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The Fighter


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#1 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 02:18 AM

Just saw The Fighter which is coming out soon. The use of 2-perf looked like a perfect decision. If I had not known I'd have thought it was S35 3perf. It simply looked great. Anyone wondering about using the process will have any doubts put to rest after seeing this, in my opinion. Now I did see a perfect print in a high-end theater but it should hold up as well as anything else does in lesser theaters/DCP.

The boxing-ring related scenes changed over to some kind of digital format, maybe even DV. It may have been HD with a "video" or TV filter effect of some kind. A little heavy for my tastes but it worked well enough.

I won't go into it, but will say that you haven't seen Christian Bale even try to act until you have seen this. He simply changed into someone else! The magnitude of his change was borderline disturbing to see, especially notable in the very last shot... amazing.
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#2 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 08:21 PM

Just saw The Fighter which is coming out soon. The use of 2-perf looked like a perfect decision. If I had not known I'd have thought it was S35 3perf. It simply looked great. Anyone wondering about using the process will have any doubts put to rest after seeing this, in my opinion. Now I did see a perfect print in a high-end theater but it should hold up as well as anything else does in lesser theaters/DCP.

The boxing-ring related scenes changed over to some kind of digital format, maybe even DV. It may have been HD with a "video" or TV filter effect of some kind. A little heavy for my tastes but it worked well enough.

I won't go into it, but will say that you haven't seen Christian Bale even try to act until you have seen this. He simply changed into someone else! The magnitude of his change was borderline disturbing to see, especially notable in the very last shot... amazing.


I was the "A" camera focus puller on the movie and the head of the camera department. I must say that it was quite the experience from a 2 perf aspect to being a part of this project. I loved every minute of it and I believe that we may have made a very good picture. I haven't seen it yet (I'm in Thailand on "The Hangover 2" currently and will miss all of the screenings) but I'm certainly looking forward to seeing it when I can. I'm glad to hear that the 2 perf held up. We photographed the entire movie hand held and on steadicam with Master Primes and the new Aaton Penelope. I had all 3 cameras in existence imported to Abel Cine Tech in New York from France. Abel did a spectacular job supplying and supporting our movie. Having the only 3 cameras that had been manufactured to date was a huge risk but they worked out beautifully. I wouldn't recommend the camera for every theatrically produced picture but they were the correct call for the style of cinematography for "The Fighter". Their compact, ergonomic design allowed us to fly the cameras all around since we did not have a single mounted shot. We did have a constant problem with gate hairs but we knew that they could be dealt with via the DI.

To say that Christian transformed himself for his character is an understatement. He was simply miraculous! He is a complete, professional thespian - and a complete delight to work with. Melissa Leo's and Amy Adams' performances are very noteworthy as well - spectacular. Also, I can honestly say that director, David O. Russell is also a pleasure to work with and I look forward to the next time. The cinematographer is from Sweden, named Hoyte Van Hoytama and he did an exceptional job lighting 360 degrees to allow us to see all directions at any given moment. We rarely rehearsed a scene or shot for camera thus allowing the cast to move and do whatever they wanted. We never knew what was going to happen till we shot it. As for the boxing scenes, we photographed those sequences with outdated Beta Cams that were actually used to broadcast the actual fights back in the day. We even had the same HBO director and cameramen who worked all of the Micky Ward fights for HBO with us recreating the realistic tone of those fight scenes.

I hope it's a good picture. I don't get excited about many of the jobs I do but I am excited about this one. I guess we'll all know on December 10th.

Cheers,
G
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#3 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 08:24 AM

Really fascinating read Greg, thanks for all the info. Just out of curiosity, how did you handle the focus pulling in terms of the actors improvising movements and lack of rehearsal?
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#4 georg lamshöft

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:51 AM

I'm looking forward to see it! And I'm watching the focus closely ;-)
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 10:23 AM

Hi G!

I may be in Thailand early next year, any pointers to help things go smoothly?

P
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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:40 AM

The use of 2-perf looked like a perfect decision. If I had not known I'd have thought it was S35 3perf. It simply looked great. Anyone wondering about using the process will have any doubts put to rest after seeing this, in my opinion.


Why would 2 perf s35mm look any different to 3 perf? In a 2.39:1 AR they have the same neg area.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:34 PM

Why would 2 perf s35mm look any different to 3 perf? In a 2.39:1 AR they have the same neg area.


Exactly. . .

Only possible benefit would be lower amount of hairs being visible into the image area shooting 3-perf.
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#8 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 05:50 PM

Why would 2 perf s35mm look any different to 3 perf? In a 2.39:1 AR they have the same neg area.


Not really.
The2-P frame is about 9x21mm, The 3-P frame is about 10x24.

