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Derek Vanlint


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#1 Dralt

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 01:43 AM

I have watched Alien countless times and I am always amazed at how good the light work is in that film.

How come Derek Vanlint has worked so little?
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#2 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 02:59 AM

I have watched Alien countless times and I am always amazed at how good the light work is in that film.

How come Derek Vanlint has worked so little?



He works, just not on a lot of feature films. I believe he prefers to work on commercials which is the field where he started with directors like Ridley Scott, Adrian Lyne and many others.


Derek Vanlint's Reel
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#3 Dralt

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 12:51 PM

He works, just not on a lot of feature films. I believe he prefers to work on commercials which is the field where he started with directors like Ridley Scott, Adrian Lyne and many others.
Derek Vanlint's Reel


Well, that's too bad.

In Alien, I believe there are segments where every single frame is art photography in and of itself.

Ridley Scott must have had a good time.

I wish there were new cinematographers and directors ou there producing such quality sci-fi films.
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#4 Mike Kaminski

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 07:36 PM

yup, Alien is one of my favourite films and in terms of cinematography I've studied that more than anything else. Don't know what he is up to nowadays but i think IATSE lists him as being an active member of 667.
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#5 Filip Plesha

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 09:03 PM

I have watched Alien countless times and I am always amazed at how good the light work is in that film.

How come Derek Vanlint has worked so little?



I think Ridley was THE cinematographer on Alien, in the words of Derek himself: Derek mostly covered the second camera shots "when Ridleys camera was not in his shot"

As for the lighting, a lot of it was practical lighting.

I think its hard to make such a film today, it just wouldn't work, first of all because Alien is already in existence, so whatever you do in space with such a look would remind one of Alien, second, you can do only so much films with people running down metal corridors. It looks great in the original, it looks extreamly dull in clones.
Such metalic high contrast dark ship was a very good idea to explore through a film camera, but it was already explored in that film, and there just isn't any more room left for that look and setting.

I don't think its all about the light in that film. The sets were designed great. Everything is in perfect harmony, the textures, colors, shapes. Everything is so photogenic, and in combination with simple and practical lighting (exept for the last reel or two which had a more dramatic light) looks wonderfull.
All the geometry and textures just SNAP so well in the frame. Every frame is a "hanger" (for hanging on the wall) because the composition of the camera and geometry of the sets is so pleasant and pictorial.
Also it helps that the film was shot in a time when colors were not so clean as they look today, the film had a nice texture to it, so they whole think kind of blended nicely.
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#6 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 09:45 PM

I think Ridley was THE cinematographer on Alien, in the words of Derek himself: Derek mostly covered the second camera shots "when Ridleys camera was not in his shot"


Yes, that's what he said in the Alien Quadrilogy DVD documentaries. But the 1979 AC issue convering the filming of "Alien" says that Ridley operated the "A" camera most of the film while Vanlint handled the "B" camera and the whole lighting process (I remember some talk about Vanlint being worried about the amount of fill he was using, the 3/4 backlighting, his first contact with anamorphic, features vs. commercials, etc) and a lengthy explanation (by both of them on their respective articles) on why the initial approch of using practicals ended up being very flat looking and was abandoned in favor of a set-up by set-up lighting.

"Alien" is one of my favourites and IMHO "Dragonslayer" also is a great looking film :)
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#7 Dralt

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 02:26 PM

I am not in the industry at all, but I don't see how excellence in cinematography could suffer from being repeated at any occasion.

Sure, the set they built for Alien was amazing. Sure, the scenes were very conducive to all sorts of artistic lighting. And yes, it's difficult to repeat without spoiling.

Yet, going from there to little interest in photographic direction is to swing from one extreme to the other.

Playing with light is all there is in this world. Recording light is your job.
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