Film Vs. Digital Video – can you tell the difference? I’ll bet you can’t!

by Keith Alvendia1 Comment

Our friend Joey Shanks sent us this interesting comparison as a test of your skills of seeing whether you can tell the difference between digital and film and that's not even broaching the topic of which is better! Trying to figure that out would be like the battle between Apple and PC – there is so much subjectivity to it.

But recognizing the difference between film and digital video should be easy right? Well, watching this video may make you think twice… I sure have trouble!

And Joey challenges you to look at the last scene and try to figure out which is which – and he'll reveal the answer on December 26th. Sound off in our comment section (joining is simple with the Facebook or twitter icons at the top of the page).

If you remember, Joey shared with us how he creates some special effects for PBS earlier.

Film Vs. Digital

 Related story: Discover the secret of how the Canon EOS 5D makes the cosmos appear on PBS


From Joey Shanks of Shanks FX:

Cameras Used:

Canon EOS 5D Mark II (digital) ISO 400
Canon 7e (35mm film) Fuji 400 Stock

(the Vivitar camera seen in the video was not used, I already returned the Canon 7E and wanted a shot with both cameras together in frame, and also close-ups of the mechanics of a 35mm camera)

Shot Info:

SALT SHAKER 50mm Canon f22 2 sec
DRIVING on ROAD 12-24mm Tokina f22 2.5 sec (ND Filter)
MAGNETIC PUTTY 100mm Canon Macro f3.2 1/25
WOMEN PORTRAIT 100mm Canon Macro f5 1/80
STEAM KETTLE 50mm Canon f2 1/60
STEEL WOOL BURNING 100mm Canon Macro f2.8 .8 sec
SLAMDANCE 50mm Canon f5.6 2 sec
STAR TREK Transporter 50mm Canon f14 2 sec

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. You’ve got to be kidding.
    At 24 fps, film is always distinguishable from video. At 30fps, or with “smoothing” applied, film starts looking like video.
    There’s also the fact that film has a different “characteristic curve”, especially in the shadows.

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