I agree that digital video will never look quite like film, but I fail to see the problem.
Not, that I said ‘like’ not ‘as good as’.
Every medium has its own look. Oil painting are different than water-based paintings, etc. Often a medium has certain defects. In my opinion (based on creating on a computer) water-based paints are ‘flawed’ in that they aren’t as thick, and are fairly runny. These qualities can be worked around, or even used creatively by a master, but imho it’s a defect for paint to not stay exactly where put, etc.
Art isn’t ruined by the medium it’s done in (in most cases.) In fact, we’re quite forgiving of medium shortcomings even when they keep the art from looking exactly as the artist intended.
So, yes. There are differences. Oil will never be water. Digital video will never be film. But I don’t think that you can say digital will never be as good as just because it isn’t, when examined with a magnifying glass, maded of tiny grains, etc. That ‘film look’ might even be what some people look for when they watch a movie, because they’re in the industry and are used to judging the production quality.
I don’t think though that anything like that matters at all though. If I look at something directly and don’t see a ‘film look’ to it, I shouldn’t see one in a movie. Ditto on things like lens flares… (I want to strangle the person who put those filters into art programs. Why not go all-out to simulate the problems of the camera and include ‘thumb over lens’ and ‘camera shaken during exposure’?)
This is a long way of me saying that I discount things that involve one medium not being enough like another when the real message (Unless you’re Marshall Mcluhan) is in protraying the intended scene in a way that leads a viewer to feel as if they were witnessing it directly.
So, how good will digital video have to be before it produces an image as good as, not necessarily identical to, film?
Also, are there any fundamental problems with digital video? Are there significant exposure times, or are pictures nearly instananeous? If they are very quick, is there much motion blur, and does that affect the perception of motion, etc. Are current technologies workable in the long run, or are CCDs bad at capturing a wide range of colors, for example?
This also relates to the topic of the resolution of human vision. At what resolution will the eye not be able to distinguish the real thing from video? (Asside from depth cues, etc.)