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The Other Boleyn Girl. Video


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#1 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 04:00 AM

It immediately struck me seeing the trailer and then seeing the clips at home on TV. I saw they used the Genesis. I haven't seen the film yet so if anyone has, is there something about the project that supports the video look for this period piece? I'm simply curious. Any theories on why, of all genres, would you record it this way?
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 04:20 AM

Guess we'll have to wait and see how it looks.

The film looks weak to me. Sure, it's nice to have Portman and Johanssen in a film together. But recently they've both had some poor performances with British accents (Goya's Ghost and The Prestige, respectively).
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#3 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 02:04 PM

I would be interested in seeing it in digital and film projection, to compare and see the differences.
It's a small film so that might be hard to find even in L.A.
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#4 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 05:03 PM

It doesn't appear to be very small. It's now getting national commercial time on network TV. With the cast and sets that I saw it's obvious the little savings, if any, by using video could not have been a big issue which is why I'm confused even more. I saw the trailer projected both ways and, in that case, it stuck out equally to me.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 04:06 AM

Just saw a clip from the film on Letterman (Portman was a guest, and wearing a very interesting outfit). It looks like they really went to town in giving the film an antique, almost sepia look while still preserving a lot of chroma in the greens. Similar to what was done with "O Brother Where Art Thou", but less yellow, more brown.

It looks like a trick they might have employed to hide the skintone issue which occurs in some films shot with the Genesis (namely Superman Returns). Again, it was just a clip from a talk show, my TV isn't 100% calibrated, and that clip probably isn't anywhere close to the final product. But I'm more intrigued to go see it now.
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#6 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 04:14 AM

Just got back from seeing the movie. I did not attend it to pick it apart but I have to say, and with all due respect to anyone who might have worked on it, this is the worst looking period film I have ever seen. It actually worries me a little it was so poorly recorded. Is this what producers are being talked into now? I'm baffled that someone would choose this route after doing any kind of basic testing.

Some of the most disturbing shots with Portman are in her close-ups. Often her skin tones were something I can only describe as bizarre. Bronze, almost green or amber at times, I really don't know how else to put it. Even some of the opening shots of a field were blown out with a lot of heavy underexposure in the shadows. There were other times when a complex costume's texture was disturbed by video artifacts. Also when there was fire in a fireplace, it was usually white. At least one of the fire shots had some strange artifacts as it was blown way out. People attack the highlight control issues with these cameras, and those were obvious many times, but there are other, bigger issues to me than that.

I was able to discuss the movie with a 25yo female friend of a friend, who was also attending and who is a big period film fan and I'll share what she said. She first talked about how the book was better, etc., I said "oh really... interesting, I haven't read it. etc.". Later I worked in the question "How did it look to you overall?". She said, "Well, I dont know... it's like it was too bright or something... or something wasn't very authentic... it's like it was more of a TV movie or something, I dont know.". I didn't get into anything technical of course. She then bought up how the two lead girls didn't look so great a lot of the time. I didn't share my thoughts with them, only listened.
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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 03:04 AM

...it's like it was more of a TV movie or something, I dont know."


Well, the Director and DP have worked mainly in TV, that probably has something to do with hit.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 09:22 PM

I went back and forth between two theaters on Saturday, watching parts of "10,000 B.C." and "The Other Boleyn Girl". Neither were interesting enough to sit through, though I'd say that "10,000 B.C." was worse.

It's funny because before the movie began, I saw the trailer for "Speed Racer" (shot on the F23) and it's so wacky that it's hard to say anything about how it looks, other than it seems pretty sharp & clean, sort of plasticy. Then the first shot came up on the next trailer, something in dark blue-ish lighting, and I thought "ah, some film..." but it turned out to be the trailer for "Get Smart", shot on the Genesis. And it looked pretty "normal", not particularly digital.

Then "10,000 B.C." started and it looked like a Super-35 D.I., which it was. Some twilight suff was a bit underexposed and grainy / noisy and I saw a chattery key in one shot. But the sunny day exterior stuff in the desert looked good, though not as good as the desert stuff in "Stargate" shot in anamorphic.

I snuck into "The Other Boleyn Girl" and noticed how darkish and harsh the day exterior work was. But the overcast and scenes shot in the shade looked good. The interiors were mixed, some quite nice, some sort of odd-looking. There is this phenomenon that I can't quite describe where desaturated skintones look "metallic" on digitally-shot movies. But one soft moonlit scene looked quite nice, clean, noiseless blues. I didn't feel that for a 1.85 movie there was much difference in resolution compared to some 35mm 1.85 movies I've seen. It was just the timing of the day exterior work that bothered me a little. But I got used to it. I was a little surprised that the candlelit scenes shot on the Genesis were not done in low-light to take advantage of any extra sensitivity of the camera or ability to push the image -- it was clean-looking but artificially lit looking.

Then I snuck back in to see a few more scenes in "10,000 B.C." and of course, was struck by how film looks like film, whatever that means. Partly I mean that it looked the way movies usually looked.

Some history lesson now...

After seeing part of "The Other Boleyn Girl", I got curious as to the politics of this because the two girls were pushed into their affairs with Henry VIII by their ambitious uncle (their mother's brother) Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk.

I was curious because Norfolk is the main protangonist to Elizabeth I in the movie "Elizabeth", which I just rewatched. Which seemed odd since Norfolk and Elizabeth (being Anne Boleyn's daughter) would have to be related if this was the same Norfolk.

Looking things up in Wikipedia...

Turns out that it is even more twisted -- Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, did benefit politically from Mary's and then Anne's affairs with Henry VIII, especially when Anne became queen. But to save his own skin, he was the chief judge who condemned his own niece and nephew, Anne and her brother George, to death.

