Jump to content


Photo

Storaro forcing old films into useless 2:1?


  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 19 August 2006 - 09:19 AM

This was supposed to be the definitive release of Apocalypse Now on DVD. Apparently, Storaro has forced/influenced the new Complete Edition into his 2:1 format, thereby robbing the viewers of the original 2.35:1 compositions as they were intended to be shown.

If there's any thruth to this, I must say I'm bitterly disappointed in him. It's simply disgraceful to go back and hack and chop an old movie to fit a format that wasn't even invented at the time. It's a bit like colored b/w or old films where the effects have been cleaned up. What's even worse - it's not even a format accepted by anyone accept Mr. Storaro himself and it seems his hubris and his personal format war has now reached new heights.

What a bloody shame.
  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 19 August 2006 - 11:41 AM

He's already done this to the previous transfers of "Apocalypse Now" and "Tucker". Curious to see if he will crop the 1.85 "Reds" further to 2:1 if that ever comes out of DVD...

It's not the first time that TV transfers of scope movies have been released as 2:1 instead of 2.35 : 1. Most have been Super-35 films though where they just didn't crop enough to get to 2.35, opening up the frame a little. The original widescreen transfers of "Howard's End", "The Abyss", "Top Gun", "Austin Powers", "Star Trek 6" were all matted to 2:1 roughly (or less) by the filmmakers -- it wasn't forced on them.

Even David Lean, when he supervised the first letterboxed transfer of "Lawrence of Arabia" took a shot where there was action at both ends of the frame and used just enough letterboxing to hold that information, creating a 2:1 letterbox for a 2.20 : 1 movie.

And of course, there is the infamous Kubrick practice of showing his 1.85 movies in 4x3 full-frame...

I don't really agree with any of this myself -- I think the movie should be shown in its theatrical aspect ratio if that's what it was composed for. But when these reframing choices are done by the filmmakers themselves, it's harder for me to object. But it always leaves me longing for the day they release it in the theatrical ratio.

Are these even new transfers of "Apocalypse Now" anyway or just the previous transfers supervised by Storaro by both the old and Redux version, now just repackaged?
  • 0

#3 Arni Heimir

Arni Heimir
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 326 posts
  • Other
  • Reykjavik/Barcelona

Posted 19 August 2006 - 11:47 AM

Does anything think that Univisium has damaged Storaro's career in Hollywood?
  • 0

#4 Richard Vialet

Richard Vialet
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 133 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Hollywood, CA

Posted 19 August 2006 - 01:16 PM

He's already done this to the previous transfers of "Apocalypse Now" and "Tucker". Curious to see if he will crop the 1.85 "Reds" further to 2:1 if that ever comes out of DVD...



Yea I was hoping that he wouldn't do the same thing to REDS. And I think that the DVD is coming out sometime in October (i think the 3rd if i remember correctly). I saw a commercial for it the other day. It looked like it's gonna be in standard 1:85, but sometimes you can't judge by these advertisements.

I can't wait for the DVD and hope I'm not disappointed...
  • 0

#5 Dan Goulder

Dan Goulder
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1259 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 19 August 2006 - 01:50 PM

Are these even new transfers of "Apocalypse Now" anyway or just the previous transfers supervised by Storaro by both the old and Redux version, now just repackaged?

I can't speak for the original version, but I'm sure the "Redux" version was a recent transfer, as I've seen it in HD. It looks great, too. Walter Murch was involved in an extensive reconstruction of the original footage.
  • 0

#6 Jon-Hebert Barto

Jon-Hebert Barto
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 349 posts
  • Other

Posted 19 August 2006 - 03:59 PM

If you guys are talking about "THE COMPLETE DOSSIER", forget buying it unless you need the extras as a fan.
The first halves of both versions are on disc one, the last halves on disc two. WTF is the matter with people!!!!? WHY????????!!!! :blink: :blink: !!!!!!!??? :blink: :blink: ????? It pisses me off in ways I've never felt before. Remember the first version of "GOODFELLAS" that was split on both sides of the same disc? Even more annoying. The best version is still the original 1999(?) DVD release.

What's the matter with FFC? I love his work dearly but lately he has missed the mark...

"THE OUTSIDERS: THE COMPLETE NOVEL". Mr. Coppola why did you ruin some of the best scenes with new music? UNWATCHABLE!!! :blink: :blink: :blink: :blink: :blink: You could have issued both versions together, athlough you and Paramount probably would've screwed it up!!!!

Woo! Huh...OK! I'm better now...At least you didn't f*ck "RUMBLE FISH" up, and for this I thank you. Please Mr. Coppola, Francis, stop pissing on your old films. I know they "belong" to you but you're f*cking with my childhood, man!

Oh, yeah. Same transfers.

Edited by Jon-Hebert Barto, 19 August 2006 - 04:00 PM.

