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The Black Dahlia


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#1 Tim Tyler

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:19 PM

Larry McConkey's camera operating and steadicam work on The Black Dahlia is absolutely amazing to watch. Every move is perfect.

There are a couple of De Palma/McConkey signature multi-minute steadicam shots that must've taken days to tune.

The blocking throughout the film is precise, edgy and creative. Not the sort of stuff you see in movies very often.

Now I'll need to watch it again and pay attention to the story...
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#2 Greg Lowry

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:34 PM

Larry McConkey's camera operating and steadicam work on The Black Dahlia is absolutely amazing to watch. Every move is perfect.

There are a couple of De Palma/McConkey signature multi-minute steadicam shots that must've taken days to tune.

The blocking throughout the film is precise, edgy and creative. Not the sort of stuff you see in movies very often.

Now I'll need to watch it again and pay attention to the story...


Looking forward to seeing it. The De Palma / Vilmos Zsigmond collaborations are always visually stunning. "Obsession" (1976) is one of my favorites.
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#3 dr_gonzo

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:02 PM

Looking forward to seeing it. The De Palma / Vilmos Zsigmond collaborations are always visually stunning. "Obsession" (1976) is one of my favorites.



the film looked great, and i especially loved the black and white "test" footage in the film...but ugh was the plot, dialogue awful! How could they screw up such an interesting event!
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#4 Michael Collier

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 01:04 AM

I am antiously awaiting seeing this movie. I read about it in AC, and just by the discription the technique and look they planned sounds very exciting. Also, I work for an ABC affilitate by day, and on our feed service bill deil, ABCs critic gave it two stars. That means it has to be good! (his opinion has been totaly off on every film I have seen since starting there)
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#5 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 03:23 AM

Larry McConkey's camera operating and steadicam work on The Black Dahlia is absolutely amazing to watch. Every move is perfect.

There are a couple of De Palma/McConkey signature multi-minute steadicam shots that must've taken days to tune.



Larry McConkey wasnt the only steadicam op on the show. AFAIK he worked on the LA portions of the shoot and Jaromir Sedina did the european locations. Love McConkeys work so im looking forward to seeing this. I miss the Depalma/Burum collaborations though.
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#6 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 05:31 PM

At first sight I'm dissapointed by the fact of Vilmos shooting it in 3-Perf Super-35 (though finished with a 4K D.I.). I've read his reasoning on the current AC article (the production owned some Arricams and he stick mostly to zoom lenses), but I'm surprised because over the years Zsigmond has claimed lots of times that he believes in the supremacy of anamorphic against Super-35 due to the fact that it uses about a 35-40% bigger negative area.

Anyway, I haven't seen it yet and I'm sure it will look great. It's just that I would have loved to watch one more anamorphic pic at the theater (I've only seen two over during the current year!). With Digital Intermediates, the Super-35 format has definitely took over.
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#7 Michael Most

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:09 AM

At first sight I'm dissapointed by the fact of Vilmos shooting it in 3-Perf Super-35 (though finished with a 4K D.I.). I've read his reasoning on the current AC article (the production owned some Arricams and he stick mostly to zoom lenses), but I'm surprised because over the years Zsigmond has claimed lots of times that he believes in the supremacy of anamorphic against Super-35 due to the fact that it uses about a 35-40% bigger negative area.


Times change, technology changes, people change. Film stocks are more advanced than ever before. Digital intermediate techniques have altered the landscape. Three years ago, I worked with Vittorio Storaro, who at the time wouldn't touch a DI until 4K was the absolute base standard. Less than a year later, he participated in a 2K DI (for Renny Harlin's version of the same picture I was working on with Paul Schrader) and came out saying it was the best thing since ENR.

The best artists are often the most aware, both of the world around them and the changes happening in their part of it. Vilmos, Vittorio, Laszlo Kovacs, Roger Deakins, Dean Semler - these and countless other great cinematographers are very, very aware of changing technology and its effect on our landscape, and are often among the first to embrace it, regardless of the general perception of Internet forums.
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#8 Jonathan Benny

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:41 AM

At first sight I'm dissapointed by the fact of Vilmos shooting it in 3-Perf Super-35 (though finished with a 4K D.I.).


