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Live Free, or Die Hard


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#1 William A Chapman Jr

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 10:33 PM

I say the trailer for the new Die Hard and must say the CG looks pretty bad, maybe its just the one stunt I seen. Dose any one know if all the stunts were CG? I know the july AC has a story on it, but I have not recieved my copy yet.
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 03:59 AM

I was extremely pissed at all the CG car crashes they had in the trailer. It's possible that those shots have been polished up since it came out, but still...there's NOTHING like the real thing. Even a simple shot of a truck bashing into a car was CG. It probably would have been cheaper to just wreck a couple cars!

And the shot when the car is flying in the air at Willis, but he's saved by a pair of cars that just happen to pass by him...really bad. It's not impressive.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 11:42 AM

I thought the movie turned out to be a decent action flick, even though it does get over-the-top.

I do sometimes get a little thrown off by the look of Cooke S4's in Super-35 for an action film -- you can say that have a "rounded" quality or just say that they look a little soft, a don't know. Certainly flattering in close-ups here though. But at times my eyes were wishing for some more edge sharpness. Once it got into contrasty night time work, it was OK. I liked the slight graininess of the pushed footage; it worked for the gritty mood. It sometimes got borderline too close to the all-blue look of the "Underworld" movies, but not quite. I liked the use of green in the night work, sort of that cyan industrial lamp look.
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#4 Dan Goulder

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 02:28 PM

I thought the movie turned out to be a decent action flick, even though it does get over-the-top.

I commend you on your high degree of diplomacy.
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#5 Bill Totolo

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 03:37 AM

I don't mean to pigeon-hole anyone but I still love Jan de Bont's anamorphic photography on the 1st Die Hard film.
Although the latest was pretty satisfying. Could have trimmed about 30 minutes from the trt for my taste.
Bruce did a great job and the film lived up to its name.
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#6 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 05:54 PM

I saw it last night and I thought it was a really fun movie. I thought it looked pretty good too. The only thing that stood out as being bad were some of the driving shots of Willis and Long in the car. Not sure if they used rear projection or green screen (I'm assuming green screen), but it didn't match well at all. It's a very bright sunny day, but it was very dark inside the car. It just jumped out at me. Did anyone else have a problem with this sequence?
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#7 William A Chapman Jr

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 06:17 PM

I think your right, They talk about it in the July AC. It looks like they did a lot of CG and chroma key.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 06:18 PM

I saw it last night and I thought it was a really fun movie. I thought it looked pretty good too. The only thing that stood out as being bad were some of the driving shots of Willis and Long in the car. Not sure if they used rear projection or green screen (I'm assuming green screen), but it didn't match well at all. It's a very bright sunny day, but it was very dark inside the car. It just jumped out at me. Did anyone else have a problem with this sequence?


Well, I could tell it was a composite but I just sort of accepted it. It's not as annoying when you see a dialogue scene faked in a moving car than when you sense a fake being used in a stunt, which kills the feeling that the main character was ever in any danger. The old James Bond movie's use of rear-projection for sking sequences for the close-ups of Bond is an example. You get all worked up by this amazing ski action photography and then the cutaways to the actor against a rear-projection screen are annoying. But for chit-chat in a moving car, I don't care if I sense that it's a cheat, as long as it is not a really bad cheat.

I liked Simon Duggan's work here; I just was a little disappointed that it wasn't as clear and sharp as I hoped it would be. The grain didn't bother me.
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#9 Joshua Dannais

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 11:50 PM

I know this is a cinematography forum, but as far as story goes I thought the first three were much better. Regardless, I would still vote John McClane for president.. that guy kicks ass.

Edited by Joshua Dannais, 03 July 2007 - 11:51 PM.

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#10 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 09:58 AM

I thought the film was rather grainy and too sharp. It had that crushed DI-look that I really dislike.

And let's just say that John McTiernans camera work, in-camera editing and massively complex blocking is sorely missed - this is action film-making 101 that any number of directors and DP's could have done. It doesn't have a shred of originality in it. Not that I expected that, but I was curious to see how McTiernan's legacy would be continued.
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#11 Emmanuel Lariviere

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 12:20 PM

I wish it was shot anamorphic like the first three. Like the Indiana Jones films, it's part of the look.
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#12 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 10:41 PM

I thought the movie turned out to be a decent action flick, even though it does get over-the-top.

