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The Prestige


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#1 EricUlbrich

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:40 PM

So I wanted to see what people thought of this film. Personally, I loved the lighting design, color tone, saturations, and his creative use of lanterns, fog and locations. I was however really un-impressed with his camera work. I really like the look that Wally brings to a film, but I must say that his use of handheld just seemed off to me. Also, I felt that his closeups were very awkward, often jarring. I want to see if anybody else felt this...or mabye im just insane.
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 01:39 PM

I was not planing on seeing this one, but now that I read in the AC that they shot it on newly developed T1.3 anamorphic lenses by Panavision, I must go. And hey, they didn't do a DI either!
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#3 Arni Heimir

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 01:57 PM

Max, is this a new lens? Can you tell us more about it.
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#4 Max Jacoby

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 02:19 PM

They call it a prototype lens with high-speed Zeiss glass and a Panavision anamorphic element. But what it boils down to is that they took Zeiss Super Speeds lenses and added an anamorphic element. Both Joe Dunton and Technovision have done the same already, and their lenses come in the exact same focals lenghts (35mm, 40mm, 50mm & 85mm) as these Panavision ones. So unfortunately it's not really newly developed lens as I said in my earlier post.
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#5 Arni Heimir

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 02:27 PM

They call it a prototype lens with high-speed Zeiss glass and a Panavision anamorphic element. But what it boils down to is that they took Zeiss Super Speeds lenses and added an anamorphic element. Both Joe Dunton and Technovision have done the same already, and their lenses come in the exact same focals lenghts (35mm, 40mm, 50mm & 85mm) as these Panavision ones. So unfortunately it's not really newly developed lens as I said in my earlier post.


Why on earth didn't they just add an anamorphic element to the Master Primes. Then it would have been anamorphic with a vengence.
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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 03:01 PM

I don't think that's as easy as it might seem. I once asked JDC about adapting Cooke S4s for anamorphic and they basically said they couldn't do it by themselves, they'd need help from Cooke. These modern lenses (especially the Master Primes) have quite intricate designs with more glass elements that Super Speeds or Cooke S2 & S3s.
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#7 J. Lamar King

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 03:48 PM

Wally completely got me on this one. You know, I didn't think a lot about the hand-holding, composition or lighting while watching the film. It just seemed seemless to me and I settled in to watch the movie. That is the mark of excellent work in my opinion.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 03:22 AM

Turning a spherical lens into a front anamorphic element one makes it MUCH larger, hence why Joe Dunton starts out with the smaller S2/3 Cookes -- taking a Cooke S4 and turning it into an anamorphic lens would make it similar or larger than a Primo Anamorphic (which are basically Primo spherical technology converted to anamorphics.) An anamorphic lens based on a Zeiss Master Prime would be enormous.
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#9 Arni Heimir

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 03:06 PM

David, now I know why you refer to one lens as "hubble".
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#10 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 03:38 PM

I just got off a feature where we had the 3:1 270-840 anamorphic Primo zoom. With a thousand foot load and the camera fully built up, it weighed somewhere around 80 or 90 pounds. We also had a 4000mm anamorphic prime.

In Philadelphia, we filmed on the roof of the Inquirer building, which was on the 23rd floor. Unfortunately, the elevators stopped at the 18th floor. The DP called for the 3:1, and I can still feel my discs herniating every time I think about those stairs.
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 06:31 PM

Wow, I've never heard of an 4000mm anamorphic prime. The longest lens I've ever seen was a spherical 1000mm and that was a beast already.

What primes did you shoot on?
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#12 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 01:17 PM

Wow, I've never heard of an 4000mm anamorphic prime. The longest lens I've ever seen was a spherical 1000mm and that was a beast already.

What primes did you shoot on?


We shot with the close focus Primos and, I believe (my memory is hazy on this issue) the "E" series lenses mainly. We also carried the 4000mm prime, a 5:1 zoom, I believe an 11:1, and I seem to recall seeing a slant focus lens or two, but I'm not sure- the job I did right after had a similar package, so they are somewhat blurring together.

Leon Sanginiti, who posts here occasionally, was the key 2nd AC, and he would, I'm sure, remember the package much better than me, if he were inclined to share about it.
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#13 Alex Lindblom

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 12:57 PM

I must say I think It looked fantastic, with blacks that where black, nice costumes and so on. Quiet interesting for a period piece was that the movie was largely hand held, which I though worked fine.

And about the movie itself I think it was almost my favorite Nolan movie, even though I like Batman begins a lot as well.

Overall great work and I hope more people goes and see it.
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#14 Max Jacoby

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 03:30 PM

I saw it today. It's always nice to see a straight anamorphic film projected well, it still blows away anything else out there, except 65mm of course... The colors reminded me very much of Batman, the same palette.

