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Superman Returns


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#1 Michael Collier

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 04:33 AM

I just got back from the midnight showing (which started at 10:00pm here, strangely enough) and wanted to see what everyones opinion

I'll start my opinion with a few gripes (just to get them out of the way). I noticed a bit of noise in some of the darker scenes. In the boat there was a lengthy segment of this that started to wear thin. At one point (I think near the helicopter) there was a particularly bad shot. Thankfully that shot was quite breif (under 1.5 sec). Some scenes looked a bit flat, though I think a large portion of that was the composition (superman in the sky with a tree in front, and very little background to flesh out any depth.

Overall I thought the look was quite good. Technically the camera performed very well. Exteriors were some of the best I have scene on video, and the interiors (Like the newsroom) worked very well. Some of the macro/XCU photography really stands out.

I did surprisingly like the story too. I am not a huge Superman fan, but from this one definatley stands out. I kept me entertained for the whole film.
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#2 Matt Frank

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:33 AM

I thought it looked really good.

The noise in the dark scene on the boat was the biggest flaw that I noticed especially since it cut to a warmly lit scene with no noise.

I did not think that the look of the film was up to Siegel's other work and I didn't get the same sense of awe from the sky during the Kansas scenes like in the original, but overall it was great.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 03:59 PM

My dilemma is wether to go see a film print to see how it holds up as an alternative to film acquisition, or to see DLP projection where I'm sure it will look its best. Eventually I'll do both, but I want that first impression to count!
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#4 Michael Collier

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:27 PM

I saw it on a film print (we dont have DLP in alaska yet, we are still trying to get electricity to our igloos) and I think they used a relativley fine-grain print film. I didnt notice much (film) grain in the movie, so I suppose that choice is more of colors and contrast than clarity/sharpness. The only big thing I noted was a few scratches (large horizontally accross the entire frame, maybe 1/10 of the screen size, looked like it had been spliced back together) during playback. I was dissapointed because I went to see what suredly was the first screening of that particular print, unless they send all the old screener prints to alaska.
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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:44 PM

The only big thing I noted was a few scratches (large horizontally accross the entire frame, maybe 1/10 of the screen size, looked like it had been spliced back together) during playback.

I've noticed that quite a bit lately, the appearance of a splice in the middle of reels, even during first day (and run) showings. 'sup with that?
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#6 James Brown

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 11:58 AM

I just got back from the midnight showing (which started at 10:00pm here, strangely enough) and wanted to see what everyones opinion


Hi,

Just got back from a viewing of "Superman"

It was a film print and looked quite good. It was definitely the crispest video I have seen and looked a lot sharper then say "Collateral" with much better blacks and colour rendition. All the images looked very clean with no noticeable noise (except for the previously mentioned scene). The lighting was the biggest standout visually for me. Subtle and high key at times but mostly Siegal got some good contrast in there. The actions scenes were done quite well, occasionally jarring (reminded me of Bourne Supremacy at times but not to such an extent)

Overall I was quite happy with the Cinematography of "Superman Returns" but the story lacked any substance. It was typical Hollywood blockbuster with constant cheesy lines that got the Audience laughing and a long lagging story that left you wanting something else (what did I expect?)

There was mixed emotions around me, someone behind me said "that was awesome" and the guy in front said "that was the poop"???.
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#7 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 01:13 PM

I've noticed that quite a bit lately, the appearance of a splice in the middle of reels, even during first day (and run) showings. 'sup with that?


---Ultrasonic splicing of the raw stock into huge rolls for highspeed loop printing.

---LV
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#8 Josh Bass

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 02:38 PM

re: mixed emotions

I don't know how it is in Aus, but in the U.S. "the poop" is synonymous with one appreciating whatever one is calling the poop. If I say superman is the poop, then I find myself very appreciative of said movie. If instead, someone says "that was poop," then they are of course expressing displeasure with whatever it is to which they're referring. The "the" makes all the difference.

Just saying that if that's the case, the emotions weren't mixed after all. Unless you were being sarcastic.
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#9 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 03:13 PM

I've noticed that quite a bit lately, the appearance of a splice in the middle of reels, even during first day (and run) showings. 'sup with that?


The big release print labs order 4000-foot or 6000-foot rolls of print film from Kodak. Since most reels are not an exact multiple within these lengths, the labs use ultrasonic splices to join the rolls and avoid having significant "short end" waste. Since these splices are made on the raw stock prior to printing, the splice may fall inside the frame. The ACVL guidelines say:

http://www.acvl.org/...se_prints3.html

In release printing, it is recommended that there be a maximum of two splices per 400 feet of 16mm or 1000 feet of 35mm. These two splices may be insert splices, or one of the two splices can be a raw stock splice. There should never be two raw stock splices in the same reel. It is further recommended that spliced raw stock not be used in trial prints, dailies, TV spots or recording prints. It is customary practices to charge a premium for release prints that have no raw stock splices.


