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my early anamorphic work


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 12:07 AM

A year or so before I shot "Northfork", I did a short film called "Stuck" in 35mm anamorphic, my first complete anamorphic shoot other than a day of shooting some pick-ups in anamorphic for a student short. This was for director Jamie Babbit, who hired me to shoot "The Quiet" later (and producer Andrea Sperling, who hired me to shoot "D.E.B.S." right after this short.) It was a weekend shoot, no pay, although it was worth it for allowing me to shoot anamorphic and for getting me two features.

I don't have a good transfer -- these are i-movie screen grabs off of a 4x3 NTSC DVCAM tape, interlaced-scan, not too sharp compared to the original short.

It was shot in the older Fuji F-400T low-con stock, with a skip-bleach process to the negative and then also to the print. But this transfer was from a low-con print so you're mainly seeing the effect of the skip-bleach to the negative, although the transfer is fairly close to the look of the skip-bleach prints.

I used Chocolate filters to increase the brown quality of the desert. C-Series anamorphics, often the 40mm or 50mm, but the low-angle shot of the car and women, with the body next to the wheel, was a 35mm anamorphic.

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#2 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 12:20 AM

Looks awesome David. How come you didn't go back to the neg for telecine? Was the neg to contrasty after the skip bleach?

Edited by Chayse Irvin, 08 April 2007 - 12:21 AM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 01:19 AM

Looks awesome David. How come you didn't go back to the neg for telecine? Was the neg to contrasty after the skip bleach?


No, the skip-bleached neg would have been the least contrasty of all possible film elements, since any additional generation adds more contrast but never less. The negative had been cut for making prints, so we had to make a color-timed low-con print for transfer rather than risk transferring spliced negative (couldn't afford an IP.) In some ways, the additional contrast of the low-con print came closer in video to the look of the projected skip-bleach prints.

Using low-con Fuji and doing a skip-bleach was interesting because the contrast increase wasn't too bad except in the bright areas like windows. There was a visible gritty grain on the projected image.
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#4 Rodrigo Llano

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 07:57 AM

David.
which percentage did you use to bleach the negative and printers?
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#5 Matthew Buick

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 09:09 AM

They're very good. The chocolate filter gives a really brilliant look. The light loss must have been significant, though. Is that why why you used a 400ASA stock? Or was there some sort of aesthetic effect? If so, how di you not overexpose?

Happy Easter!
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#6 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 10:45 AM

David,

How did you prepare for the difficulties of framing for the anamorphic ratio?

Cheers,
Andy
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 10:57 AM

I wanted to use a low-con stock because it was more pastel and would compensate slightly for the increase in contrast from the skip-bleach. That sort of left 400T Fuji or 500T Kodak Expression -- there are no slow-speed low-con stocks unfortunately.

Plus I rated 400T at 500 ASA to slightly compensate for the increase in density (exposure) from the skip-bleach to the negative, but it wasn't enough -- the short film ended up printing in the high 40's, almost bumping against the 50 top setting. I should have rated it at 800 ASA for the skip bleach.

So you can imagine that in the desert at 500 ASA in full sunlight, I had to use a lot of ND just to get to a decent f-stop. So out there, I used the 85 correction filter along with the ND plus a Chocolate #2, which killed another two-stops I think. And I was still shooting at a deep stop until the sun dropped.

But for the interiors, I only used a Chocolate #1 and I may have dropped the 85 filter so I could work around a 200 ASA.

Probably because I watched scope movies all my life, but I don't find composing in 2.35 to be any more difficult than any other aspect ratio -- they all have their challenges. Also, I had already shot "Jackpot" at this point in 24P HD cropped to 2.35.
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#8 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 12:20 PM

Probably because I watched scope movies all my life, but I don't find composing in 2.35 to be any more difficult than any other aspect ratio -- they all have their challenges. Also, I had already shot "Jackpot" at this point in 24P HD cropped to 2.35.


Whe shooting anamorphic, is the eyepice of the camera set up to view the frame in correct ratio or do you have the 'squeeze' uncorrected.

