Though Hugo saw Martin Scorsese making his initial leap into digital filmmaking for the purposes of 3-D, that switch now appears to be permanent: Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street—and likely all the movies he makes from now on—will also be digital, according to the director’s long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Speaking to Empire, Schoonmaker admitted, “It’s just impossible to fight it anymore, the collapse of film. Marty and I are very depressed about it. It would appear that we have lost the battle.” (Somewhat less depressing: Wolf will not be in 3-D, despite Scorsese musing that he could spend the rest of his career making movies only in 3-D, if not as holograms.)
The shift is a monumental one for someone as tied to the classic purity of the medium as Scorsese; one (potentially apocryphal) story had him choosing to build out the elaborate sets for Gangs Of New York over using CGI, as his friend George Lucas had suggested. As Schoonmaker noted, "It's a very bittersweet thing to be watching films with him now that are on film. We're cherishing every moment of it. The number of prints that are now being made for release has just gone down, and it would appear that the theatres have converted so quickly to digital."
Besides the question of capturing the same quality and warmth in the digital format, Schoonmaker said another concern with the switch will be preservation, another cause Scorsese has worked tirelessly on. Noting that prints of Scorsese’s 1993 film The Age Of Innocence were no longer being made, for example, Schoonmaker said, “If you don’t preserve these things every five years digitally, they’re going to vanish. And who’s going to have the money to do that?”