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The Lost City of Z (2016)

darius khondji

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#41 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 12:31 AM

Depends on why you are flashing, if to get a flashed look of lifted blacks, you can do that in post but you may see a little bit more grain in the shadows. If you are flashing to lower contrast and lift shadow detail on the negative and then plan on correcting the blacks and contrast in post, then you'd want to do it in camera because the end result is not intended to look flashed (milkier).
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#42 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 02:47 PM

Wouldn't you think they wanted a lower contrast David? To me that seems like a pretty cool solution and using DI to fix it in post. 


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#43 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 02:01 PM

I have just come back from seeing this. I saw it on a smaller screen in a multiplex cinema. The film was projected on a screen with what they say is a latest-generation Barco projector (I haven't managed to find which model it is).

 

It looked very bright and crisp; at times, it didn't even feel as if it were shot on film. There was grain, but it was made up of such small particles, it seemed to me.

 

I'm so illiterate at this things, so since I'm seeing a few references here to the film stock being either underexposed or overexposed, could someone tell me where was that evident in the film?

 

All the way home, I kept thinking that this almost didn't seem like a Khondji film. Sure, there were brief appearances of some of his signatures, such as the quite noticeable use of practicals, diffused lighting (but not a whole lot it; there was harder lighting in there, too), that greenish yellow cast over the whole picture, which for some reason reminded me of Magic in the Moonlight, but there the cast was of different shade, and because of that cast, a ton of colour correction (which, if I got it right, some say is a Khondji trademark).

 

It was a beautiful film. Before I saw it, only one review, in the Wall Street Journal, was negative, and that review also mentioned that the copy the reviewer saw was murky. The one I saw was very bright. I did wonder, however, if anyone else from around here who saw it noticed a lot of out-of-focus things which I thought should have been in focus. The most glaring of these was that shot of those people on a terrace.

 

Another thing: I don't know if this is just some fault in the copy I saw, but near the right bottom angle of the image there was a weird red blotch of irregular shape, something that reminded me of a trace sun can leave when damaging a photo. I don't know what that was.

 

I expected a little more tableaux or iconic frames worthy of being immortalized in a screenshot or two, but overall, I'm quite content.

 

It is a lovely movie. The time past by at just the right pace, not too fast and not too slow, and the ending was satisfying, something which I thought it wouldn't be.

 

I look forward to more of your opinions.

 

P. S. The film will be out on DVD and Blu-ray on 11 July 2017, 2 months and 3 days from today.


Edited by Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos, 08 May 2017 - 02:02 PM.

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#44 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 02:34 PM

Another tiny bit: Darius Khondji states on the afcinema.com that they made a DCP in EclairColor for certain copies of the film with Karim El Katari, who is with Eclair Digital.


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#45 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 03:56 PM

It looks very very good, specially considering they were working with a short schedule and modest budget for such an ambitious film. Khondji claims in the AC article that he found inspiration in the work of several painters, but I would also say that he also had in mind the works of some master cinematographers of the 70's: Gordon Willis, Vittorio Storaro and Vilmos Zsigmond come to mind. The picture has the organic quality (it's soft, grainy, milky, rather low-con and pastel looking) of "McCabe and Mrs. Miller", "Heaven's Gate", "Godfather Part II" or even "Bound for Glory" (well, that was Haskell Wexler) mixed with some locations and color choices that also remind of "Apocalypse Now".

 

Most time Khondji is more after crafting an atmosphere than getting pretty images, but also finds the right places to show his lighting skills, sometimes using unconventional ways to light people and his sets. He's not afraid of degrading the quality of the images, or let the faces of the actors underexposed through the picture, or use anamorphic lenses almost wide-open most of the time, something that's not usual for period pictures, as it creates a very shallow depth and introduces some artifacts that most DPs would avoid for this kind of motion picture (somehow it reminded me as well of "The Charge of Light Brigade" shot by David Watkin in 1968 using wide-open Ross Xpress anamorphics). This picture makes clear than James Gray and Khondji make an outstanding duo, if there were doubts after "The Immigrant", which I love in every way. 

 

Overall "Lost City of Z" is a stunningly well photographed motion picture, very big in scope and very brave in approach!


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#46 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 06:17 PM

I remember when I first read Watkin say that he used Ross Xpress lenses on "Charge of the Light Brigade", saying that Roger Fenton shot photos of the real war in Crimea on the same lenses.  But that war was in 1854 and the Ross Xpress didn't come out until 1914 (so obviously Fenton used pre-Xpress Ross lenses).  

 

Plus the movie was made in Panavision anamorphic.  So I don't know what he meant by that, did he get some Xpress lenses converted to anamorphic, and how did he find short-enough focal lengths to convert since Xpress lenses were made for large format cameras, etc.


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#47 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 02:20 AM

I believe he used the Ross Xpress lenses together with Panavision front adapters, though I may be wrong. Watching the film you can easily guess why he described anamorphic as an "optical catastrophe"... 


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#48 Alan Kovarik

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 07:20 AM

I just saw the movie. The image was very blurry. Did they use some softening filters? It was very distracting.


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#49 Rudy Velez Jr

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 10:32 AM

I thought this was the best movie of 2017 and one the best looking films I have seen in a while although I saw Phantom Thread yesterday and enjoyed that. I didnt like mother! but the cinematography was superb


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#50 Samuel Berger

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:46 PM

50:1 for film???

 

I've shot almost 30 features in film and the majority were 10:1, a few of the more expensive ones were almost 20:1.  Or are you saying that you can shoot a 50:1 ratio on 35mm film (about a 1/2 million feet of 35mm, about $250,000 in stock alone) before you cross over the costs of shooting on digital?   Because a lot of line producers would question my math the next time I told them I wanted to shoot/process/telecine a half-million feet of film -- and then scan selects for a D.I. finish -- and would it still break even with an all-digital production.

 

Film is a valid choice but it is not without budgetary consequences.

 

I think Elaine May shot at 120:1 ratio for MIKEY AND NICKY. It made the movie cost three times its original budget.  1.4 million feet of film were shot, about three times as much as used for GONE WITH THE WIND. She had three cameras rolling for hours.

 

It definitely sunk her career, she didn't direct again for ten years...and then when she did, she made ISHTAR.


Edited by Samuel Berger, 11 January 2018 - 07:47 PM.

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#51 Samuel Berger

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:04 PM

And by the way, half of MIKEY AND NICKY is out of focus, so I think millennials would love the way it looks... ;-)


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