  • 0

#7 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 August 2006 - 10:18 AM

I think Hollywood just sees him as a permanent commemorative exhibition in a museum. Storaro could have died in 1990 for all they know.


You make me feel old...

Storaro is on a self-imposed exhile more or less. After doing his share of big films, though mostly for foreign directors like Bertolucci, winning his three Oscars, he decided to only persue projects that allowed him complete freedom to explore his ideas on cinematography. I think Univisium has only hindered him in that he didn't do a couple of Carlos Saura projects after "Goya in Bordeaux" because of some sort of deal that Saura had that didn't allow Storaro to pick his lab.

So I don't think it's Univisium that has hurt Storaro in Hollywood -- afterall, Renny Harlin just released Storaro's work in "Exorcist: The Beginning" in 2.35 instead of 2:1 -- but Storaro's desire for complete control over the process and projects that allow him a lot of creative input and expression (the Saura movies being the ultimate in that.) I don't think Storaro wants to shoot big Hollywood movies if they won't allow him to express himself personally in some manner that appeals to him. He didn't really shoot a lot of conventional studio movies anyway in his career. It's more or less a quirk of fate that had him shooting for Renny Harlin, since he signed on to work with Paul Schrader originally.

He's still my biggest influence. I just sat down and watched the second DVD in the huge "Wagner" mini-series he shot, a PAL import I got on the internet.
  • 0

#8 Michael Most

Michael Most
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 765 posts
  • Other

Posted 20 August 2006 - 10:34 AM

I think Hollywood just sees him as a permanent commemorative exhibition in a museum. Storaro could have died in 1990 for all they know.


Geez, Tim. Maybe after you've won a few Oscars, numerous ASC awards, and lifetime achievement awards, we can take your opinions a bit more seriously.

Vittorio Storaro is one of the great innovative motion picture visionaries of our time. If you can't see this, you're either not interested or not paying attention. He works less today by choice, as he prefers to stay home in Rome and do a lot more teaching and less shooting. He also took a few years of non-working time to write his three books on light and color. I see by your information listed here that you're in the UK. Do you have a lot of L.A. work experience, or a lot of experience with US studios, that qualifies you to make such statements as to how "Hollywood" might or might not see one of the great visual masters? Or, for that matter, have you ever worked with Vittorio and gotten to know his work habits, his set demeanor, his way of collaborating with directors, or his crew?

It's very easy to write demeaning statements in an Internet forum. It's another thing to actually know the people involved, their standing in the industry, and their legacy, and to have a bit of respect for those who have achieved more than you are ever likely to.

It's more or less a quirk of fate that had him shooting for Renny Harlin, since he signed on to work with Paul Schrader originally.


Actually, Vittorio agreed to do the picture when John Frankenheimer was attached to direct. All of the original location scouting and basic prep were done with Frankenheimer. When he left the project (which was before he passed away), Paul was hired. Paul and Vittorio met, liked each other, and Vittorio stayed.

Needless to say, this is a project I have "some" knowledge of.....
  • 0

#9 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 August 2006 - 10:34 AM

I think you can read Tim's statement either way, as a condemnation of Hollywood for not seeing Storaro's worth better, or of Storaro being somehow behind the times.

I was just thinking the other day though about how little movies have changed visually since the late 1970's when Storaro had "Apocalypse Now" in release. He and Gordon Willis helped inaugurate the modern low-key single-source style, but it's interesting that since then, things haven't changed too much. If you released "Reds" in the theaters again, the lighting would look completely contemporary (for a period movie.)

I know that there have been a lot of style adjustments since then, and new technologies, but considering 25 years have passed, I can't actually think of a more stable period, stylistically. Color photography from 1950 to 1975, for example, changed a lot more radically. Or even b&w photography from 1925 to 1950.
  • 0

#10 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3065 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 August 2006 - 10:56 AM

Geez, Tim. Maybe after you've won a few Oscars, numerous ASC awards, and lifetime achievement awards, we can take your opinions a bit more seriously.
It's very easy to write demeaning statements in an Internet forum. It's another thing to actually know the people involved, their standing in the industry, and their legacy, and to have a bit of respect for those who have achieved more than you are ever likely to.


Geez, Mike, do you really need to be so needlessly spikey? Tim is a well informed and well respected member of this forum, who has a great deal of respect for cinematography and cinematographers. Before we take your comments too seriously, perhaps we could see a list of your awards? No? Of course not! Having won an Oscar is not a prerequisite of posting here.

You're very fond of posting withering putdowns to the less experienced members of this board, and yes, sometimes I find myself agreeing with you, but on this occasion I think you've been unnecessarily rude to someone who does not deserve it.

