Cinematography Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Blog
Film Editor Margaret Sixel was given over 480 hours of footage to create MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. The final edit ran 120 minutes and consisted of 2700 individual shots. That’s 2700 consecutive decisions that must flow smoothly and immerse the viewer. 2700 decisions that must guide and reveal the story in a clear and concise manner. One bad cut can ruin a moment, a scene or the whole film. No pressure!
The most popular editing tendency for action scenes and films over the last 10 years has been the “Chaos Cinema” approach. A barrage of non-congruent and seemingly random shots that overwhelm the viewer with a false sense of kinetic energy and power. It can be effective in smaller doses, but exhausting and confusing when absorbed for 2 hours. If the story is incomprehensible due to editing…you are doing it wrong. So how do you keep action scenes energetic and fresh without shaky cameras and hypersonic editing? Read more…
Sometimes the composition of a static frame can overwhelm you. The power of a carefully crafted image can be staggering.The Polish film IDA was just nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar by The Academy.
90% of the film is shot on a locked off tripod. With so many tools (dollies, sliders, cranes, drones, steadicams, Movis…) available to filmmakers, it is refreshing to experience a movie that chose so many exquisite and deliberate static frames to best tell the story.
Each new shot reveals something about the lead character. Emotions, state of mind and the story’s drama are expressed by the use of camera placement and lighting…not by spoken words. Do yourself a favor and track down this stunning film to experience the power of the static camera.
Here are 52 of my favorite shots from IDA (click image to enlarge)
Shot on Arri ALEXA in 1.33:1 aspect ratio with Zeiss Ultra Primes. In post production, the color footage was converted to black and white with Nucoda.
IDA recalls for me, the classic cinema of the 1940’s, evoking visual elements of both film noir and Italian Neo-realism.
3 minutes of IDA
DP Ryszard Lenczewski took 3000 photographs to previz and storyboard the film.
Lighting diagram of kitchen scene
Learn more about the cinematography of IDA from the DPs
SOURCE: LENSCULTURE article written by Alexander Strecker
“Ida: Sketches” – photos by Ryszard Lenczewski
Until next time…
John Carpenter’s THE THING is one of my favorite movies. The story, characters, score, location and practical visual effects are some of the most memorable in film history. In this classic horror film, there are several scenes that just DESTROYED me and left me cinematically scarred as a child. One scene in particular was so spectacular that just by saying ‘Chest-Teeth” or “Spider-Head” leaves people shaking their heads in disbelief and sighing loudly. The character of Palmer in the film sums it up nicely with…”You gotta be fuckin’ kidding.”
The visuals of both the desolate Antarctic and the ever-morphing alien creatures in THE THING were envisioned long before the movie was shot. Extensive storyboards were drawn by artist Michael Ploog and Mentor Huebner so that all the departments of the production were on the same page in their preparation for the shoot. This is nothing new…but the similarity between the storyboards and the final imagery shot by legendary DP Dean Cundey is staggering. Storyboards are often only a guide, but in this film they were so specifically rendered that they became gospel. The detail and artistry of Ploog’s work up front, allowed the crew to have clear and defined goals on those frigid shooting days in both Alaska and Canada. Read more…
Today, Apple released a new video codec into the filmmaking post production world. It’s called ProRes 4444 XQ and it’s a mother-scratching beast.
At 4K (4096 x 2160) it registers 1697 Mbps which equals 764 GB/hour of 4K video footage. A single camera large Hollywood production can often shoot 100 hours of footage. That’s 76 TB of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ footage.
The upcoming David Fincher film GONE GIRL crept up on 500 hours of raw footage during its multi camera 6K RED Dragon production. That equates to roughly 315 TB of RED 6K (4:1) footage. Shit just got real for data management and post production workflows. It’s time to embrace the madness! Read more…
John Carpenter’s THE THING came out 32 years ago today. It is an epic horror film that has stood the test of time and plays as well today as when it first screened in 1982. Beautifully shot in Anamorphic by Dean Cundey, it completely captures the claustrophobic environment that encased the scientists in their Antarctic station. What is not often discussed are the massive landscapes and perfectly composed wide shots that are sprinkled throughout the film.
Most of the photo essays that pay tribute to THE THING focus on the amazing creature design by Rob Bottin that set new standards for practical effects. I want to focus on 44 of my favorite Anamorphic shots that are rarely remembered but immediately recognizable and indelible to creating the atmosphere and impact of the horror that terrorized the characters and the audience. Read more…
A Split Focus Diopter is half convex glass that attaches in front of the camera’s main lens to make half the lens nearsighted. The lens can focus on a plane in the background and the diopter on a foreground element. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Brian De Palma championed the use of this tool to enhance the visual and emotional experience of his films.
The Split Diopter allows for Deep Focus cinematography but requires much less light. It also delivers a distinctive look that blends sharp and out-of-focus imagery all in one frame. Subjects in both foreground and background can be kept in focus. In the video below are all 15 Split Diopter shots from Brian De Palma’s film Blow Out (1981).