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Super 8


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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:41 PM

What the hell kind of movie was this? It wasn't 3D!! I think they even shot this on film too!!

What is this world coming to? Is JJ Abrams trying to send filmmaking back to well....1979!

Sheeesh. And what was all the embracing of lens flares? We know they are universally bad. I think they used a tri-pod as well, I just don't get it???? :blink:

R,
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#2 Joe Taylor

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 09:54 PM

I saw "Super 8" tonight as well. The first 1/2 was fantastic but things got too familiar when the superb acting takes a back seat to all the screaming, racing around and explosions that dominate part II.

And we must discuss the lens flares. WTFH is up with all those very self conscious lens flares? Please, at least, tell me that they are real! All those distracting flares (so many flares that some are even diagonal) would get a guy fired circa 1979. Now it seems that they are added at great expense... even digitally. And at least the kids got it right with their super 8 production achieved sans flares (I know, the main dish was anamorphic 35mm but--- groan.)
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 11:33 PM

I saw "Super 8" tonight as well. The first 1/2 was fantastic but things got too familiar when the superb acting takes a back seat to all the screaming, racing around and explosions that dominate part II.

And we must discuss the lens flares. WTFH is up with all those very self conscious lens flares? Please, at least, tell me that they are real! All those distracting flares (so many flares that some are even diagonal) would get a guy fired circa 1979. Now it seems that they are added at great expense... even digitally. And at least the kids got it right with their super 8 production achieved sans flares (I know, the main dish was anamorphic 35mm but--- groan.)


Just saw it -- I liked the flares, and they seemed like regular Primo anamorphic flares, not added in post (except for efx shots). Remember that Spielberg was known in the 1970's for pointing lights into the camera lens and getting flares (he has pointed that out in interviews). "Close Encounters" has a lot of anamorphic flares and spherical flares (for the 65mm stuff) -- the whole movie is about bright lights hitting a camera lens.

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#4 Gary Lemson

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 10:46 AM

Saw it yesterday. IMO, superb storytelling...very old school. Certainly could see the early Speilburg influence.

It is in the same theater where I saw Pirates IV just a week ago. Going in yesterday, I was not aware of the acquisition format, but right away, to my eyes, there was evidence of filmic depth. I'm not saying I was certain of the format at that point...just made the observation. After a while, I noticed during panning shots, there wasn't any of that motion stuttering that I found evident in Pirates, something I also noticed in Wallstreet II.

This is a little off topic, but what causes motion stuttering? DI?
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#5 Evan Stulberger

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:55 PM

I acutally really enjoyed the film.

Yes, the lens flares were a bit distracting for me, whereas in Star Trek, I thought they worked really well.

I'm curious why the circles of confusion (bokeh?) were almost tombstone shaped in many shots. (see pic)

Was this a function of Larry Fong's lens choices? Is it something unique to anamorphic lenses?

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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 07:12 PM

Front anamorphic primes have oval-shaped bokeh -- if the oval is chopped off, it's usually due to something like an overly tight hard matte or maybe a french flag. I thought the flares were fairly motivated by bright light sources established in the wide shots -- there weren't flares in scenes without those types of sources, plenty of interior scenes didn't have flares in them unless there was, for example, a Super-8 projector playing.
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#7 Evan Stulberger

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:44 PM

Front anamorphic primes have oval-shaped bokeh -- if the oval is chopped off, it's usually due to something like an overly tight hard matte or maybe a french flag. I thought the flares were fairly motivated by bright light sources established in the wide shots -- there weren't flares in scenes without those types of sources, plenty of interior scenes didn't have flares in them unless there was, for example, a Super-8 projector playing.


I agree, they we're definitely motivated.

At times it just took me out of the feel of the film. Distracted me. Maybe it's because the whole lens flare thing is talked about as a JJ Abrams staple. Knowing that, perhaps I was consciously looking for it.

Either way, I really enjoyed the film. My friends were commenting that the look really brought them back to their 80's childhood. If that's what the filmmakers were aiming for- they aced it.
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#8 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:34 PM

I liked the film a lot and had a good time. Even though JJ Abrams emulates Spielberg, the blocking and the scenery/solutions are nowhere near as sophisticated as Spielbergs. He really is a master at it (just rewatch Munich again as an example).

