Of Fetal Pigs and Film

I was thinking today about the time I dissected a fetal pig for 11th grade anatomy and physiology class and how it relates to editing.

I know this is a pretty weird thought.

The thing that I thought was weird is that when it comes to “film editing”, I’ve never actually physically “cut” anything to put together two different shots and make art. Everything I’ve ever done is digital (or at least analog converted to digital). I grew up hearing about how digital might be the next great thing, and now I’m a professional where digital has become the reality of most professionals outside of the film industry. “Films” aren’t “cut” anymore, and I probably will never actually get to hold a piece of film in my hand and see what it’s like to do all that film-y stuff with it.

The reason I was thinking about fetal pigs is because I actually HAVE physically handled and cut those. I cut open its body cavity, explored its organs, measured its intestines, cracked its jaw. I had the razor in my hand and held its heart and stomach.

This is getting weird. Here’s a picture of the pig I dissected to make it weirder (and a mention that yes, we did pierce its ear. Now the weird is full circle.)

Eventually, I think most high school students won’t get the fetal pig dissection experience. I think it’ll all become digital too. There’s too many reasons stacking up against actual dissections for high schoolers (like the kid in my class who tossed the intestines and stuck them to the ceiling) and having it all on a computer seems most cost effective and overall safer.

My point is: Are we losing something in this fading away of the physical? What am I missing by never having held film in my hand? I don’t know if I understand anatomy better after having cradled a fetal pig and broken its jaw open so I could see its tongue. I’m usually the biggest advocate for going completely digital with no real ambition to mess with film, but occasionally I have random thoughts like this that give me pause on the matter.