Lighten up.
  • 0

#11 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 20 August 2006 - 12:02 PM

I too have the impression that Storaro is more interested in his own pursuit of cinematography than in making films in collaboration with a director. If he's indeed such a control freak and wants to do his own thing, he should just make his own films. Personally as a director I would not be interested in working with a Dop who puts his own agenda ahead of that of the film.

And I am surprised that Coppola agreed to have Apocalypse Now being shown in Univisium, because now it looks like Storaro uses this film and others as a means of promoting his silly format.
  • 0

#12 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 August 2006 - 06:48 PM

I think both Mike and Tim are over-reacting a bit.

I can understand reading into Tim's comment a certain way and getting upset, but I do think Mike misinterpreted it a bit... but I think Tim should understand that Mike is just trying to defend Storaro based on what he perceived as a callous slight by Tim against him. If Tim didn't mean to insult Storaro (the post was confusing in its intent, Tim), then Mike doesn't need to be so abrasive in his reply.

Tim, your post basically sounded like you were calling Storaro a "has-been", which is why it comes off as an insult. But like I said, it could be read as you saying that Hollywood considers him to be a "has-been" even if you don't.

But actually I think his name still garners a lot of respect around Hollywood -- just listen to the commentary tracks of "Dune" or the "Exorcist" prequel and the participants all gush about how lucky they felt to get to hire him; I think he still has a certain aura about him in the film world, like many multiple Oscar winners in fact. But he's definitely off of the "hot & trendy" list, but then, so are many other great DP's.

Now for young people who weren't around in his heydey, I suppose there might be the attitude of "what's all the fuss?"
  • 0

#13 Michael Most

Michael Most
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 765 posts
  • Other

Posted 20 August 2006 - 09:50 PM

Don't you EVER make a flame post like this ANYWHERE on the forum from now on. ......
I may not live and work high up in LA.......


Well, quite frankly, I don't live in LA anymore either (although I did for almost 30 years).

As David said, your original post did sound a bit insulting to someone I greatly admire and happen to personally like (I worked on the Paul Schrader picture that David is referring to). What I probably should have said was "achieved more than you **or I** ever will." Maybe then you would have taken it, shall we say, a bit less personally. However, if it came out that way, I apologize for that. I do feel that there is far too little respect paid here and elsewhere to many people in the industry with proven records of achievement, and I tend to react to that, as do others here.
  • 0

#14 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 21 August 2006 - 12:14 AM

I too have the impression that Storaro is more interested in his own pursuit of cinematography than in making films in collaboration with a director. If he's indeed such a control freak and wants to do his own thing, he should just make his own films. Personally as a director I would not be interested in working with a Dop who puts his own agenda ahead of that of the film.


Storaro bases his approach on the script for each project -- he's pretty fanatical about that, analyzing and interpreting the script and finding a visual design to support the narrative. It's not about showing off just for the sake of showing off, like some commercial & music video DP's can do sometimes in features.

But since he wants to express himself somewhat boldly, even theatrically -- or what could be best described as a heavily symbolic approach -- he looks for projects where that would be appropriate.

His only "external" agenda is the desire to reduce the number of aspect ratios to a single one for all presentation media, because he feels that what we have today has not been by design, but by accident, and it varies for the same movie depending on its display system. But whether it is an accident of history or not, personally I like having some aspect ratio options. Plus all he really can manage to do as one DP is create an additional aspect ratio, not reducing all of them down to one. But he wouldn't be the first DP to have a strong preference for a certain aspect ratio -- look at Allen Daviau, who prefers to shoot flat 1.85 movies, not scope. And a lot of DP's have strong preferences for spherical versus anamorphic lenses, or Kodak versus Fuji, etc. That's the nature of a DP, to care about such things.

From what I've heard and read, directors who work with Storaro don't really find him autocratic or self-serving; he collaborates very intensely with his directors --- the only thing is that he has very strong tendencies towards visual symbolism, what Bertolucci called his "elaborations", the thing that motivates him as an artist. I think if you were lucky enough to hire him, you'd find him more passionate -- maybe too passionate -- about exploring the visual interpretation of the narrative than someone just doing his own thing regardless of the script.

Where Storaro wants the most control is over things that he feels affects his work: the lab, the negative and print stock, the processing, the camera and lighting crew, his lighting equipment and dimmer system -- but these are hardly things that fall outside of a DP's perview. In fact, it's an example of the elements that most top DP's have to control in order to assure that the end result matches their intentions. It's a recognition that he alone isn't enough, but he needs his crew, his equipment, etc.
  • 0

#15 Arni Heimir

Arni Heimir
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 326 posts
  • Other
  • Reykjavik/Barcelona

Posted 21 August 2006 - 04:36 AM

I too have the impression that Storaro is more interested in his own pursuit of cinematography than in making films in collaboration with a director. If he's indeed such a control freak and wants to do his own thing, he should just make his own films. Personally as a director I would not be interested in working with a Dop who puts his own agenda ahead of that of the film.

