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Mission Impossible III


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#1 Cole Webley

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Posted 06 May 2006 - 07:13 PM

Last night I went to the opening of MI III. It was my one year anniversary and my wife and I couldn't decide what to see so we decided to play it safe with this one. I enjoy Mindel's work and I was excited to see how J.J. Abrams would handle his first feature.

I was quite pleased -- easily the best of the three Mission Impossibles. Story was a little better and I liked how they added more relationship issues. P.S. Hoffman is great. One of the top five actors I would love to work with someday.

Its always fun reading the ASC articles then watching it on the big screen and referencing those moments discussed in the article. The helicopter chase was shorter then I had imagened and it looked like they only lit some of the large windmeels.

Mindel's work was consistent with the genre -- a step back from the stylized Domino -- but very good. Well done.

I felt like the HD plates they shot in Shanghi cut together well, I couldn't distinguish any differences.

I would give it a B+...or maybe a A- I had a good time and it was quite entertaining. I wasn't expecting much of deep emotional experience so I wasn't much dissapointed. Go see it and have a good time.

Again, easily best of the three -- Good job Mindel and Abrams.
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#2 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 06:40 PM

Mindel's work was consistent with the genre -- a step back from the stylized Domino -- but very good. Well done.

I felt like the HD plates they shot in Shanghi cut together well, I couldn't distinguish any differences.


Perhaps the darkness of the night also helped, but the Super 35 footage during the windmill helicopter sequence also was indistinguishable. I believe that some of the anamorphic lens flares may have been added in post to achieve a greater consistency between the spherical and the anamorphic shots.

My congratulations for Mr. Mindel, who has done a great work with this flick succeding with all these technical challenges and keeping a very slick look through the various locations were the film was shot. His high-contrast approach for the whole film and the HMIs Plus Green gelled for some sequences were really eye-appealing. But the best part of all was the sharpness of the wide-shots, thanks to the Primo anamorphic lenses. I believe Max would be happy watching this; it's anamorphic at its best!. Too bad that the film relied too much on long-lenses, which was expectable considering the TV background of the director but was a real pity if you consider the crispness of the landscape or other wide shots. Even the D.I. (by Company 3) was great to my eye.

Of course, it's just a popcorn movie and it's not trying to reinvent the wheel, but it's really well done and has its good moments (I enjoyed it a lot more than "M:I 2").
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#3 Tim Tyler

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 08:23 PM

the best part of all was the sharpness of the wide-shots, thanks to the Primo anamorphic lenses.

I thought the sharpness throughout was great. Hats of to the 1st A.C. for keeping those tougher close-ups in focus.
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#4 Craig Knowles

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 12:59 AM

Unfortunately, I got a bad projectionist (or, no projectionist at all) at my screening. I can never decide what to do in these circumstances.

I'm already engaged in the film - do I leave to search the theatre for someone who actually gives a damn and miss parts of the film I'm paying to see (which I can't bring myself to do), do I try to convince the theatre of the focus problem (I've tried before and it seems they don't care or don't notice the focus issue themselves, or do I ask for my money back after watching the entire film?

Edited by Craig Knowles, 10 May 2006 - 01:03 AM.

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#5 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 09:21 AM

Unfortunately, I got a bad projectionist (or, no projectionist at all) at my screening. I can never decide what to do in these circumstances.

I'm already engaged in the film - do I leave to search the theatre for someone who actually gives a damn and miss parts of the film I'm paying to see (which I can't bring myself to do), do I try to convince the theatre of the focus problem (I've tried before and it seems they don't care or don't notice the focus issue themselves, or do I ask for my money back after watching the entire film?


Usually, if the focus or framing of the projector has not been set properly, it should be apparent in the trailers/previews before the feature starts. As soon as you see the problem, let the theatre management know, and don't be satisfied until you see them correct the problem. If not, ask for a CASH refund, and write to the theatre management expressing your dissatisfaction with the lack of response.

Here is the contact information for the major theatre circuits:

http://directories.v...des/exhibition/
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 10:53 AM

There was the occasional soft shot but nothing unexpected in a production running multiple cameras all the time in anamorphic with long lenses. Overall, I thought the sharpness and clarity was great, especially for a D.I. - Mindel's contrasty lighting helped a lot in that regard.

The HD backgrounds in Shanghai looked great too in terms of detail, like how your eye sees at night. And matched the film foregrounds very well for the most part (you could tell which shots were done on HD, like some of the cutaways to the guards on the rooftop with telephoto lenses, but it all blended fine.)