I do sometimes get a little thrown off by the look of Cooke S4's in Super-35 for an action film -- you can say that have a "rounded" quality or just say that they look a little soft, a don't know. Certainly flattering in close-ups here though. But at times my eyes were wishing for some more edge sharpness. Once it got into contrasty night time work, it was OK. I liked the slight graininess of the pushed footage; it worked for the gritty mood. It sometimes got borderline too close to the all-blue look of the "Underworld" movies, but not quite. I liked the use of green in the night work, sort of that cyan industrial lamp look.


I just saw this on DVD last night, although I'm a big fan of the series. I was quite disappointed by the story. It had too
many big set pieces that a Hollywood movie can do...and yet not that exciting. The story had generic computer hackers
and an alienated and disowned I'll show them patriot, CG car crashes, buildings being blown up and way too many
people with machine guns who can't hit anything, bullet wounds that don't seem too painful and a classic villain who
is going to kill the hero but keeps him alive to insult him long enough for the hero to escape.

I think that all of the actors are talented, including the villain who showed a lot of feeling despite the things that he was
made to do by the plot.

If this movie had been scaled down and done intelligently, it has all of the ingredients to have been great. It's got a
great conflicted hero but if the producers keep putting him in situations in which a thousand snipers with a million
bullets can't hit him or anybody important on his side, except in an irritating only a flesh wound kind of way, the
series is going to keep going off track.

I think it was "The Spy who Loved Me" by Ian Fleming that was a story that took place in an upstate N.Y. vacation
cabin site with simply Bond, a dame and two bad guys. Okay, the movie was fun but shared the title only. There can
be a lot of tension with good characters, good actors and fewer but more believable shoot outs.

"A History of Violence" is an example of a movie with a reluctant hero that is extremely violent yet way more
suspenseful than "Live Free and Die Hard". Both movies are about a guy who wants to be left alone and is
forced to protect his family. If the filmmakers want McClane to be put into a situation in which he has to save his
country, that sounds like a good movie to me but please give it some traction.

Of course, the big scale action picture is what people want to see but in the first "Die Hard" there were so many
sensible obstacles along the way to McClane navigating the big set pieces that the epic and the intimate aspects gelled.

I agree with not being too upset by questionable backgrounds in drive and talk scenes. Some older movies
composited driving shots, including Hitchcock's, aren't even believable and yet the stories have been so compelling that
they haven't bothered me at all.

The car getting flipped and stopped by being pinned between two other cars was a good idea but it looks so fake
that the gag just doesn't work.

Some of the blood hits looked digital to me although I'm curious if any of you Hollywood guys know about the
bullet hole effects in the car windshields. I played one of them frame by frame and it looked like a blur going toward
a windshield and then a bullet hole appearing. How do they do that these days? Is that an effect and the hole is
punched in for real for when the car is being driven around shot up?

I simply don't have the experience in big films as many of you here but I want to learn so did you know that this
is Super-35 simply by looking at it and if so, how? Also, David, can you tell by looking at the movie that Cooke S-4s
are being used and if so can you quantify how you know? Are there other lenses which you think are better
suited to action pictures?


Thanks.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 11:09 PM

I simply don't have the experience in big films as many of you here but I want to learn so did you know that this
is Super-35 simply by looking at it and if so, how? Also, David, can you tell by looking at the movie that Cooke S-4s
are being used and if so can you quantify how you know? Are there other lenses which you think are better
suited to action pictures?


You know it's Super-35 because it is 2.40 but it doesn't show any anamorphic lens artifacts (stretchy background, blue horizontal flares, etc.)

I can make a guess whether Cookes S4's were used if I see the movie on the big screen and see certain artifacts (like a brassy warm fringe around glinting metal) and there is a certain softness to wider shots, with less crispness, but it's only a guess -- it's hard to know for sure just by looking. Most cases I read that Cooke S4's were used and then I see certain things that confirm it when I see the movie. But it's pretty hard to spot a prime lens from another. For example, Panavision Primos and Zeiss Ultra Primes seem really similar to me.
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#14 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 11:43 PM

You know it's Super-35 because it is 2.40 but it doesn't show any anamorphic lens artifacts (stretchy background, blue horizontal flares, etc.)

