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#1 Ckulakov

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 08:09 PM

When I think about the production budgets of famous directors like Steven Spielberg, I think of what it would be like to have Spielberg and his usual screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor shoot a film only using supplies from wal-mart. For example everything would have to be shot using a camera they would choose from wal-mart, the studio would be wal-mart, and everything else like lighting, production design, and props would have to be from wal-mart. I really wonder what the screenwriter, Jeff Nathanson, could come up with in such a limited location. How the cinematographer Janusz Kaminski would go about shooting with DV camera and limited lights. The project could even be entitled 'the wal-mart' movie.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 08:23 PM

When I think about the production budgets of famous directors like Steven Spielberg, I think of what it would be like to have Spielberg and his usual screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor shoot a film only using supplies from wal-mart. For example everything would have to be shot using a camera they would choose from wal-mart, the studio would be wal-mart, and everything else like lighting, production design, and props would have to be from wal-mart. I really wonder what the screenwriter, Jeff Nathanson, could come up with in such a limited location. How the cinematographer Janusz Kaminski would go about shooting with DV camera and limited lights. The project could even be entitled 'the wal-mart' movie.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?


I would say that's an absolutely terrible idea considering that Wal-Mart is single-handedly accounting for a sizeable portion of the United States' growing yearly trade deficit with China, and I personally only use Wal-Mart for one thing. The irony of that last part is that I use them for outlabbing my Kodachrome home movies for processing.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski

P.S. While this type of post would not be out of place on a forum like Filmshooting.com or a MiniDV forum, it IS I feel out of place here. There are working professionals on this forum who are here for free as a service to the cinematographers out there. Posts like this are what make them leave.
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#3 joey p

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 09:10 PM

i like the idea. to many people use not having access to the best equipment as an excuse. Spielberg and his crew would probaly make a more watchable movie using walmart supplies than most people would with top of the line equipment.
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#4 Ckulakov

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 09:12 PM

Dear Karl Borowski,

I would like to start out by thanking you for the intresting perspective and also clear out one thing.

I was not actually making wal-mart the main point, but just trying to start a conversation about how a talented cinematographer like Janusz Kaminski would go about shooting on such a low and restricted amount of supplies like from a retail store like say 'wal-mart'. I was not asking for a financial and political status quote that you gave me here (SINCE YOU SAID THIS IS A CINEMATOGRAPHY FORUM):

" I would say that's an absolutely terrible idea considering that Wal-Mart is single-handedly accounting for a sizeable portion of the United States' growing yearly trade deficit with China, and I personally only use Wal-Mart for one thing. "

ALSO I have been using this forum for over a year and according to other replies I am contributing to this forum. I beleive since you are only a advanced member just like me you do not have the right to judge what other sustaining cinematographers think and feel about this post (and future posts). I have heard many discussions like these, even in the general discussion area. I would also like to ask you to please not assume or suggest things without carefully reading a post.

THANKS AND I APOLOGIZE FOR MAKING THOUSANDS OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS LEAVE DUE TO MY DISTRACTING POST

Edited by Ckulakov, 08 March 2006 - 09:13 PM.

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#5 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 09:15 PM

When I think about the production budgets of famous directors like Steven Spielberg, I think of what it would be like to have Spielberg and his usual screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor shoot a film only using supplies from wal-mart. For example everything would have to be shot using a camera they would choose from wal-mart, the studio would be wal-mart, and everything else like lighting, production design, and props would have to be from wal-mart. I really wonder what the screenwriter, Jeff Nathanson, could come up with in such a limited location. How the cinematographer Janusz Kaminski would go about shooting with DV camera and limited lights. The project could even be entitled 'the wal-mart' movie.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?


Are you suggesting a new Dogme ethic? :wacko:

I would rather challenge that kind of talent with having the best tools and resources available, than to limit them to the "bargain basement". I'm sure their "Wal-Mart" movie would rise above mediocrity, but even they would have a hard time making it soar to greatness.
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#6 Ckulakov

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 09:20 PM

Dear John,

I understand what you are saying but I think that it would be very interesting to let beginner filmmakers see that even if you are shooting on a low budget you can still come up with a great project with the experiance, creativity, and dedication that Spielberg has.
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#7 Gordon Highland

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 09:35 PM

It's like at my job when they claim to be "challenging me." No, they're not, they're making excuses for being cheap while dropping their problems in my lap. <_<

Wal-mart specifics aside, I'd be interested to see those results. Granted, Steven usually has very liberal budgets and some of the best crew in the biz, but he actually works very very fast, too, and I admire his confidence in that regard.

