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Desert Films


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#1 Tebbe Schoeningh

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 10:39 PM

Hi!

For a 10 minute shortfilm which is going to be shot in a desert I´m searching for visual references such as photographys or movies, just to take a look how they are lit etc.
Any recomendations?

Thanks a lot

Tebbe
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 10:54 PM

Laurence of Arabia
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 10:58 PM

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0302674/
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 01:55 AM

Look at some of John Ford's work. You may not have Monument Valley to work with BUT I'm sure you can glean some inspiration from his work. ;)
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#5 Tom Lowe

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 10:38 AM

The Searchers, without question. One of the tricks in the desert is to keep your skies from blowing out, and the Searchers does a pretty decent job of that. Not to mention what a superb job it does in showing the expansiveness of those deserts.

I'd bring some graduated NDs. You won't always be able to use them, but they may come in handy sometimes.
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#6 Tebbe Schoeningh

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 11:30 AM

Thanks a lot, guys!
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:26 PM

Oh, I also really enjoyed the desert scenes in Syriana.

Also it depends a lot on what kind of "desert," you mean. Technically, Antartica is a desert as well, so March of the Penguins :P
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#8 John Holland

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:30 PM

I dont agree with Tom , i would blow the skys out gives the idea of an even more intense heat if you have nice blue skys and sand ,ends up looking like a postcard on a beach somewhere .
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:33 PM

IN terms of the skies, I think it would depend on what else is in the frame. I think an endless expanse of desert with some mountains in the background with blue skies might contrast more than with blown out skies. But this is a matter of taste and the film itself.
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#10 John Holland

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:40 PM

Yes it is and type of subject matter [ nice happy trip in the desert ] or some sort of nightmare lost and scared in the wilderness.
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 01:42 PM

3 Kings, Blackhawk Down, Pitch Black, and Dune (the sci-fi one shot by Storaro) all have some non-standard treatment of deserts. I especially like the look of Pitch Black before it gets all...well...pitch black.

You might also PM Stuart Brereton on this board. I pulled focus him on a feature shot in Nevada on an f900r and I think he did a superb job with the way it looks.

Edited by Chris Keth, 25 July 2008 - 01:45 PM.

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#12 Tebbe Schoeningh

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 02:09 PM

In fact there is a certain trangresion of the main caracter. first it´s the one-man-lost-in-the-desert-thing and later on he finds a guy who helps him to kind of get out of there.
shooting location isn´t certain yet, but probably it´ll be a desert in the north of patagonia. it´s more like a steppe...
i like the idea of working with graded ND´s, I don´t think that the director wants a raw look like the one of no country for old man. i suppose there wont be any handheld shooting and if i´m getting right what he´s saying, he want´s a cleaner look, shooting on slow emulsions etc.
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#13 Tebbe Schoeningh

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 02:10 PM

@Chris: thanks! I´ll have in mind your suggestion and PM him!
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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 05:22 PM

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier had some interesting desert shooting in it as well. Mad Max the Road Warrior and Jarhead. (bored and going through my DVD collection. . .)
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#15 Joe Taylor

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 08:08 PM

Sergio Leone did the "American West" nicely with Spain. "The Proposition" also has excellent desert photography.

Check out my film, "Dead Lonesome" for some desert photography.

Part One:

Part Two:
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#16 Brian Rose

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 08:15 PM

If you can find a copy (I believe you can get the VHS through amazon), Erich Von Stroheim's "Greed" is a good source. The finale was shot on location in Death Valley. Sergio Leone did some great work in his "Man with No Name Trilogy" as well, in terms of conveying the wind, heat and dust. In addition to John Ford's more well known westerns, I would add one of his earlier films, "The Lost Patrol," as a fine example. The original version of "Flight of the Phoenix" is great too.

And it's already been mentioned, but it's worth mentioning again: Lawrence of Arabia. Freddie Young's photography of the African deserts is justifiably legendary. And Columbia Tristar just brought out a new two disc edition that utilizes the superbit transfer of the film (which has better clarity, and the proper colour balance).

Hope this helps!
Best,
BR
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#17 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 11:54 PM

If you can find a copy (I believe you can get the VHS through amazon), Erich Von Stroheim's "Greed" is a good source. The finale was shot on location in Death Valley. Sergio Leone did some great work in his "Man with No Name Trilogy" as well, in terms of conveying the wind, heat and dust. In addition to John Ford's more well known westerns, I would add one of his earlier films, "The Lost Patrol," as a fine example. The original version of "Flight of the Phoenix" is great too.

And it's already been mentioned, but it's worth mentioning again: Lawrence of Arabia. Freddie Young's photography of the African deserts is justifiably legendary. And Columbia Tristar just brought out a new two disc edition that utilizes the superbit transfer of the film (which has better clarity, and the proper colour balance).

Hope this helps!
Best,
BR


Or you can see a print tomorrow if you're near Glendale, CA. See my thread in the "On Screen" section for the details.
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#18 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 05:51 AM

Dune?

P
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#19 Tim Partridge

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 06:35 AM

Check out the Madonna video for FROZEN, directed by Chris Cunningham and DP'd by Darius Khondji:



A trendsetter for the high contrast, desaturated, bleached desert look that's been standard of recent.

Some of the best of the "flashiest" stylised desert scenes I have ever seen have been in post apocalyptic movies like Richard Stanley's DUST DEVIL and HARDWARE, both shot by music video specialist Steven Chivers:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

overexposing by a stop or two with a strong warming filter. I dare say that conceptually it's quite influenced by the effect Freddie Francis got from flashing the desert scenes in DUNE, even if the technical execution is completely different.


The Mad Max movies shot by Eggby and Semler are great too.

Like so much exterior work, if you want an interesting desert look, you have to bite the bullet and shoot around dawn or dusk. As soon as it's even remotely midday, the image gets flat and low contrast, unless you shoot from low angle into the sun with everything backlit (with a polar or grads), which gets rather restrictive.
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#20 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 02:42 PM

'March or Die' john Alton

'Legend of the Lost' jack cardiff

The storarro 'Dune' is all backings in a studio.
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