A Post-Celluloid Timeline

(a work in progress)

In the late 1990s, Hollywood entered a period of profound technological disruption, driven, as in past eras of technological change, by the search for efficiencies in production and distribution, stylistic innovators, and fierce competition between the media conglomerates and among vendors new and old. This list is part of a larger project to describe and contextualize Hollywood’s digital turn; it’s not exhaustive, but includes films that seem notable for some contribution, minor or major, for good or ill, to industry discussions over the future of digital cinema. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are welcome at christophrlucas @ yahoo.com.

This chart: Title, production format, credited cinematographer


Pleasantville, 35mm + extensive digital grading/colorization, John Lindley

Festen (Dogme 1), DV, Anthony Dod Mantle

Idioterne (Dogme 2), DV , Lars Von Trier


The Blair Witch Project, 16mm, NTSC video, Neal Fredericks

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace , 35mm, HD, David Tattersall

Julian Donkey Boy (Dogma 6), DV, Anthony Dod Mantle

Mifune’s Last Song (Dogma 3), 16mm, Anthony Dod Mantle


Bamboozled, 16mm, DV, Ellen Kuras

Dancer in the Dark, DV, Robby Muller

Chuck and Buck, DV, Chuy Chavez

Timecode, DV, Patrick Stewart

The King is Alive (Dogma 4), DV, Jens Schlosser

O Brother Where Art Thou, 35mm + extensive digital grading, Roger Deakins


Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq, HD (Cinealta), Jean-Pierre Sauvaire and Jean-Cladue Thibaut

Anniversary Party, DV + Film, John Bailey

Hotel, DV, Patrick Stewart

Tape, DV, Maryse Alberti

Jackpot, HD (CineAlta), M. David Mullen

Ali (select scenes), Film + HD, Emmanuel Lubezki

Waking Life, DV + animation, Rick Linklater, Tommy Pollatta

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Film + Digital grading, Andrew Lesnie

Our Lady of the Assassins, HD, Rodrigo Lalinde

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, NTSC video, Norman Cohn

Session 9, HD (Cinealta), Uta Briesewitz


Full Frontal, DV, Steven Soderbergh

Jackass: The Movie, DV, NTSC, Dimitry Elyashkevich

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, HD (CineAlta), David Tattersall

Personal Velocity, DV, Ellen Kuras

Spy Kids 2, HD (CineAlta), Robert Rodriguez

28 Days Later, DV, Anthony Dod Mantle


Once Upon a Time in Mexico, HD (CineAlta), Robert Rodriguez

Tarnation, DV, Super 8 and stills, Jonathon Caouette

Spy Kids: Game Over, HD, 3D, Robert Rodriguez

Ghosts of the Abyss (short), HD, 3D, Vince Pace and D.J. Roller


Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, HD (CineAlta), Eric Adkins

The Aviator, 35mm + extensive digital grading, Robert Richardson

Polar Express, Digital 3D, motion capture , Don Burgess and Robert Presley

Collateral, 35mm, HD, RAW, Paul Cameron and Dion Beebe

D.E.B.S., HD (CineAlta), M. David Mullen


Bubble, HD, Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews)

Shark Boy and Lava Girl, HD, 3D, Robert Rodriguez

Chicken Little, 3D Animation, [no DP]

The Quiet, HD, M. David Mullen


Borat: Cultural Learnings of America, HD, Luke Geissbuhler and Anthony Hardwick

Miami Vice, 35mm, HD, RAW, Dion Beebe

Click, HD, Dean Semler

Akeelah and the Bee, 35mm, HD (one scene), M. David Mullen


Beowulf, Motion capture, Robert Presley

Superbad, HD, Russ Alsobrook

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, HD, Dean Semler

Zodiac, RAW + film, Harris Savides

Paranormal Activity, HDV, Oren Peli


Che, Parts 1 and 2, 16mm, 35mm, and RAW (Red), Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews)

Slumdog Millionaire, 35mm, HD, RAW (SI), Anthony Dod Mantle

Journey to the Center of the Earth, HD, 3D (Pace), Chuck Shuman


Avatar, HD (Cinealta), Mauro Fiore

The Informant!, RAW (Red), Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews)

TheGirlfriend Experience, RAW (Red), Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews)

Antichrist, RAW (Red), Phantom, Anthony Dod Mantle

A Christmas Carol, Digital 3D, motion capture, Robert Presley


Shutter Island, 65mm, 35mm, RAW? (Arri), Robert Richardson

The Social Network, RAW (Red), Jeff Cronenweth

Black Swan, 16mm, HD, Matthew Libatique

Inception, 65mm, 35mm, HD, Wally Pfister

Alice in Wonderland, 35mm, HD, RAW, Darius Wolski

127 Hours, 35mm, HD, RAW (SI), Anthony Dod Mantle


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, RAW (Arri/Codex), Chris Menges

Haywire, RAW, Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews)

Contagion, RAW, Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews)

Hugo, HD (Arri), Robert Richardson

Melancholia, RAW (Arri/Codex), Manual Alberto Claro


Skyfall, RAW (Arri/Codex), Roger Deakins

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Film + RAW (Arri/Codex), Caleb Deschenal

Argo, Film (various stocks) + RAW (Arri), Rodrigo Prieto

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, RAW (Red), Andrew Lesnie

Life of Pi, RAW (Arri/Codex), Claudio Miranda



(Sources: American Cinematographer, interviews with filmmakers, IMDB)

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