Date: 27th November 2000

Lucas Says Digital Movies Will Arrive Faster Than Believed

Following the completion of principal photography of Star Wars: Episode II using digital cameras, George Lucas has predicted that the era of film photography is nearing its end.

"We are in the digital age now," Lucas told the New York Times Sunday, "and trying to hold on to an old-fashioned technology that's cumbersome and expensive -- you just can't do it."

Lucas told the newspaper that the Sony/Panavision cameras used for the shoot produced images that are "technically indistinguishable from film." However, he noted, the cost of videotape stock was about $15,000 versus some $2.5 million that he would have spent on film stock and processing.

Lucas also indicated that he will push for digital projection when the movie is released, noting that a significant quality loss results from transfer to film. "When you see it really nice and crisp and clean and beautiful, with these vivid colors, and then you see a lesser version of it, it's sad. It's not just a little thing. ... I have the feeling that the conversion to digital is going to take place relatively swiftly."

Source: Studio Briefing