- I've never looked down the eyepiece of a 35mm camera with an anamophic lens on it, Cheers Andy
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#9 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 12:47 PM

Whe shooting anamorphic, is the eyepice of the camera set up to view the frame in correct ratio or do you have the 'squeeze' uncorrected.

- I've never looked down the eyepiece of a 35mm camera with an anamophic lens on it, Cheers Andy



Andy,

Most modern 35mm cameras have eyepieces that de-squeeze the image in the viewfinder for you.
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#10 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 12:58 PM

Andy,

Most modern 35mm cameras have eyepieces that de-squeeze the image in the viewfinder for you.


Ah cool - I can imagine it must be quite a skill to learn to frame without it.

Cheers,
Andy
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#11 Hal Smith

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 01:25 PM

I..............Probably because I watched scope movies all my life, but I don't find composing in 2.35 to be any more difficult than any other aspect ratio -- they all have their challenges.............

I'm getting the itch to shoot some Oklahoma landscapes in scope to see what I can do. What sources are there in the US for rental scope lenses in Arri standard or bayonet mount? I googled around a bit and the only anamorphics I found in standard/bayo were Zeiss Ultrascopes in Australia.
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#12 Felipe Perez-Burchard

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 01:31 PM

David, thanks for your post...

If you had wanted to reduce the grain (given that it was 400 ASA and the skip bleach might add a bit) would you benefit from using a slower speed stock and pulling it a bit (say a stop) to get the low-con benefits (since they still haven't made a low-con slow speed film) in addition to the underexposure for density compensation?

Also, did you use grads for the sky?

Best,

Edited by Felipe Perez-Burchard, 08 April 2007 - 01:32 PM.

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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 01:38 PM

The only rental house in Los Angeles that seems to specialize in older cameras and lenses with older mounts is Alan Gordon Enterprises. The story I heard was that they used to rent cameras and lenses to the military, hence keeping all the old mounts (BNCR, Arri Standard, etc.) But I don't see any indication of anamorphic lenses:

http://www.alangordon.com/r_lens.htm

Generally if you want to rent anamorphic lenses in Los Angeles and you don't want to go to Panavision, you go to Clairmont Cameras. They may be willing to remount their old Todd-AO anamorphics to an older mount (probably BNCR more than Arri Standard though) -- but maybe not.

I think if you wanted anamorphic lenses in Arri standard mounts, you'd probably have to buy the lenses and have them converted.

--

Yes, if you wanted less grain, you could use a slow-speed stock and if you wanted less contrast, you could pull it one stop rather than underexpose it one stop -- that would do the double-duty of reducing contrast from the skip bleach and reducing the increase in density without having to underexpose.

I used a Pola outside and occasionally an ND.60 Soft Edge Grad.
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#14 Matthew Buick

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 03:48 PM

Thanks for answering my crappy queries, David.

This was beforw you were ASC wasn't it?
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 05:47 PM

I got into the ASC in the Spring of 2004.

I can't forget the shoot of the short film "Stuck" because I scouted that house we used on September 11, 2001 and arrived at location to see the Twin Towers falling on the news. We shot the short film that following weekend.
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#16 Matthew Buick

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 06:59 PM

Ah.

I remember where I was when the planes struck, I didn't hear anything about it until about 4pm GMT, me, my mum, and little brother went to a family carvery called The Toby (after the famous jug) and we saw the newsreel of the disaster playing on all their TVs.
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#17 Rajavel Olhiveeran

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 03:51 AM

Whe shooting anamorphic, is the eyepice of the camera set up to view the frame in correct ratio or do you have the 'squeeze' uncorrected.

- I've never looked down the eyepiece of a 35mm camera with an anamophic lens on it, Cheers Andy



while shooting anamorphic, the eyepiece will have two options.....first option is to see the correct ratio and the other one is the sqeezed version.
the catch is that when u want to see the correct ration image ..the image doesn't look sharp but it is ok to compose and shoot. BUT while u are preparing for a shot it is better to see the squeeze version...for sharper focus....u can fix focus on lens wiht this option.

otherwise it is GREAT FUN on anamorphic. i have used HAWK lens ffor my feature films. on the other hand i am rearing to shoot one day on super 35...for the range of lens i can choose from ....
cheers!
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