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The Godfather


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 04:11 PM

I'm watching "The Godfather," and something obvious has struck me for the first time. As I watch the wedding sequence, I'm struck by how brightly exposed the highlights are. They practically blowout. And you know what? It works. Damned if I know why, but it just FEELS right the way Gordon Willis shot this sequence. And I'm amazed at what guts and confidence it took. I'm sure most (including myself) would have perfectly exposed everything, with silks up the wazzoo to cut down on the sunlight's intensity and to reduced the contrast ratios. But Willis doesn't do this, and he's SO RIGHT.

I hope someday I'll be good enough, confident enough to know when and how to break the rules the way he does!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 04:39 PM

I'm watching "The Godfather," and something obvious has struck me for the first time. As I watch the wedding sequence, I'm struck by how brightly exposed the highlights are. They practically blowout. And you know what? It works. Damned if I know why, but it just FEELS right the way Gordon Willis shot this sequence. And I'm amazed at what guts and confidence it took. I'm sure most (including myself) would have perfectly exposed everything, with silks up the wazzoo to cut down on the sunlight's intensity and to reduced the contrast ratios. But Willis doesn't do this, and he's SO RIGHT.

I hope someday I'll be good enough, confident enough to know when and how to break the rules the way he does!


He once said something to the effect that he wanted the wedding to feel like a Kodachrome home movie.
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:52 PM

He once said something to the effect that he wanted the wedding to feel like a Kodachrome home movie.


That's brilliant! That's exactly what it feels like. Now I have the sudden urge to overexpose everything on my next shoot, though that might be a bit dangerous... ;)
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#4 Antti Näyhä

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 12:32 AM

Brian, I suppose you watched the 2008 DVD/Blu-Ray based on the restored print? It’s funny really: the earlier DVD release was much darker, so they didn’t blow up the highlights quite as intended in the wedding scene. This led to some commentators (I want to say ”home theater nerds”) critizing the new Coppola/Willis-supervised release on the basis that you can actually see more highlight detail on the old DVD…

See DVDBeaver’s comparison; a wedding scene sample can be found about halfway down the page.

Willis’s Kodachrome comment makes perfect sense!

Edited by Antti Näyhä, 24 February 2011 - 12:33 AM.

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#5 Brian Rose

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 12:53 AM

Actually it was a television broadcast, but it was on a monitor I also use for video editing, so it's pretty well calibrated...
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