Just watched some of "Silent Hill" where one scene lit mostly by a cigarette lighter was also shot on HD, and in that case, I think it blended even better because the rest of the movie was shot in Super-35, so there was a similar feeling of sharpness (i.e. most of the movie had a slightly soft & grainy feeling -- but looked good, that's not a complaint. It just had that texture to it compared to an anamorphic movie.)
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#7 Krystian Ramlogan

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 11:37 AM

I saw MI:III on opening day also and in general thought is was a very decent film. Better than MI:II in my opinion; almost as good as MI:I.

I do think the story was a little weak and the ending seemed rushed to me (and my friends). The effects seemed pretty good and I liked the cinematography (two thumbs up!!).

I'd like to ask tho, the close ups seemed soft (I saw it at Regal Cinemas) and the trailers were pretty sharp. Plus, some of the shots in the dark seemed a bit grainy and I don't know, maybe "murky"?

Could someone tell me if they shared any similar experience?
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 12:05 PM

I enjoyed MI:III a lot when i saw it on Sunday. I really loved the action sequences where (it appeared) they didn't even attempt to flag flare from the lenses. Nice style for those parts. I also noticed a lot of green, like uncorrected fluoros throughout. I noticed a few parts that weren't anamorphic but only because of the character of the flares. I don't think I would have noticed otherwise.
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#9 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 12:22 PM

Just watched some of "Silent Hill" where one scene lit mostly by a cigarette lighter was also shot on HD, and in that case, I think it blended even better because the rest of the movie was shot in Super-35, so there was a similar feeling of sharpness (i.e. most of the movie had a slightly soft & grainy feeling -- but looked good, that's not a complaint. It just had that texture to it compared to an anamorphic movie.)


Haven't seen it myself, but Danish DP Dan Laustsen, DFF, is very talented. I think he has a great Hollywood career in front of him if he pursues that particular avenue.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 01:15 PM

"Silent Hill" has that classic challenge of "dark" movies -- varying degrees of dim, soft underexposed lighting to figure out for the DP (i.e. she walks from being three stops under into a key that is one-stop under, etc.) I am very impressed with Lausten's ability to handle that. The scenes in the abandoned schoolrooms were great, lighting-wise.
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#11 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 05:04 PM

MI-111

... Whilst I'm sure technically it's an impressive film - we should all expect any such huge production to be so, the idea of sitting through it is a big yawn to me. I know you can't compare but, I watched 21 Grams again the other day and it's so beautifully operated, and lit, and it's form and content work as one.

- For me so many action movies are all form and no content. I know a lot of people want the big bangs and cameras flying all over the shop but it's the story that counts. If the camera flies then so should the script... I love cameras and techniques as much as every body else but I'd rather get gripped by a good story first then watch it again and begin to look at it's technique... If you're watching the technique to start with hasn't the film already failed?!

... How many times will you want to sit through MI-111?

I wonder...

Rupe Whiteman

Edited by rupe w, 10 May 2006 - 05:05 PM.

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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 05:55 PM

I noticed a few parts that weren't anamorphic but only because of the character of the flares. I don't think I would have noticed otherwise.

Really? So you're saying they were shooting spherical for some parts of the film? That seems very strange to me.
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#13 Dan Goulder

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 05:59 PM

Really? So you're saying they were shooting spherical for some parts of the film? That seems very strange to me.

The helicopter chase through the wind farm was shot in super 35. I don't know if that format was used anywhere else in the movie.
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#14 Michel Hafner

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 02:36 PM

There was the occasional soft shot but nothing unexpected in a production running multiple cameras all the time in anamorphic with long lenses. Overall, I thought the sharpness and clarity was great, especially for a D.I. - Mindel's contrasty lighting helped a lot in that regard.

I don't know, but I was disappointed with the sharpness. I watched it from a 2K DLP from pretty close and the sharpness was all over the place. The DLP was properly focused but the film had probably less than 10 shots that looked really full 2K sharp. The rest was certainly less grainy than the usual Super35 DIs, but sharp? Not really. One of the sharpest shots was Cruise running over the roofs in daylight (Rome I think). The focusing of close ups looked random to me. The faces were at times ouf of focus everywhere, sometimes one part was in focus and the rest not without any apparent reason why the nose or the ear was sharp but the rest not. DLP is brutal here and shows it all.
The black level of current cinema DLPs is unsatisfactory. Darker material often looked washed out. Digital artifacts were minimal, but one shot looked horrible (Cruise meeting Crudup early in the shop): Zombie skin in action.
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 05:58 PM

sometimes one part was in focus and the rest not without any apparent reason why the nose or the ear was sharp but the rest not.


