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Best Looking movie shot in HD?


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#1 razerfish

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 10:33 AM

I own probably 75% or so of all the movies shot in HD, and for my money, the best looking one is Badaasss, or however you spell it. It's also called How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass. It's actually a good movie, surprising considering the star/director is usually in terrible flicks. That's my favorite example of HD films.

One of the worst in my opinion is Me, You, and Everyone We Know. Just didn't like the lighting, too many white walls in houses, didn't like the DoF. Looked "videoish" to me in too many spots. Parts of Collateral didn't appeal to me either.

Oh, and honerable mention to David Mullen's Jackpot. Couldn't finish the movie itself, but parts of it looked very filmic, very pretty.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 12:54 PM

Maybe I'm just being perverse, but when I shoot a movie in HD, I don't spend more than five minutes thinking about how to make it match film. My feeling is that digital images have their own look and if I can't embrace that, I should be shooting film instead. When I ran the print of "Jackpot" at the lab, a lab person complimented me by saying "you lit it like film!" but the truth is that I don't know how to light any other way. You just light scenes for the mood you want to create and make adjustments if there are any contrast problems.

Sure, I try and shoot at f/2.8 to keep the depth of field reasonable but the lens behaving well optically, but I don't go into more elaborate tricks than that, not on a feature where I have to shoot five pages a day.

"Badasss" was just shot well, and lit well, by a talented DP (Bob Primes, ASC) who respects digital for what it can do for him, but I don't think he employs any special tricks to hide the fact that the image is digital. He did what every cinematographer tries to do -- tell the story in appropriate images. It was shot on a Panavised F900 in an 18-day schedule I believe.
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#3 Mark Allen

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 04:08 PM

The TV series Battlestar Gallactica is shot on HD and I think it looks good.

If you watch it thinking "Does this look like film?" The answer is no, but they have embraced the look they create quite well.
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#4 peter orland

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:35 PM

My current favorite for look and image quality is Dear Wendy (dir: Thomas Vinterberg - dop: Anthony Dod Mantle).
The Aussie movie Wolf Creek was also pretty good.
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#5 elvworks

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 11:31 PM

I like the look of Battlestar Gallactica, I just don't like the bouncy camera.

Hey, but that's just me.



Rick
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#6 Chris Burke

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 11:37 PM

I like the look of Battlestar Gallactica, I just don't like the bouncy camera.

Hey, but that's just me.
Rick




I thought Session 9 looked amazing. I know they used a huge light package and really took the time to light it well. In this case it did look like film. Since then, I have not like the HD look. Too soft and washed out for my taste, but I agree with you all, HD is what it is. I am not the biggest fan, but it does have it's own nitch. Miranda July has quite a past as a video artist, so I think that the look really suited the film and her for that matter.

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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 12:33 AM

Anything that the Sci-Fi channel produces these days HAS to be digital. Battlestar Galactica's premiere was shot on 35mm neg, but the series transitioned to HD at the channel's request. They were going for the Cinema Verite/ NYPD Blue look, as that is supposed to make the audience believe that they are actually there. Personally, I don't like the bouncy camera look either, or the blown out highlights of HD which are very evident on the show, but the cinematography is among the better group of TV shows on the air today. The only TV show that really has its own unique look for "bouncy camera" in my opinion is the show "The Shield". Everyone else is just doing a knockoff of NYPD Blue, badly.

Regards.

Karl Borowski
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#8 Travis Cline

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 02:18 PM

I'm not trying to promote video in anyway, but I did work on a Sci-Fi movie last year and it was all shot on 35mm. Just saying that not all their stuff is shot on video.

Travis
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#9 Robert Sanders

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 10:36 AM

Yeah, I was watching Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS and I couldn't believe all those blownout highlights in the first half of the film.

I mean...oh, wait...it was shot on 35mm?

You mean the filmmakers actually wanted blownout highlights? You mean overexposure is an actual "look" some filmmakers might actually want to achieve? Huh. And because HD can overexpose the highlights if not handled properly that's a bad thing?
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#10 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:08 AM

I just saw Badasss, I thought overall it looked great in its own way as Mr. Mullens discribed it. The first few scenes in the desert were the only scenes that didn't look that great to me. Still overall I thought it was alittle to sharp and contrasty and I would have probably added more filtration or turned down the detail level on the camera.

