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CGI and Cinematography


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#1 Ad Dlugoszewski

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 01:28 PM

Hi,
I'm a Digital Film Production student and am currently researching the effect CGI has on cinematography for my dissertation. Was just wondering people's opinions on whether CGI is affecting the art of cinematography, if it is at all?ie what restrictions CGI puts on it etc.
Cheers for any feedback
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#2 Chris Durham

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 02:43 PM

I'd hazard to say its becoming more the other way round.

Cinematographers have had to deal with the "eccentricities" of visual effects for decades now. The methods may have evolved over the years, but the cinematic considerations are similar whether you're comping physical or CG models. What has changed is the necessity of the cinematographer to adapt to the visual characteristics of the digital domain as a whole - and I'm not talking about film vs video here. I mean that at the least a lot of films are destined for a DI which has characteristics more limited than film and that foreknowledge is more informing of the DP's process than the specifics of a CG comp. In fact I'd say that CGI informing cinematographic decisions is letting the cart lead the horse.

Now, if you look at things the other way, real-world cinematography is impacting CGI. The obvious example is Wall-E of course, which hired Roger Deakins as a consultant. But of course lighting is important to CG, and age-proven lighting techniques are even making their way into video games and such. I think for that it was just a matter of the tech getting there.
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#3 Ad Dlugoszewski

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 09:33 AM

Cheers for that.

Any other opinions??
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#4 Will Earl

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:23 PM

I think that there are certain aspects of CG that are affecting the way cinematography is done - previs is the main one (which I'll get to). And I think there are certain aspects of CG VFX that could learn more from cinematography. I think that the cinematographer could perhaps become more involved with the lighting in CG - but I think for that to happen the lighting tools within the computer need to become more familiar to the tools a cinematographer would use and be usable at a speed the cinematographer is use to (currently it's not much better than lighting with a blind-fold on and then waiting for the results to come back from the lab, so not a lot of fun).

Previsualisation (previs) using 3D animation and video animatics is pretty much common place for most films (I'm referring more to studio films here, not sure about smaller productions) which have any sort of effects (special and visual) sequence in them and in some cases are completely replacing storyboards. There are pros and cons to prevising a sequence, for planning a sequence it's handy but in some cases it tends to produce sequences that feel almost like video-games more than films. Aside from shot composition and timing it's also often handy for lighting continuity in a sequence.
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