The film industry has undergone a fundamental change. Analog technology, which had prevailed for over a century, has been replaced by digital processes. Using audience-based experiments, the Analog/Digital project is the first-ever empirical study of the effects of this seismic shift on audience experiences of cinema. Within a wider interdisciplinary project, ZHdK film students produced three short fiction films, which were shot simultaneously with a conventional and a digital camera. The two versions of each film differed only as regards the recording technique. During postproduction, a third version was produced, in which the digital film was aligned as closely as possible with the analog look. Subsequently, the effects of the different films were studied using 487 test spectators.
Research findings reveal that the transformation from analog to digital recording formats does not impair an audience’s emotional cinema experience. As soon as an audience becomes engaged emotionally with a story, no significant differences between the original analog and digital material can be made out. By contrast, the comparison of projection types revealed different results. In test screenings involving a smaller audience, mechanical 35mm projection resulted in significantly higher emotional involvement than digital projection.
The large number of test subjects and the realistic cinema tests make the project unique. Its great relevance is further demonstrated by the considerable interest from both the Swiss and the international film industry.
SNF Applicant und General Manager
Prof. Christian Iseli, Institute of the Perfoming Arts and Film, ZHdK
Head of the Project
Prof. Pierre Mennel, ZHdK Subject Area Film, Director of Photography
Shooting Process: Andreas Birkle, Assistant at ZHdK Film Studies, Director of Photography;
Postproduction Process: Christian Iseli
ZHdK Film Students (MA und BA)
Producer: Filippo Bonacci
Mentors: Christian Iseli, Pierre Mennel, Manuel Flurin Hendry, Peter Purtschert, Georg Bringolf
University of Berne, Institute of Psychology, Dr. David Weibel
University of Zurich, Institute of Cinema Studies, Prof. Dr. Barabara Flückiger, Dr. Simon Spiegel
ARRI Arnold & Richter Ciné Technik GmbH & Co, Munich
Cinegrell GmbH, Zürich
Kodak SA, Lausanne