Well, the probable reason was a 180mm anamorphic prime or the long end of a zoom at T/4, which won't hold all the face in focus. Compound that with lots of movement of people & cameras, and multiple cameras, and I think the movie was about as sharply focused as one could expect for anamorphic photography at that f-stop using a top Hollywood camera crew. You'd either need to light to a higher f-stop or use shorter lenses and work more carefully with fewer cameras running, more camera rehearsals, etc. Unfortunately that's not the way modern action directors want to work. They run a B or C camera with a super tight shot and the focus puller is barely given a decent chance of getting it right, being promised that they'll "probably" cut around the soft bits, but being cut on a computer makes it difficult to see those problems even if noted when the dailies were screened.

I'd like to see any DP run multiple cameras with long anamorphic lenses on interiors and expect everything to be sharp, especially if only at an f/4 (which is like shooting at an f/2.0 in spherical, depth of field-wise, due to the typical doubling of the focal lengths used.)

Look on a depth of field chart; in Super-35 cropped vertically to 2.40, a spherical 85mm lens at T/2.0 focused at 7' (typical distance for close-ups) has 2" depth of field; a 150mm anamorphic lens at T/4.0 focused at 7' also has 2" depth of field.
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#16 Michel Hafner

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 04:40 AM

Well, the probable reason was a 180mm anamorphic prime or the long end of a zoom at T/4, which won't hold all the face in focus. Compound that with lots of movement of people & cameras, and multiple cameras, and I think the movie was about as sharply focused as one could expect for anamorphic photography at that f-stop using a top Hollywood camera crew. You'd either need to light to a higher f-stop or use shorter lenses and work more carefully with fewer cameras running, more camera rehearsals, etc. Unfortunately that's not the way modern action directors want to work. They run a B or C camera with a super tight shot and the focus puller is barely given a decent chance of getting it right, being promised that they'll "probably" cut around the soft bits, but being cut on a computer makes it difficult to see those problems even if noted when the dailies were screened.

Thanks for the explanation. I think there is really potential here to get more consistent results with digital 2K/4K cameras and on the set focus checks on 2K or 4K monitors even when they use standard 35mm lenses and depth of focus behaviour while keeping the advantage of anamorphic (less/no 'grain/noise', very sharp wide shots). Why has no one shot a major film on the DALSA yet? Workflow issues?
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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 06:12 AM

Thanks for the explanation. I think there is really potential here to get more consistent results with digital 2K/4K cameras and on the set focus checks on 2K or 4K monitors even when they use standard 35mm lenses and depth of focus behaviour while keeping the advantage of anamorphic (less/no 'grain/noise', very sharp wide shots).

I don't see what one has to do with the other. Like David said, the B and C cameras that have long lenses are not expected to get everything sharp. And if it is soft from time to time, as it invariably happens, then both the operator, looking through the viewfinder, and the focus-puller will usually know by the end of the take and pass the information on to script supervisor.

2K/4K on set monitoring will not make a difference, since the people who select which part of the shots end up in the film, i.e the editors, are not even on set when that informaiton is passed around. The real difference maker will be the use of higher resolution monitoring during editing, so that the editors can exactely see whether a shot is sharp or not, without having to consult the script supervisor's notes, which some don't even bother to look at at all.

If you say that less than 10 shots in MI3 looked really sharp then I would venture to say that something was wrong with the projection. 2K projection does not do justice to an anamorphic film anyway and it simply does not look as sharp as a film print.
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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 11:25 AM

A digital camera with a 35mm-sized sensor and spherical lenses would have the same depth of field characteristics of Super-35, which would be better than anamorphic, but if you want to get even more depth of field, then I suppose you can shoot on something like the Viper, with its 2/3" CCD's.

I don't think there will be fewer focus problems if filmmakers start working with 2K & 4K cameras & monitors.

The problem is the style of directing that relies on multiple cameras with long lenses shooting lots of movement, combined with an editing style that uses shots regardless of whether they are sharp enough. So perhaps if editing took place at higher resolutions and larger monitors, the editor might use sharper takes, but on the other hand, technical problems are not at the top of the list when making cutting decisions (I'm referring to Walter Murch's list of an editor's priorities, where #1 is Performance. I think #2 is 2-dimensional space/continuity, #3 is 3-dimensional space/continuity, and #4 is a technical problem like focus.)
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#19 Tom Bays

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 12:40 PM

Wide shot, Medium shot, Closeup...good story. I like it that way.
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#20 Michel Hafner

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 12:42 PM

If you say that less than 10 shots in MI3 looked really sharp then I would venture to say that something was wrong with the projection. 2K projection does not do justice to an anamorphic film anyway and it simply does not look as sharp as a film print.

Projection was right. Opening logo was pin sharp for example. Don't know what the format of the data was (4:4:4 or less). I don't see how any prints from the same data can look sharper.
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