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Conrad Hall


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#1 Kevin Armstrong

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 02:38 PM

As we approach The anniversary of the master's Death (jan 4) i cant help but feel a bit sad. As i sit here watching some of his work, it reminds me of just how influential and ingenious he was. Other ASC members constantly list him as one of their favorites, and no other DP's death would be broadcast on every major network like his was. People who have no clue what "cinematography" is look at his movies in awe, and those of us who know better are even more awed. as S. Mendez said "he'll drive you crazy, taking so much extra time to setup a shot to get it how he wants. and when you are sitting there watching the dailies, you thank god for conrad hall"

well hopefully Connie is in heaven schooling God on lighting and havin a drink with his dad.

we all thank God for Conrad Hall.
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 05:33 PM

A huge loss, a huge talent. He was a good man, who left a legacy of amazing work behind. I have yet to ever meet a person who did not speak fondly of him.
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#3 Dan Goulder

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 06:00 PM

The anamorphic "elitists" out there should also take note of Conrad Hall's embrace of super 35, especially considering his ample (and noteworthy) experience with both formats.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 06:38 PM

The anamorphic "elitists" out there should also take note of Conrad Hall's embrace of super 35, especially considering his ample (and noteworthy) experience with both formats.


Well, to be accurate, Hall's last experience shooting anamorphic for a feature where he was the DP was probably "Electra Glide in Blue" (1973). By the time he went back to being a DP and by the time he shot a film in 2.40 again, which I believe was "Without Limits" (1998), he had developed a style of shooting at T/2 for everything, which would have been problematic in anamorphic. I don't think he was completely sold on Super-35; the last time I ever spoke to him, he mildly regretted using a 1/8 ProMist on "American Beauty" because he felt that there was enough softening from the optical printer blow-up process.

Hall was not a techno-geek and preferred keeping things simple, which is probably why he decided to use Super-35 rather than try anamorphic again after 25 years or so since the last time.
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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 08:11 PM

I don't think he was completely sold on Super-35; the last time I ever spoke to him, he mildly regretted using a 1/8 ProMist on "American Beauty" because he felt that there was enough softening from the optical printer blow-up process.

Wow, that's being pretty picky, the 1/8 ProMist is so mild! (Did he say whether it was White or Black?) I guess that's what makes the great ones so great - paying attention to all the little details.

Was his style of shooting wide open developed to capture more nuances of ambient light (like his "room tone" fill)?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 09:52 PM

Was his style of shooting wide open developed to capture more nuances of ambient light (like his "room tone" fill)?


He probably liked working in lower light levels for lots of reasons -- capturing natural sources, retaining room ambience, reducing depth of field, working at a levels closer to real-world situations, etc. Obviously he had to work with really good focus-pullers. Someone who talked to the 1st AC on "Searching for Bobby Fisher" said that the focus-puller would always be asking Hall which eyeball he wanted to be in-focus on the close-ups.
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#7 Kevin Armstrong

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 11:33 PM

one of the things, among thousands, that i take from his lighting technique is to light the set first, and then your subject matter. Actors, directors, heck...craft service crew all would be amazed at how spectacular the set looked, even empty. also a genius of his was to let in some "invisible" light that was not apparent until the subject moved into it, or blocked another main source. 2 of my favorite scenes re: this are from his most recent. AB, and RtP. in AB, when ricky and jane are sitting in the room watching the "bag" footage- as ricky and jane's hands grasp each others and fall into their laps, they "fall" into a splash of light. the one from RtP is when Sullivan enters the small room, the statue of mary is on a table, as he blocks the main source, the single "angelic" light illuminates the statue.
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