I'd like to see some well-known filmmakers take on one of these 48-hour film fests that have become so popular with the kiddies. Well, that's not fair, but put them up against each other, I mean. I've never entered one, because like I said, those aren't the kinds of "challenges" I find beneficial to me personally (I shoot at light speed and with limited resources all week long, so why stress myself on the weekend?). I want creative challenges, not logistical ones.
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#8 Craig Agee

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 09:37 PM

are you high? :lol: thats pretty funny though really,id watch it.it does sound like some whacky dogme ethic too,also why does everyone have such animosity towards walmart.this is america where else can you buy shoes,a dvd,shampoo,a bicycle,a frozen burrito,underwear and a shotgun under one roof?
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#9 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 11:01 PM

WHAT DO YOU THINK?


Those are the jobs that always suck...
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 11:47 PM

Something similer, though not exactly the same, happened back in 1960, a world famous director heard about a small company that was make feature films for under, WAY UNDER, a million dollars. He went to his screenwriter friend and said "Wouldn't it be interesting if a few people like us, people with real talent made one of these pictures?" They batted around a few ideas and came up with a script, then went and made the picture.

The director then used a brillant marketing campaign of not allowing anyone who came late to be admitted into the showing. That campaign and picture change the motion picture industry and the habits of the movie going public forever. The director was Alfred Hitchcock and the movie was Psycho.

So what do you THINK would happen if a the incomperable genius like Steven Spielberg, perhaps the greatest filmmaker of our, scratch that, ALL time, got ahold of prosumer video and editing equipment AND everything needed to fabricate lighting, refrectors costumes props sets ect? He's been doing this sense he was 10 and I'm sure he remembers what it was like to improvise. Lets just hope he never decides to do that, because it would make a WHOLE lot of people look bad.
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#11 Chance Shirley

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:13 AM

Ckulakov: You should check out BUBBLE by Soderbergh. Not exactly Wal-Mart equipment, but he shot it on hi-def using amateur actors and mostly available/practical light. And I think it's a good movie, even though it cost 1/50 of what OCEAN'S ELEVEN did.

I'd like to second John's comment about people striving to use the best resources available to tell their story. Lately, it seems a lot of filmmakers are becoming obsessed with faster/cheaper. Rodriguez, in particular, keeps touting how much cheaper and faster hi-def and CGI are compared to the "old" technology. Would 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY be as great if Kubrick only tried to make the movie as quickly and inexpensively as possible? I doubt it. Sometimes, it's worth spending the extra time and money to do what best serves the story.
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:28 AM

I saw an interview last night in which James Camron talked about the fight he had with executives who could not understand that the key to making money on Titanic was to spend whatever was needed to make the look and feel of the ship as real as possible.

Kubrick was such a perfectionist that he went so far as to reorganize the filing system in his film offices, something that might be concidered beneath such an important man, but as his secratery said, he felt eather you were committed to the entire process of filmmaking or your not. He did whatever it took to put his vision on the screen, but suprisingly, his crews were small and lean. He didn't like a too many people around him while he was working nor did he want to waste money on anything that wasn't going to be up on the screen.
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#13 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:49 AM

also why does everyone have such animosity towards walmart.this is america where else can you buy shoes,a dvd,shampoo,a bicycle,a frozen burrito,underwear and a shotgun under one roof?

There are many reasons people have so much animosity towards WalMart, but if you don't know already I think it's pointless to explain.
Sure, you can buy a lot of different things at WalMart, but why do you need to buy your underwear and shotgun at the same place? As a store, I consider them a jack of all trades and a master of none. They do lots of things, but they don't do ANY of them well. Even if I ignored all the other reasons I dislike WalMart, I still wouldn't shop there because the store sucks.
OK, rant over.
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#14 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:01 PM

""As a store, I consider them a jack of all trades and a master of none. They do lots of things, but they don't do ANY of them well. Even if I ignored all the other reasons I dislike WalMart, I still wouldn't shop there because the store sucks.""

:lol:
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#15 Filip Plesha

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 02:45 PM

It would never work with the kind of esthetical taste Spielberg has.

Some people often say things like "It's all about the story, it doesn't matter wheather it's shot on, wheather it is a cheap DV camera of 35mm film"

That sounds very romantic and all, but in reality it's just not true.
It's maybe true if you watch movies in the way you would watch TV soap opras, but movies
are not just a bunch of images containing information about where is who and what does he do,
movies are a series of art photographs, which you also examine in an esthetic way, instead of just semantic.

Higher image quality, and specially the visual impact of film, really does affect how much people
enjoy a movie.
How many cars would you sell if you didn't have high end 35mm ads rolling on TV, and instead had
SD video shots like the ones you get in auto-moto TV shows? Well I think less, because on simple SD video, a car looks less special, and you can't get that creamy shiny look.
I know that I wouldn't even notice Peugeot 407 on streets if It weren't for some great commercials where the car look painterly beautiful on film.
It's not all about the design, it's also about how you present it. And frankly film is currently the best way to present some design, lighting setup or actors face on screen.

