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Dead poet's society


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#1 Michael Schroers

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 02:34 PM

Hello,

does anyone know, which lenses and films were used to make the film
Dead poet's society ?

MichA
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#2 Travis Hoffman

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 04:23 PM

It was shot by John Seale... There is a great DVD series entitled "Kodak Master Class". There is one DVD of the series that focuses strictly on Johns work in Dead Poets Society. Not sure if he goes over camera specs I think it mainly lighting. Check them out they are pretty interesting
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 07:08 PM

It isn't hard to make an educated guess as to what "Dead Poets Society" (1989) was shot on, Seale is known for shooting an entire movie, when possible, on one high-speed stock and zoom lenses, and he is prone to use Panavision, and if you look at the movie he shot before this movie, "Rain Man" (1988), you can find out in various articles that it was shot on Kodak 400 ASA 5295 on Panavision cameras using Primo lenses (probably mostly on the Primo zooms).

"Dead Poets Society" is also on the cover of the Sept. 1989 issue of "Film & Video", showing a walk-n-talk dolly move set-up outside the school in sunlight with the actors walking on a roll of white cloth to provide some fill, the camera, though obscured, seems to be a Panaflex.

So the only question is which high-speed Kodak stock was used, because this was a period of transition. In 1986-89, people were either using 400 ASA 5294 or 5295 for their high-speed tungsten stock. 5295 came out in 1986 as a "bluescreen" stock, basically using T-grain in some of the layers to reduce the graininess compared to 5294. It was slightly more snappy in contrast & saturation than 5294, and also a bit more expensive. Productions back then used one or the other depending on the DP's taste.

Kodak solved this conflict in 1989 when they came out with EXR 500T 5296, which had T-grains in all its layers, obsoleting 5294 and 5295. But since "Dead Poets Society" came out in June 1989, odds are low that EXR 500T was available at the time they were shooting (probably Fall 1988) but I can't be 100% sure.

Seale believes in keeping the camera side of things simple, one stock, one zoom lens, in order to stay fast. His lighting and composition are really what you should be studying. The Kodak DVD demo is interesting in that he shows how he could hide a tweenie mounted above a window in a small dorm room set, but still in shot, by putting a piece of card painted to match the wall in front of the lens.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 07:34 PM

The "Special Edition" DVD of Dead Poets Society has that Master Class as a DVD extra. Quite interesting to see how he works and revealing of some of his tricks :)
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#5 Michael Schroers

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 08:33 AM

How can I get a similar look in a 16mm film (colors, contrasts etc.) ?

I'd like to get such a soft and 'emotional dramatic' look in a short film,
which will be shot on Super 16 film.

Which lenses are most similar to primo lenses ?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 11:26 AM

How can I get a similar look in a 16mm film (colors, contrasts etc.) ?

I'd like to get such a soft and 'emotional dramatic' look in a short film,
which will be shot on Super 16 film.

Which lenses are most similar to primo lenses ?


Since Seale prefers zooms, I don't think he use Primo primes anyway. I wouldn't worry so much about this aspect, any decent lens would work. Same goes for stock -- the look is almost all production design and lighting - he used the same stocks and lenses that everyone was using in the day, nothing unique. The thing is that to get a 35mm look, you need to use sharper lenses and finer-grained stock than he did if you are shooting in Super-16, so I suggest prime lenses and a good 200-250 ASA stock.
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