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What Was Eastern Promise Shot On?


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#1 Statten Roeg

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:35 PM

I just saw the new Cronenberg movie Eastern Promise which was marvelous. While I was watching it I was trying to figure out what it was shot on. It was very grainy and a bit yellow so I thought that it was 16 to 35 blowup and used some kind of Antique Suede filter or something like that. Then in the credits it said there was DI and also there was a credit for HD rushes, so does that mean it was 35mm (does anyone do DI on 16 and would they DI the whole thing or just some of the sequences which they needed to manipulate for the gory parts) with some HD stuff or just that the rushes were delivered on HDCAM tapes? I guess they must have used a bit of variety but it all has a very unified effect. Does anyone have any info about this as the end result was a subtle strangeness across the whole film that was very effective and I would like to know how it was achieved.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:37 PM

I just saw the new Cronenberg movie Eastern Promise which was marvelous. While I was watching it I was trying to figure out what it was shot on. It was very grainy and a bit yellow so I thought that it was 16 to 35 blowup and used some kind of Antique Suede filter or something like that.


Gee, I thought it looked like normal 35mm 500 ASA grain -- and was rather blue-ish!
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#3 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 07:15 PM

I know what you mean, it didn't look terribly sharp because it went through a DI, which also made faces a bit plasticky at times.

From the bokeh I could deduct that it's shot on Primos.

Yesterday I went to the Academy tribute of Stanley Kubrick here in London and they showed different clips from his films, going from the 50s to the 90s. It was interesting to see how filmstock/lenses evolved over time in the pre-DI area. I thought the black & white filmclips looked very sharp and snappy, especially 'Paths of Glory'. Obvioulsy '2001' looked best ('Spartacus' was digitally projected), with lots of details even in the wider shots. I think it must have been a 70mm clip, but even if it was a 35mm print down, that still goes to show that there is much to be gained by originating in 70mm even for 35mm projection.

It was a pleasure to see Oswald Morris come on stage. He spoke about how Kubrick asked him to go for a wartime MGM look for 'Lolita' which meant very few dark night scenes, bright day scenes (we want to see the sets was the motto at the time) and a glossy sheen, which he achjieved by shooting with diffusion filters. These filters didn't exist at the time in England so Kubrick imediately got him 2 sets from the US. The film then did not look as crisp as earlier black and white films. The same seemed to be true for 'Dr Strangelove' where the wide shots of the War Room could not compare once again to the 70mm material.

Of the later films is was interesting to see the blue fringing/flare that one gets from shooting with Superspeeds into windows. It was evident in 'Barry Lyndon', 'The Shinning' and 'Full Metal Jacket'. ''Barry Lyndon' obviously is a more diffused film as well and I quite liked that. Some of the candle light scenes felt clearly sofer than the other stuff (even the diffused zoom shots), but they had a very nice feel.

The exterior clip from 'Full Metal Jacket' looked very nice, much sharper than 'Eyes Wide Shut' for instance, where they showed an interior night scene.

All in all these films really made me aware that with 2K DIs sharpness has really gone downhill. Also it's sad that real black & white has almost completely disappeared nowadays, it looks just exquisite!
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#4 Statten Roeg

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 08:57 PM

Well I don't want to contradict Mr. Mullen considering his expertise while I am just a lowly loader, but the print I saw was definitely grainy as hell, perhaps it is living in Europe and getting hand me downs from the American theatre circuit (would that make any difference though?). I did think some of the faces looked plasticky, especially the bald barber, they had just shown a trailer for Beowulf beforehand and in the first shot I almost thought that something similar was going on (although not looking so much like a shoddy video game intro), I didn't know that DI could do that. Unless you are going to really mess around in post why would you bother with DI if there is this downside?

PS that history of lighting was very interesting, I particularly like the let them see the sets line, so often nowadays with all these face shots I keep finding myself begging the director to go to the wide so we can see some of the set...
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:02 PM

Well I don't want to contradict Mr. Mullen considering his expertise while I am just a lowly loader, but the print I saw was definitely grainy as hell, perhaps it is living in Europe and getting hand me downs from the American theatre circuit (would that make any difference though?).


Interesting, the print I saw really wasn't abnormally grainy, and it was quite sharp compared to most films that are coming out these days.

I've seen some production stills of Cronenberg with the camera, and it appears they slapped on an LED ringlight to the front of the lens. I don't know how often, but just thinking back to my mental screen captures, it added a really sleek and stylish look to the scenes where it was intended.

The only place I recall there being some grain was perhaps the night scene at the spot where they dumped a body previously. It's possible that sequence was given a push, considering the intensity of the scene.
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