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overexposure in "Mystic River" on HBO?


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 08:55 PM

I just watched most of "Mystic River" again, on HBO, and in several shots of characters
on the sidewalks in front of their houses, the houses in the background were so hot
that
they were almost white. I don't remember this from when I saw it in the theater a
couple
of years ago. I can't think of any times though when I've ever seen something on HBO
or any cable channel that jumps out as so egregious and be something that I haven't
noticed before. It's one thing to let a window blow out but the background of the street
in shots like this is typically not something we're used to seeing be way overexposed
to the point of what I would consider too much. Even a litle light on the actors could
have balanced things out i think without making them seem conspicuosly lighted.

Also, there are some day shots in the street where Kevin Bacon's eye sockets are
dark
and his eyes can't be seen, at least as I just saw it on cable, that would normally be
addressed with even just a bit of light.


Anybody know about this?

I found an article from a post in an old thread which seems to skirt these questions.


FROM: http://www.cameragui...ine/stoo903.htm

Another aspect of Stern?s approach to creating ?accidental? light can be seen in certain key scenes where he lit elements with as much as twelve stops of range from brightest to darkest. ?We anchored the blacks at four to five stops under our exposure, and for the highlights we went as much as eight stops over,? he says. ?Then we?d have the actor step into the light during the scene. For example, in one scene, we see Sean Penn?s character come through a very dark passageway and then step into the light, where he?s viewing the body of his daughter in the mortuary. It?s a fantastic performance, and I hope the audience will be totally moved by it.?

ALSO:

Stern notes that this powerful and dramatically lit scene was quite simple in execution. ?Throughout the making of this film, the struggle for me was to make it as simple as possible,? he says. ?Often we?d be thinking of adding an eyelight or a bit of fill. Clint would look through the eyepiece, and we?d turn it on and off. Invariably he?d say let?s go with it off. He?s into the same drill. If we can do it with one light rather than two, that usually suits him also.?



ALSO:

Reflectors were used extensively throughout the film, usually on the fill side to pick up some ambience or an edge of the keylight, and to redirect some of that light to the fill side. In most cases it was very subtle, however, just reflecting in the shine of the skin. ?We used the reflectors as almost more of an eyelight,? Stern says. ?There is such tension between these three characters. There are a lot of internal emotions beneath the surface of this movie. I felt that the audience needed to have access to the internal life of the characters, so I tried to keep eyelights going, especially when we?d get in close. Often it was done with a small reflector thrown in at the last moment.?
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 05:31 AM

It really could be just about anything. I watched it on DVD as well as theatrical and didn't note the problems you had. With HBO however your taking a signal, bouncing it off one satellite at least, maybe more. Several MPEG compressions down chain are used to get it to you. one as the signal leaves HBO's office up to the satellite and down to your cable channel, likely at least 1 more at your cable office and as many as 3 re compressions before its eventually played out down the digital cable system. Every re compression depending on the system can induce losses, especially to the toe or heal, since thats MPEGs blind zone.

How many times on this site has someone posted a production still only to say 'my JPEG compressor made it dark, or cut the highlights' or this or that. Re-compression is dropping what engineers considered 'unimportant'. Judging cinematography on a digital cable site is like judging it on you-tube or netflix internet video. It not really representative of what it looks like.
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#3 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 08:32 AM

It really could be just about anything. I watched it on DVD as well as theatrical and didn't note the problems you had. With HBO however your taking a signal, bouncing it off one satellite at least, maybe more. Several MPEG compressions down chain are used to get it to you. one as the signal leaves HBO's office up to the satellite and down to your cable channel, likely at least 1 more at your cable office and as many as 3 re compressions before its eventually played out down the digital cable system. Every re compression depending on the system can induce losses, especially to the toe or heal, since thats MPEGs blind zone.

How many times on this site has someone posted a production still only to say 'my JPEG compressor made it dark, or cut the highlights' or this or that. Re-compression is dropping what engineers considered 'unimportant'. Judging cinematography on a digital cable site is like judging it on you-tube or netflix internet video. It not really representative of what it looks like.




Thanks, Michael.


If you watched it on DVD and in the theater and didn't see those things either, then it must be the cable
signal. I know that image quality can suffer but I've never seen anything diminish quite like that,
especially when all seemed normal otherwise, i.e. it wasn't as if there were a hurricane shaking
every connector and every t.v channel were freaking out.
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 11:02 PM

I would surmise it's not the HBO signal because their stuff is usually right on. I can't see a cable company not tending to their pay channels first and foremost.

Perhaps in theater projection the brightness of the film projector made it all sort of work. The ultra dark portions of the scene had these beautifully dark tonal qualities, and the lighter backgrounds didn't completely blow out because ultimately the projection is going through a piece of film which has its own depth and layers to it.

Now take another film print with the exact same contrast values and transfer it to video and perhaps that is where the problems started, it's unlikely the transfer to video can match the way that same film looks when projected through a film projection system.

What is the film about by the way?
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#5 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 02:17 PM

I would surmise it's not the HBO signal because their stuff is usually right on. I can't see a cable company not tending to their pay channels first and foremost.

Perhaps in theatre projection the brightness of the film projector made it all sort of work. The ultra dark portions of the scene had these beautifully dark tonal qualities, and the lighter backgrounds didn't completely blow out because ultimately the projection is going through a piece of film was a film with it's own depth and layers to it.

Now take another film print with the exact same contrast values and transfer it to video and perhaps that is where the problems started.

What is the film about by the way?



"Mystic River" is about three childhood friends who grew up and lead very different lives, shaped much
by an assault on one of them at a young age. Excellent movie.
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Wooden Camera

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

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