And I am surprised that Coppola agreed to have Apocalypse Now being shown in Univisium, because now it looks like Storaro uses this film and others as a means of promoting his silly format.


Max, have you read the "writing with light" trilogy he wrote? Storaro has tuned his visual style to a science.

I'm not saying this to be rude. Storaro has three oscars and published four books that I know of about cinematography. I am certain that Storaro would be an asset in your future productions.

Cheers
Árni Heimir
  • 0

#16 Ignacio Aguilar

Ignacio Aguilar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 398 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Madrid, Spain

Posted 21 August 2006 - 06:40 AM

I don't care if it was Hollywood who lost interest on Storaro or if it was Storaro who lost interest in shooting films, but his absence or really slow shooting pace is a tragedy for movies. Why great cinematographers like Storaro, Roizman or Willis retired (or almost retired) so early?

Anyway, I don't agree with Storaro about re-framing his old 35mm anamorphic films to 2.00:1. Take a look at this Frame Comparison between the Trailer vs. Theatrical Version Vs. Redux Version (the text is in Spanish, but the images speak from themselves) that I did a few years ago and you'll see that "Apocalypse Now" not only loses some image at each side of the frame, but also some shots have been pan & scanned as the 2.00:1 "Univisium Frame" is not completely centered on the 2.39:1 original aspect ratio.
  • 0

#17 Michael Most

Michael Most
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 765 posts
  • Other

Posted 21 August 2006 - 10:07 AM

Storaro bases his approach on the script for each project -- he's pretty fanatical about that, analyzing and interpreting the script and finding a visual design to support the narrative. ....From what I've heard and read, directors who work with Storaro don't really find him autocratic or self-serving; he collaborates very intensely with his directors --- the only thing is that he has very strong tendencies towards visual symbolism, what Bertolucci called his "elaborations", the thing that motivates him as an artist. I think if you were lucky enough to hire him, you'd find him more passionate -- maybe too passionate -- about exploring the visual interpretation of the narrative than someone just doing his own thing regardless of the script.


You understand him very well. You are absolutely correct, he thinks very deeply about the overall story arc and how each individual scene fits into that arc. He creates, for lack of a better term, a "cinematographic bible" prior to production, which basically lays out the color and basic lighting scheme for each scene. This color scheme evolves as the story progresses. He does this in complete collaboration with the director, and during production, is very friendly, adaptive, and collaborative. Yes, he enjoys being Vittorio Storaro, but he also delivers.

As you can probably tell, my experience in working with him was very enlightening, and my admiration for his artistry only grew, in spite of the fact that we were making what was clearly not destined to be a classic, even by Paul's estimation. All of this is why I reacted so strongly to what I felt was a slight against a major figure in the recent history of cinema. Once again, the reaction wasn't intended to be personal.
  • 0

#18 Francesco Bonomo

Francesco Bonomo
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 366 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • currently in Rome, Italy

Posted 21 August 2006 - 03:34 PM

Storaro is on a self-imposed exhile more or less. After doing his share of big films, though mostly for foreign directors like Bertolucci, winning his three Oscars, he decided to only persue projects that allowed him complete freedom to explore his ideas on cinematography.


unfortunately I don't have time to add anything of my own to this thread right now, my admiration for Storaro is just HUGE.
Anyway, he's just done shooting a tv movie here in Rome (some people say it could be released theatrically later this year). What makes it quite interesting is that the movie is about Caravaggio....
  • 0

#19 Leo Anthony Vale

Leo Anthony Vale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2010 posts
  • Other
  • Pittsburgh PA

Posted 24 August 2006 - 01:32 PM

Yea I was hoping that he wouldn't do the same thing to REDS. And I think that the DVD is coming out sometime in October (i think the 3rd if i remember correctly). I saw a commercial for it the other day. It looked like it's gonna be in standard 1:85, but sometimes you can't judge by these advertisements.

I can't wait for the DVD and hope I'm not disappointed...


---I caught a trailer to 'Reds' on Turner Classics last night.
They run trailers in a frame less than full scren size.

It seemed to be letterboxed at 2:1 inside a 1.85:1 box.

It will be on TCM 09-18 11PM
  • 0

#20 Jason Debus

Jason Debus
  • Sustaining Members
  • 311 posts
  • Student
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 08 October 2006 - 03:27 AM

I just saw Reds tonight at the Arclight and it was 1.85:1. I have the DVD coming on Monday so I'll see what they did there. I can't see them clipping the 1.85, there's really no room in the compositions to make it 2:1.

This was the first time I've seen it on the big screen and the cinematography blew me away. The main thing that struck me was how much Storaro uses smoke/haze in this film.
  • 0


Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

CineTape

Abel Cine

Visual Products

Tai Audio

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

CineTape

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

CineLab

Abel Cine

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks