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Cloud cover to sunshine in "Thin Red Line"?


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#1 Scott Copeland

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:41 PM

Specifically when they are advancing over the grassy hills in Guadacanal. At moments the lighting is of cloud cover, and very naturally the light becomes direct sunlight over the vista. The scenery is big and the shadows and light cover all of it. Is this recreating light, or are they just catching great moments while the sun hides and appears behind clouds?

-S.C.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:58 PM

That had to have been the real sun coming out from the clouds. Now whether they waited to time it out for the shot or they got lucky during that take, I don't know.
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#3 Michael Tsimperopoulos SOC

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 07:09 PM

From the February '99 ASC magazine:

"In fact, for one Akela shot of the soldiers climbing up the hills, we waited specifically for a light change to happen. The scene starts out in heavy cloud cover, but the sun comes out and reveals these guys sneaking through the grass. That particular light change worked well for us." John Toll, ASC

You can read the whole thing at http://www.theasc.co...9/war/index.htm . The specific quote is in the middle section of the third page.

I clearly remember being in awe of that shot as I was watching it in a theater back then. For a brief moment, the soldiers were kind of "safe and protected" by the relative shade, but then the sun revealed itself, striping them of their cover, and exposing them as sitting ducks in a truly hopeless situation. I seem to remember that the transition from dark to bright, was much more impressive (and menacing) on the silver screen, than in any of the subsequent DVDs that I watched. Maybe in the transfer they toned down a little bit the two extremes.
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#4 Michael Tsimperopoulos SOC

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 07:49 PM

And since we are on the subject...

Despite the countless times that I had seen the film, my eyes were always glued to the main character on the right side of the frame. But if you let your eyes wander around a bit and look to the left side of the frame, you'll see the steadicam operator (Brad Shields) flanked by three other crew members, shooting a different part of the mayhem.

Thin_Red_Line_Brad_Shields.jpg
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#5 Scott Copeland

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 09:14 PM

Michael,

Thanks for the link. That's what I needed. Great still too. Man, this forum is great.

-S.C.
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#6 Mike Lary

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 09:56 PM

Despite the countless times that I had seen the film, my eyes were always glued to the main character on the right side of the frame. But if you let your eyes wander around a bit and look to the left side of the frame, you'll see the steadicam operator (Brad Shields) flanked by three other crew members, shooting a different part of the mayhem.
Thin_Red_Line_Brad_Shields.jpg

There's also a shot in that scene that has some serious vignetting but I didn't catch it til at least the third viewing. It's such an emotionally intense scene that I usually forget where I am when I'm watching it.
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#7 Scott Copeland

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:06 PM

Hey Mike,

Throw me a bone here buddy, what's "vignetting". Yeah.

-Noob

There's also a shot in that scene that has some serious vignetting but I didn't catch it til at least the third viewing. It's such an emotionally intense scene that I usually forget where I am when I'm watching it.


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#8 Tim Tyler

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:17 PM

...what's "vignetting".


http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Vignetting
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#9 Tom Lowe

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:06 PM

And since we are on the subject...

Despite the countless times that I had seen the film, my eyes were always glued to the main character on the right side of the frame. But if you let your eyes wander around a bit and look to the left side of the frame, you'll see the steadicam operator (Brad Shields) flanked by three other crew members, shooting a different part of the mayhem.

Thin_Red_Line_Brad_Shields.jpg


Wow that is a great find. Can you tell me EXACTLY where that is in the movie? What time in terms of minutes?

I recently got my hands on a 720p HDTV of TTRL... man it's nice!
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#10 Jean Dodge

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:00 PM

great scene, great cinematography.....

I remember on a set visit once watching Sven Nyquist with his hand on the shutter dial of a panavison camera "riding" the shudder angle in the bright texas sun during a shot in a hayfield for WHATS EATING GILBERT GRAPE as the sun went in and out of clouds. A true master at work, he kept his eyes on the scene and Johnny Depp, not on the dial. Badass. Nestor could do this, too by feel almost I've heard. I've floated exposures before but never with confidence. Fans of TTRL might enjoy THE WILD CHILD by Truffaut if you like this sort of camerawork - this is an early example of how it is done well, as the film is shot mainly in a country house with open windows, lots of interior to exterior traveling camera. (Nestor Almendros' work)

Of course it goes without saying that the groundwork for this sort of stuff can be seen in the films of lazlo, starraro, nestor et al - POCKET MONEY, SCARECROW, even cheapies like COCKFIGHTER. And if you love Malick you have to get to know Ozu, Dreyer, Misoguchi, Bresson... dig deep people! His roots are deeper than Oklahoma, budda and AFI.

