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David Lynch interview in Wired News


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#1 Troy Warr

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:18 PM

Wired News posted an interview with David Lynch today:

http://www.wired.com...tw=wn_culture_1

I can't quite get his angle on digital video. Obviously he's in love with it, and is done shooting with film:

Lynch: Digital video is so beautiful. It's lightweight, modern, and it's only getting better. It's put film into the La Brea Tar Pits.

But shortly thereafter, he admits to the poor quality of low-end digital:

Wired: On to Inland Empire, your new film. What was it like shooting it in DV?

Lynch: It's a new world. The quality is pretty terrible, but I like that. It reminds me of the early days of 35 mm, when there wasn't so much information in the frame or emulsion. But ... you act and react, and the medium starts talking to you. So I love working in digital video.


What really makes me wonder is why he chose to shoot Inland Empire with the Sony DSR-PD150. At the time he started shooting, there were at least a few much higher-quality cameras available - for example, Robert Rodriguez's mainstay, the Sony HDW-F900 (or F950) CineAlta. Granted, those are much more expensive, but I would imagine certainly within Lynch's budget. Though he claims to appreciate the relatively terrible quality of miniDV, at the very least I'd assume he'd use the best digital equipment within his budget and approach the "miniDV" look in post if it was really called for - which I can't imagine it would be, he being such an intensely visual director.

For example, Lost Highway is one of the more beautiful films I've seen, and I think a good example of how much he's proven to respect the quality of film and the images he's putting on the screen. Why would he so wholly embrace an aging miniDV camcorder to shoot his latest film, which doesn't break a bit from his emphasis on visual beauty?
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#2 Igor Trajkovski

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 09:28 PM

We all remember he shot the PS2 promo TV ad with a PD150.
Well, he directed, Scoot Billups shot it.
I do remember David saying he did some series with
the above mentioned DVCAM.

And now you are sayin he used that "aging miniDV camcorder"
for his last movie.

Well, that is a long lasting love, isn't it?
:)

Weird.
The PD150 has no decent progressive scan.
15/12.5fps on NTSC/PAL accordingly.
1/3" chips. Deeper focuses are in order here.

Who knows why he likes it that much?

...

BTW i looked after the "The making of the PS2 TV ad" article
at DV.COM but could not find it. It was a good reading.


Regards

Igor
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#3 Troy Warr

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 11:43 PM

Hehe, thanks Igor - I mean no disrespect to the PD150. I guess maybe I'm just a little sore that he chose to shoot in SD video rather than a higher quality format. Nothing wrong with shooting an ad or series intended for NTSC broadcast with an NTSC video camera - but theatrically, I don't see the logic unless budget dictates it - and I tend to doubt that he couldn't manage a better camera even in the absence of major studio backing.

Granted, I'm confident that he'll push the PD150 as far as it can go and bring out its best. But, for lack of a better analogy, it's a bit like watching a race car driver tool around town in a Honda Civic (again no PD150 offense - I love the Civic :)).
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#4 Jason Debus

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 11:45 PM

Thanks for the link, that was an interesting read!

I thought this was interesting and sheds a lot of light on why he's going in the DV direction:

Wired: How do you feel taking your work onto the internet years ago has changed you as a filmmaker?

Lynch: Well, it's huge, because I like to conduct experiments.... And because of the internet I've learned about AfterEffects, Flash animation and discovered and fallen in love with digital video. So I just think that going onto the web was so good for me. It's just sort of starting, but it's a beautiful world.... I always like random access, and I like the idea that one thing relates to another. And this is part of the internet: It's so huge, that it is really an unbounded world. And I think that if we keep our thinking caps strapped on, we could find something beautiful out there in the ether.

Imagine David Lynch discovering After Effects! I'm sure a huge lightbulb went off when that happened.

Overall I was impressed with Inland Empire. Sure, there were a fair share of shots where the focus was on the background and not the subject, and there were a number of shots with noticable 'jaggies'. But the main impression I walked away with was that DV has unleashed David Lynch in a way I've never seen before.

