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Cinematography in Delicatessen


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#1 Jim Malone

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 07:32 PM

I just watched Delicatessen. I was completely blown away by the cinematography. It really fits my aesthetic sensibilities. To me every frame was absolutely perfect. I love the color and composition.

Can anyone tell me about the color on this film? The whole film was very warm and yellowish. The color blue did not appear in the film (that I saw) until the very last shot. How is this look achieved? I can't imagine that it is done in with color grading in post as I don't believe they were doing that so much back in 1991. Is it all about using lights with warm colored gels? Or is there a specific film stock that can be used to achieve this look?

Please advise. Anything you can tell me, even just observations about how it was shot, lit, composed, would be great. Many thanks!!!!
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#2 fstop

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 08:11 PM

Art direction, warm lens filtration/coloured gels, daylight balanced film and bleach bypass/ENR to whack up the contrast.

I remember hearing that the film's optical effects were ten times more complicated because of the distinct pallette.
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 05:11 AM

ENR process with 5248 that was flashed with a Varicon. This was combined with very thorough art direction for the sets.
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#4 Evan Guilfoyle

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 08:55 AM

Check out the book "New Cinematographers" by Alexander Ballinger. It has a lot of technical info on Khondji's techniques. Cheers.
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#5 Jim Malone

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 08:12 AM

Jeunet said in the commentary that they sent a version for release in the USA without the ENR process being done on it. I don't suppose anyone knows where I could get a copy of that?
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#6 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 05:07 PM

I was traineeing color grading at Eclair's lab when Yvan Lucas graded this film. He really is a great color timist. The technics used on the shooting, I don't know, just heard there was no blue things on the set, but I can tell you it was not bleach bypass, it was accelerator bypass. I never heard of Varicon flash, but it doesn't mean there was no, I just would be astonished there was, since I didn't hear that... 5248 for sure. At this time there was no DI but of course there was traditionnal grading, that means working on the 3 : R, G, B channel. The Darius's will was a "dry blood color". It's basically no blue, so, yellowish and a bit of red.
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#7 Max Jacoby

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 03:11 AM

I never heard of Varicon flash, but it doesn't mean there was no, I just would be astonished there was, since I didn't hear that...

In the very nice book that Evan mention, Darius Khondji says that he used the Varicon for the film.
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#8 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 03:32 AM

Ok,then. I realised after I posted that one thing that astonished me when I was "working" at Eclair is that color timer are sometimes not aware much of how the film was shot... Sometimes they are sometimes not. And Yvan just did not mention that.

As for ENR. Do you know if it was used on this one ? This I don't know either, it was the final timing only I assisted.

But One thing I know for sure is that it was not skip bleach put skip accelerator (the pos, not the neg)
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#9 Max Jacoby

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 05:01 AM

The didn't use ENR per se, but the similar process that you described (accelerator bypass), which according to Khondji gives you the look of a fifty percent bleach-by-pass. Since all these bleach-bypass processes are based on the same principle, the look would be similar to ENR.
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#10 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 05:59 AM

Wel, Jim should be happy with all these informations, then.
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#11 Jim Malone

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:12 PM

Yes, I am very happy with all this information. Thanks a million! Incidently, I watched the directors commentary and I am pretty sure he did say they used an ENR process on the film.
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#12 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:21 AM

I recall now that they did nothing special to the neg itself it's all by the print process. Is ENR process for the pos only or for the neg ?
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 11:22 AM

I recall now that they did nothing special to the neg itself it's all by the print process. Is ENR process for the pos only or for the neg ?


ENR is for prints only.
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#14 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:15 PM

Thank you, David.
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 07:39 PM

Thank you, David.


It's because ENR requires an extra b&w developing tank to be installed in the ECP-2B processor, unlike skip-bleach which can be done in either neg or positive because it just involves skipping the bleach step.
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#16 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 07:44 PM

I must admit that although I love the work of Jeunet and Khondji, the ultra-wide imagery of Delicatessen and La Cité des Enfants Perdu can sometimes take me right out of it. Obviously they're there for comedic effect - and serve that purpose well - it's just that I keep longing for some mid- to longer lens imagery to show up (and they never kind of do). Another problem with 'extreme' looks is that they don't age very well.
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#17 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 05 August 2006 - 02:22 PM

Thanks again, very interesting

It's because ENR requires an extra b&w developing tank to be installed in the ECP-2B processor, unlike skip-bleach which can be done in either neg or positive because it just involves skipping the bleach step.


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#18 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 06:55 PM

I got the DVD a few months ago, the new transfer looked great, except for some flickering during the scenes where Dominique Pinon is first arriving at the hotel, which pissed me off a little :/ Hopefully an even better transfer will be made available in a couple years.
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