I can make a guess whether Cookes S4's were used if I see the movie on the big screen and see certain artifacts (like a brassy warm fringe around glinting metal) and there is a certain softness to wider shots, with less crispness, but it's only a guess -- it's hard to know for sure just by looking. Most cases I read that Cooke S4's were used and then I see certain things that confirm it when I see the movie. But it's pretty hard to spot a prime lens from another. For example, Panavision Primos and Zeiss Ultra Primes seem really similar to me.



Thanks David. Appreciate it!
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#15 Max Jacoby

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 05:26 AM

Also, David, can you tell by looking at the movie that Cooke S-4s are being used and if so can you quantify how you know?

Telling if a film is shot on Cooke S4s is very easy, you just have to count ;) As soon as the lens is stopped down, the out-of-focus highlights take on the shape of the iris. In the case of Cooke S4s that means an octagon. To make it even easier, the sides of the octagon are not straight, but bend inwards, giving you a very characteristic bokeh that to be honest I don't fancy too much compared to other lenses. To get a clear idea, just look through any S4 lens and stop it down, you'll immediately see what to look out for.

All this works for other lenses too and is mostly visible on long lens daylight shots. Now as far as I've been able to tell:

The Angénieux Optimo zooms only have 6 straight iris blades (you can see that very well in American Gangster, which is a mix of Optimos and S4s and it very easy to tell which is shot on what).

The Zeiss Superspeeds have 7 iris blades (except for the MK1s, the very first version, which only had 3, giving it the ugliest bokeh ever)

The Cooke S4s, as mentioned before have 8 blades which are bend inwards.

The Zeiss Master Primes have 9 curved blades, so that even when stopped down, the highlights still look quite round.

The Zeiss Ultra Primes have 9 or more straight blades (the longer lenses have more I'm told, but I haven't checked yet which lenses exactly)

The Primos have 11 bend iris blades. They have a similar shape to the Cookes, but because there are more, it is less annoying. I think there might be some wider Primos that have 10 blades, but once again I haven't checked it yet.

I think I've been told somewhere that Zeiss Standards have 6 iris blades, but I am not sure, I'd appreciate if someone who has access to these lenses could check.

Basically most modern films are shot on either Cooke S4s, Primos or Zeiss lenses. Since the bokeh of Primos and S4s is very distinctive, one can usually conclude that if it is absent, a Zeiss lens was used.
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#16 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 10:29 AM

Telling if a film is shot on Cooke S4s is very easy, you just have to count ;) As soon as the lens is stopped down, the out-of-focus highlights take on the shape of the iris. In the case of Cooke S4s that means an octagon. To make it even easier, the sides of the octagon are not straight, but bend inwards, giving you a very characteristic bokeh that to be honest I don't fancy too much compared to other lenses. To get a clear idea, just look through any S4 lens and stop it down, you'll immediately see what to look out for.

All this works for other lenses too and is mostly visible on long lens daylight shots. Now as far as I've been able to tell:

The Angénieux Optimo zooms only have 6 straight iris blades (you can see that very well in American Gangster, which is a mix of Optimos and S4s and it very easy to tell which is shot on what).

The Zeiss Superspeeds have 7 iris blades (except for the MK1s, the very first version, which only had 3, giving it the ugliest bokeh ever)

The Cooke S4s, as mentioned before have 8 blades which are bend inwards.

The Zeiss Master Primes have 9 curved blades, so that even when stopped down, the highlights still look quite round.

The Zeiss Ultra Primes have 9 or more straight blades (the longer lenses have more I'm told, but I haven't checked yet which lenses exactly)

The Primos have 11 bend iris blades. They have a similar shape to the Cookes, but because there are more, it is less annoying. I think there might be some wider Primos that have 10 blades, but once again I haven't checked it yet.

I think I've been told somewhere that Zeiss Standards have 6 iris blades, but I am not sure, I'd appreciate if someone who has access to these lenses could check.

Basically most modern films are shot on either Cooke S4s, Primos or Zeiss lenses. Since the bokeh of Primos and S4s is very distinctive, one can usually conclude that if it is absent, a Zeiss lens was used.



Thanks, Max! This is an awesome, awesome list. I'm going to print it out and keep it next to the DVD remote
for reference every time I watch a film.
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