Take for instance the shot of the turntable in the trailer, quite remincent of Mulholland Drive. There are a number of shots in Inland Empire with similar Lynchian cinematography. I've faced the fact that one of my favorite directors has turned to DV for good, but it doesn't mean that his work will necessarily suffer for it in my opinion. Yes the images could be better but it's still the same creative force behind the camera.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 01:07 AM

Lynch is a visual poet and it's not necessary to use the highest-quality imagemaking technology to produce art.

One of his best pieces was for the "Lumiere and Company" project where he did a surreal short film with a Lumiere handcranked camera and a roll of recreated b&w stock using the Lumiere formula. Technically, it was a mess, with a lot of pulsing and burn-outs, but it had a visual power that all the other Lumiere shorts were missing. Just showed you what a difference the specific filmmaker can make when using a particular format.

Look at some of the experimental artists who worked with the Fisher-Price Pixelvision camera. Sometimes the cruder the technology is, the more interesting the visual textures that result are.
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#6 Igor Trajkovski

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 08:30 PM

I can't resist it.
I found the saved article about the PS2 TVC on my computa.
I would like to share excerpts from it.

As i said, i could not find the article online,
in the archives of DV.COM, so guess i wont
get into trouble of posting parts of it.

Full credits:
Article form www.dv.com
Title: "David Lynch Directs PlayStation 2 Spot"
by Scott Billups (the DP)

Scott Billups

David Lynch Directs PlayStation 2 Spot

Describing David Lynch's creative process is best left to wordsmiths better than me. The man Mel Brooks so aptly dubbed "Jimmy Stewart from Mars" has made a very good living exposing the dark and hidden meanings in everyday life.After working with Lynch on his latest movie, Mulholland Drive, I was beginning to shed my own conventions in favor of his unique and innovative style.His palettes are richer, denser, and far more textured than those in the homogenized safe zone of contemporary production. His disturbing reverence for the magical textures of smoke and fire often provides context for the menagerie of shadowy characters he retches up from his psyche.From his 1977 classic film Eraserhead to the psychotically compelling worlds of Blue Velvet and Lost Highway, Lynch's creations both repulse and seduce us. Even his sojourn into the Milquetoast world of television resulted in the hauntingly arresting underbelly of Americana known as Twin Peaks.So when Lynch asked me to shoot a commercial that he was directing, I accepted immediately.Knowing his propensity for alternative methods of expression and his growing infatuation for digital tools, I expected to shoot on a Panavision-adapted Sony HDW-F900 HDCAM camera, which I've had quite a bit of experience with recently.Man, was I ever wrong.During the filming of Mulholland Drive, Lynch wanted a small camcorder to create content for his soon-to-be-launching Web site at http://www.davidlynch.com/. I had recommended the Sony DSR-PD150 because of its image quality and versatility when used in DVCAM mode.

Lynch wanted his Web series Rabbits to have a look that echoed palette preferences similar to those created by noted cinematographer Peter Deming for the texturally rich Lost Highway. Therefore, I calibrated Lynch's PD150 to a dense, film-like profile.Lynch views emerging digital toolsets in an artistic way. "It doesn't really matter what way you work, or what medium you work in. It's all about ideas. Every story, every idea wants to be told a certain way. With digital cameras, the really great thing about them is the amount of control you have afterward to fiddle around, and start experimenting, and get even more ideas."So there we were, preparing a commercial for the worldwide media rollout of the Sony PlayStation 2 game console--a project that would eventually become one of the most frequently viewed commercials of the century, playing in well over 100 countries, including China, Japan, and Europe. Nearly everywhere, in fact, except the good old United States.And as we were prepping, Lynch said that he liked the look he was getting from the PD150 so much that he wanted to shoot the commercial with it.Terry Wordingham, producer for the London-based agency Great Guns, took Lynch's tool choice for this commercial in an upbeat British timbre."We were a bit shocked at the format choice initially. Then, of course, if we'd wanted to paint solid yellow lines down the center of the road, we quite simply would have looked elsewhere, and perhaps gotten less."Aside from the format and camera, the shoot was essentially one of those full-blown, multiple-day, Hollywood-type productions that any big-time agency creates for a big-time client.Big sets, big crew, big gear. Bigger, in fact, than many motion pictures I've worked on.