Isn't what he does with the format far more important than the format itself?

AJB
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#9 Dan Goulder

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:43 AM

Less than a year later, he participated in a 2K DI (for Renny Harlin's version of the same picture I was working on with Paul Schrader) and came out saying it was the best thing since ENR.

I just wanted to note that the picture you are referring to was shot anamorphically, just to point out that the decision to use a DI is made independently of the acquisition format. Some have been led to believe that shooting anamorphic automatically denotes an "optical finish", while Super 35 always means a DI was used. Neither is exclusively the case.

Edited by D. Goulder, 18 September 2006 - 09:47 AM.

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#10 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:16 AM

The best artists are often the most aware, both of the world around them and the changes happening in their part of it. Vilmos, Vittorio, Laszlo Kovacs, Roger Deakins, Dean Semler - these and countless other great cinematographers are very, very aware of changing technology and its effect on our landscape, and are often among the first to embrace it, regardless of the general perception of Internet forums.


Hey, I would also embrace new technologies. As a viewer, for instance, I love Michael Mann's use of digital acquisition to shoot feature films.

I agree with you about these artists and their use of new formats & tools and, as I said, I'm sure Vilmos has done a great job on this film. The 4K D.I. has allowed him to finish the film in different ways than the traditional photochemical timing and that counteracts for him any possible drop in quality from the blow-up. It's completely legitimate for him to choose any film or digital format and that's why I'm not critizing it, I'm just talking about my initial surprise because he has been a long-time supporter of the anamorphic format.

I love anamorphic, that's true, and that's legitimate too, isn't it?. But nowadays it's not easy to watch an anamorphic film at the theater (as it's not easy to watch a true black and white film) because Super-35, D.I.s and 5218 are the common rule, and since Vilmos has been using the format for every 2.35 film prior to Black Dahlia, I thought that this film had some chances of having being shot anamorphic. So please, don't take my comment as a criticism, because that wasn't my goal. I just wanted to point out my surprise and what I wished for this film. Nothing else ;)
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#11 John Holland

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:05 PM

Hi Ignacio, i agree with you , De Palma also a long time user of anamorphic , looks like they have sold out , thats a bit sad , havent seen it yet , seems like it could be style over substance going by what i have read , so might not even bother . John Holland , London.
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#12 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:59 PM

i went to see the movie last night and was very dissapointed.
i don't believe the DI looked that good, a lot of flat footage and at times just plain dark.
personally, i believe DI is being overused these days.
not reallly much "NOIR" in it.

Also, there were a couple of scenes with pretty bad strobbing, perhaps the camera was too close to the actors and panning too fast.
and don't get me started wih the story...

francisco
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#13 Greg Gross

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 12:36 PM

I loved the use of practicals in this film. Especially the candles on table tops. Vilmos did such
a wonderful job lighting the sets. The camera operator did a superb job. Does anybody know
if any chocolate filters were used? Great cinematography from a superb cinematographer. I
would love to read the original script and see the notes that Vilmos made.

Greg Gross
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#14 Christian Appelt

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 04:49 PM

BLACK DAHLIA looks like like someone was trying to do a hommage to DePalma.
Personally, I find it a bit boring to have the same color palette of yellow/orange and brown in every 1930s/1940s period film.

As Francisco has already noted, many pans and movements were done too fast and strobe so much that it hurt my eyes, especially the 360-degree-pan at the police station. A few closeups had the focus pulled inadequately so the when actors were leaning forward, their eyes went out of focus. I felt uncomfortable with some strangely diffused closeups of Scarlet Johanson that didn't match the rest of her photographic treatment.

Image quality seemed OK for a Super 35 film, only the usual lack of detail in all long shots. All in all, I found BLACK DAHLIA competently done, but the color concept set me into such a nostalgic and almost peaceful mood that I didn't care very much for the proceeding after the first hour or so.

Edited by Christian Appelt, 29 October 2006 - 04:52 PM.

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