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Miami Vice Movie


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#1 elvworks

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 09:24 PM

It's kind of cool that Michael Mann (who conceptualized the idea for the original Miami Vice) is the one making the movie now. I'm sure with all the time in between, he had plenty of time to think of a new vision, or rather an updated vision for the movie.

It's interesting that it was filmed digitally. With all the rich color miami has to offer, I'm really curious to see how it comes out, being digital and all.

As far as the trailer, I couldn't tell much from it. For the most part, I'm not getting my hopes up.

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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 04:57 AM

Only the night scenes are shot on the Viper, all the daylight scenes are 35mm. I haven't seen the trailer yet, but there are lots of complaints over at CML about how bad the video footage looks. It seems he did the same as in 'Collateral', boosting the gain and shooting with a very long shutter.
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:06 AM

Why do people think the digital gain is for anything other than to add another notch to the feature list? Its worthless for anything other than ENG use, when news happens, and light is lacking. Its incomprehensible that people actually use this feature.

I want to see the footage though. I will keep an open mind, im a proponent of digital aquisition (not a big proponent of spelling properly)

I am sort of turned off of this whole 'TV regurgitated on film' idea (starsky and hutch, dukes, charlies angels, etc, all were lame.) If box office is down, shouldnt we come up with original ideas?
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#4 Tim J Durham

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 09:27 AM

Why do people think the digital gain is for anything other than to add another notch to the feature list? Its worthless for anything other than ENG use, when news happens, and light is lacking. Its incomprehensible that people actually use this feature.

Actually, digital super gain on a video cam (SDX900) is a pretty cool feature. I used it some on the documentary I'm now editing. It works just like a slow shutter on a film camera with the same sort of motion blurring. I wouldn't use it A LOT, but it's cool when used sparingly. I could definitely see times and circumstances where I'd use it more.
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#5 Sean Azze

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 05:45 PM

Only the night scenes are shot on the Viper, all the daylight scenes are 35mm.

Where'd you get that from? I've got buddies who wanted to work on it but couldn't because they're all mag loaders lol

Saw the trailer and I couldn't get over the amount of grain thats in all the night shots. Really looks like crap if you ask me.
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#6 Trevor Swaim

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:49 PM

Saw the trailer and I couldn't get over the amount of grain thats in all the night shots. Really looks like crap if you ask me.


that was the look that Mann was going for, he wanted the noise, just like on collateral.

Saw the trailer and I couldn't get over the amount of grain thats in all the night shots. Really looks like crap if you ask me.


that was the look that Mann was going for, he wanted the noise, just like on collateral.
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#7 Sean Azze

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 07:17 PM

that was the look that Mann was going for, he wanted the noise, just like on collateral.



hmmm...he should have shot it on mini dv. Could've saved himself a bundle :lol:
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#8 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 09:15 PM

Only the night scenes are shot on the Viper, all the daylight scenes are 35mm. I haven't seen the trailer yet, but there are lots of complaints over at CML about how bad the video footage looks. It seems he did the same as in 'Collateral', boosting the gain and shooting with a very long shutter.


Not true. I talked to the colorist who is doing Miami Vice and he said they did some day boat stuff as well as a lot of other stuff on the Viper and was really pleased with the results.
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#9 Sam Wells

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 02:03 PM

I've seen up to +6 and even +9 work pretty well on a filmout; I agree Collaterall's +12 may have been "pushing it" pardon the phrase.

I DO think printing on Premiere is the key to making it work; Perhaps Fuji DI or the new Fuji Hicon will do the trick, I don't know.

But the distributors need to be convinced the cost of Premiere is worth it, it's clear they often are not.

Curious to see this movie.

-Sam
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#10 Max Jacoby

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 03:52 AM

I saw the trailer last night and I am severly underimpressed by the look of HD. I realize that Michael Mann does not want it too look like film, but what I saw looked so obviously like video, in the worst sense of the word. One of the very first shots, the headlights of a car shinning straight into the camera, has so much compression artifacts around the brights areas that it looked like a badly compressed download video.

Although it's cut very fast, one can still discern that awful video smear in the nightscenes.