Just another shoot?

For the past 50 years, the classic film crew system has evolved around the physical requirements of a 35mm film shoot. After several meetings with key gaffer Mike Mickens, we decided the best approach for this project was to ignore the camera's small size and treat the entire production as though we were pushing around 80 pounds of Panavision.At least that was how we planned it.Like the edgy surrealism of a whacked-out Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet, everything that Lynch created has unusual, seminal aspects. Our commercial's particular gunnysack included flamethrowers and spinning blades in claustrophobic, narrow sets with impossible lighting scenarios and 100 gallons of liquid nitrogen just waiting for show time.Then there was the script. To start, it called for 24 rather major visual effects in 60 seconds.



...



The camera

The Sony DSR-PD150 is a great little camera, but it needed a few modifications to fit our needs. For example, the field of view is unusually narrow, so we fitted our PD150 with a Century Precision Optics 16:9 Widescreen Adapter.With all of our pyro effects and hard slashing lights, we needed to reduce the camera's light sensitivity. So we layered several neutral density (ND) filters over the wide-angle adapter, dropping the sensitivity to the equivalent of about 100 ASA.Making these simple modifications--and, of course, carefully lighting the scene--let us work with a small video format such as DVCAM while eliminating the visual clues that people generally associate with home video.One of the great things about some of the newer DV cameras is their wide latitude for calibration. By using a good camera chart such as the DSC Labs CamAlign and the software waveform monitor included in many software NLEs, you can tweak a camera's gamma curve, histogram, and color density range to create a substantial number of different looks. On the PD150, you can save all of your presets on the supplied Memory Stick removable flash memory.According to Lynch, "With this project, we tricked the camera and forced it into a profile where the look approached that of film. Once we added those ND filters and adjusted the camera settings, the look started to get real pretty. It forced the camera to go to work."



Camera movement

In our redesign of contemporary cinema methodology, the first things we ditched were the camera dolly and rails because there was no place for either. After several conventional alternatives failed, key grip Shawn Crowell decided to use a cable dolly fitted with an apple crate to sit on. The gaff crew rigged a boom light off of the back of the dolly and ran a small Kino Flo light panel off the front that sat between my legs.Inertia is one of the biggest give-aways that you're using mini-grade equipment. Perhaps more than grain or resolution, it is motion that tells us what we're watching.So Crowell built camera plates and mounts to give the little PD150 camera a more massive heft. "Like every other department on this production, we were constantly adapting and modifying our methodology," said Crowell. "Tiny cameras quite simply move differently from big ones, so the rigs that we built were all designed to add mass and give a better sense for aiming at arms length."Lynch added, "While there are definite benefits to the simplification that digital offers, I think that there are still a few critical tools that need to be developed and refined. These small cameras don't move cinematically. They're light and flimsy. The industry needs a really nice little Steadicam, and more tools like the rigs we made for this commercial: little stabilizers, little dollies, and cranes to make moves real smooth and cinematic.Then there are the obvious tools that filmmakers need like follow focus, and more mechanical interaction."



Camera setup

The biggest drawback with using a prosumer-grade camera is not so much the resolution as it is the manual ability to control those operations that demand a high degree of precision. Auto focus and auto iris are fine for some projects, but only the most adventurous videographer would rely on them for any high-end production.Like most of the better, smaller DV cameras, the PD150 allows you to turn off nearly all of the auto functions. There is, however, the matter of the focus ring from hell. I've never been able to figure out why the manufacturers of such quality gear continue to create focus rings that never stop turning. On the PD150, it is virtually impossible to pull focus in a dependable manner.Even though we had timed and tweaked the tiny DV camera to perform at its very best, and even though the clients and everyone concerned were happy with the image and resolution, I kept a Sony HDW F900 HDCAM camera prepped and ready, just in case anything went wrong.



...