As for the film itself, it's a bit deceiving if all the way through they talk about magic being about tricks to deceive the audience and then at the end it turns out that it's real. And I'm really impressed how many people are having doubles these days. It's really very convenient...
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#15 Arni Heimir

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 03:51 PM

I saw it today. It's always nice to see a straight anamorphic film projected well, it still blows away anything else out there, except 65mm of course... The colors reminded me very much of Batman, the same palette.

As for the film itself, it's a bit deceiving if all the way through they talk about magic being about tricks to deceive the audience and then at the end it turns out that it's real. And I'm really impressed how many people are having doubles these days. It's really very convenient...


I saw it in Boston a week ago. I wasn't that impressed by the image quality. I was hoping that it was going to beautiful because I had such high hopes for the lenses Pfister used. Prefered the image quality of "Casino Royale" which I saw yesterday. I quess it is a matter of tastes rather than pure aesthetics.

Overall, I found the film to be very good. Nice to see David Bowie still acting. The acting was surperb and all the department heads really did their job well. This film is a definate must see for 2006.

I, for one, think we have found a movie where the bad guy lives and the good guy dies. Repeatedly.
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#16 Chris Burke

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 04:44 PM

I saw it in Boston a week ago. I wasn't that impressed by the image quality. I was hoping that it was going to beautiful because I had such high hopes for the lenses Pfister used. Prefered the image quality of "Casino Royale" which I saw yesterday. I quess it is a matter of tastes rather than pure aesthetics.

Overall, I found the film to be very good. Nice to see David Bowie still acting. The acting was surperb and all the department heads really did their job well. This film is a definate must see for 2006.

I, for one, think we have found a movie where the bad guy lives and the good guy dies. Repeatedly.




I too saw it in Boston a week ago an have just seen Casino Royale as well. I thought the print I saw was pretty beat. Bowie did the best acting I have ever seen him do. The overall look was great, very much Batman like. I thought the story is what was failing the most. All in all, a good time was had by all.
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#17 James McBee

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 05:30 PM

Yeah, the acting was fairly strong all around, with the exception of Hugh Jackman, who I thought was a little weak. But the story was the pits in my opinion. Once again Hollywood has demonstrated how all the talent in the world can be squandered if the screenplay you are working with is inadequate. I felt similarly about Road to Perdition which I still think was among the most beautifully shot films of all time (thanks in large part to the late great Conrad L Hall), but which somehow seemed completely flat.
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#18 Max Jacoby

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 06:16 PM

I was hoping that it was going to beautiful because I had such high hopes for the lenses Pfister used.

I think the lenses looked sharp, but not overly so. Given the stops that they shot at and the glass they used, sharpness wasn't the filmmakers main concern either. I saw some tests with unfiltered Primos 2 weeks ago and that was a completely different feeling.

As for the acting, I liked Jackman best, of course Michael Caine is always good, he has such a great voice. But I didn't like too much what Christian Bale did, it was too much at times. All these Hollywood films can get a bit acterly at times, although it is technically very good, somehow that spark is missing. That really struck me when I watched Tom Hanks in 'Road to Perdition' again. Everything is so controled.
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#19 Aaron Farrugia

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 07:12 PM

i thought the cinematography was great at first the handheld did botherme but then it sunk in and i didnt even notice it throughout at times u could see the ACs were having a fun time trying to keep it sharp but there was nothing bad overall it was great

story was awsome also and as a magician myself i thought the 3 acts to a magictrick was a great idea, its good to finally have a name for each , i bet magicians will definatly take it on and it will become part of the lingo im looking forward to seeing the other magician films coming out...
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#20 Arni Heimir

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 09:06 PM

I too saw it in Boston a week ago an have just seen Casino Royale as well. I thought the print I saw was pretty beat. Bowie did the best acting I have ever seen him do. The overall look was great, very much Batman like. I thought the story is what was failing the most. All in all, a good time was had by all.

Hi Chris

You didn't happen to see at Lowes/AMC cineplex at Tremont street?

I think the lenses looked sharp, but not overly so. Given the stops that they shot at and the glass they used, sharpness wasn't the filmmakers main concern either. I saw some tests with unfiltered Primos 2 weeks ago and that was a completely different feeling.

As for the acting, I liked Jackman best, of course Michael Caine is always good, he has such a great voice. But I didn't like too much what Christian Bale did, it was too much at times. All these Hollywood films can get a bit acterly at times, although it is technically very good, somehow that spark is missing. That really struck me when I watched Tom Hanks in 'Road to Perdition' again. Everything is so controled.


Max, if you find Hollywood to be over the top. Then you should watch the junk they make in Iceland.

There is one actor I am very fond of, William Demarest. He basically played the some tough Irish guy for several decades.
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