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Cinematography and Chinese Painting


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#1 Antoine Mocquet

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 02:45 PM

I'm actually in preproduction of a short movie shot in 35mm.
It relates the life and death of a chinese painter.

For this film, I'ld like this visual style:

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extracts from Te Wei's Feelings of Mountains and Waters


Which film, filters and/or film process would you use to obtain this kind of desaturates colors and hightlights in the same picture?

I'm looking for examples in anothers "reals" movies, if somebody has already seen or made this kind of pictures, please let me know....

Thanks
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#2 Sam Wells

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 06:39 PM

not really desat but take a look at Hou Hsiao-hsien's "The Puppetmaster"

-Sam
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 09:14 PM

These choices are shaped by how I see those paintings turned into a movie, but I would suggest you watch "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Snow Falling On Cedars."
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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 04:55 PM

Watercolors and Film are two different mediums and will never look the same, regardless of filtration or lab process.

The best you can do is to examine how those watercolors are composed, and more importantly, how they make you feel, and then try to transpose that to your cinematography.

no-one else can tell you how to do that, because it's down to a personal interpretation of art.
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 08:11 PM

Watercolors and Film are two different mediums and will never look the same, regardless of filtration or lab process.

The best you can do is to examine how those watercolors are composed, and more importantly, how they make you feel, and then try to transpose that to your cinematography.

no-one else can tell you how to do that, because it's down to a personal interpretation of art.


And, of course, there is Tiffen's excellent "Sumi Ink and Watercolor" filter.
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#6 Valerio Sacchetto

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 07:38 AM

And, of course, there is Tiffen's excellent "Sumi Ink and Watercolor" filter.


Oh yeah, used it last year, i'm totally going to buy a set. Priceless.
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#7 Jason Reimer

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 01:54 PM

If it were me, (I'm going to go with this since it seems like you're asking what each of us would do if we were in your shoes) I would go for a low-contrast look (whether it's with a filter of some sort, film stock choices, etc), and probably use longer lenses to flatten the perspective a bit. Then it would be up to you to find different angles for your compositions so that you can still fit in all the information you want to convey, using those longer lenses for the flatter perspective. I would probably also go for more shots that are either static (mounted on a tripod or something), or if the camera did need to move, I'd want it to either be on a dolly or a really smooth steadicam move.

But then again, this is my interpretation of those images and what you've said you're trying to do. Everyone's going to have something different. Let us know how it turns out, though.
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#8 Eric Clark

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 01:27 AM

The qualities of these paintings that strike me the most are the rich blacks, desaturated colors, and the "soft" qualities created by the watercolor seeping into the paper. In this regard, I would choose a stock with rich blacks, avoiding stocks which dig deeper into the blacks. In addition to this I might pull the stock to draw some of the color off the emulsion. For the softer qualities of the water color, you could play with a variety of filters... White Mist, Soft FX, or Double Fog could all be tested.
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#9 Antoine Mocquet

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 09:47 AM

One year later....

We've finally chosen a pull-process at 2 stops, to obtain rich blacks and a contrast of soft and "hard" whites.
We've shot with Fuji 8573 500T
No filters

Pictures extracted from D.I

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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 01:24 AM

One year later....

We've finally chosen a pull-process at 2 stops, to obtain rich blacks and a contrast of soft and "hard" whites.
We've shot with Fuji 8573 500T
No filters

Pictures extracted from D.I

Posted Image

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Well done, Antoine. I think the heavy pull was a fine choice. The colors and contrast seem exactly right for what you set out to achieve. Do you have any exterior stills? I would love to see what those look like.
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#11 Antoine Mocquet

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 06:01 AM

Well done, Antoine. I think the heavy pull was a fine choice. The colors and contrast seem exactly right for what you set out to achieve. Do you have any exterior stills? I would love to see what those look like.


Sorry I don't have any exterior stills. We shot some scenes in exterior but we did'nt keep it in the movie.
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#12 David Rakoczy

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 07:43 AM

To me, it is not as much about the saturation or desaturation as much as it is about perspective... or the lack of 'authentic' perspective. Items seem to just hang in the air with little regard to true perspective. This is what I find interesting and have pondered doing something similar on Film for quite some time.

btw.. this style goes beyond China... Japanese Artwork as well.
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