Postproduction

We transferred the takes through FireWire into a dual-processor Mac G4/500 running Apple Final Cut Pro. "I'm a Mac guy," Lynch said with a smile. "I like Apple, I like the way they think. It's a really great thing to just pump video into your computer.No scanning, no conversions, no worry about matching back out. And unlike film, you don't need to deal with gate weave because the images are already rock solid. You can just shoot and then go to work in the computer."We converted the selects to uncompressed QuickTime files and made initial chroma suppression, gamma, and histogram settings in Adobe After Effects 5.0. "I've now fallen in love with the magical After Effects," said Lynch. "This program has become my new best friend. I'm using it to build a lot of the things for my Internet site."


The PD150's small size made grabbing some shots easy.
Because the agency was in London, the client was in Japan, and we were in Los Angeles, we used Wamnet's compressed video service to shuttle the rough cuts over the Internet. We did all of our domestic review with Betacam dubs that were output from the G4 with a Pinnacle Systems CineWave board.Although we made the vast majority of our composites in After Effects, we performed our final color timing in Discreet combustion so the project settings could easily be imported into the ad agency's Discreet inferno system.Once we reached a consensus approval, the director's cut and subsequent elements were burned to DVD-ROM and delivered to the client as an uncompressed PAL QuickTime file with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Although the commercial played in numerous markets in black and white as an homage to Lynch's classic Eraserhead, the director's cut (which you can see at www.PixelMonger.com/screeningroom.html) still maintains his preferred color and density palette.As with any art form, the tools are only a means to an end. It is craft that makes art.



End Excerpt.

K...


by David Mullen, ASC
Sometimes the cruder the technology is, the more interesting the visual textures that result are.



:)



Regards

Igor
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#7 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:06 AM

Lynch is a visual poet and it's not necessary to use the highest-quality imagemaking technology to produce art.


I think Lynch has gladly traded in the guarantee of spectacular images for the ability to experiment and shoot beyond previous limitations, sort of like what Kubrick did with film and getting the perfect take, Lynch now does the same on digital by taking as many takes has he wants of whatever he wants.

I think it's great that Lynch sees this as growth, for himself, but to impugn his roots, which still laid a solid foundation for him, makes him less in my eyes. What's so tough about being appreciative of the past as one thrives in the future?
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#8 Michael Most

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 10:06 AM

I think Lynch has gladly traded in the guarantee of spectacular images for the ability to experiment and shoot beyond previous limitations, sort of like what Kubrick did with film and getting the perfect take, Lynch now does the same on digital by taking as many takes has he wants of whatever he wants.

I think it's great that Lynch sees this as growth, for himself, but to impugn his roots, which still laid a solid foundation for him, makes him less in my eyes. What's so tough about being appreciative of the past as one thrives in the future?


Although David has always, to some degree, marched to a different drummer, don't underestimate the one overriding fact about using things like PD150s: It's essentially free. Both the camera and the cost of the media. Not to mention that by falling in love with low quality images, you also forego the need for things like proper lighting, grip equipment, and a crew. And the need to get production financing, which is not exactly a given when you rarely do commercially viable projects. And that's true whether you're Joe Blow or David Lynch.

Now, whether you ever achieve anything that warrants commercial distribution by doing these things is another issue.
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#9 Ken Cangi

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:49 AM

I think Lynch has gladly traded in the guarantee of spectacular images for the ability to experiment and shoot beyond previous limitations, sort of like what Kubrick did with film and getting the perfect take, Lynch now does the same on digital by taking as many takes has he wants of whatever he wants.

I think it's great that Lynch sees this as growth, for himself, but to impugn his roots, which still laid a solid foundation for him, makes him less in my eyes. What's so tough about being appreciative of the past as one thrives in the future?


With all due respect to the apparent sincerity of your comment, I have to argue that the definition of "spectacular images" is in the eye of the beholder. Moreover, Lynch's growth in this medium is seen as such by more than a few movie-savvy people. The success of his images is in their style and execution. The material on which he imprints these images is neither better nor worse than film - just different. Some movies work better on film, and others are better suited to digital.

