What is the difference between film and television? What is the difference between the big screen and the small screen? As one underemployed film editor asked me, "Which do you prefer working with, silver or rust?" They say this because the original chemical used in film stock was silver iodide that went black when exposed to light, and the first video recordings were made on tape coated with iron oxide, or rust. Interestingly, major movies are now starting to be made entirely on digital cameras with no film stock at all, and systems are being developed so that the output from the digital camera can be fed directly to the editing computer, with no separate recording medium.
I know, of course, that many productions made on film are intended to be shown on the small screen of television, and that practically no productions made on video for the small screen are ever shown on the big screen of a movie house, although high definition digital filming can happily appear on either. To prevent confusion, in this section when I say "film," I mean a production that is primarily intended to be shown on a large screen in a public place; I will use "television" to include those productions, recorded either on film stock (silver) or videotape (rust), that are intended to be shown on the small screen in a private place.
The silver and rust comment shows the antagonism often felt toward video, with film somehow thought of as the more "pure" medium. Certainly,