Tom, I think saw some of your time lapse work recently - you are a true disciple of Malick, huh? You do nice work, and are kind to share your workflows etc. if that is you...
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#11 Tom Lowe

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:17 PM

yeah, that's me. i just put out a new reel here:
View on Vimeo

yes, i am very much a disciple of Malick.

are you talking about these DPs operating themselves, and basically "riding" the iris? you said shutter angle, so i was a little confused. i remember reading an article about Children of Men that said Lubezki rode the iris like 9 stops or more on a scene where Owen moves from a window to a dark part of an interior. i thought that was pretty impressive for a moving shot.
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#12 Tom Jensen

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:24 PM

Hey Mike,

Throw me a bone here buddy, what's "vignetting". Yeah.

-Noob


Whatever it is, don't do it. People get fired for it. :o
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#13 David Rakoczy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:11 PM

yeah, that's me. i just put out a new reel here:
View on Vimeo

yes, i am very much a disciple of Malick.

are you talking about these DPs operating themselves, and basically "riding" the iris? you said shutter angle, so i was a little confused. i remember reading an article about Children of Men that said Lubezki rode the iris like 9 stops or more on a scene where Owen moves from a window to a dark part of an interior. i thought that was pretty impressive for a moving shot.



Bear in mind, Iris adjustments during a take are 'cleaned up' in the Grading or DI or in building a Dynamic.... they can get you in the 'zone' but rarely work unto themselves... they (usually) need massaging... and massages cost $.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:04 PM

Bear in mind, Iris adjustments during a take are 'cleaned up' in the Grading or DI or in building a Dynamic.... they can get you in the 'zone' but rarely work unto themselves... they always need massaging... and massages cost $.


In "The Shield", which I am surprised you aren't familiar, David, they intentionally pull the iris roughly, manually when transitioning from an interior to exterior environment.

It looks very rough, but very cool.

You can see it when the "cops" on the show execute search warrants and break into appartments. I think that this effect looks very very cool. Rough, but still awesome-looking.
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#15 David Rakoczy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:46 PM

What makes you assume that?.. I am familiar with it.. watched many episodes and you are correct... it works for that 'rough show'.

...but 'The Shield' is not the 'Thin Red Line'... by any stretch...

...sorry Slovis.
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#16 David Rakoczy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:54 PM

That had to have been the real sun coming out from the clouds. Now whether they waited to time it out for the shot or they got lucky during that take, I don't know.


They may even have been bummed when it happened and the 1st said.. "I rolled it open a bit when the sun went under the clouds"... and they saw the shot in dailies... and they saw that they could massage it into the perfection that it is... Light changes are BEAUTIFUL!
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#17 K Borowski

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 09:32 PM

...but 'The Shield' is not the 'Thin Red Line'... by any stretch...

...sorry Slovis.


Did I say they were alilke?

I merely pointed out that "The Shield" made its stop changes intentionally noticeable, whereas "Thin Red Line" and many other films take the opposite approach. . .
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#18 David Rakoczy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 09:54 PM

In "The Shield", which I am surprised you aren't familiar, David, they intentionally pull the iris roughly, manually when transitioning from an interior to exterior environment.


yes I have seen it.

It looks very rough, but very cool.


yes it does.. rough camera operation can be used to great effect

You can see it when the "cops" on the show execute search warrants and break into appartments. I think that this effect looks very very cool. Rough, but still awesome-looking.


Sure.. but the original poster is asking about cloud cover during a take in the THIN RED LINE.. a bit different from what the Shield does... btw.. Slovis is a DP I accidentally associated with The Shield.. he shoots Breaking Bad.. another very well shot show using the same rough camera techniques.. forgot the Shield's DP...?
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#19 K Borowski

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:03 PM

Slovis is a DP I accidentally associated with The Shield.. he shoots Breaking Bad.. another very well shot show using the same rough camera techniques.. forgot the Shield's DP...?


I'm not sure who was the DoP on "The Shield" either, but yeah, I greatly admire his work.

Only reason I brought the series up, though, was to illustrate, as an example, what a not-so-polished iris pull looks like.

BTW, how would you go about fixing a rough iris pull in the optical-printing process?

Even with frame-by frame individual printing that has got to be very, very tough to hide. Even digitally it wouldn't be fun work trying to make exposure look constant when it is not. . .
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#20 David Rakoczy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:11 PM

We do it every day... on Optical Printers, DIs and building a Dynamic in a Film to tape or tape to tape session...
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