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Recreating Delicatessen


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#1 Markus Lanxinger

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 11:50 AM

Hey Guys,

For one of my classes I had to select a scene out of a movie I like and try to match the lighting and camera style of the selected clip. A couple of movies later I settled down for Delicatessen, shot by Darius Khondji, specifically this scene here:

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Now, I know that a lot of the look in delicatessen is achieved with art direction and production design. Nevertheless I wanna match the lighting and the look of the film as close as possible, without paying too much attention to the color of the furniture in the background. So I started to do some research on this forum and via google:

What it finally comes down to is that the film was shot on an emulsion that is no longer available. As David Mullen, ASC noted in a post, a lot of Khondji's approach is to take a low-contrast filmstock and then pushing it and applying the ENR process to the print. So I was surfing on Kodaks website a bit and settled on a similar filmstock (100T) 7212 (as I am going to be shooting 16), which has very fine grain and a very wide latitude. I am probably going to do a telecine transfer and nailing down the final look in Apple's Color because my school doesn't pay for an expensive ENR process. Should I attempt to push process to strech the contrast a bit before doing a telecine or should I all nail it down in post? I am probably going to be using Zeiss superspeeds lenses that open up to a T1.4. Depth of field in this scene isn't that great so they maybe settled for a 2 or 2.8.

Obviously this scene has a very warm look to it so I was thinking about using a 1/4 CTO on all the lights I am going to use in this scene and also apply camera filtration in form of an LLD or chocolate filter. As for the lighting in this scene the main lightsource seems to be coming from the windows which appears to be some sort of diffusion material (maybe bleach muslin) with a hard light source shining through it. As for her fill I was thinking of setting up a white card on a stand, which I can move in and out until I arrive at the right contrast ratio. For the guy is was thinking of employing a kino flo unit (tungsten) gelled with 1/4 cto - The ratio on his face seems to be lower than on her in this scene. As for the close-ups I am just gonna move in the bounce card and kino flo and I am maybe going to use a mini-flo on camera to give them a nice little eyelight. Now as I noticed on the table and the tea bowl, there are obviously some cores of lightsources that mirror. The might have employed another light on her instead of filling in with a white card. The tea bowl obviously has 2 shadows, one coming from the light through the window and one coming from off-screen camera left pretty much dead on.

Do you guys have any recommendations and thoughts about that scene and about my approach. Am I heading the right direction ...

thanks in advance for your help.
markus
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 12:26 PM

I assume you are on a stage, hence all tungsten lighting.

I would just shoot the 16mm 7212 normally -- Khondji was shooting in 35mm afterall.

It appears that he had a hard light shining through the window, raking the table and tea kettle, but by also passing through curtain sheers, the glow from the sheers was enough the light the wall by the window, I don't think he needed a second soft light coming thru at that angle, but maybe he did anyway.

There is an overhead soft light slightly left of the woman. There is also frontal fill light, probably a Kino.

You can add the contrast and some of the warmth in post. Since everything is warm in the frame, warming it up in post or with a warming filter (the LLD isn't really appropriate for that, something more like a 1/4 Coral would work better) might be simpler than gelling lights.
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#3 Jon Kukla

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 02:35 PM

There is an overhead soft light slightly left of the woman. There is also frontal fill light, probably a Kino.


How do you figure? I'm just wondering bc I would've guessed the other way around - his forehead reflection and fill light angle look to me like an overhead, while her arm shadow and level of illumination down her left side look more like a Kino on a stand. Of course, you've been doing this far longer than me, but I'm curious what your analysis method is. :)
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 05:27 PM

It could be that the overhead soft light is dead overhead and she's getting some fill from the side... it's just that the light on the teapot suggests the overhead is slightly in front and to camera left, as does the shadow of his hand on the table. Just seems to me that the overhead is centered more over the flowers on the left side of the table. But it could be that there is a lot of fill from camera left creating that effect.
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 07:01 PM

Shadows and reflections are always the giveaway. It's clear to me that there are two fill sources; one to the left of the woman and one above camera for the man. Look at the woman's right arm; there's a clear core shadow down the middle, and a cast shadow going sideways across the table. Now look at the man's nose and chin shadow; they're going almost straight down. And the teapot tells the whole story -- two specular reflections near the top, just where you would expect them to be.

I'm also second-guessing Khondji's approach based on interviews and behind-the-scenes images. He's prone to work in a soft fill light wherever it's needed, rather than stick to any strict logical approach of where fill light would realistically come from. He may have started with a side-fill for the woman, but then later added something for the man.
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#6 Markus Lanxinger

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 12:16 PM

thanks for all your input so far. I am going to be shooting next Thursday.
I am going to upload some results when I get the footage telecined and have worked a bit on it in post.

cheers
markus
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#7 Clément Brewer

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 01:50 PM

I think D.K also flashed his film stock using the panaflasher or in a lab, giving this particular hue to the shadows.
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#8 Markus Lanxinger

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 02:11 PM

I think D.K also flashed his film stock using the panaflasher or in a lab, giving this particular hue to the shadows.


yes, he actually flashed the negative with 1/8 or 1/4 CTO or CTB according to the needs of the scene. Sometimes he just turned it off to get the full contrast.

does anyone know where I can rent a Arri Varicon in LA for a 16mm SR2 and for a decent price :-).

thanks
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#9 Jon Kukla

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 08:23 AM

The Varicon isn't camera-specific, because it slides into the Arri matte box (takes up a full 2-stage section). Khondji definitely never used the Panaflasher prior to Seven, because he mentioned choosing the Panaflex for that film since he'd never worked with Panavision cameras before.
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