Then he pushed another pretty niece, Catherine Howard, into an affair with Henry. She became queen but was also executed for adultery.

Soon Henry was sick of Norfolk's scheming and sentenced him and his son (a poet) to death. They executed his son, but Henry VIII died before they executed Norfolk.

He sat in prison all through the reign of young Edward but was released by Mary I. He led the army that defeated Wyatt's Rebellion, which was a protest against Mary marrying the Catholic king of Spain, Philip II (the one who later sent the Armada).

You see, the Howards were staunchly Catholic, so they supported Mary I. Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey were linked to Wyatt's Rebellion, so they imprisoned Elizabeth and executed Lady Jane.

Since Howard's son had been executed, when Howard died soon after Wyatt's Rebellion, his grandson became the Duke of Norfolk, and he's the character in "Elizabeth" who keeps plotting against her (played by the new Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleson).

Elizabeth executed Norfolk for being involved in a plot to marry Mary Queen of Scots and seize power for himself. But technically, I realize that they must be cousins of some sort.

So the irony, to me, seems to be that Thomas Howard's scheming for power using his nieces, despite being very Catholic, caused the whole crisis in England that created the Church of England... plus it got his son and his grandson executed.
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#9 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 03:00 AM

It all sounds like the storyline from some old Gothic novel...only it actually happened.
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 09:23 AM

...........it's like it was too bright or something... or something wasn't very authentic... it's like it was more of a TV movie or something, I dont know.". I didn't get into anything technical of course. She then bought up how the two lead girls didn't look so great a lot of the time. I didn't share my thoughts with them, only listened.

Good research! You're onto something here: Women respond emotionally to things that don't look and sound right. They often will have difficulty telling you exactly what's bothering them but it is real. This doesn't necessarily apply to all women, I suspect Spikey Annie could tell us exactly where the lab screwed up processing the negative causing the lead actress to look like she's coming off the flu.

A good example is radio stations and how aggressively they process their sound. Skilled engineers responsible for setting up the audio chains at radio stations pay attention to what is the station's target audience. If it's a soft rock station looking for female listeners the sound is set up a lot more natural, not squashed like a hard rocker will be. Hollywood may be catching onto there being a parallel effect in image acquistion and post processing in film/video. If it's a chick or date flick don't get carried away with video acquistion and/or image/color manipulation. "300" could get away with anything but "Knocked Up" and "The Devil Wears Prada" were 35mm acquistion with DI's and had pretty naturalistic looks to them.
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 10:42 AM

It might be interesting if the old days of performers specifying camera by contract came back. Natalie has the most marketable face that I think I have ever seen in movies. This latest production is a near hazard to her marketability. She would obviously benefit from contracting the format as well as the lenses.
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#12 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 05:40 PM

I snuck into "The Other Boleyn Girl" and noticed how darkish and harsh the day exterior work was. But the overcast and scenes shot in the shade looked good. The interiors were mixed, some quite nice, some sort of odd-looking. There is this phenomenon that I can't quite describe where desaturated skintones look "metallic" on digitally-shot movies.

I've found that digital always looks best in low-con & slightly bluish scenes. Anything high-con or warm and you can immediately tell that it's video. It was the case with DIs as well, but recently they have gotten much better.
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#13 Michel Hafner

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 12:05 PM

It might be interesting if the old days of performers specifying camera by contract came back. Natalie has the most marketable face that I think I have ever seen in movies. This latest production is a near hazard to her marketability. She would obviously benefit from contracting the format as well as the lenses.

Does any actor have that kind of clout? And is it not rather a shooting and grading issue than a format issue?
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#14 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 01:49 PM

Does any actor have that kind of clout? And is it not rather a shooting and grading issue than a format issue?


Way back when I looked at issues of BKSTS journals at the LA library, there were Fuji ads in which Yul Brynner said he puts it in his contracts that he can only be filmed with Fujicolor stocks.

& Elizabeth Taylor's contract for 'Cleopatra' said it had to be photographed in Todd-AO.
She is the Widow Todd aftre all.
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#15 Michel Hafner

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 05:35 AM

The Blu Ray of this from the DI files looks remarkable. Practically noiseless, squeaky clean, free of aliasing, no DNR, no obvious sharpening artifacts, well compressed. Images are graded flat at times and skin tones are sometimes unnatural looking (yellowish, greenish, golden...). Grading/shooting decision or Genesis problem, who knows.
Overall a demo disc for a certain look different from film and regular HD camera as well. The opening shots in nature are gorgeous.
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#16 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 12:00 AM

Then the first shot came up on the next trailer, something in dark blue-ish lighting, and I thought "ah, some film..." but it turned out to be the trailer for "Get Smart", shot on the Genesis. And it looked pretty "normal", not particularly digital.

Did you get a chance to see the action scenes on "Get Smart"? They don't look so great, that's where video just doesn't cut it. I'm not sure why that is, if it's the optics or the motion rendering, they look cheap (for a lack of a better word). Same thing happened on Apocalypto, the action scenes in the jungle had that same videoish feel.
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#17 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 12:03 AM

Sorry, the first paragraph is David's quote, I'm not sure why didn't come up as a quote.
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#18 Niall Chadwick

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 06:39 AM

Wow David, nice research!

Im a major history buff, and such information I love to read. Am currently reading a book about the princes in the tower. Also have one next about Warwick the Kingmaker. A story that I would dearly love to turn into a film. If I get that far, Ill give you a call David. Will need a history buff as DP :)

Oh yes, noone does history, double dealing, treachery and bonce-chopping like the english! :D
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