The 3-P Scope has a slight edge, near the difference between 16R and S16.

The PDF for Penelope GGs:

http://www.aaton.com...ing_screens.pdf

The 2.35/1 3-P area is 235mm2,
2-P area is 185mm2, "21% less than 3P"
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#9 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:32 PM

Hi G!

I may be in Thailand early next year, any pointers to help things go smoothly?

P


Hi Phil,
Yes! One big pointer. If you are manifesting your gear to come into Thailand, do not list anything with the word "battery". It's a red flag here and all of the camera gear was detained because we were honest and listed all of our batteries. Who knew?? Call them "power supplies" or chocolate chip cookies. Whatever! Just don't call them what they really are.

As for focus pulling, I had my Cinetape and my Preston on the camera full time. It was mostly winging it since we didn't use actors marks. My average T Stop was between a T1.3 and a T2, so I hope it looks ok. It was definitely challenging to say the least. I also had a great team mate in Geoff Haley, the "A" camera/steadicam operator. We really worked together to make this style of shooting work. It came down to very clear communication between the two of us.

G
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#10 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 12:02 AM

Thanks for the post Greg. Nothing stuck out to me and the prints look very clean overall. Great work.

Yeah I think Bale might get some nominations of one kind of another this time around. Not something I would have thought about until seeing this.
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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 01:20 AM

Not really.
The2-P frame is about 9x21mm, The 3-P frame is about 10x24.

The 3-P Scope has a slight edge, near the difference between 16R and S16.

The PDF for Penelope GGs:

http://www.aaton.com...ing_screens.pdf

The 2.35/1 3-P area is 235mm2,
2-P area is 185mm2, "21% less than 3P"



I had forgotten that 2 perf 2.40AR doesn't extend into the soundtrack area of the neg, but I still think that a properly exposed 2 perf frame should be indistinguishable for a 3 perf frame. A 20% difference is nowhere as noticeable as the near 40% difference between s16 and r16 cropped to 1.66
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#12 Peter Moretti

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 07:31 AM

I too thought that Christian Bale and Amy Adams were excellent. I do think the script had some main character issues. Namely, there wasn't enough Micky Ward in the film. I left the film not knowing nearly enough about who he is as a person. He seemed rather passive as a character.

That said, I enjoyed the film and very much appreciate even more all the work that went into it. I had no idea that old Beta Cams were used for the fight scenes, I just figures it was some post process that created the video effect. Very cool to know.
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#13 K Borowski

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 11:39 AM

Not really.
The2-P frame is about 9x21mm, The 3-P frame is about 10x24.

The 3-P Scope has a slight edge, near the difference between 16R and S16.

The PDF for Penelope GGs:

http://www.aaton.com...ing_screens.pdf

The 2.35/1 3-P area is 235mm2,
2-P area is 185mm2, "21% less than 3P"


I think this is misleading, because it compares *2.35*:1 (not the correct ratio anymore, remember?) 3-perf. to 2.39:1 2-perf. There is still a difference, you're right, but doing some quick math on the 2.35:1 number yields an area of 23.5mm:9.83mm (0.935x0.387in.) as opposed to 22.35:9.35mm (0.880x0.368in.)

So, that is 89.5% of a 2.39:1 S35 3-perf. extraction. (Maybe it is slightly more than 10 if you do the percentages the other way around.) I've never shot 2-perf, but am surprised they can't pull any more area out of it. I guess they have to maintain a safety factor so there is no risk of light bleeding from one frame into another. . .
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#14 Chris Burke

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 04:25 PM

I was on set for a week here and then a week at the end. My roommate was the sound mixer and another good friend the boom. My first day was one of the HBO days and I was totally bummed out too see six or seven digital cameras around covering the fight. Then, to my surprise, being a film geek, I saw the A cam getting ready for the last shot of the day and it was the Penelope. I think I might have asked you Greg, if you were shooting in 2 or 3 perf. You were very busy and I apologize for geeky question. I think that Christain Bale lost more weight with this role than he did for the Machinist. His accent wasn't quite there on set, but in the trailers it sounds much more authentic. I am seeing a screening this Wednesday, and will report back, can't wait.
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#15 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 06:29 PM

I think this is misleading, because it compares *2.35*:1 (not the correct ratio anymore, remember?) 3-perf. to 2.39:1 2-perf. There is still a difference, you're right, but doing some quick math on the 2.35:1 number yields an area of 23.5mm:9.83mm (0.935x0.387in.) as opposed to 22.35:9.35mm (0.880x0.368in.)

Since I have limited 'net time, I can't go over the math again.
As long as you're comparing the same aspect ratio and aperture(cam or proj), the ratios are the same.

