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Sunshine's 50/50 mirror effect


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#1 James W

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 08:07 AM

I've just finished listening to Danny Boyle's commentary on the director's track of the film Sunshine. In it he mentions briefly an in-camera method that the cinematographer Alwin Küchler employed. To destort the images of the "villan" Boyle says that a 50/50 mirror technique was used. He vaguley describes the use of two cameras, one shot straight the other through a mirror, and then combined in post. Has anyone used this technique or got any good references to where I can further explore it's technical details and other examples of it's use?

Thanks!
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 01:28 PM

Can you post stills or describe how it's distorting the villain? Just "distorting" is kind of vague.
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#3 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:46 AM

There is a great article on Sunshine in the last (Aug?) American Cinematographer, where the process of shooting through a prism is explained in great detail. Unfortunately, I don't have that issue at hand, so I can't paraphrase at the moment.
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#4 Vanessa Whyte

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 12:12 PM

I've just finished listening to Danny Boyle's commentary on the director's track of the film Sunshine. In it he mentions briefly an in-camera method that the cinematographer Alwin Küchler employed. To destort the images of the "villan" Boyle says that a 50/50 mirror technique was used. He vaguley describes the use of two cameras, one shot straight the other through a mirror, and then combined in post. Has anyone used this technique or got any good references to where I can further explore it's technical details and other examples of it's use?

Thanks!


I think what they did is set up the 50/50 mirror, so that one camera shoots straight on, and another, at 90 degrees to the first, shoots into a mirror at 45 degrees to the actor; thus the two cameras shoot exactly the same image. With the second (or 'B' camera), they used lens diopters in front of the camera lens to distort the image of Pinbacker at the end (such as when his arm stretches towards the camera). The benefit of the 50/50 system is that Boyle had two versions of the same takes to play with. One clean, and one with the distorted image. Hope that makes some sense!
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 12:30 PM

I think what they did is set up the 50/50 mirror, so that one camera shoots straight on, and another, at 90 degrees to the first, shoots into a mirror at 45 degrees to the actor; thus the two cameras shoot exactly the same image. With the second (or 'B' camera), they used lens diopters in front of the camera lens to distort the image of Pinbacker at the end (such as when his arm stretches towards the camera). The benefit of the 50/50 system is that Boyle had two versions of the same takes to play with. One clean, and one with the distorted image. Hope that makes some sense!


So the mirror is a half-silvered distorted mirror and your first camera (the "straight on" camera) is shooting through it? I've still never seen the movie (in the year and a half since this post) so I'm just trying to clarify.

Edited by Chris Keth, 06 April 2009 - 12:30 PM.

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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 06:33 PM

So the mirror is a half-silvered distorted mirror and your first camera (the "straight on" camera) is shooting through it? I've still never seen the movie (in the year and a half since this post) so I'm just trying to clarify.


I'm not sure how much seeing the movie will help but I just wanted to say that you should see the movie anyway! I bought a copy off amazon for 20p a few weeks back so maybe you can do something similar, although maybe it's cheaper to get over here with it being a local film and all.

I know the movie didn't get great reviews, and some of the premise may seem a bit far fetched (unlike most sci-fi movies that feature intestellar travel, lazer guns, and teleportation) especially given the time frame, but I want to argue that this film is actually really quite good. Theres quite a bit of intresting cinematography in it, a lot of it not that original but all done really well. The spaceship is great, and the soundtrack is awesome except towards the end when the music goes off the boyle a little. It has some nice touches in the plot, I especially liked the psychologist who is clearly a good deal more bonkers than the people he is supposed to be treating. In places it's actually quite intelligent and well thought out.

Although it is a bit of a collage of things clearly stolen from various places, I think it actually works really well in this respect and the sum sort of becomes greater than the parts, in the sense that the parts create something new. I think the film is a far far better movie than 28 days later which was basically a remake/rip off of the BBC production of day of the triffids and IMHO not as good to boot. It's main claim to fame being it was shot on a camcorder. While Sunshine is also openly derivative in a way, it is derivative of composite parts from different sources which can be said of a lot of good films in a way.

I know it's not saying much but this is one of the best films to have come out of the UK film industry for a long time.

The critics are wrong, this film is worth checking out.

love

Freya

Edited by Freya Black, 06 April 2009 - 06:36 PM.

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