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Slawomir Idziak


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#1 Tobias Marshall

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 10:15 AM

After watching The Double Life of Veronique and Three Colours: Blue recently I have become more interested with his style, something I may look at in his 'Hollywood' pictures to see if he has maintained his vivid use of colour.

I mention the above films as I feel one is excuted perfectly, while the other difficult to accept at times. The Double Life of Veronique look is yellow, the film is set in autumn however the colour is so strong and even over the negative. I found it difficult to accept, just that bit too far. The overall lighting is beautifully soft and natural (I fell in love with Irene Jacob because of how he lit her!), as in Blue, where I feel the colour works to an advantage - not distracting the viewer, used with more contrast (The colour isnt as even over the Negative) and more subtle use of blues.

I'm sure this style was deliberate so I'm wondering why it was made so overt in The Double Life of Veronique.

Also I would like to know was it done in camera, filters/gels or in post (Or a combination).


Any other information on his lighting would be greatly appreciated.

Which other cinematographers also use colour to effect?
Dante Spinotti work on Manhunter (1986) was also heavy on colour, an excellent film in my opinion.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 10:24 AM

Idziak uses colored grad and ND filters heavily. Color gels on lights too. Most of the look is done in camera.
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#3 Sam Wells

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:01 AM

After watching The Double Life of Veronique and Three Colours: Blue recently I have become more interested with his style, something I may look at in his 'Hollywood' pictures to see if he has maintained his vivid use of colour.

I mention the above films as I feel one is excuted perfectly, while the other difficult to accept at times. The Double Life of Veronique look is yellow, the film is set in autumn however the colour is so strong and even over the negative. I found it difficult to accept, just that bit too far.


On Veronique looks just a bit overplayed on the DVD transfer (US anyway) as opposed to the prints I saw.

-Sam Wells
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#4 Tobias Marshall

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 01:15 PM

Idziak uses colored grad and ND filters heavily. Color gels on lights too. Most of the look is done in camera.

Are coloured grad 85A, B, C etc., but have a different density at top to bottom?

How do you feel about colour in your work David, is it dependant on the project or do you have perticular style where colour is concerned?
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#5 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 09:25 PM

Picking up this thread 2 years later, I've just rented the criterion collection edition of The Double Life of Veronique and was so struck by the odd look that I searched the forum for a post explaining it. I love the film and it's in my top ten but when I first saw it, it was a VHS copy many years ago and it didn't look like the DVD. It had the yellow look but it was the kind of yellow that borders on sepia and so it felt organic and appropriate. This new version represents daylight in many scenes as being lime green. At least, daylight as scene from interiors. Exteriors are a bit more normal but still kind of off.
I find it difficult to believe that Idziak intentionally colored windows so that they look like Mountain Dew. Skin tones look like he had chocolate gels on all of the lights. This had to be some kind of error in the transfer. I've seen the same sour-apple hue used in night scenes in Gattaca and I bought it in that film cause it's a futuristic cityscape. I just don't see the motivation for lime green daylight. At least, not in a film like Double Life. I've noticed a similar sort of hypersaturation in the 3 color trilogy. I saw all of those a few times in theaters but the DVD's are way oversaturated. Just wondering what happened? If the same people from MK2 had all of the newer transfers done and whether they're responsible for the bizarre look.
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#6 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 05:09 AM

If the same people from MK2 had all of the newer transfers done and whether they're responsible for the bizarre look.



I havent seen the dvds so i cant comment on the transfer but what you've described sounds like the kind of work that Idziak was doing at the time so i wouldnt assume it was a mistake. It sounds to me like its a faithful transfer. Idziak also has hundreds of custom camera filters that he uses. AFAIK when he did Harry Potter that was the first film he did through a DI and decided to abandon his in camera filter approach.
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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 05:27 AM

AFAIK when he did Harry Potter that was the first film he did through a DI and decided to abandon his in camera filter approach.

Which was unfortunate, since the look of Harry Potter 5 was pretty bland compared to the rest of his work, IMO.
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#8 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:11 PM

If it is intentional I'm hardpressed to see the motivation for it though. Why would anyone deliberately filter in camera to make windows look lime green? It's the same as making them fire-engine red in that it's not natural or realistic at all. In most of the exteriors daylight is referenced as white light with a brownish sort of undertone that seems to indicate fall. It's beautiful and natural and doesn't distract you. Then you see characters move indoors and it looks like the outside viewed through windows is another planet. If this is a matter of artistic expression alone it brings up an interesting debate over what is appropriate and when does a DP go too far.