So, that is 89.5% of a 2.39:1 S35 3-perf. extraction. (Maybe it is slightly more than 10 if you do the percentages the other way around.) I've never shot 2-perf, but am surprised they can't pull any more area out of it. I guess they have to maintain a safety factor so there is no risk of light bleeding from one frame into another. . .


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#16 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:59 PM

I was on set for a week here and then a week at the end. My roommate was the sound mixer and another good friend the boom. My first day was one of the HBO days and I was totally bummed out too see six or seven digital cameras around covering the fight. Then, to my surprise, being a film geek, I saw the A cam getting ready for the last shot of the day and it was the Penelope. I think I might have asked you Greg, if you were shooting in 2 or 3 perf. You were very busy and I apologize for geeky question. I think that Christain Bale lost more weight with this role than he did for the Machinist. His accent wasn't quite there on set, but in the trailers it sounds much more authentic. I am seeing a screening this Wednesday, and will report back, can't wait.


I'm sorry that I don't remember that moment of your question, but I'm sure that I wasn't too busy to answer it - I hope. I really liked the sound crew. Anton did a great job and was a pleasure to work with.
G

Edited by Gregory Irwin, 09 December 2010 - 01:01 PM.

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#17 Freya Black

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 05:53 PM

This film is getting some great reviews and while it doesn't sound like my kind of film I'm getting more and more intrigued about it and interested. :) Maybe I will get to see it sometime.

I'm interested in the mention of the penelope, first of all I'm shocked that there are still only 3 in existence by now, it seems like it has been around a while. Perhaps people are choosing digital cameras over the penelope? I think that's maybe a mistake but maybe an understandable one. Hmmm.

Second the whole aspect ratio thing. I seem to remember we had this discussion at the time and there was some implication that the size of the 2perf frame wasn't that standardised and that some versions of 2 perf were sort of S35 based and others weren't. Strangely I thought that it was penelope that was S35 but I guess my memory may have it the wrong way round. Perhaps that's why ppl were surprised. In any case there seemed to be some implication that there was even variation in 2 perf camera frame sizes the first time around.

Also I note that the ground glass shows the 2perf frame without the soundtrack area, but if the gate is fully s35 in both 2 perf and 3 perf modes, could you not use the 3perf GG markings and film with 2 perf pulldown in S35?

Just wondering out of morbid curiosity, won't be near a penelope anytime soon! ;)

love

Freya
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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 06:26 PM

The 4-perf 35mm Full Aperture frame is 1.33 : 1, so the 2-perf 35mm Full Aperture is 2.66 : 1... so whether or not a 2-perf camera exposes Full Aperture (Super) or not, you are only going to be using roughly the Academy aperture width to get a 2.40 : 1 image.

Some 2-perf cameras are optically centered for Academy, some for Full / Super, probably all these days expose Full Aperture, but either way, they use the same amount of negative to achieve a 2.40 : 1 image, i.e. they waste a soundtrack area's worth of negative because they don't need a 2.66 : 1 image.

It's basic math, 4-perf 35mm Full Aperture is 24.84 x 18.67mm, so 2-perf 35mm Full Aperture must be about 24.84 x 9.335mm.

Since a 2.40 extraction uses about a 24 x 10mm area of 4-perf and 3-perf, that means already that the 2.40 extraction from 2-perf has to be slightly smaller since it isn't 10mm tall. The 2.40 extraction from 2-perf is probably around 21.6 x 9mm (if I find the actual dimensions, I'll post them) -- regardless of whether that area was optically centered for Full Aperture or for Academy (sound) aperture.

P.S.
Hard to find exact figures for 2-perf, there are lots of variations, but it seems likely that the height used for extraction is 9.27mm tall, so for a 2.39 : 1 frame, the dimensions would be 22.16 x 9.27mm more or less.
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#19 Navinder Singh

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 07:27 PM

Just watched it and I've to say that the film was excellent! The decision to use old Beta cams to shoot the fight sequences was a good one! It looked amazing on screen! If I'm not wrong, some fight sequences were filmed with the regular cameras instead of beta cams, right? I'm talking about the matches which Micky fights after returning from the injury. Three or four continuous wins. Did you guys film them in a small location? The crowd area was not lit at all.

I've another question. Did you use the original tapes of Micky and Dicky from their childhood or did you film them on 8mm?

Lastly, an Oscar for Christian Bale! What a terrific performance by him :)

Edited by Navinder Singh, 28 December 2010 - 07:28 PM.

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#20 Mitch Gross

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 02:12 PM

At the time of production (last Spring), Abel had the only three Aaton Penelopes in North America. There were others elsewhere in the world and there are even more Penelopes in existence today.
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