What on earth does Michael Mann think he's doing? I really liked 'Heat', 'The Insider' and 'Ali', but his two last films don't even feel like him anymore.
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#11 Matt Pacini

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 05:50 PM

Some people seem to make decisions that put them at the supposedly "cutting edge" of technology, but unfortunately, I think that's going to put their work in the same dust bins of film history, that people who shot their work on 1 inch video and other "film-killer" video formats from the past.

"Wow, it's digital" is a completely meaningless reaction to have when a film comes out that is shot digitally.
I just can't believe that people are still somehow believing the "digital=perfection" propaganda that has been unleashed by the camera manufacturers the last decade. It's just ridiculous.

Virtually every digitally shot film would have looked better on 35mm film.

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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 08:13 PM

I have a different attitude about what Mann is doing -- when I see a digital movie that ends up looking like decent-to-mediocre 35mm, with a few flaws and artifacts, but nothing stands out about the images, I tend to think of it as a hat trick. I mean, it's important work, to keep improving digital, but since 35mm works just dandy, and if the high-end digital format you used didn't save you any money, then I have to wonder what other advantages digital brought to them (and there are some.)

But what Mann seems to be doing is using the artifacts of digital as an visual design rather than merely attempting to make it seem like he shot the movie in 35mm but didn't for some reason.

To me, it's exciting to see deep-focus images in low-light at night, colorful and noisy, a look that 35mm can't really match. No, it's not technically perfect, it doesn't look like film, and it doesn't even conform to conventional notions of beauty, which is all the more reason why it is exciting to see in a studio production, which are often so tame visually, or just technically slick. If he made "Miami Vice" look like "XXX: State of the Union" or "Mission Impossible III" then it would be more forgettable visually because we'd be getting one more glossy action movie set at night.

We seem to get all supportive of people who want to push the limits of 35mm photography, but if someone does it with digital, we just point out all the technical flaws and tell them why it would have "looked better" in 35mm.

As for whether Mann's recent movies are well-remembered over time, that will be more to do with the quality of the story, the characters, the acting, the IDEAS, than the particular style and technology he used.

I mean, you could also say that any 16mm or Super-8 movie would also have looked "better" if shot in 35mm. Hell, "Clerks" would have looked technically amazing shot if they had only shot in 35mm... or better yet, IMAX! In fact, any 35mm would have looked "better" if shot in 65mm. But there is more to cinematography and filmmaking in general than creating technically "better" images.
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#13 Max Jacoby

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 08:57 AM

Some people seem to make decisions that put them at the supposedly "cutting edge" of technology, but unfortunately, I think that's going to put their work in the same dust bins of film history, that people who shot their work on 1 inch video and other "film-killer" video formats from the past.

I think some people are definitely attracted to being the first at trying soemthing new, regardless of quality. Unfortunately in the case of digital cinematography 'new' does not mean 'better'.

To be honest I don't see the point of shooting with a camera like the Genesis, because rental is so expensive that it does not even reduce your budget in any meaningful way. So why someone would spend the same and get an inferior looking product is completely beyond me.

Like David says, Michael Mann is the only filmmaker around who tries to create something different, but I seriously worry that he compromises quality too much. Due to some of his choices (especially with music) his film tend not to age too well, and I have the feeling that 'Collateral' and 'Miami Vice' will fall into that group as well.
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#14 Arni Heimir

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 10:55 AM

I disagree with you completely Max. I think that Colleteral was one of the best films I saw in 2004. The photography was terrific. It suited the story perfectly.

I think that you are too much of a classicist. I think that high def video is different than film. Thus, it doesn't fit every narrative feature. There is this one DP who told me that a cinematographer can ruin a movie, ironically, by making it look too good. He cited "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999).
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#15 Michael Nash

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 12:47 PM

Max, would it have bothered you if Mann had shot Miami Vice on Super 16 and gotten a similarly soft and noisy image? Would the savings in film stock have justified to you the step-down in quality (from 35mm)? Or do you insist that image quality be as good as possible regardless of the filmmakers artistic vision?

I can understand if you think he's compromised too much or gone too far with his aesthetic choices -- it is kind of a matter of taste, after all. But obviously the aesthetic suited him, or else he could have just used pushed 35mm (which he tested for Collateral, and I think used on Heat).