I know this comes from a serious film fetishist, who doesn't consider some films worth watching at all if they
don't have a catchy film look, but I think there is still truth in what I say.
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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 03:25 PM

Your assuming Spielberg wouldn't take into account the limitations of the equipment he was using and that just plain wrong. Speilberg is a maticulious, VERY intellegent filmmaker with a great eye and unwavering estetic sensiblities. He would adapt to any circumestanses that were required. Look at Mike Figgis', Time Code. The film was shot entirely on mini DV and the film was amazing AND in my humble opinion Mike Figgis is good but not nearly the genius Speilberg is. I think you sorely underestimate the overwhelming talent of these cimematic giants. They are in the position they're in for a reason and there is NO denighing that!
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#17 Michael Collier

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 04:02 PM

Spielberg is lame. There I said it. He is where he is because of Jaws, and a few other good movies. I'm not saying hes the worst out there, but he really, really really doesnt deserve his reputation. He made a nice turn around with Munich, but I will always hate his status as a filmmaker 'elite' I feel that only those who deserve it should reach that status. Scorsese, Kubric, Hitchcock really had that extra 50% over everyone else that put you in awe everytime they released a picture. Speilberg I go to his film and leave mostly dissapointed (and AI was the worst abominations in recent film history)

Speilberg works because he surrounds himself with great people (unfortunatley never surrounds himself with the story he is trying to tell.)
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#18 Greg Gross

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 05:43 PM

Speilberg is probably the best director/filmmaker that we have at the present time.
Some may not like that but it is so. In fact he's always busy making a film. How many
of you are doing that? Have no doubt that he was poor when he started but he got the
money he needed by selling the idea that he had a great film for the cinema. How many
films have you made in 2005? How many films has Mr. Speilberg made in 2005? Christ,
no one here is in the position to critique Speilberg,he's the greatest director/filmmaker
of the day and besides that his films are making money. I've said this about a 1000 times
on this forum- Its not the camera(type) or the lights(type) but rather your vision and cre-
ativity.If you are working for a director and he wants a certain style,look,mood;can you
produce it? If I had my way,every candidate for film school would have to be a professional
photographer for at least 2 years before they could even be excepted into cinematography.
One requirement would be to have a sucessful still portfolio and sweet jesus would we sep-
erate the men from the boys! Lets face it, how damn hard is it to add motion to all of that. It
would end stupid questions like whats an fstop? Whats the difference in the amount of light
between f2.8 and f5.6? Light has basically three qualities- Quanity,Quality,Intensity. Give me
a f...ing 16mm(super) camera and a 42mm lens and some photofloods and I'll make you a
good film. I almost forgot, I need a good script...a good script...a good script!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I do not object to stupid questions from newbies and students. As a matter of fact I don't need
a super 16 camera as I could shoot on the PD-170 and go to post. Actually the public does not
give a damn about the look,they want a good story,good ending. The editor is the hero. Maybe
film school candidates should be required to be film editors also before being excepted?

Greg Gross
Student Cinematographer
Professional Photographer
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#19 Filip Plesha

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 06:13 PM

would have to be a professional
photographer for at least 2 years


There are some pretty untalented professional photographers out there. That's really poor criteria for anything.
The best way to do it is to ask for a portfolio, because being a professional only means you are doing it for money, it doesn't mean you are good at it. Seeing is believing.

That's how they do it here in Croatia. On the Academy of drama arts, they ask you for a
portfolio of 20 hand developed BW enlargements shot on traditional BW film and processed
by you in a darkroom. After that you go to an interview where you talk about your images and explain
your artistic intentions and techniques. Only after you pass all that can you take the official tests and compete
for a future student DP.
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#20 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:01 PM

Spielberg is lame. There I said it. He is where he is because of Jaws, and a few other good movies. I'm not saying hes the worst out there, but he really, really really doesnt deserve his reputation. He made a nice turn around with Munich, but I will always hate his status as a filmmaker 'elite' I feel that only those who deserve it should reach that status. Scorsese, Kubric, Hitchcock really had that extra 50% over everyone else that put you in awe everytime they released a picture. Speilberg I go to his film and leave mostly dissapointed (and AI was the worst abominations in recent film history)

Speilberg works because he surrounds himself with great people (unfortunatley never surrounds himself with the story he is trying to tell.)


Lame? Jaws? What about oh I don't know, ET, Close Encounters, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, The Color Purple, Jerrassic Park, Duel, Munich, The Terminal, Empire of the sun, Raider of the Lost Ark, Minority Report, A.I., War of the Worlds, Amistad and a little company called Dreamworks. How may Iconic american cinematic masterpieces does someone have to make before you would consider him "Elite"?
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