Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Side By Side vs Sound City

I had a fascinating double bill of two documentaries on Sunday; Side by Side followed by Sound City. One has Keanu Reeves asking the greatest living directors in cinema all about their thoughts on film vs digital formats and the other has Dave Grohl reminiscing on the studio where Nevermind was recorded back in his Nirvana days.

Both these documentaries dealt with the technologies of creative media production in accessible but differing ways. Side by Side is concerned with film and looks to the future more than the past and Sound City is concerned with making music and mostly looks to the past. Both offer a history of producing entertainment/art with Sound City focusing only on artists that have recorded at the legendary but now defunct recording studio. Side by Side focuses on Hollywood and American independent filmmakers mostly and gets a fairly balanced look at the differing opinions of many filmmakers on the digital vs film debate.

Both documentaries feature a roll call of famous talent from their respective mediums; Side by Side has Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Richard Linklater, Danny Boyle, David Fincher whereas Sound City has Paul McCartney, Josh Homme, Trent Reznor, Stevie Nicks and many more.

Side by Side details the history of film and the encroaching spread of the use of digital technology from sound to editing to cameras. Sound City details the history of the studio before Dave Grohl collects together an array of musicians to record an album on the old Sound City production board. Both the films seems to mourn the passing of a more traditional way of making their arts.

I was in awe of both of these documentaries and their stunning access to major players in both the music and film industries. If you have any interest in films or rock music, you will most likely be enthralled by both of these films. They are not just a testament to a bygone age and a consideration of the modern technologies and what has been lost and gained, they are also a unique chance to hear many legends speak their mind about their passions.

Sound City trailer:

Side by Side Trailer:

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