As for the music in his films not aging well, you may have a point. But I think he's one of those guys who's ahead of the curve, and his films (and TV shows) help pave the way for subsequent trends. I can count on one hand the contemporary directors I watch to push the envelop in popular film, and Mann's definitely on the list.
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 04:47 PM

To some extent, anyone at the forefront of style also is more likely to look of their time when the years go by, unless the style becomes the norm for the next few decades. For example. Kubrick's use of practical lighting in his movies have made the look less dated than some of the other films released in the same years -- but that's just because practical lighting has become more and more the norm over time. On the other hand, his use of the zoom seems more dated now because it has become less of the norm.

But certainly contemporary music and hair styles date a movie faster than anything!
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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 05:30 PM

I thought 'Collateral' was an awful movie, expecially compared to the 3 films Michael Mann did before. The story is incredibly simplistic and pales in comparison to the complexity that he used to create in previous films.

As far as the look goes, quite a few people have complained about the smearing of the 270 degree shutter and although he creates a new look, something which hasn't been seen before to that extend, 'new' does not automatically mean 'good'. I don't think that in 5-10 years time people will look back on this film and rave about the cinematography, personally I think it is not half as good as the likes of 'Heat', 'The Insider' and 'Ali'.

Max, would it have bothered you if Mann had shot Miami Vice on Super 16 and gotten a similarly soft and noisy image? Would the savings in film stock have justified to you the step-down in quality (from 35mm)? Or do you insist that image quality be as good as possible regardless of the filmmakers artistic vision?

If you have a budget of 120M you are not forced to shoot on HD to save money. I think the issue here is one of setting the wrong priorities. Yes you see more into the night if you shoot at +12db and you have more depth of field than 35mm, but come on, just look at the drawbacks!
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#18 Giles Sherwood

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 06:55 PM

I personally think Miami Vice looks spectacular, at least visually. Frankly the fears I have about the film have to do more with story...

And of course Mr. Jacoby, you're entitled to your opinion, which is totally valid. But I wonder, what are your thoughts on some other films that are generally thought of as distinct-but-ugly, like Being John Malkovich? Is it really not an issue of digital/video quality for you, but just craftsmanship/quality in general?

I initially had reservations about the look myself. I was really sick of shooting 60i at the time and I was totally perplexed regarding the decision to use that video-y aesthetic, but in the end I think it gives the film a really great, seedy COPS look.

If you look at the footage in both trailers though, Michael Mann's also doing a lot of other unusual stuff. There is some extreme vignetting in the boat shots and he's chose some really bizarre and interesting angles, especially in the car shots. It's definitely going to be a unique looking film and frankly I welcome it. It's not the next level of quality, but I'll taking interesting over slick nine times out of ten.
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#19 Max Jacoby

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 04:05 AM

I personally think Miami Vice looks spectacular, at least visually. Frankly the fears I have about the film have to do more with story...

I think it's a bit premature to judge the look of of any film by the trailers and teasers. For one they are cut very fast and also very often they look nothing like the finished film.

When I saw the first teaser, I thought there were some shots that looked quite interesting, in the non conventional way that you mention, but on the other hand there also were some shots that I thought looked awful. But this teaser was cut so fast that it was nearly impossible to get anything more than an impression from it.

This week I saw the trailer and I was far less impressed. Since the shots were longer, one could make out more of the look. And suddenly the ratio of interesting shots to awful shots was heavily in favour of the latter.

I'll still go see the film, because after all it's Michael Mann and Gong Li is in it too. I have never seen an episode of the original series, so I don't really know what to expect from the story.
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#20 Mr. Shannon W. Rawls

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 10:16 AM

How come nobody questions CITY OF GOD, 21 GRAMS or TRAFFIC. How about MUNICH?

Everybody is so opinionated when its comfortable to be. If this movie was shot on 35mm and ended up looking identical to how it looks now, nobody would have a single thing to say. But since you "know" it was shot in HD, the cinematography critics come'a runnin' with something bad to say. Don't you realize the only reason you are so overly critical of the cinematography is because you are aware of the format it was shot in?

Well....go ask your mother about it. Your aunt, your next door neighbor who is a real estate agent and knows jack about movie making. Ask the man who works at the hot dog stand in front of Home Depot. Ask them if they liked the movie....most all of them will say YES! if you ask them how it looked, they will probably also say WOW, IT LOOKED COOL!!!

Mr. Michael Mann, Misson completed. Collateral & Miami Vice looks phenomenal....period.

Remember guys, we don't make films for filmmakers.
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