What f stops did he use ? Some scenes had very deep focus,especially outdoors, but he was using it with Panavision Lens?

I think Robert Primes is a great DP. The lighting was superb throughout, I loved the use of lots of color,like in the scene where the lead goes to pitch his movie to the hippies having some sort of rave. Kewl story too.

One question to David, Do they master the DVDs from the film print usually or do the transfer the HD directly to DVD?
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:43 AM

2/3" CCD HD naturally gets a little deep-focus looking if you're stuck in small interiors using wide-angle lenses, or the wide end of the zoom.

Most HD movies are downconverted to SD submasters for making DVD's. It's confusing on the DVD of "Jackpot" because we shot in HD but the Sony Pictures Classics logo was a telecine to HD from film, and it has dust & dirt on it, so the first thing you see on the DVD is this dirty logo, which makes you think the whole movie was telecined, when it wasn't.

What DP's want most of all is CONTROL over exposure, and generally film negative allows greater flexibility than HD in terms of exposure control, especially in the highlights. It's always easier to throw away detail and information than to try and recover it when it's gone. There were only few times when I ever thought that HD's tendency to burn out and clip in the highlights was an advantage over film.
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#12 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 02:55 PM

"""""""2/3" CCD HD naturally gets a little deep-focus looking if you're stuck in small interiors using wide-angle lenses, or the wide end of the zoom."
But since it was a Pannavised one wouldn't that have the depth of field of 35mm just like using a 35mm lens adaptor?"""""""

"""""""Most HD movies are downconverted to SD submasters for making DVD's. It's confusing on the DVD of "Jackpot" because we shot in HD but the Sony Pictures Classics logo was a telecine to HD from film, and it has dust & dirt on it, so the first thing you see on the DVD is this dirty logo, which makes you think the whole movie was telecined, when it wasn't."""""""

Thats what I thought, but wondered if some telecined the print for the look.

""""""""What DP's want most of all is CONTROL over exposure, and generally film negative allows greater flexibility than HD in terms of exposure control, especially in the highlights. It's always easier to throw away detail and information than to try and recover it when it's gone. There were only few times when I ever thought that HD's tendency to burn out and clip in the highlights was an advantage over film.""""""""

Agreed, Latitude is IMHO the biggest asset to shooting film over HD.
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 03:06 PM

Hi,

A couple of observations on the blown out hilights thing.

When I shot some 16mm, I wanted a hot LA sunlight effect, so I asked the colorist to wind the gain up until it started to clip white. He came as close as possible to point-blank refusing, and I didn't really get what I wanted, because - his words - "it's looking a bit video-y".

A while later, "Minority Report" came out.

Go figure.

Phil
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#14 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 03:33 PM

Kaminiski had blown out windows in Schindler's List, its nothing new for him.

DP's have used blown out windows in music videos since the 80's. Pretty erroneous for any one to tag it as "videoish".

An overexposed window combined with soft filter or net, the bloom looks alot different than if it were shot on video.
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 04:32 PM

Hi,

If you put the same net or filter on video, it doesn't actually look all that terribly different...

Phil
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 06:45 PM

But since it was a Pannavised one wouldn't that have the depth of field of 35mm just like using a 35mm lens adaptor?


No, the Panavision Digital Primo zooms and primes were designed for their F900's and behave no differently, depth-of-field-wise, than any other HD lens. They have nice physical properties in terms of focusing, breathing (or lack of), etc. but within a few years, other companies made similar HD lens products (Zeiss Digi-Primes, Ang. Optimo HD zoom, Fujinon E-Series zooms, etc.) At the time the Digital Primos were first developed in 1999-2001, most of the HD lenses out there were designed for ENG use.
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#17 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 09:27 PM

If you put the same net or filter on video, it doesn't actually look all that terribly different...


In the sense that film and video react to highlights differently.

Its not bad its just different.
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