Jump to content


Photo

The Informant!


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Colin Rich

Colin Rich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Student
  • Ann Arbor, MI

Posted 04 October 2009 - 05:02 PM

Hi, I just wanted to hear thoughts about this flick. I found it uncommonly good, but there were some aspects of the cinematography that frankly seemed like mistakes.

I noticed two shots that were quite soft, there were some blown highlights that didn't seem like they should be (and of course many that felt wanted), there was also a shot, yes one shot with incorrect aspect ratio, and even a shot where Damon's face had a blurry/pixel-y spot on it.

Could these phenomena be in the master or was it just the exhibition? If in the master, are they due to a buggy RED + fast production + a DP with other things on his plate?

Also, the shallow depth of field from the RED (I've only seen this and Girlfriend Experience) just looks strange in my opinion from what I've seen

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
  • 0

#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

Jonathan Bowerbank
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2815 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 04 October 2009 - 11:00 PM

IMDb isn't the end all/be all of film credits, but I noticed there isn't a 1st AC credited. I'm wondering if Soderbergh just had his operator pull his own focus, or what :/
  • 0

#3 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 04 October 2009 - 11:33 PM

I just saw it digitally projected. There's a 1st AC credited.

The number of missed-focus shots were on par with most 35mm movies, especially in that budget range. I didn't notice anything unusual in that regards other than early on, a montage of areas in Whitacre's house where a shot of his stairwell, looking down, was out of focus for no particular reason, considering it was a wide shot with no actors in it. Other than that, it seemed typical of most 35mm movies in terms of depth of field and focus mistakes. There were clearly a few scenes shot wide-open on the lens in low light, but that would happen in 35mm.

It looked fairly good, given its visual design, which is meant to look somewhat "retro", including the anachronistic use of a Double Fog diffusion filter (a bit like the use of the ProMist filter for the Catherine Zeta Jones scenes in San Diego in "Traffic"). Though it has the effect, along with the font of the yellow title cards and the Marvin Hamlisch music, of looking more like a 1970's movie rather than the 1990's era of the story.

There were a number of scenes shot in mixed color temp lighting, with the redness of the tungsten light left uncorrected, not an uncommon approach lately in some RED-shot movies, partly due to the daylight preference of the sensor -- it just tends to look cleaner if you don't correct fully for tungsten. Again, it seemed part of the visual aesthetic of the movie, that sort of 70's era semi-documentary approach that some movies had.

Overall, I liked the movie quite a bit, the comedic approach to a complicated subject matter, corporate crime.

It did feel a bit "digital" due to the cleanliness of the image, despite the diffusion filter. The blown-out highlights for the most part seemed intentional, i.e. letting windows blow-out, etc. The Red camera sometimes seems to produce, like most digital cameras, a somewhat bland band-aid tan color to skintones that lacks some richness or naturalness. Otherwise, the sharpness (considering the filtering) seemed typical of most movies, the dynamic range was fine. It's just some of the color depth or richness that seemed a bit limited, though again, the muted look is also a visual design element. But it just seems almost every Red-shot movie lately (District 9, Big Fan, etc.) seems to be going for a desaturated look.
  • 0

#4 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 05 October 2009 - 12:05 PM

I've only seen it in standard 35mm projection, but I recall some random people in the audience complaining, on the way out, about the softness and "muddiness" of the image.

Projector might've been slightly out of alignment, and I think digital movies tend to look better digitally projected (though "Knowing" looked just fine to me), but the look went past the point where an average audience member didn't mind it.

For what it was, a humorous take on a white-collar criminal whistleblower, I don't think the format really matters. But the filtration bothered me, and I heard there was a lot of available-light shooting, which bothered me as well. Maybe that was the partial color correction that you are referring to, David. Hard to pay attention to lighting when you are paying attention to the comedy.

For me, only art films seem to be designed to allow you time to notice the visuals without being distracted from the script and the dialogue.
  • 0

#5 Tim Holtermann

Tim Holtermann

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 October 2009 - 12:38 AM

I just watched this tonight via 35mm projection and while I thought the story was decent and have to give props to Matt Damon for carrying the entire movie (I think he was in almost every single scene) I did not like the look at all. like David, I too thought it was more 70's than 90's and going for a retro look that seemed lost between trying to give it a mood and being Grindhouse.

There were some shots that were way underexposed, in a way that didn't offer anything to the scene. One of them was a simple conversation in his house on the couch with just some back lighting from a practical light. The red tint to everything in the shadows (due to the uncorrected tungsten light) was not pleasing to me, only some of the daylight scenes looked decent.

Now I want to go out and see some more 35mm project RED material just because I can't believe this camera is that bad. All of the hype I've heard about the RED seems misguided after seeing this movie.
  • 0

#6 David Campbell

David Campbell

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:33 AM

Mr Mullen notes:

"The number of missed-focus shots were on par with most 35mm movies, especially in that budget range. I didn't notice anything unusual in that regards other than early on, a montage of areas in Whitacre's house where a shot of his stairwell, looking down, was out of focus for no particular reason, considering it was a wide shot with no actors in it."

Sometimes the easy shot does slip by with no one noticing a problem until too late to fix. I thought the following quote from Art Adam's account of shooting a mv on the Red One and the Red zoom was interesting and may apply though I've only circumstantial reason to think this.

... "Then there was the saga of the RED 18-85 zoom. This is, in theory, a great zoom: it encompasses the entire range of a normal prime lens set, and it opens up to a T2.9, which is quite handy when shooting with a slow camera like the RED. Unfortunately accurate focus marks are an as-yet unrealized upgrade option: when horizontal, the markings on the RED 18-85 lens that we used were fairly accurate, but they drifted severely when the camera was tilted at a severe angle. For example, while shooting off the scissor lift at a 45-degree down angle and with the zoom fully wide at 18mm, eye focusing on a subject 20’ away yielded a distance of 50’ on the lens. Under such conditions one can’t zoom in, focus and zoom out as the focus doesn’t track properly; one has to pick the proper focal length and use the RED’s focus-checking digital zoom to verify sharpness."

You'll find the rest of a very good article here- http://provideocoali...s_music_vid_vr/

David Campbell
  • 0

#7 Chris Durham

Chris Durham
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • New York, NY

Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:50 PM

I'd be curious to see a digital projection. I think the 35mm I saw was transferred poorly. That said, I wasn't a fan of the film in general, nor of the visual style in particular. I give him credit for going different places though - Che and the Girlfriend Experience were both excellent with the latter just being stunning in my opinion - the best looking Red save for Antichrist. The Informant was just a miss for me, but other folks seem to dig it and I respect it. I think he's got a good handle on the shooting-red-for-film-out thing, but something was off about this.
  • 0


CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Opal

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Wooden Camera

CineTape

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Opal