‘Westworld’ makers explain why shooting on film during the digital age has been a huge success

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“Westworld” may be set decades in the future, but one key aspect of the critically acclaimed series is a blast from the past.

The makers of the popular HBO show relish the chance to shoot scenes on Kodak motion-picture film during an era where many other TV shows and movies opt to shoot digitally instead.

“We’ve worked with virtually every camera system on the market. Film is still — by far — the most beautiful and consistent medium,” “Westworld” co-creator and showrunner Jonathan Nolan told the Daily News.

“If you want to time travel and shoot with the best digital cameras from the future, just use film now. It’s still better.”

The third season of “Westworld” began on March 15, with Nolan directing the season premiere and co-writing the episode with series co-creator Lisa Joy.

The dystopian sci-fi series, which centers on a futuristic theme park where rich people can experience their wildest fantasies, premiered in 2016 and features a big-name cast that includes Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright.

“Jonathan and Lisa believe, as I do, that film is by far the best way to capture any moving image,” explains Paul Cameron, the director of photography on the Season 3 premiere.

“This season we did extensive film and digital tests to confirm,” Cameron said. “When you strive for the best emotional image, there is no denying film. When you want the best relationship to a moving picture character, there is no denying film.”

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With “Westworld” now in its third season, Cameron says the decision to shoot on film has definitely been worthwhile.

“It’s not an easy task to buy, travel and ship exposed film around the world,” Cameron said. “It’s also getting harder to find experienced young assistants who know how to load film. We also ship our 35mm cameras everywhere we go. Also, there’s still a reverence on set when shooting film.”

Cameron describes shooting film as “one of the filmmakers’ primary creative decisions.”

“Every year we seem to be surprised at how many independent and award-winning films were shot on film,” Cameron said. “Motion Picture Film is a medium that is was way ahead of its time. It took about a hundred years to perfect. I wouldn’t call it a trend. It’s a reality.”

“Westworld” airs Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.


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