For those of us, who weren't alive during the golden age of b&w cinema and only know it through the look of scratched and endlessly spliced footage, that look is what many perceive as having been the look of real life in that era, when, in fact, what those people saw was more like what video portrays today.

Having been what I refer to as a "film snob" for years, movies like Apocalypto, Collateral, and Miami Vice have finally opened my eyes to the validity of digital imagery as a new and distinguished movie look. I have to say, especially because of Apocalypto, that the look is growing on me.

Regarding your "impugn his roots" comment, I think that you are being judgmental and unfair. Lynch owes no debt to the institution of film. No maker does. He is a visual artist in an artistic medium, in which he has successfully created a following. It is also presumptuous of anyone, who doesn't personally know Lynch, to say that he does not appreciate the historical roots of film, nor should that should matter. Such behavior would seem sycophantic of the movie industry and not representitive of the trail blazing personality of David Lynch.

Edited by Ken Cangi, 05 January 2007 - 11:51 AM.

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#10 Bryan Darling

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 01:30 PM

The success of his images is in their style and execution. The material on which he imprints these images is neither better nor worse than film - just different. Some movies work better on film, and others are better suited to digital.

Regarding your "impugn his roots" comment, I think that you are being judgmental and unfair. Lynch owes no debt to the institution of film. No maker does. He is a visual artist in an artistic medium, in which he has successfully created a following. It is also presumptuous of anyone, who doesn't personally know Lynch, to say that he does not appreciate the historical roots of film, nor should that should matter. Such behavior would seem sycophantic of the movie industry and not representative of the trail blazing personality of David Lynch.


Here. Here. I agree.

For some reason a lot of people seem to have this notion that one medium is "better" than another. I think it is such a closed, narrow-minded view. It is unfortunate as people close themselves of to choices and alternatives. It would be similar to saying I only use oils, not acrylics, when painting. If you go back to what was happening in the late 60's and into the 70's you'll find many artists, referred to as intermedia artists, who were experimenting with a new media called video.

These artists took video and film placing it side by side and intertwined the mediums. It was all about possibilities and growth. I find a lot of people locked up in their mentalities these days. "It is either film or video, but cannot be both." "One is superior to the other, rather than one is different than the other." I feel film and video to be brethren in the visual mediums. Perhaps if people questioned their perspectives and played around with different mediums more rather than being hard-lined and snubbing what they do not know or understand, you'd find much less talk about "film vs. video."
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#11 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 02:23 AM

Lynch is a visual poet and it's not necessary to use the highest-quality imagemaking technology to produce art.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

excellent point.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


With all due respect to the apparent sincerity of your comment, I have to argue that the definition of "spectacular images" is in the eye of the beholder. Moreover, Lynch's growth in this medium is seen as such by more than a few movie-savvy people. The success of his images is in their style and execution. The material on which he imprints these images is neither better nor worse than film - just different. Some movies work better on film, and others are better suited to digital.

For those of us, who weren't alive during the golden age of b&w cinema and only know it through the look of scratched and endlessly spliced footage, that look is what many perceive as having been the look of real life in that era, when, in fact, what those people saw was more like what video portrays today.

Having been what I refer to as a "film snob" for years, movies like Apocalypto, Collateral, and Miami Vice have finally opened my eyes to the validity of digital imagery as a new and distinguished movie look. I have to say, especially because of Apocalypto, that the look is growing on me.

Regarding your "impugn his roots" comment, I think that you are being judgmental and unfair. Lynch owes no debt to the institution of film. No maker does. He is a visual artist in an artistic medium, in which he has successfully created a following. It is also presumptuous of anyone, who doesn't personally know Lynch, to say that he does not appreciate the historical roots of film, nor should that should matter. Such behavior would seem sycophantic of the movie industry and not representitive of the trail blazing personality of David Lynch.



Here. Here. I agree.

For some reason a lot of people seem to have this notion that one medium is "better" than another. I think it is such a closed, narrow-minded view. It is unfortunate as people close themselves of to choices and alternatives. It would be similar to saying I only use oils, not acrylics, when painting. If you go back to what was happening in the late 60's and into the 70's you'll find many artists, referred to as intermedia artists, who were experimenting with a new media called video.

