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Blue Screen (or Fake Screen)


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#1 elvworks

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 12:39 AM

I recently saw Narnia, and the blue screen scenes seemed really fake. It looked like the actors were just super imposed on the background, it didnt' blend in at all.

I also saw King Kong, the blue screen scenes were so obvious it was hard to enjoy the picture cause it looked so fake.

Now, I'm just talking about the super imposed look, I'm not even talking about the dead giveaways like the lighting from the top, the blurs, and all those kind of tricks. Is it just me or is anyone else getting bored with this?

I understand these are sets, there's budgets, this is the way they film nowadays and these lands are not real or back in a different time BUT IT LOOKS SO FAKE.

I don't mind the blue screen scenes in LOTR, they don't bug me, but these other movies, oh my gosh.

Shed some light on this will you please. If anything, just say, "I feel your pain"

Thanks!
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#2 elvworks

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 12:53 AM

Just to add to that, I do want to say I love Peter Jackson's work with miniatures in LOTR. It really gave a feeling of depth and you are brought into the story, the place, and what is going on.

So is filming a miniature, and placing that on the bluescreen gives it a real look, or is there still yet another process?

Thanks
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#3 Craig Knowles

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 12:30 AM

I know what you mean. Honestly, in "King Kong" I quickly grew tired of all the obvious shots created to show "depth!" and "realism!" Perfectly composed and lit cityscapes that continue on infinity with little or no loss of colour and definition as depth increases started to bother me after awhile.

Shots like this that are designed to add "realism", to my eyes, are becoming obvious signs of computer-aided enhancements, and have started taking me right out of movies. I keep thinking, ?why not just compose your shots differently?? You could easily "suggest" you city surroundings (while keeping a deep-space aesthetic if you like) without beating me to death with your clever compositing skills, your "city-to-infinity" shots, and those obvious shots where you can tell the actors are limited to a very small actual space, composited into a huge virtual space around them.

It was not long before I longed for the 1933 back-projection again, to add a level of "reality" back into the film. It actually made me long for a "new" New Wave, where we reject this and reclaim film reality.

It is interesting to me that in North American filmmaking right now, we have two similar aesthetics going on that are both attempting to falsify and substitute reality where no reality exists. 1) You have the lush, computer-generated, Peter Jackson/"Troy"/Lucas "create your own world" aesthetic, which attempts to create and sell reality from nothingness, and 2) the overuse of the cinema verite (i.e. shaky cam) aesthetic, which is an attempt at associative reality (i.e. making you feel you are "there" by associating the camera movements with your real-life camera experiences.)

Everything is designed to take us to something more ?real? and more ?urgent?, while completely ignoring one of the biggest aspects of actual realism ? believability and achievability. Does the viewer believe the shot is possible? If they do not, you have already lost, as our brains instinctively know that what you have created is not real in any way.

I did not bat an eye when the completely computer-generated Kong was on-screen, because many of the shots were achievable. However, when we get to Jackson's overuse of video-game cinematography - the camera-on-a-wire fly-through reveals and some of his completely CG establishing shots, I just felt like I would have been better off not having seen them at all.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 07:50 AM

Hi,

I still think some of the best effects work is in stuff of the Aliens era - the sequence of Sigourney Weaver descending in the lift, all back projection and blowing smoke and unimpeded handheld camera movement - is completely convincing to me. And it's back projection!

Personally I was tired of the "look at me, look at me" school of effects-laden filmmaking long before I watched Spider Man - it's a good day when you can call Starship Troopers restrained by comparison.

Phil
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#5 elvworks

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 02:58 AM

Thank you Craig and Phil, it was a while since anyone posted to this string and I kept checking back. When there weren't any posts, I thought, "uh-oh, am I alone here?" So thank you for posting.

Seriously, Kong Kong was a let down, not that I was ever a fan of the ape. I just thought him holding her in his hand as he shakes her violently is a little unbelieveable. Gosh, did you see when he first grabbed her, he was shaking her like a rag doll. Oh, then he fights three (forget their names) dinasaurs all the while still holding her without crushing her. Let's not forget him dancing and spinning on the ice in New York, wasn't that something? Actually, that part I would like to see again because it was so ridiculous. I couldn't believe they put that in. Whatever.

