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Diffusion Filtration in "Deliverence"


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#1 Joe Taylor

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 01:14 PM

While watching the HD DVD release of "Deliverence" the opening scenes at the backwoods gas station, I've noticed that most of the shots have a real nice, but subtle, diffused look. Does anybody know something about the production of "Deliverence" and what sort of techniques where used in the photography? If in-camera was used, I'd like to know what kinds of filters were used. I really like that look.
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#2 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 05:58 PM

I've seen the HD DVD.

The early scenes look like a mix of different techniques, depending on the scene: flashed negative, low-contrast and double-fog filters. Plus most of the picture was shot using anamorphic zoom lenses, which contribute to reduce the contrast and overall sharpness. The second half of the film still has some diffusion effects, but less heavier than the first half.

Check any other film shot by DP Vilmos Zsigmond from "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" to "Heaven's Gate" to find a similar approach to contrast and diffusion.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 09:08 PM

I've double-checked five sources of info on the movie (two AC articles, Masters of Light interview, and AFI interview, and Image Control) and none of them mention filtration being used (Zsigmond and Boorman are insistant that no flashing or fog filters were used). However, as you say, there are shots where it's clear that something like a Double-Fog was being used:

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I know that they wanted to shoot the movie under overcast skies, so using the mild Double-Fog or Low-Con might have been an attempt to get the sunny shots to match the lower-contrast look of the overcast shots.
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#4 Byron Karl

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 10:20 PM

I don't have any information about filteration, but I do seem to recall something about the printing of Deliverence. I don't know if it's common knowledge, so I'll repeat it briefly. Perhaps Mr. Mullen can correct me if has access to the original AC article on this one.

Breifly, from what I recall they used a B&W print as a mask when printing so that they achieved something similiar to a present-day bleach bypass. So that the B&W print kept light from making the colors seem super saturated, by blocking the print negative frm getting dense. However, the B&W print mask would be clear where there was white light so maybe that was resulting in making the highlights bloom as in these shots.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 11:34 PM

I don't think they used a b&w print as a mask for printing the negative. I think that would tend to lower contrast, not increase it.

According to the articles I've read, they created a b&w dupe negative from the color negative and combined them in two passes to make a desaturated printing negative using the CRI process.

What you're thinking of is the day-for-night sequence, where they made a b&w hi-con dupe of daytime scenes to create a hold-out matte of the bright sky, which they then used in an optical printer to create a dupe where the sky was nearly blacked-out.

Those shots I posted clearly show the effects of a fog-type filter like a Double-Fog or Low-Con.
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