In the end I suppose it's a matter of opinion but this is interesting to me because it's a case where a film I loved for years has turned out to be something entirely different when seen in a remastered HD transfer. I have to look at it differently and think about differently and try and understand this radical break from conventional cinematography. I don't think I've ever seen a movie with a story taking place on earth where daylight is shown as sourapple green on purpose. If anyone else has, please give an example.

Edited by Michael LaVoie, 05 January 2009 - 01:12 PM.

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#9 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:33 PM

Just saw on the criterion DVD an interview with Slawomir where he addresses this issue. Apparently there was a difference of opinions on the look. Krystof and the producers were actually against the greenish look and wanted it more warm yellow. Slawomir felt disappointed and wanted a green look. It seems this Criterion collection edition is faithful to Slawomir's goal. But again who is right in this scenario? I feel like being true to the DP in this case is actually detrimental to my own appreciation of the film. In the interview he doesn't explain the reasoning behind the choice of the color other than mentioning casually that he had a tendency toward green. The other motivational factor seems to have been the steadfast determination to limit anyone's ability to time the film later on. Both of these reasons seem somewhat questionable with regard to the responsibilities a DP has toward a production overall. I was always under the impression that as a DP you contribute to the look of a picture but aren't there limits to how far you should impose your overall artistic sensibilities. I suppose DP's are beaten up all the time in the DI suites on movies but this is an example of the exact opposite of that. I'm curious to know what others think of this.

Edited by Michael LaVoie, 05 January 2009 - 01:37 PM.

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#10 Tobias Marshall

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:30 AM

Finally some answers . . .
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#11 Jason Reimer

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 12:04 AM

Idziak DP'd an episode of The Decalogue, and it had that same heavily filtered look to it that you're describing, a lot of color that is obviously not natural. The first time I saw it it was a little jarring, but you acclimate pretty quickly and it's just his look. So I'm guessing the Criterion version really is what he wanted. Why he likes that look, who knows, but there it is. He also shot Blackhawk Down, and his brownish color palette really suited that film, although I don't recall the heavy use of colored grads like in some of his Polish work. It's been a while since I've seen it, so he might have used it some, but not in a way that was heavy-handed.
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#12 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 08:42 PM

Just saw on the criterion DVD an interview with Slawomir where he addresses this issue. Apparently there was a difference of opinions on the look. Krystof and the producers were actually against the greenish look and wanted it more warm yellow. Slawomir felt disappointed and wanted a green look. It seems this Criterion collection edition is faithful to Slawomir's goal. But again who is right in this scenario? I feel like being true to the DP in this case is actually detrimental to my own appreciation of the film. In the interview he doesn't explain the reasoning behind the choice of the color other than mentioning casually that he had a tendency toward green. The other motivational factor seems to have been the steadfast determination to limit anyone's ability to time the film later on. Both of these reasons seem somewhat questionable with regard to the responsibilities a DP has toward a production overall. I was always under the impression that as a DP you contribute to the look of a picture but aren't there limits to how far you should impose your overall artistic sensibilities. I suppose DP's are beaten up all the time in the DI suites on movies but this is an example of the exact opposite of that. I'm curious to know what others think of this.


Idziak and Kieslowski had a very volatile working relationship. Kieslowski admitted in some interview that Idziak drove him crazy many times, but they always returned to working together. Love/hate kinda thing. Also the Eastern European tradition differs a bit in that the DP and director are very close collaborators, almost to the point where they're both co-lighting and co-directing. A shoot is approached much more intellectually, like a conversation between the involved. At least this is the impressions I get from my Russian focus puller who used to work for Lenfilm back in the days before the wall came down.
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#13 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 04:33 AM

Which was unfortunate, since the look of Harry Potter 5 was pretty bland compared to the rest of his work, IMO.

So, I recently re-watched "HP:5" and I was being too harsh. There's actually a lot of nice work with color that's rather subtle, like the bluish/lavender shadows in the "Room of Requirement" scenes and the slight yellow/green tinting in the "Dept. of Mysteries" scene. It's pretty clear that Idziak thinks about color a great deal and doesn't need his krazy kollection of custom filters to create the "Slawomir Idziak" look. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I was wrong!
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#14 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 04:39 AM

*Double post.

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 09 March 2009 - 04:39 AM.

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