The New York scenes looked totally digital. They tried their best to blend in the actors with the background, but to me it looked like they were super imposed on there.

I guess it all comes down to the $$$ for alot of pictures. If they film in the studio in a controlled setting, they can get the movie done in 40 days or whatever and most of the general public will not care if it was done on blue screen with digital people walking around. And the actors can go to their next movie.

This is just me, but I love Pirates of the Carribean, the movie and it's cinematograpy. I thought the story was excellent and it was filmed very nicely. If there was blue screen stuff, I didn't see it much or didn't care cause they did it well. And all the skeleton pirates looked really good. It was filmed on location and was very visually appealing. The music, I loved and the cast was great.

Just for the record, I am not a hater of blue screen or digital effects. I think it's an incredible technology, but maybe now, it just doesn't look real anymore, and if the story is terrible, then what do you have left? Not much.

Now, another popular thing is instead of having two armies on opposite sides of the field racing towards each other for battle, we now have two digital armies racing towards each other. I think this scene has been done alot (digitally and non-digitally). Let's see, we got Braveheart (that was really good), they did it in Gladiator, The Patriot), LOTR, Last Samurii, Narnia (which looked like crap), bunch of others. One dead giveaway of fake digital characters is their shadow. If their shadow is too detailed, it just adds to their fakeness. What's funny is the shadow is what's supposed to make it look real and add depth.

Maybe I am just hatin'

I have been so tired of special effects on screen and things that don't look real, I actually went to go see Pride and Prejudice and found that the movie was filmed very nicely, and had a decent story (or the way the story was told for the movie version). They did pretty good with the whole "show me, don't tell me" thing as well as sceneries and writing was top notch. This chick flick I didn't mind seeing, especially with Kiera Knightly in it.

I'm looking forward to seeing Superman Returns. I've watched all of the director's videos he has on his sight and it's intriguing. They're filming it digitally with a new camera so let's see. The trailers look pretty good, you can tell they are digital, but they do look very clean.

If anything, it was good to get this all out of my system. Thank you for listening. I also invite you to unload your share of issues as well. It is most theraputic. And thank you for your thoughts as well.

Keep it real in 2006'

elvworks
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#6 Filip Plesha

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 04:35 PM

What I can't believe is that modern audiences still fall for CG effects, after so many years.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 05:36 PM

I'm glad that more and more people are getting tired of the overuse of CGI. Was it just me, or did the CARS just look completely fake in King Kong? Sure they don't have many circa 1933 vintage autos just sitting around these days, but I swear, there were shots where all of the cars were moving the same speed, were the same model, with the only difference being the application of some fake digital colors to try and make them look like they weren't all "cookie-cuttered" from the same CG file. The CG in Kong was also very noticeable where Kong is moving his "Fay Wray" around on the screen and she has this weird blurring as she is moved about that looked completely unnatural. I again must raise a general objection to the DI process being applied to the whole film. In the few shots that weren't digitally fu**ed with, they could at least print them optically so something in that film would look like it was in sharp focus. It wasn't as bad as The Aviator was, but the softness was still quite pronounced. I hate shooting whole movies on 500T stock almost as much as DIs, but I find myself longing for some grain; it seems to subconsciously signal me that the scene on the screen hasn't been messed with.

Regards.

Karl Borowski
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#8 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 05:54 PM

What I can't believe is that modern audiences still fall for CG effects, after so many years.


Does anyone think for a minute that most audiences go to a movie like King Kong expecting to see ?reality?? Remember that this is theatre and its purpose is to entertain and/or inform. Unless a film is represented as a documentary the filmmaker has the right to and should use any trick he feels is effective to convey his message (in as much as the producer has given him the time and funds to do so).

It is a shame though that today?s audiences are so familiar with how the effects of modern moving pictures are achieved that they would allow it to destroy the enjoyment of the theatre experience. If a person goes to a Broadway show does he say, ?I could tell that the back wall was just a painting and couldn?t get into the play?? I hope not, yet the same person might go to a movie and say. ?The CGI Kong moved too fast for such a large animal so I couldn?t enjoy the film.?

