A Filmmaking Blog | VashiVisuals
The 4K restoration of Michael Mann’s seminal Los Angeles crime film HEAT (1995) is on the verge of being released. I wanted to revisit the titanic acting showdown between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in their first ever on-screen scene. The two legends square off in a 6-minute and 17-second scene that alternates between only two over-the-shoulder close-ups. Michael Mann shot a wide profile shot with both actors in frame…but chose to stay within the intimate close proximity the close-ups provided.
Michael Mann’s attention to detail is clearly visible in his annotated script that stresses the importance of this pivotal scene. I have merged the written page with the film footage so you can analyze and learn what made the final cut, what was improvised and what was left out. I’ve also added some trivia nuggets into the video from the production of the scene. Enjoy HEAT – Script to Screen.
I have been editing film and video since the age of 12. Cutting footage, crafting performances and telling stories with VCRs, Steenbecks and NLEs. In 2003, I started expanding my filmmaking skill set and began experimenting with Adobe After Effects 5.5. The first time I opened it up…I expected to see explosion buttons, lightsaber buttons and muzzle flash buttons. Unfortunately not the case at all! This was a brave new world where everything had to be created from scratch so I dove in.
I designed a one-take shot in my apartment so I could practice my non-existent After Effects skills. With a locked off DVX-100 and some amazing acting skills (!) I filmed myself and imported the Mini-DV footage into After Effects. I grabbed some free explosions and sparks from Detonation Films and started compositing.
I present to you GOOD MORNING…a 35-second VFX extravaganza from 2003 for your enjoyment!
On 3/9/2011, John Fell Ryan and Akiva Saunders produced the first screening of
THE SHINING FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS, SIMULTANEOUSLY, SUPERIMPOSED. In their experimental film, they digitally re-edited THE SHINING so it plays both forward and backwards at the same time. By keeping the opacity of the top layer at 50%, the two versions are superimposed equally on top of each other. Only the audio from the forwards playing version is heard so that pure sonic chaos doesn’t overwhelm the viewers.
Somewhat shockingly, the visual symmetry of certain critical story points seemed to be more than just a coincidence. The screen position of the actors during pivotal scenes also seem to flawlessly interweave in a graphically pleasing way. Was this planned by Kubrick (as presupposed by some) or is this just a curious by-product of happenstance and wishful thinking? Either way, the visuals speak for themselves and the viewer can see whatever they want to see within the imagery.
A selection of scenes were featured in the 2012 documentary ROOM 237 but there hasn’t been a public screening of the experimental film in several years. There is not a full version in HD available on the internet as far as I know.
The SX-70 is more than nostalgia. It’s more than a hipster prop.
It’s amazing technology that gave everyone the freedom to create.
It made everyone an artist with a canvas that developed in their hand.
It taught restraint, patience and decision. 10 shots per pack then. 8 now.
An analog paint brush, futuristic tool, game-changer and camera all in one.
In 1972 – Edwin Land created and released the iconic Polaroid SX-70 camera. He claimed 20,000 technological advancements in its design. “The tool for supplying a rich texture for memory…” is what modern architects/designers/filmmakers Charles and Ray Eames said about the Polaroid SX 70 in 1972. They were commissioned by Polaroid to produce an 11-minute film that shared the technical and emotional components to one of the most famous cameras in the history of photography. The film was first shown at a Polaroid shareholders meeting then later used as a sales tool within Polaroid. Legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein wrote the haunting score that merged together the technology and humanity. The film is a fantastic look at how the revolutionary SX-70 works and the creative opportunities it provides its user.
When foreign countries release english speaking movies…
they make some adjustments that can be lost in translation.
The good, bad and ugly of famous movie titles translated.
I will try to cover as many countries as possible:
A Split Focus Diopter is a half convex piece of glass that attaches to the front of a camera’s main lens to make half the lens nearsighted. This lens can focus on a plane in the background and on a foreground element at the same time. To effectively apply this cinematographer’s tool a filmmaker has to plan out each shot so that both the foreground and background elements will be in focus.
The Spilt Focus Diopter creates a hyper-real visual effect that logically shouldn’t happen but somehow it magically delivers a striking and visceral image that resonates in the mind of the viewer.
SPLIT DIOPTER shots are most often attributed to Brian De Palma but director Robert Wise incorporated them into many of his films as a visual style and storytelling device, often using them more than 100 times in one film.
His split diopter shots became an integral part of the story and not just a stand-alone visual trick. In THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, Robert Wise used 206 split diopter shots…the most in any feature film I’ve researched.
Robert Wise edited Citizen Kane. That alone is most impressive. He then went on to direct: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Run Silent Run Deep, West Side Story, The Haunting, The Sound of Music, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and 35 other feature films. On THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, Wise teamed up again with DP Richard H. Kline, one his favorite cinematographers. They went on to film Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 which had over 100 split diopter shots as well.
CINEMASH – A video essay that points out similarities in cinema.
These similarities can be visual, sonic, story or thematic.
No text or VO allowed. Maximum length of 24 seconds.
A visual homage to ALIENS (1986) in ROGUE ONE (2016)
Film Editing begins with organization. A feature film can have anywhere from 77 minutes of footage as in PRIMER to over 500 hours of footage shot on DEADPOOL. On both films…keeping track of the footage and making it all instantly accessible to the editor is paramount to a successful edit. On my current feature film 6 BELOW I am using markers in a new way.
By using MARKERS on timelines and sequences to notate takes, scenes and memorable moments an editor can isolate specific shots or sections that all the filmmakers can use to help wrangle all the footage and help tell a clearer story with all the footage.
All editing software allows for dropping markers on timelines but I utilize one little know function inside Adobe Premiere Pro to help me mark larger groups of shots or sections of similar content. A marker is usually placed on one frame but I like to extend that marker to cover minutes or whole swaths of footage. I then assign a name to the marker and this allows me to visually spot my assets very easily inside my timeline.
Click the image below to see how to extend markers in Premiere Pro.