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#10 Emmanuel Lariviere

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 08:12 PM

I saw the movie yesterday, on film. I thought the movie looked awesome. This is the movie that a lot of members on this site have been waiting for, to see how the Genesis performed. I thought that it passed with flying colors. To my eyes, it looked like 35mm with a DI. To me, it had the Newton Thomas Sigel "look" to it. It had his artistic signature.

I know a few shots had noise but in 35mm you have some random shots that are extemely grainy, muddy or whatever. Sometimes it's a lab mistake or maybe it was a bad roll of film, but most films have a few funky shots in them. I'm jusy saying, let's cut digital some slack. Every shot in a digtal feature will not be perfect, just like film isn't always perfect.

Just to make it clear, I love film. I'm not one of the "film is dead" guys. I'm just giving credit where it's due.
I thought the look of Superman Returns was great.
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#11 Jim Murdoch

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 08:13 PM

I haven't seen it yet; I'll give it a couple of days, but I haven't noticed any queues around the block :P
I have team of slavering ankle-biters ready to leap into the car at a moment's notice!

Just keep in mind that not all of this film was shot Digitally, they did use film for some of the exterior backgrounds. So for a lot of the flying scenes you are actually seeing Brandon Routh green-screened in a studio, superimposed on a film-originated background.

The pictures had better be better than the trailers I'm seeing on TV!

The question is not: "Will they make their money back?" because I'm sure they will, but:
"Will anybody else see this film and say: 'Hey yeah! I'm gonna shoot my next feature with the Genesis!'"
That is the bottom line.
On the basis of what we saw in Scary Movie 4, I'd say the answer will be: "no".

Edited by Jim Murdoch, 29 June 2006 - 08:15 PM.

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#12 Michael Collier

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 09:16 PM

I do think its funny that digital was supposed to make things cheaper (according to advocates who really dont know much about the logistics of a film) and the movie cost 260Mil!!! Jim said he is sure they will make their money back, which is probably a fair view, but when you compare returns on investment to risk taken, I am sure they could have done better. They wont make titanic money, I dont think. I think that at least 800 mil would be the least they could want, given the huge ledge they stepped out on.
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#13 James Brown

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:51 PM

re: mixed emotions

I don't know how it is in Aus, but in the U.S. "the poop" is synonymous with one appreciating whatever one is calling the poop. If I say superman is the poop, then I find myself very appreciative of said movie. If instead, someone says "that was poop," then they are of course expressing displeasure with whatever it is to which they're referring. The "the" makes all the difference.

Just saying that if that's the case, the emotions weren't mixed after all. Unless you were being sarcastic.


I think your confusing a matter that doesn't need confusing. When someone quotes "that was poop" they are expressing a dislike to the movie, unless it's a 15 year old wearing an adidas jumpsuit jumps up saying "that was the poop" then it's different. I know where your coming from but let's not get things confused. The film, as a whole, was a bad execution of a blockbuster lacking a good story and/or good characters.

James.
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#14 Evan Winter

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 12:25 AM

Just wanted to chime in,

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It felt strangely like a character study film masquerading as a superhero film which was quite nice actually. It made me care about people that could so easily come off as card board comic book cut outs.

I think the people who end up disliking this movie will primarily dislike it because they felt too little took place. For me, an incredible amount took place in 2 hrs and 37 minutes. The film flew by. My friend, sitting next to me, however, didn't feel the same.

Singer gave this movie room to breathe - he let the characters and their emotions breathe. This made the film come alive for me. Xmen 3 was the exact opposite; a lot of fun, to be sure, but awfully trite. It's the difference between a Ratner and a Singer.

A 'Ratner' has Magneto move a massive bridge in a blatantly unnecessary way to show off his special effects tricks and to give the audience the thrilling moments it paid 10.50 to see. A 'Singer' has Superman flying through the clouds towards the sun for 2 minutes or watching Lois Lane ride up and away in an elevator for 45 seconds; this is done, I believe, to give us an understanding and empathy for the people who populate the story we're watching, to make us truly care about what they're doing and why they're doing it.

Personally, I prefer the 'Singer' but I completely understand those who enjoy the 'Ratner'. In fact, in my own work (music video), I'm afraid I seem to tend more to the 'Ratner'/'Bay' approach (darn it).

Sorry for the long post by the way, I just saw the movie, I really liked it and after reading the above I wanted to offer my own take on the film.