It?s a sad day when audiences are so jaded and skeptical of effects that they will let the smallest technical imperfection ruin the show for them.
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#9 Filip Plesha

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 06:31 PM

Does anyone think for a minute that most audiences go to a movie like King Kong expecting to see ?reality?? Remember that this is theatre and its purpose is to entertain and/or inform. Unless a film is represented as a documentary the filmmaker has the right to and should use any trick he feels is effective to convey his message (in as much as the producer has given him the time and funds to do so).

It is a shame though that today?s audiences are so familiar with how the effects of modern moving pictures are achieved that they would allow it to destroy the enjoyment of the theatre experience. If a person goes to a Broadway show does he say, ?I could tell that the back wall was just a painting and couldn?t get into the play?? I hope not, yet the same person might go to a movie and say. ?The CGI Kong moved too fast for such a large animal so I couldn?t enjoy the film.?

It?s a sad day when audiences are so jaded and skeptical of effects that they will let the smallest technical imperfection ruin the show for them.



When someone says that films like King Kong or Alien vs. Predator are are just films like any other, and that CG was simply necessary to tell the story, I just don't buy it. I think those films were made because they CAN be made, because someone was sitting and thinking: gee, what else didn't we see in CG?
I don't think it was anyones intention to make a film about a giant ape because he felt something needs to be said about big apes. He made it because king kong is big and looks cool on screen, and he wanted a big CG monster to make a film that sells a lot of popcorn.
It's a classic case of childrens "wouldn't it be cool if...?" done through CG magic.

I'm not saying this mentality wasn't present before. It was in the industry from the beginings, but
it resulted in a LOT LESS movies before CG era.

It's harmless fun, sure, but it gets old after 20 years of CG creatures.
I think these creatures are not creatures made USING CG, they are creatures made BY CG
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#10 Filip Plesha

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 06:44 PM

I'm glad that more and more people are getting tired of the overuse of CGI. Was it just me, or did the CARS just look completely fake in King Kong? Sure they don't have many circa 1933 vintage autos just sitting around these days, but I swear, there were shots where all of the cars were moving the same speed, were the same model, with the only difference being the application of some fake digital colors to try and make them look like they weren't all "cookie-cuttered" from the same CG file. The CG in Kong was also very noticeable where Kong is moving his "Fay Wray" around on the screen and she has this weird blurring as she is moved about that looked completely unnatural. I again must raise a general objection to the DI process being applied to the whole film. In the few shots that weren't digitally fu**ed with, they could at least print them optically so something in that film would look like it was in sharp focus. It wasn't as bad as The Aviator was, but the softness was still quite pronounced. I hate shooting whole movies on 500T stock almost as much as DIs, but I find myself longing for some grain; it seems to subconsciously signal me that the scene on the screen hasn't been messed with.

Regards.

Karl Borowski


that's what happens when computer nerds get a job in film industry.
First day of work they come and say:
"Hey, here is the moment all of you filmmakers have been waiting for. I finally brought you all a way to get rid of all the grain, make the image look as if it was shot with a digital video camera, and all in
state of the art 1.5K resolution. I know...I know...it's a LOT of pixels, and you film guys are not used to such resolution, but I promise you we will use full advantage of the format once you all convert to
those huge tethered sony HD cameras. With those, even your.....yes YOUR film can look as great as episode 2, the sharpest motion picture ever made. Beat that IMAX!!! "




p.s. I know I'm not fair here, but It was fun
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#11 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 09:17 PM

I thought King Kong was a really good movie, and I also thought that the CG was incredible and utterly convincing 98% of the time. Kong himself was great, and felt like he was really there, same for the island and New York and everything else.

