favorite movies.

Story by

Be the first to comment!
Leave a reply »


Leave a Response