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Vivid vs. subdued


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#1 Mikael Sonnichsen

Mikael Sonnichsen

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 05:33 PM

Hi everyone,

now I'm obviously not in any way acquainted with the techniques in photography, or cinematography for that matter, but would someone care to explain to me the differences in the look of Terrence Malick's 'The Thin Red Line' and his latest 'The New World'? Of particular interest here, not to diminish any other aspects(!), is the color and lighting of these movies.

I'm hugely impressed with the way TTRL is filmed. Everything from camera movement, picture composition to light/colors - the outspoken mood-generator these images really are! The green leaves and grass; the colored birds; the sunlight through the leaves/trees; the underwater scenes; dusk, dawn and night sequences, i.e. everything really. The colors are so vivid and strong, yet very sarurated and natural. Almost divine(whatever that means :-)).

Somehow by contrast, but still as wonderful, are the images from 'The New World'. The colors are sort of less vibrant/in-your-face than in TTRL, and instead rather subdued, subtle and earthly. The coloring is really quite gentle! I'm aware filming was done using available light for the most part, and that Terry specifically asked for the avoidance of direct sunlight. Also, it is said they used "backlighting" while filming TNW, as well as a pronounced lack of filters in the lenses/cameras(?).

What is it that explaines the differences in the looks between these two movies? How much can be accounted for to weather conditions, to the choice of lense/camera, filmstock, filters, natural vs. artificial light, back- vs. frontlight, etc.?
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