Evan Winter
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#15 Evan Winter

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 12:39 AM

and now for a somewhat brief post on the look of the film,

I thought Superman Returns looked fabulous. I very much expected to be disappointed with the quality of the image and I felt that, other than the slight lack of texture in the skin (which could be argued as a stylistic/aesthetic choice - we do this very much on purpose in music videos), the Genesis held up very well against film.

In my theatre the film looked very very clean, with practically no noticeable grain or noise (in fact Cinderella Man looked much worse and Xmen 3 also couldn't hold a candle to Superman Returns. Although X3 gets a bit of a bye because it had, as I recall, an extensive D.I.).

Again, I was very impressed with the Genesis and I feel very fortunate to live and work in film at this stage of history. It's an exciting time. I can barely wait to see how movies will be acquired in 5 years.


Will we still be shooting on 35mm film but with 5 extra years of film RnD?

Will we be working on 65mm film (with a lowered cost to keep up with the ever revolutionizing digital cameras)?

Or will we see the majority of hollywood films shot on digital motion picture cameras that will no doubt be nearly twice as good as what we have today?

Right now I'm glad to be on the sidelines and I hope to even be a part of the revolution; regardless of what path it takes, so long as it moves towards allowing us to tell better stories.

Evan Winter

*n.b - i saw Superman Returns projected on film.
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#16 Tim Tyler

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 12:45 AM

Just saw a clean film print projected well. I can't say that I like the Genesis look. I mean, some scenes looked very good, like the bright Daily Planet interiors. But lower contrast scenes, especially a lot of the night stuff just looked muddy to me. I kept wanting to see more gradiation, detail or even grain in the blacks. Skin tones also looked weird to me, as if they used a lot of post detail reduction or something. I felt the same after seeing Scary Movie 3. I recall reading an article with Brian Singer where he compared the Genesis image to 70mm film so I expected a lot. Maybe I just need to see it projected digitally.

I liked the story and execution for the most part, but the pacing certainly could have been a little quicker. Most scenes, other than the action sequences, had a mellow feel.
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#17 Michael Collier

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 02:48 AM

I was reading about the genisis, and its rated at 400asa, but in american cinematographer this month, they were saying they pushed this (the camera I think can do 2000asa) so I think they used that a bit too much. Like using gain on an ENG camera.
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#18 Jim Murdoch

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 03:15 AM

Jim said he is sure they will make their money back, which is probably a fair view, but when you compare returns on investment to risk taken, I am sure they could have done better. They wont make titanic money, I dont think. I think that at least 800 mil would be the least they could want, given the huge ledge they stepped out on.

Yes, well after reading a few more online news stories about the film, it seems takings for the first few days indicate that they're going to be nowhere enough to put this film in the blockbuster class. What really brings in the money is not so much people going to see a film for the first time, but people going back for a second or third look. If a film doesn't cut the mustard visually, but still has an OK story, most people tend to wait for the DVD to come out.

For some thing that is going to stand or fall on its visuals, using anything less than film origination seems a ludicrously risky proposition to me.
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#19 Jim Murdoch

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 03:41 AM

I was reading about the genisis, and its rated at 400asa, but in american cinematographer this month, they were saying they pushed this (the camera I think can do 2000asa) so I think they used that a bit too much. Like using gain on an ENG camera.

What exactly does "Rated at 400ASA" mean for a video camera?

With film, "400ASA" means that, if you give it the correct amount of exposure for 400ASA, as indicated by an exposure meter, then when the film is passed through a standardized developing process, the pictures will come out with the optimum amount of contrast.

If you give 400ASA twice the exposure that the meter indicated you should have, you can run it through the tank more quickly and it will still come out looking OK. It will just be a little bit more grainy than 200ASA would have, with the same exposure but run through the bath at the standard speed. This is called "Pull Processing"

Similarly, if by accident or design you expose 200 ASA as though it 400ASA , you can run the film more slowly through the developing bath and again it will come out looking pretty much like correctly exposed and developed 400ASA, again, just a little more grainy. This is known as "Push Processing"

Now while it's true that if on the same day you bought fresh rolls of 200ASA and 400 ASA film and exposed them both correctly, the 400 ASA would be grainier than the 200ASA, you'd find that today's 400ASA would have about the same or less grain than 200ASA (or less!) from ten years ago!

In a video camera, much of the "lack of grain" is due to clever signal processing that simply hides the low-level video noise. The problem with this is that it usually takes out a lot of the low-level detail information with it. I presume that when they say "equivalent to 400ASA" they mean that that is the point where the video noise becomes as intrusive as the grain on 400ASA film. (Or that any further attempts at noise reduction cause unacceptable picture artifacts.) But which "400ASA" film?

Edited by Jim Murdoch, 30 June 2006 - 03:43 AM.

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#20 Aaron_Farrugia

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 03:57 AM

going to see it in half an hour, ill look out for what people have said B)
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