It's the digital age and just about every piece of media we encounter is now brought to us via 1's and 0's. Digital technology has taken over to the point this generation of kids don't even recognize the original analog counterparts. Things are slimmer, more convenient and accessible...but are they necessarily better? Here are a few analog vs. digital comparisons of yesterday with today's counterparts...
Print is dead! Long live Print! This particular battle royale has spawned its own billboard ads. We may receive most of our news on the internet through LED displays these days, but the majority of us still appreciate the feel of a good book or the sheen of printed pages on a magazine. To me, the cold blue cast of a display can't compare to the warmth and tactility of print. A black and white portrait on a screen becomes artwork once printed on quality paper. Print has a way of exuding more drama, more character, and more emotion.
Another classic battle that you may hear being debated at your local coffee shop. "Digital is exacting, every note is just as the artist intended." "Vinyl has a certain vibe that digital just doesn't bring." Vinyl was before my time, so I don't have the emotional attachment others hold onto — I only remember the plastic primary colored disks I'd play in my Playskool record player. Despite this, I will admit that there is something about the look of a needle on a spinning disk and the warmth of stereo fuzz that I can appreciate. Compared to digital, these elements have a way of setting a mood, and transporting you back to the Mad Men era — a time when you just wanted to sit back, have a scotch, and appreciate your company.
Digital cameras have come a long way the past few years, to the point where I feel a digital image can replicate the artistic character of one taken with film. It may require filters, it may require post-processing, but I feel the overall look can be achieved. Where analog may triumph is in the presentation, as those captures are often printed on paper vs. shared on a computer screen. I feel, however, like that is a battle of print, and the battle of imagery is a solid tie.
Winner: Too close to call
When it comes to television, unlike music, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who says they like analog broadcasts more than digital. Digital television adds clarity and reliability, and lets us enjoy the medium in new ways — in 5.1 surround sound. I think all these features help bring the content on-screen to life, and provide an overall more immersive experience. Especially when it comes to the movies.
For all these comparisons I ignored the convenience, accessibility, and portability advantages digital obviously brings. I wanted to judge things purely on the end result, and as such I feel analog prevails in mediums that are often associated with art.
(Images: Chris Perez)