These artists took video and film placing it side by side and intertwined the mediums. It was all about possibilities and growth. I find a lot of people locked up in their mentalities these days. "It is either film or video, but cannot be both." "One is superior to the other, rather than one is different than the other." I feel film and video to be brethren in the visual mediums. Perhaps if people questioned their perspectives and played around with different mediums more rather than being hard-lined and snubbing what they do not know or understand, you'd find much less talk about "film vs. video."



How the both of you reached such a incorrect conclusion about my quote is your trip....not mine, my quote below...

I think Lynch has gladly traded in the guarantee of spectacular images for the ability to experiment and shoot beyond previous limitations, sort of like what Kubrick did with film and getting the perfect take, Lynch now does the same on digital by taking as many takes as he wants of whatever he wants.

I think it's great that Lynch sees this as growth, for himself, but to impugn his roots, which still laid a solid foundation for him, makes him less in my eyes. What's so tough about being appreciative of the past as one thrives in the future?


----------------------------------------------------------------------
Really Ken, just what is your trip? You saw only what you wanted to respond to rather than what I wrote.

If you think it's perfectly noble and fine to crap on one's own successful roots, then go for it. Implying that I am "judgemental and unfair" for suggesting Lynch doesn't need to impugn his own roots while still appreciating the new artistic expressions available to him now is a huge reach by you, I don't know why you even attempted it.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is an exchange that I find dead on....and superior to someone claiming that something they successfully used in the past is now forever dead to them, especially when they achieved success in that medium.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is mini-DV the wave of the future? Will it replace film cameras?

Gillham: No, it's just another medium.

Hurlbut: As long as you take it as just another capture medium, it's awesome. But when you try to say?

Gillham: ?that it's a replacement, then you're doomed.
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#12 Ken Cangi

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 01:45 PM

How the both of you reached such a incorrect conclusion about my quote is your trip....not mine, my quote below...
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Really Ken, just what is your trip? You saw only what you wanted to respond to rather than what I wrote.

If you think it's perfectly noble and fine to crap on one's own successful roots, then go for it. Implying that I am "judgemental and unfair" for suggesting Lynch doesn't need to impugn his own roots while still appreciating the new artistic expressions available to him now is a huge reach by you, I don't know why you even attempted it.


On the contrary. I was looking for nothing. I read your post and responded to your words, and you are attacking me for having an opinion. I am comfortable with how I addressed you, and I am sorry that you have chosen to view my comments as a personal afront. That was not my intention.

Statements like "Really Ken, just what is your trip?" lead me to believe that you might be a bit too attached to your own point of view at the expense of tolerance toward those of others. At any rate, I didn't come here for a confrontation. I came here because I enjoy the dialog and opinions of so many of the people on this site - regardless of whether or not I agree with them or they with me.
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#13 Jason Debus

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 01:51 PM

crap on one's own successful roots
impugn his own roots


See this is where you are wrong Alessandro, he has neither crapped on nor impugned his roots. My point being is that his roots are as a cinema artist. I agree that some of his DV stuff on his website isn't to my taste, but Inland Empire is firmly entrenched in the Lynch cinema style. DV has allowed him to have more freedom as an artist. Please see the movie in a theater before you dig this hole any further.

Not trying to start an argument, I just do not agree with your take on what Lynch has said. Reread what Michael Most posted because I think he is spot on.
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#14 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 01:57 PM

On the contrary. I was looking for nothing. I read your post and responded to your words, and you are attacking me for having an opinion. I am comfortable with how I addressed you, and I am sorry that you have chosen to view my comments as a personal afront. That was not my intention.

Statements like "Really Ken, just what is your trip?" lead me to believe that you might be a bit too attached to your own point of view at the expense of tolerance toward those of others. At any rate, I didn't come here for a confrontation. I came here because I enjoy the dialog and opinions of so many of the people on this site - regardless of whether or not I agree with them or they with me.


I suggest you go back and really read what I wrote, and then see how you basically altered my observation into something you could attack, whether you did it on purpose or not, I have no way of knowing.

