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Getting the Look of Spaghetti Westerns


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#21 John Holland

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:12 PM

There are basic physical limits to the quality possible in the mid 1960's with Techniscope -- basically modern film stocks are sharper and so are modern lenses. That's undeniable. A modern Vision or EXR stock is sharper than 5251 was. A modern zoom is sharper than the zooms used by Leone.

However, it's certainly possible that a modern 2K D.I. like was used on "Pirates of the Carribean" (which also used 5245 for its day exteriors, just like "Kill Bill") will counteract some of the sharpness of modern stocks & lenses, and you'd end up with something, sharpness-wise (not grain-wise) closer to 1960's Techniscope.

Leone was a sharpness freak so you have to think of the look of those movies as being the product of somewhat softer emulsions and lenses combined with a ultra-sharp lighting style, rather than the modern look of sharper emulsions and lenses combined with a much softer lighting style.

The lighting, composition, and production design are much more key to replicating the look of Leone than the film stock issue. We can quibble over whether 50D stock on Super-16 is now closer to the quality of 2-perf 5251 versus, let's say, using Vision-2 500T on Super-35. Old Techniscope is probably somewhere inbetween modern Super-16 and modern Super-35, which tends to suggest you'd get closer degrading modern 35mm slightly than trying to make Super-16 look sharper and finer-grained.

One of the advantages of using modern film stocks which are faster is that it would be easier to achieve the deep focus look that Leone liked. I'd probably push-process a SLOW stock to get closer to the contrast & grain of a 1960's stock rather than use something like 5218. If 5248 (EXR 100T) still existed, I'd probably use that pushed by one stop, for example.

The lenses used in Leone's time are still around, basically something like the old 25-250mm Angenieux would be a good choice, shot stopped-down.

But really, if you don't replicate the lighting, you'll end up with something that looks softer than it should.



Dont forget ,the Technicolor Dye Transfer Prints , that made the images lookso good , i have seen some Eastmancolor prints from Techniscope origins , you wouldnt want to go there. john holland.
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#22 Dan Goulder

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 08:04 PM

But really, if you don't replicate the lighting, you'll end up with something that looks softer than it should.


Therein lies the challenge. I've seen a rare still from the set of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" which shows what appear to be giant carbon arc fired HMIs used for key lights in broad daylight. No wonder the actors always appear to be squinty-eyed and covered in sweat! On the other hand, this would allow them to shoot with the lenses stopped way down, thus enabling deep focus while also keeping the sky from blowing out.
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#23 Steve Wallace

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 01:25 AM

Therein lies the challenge. I've seen a rare still from the set of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" which shows what appear to be giant carbon arc fired HMIs used for key lights in broad daylight. No wonder the actors always appear to be squinty-eyed and covered in sweat! On the other hand, this would allow them to shoot with the lenses stopped way down, thus enabling deep focus while also keeping the sky from blowing out.

I've seen similar stills. Also, IIRC I remember an interview with Eastwood saying, the huge lights are why he squinted so much. Although, in another interview, he said it was because those little cigars tasted so gross. :)

Edited by teadub, 29 December 2005 - 01:27 AM.

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#24 Paul Bruening

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 05:02 AM

Hello all,

This is an interesting thread since I plan to shoot a feature in the summer in Techniscope using Nikon lenses. I already have Super Baltars. I wonder if anyone could tell me what I might expect, asthetically, with these two lens types (I won't mix them). Would you prefer the Nikons or the Baltars? Why? What stocks would you prefer?

Thanks,
Paul
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#25 Samuel Berger

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 02:20 PM

So what are they metering for, here? Clearly the sky isn't blown out but you can still see all this detail on Eastwood's face.

 

 

gbu16.jpg


Edited by Samuel Berger, 06 October 2017 - 02:21 PM.

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#26 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 02:54 PM

A blue sky isn't going to blow out when a face is lit by the sun or in this case a reflector board reflecting the sun from the side, or perhaps an arc light -- either way there is a lot of light on the face.
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#27 Samuel Berger

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 03:07 PM

The lenses used in Leone's time are still around, basically something like the old 25-250mm Angenieux would be a good choice, shot stopped-down.

