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bad cinematography


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#1 Niki Mundo

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:49 PM

I'm not interested in what makes a quality picture. Everything is so pretty perfect these days. Sharp, perfectly exposed fascist imagery. All brought to you by the media complex that is currently bleeding out taking the spent maggot baby boomers with it. Hipster chic demands that I head in the opposite direction and seek out examples of "bad cinematography".. flat, poorly lit, out of focused, boom in the shot, etc..
What are some examples of badly shot films I should check out? I'm thinking larger, like "1492"

Thanks!
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#2 Keneu Luca

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 02:33 PM

When it comes to good and bad cinematography, I'm sure most people will often say it is subjective. I think with art in general, when it comes to quality, the only way to measure is this:

1 - is the artist being truthful to themselves in their objective with their art
1 - is the artist trying to manipulate, enlighten, provoke, or entertain their audience
2 - how do they intend to accomplish this
3 - did they succeed in their own mind

If the artist truly feels that they succeeded, then it is quality. But of course, we never really know what the artist is actually thinking and often they will bullshit their way through justifying themselves if they feel their credibility/talent/judgment is threatened.

What came to mind for me is The Larry Sanders Show. I love this show. I have the DVD set "Not Just the Best of..." The show was intentionally lit flat with zero theatricality. However, there are many times when I see the boom making a little cameo. I dont think the boom was intentional.

But you can watch a movie that you think has bad cinematography that someone else thinks has good cinematography and the two of you can argue til youre blue in the nuts. But what only matters is what the director and DP and art directors intentions were. And only they know that answer. And if you ask them, again, they may not even tell the truth if they want to justify whatever mistakes they think they made, but wont admit to.
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 04:38 AM

Well as a maggot baby boomer who actually enjoys watching a picture that doesn't bounce around the set like a demented pinball, is only reasonably blurry so you can actually see a face in there somewhere, appropriately lit so it's not completely blown out or so black, it doesn't matter whether it's in focus or not and without a glaring boom mic in the middle of the shot type of cinematography of the media complex which is currently bleeding out it's fascist imagery to make room for you brilliant teenage aurtures, it should be easy to find a multitude of opposite direction, hipster chic, bad, flat, poorly lit, out of focused, boom in the shot cinematography that is all the rage with the "Screw You!!! All I need is my parent's camcorder" crowd of young, angry, pissed off at the world,(and I use this term loosely), "film make....." Sorry, I just can't get the word out. Video hackers. Just go to You Tube, that's where most of them end up, there or on someone's personal web page, I'd check My Space"

Now if you want to see film done by people who cared more about content that technique, I'd check out another maggot baby boomer who was working from 1959 to 1986 as a director named John Cassavetes. See long before you young turks, in your case young turkettes, started this "It's ALLL about content, not how pretty it's filmed" revolution, John was making films that defined the revolution, then in 1995, 'bout the time you were maybe 6, Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg started a movement meant to be a return to pure cinema called Dogma 95 which simply took away most of the film tools available like lights, tripods, music, genres, titles, even credit for the director leaving basically the camera, the actors and the story. Then there was a guy named Harmony Korine who made some very good films on a video camera using Dogma techniques in the late 90s.

I've been thinking about it, Nikki. I think you made a mistake moving to LA. You actually would probably do better in NYC. The kind of anger, frustration and break the rules just for the sake of breaking them attitude seems to be nurtured more on the East coast than on the West. You seriously might want to think about a change.
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#4 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 05:55 AM

I think you need to think more about the films that YOU want to make and less about the films that OTHERS have made.
IMHO it's always better to fight FOR something rather than against SOMETHING.
Stop ranting, save that energy and use it to start MAKING.
Just a bit of advice and not meant to be preachy.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 06:27 AM

Terrence Malick's "Badlands", which has great photography has not only a mic, but a boom in one shot. However, I'm certain that's due to people screening it in the wrong aspect ratio, because of the gate used in the camera didn't protect it against the techie stuff coming into shot.

Perhaps you should check out European "art house" cinema of the 1960s, but again they had a simple style, which suited their subject matter, rather than a polished Hollywood product.

Hipster chic, sounds rather superficial and lacking ideas.
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#6 Jason Maeda

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:10 PM

Niki i got your sarcasm. At the same time I don't think either argument can be made very definitively. There has always been a high-gloss standard to meet for many films (often bigger budget, wide audience pictures) as well as anti-perfectionists at work behind the camera, be it for artistic reasons or purely out of lack of interest (or money). Cloverfield was a big budget film that looked to intentionally run counter to the idea of pizzaz cinematography for a violently ultra-realistic effect, while The Blair Witch Project, a very similar film in style, did the same probably as a tactic to offset sparse production resources.

Stan Brakhage made amazing films without using a camera, forget lights and gloss! Blade Runner is a marvel of art direction and cinematography that continues to influence dp's twenty years later. (almost 30?)

Check out Hou Hsiao-hsien's work. It is absurdly beautiful, without resorting to common "prettification", and totally without artifice.


jm-k :ph34r:
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