The two quotes of mine that you put together in your response directly above are out of context as well, so you keep doing it even as you claim the opposite.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

See this is where you are wrong Alessandro, he has neither crapped on nor impugned his roots.


I disagree.

Lynch: Digital video is so beautiful. It's lightweight, modern, and it's only getting better. It's put film into the La Brea Tar Pits.


-------------------------------------------------------------
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#15 Daniel Carruthers

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 02:43 PM

I like mini dv, but iam surprised that he's going with the PD-150, and not with the DVX100 or even the XL series. At least he would have more image controll, like cinegamma, detail level, masterpeds and of coarse 24p.
Its been a while since Ive used the pd150 but if I remeber the only thing its good for is shooting under low light, which the above cameras can easily do depending on the settings

I guess my point is if your going for a minidv look then why dont you get the best minidv camera around??
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#16 Ken Cangi

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 03:26 PM

I read your comments several more times, and I still came away with the same message. For the sake of maintaining camaraderie, lets just agree to disagree amicably. Maybe the next topic will bring us closer to the middle.

Cheers,

Ken
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#17 Troy Warr

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 03:32 PM

I guess my point is if your going for a minidv look then why dont you get the best minidv camera around??


I agree, and that was essentially the point that I was originally intending to make. I guess I assumed that he should naturally reach for the best video quality available, though I do agree with David Mullen's point that it's not always the highest-quality technology that's "better" than another format. If he feels that miniDV is right for his project, then that's an artistic choice, not necessarily a technical one.

But, given that, why would he choose to confine himself to the PD150? It's not a bad camera, but there are other miniDV cameras that offer more control over the image and therefore more artistic freedom, while still affording the same financial freedom. I realize now that he's shot with the PD150 before, and may be comfortable working with it just as other directors are most comfortable working in a certain format or even with a particular camera.

Assume your medium is paint - are you going to latch on to one particular brush that you're comfortable with and resist change, or are you going to explore (if your budget allows) different and more powerful painting tools? Those would still allow you to achieve the results of your original brush, but would also open up even more avenues of artistic expression.
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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 03:53 PM

What if the look you want is created by the worst Mini-DV camera out there, not the best? If you start saying that Lynch should have used the best DV camera out there, like a DSR500, then why not say he should have used a Digital Betacam instead? And if that, why not say he should have used an HD camera? And if that, why not say he should have used a 35mm camera? I mean, where does it end? IMAX?

Even in 35mm, someone might opt to use an old Cooke Panchro rather than a new Zeiss Master Prime, or underexpose a high-speed stock rather than overexpose a slow-speed stock.

I think Lynch also implied that the PD150 was convenient for him, and "convenient" might include "this was the camera I already owned at the time." So I'm sure it was a combination of deciding factors -- familiarity and immediate access to the PD150, finding something about the look that he responded to, etc.
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#19 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 05:37 PM

I read your comments several more times, and I still came away with the same message. For the sake of maintaining camaraderie, lets just agree to disagree amicably. Maybe the next topic will bring us closer to the middle.

Cheers,

Ken


Fair enough.

Here is how I perceive Lynch's position. I'll use a "what if" example.

"What if" when Michael Jordan quit basketball and started playing baseball Jordan had said....Baseball is such an amazing game, I can't believe I spent the prime of my life playing basketball.... Jordan could have said that, but why, what purpose would it have served other than to be a shill for baseball, at basketballs expense. It would have almost belied his greatness to be so easily swayed by a new thing that he would then slam what had helped make him famous. (By the way, Jordan never said that, it was an example of a "what if" statement).

Lynch could just have easily said.... "I'm doubly blessed, I was able to make several 35mm films that have gone on to exist in DVD, and now I get to approach filmmaking in an entirely new way".

Or Lynch could have said, "I doubt I'll ever shoot 35mm again because I feel I have been handed a second chance to be a student of art again"...

Or Lynch could have said, I can now hold my own creative artistic tool in the palm of my hand, I never thought I would see the day....