People love to say "Oh, it's obviously CG," but most of the time when they say that, the only reason it's obvious is that it would be impossible to do any other way. Yes, Kong is obviously CG, because we all know that there are no 25 foot tall apes in real life. Depression-era New York is obviously CG (with the exception of the street-level stuff that they shot on a huge set) because it's not the Depression-era any more. It's easy to look at it and say "Duh, fake," but if you're doing that, why not apply it evenly? I saw Jack Black in School of Rock, there's no way he could go back in time to the 30's. He's a recognizable actor from real life. Duh, fake!

There is CG that's poorly done, and I'm not excusing it. There is also a lot of bluescreen work that just isn't convincing- I didn't like the cliff edge part of the stampede sequence in Kong- and I'm not trying to excuse that either. But CG can be a valuable tool if well-applied, and you've all seen plenty of CG shots that went right past you because they weren't something that was obviously impossible.
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#12 elvworks

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:58 PM

Good point Scott,

I'm sure there was some stuff, maybe alot, that was CG that we didn't even notice.

I do have to say, that stampede scene, yuck.


Ultimately I knew the story was about the ape, and unless some serious changes were done to the story, I was pretty much watching it because Peter Jackson did it.

I never was a King Kong fan.

I doubt I will be in the future.

I do have to give King Kong credit on two fronts. One is, the boy is not afraid of heights. And two, he has pretty good taste in women.

Rick
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#13 Keith Mottram

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 07:35 AM

I was recently watching the Incredibles on DVD, man did those humans look fake etc etc....
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#14 elvworks

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 03:11 PM

Now that's funny!!!


Okay, I think we drove the point home of things not looking real, but there still is the question of the story line on King Kong.

Let's say all that stuff did look real, what about the story?

See, on Titanic, you know the ship sinks, but I think they tapped into an emotional cord. At the time, I was working in the movie theatre and I would watch ALOT of female audience come out of there crying and balling. I was amazed. People already knew the ship sunk.

Now here we are with King Kong, you know the ape goes to the top of the empire state building. I know it is a different kind of movie, but did the movie do what it could have.

My basic point is What is the point of this movie? and Why did the "The Man" Peter Jackson direct this and it turned out crap? And his wife and that other lady helped with the story. What happened? Other influences got involved?

Why cry over spilled milk I guess. I certainly don't want to turn into a critic, but this was certainly theraputic to get all this out. Oh well, you observe and learn.

At least I have Superman Returns to look forward to. :D
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#15 Max Jacoby

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 07:07 PM

My basic point is What is the point of this movie? and Why did the "The Man" Peter Jackson direct this...

Well I am sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they set up this huge infrastructure for Lord of the Rings and that if Peter Jackson were to make a small intimate film without any CGI a lot of these good folks would be out of a job...
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 07:16 PM

Well I am sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they set up this huge infrastructure for Lord of the Rings and that if Peter Jackson were to make a small intimate film without any CGI a lot of these good folks would be out of a job...


Except that "Kong" was originally going to be made before "The Lord of the Rings". I don't think it has so much to do with finding work for Weta & the New Zealand filmmaking scene, etc. (yes, it's part of the equation of course) as it is that he always wanted to remake Kong ever since childhood. He even tried to do a stop-motion Kong movie in high-school as I recall. So this is just one of those lifelong goals he felt the need to accomplish for whatever personal reasons, whether or not you agree with him.

Some filmmakers, I know it's hard to believe, actually LIKE to make big fantasy movies that rely heavily on effects -- most directors just don't have those opportunities. Now some, once they do one, realize that it's not what they want to do afterall...

I know one director who always wanted to make action movies, and once he made two, he realized that he hated making action movies!
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#17 Sean Azze

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 01:10 AM

I know one director who always wanted to make action movies, and once he made two, he realized that he hated making action movies!


Give us a name!


I think CG still has a ways to go. A lot of the CG sequences in the last Star Wars film looked more like a Pixar film than reality. I think ILM should have focused on making the puppet Yoda more mobile than creating a CG version.

But hey, the majority of film audiences aren't as nitpicky as we are. Even I didn't notice most of the little flaws that people had mentioned with King Kong when I watched it (though it did irk me that the Naomi Watts character didn't even get a headache from Kong swinging her around in his palm!)

Edited by sean126, 05 January 2006 - 01:12 AM.

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