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#1 Filip Plesha

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 06:58 PM

Seen it for the first time on DVD


That was the first time that I've seen an HD movie and didn't get distracted by the video look that usually bothers me.
The high contrast, push processed BW look really gave the footage a lot of depth that I find HD footage usually lacks. I think it was a very clever processing, not just pushing the contrast, it really gave it a kind of BW look.

In the first reel I was looking hard and analising the picture, but then later on I totally forgot about the whole HD thing, and was just simply watching a movie, like I'd watch any movie.

At times, there was something odd about the motion (video shutter working "full time" at 360??), and there were shots where it clearly looked like video, but there were a LOT of shots that were cleverly lit, shot and processed that made it look like authentic pushed BW film.
What I'm amazed is how well the highlights blew out. Usually they blow out ugly with any kind of digital photography. But they processed it in such a way that they blow out like they do on pushed film.

Of course, I'm talking about the live action parts (people faces and stuff).
The CG and compositing gave it a very G.Lucas kind of a fake look, but I think it fits wery well into the comic book story, so I wasn't bothered by that. What I was really paying attention to is the actual digital photography, which I think worked quite well.


The whole film, the combination of imagery and narration and voices is so hypnotising that the whole thing still rings in my head. And all that from watching it on a 17 inch CTR monitor. I'm sorry I didn't go to see it in cinema when It played. It must have looked even more hypnotising.

This is one film, that In my opinion didn't lose anything important by being shot on HD.

Of course, I I were the director, I would go for no green screen, and real BW film pushed 2-3 stops.
But I think this is one film that didn't lose anything by being shot on HD. It was just used so cleverly and efficiently that it actually worked. High praise to the cinematographer.


What's your opinion?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:06 PM

The movie itself isn't great, but I loved the way it looked, even if true b&w photography would have been even cooler. But I thought it was one of the more visually interesting movies of 2005.
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#3 Filip Plesha

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:56 PM

The movie itself isn't great, but I loved the way it looked, even if true b&w photography would have been even cooler. But I thought it was one of the more visually interesting movies of 2005.



well pushed BW is something we have all seen before, but this is something compleatly new, nobody has used HD video in such a way before, and that's what makes it very interesting to look at. It's surreal.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:32 PM

Yes, in some ways the "plastic" feel of HD seemed better suited to recreate the 2D effect of black-inked graphic illustration, as opposed to creating an "old movie" look.
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#5 Filip Plesha

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:59 PM

Yes, in some ways the "plastic" feel of HD seemed better suited to recreate the 2D effect of black-inked graphic illustration, as opposed to creating an "old movie" look.


Yes

But I also feel that the way it was processed makes it look a more like film than say photography of Star Wars episodes 2 and 3. Sort of like modern BW film. Even though the way it was lit emulates film noir lighting, the photography itself at no time looks anything like vintage BW. More like fresh Ilford shot through latest lenses.
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 12:05 AM

I loved the look. I loved the acting. I love the mood. I loved EVERYTHING about this film except ther srcipt. I felt in this particular instance they held to much reverence for the source material. It was little more than a videogame style bloodbath. I realize these graphic novels are not big on plot to begin with but I really think if they had tried, they could have done much more with such an interesting visual experiment. This seem to be the major complaint with many of these technobeasts. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow had the same critizisim as did Shark Boy and Lava Girl and most of the other of these greenscreen epics. I think when they marry a good script to these full on effects movies then they'll have something. I wonder if they feel because they have these effects, they don't have to worry as much about plot or if they're so worried about getting the FX right they just forget to tell a good story.
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#7 Elan Morin Tedronai

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 01:20 PM

Of course, I I were the director, I would go for no green screen, and real BW film pushed 2-3 stops.


Hmm... One probably wouldn't be able to get the exact look without using green screen. Almost all the characters are backlit to such a degree that one would probably get problems hiding the lights, or at least affect the background with some unflattering light...
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#8 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:13 PM

Almost all the characters are backlit to such a degree that one would probably get problems hiding the lights, or at least affect the background with some unflattering light...


I think it can be done. Robert Richardson has been very good at casting hard shafts of light, segregating it to the actor and keeping it off of the background.

High praise to the cinematographer.


The cinematographer was Robert Rodriguez. Many seem to disagree with me on this but in this type of movie its difficult at best and impossible at worst to tell the actual photogrpahy from post production.

In this case in the behind the scenes still shots and video. You can clearly see the contrast on the actors is no where near as extreme as seen in the actual movie. You can see there is a bit of stronger key light coming from one side, but the fill side is not very dark at all.

Many times the actors are interacting directly with greenscreen set peices and the lighting is totally flat.

I saw a discussion about Sin City after it had not been invited to the bake off for Academy Award Nomination. From the discussion was discovered much of the look of Sin City was pretty basic color correction and sophisticated rotoscoping. Which was more than likely the reason this film was not thought of as excellent visual effects. What was said in the discussion is that this type of work flow is going to become used more and more, which may require a change in the definition of visual effects. Or an additional category for digital art direction, which would cover color correction and rotoscoping.
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#9 Filip Plesha

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:28 PM

What was said in the discussion is that this type of work flow is going to become used more and more


It may become a trend, but all trends come to an end.
In the 80's, who would have predicted than in 90s the trend will go back to cinemascope?

Sometimes trends in cinematography are unpredictable, who knows, maybe we will
see a comeback of 65mm, god knows there has been more talk in the past few years of that format than has been in entire 90's (since Far and Away): The tests for superman, New world...
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#10 Mark Allen

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 04:23 PM

I loved that the film was offering something *different* and I think it's success should be a sign how audience are starving for something different.

Had the script and plotting not been so weak (for the context of a film) and some of the acting been so inconsistent (on the weak side... I'm thinking in particular of the scene on the wharf performed so blandly by great actors), the film might have been legendary.
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#11 Elan Morin Tedronai

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 05:24 PM

I think it can be done. Robert Richardson has been very good at casting hard shafts of light, segregating it to the actor and keeping it off of the background.


I agree that it might very well be possible, but I personally think it would be a lot harder...
Anyway, there are other effects in the backgrounds that would be VERY hard to reproduce with a real location... I'm referring, of course, to the scenes in which the grout colour between the bricks or tiles is inverted depending on whether it is hit by light or not. (An effect which is drawn directly from Miller’s comic book aesthetics)
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#12 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 05:56 PM

Anyway there are other effects in the backgrounds that would be VERY hard to reproduce with a real location... I'm referring, of course, to the scenes in which the grout colour between the bricks or tiles is inverted depending on whether it is hit by light or not.


Not to continue to sound contradictory.

But I've heard it from seveeral visual effects artists that most of the time its faster, easier, and costs less money to start with a real picture or real set piece and apply a visual effect over that. Than it is to have to create the entire element from scratch.
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