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#1 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 03:38 AM

I read an article that had an interview with J. Clark Mathis, the DP for the new Rocky movie. He spoke about how he kept the look of the first Rocky film in mind while making this one, but honestly, judging from the trailers, I'm not seeing that same subtle quality that James Crabe created at the beginning of the series.

The biggest issues I'm seeing are with the unnatural source key lights, especially for night scenes. It's as if he was trying to put as much diffused light on Sly as often as possible to hide his wrinkles and "corrective" surgeries.

Is anyone else seeing how unnatural the lighting is? It also seems like someone just got a little to HMI happy with top lights and kickers.

Your opinions will be appreciated :)

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 15 December 2006 - 03:39 AM.

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#2 Tim Partridge

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 09:00 AM

The biggest issues I'm seeing are with the unnatural source key lights, especially for night scenes. It's as if he was trying to put as much diffused light on Sly as often as possible to hide his wrinkles and "corrective" surgeries.


Sly Stallone is notorious for his diva behaviour regarding lighting. Alex Thomson in an interview said he was lighting a car scene with Sly for CLIFFHANGER, the source coming from out of a window. Sly asked Thomson what he was doing, and the cinematographer explained, only to have Sly tell him "I look better from the opposite [i.e. opposing] direction. Relight it". Thomson had no choice. Still, he was asked back to do DEMOLITION MAN, so it clearly worked. However, I cannot imagine the challenge Mr. Clark Mathis had to undertake with the new film, Stallone now possessing a sea of face lifts and wrinkle seams.

I agree that James Crabe was indeed an extrordinary talent, but he had the advantage of lighting Sly right at the beginnng of the star's career, meaning ego and dictating were minimal. It's most notable too with the ROCKY films Bill Butler shot, as they start off in Crabe's renderings, and then go into hyperstylised nets and kickers by the time of ROCKY IV.
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#3 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 11:34 AM

I agree that James Crabe was indeed an extrordinary talent, but he had the advantage of lighting Sly right at the beginnng of the star's career, meaning ego and dictating were minimal. It's most notable too with the ROCKY films Bill Butler shot, as they start off in Crabe's renderings, and then go into hyperstylised nets and kickers by the time of ROCKY IV.


I enjoy quite a lot the photographic style used by James Crabe for the first film, mixing influences from Owen Roizman, Bruce Surtees and other DPs who started the 1970's trend towards realism with the old school of color cinematography, which still was very fond of hard sources to achieve theatrical lighting effects (take a look at the sculptural quality of the opening scene). And those magic-hour & Steadicam tracking shots, so innovative back then, are still gorgeus to look at.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 11:40 AM

I enjoy quite a lot the photographic style used by James Crabe for the first film, mixing influences from Owen Roizman, Bruce Surtees and other DPs who started the 1970's trend towards realism with the old school of color cinematography, which still was very fond of hard sources to achieve theatrical lighting effects (take a look at the sculptural quality of the opening scene). And those magic-hour & Steadicam tracking shots, so innovative back then, are still gorgeus to look at.


Don't forget that Ralph Bode, ASC shot a lot of the location work in Philadelphia.
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#5 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 11:48 AM

Don't forget that Ralph Bode, ASC shot a lot of the location work in Philadelphia.


I didn't know it... and I never would have guessed!

The location work from "Saturday Night Fever" and "Dressed to Kill" (both shot by Bode) looks heavy filtrated at times.
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#6 Tim Partridge

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 07:01 PM

Ralf Bode and James Crabe are two great Hollywood DPs who don't get discussed enough. Both died way too early as well.

Crabe's work on THE KARATE KID, particularly the night time exterior stuff is REALLY out there- unusual, highly stylised colour schemes and hard lighting with interesting angles and focal lengths. Really thinking outside of the generic, unlike the Hollywood action films of today. That said, director John Avnet really understood the camera and storyboarded everything in great detail, as well as even video taping rehearsals for reference. Avnet was no slouch, and many (especially first time) young directors starting out would do themselves no harm researching these older disciplines.
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#7 Albert Smith

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 04:59 PM

That film was rediculous, but seeing as this is a cinematography form all ignore that. I thought the lighting was a bit over done and a little much in places, but it wasnt bad and some was nice...the only thing that was really bad was the scene with rocky infront of the car lights that made me laugh outloud. It was just so over the top and rediculous, the glow effect and what not, just WOW.

I was curious about what film stock was used though at night, there was alot of visible grain in shadow areas so I was guessing 800t...is that right?...I havent compared film stocks on a big screen ever, but Id be suprised if a 400 or 500 speed stock had that much grain in it.

thanks

-Jake
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 06:49 PM

Considering that the movie had a moderate budget compared to the other Rocky sequels, I thought it looked pretty good. Basically realistic, occasionally gritty, but occasionally romantic when needed.

The scene in front of the headlights was the only time when the filtration (a net in this case) was obvious. Yes, it was a little over-the-top, but sometimes that is necessary to "mark" a scene and make it stand out, to signify visually that there is a turning point happening. Anyway, I suspect that's what the intent was. Hard for me to object, since I'm a big user of the occasional halated, blown-out back or edge light approach...

800T has been gone for a few years; the grainier shots were probably 500T (most likely 5218) underexposed and/or push-processed in order to shoot in lower light levels, or add additional grittiness to the image.

The use of HD for the final boxing match was interesting and motivated, although it would have looked better if it had been shot in 35mm. But I sort of liked the ESPN conceipt, that you were watching some sort of HD Pay-Ver-View broadcast suddenly. The pale brownish-grey skintones reminded me of how the F900 HDCAM was touted as a "film killer" when it came out in 2000, but now its strengths and weaknesses are pretty obvious. This is one reason why I don't get too worked up, one way or the other, by all the hype surrounding new digital cameras. Give it a few years of use and all the pros and cons will be discovered as people put it through the wringer, and then people will have a more realistic view of what it is good for.

For the most part, the filtration in the movie was subtle; there was one scene with Rocky's son outside the restaurant at night where the bokeh on the out-of-focus lights was odd, like eyelashes or grass blades instead of the familar mesh pattern of a net or the dots of a Classic Soft or Black ProMist.
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#9 Kamaljeet Negi

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 01:45 PM

I saw it today and wondered if lighting inside the restraunt for people sitting was straight from the lamps placed next to them. I couldn't see any other place to hide them. The faces were well exposed and the lamps were blown out but in a nice way. Was it 800t or 500t? anyone got info on that.

Cheers!
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#10 Max Jacoby

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 03:16 PM

I saw it today and wondered if lighting inside the restraunt for people sitting was straight from the lamps placed next to them. I couldn't see any other place to hide them. The faces were well exposed and the lamps were blown out but in a nice way. Was it 800t or 500t? anyone got info on that.

I haven't seen the film, but since they used the T1.3 Master Primes I wouldn't be surprised if it's all practicals. 800T isn't really available anymore and the new 500T is better anyway.
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#11 Daniel Smith

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 09:07 PM

I really liked it. Those shots (I'm assuming were done on digital) when the lights started coming down and the fireworks were being set off really gave a sense of excitement, and made it seem a lot more realistic. A bigger buildup than in the other Rockys. It felt like a real boxing event.

As far as the movie goes though, I'd say that they might have over done it with the emotional scenes.

It seemed that 'every other' scene was an emotional. There wasn't much of an 'in-between'.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 07 February 2007 - 09:09 PM.

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