Instead, the LeBrea Tar Pits comments about film makes it look like Lynch couldn't just celebrate what the future will bring him without slamming his roots.

Scorsese shoots on film and it appears he enjoys shooting on film. Why would a fellow director ever ridicule the filming devices that other great directors still embrace?
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#20 Troy Warr

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 01:49 PM

What if the look you want is created by the worst Mini-DV camera out there, not the best? If you start saying that Lynch should have used the best DV camera out there, like a DSR500, then why not say he should have used a Digital Betacam instead? And if that, why not say he should have used an HD camera? And if that, why not say he should have used a 35mm camera? I mean, where does it end? IMAX?


Hi David,

I agree that it's not reasonable to say that Lynch should have shot with a "better" format if he chose miniDV to fit his project's aesthetic. Having said that, I still think it's fair to say that it would be most practical if he were to choose a miniDV camcorder that gives him the most artistic freedom, and in that, I mean one with more serious and cinematically capable features than the PD150. If he's truly in love with the PD150 and thinks that there is nothing more ideal for the project, well, that's a tough call.

What's tripping me up here is that Lynch's quotes seem to be so contradictory, and yet, I'm still left with the impression that he's looking to obtain the most artistic freedom from a camcorder (which I interpret as the best quality picture to start from, leaving him more room to experiment in post, as he stated that he likes in the following quote). Take quotes like:

Lynch: "It doesn't really matter what way you work, or what medium you work in. It's all about ideas. Every story, every idea wants to be told a certain way. With digital cameras, the really great thing about them is the amount of control you have afterward to fiddle around, and start experimenting, and get even more ideas."

Wouldn't you have more of this control with a higher quality video source? You can always down-rez and tweak the image later if it's the PD150 look that you're ultimately after. But, shooting with a higher quality source initially, in my opinion, only gives you more artistic freedom.

Lynch: "With this project, we tricked the camera and forced it into a profile where the look approached that of film. Once we added those ND filters and adjusted the camera settings, the look started to get real pretty. It forced the camera to go to work."

Lynch: "While there are definite benefits to the simplification that digital offers, I think that there are still a few critical tools that need to be developed and refined. These small cameras don't move cinematically. They're light and flimsy. The industry needs a really nice little Steadicam, and more tools like the rigs we made for this commercial: little stabilizers, little dollies, and cranes to make moves real smooth and cinematic.Then there are the obvious tools that filmmakers need like follow focus, and more mechanical interaction."

Billups: "Even though we had timed and tweaked the tiny DV camera to perform at its very best, and even though the clients and everyone concerned were happy with the image and resolution, I kept a Sony HDW F900 HDCAM camera prepped and ready, just in case anything went wrong."


And lastly:

Lynch: Digital video is so beautiful. It's lightweight, modern, and it's only getting better.

I guess I just don't get his approach. Why would he state that "it's only getting better" if he'd rather tweak an (with all due respect) old PD150 to do the work of a Sony F900 that's shooting in SD mode? Why would he say "it's only getting better" within minutes of saying "the quality is pretty terrible, but I like that"?

I think Lynch also implied that the PD150 was convenient for him, and "convenient" might include "this was the camera I already owned at the time." So I'm sure it was a combination of deciding factors -- familiarity and immediate access to the PD150, finding something about the look that he responded to, etc.


I can see this to some degree - and again, if it's the PD150 that he's fundamentally in love with, and not the medium of digital video as a whole, then maybe I'm entirely wrong here.

But, also consider the cost of the production. Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux, Harry Dean Stanton, Naomi Watts (voice), etc., are not cheap. They may have done the project mostly out of artistic desire, but I seriously doubt that this project was as "free" as Lynch insinuates. I would personally consider it irresponsible to shoot with, in my opinion, a sub-par camera for the project solely out of convenience and even familiarity.

Then again, he wrote the script for each scene the night before shooting it, and allegedly (based on IMDB trivia) named the movie because he "like[d] the word Inland" and "like[d] the word Empire." So, maybe shooting with a camcorder that he had lying at home just fit the style of the production. ;) (joking of course)
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