 

So in 16mm, the Angenieux 12-120 should work? The 12-120 was the zoom used by Toei studios in most of their tokusatsu shows such as Kamen Rider V3, Kaiketsu Zubat, etc. In fact there were some scenes in those shows, especially whenever Saburo appears in KIKAIDA, that try to replicate the Leone look and feel, down to the soundtrack (Needless to say, it creates an interesting hybrid since we're talking about androids rather than the old west).


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#28 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 03:31 PM

Leone shot in 35mm, if you are shooting in 16mm you'd want to use the sharpest lenses you can get.
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#29 Samuel Berger

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 11:54 PM

Leone shot in 35mm, if you are shooting in 16mm you'd want to use the sharpest lenses you can get.

 

David,

 

That's going to be hard to find on a CA-1 mount, but I do have an Arri-to-Cameflex adapter. I wonder what's the sharpest zoom I can get for that.

 

Ok, so to recap: If you are shooting 16mm, use sharp lenses, 7203 film (Vision3 50D), push process by one stop?

 

And if you have an actual Techniscope camera and are shooting 35, use 25-250mm Angenieux, shoot 7213 (Vision3 200T) stopped down?

 

I'm using these stocks as suggestions because most stocks mentioned in this thread are dead. It's still possible to find some 7248 in people's freezers but that's iffy.


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#30 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 03:46 AM

I would go for either a Cook 9 to 50 (if talking about 16mm and not Super 16) or a Canon 8 to 64.

 

Why would you push process 50D film if you're shooting exteriors?


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#31 Chris Burke

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 05:36 AM

If you are looking for a zoom to use in S16, I would suggest the Canon 6.6-66mm. 


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#32 Michael Rodin

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 07:29 AM

Or the 7-63, which's arguably the best performing S16 zoom.


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#33 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 11:44 AM

Whenever you talk about recreating an old movie look, you have to decide just how much degradation due to age or printing practices, etc. you are copying, versus copying the look of pristine original negative of the time.  Our impressions of old Leone westerns for years were based on prints, which were rather contrasty.  And you can tell that movies back then were lit to take the contrast of printing through dupes into account (or in this case, the contrast of dye transfer printing at Technicolor).  Hence all the fill light from reflector boards in the desert that probably was a bit in excess of what the color negative of the day required for shadow detail (50 ASA 5250 and then 5251.)

 

The question is whether it is worth recreating some of that higher contrast through push-processing or just in the digital color-correction.  Depends on if you want the increase in grain from the photochemical push.


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#34 Samuel Berger

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 03:34 PM

I wonder if shooting reversal would help?


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#35 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 03:50 PM

Reversal never looked the same as neg stocks.

 

Are you planing to have a 16mm print or have a digital finish for digital projection?


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#36 Samuel Berger

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 06:31 PM

Reversal never looked the same as neg stocks.

 

Are you planing to have a 16mm print or have a digital finish for digital projection?

 

Reversal has a little less latitude than negative, which COULD make it resemble more closely the prints of the era. I also remember that Spike Lee shot one of his features on reversal for that reason. I think it was CLOCKERS that he shot on 5239 and had it cross processed.


Edited by Samuel Berger, 15 October 2017 - 06:35 PM.

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#37 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 09:48 PM

Cross-processed reversal has a pretty bizarre look.  Shooting reversal and processing it normally as reversal has rarely been done in 35mm cinema -- there was the movie "Buffalo 66" which used the VNF Ektachrome stocks used for NFL Films, and some of "Blow" (2001) was shot on Kodachrome and processed normally before being duped to negative.

 

I think today the problem is getting large amounts of 35mm reversal and processing it as reversal (i.e. E6).  The other issue is that while the look would be similar to an older print, you have so little latitude for exposure mistakes so there would be more variation in quality than a timed print of something shot on negative stock.


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#38 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 03:01 AM

I would test some 7203 to see how it looks. If you want a contrasty look on video try getting a projection contrast print made and transferring that, assuming you don't want to change things when colour correcting in post..


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#39 Chris Burke

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 06:11 AM

You could print and scan from that.
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#40 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 07:50 AM

There seems to be so many visual looks in the recent restorations, that it really depends on the "look" you personally want, rather than attempting to recreate what seems to be a moving goal post.

 

http://www.criterion...php?f=5&t=13539

 

http://www.creativep...da-vinci/410234

 

I'm not sure a trailer is the most accurate reference, these can be different because the workflow often results in a lower quality than the film itself.   .


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 16 October 2017 - 08:02 AM.

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