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Babel Square lights


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#1 Merlyn Haycraft

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 04:43 AM

Hi,

I'm curious to find out what effect was used in a shot in Babel after the Japanese girl leaves the disco, where everything is out of focus, and all the out of focus lights are more square than circular. Is this a filter or something else?

Thanks :)
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 07:29 AM

The Japanese sequence was shot with anamorphic lenses. Telephoto and zooms tend to have the cylindrical anamorphic element at the rear instead of the front; this produces the squarish shape to out of focus lights on telephoto shots. If you look at an anamorphic lens element, it looks like a cylinder split in half and when looking at it directly at the curved surface, it has a square shape.
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#3 Merlyn Haycraft

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 06:02 PM

Thank you.

I knew they shot with anamorphic lenses and it changes the circles but not the rest.

M
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#4 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 05:10 PM

Hi,

I'm curious to find out what effect was used in a shot in Babel after the Japanese girl leaves the disco, where everything is out of focus, and all the out of focus lights are more square than circular. Is this a filter or something else?

Thanks :)



Probably this help you http://www.ascmag.co...Babel/page1.php
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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 03:23 AM

Hi,

This can happen with spherical lenses as well. Here are a few frame grabs from "The Natural" shot by Caleb Deschanel, ASC (shot spherical). In this case, you only see it on the long telephoto shots, where the foreground/background is significantly out-of-focus and has bright points of light which would normally be seen as circles (of confusion).

THE_NATURAL_02.jpg

This is probably caused by the rectangular-shaped cutout mask placed at the front of the matte box to eliminate lens flares and veiling glare from stray light hitting parts of the lens that are outside of the area actually making the image that is being recorded on the film in the camera gate. So while the cutout is not affecting the in-focus part of the image (except to eliminate flare), the out-of-focus areas are being "cropped" from a round shape into a rectangle by the mask. I guess this could be referred to as "optical vignetting" but I don't know if that's technically accurate or not.

Personally, I'm curious to know if it's still common practice to use cutout masks in the matte box on large budget films these days, given the amount of shallow DoF being used, the greater attention paid to bokeh quality, the high degree of contrast/flare resistance in modern lenses, etc. Can anyone tell me if these are still in common use, and if so why?
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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 03:25 AM

THE_NATURAL_01.jpg
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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 03:27 AM

THE_NATURAL_03.jpg
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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 05:16 AM

An additional question... I've read that many modern lens designs like the Cooke S4s, Zeiss Ultra Primes, and Zeiss Master Primes use an internal irising mask (a de facto cutout mask) to reduce internal reflections between elements and thus increase contrast -- if this is the case, then will these lenses produce the same "square bokeh" artifacts as the use of cutout masks in the matte box?
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:46 AM

Lately people have been using hard mattes less often because of that cut-off bokeh problem. I've stopped using anything tighter than a 50mm hard matte even for longer lenses, and for night exterior work, I'll probably not use them anymore.
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 06:11 PM

Lately people have been using hard mattes less often because of that cut-off bokeh problem. I've stopped using anything tighter than a 50mm hard matte even for longer lenses, and for night exterior work, I'll probably not use them anymore.

Cool, thanks for the info, David. So it sounds like you do still use hard mattes for wide angle shots then? Do you see a significant difference with them on? You usually shoot with Panavision Primo lenses right? I've never had the chance to use them (hard mattes).

Also, I was curious if you happened to know any details about the film stock/lenses/filtration used on "The Natural" -- I did a search in the archives, but the film is only mentioned in tangential threads. I recently watched the new Director's Cut DVD and wondered if the color timing was much different from the original release (the new HD transfer was supervised by Deschanel). I really wish there was more of his interview or even a commentary track -- he seems like a very nice and thoughtful guy.
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:39 PM

In the book "Film Lighting", Deschanel mentions getting into Wilson SupraFrosts around that time, the precursor to the Tiffen ProMist.

Stocks were 5247 and 5294 I believe.

The opening scenes up to the shooting in the hotel room were optically diffused & desaturated, by combing a color and b&w IP into a new negative in an optical printer, with the amount of color controlled by the percentage of the final exposure on the dupe negative from the color vs. the b&w positive. And the color was rephotographed out-of-focus over the sharp b&w image, creating a diffusion effect.
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#12 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:34 AM

Wow, that's sounds rather arcane... :blink: Interestingly, the opening scenes on the DVD version don't look any more desaturated than the rest of the film, in fact, it's almost the reverse!

NDVD_003.jpg

NDVD_010.jpg

NDVD_027.jpg

NDVD_022.jpg

The diffusion effect is subtle too. Now I really want to see a 35mm print of the film.
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#13 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:37 AM

NDVD_029.jpg

NDVD_038.jpg

NDVD_069.jpg

NDVD_070.jpg
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#14 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:55 AM

BTW, it seems that Storaro, Conrad Hall and Gordon Willis were major influences on Deschanel, at least for this film. Any comments? I think you can see where John Toll go some of his style from too.

Also gotta love the multiple hard shadows and deep focus in this one, very authentic. :P
NDVD_036.jpg

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 24 July 2007 - 02:57 AM.

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#15 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 09:12 AM

"The Natural" may well be one of my favourite films in terms of cinematography and I still think it's Deschanel's best.

I agree about the influences. I've read somewhere that Deschanel worked for Gordon Willis in the early 70's; the use of soft lights, warm tones and diffusion on this film reminds me of Hall's "Day of the Locust" and the hard, warm lights to simulate sun effects in a very theatrical way is pure Storaro.

John Toll also has this roots, as he assisted and operated for people like John Alonzo, Daviau, Wexler, Hall himself and Jordan Cronenweth (Hall's former operator, too). Cronenweth, of couse, is most remembered by "Blade Runner", but he also shot a film like "Peggy Sue Got Married" in a style very close to "The Natural" (and he won the first ASC award in 1987).
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