Home Theater: Digits Triumphant

The annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) doesn't often generate a notable quote. Then again, last April's conclave in Las Vegas was the occasion for a notable event - the surprise appearance of the legendarily reclusive filmmaker George Lucas at a Sony press conference. Talking about his recent use of high-definition video equipment to shoot parts of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace as well as all of the upcoming Episode II, Lucas remarked - in front of me and hundreds of other reporters and Sony personnel, which helped ensure that he'd be widely quoted - "I will never, ever make another film, on film."

While I had already known that Lucas was intimately involved in the development and refinement of Sony's premier high-definition camcorder, the HDW-F900 (shown at right), I had no idea that he, of all people, had so completely come around to embracing digital video. Coming from a man who learned his craft cutting and gluing together bits of celluloid - just like all of us above a certain age who've taken filmmaking courses - his statement is a milestone in the triumphant advance of digital media against the bourgeois rear-guard forces of analog systems.