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ABC's "Pushing Daisies"


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#1 Josh Bass

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 04:37 AM

For my edification gentlemens, maybe you could help me out with something.

Let me start with a few things.

First, I'm not much of a DP. I've DP'd my own projects, and a few other things, but for all intents and purposes, I'm not familiar with much beyond miniDV cameras and their stock lenses.

Another thing is that while browsing through the TV, one (or I, at least) can tell almost immediately whether one (or I'm) is watching a TV show (dramatic series, I mean, as opposed to sitcom, talk show, etc.) movie, or commercial. Something about the visual style between each is different.

Yet another thing is that where TV is concerned, seems like in as much as they are different, all (or at least many) TV shows have a "saminess" about their looks. Regardless of the cinematography overall, the thing I've been able to pick out is there seems to be this one lens that all (or most) use for everything (no idea what focal length)--wide shots, CU's, everything in between. Whatever focal length it is, it tends to flatten everything out so that you don't have the more exotic 3D quality you get with the wider lenses.

Now, there's this show, Pushing Daisies, that stands out among the crowd. I think this show is visually stunning, but I can't pinpoint what it is. It bothers me, wondering if any of you a)agree and B) can help me. I don't necessarily think the art direction is better than all the other shows, or the lighting, etc. etc., yet there's something that really stands out. The one thing I've noticed is they do seem to use different lenses. Wide lenses on CUs, stuff like that. To me, it looks like you're watching a feature instead of a TV show whenever I happen upon it. It also looks a little softer than most shows (on an HD set, most shows have this uber-crisp look to them), but that could be something about the way ABC broadcasts or something.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone can pinpoint the factor or factors that make it really pop from the other stuff that's on.
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#2 Phil Savoie

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 06:45 PM

Now, there's this show, Pushing Daisies, that stands out among the crowd. I think this show is visually stunning, but I can't pinpoint what it is. It bothers me, wondering if any of you a)agree and B) can help me. I don't necessarily think the art direction is better than all the other shows, or the lighting, etc. etc., yet there's something that really stands out. The one thing I've noticed is they do seem to use different lenses. Wide lenses on CUs, stuff like that. To me, it looks like you're watching a feature instead of a TV show whenever I happen upon it. It also looks a little softer than most shows (on an HD set, most shows have this uber-crisp look to them), but that could be something about the way ABC broadcasts or something.
Anyway, just wondering if anyone can pinpoint the factor or factors that make it really pop from the other stuff that's on.



In my view Pushing Daisies is the Amelie of TV. It is brilliant in it's over the top art direction, wide angle cinematography and refreshing direction. It shines out as technicolor visual candy. I was on a panel at the Hatch film festival two weeks ago with David Klein, the 2nd unit DP, he mentioned the bulk of the shooting employs a 21mm Primo close focus lens. Allen Daviau ASC was also in attendance and commented on the quality of the look, lighting and craft. You can watch full episodes via the ABC website and they still look good even via the web on an HD laptop.
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#3 Josh Bass

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 11:23 PM

So is it just the combo of those three things (art direction, lens, direction--p.s., I never know what the hell people mean when they say "direction")? Together? And no other show does it quite like that? I guess most shows are set in offices and more realistic looking residences instead of houses with sea green walls.
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#4 Daniel Moore

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:13 PM

Whoa....I just watched some of Pushing Daises on Youtube. It looks like a Tim Burton film combined with happiness or something
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