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Godfather 2


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#1 Hasan khan

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 07:28 AM

I mean the first half of the movie is extremly low light scenes; especially the party in the beginning. Whats the diff between low key scene and underexposer? I mean most of the time you cant even see Al Pacino's face.
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#2 Daniel Carruthers

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 08:38 AM

I mean the first half of the movie is extremly low light scenes; especially the party in the beginning. Whats the diff between low key scene and underexposer? I mean most of the time you cant even see Al Pacino's face.

yeah hes underexposed. but the camera is exposed to somthing else in the frame.
at the beginning in one scene AL gets handed an orange you cant even see it, but the camera is exposed for the party going on outside.
the difference, well id say if the scene was underxposed, the whole frame would have to be underexposed,
low light scenes, theres somthing in the frame thats set to proper exposer.
the movie is dark but its not like willis turned off all the lights then rolled a camera, you can still see somthing.
I wonder if gordon willis pushed the stock, anyone know???
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 11:36 AM

There is a difference between underexposure and low-key, although the two "Godfather" films have both. "Low key" means a preponderance of dark (under key, or underexposed) areas of the frame with only small areas at normal brightness.

But you can create a low-key scene with over, normal, or underexposed film stock -- it's more an issue of lighting ratios than how you rate the stock overall.

But on top of that, Willis overall underexposed the movies (not everything -- for example, the Sicily scenes tended to be well-exposed.) His general approach was to underexpose the 100 ASA stock by one and a half-stops and then push-process it by one-stop, or maybe underexpose by one and a third (some interviews I think he said he rated 5254 at 250 ASA instead of 100 ASA.) But the important point is that he didn't push to completely correct for the underexposure, but he also didn't "print up" that last 1/2 or 1/3-stop of lower density -- in other words, he left the print a little dark rather than print it up to normal brightness.

But you also have to factor in that the first two "Godfather" movies were released in Technicolor dye transfer prints, which had denser blacks and less grain than an Eastmancolor release print would have, especially one made from a dupe. So they probably looked better than you'd think with all of that underexposure and push-processing in terms of black density and grain.

Willis did admit in the documentary "Visions of Light" that he lit some scenes a little too darkly, like when Michael visits his mother in "Godfather II". It was all part of an artistic concept though about these people living in shadows and secrets.
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#4 Mark Sasahara

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 02:50 PM

David has (of course) hit it on the head with his last sentence: "It was all part of an artistic concept though about these people living in shadows and secrets."

There's what's right and then there's what's right for what you're doing. The darkness was a brilliant artistic choice.
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#5 John Holland

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 02:59 PM

Yes it was , but i think Gordon Willis had lots of battles with Paramount ,the producer and even Coppola to get that look , without that it 1 and 2 Godfathers , just wouldnt have been what they are . "classics" John Holland.
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#6 Sam Wells

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 03:31 PM

But you also have to factor in that the first two "Godfather" movies were released in Technicolor dye transfer prints, which had denser blacks and less grain than an Eastmancolor release print would have, especially one made from a dupe. So they probably looked better than you'd think with all of that underexposure and push-processing in terms of black density and grain.


I saw both in their original Technicolor IB prints and this is certainly true. They looked terrific in fact.

-Sam Wells
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 04:48 PM

There was a backlash even in Hollywood, which is why Willis didn't get an Oscar nomination for either film (but he did years later for "Godfather III"). One old-timer DP said something like "Willis tries to achieve a Rembrandt effect with a 25-watt light bulb."
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#8 Zulkifli Yusof

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 02:56 PM

There was a backlash even in Hollywood, which is why Willis didn't get an Oscar nomination for either film (but he did years later for "Godfather III"). One old-timer DP said something like "Willis tries to achieve a Rembrandt effect with a 25-watt light bulb."


Gosh, that's pretty harsh. I like the look though, great for the kind of film it is.
I seem to notice a style in some period films in which the visuals were intentionally grainy. Godfather is of no exception to this and that grainy look lends alot to make the era in which the story took place highly convincing.
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 03:25 PM

There was a backlash even in Hollywood, which is why Willis didn't get an Oscar nomination for either film (but he did years later for "Godfather III"). One old-timer DP said something like "Willis tries to achieve a Rembrandt effect with a 25-watt light bulb."


When I saw GII at an AFI cinematography seminar, Howard Schwartz introduced Willis by saying that in GI
he showed that the set doesn't have to be lit, in GII he shows that the actors don't have to be lit either.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 10:23 PM

Gosh, that's pretty harsh. I like the look though, great for the kind of film it is.
I seem to notice a style in some period films in which the visuals were intentionally grainy. Godfather is of no exception to this and that grainy look lends alot to make the era in which the story took place highly convincing.


I never meant to imply that I agreed with that sentiment. The movie is generally considered to be a great work of cinematography today. I was just referring to some comments by the "old guard", most long-dead now. You have to remember that many of the members of the Academy nominating committees are older, retired folks.
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#11 Zulkifli Yusof

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:40 PM

No worries David. I didn't say that you agree with the quote either.

It's just that I wish comments like that were rather made by media critics than industry professionals. It's like a director to director or dp to dp kinda talk, you know what I mean? For me, it hurts to hear something that harsh from a fellow practitioner especially if it was from an old-timer and especially worse if it was from someone you admire kinda thing.

But that's the reality isn't it? lol
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#12 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 04:00 PM

I think the first 2 Godfather movies would definately not be the movies they are without Willis' inspiration, creativety and will. You realize how bold the lighting/visualization still is when you see how many modern movies always always play it so safe with actor's lighting...

- It reminds me of how great a decade for movies the 70s was, and how pretty poor things are now. Don't get me wrong, I think there are lots of superbly talented and very technical cinematographers out there but I don't see as many interesting ideas with exposure, lighting, framing, camera movement as during Willis' heyday.

... I only wish they hadn't made the 3rd part....HHmmmmmmm...!

Rupe Whiteman UK

Edited by rupe w, 19 January 2007 - 04:01 PM.

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#13 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 09:14 AM

Apparently the studio wouldn't pay the fee that Robert Duvall was looking for, so he got dropped. The story seems to have been heavily compromised by his losing him.
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#14 Tim Partridge

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 03:06 PM

When I saw GII at an AFI cinematography seminar, Howard Schwartz introduced Willis by saying that in GI
he showed that the set doesn't have to be lit, in GII he shows that the actors don't have to be lit either.


HAHAHA!!!

It's always the same names...
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