But I had a problem with the lighting on the night exteriors. It just felt like they were rushed and on such a tight schedule that what was in one scene a big night backlight, became a side or front light when they turned around. I saw very much raw, unflattering HMI light on faces and funny edges in this film. At times, it felt like lights were coming from everywhere, all hard and nose-shadowy. Flawless teenage faces are hard to make look bad, but here they almost succeeded. I think the interiors worked a lot better. I've seen good work from Larry Fong before, so I'm sure it's just down to some external circumstances. The night stuff was also excessively grainy - it felt like it was shot on the old 5298. Lot's of blue grain in the blacks and I once again wonder on such a big budgeted movie - why? I'm sure they can afford the lights.

The flares were also as expected in JJ Abrams film and maybe it's my taste that's moved on (after all my music video days desperately trying to get flares in every shot) I'm now getting almost sick of them. Anything that draws attention to the medium and the camera has to ultimately be detrimental to the story. I truly believe that now. Film was also too tightly shot, but that's every film for you these days.

Other than that, good stuff!

B)
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 01:08 AM

Some other frames from "Close Encounters" showing the use of lens flares:

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The issue isn't so much one of motivation or "nothing in the frame should be distracting", it's more of an issue of cinematic design, whether certain stylistic flourishes are appropriate or inappropriate dramatically, I don't think one can make a blanket rule that any unnatural photographic effect is forbidden in cinema, whether it is blurred-focus, tilt-focus, lens flares, fogging, extreme focal lengths, whatever. Some movies allow more stylization than others -- saying that a lens flare always takes you out of the movie is like saying that seeing a brushstroke in a painting is always an unnecessary distraction because it calls attention to the actual act of painting rather than focus on the subject. Same goes for grain -- should all movies be grainless since grain is an artifact of the photographic process and therefore should be invisible lest it distract from the subject? Doesn't it depend on the movie?

As for the use of harder light, I noticed that too -- I couldn't decide if it was a homage to Vilmos Zsigmund's work in "Close Encounters", which has a lot of hard lighting at times (in fact, Julia Phillips complained about it in her book, not understanding Zsigmund's preference for what he called classic sculptural "black & white" lighting techniques... when he had to light the interrogation room with a single soft overhead light, he said something to Philips about "here's that Gordon Willis lighting you like so much" or something to that effect, at least according to her) or whether it was just the practical outcome of dealing with swooping Technocrane moves combined with B & C-cameras running at the same time, thus not allowing Fong to get closer to the actors with soft sources, plus needing enough stop for the telephoto zoom on C-camera.
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#10 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 03:04 AM

No rule was invoked - I just meant that my personal taste isn't quite there anymore. My basic rule is this with gimmicks: If you've seen it a lot recently, don't do it. Flares can be great and I just did a big commercial with uncoated lenses just to get all that stuff, so it's not like I live like I preach. But I see it in every movie and every thing today and it's becoming a bit tedious. Today one can almost rebel by just doing none of that. Gimmicks are fun, but not all the time and most importantly, not when everyone else is doing the same gimmick. When the rebelliousness becomes the norm, then some of the fun goes out of it.

As for the grain, it didn't feel to me like it was for any artistic reasons, just that it was underexposed. I could obviously be wrong. But like you say, David, it could be the case it he had to light for multiple cameras on cranes, zooms etc. This is frequently the case on many films and it certainly makes our job much harder these days.

Does anybody know what filmstock it was shot on?
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#11 John Holland

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 03:42 AM

In a Kodak interview Larry Fong says the night scenes were shot on 5219 and pushed a stop .
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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 11:09 AM

Question for, Evan Stulberger, how in the heck did you get an actual frame grab from Super 8 exactly where you wanted it?

Also, I assume others noticed the use of the intentional line crossings to make the actor briefly appear on the opposite side of the screen? They used it on the shot of the boy in the restaurant, for example. It was quite jarring, which I assume was the intent?

I wonder how many non-film people where jarred by it, or was it just me because I have edited a lot of stuff?

R,
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#13 Austin Serr

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 11:54 AM

Here is the interview with Fong.

He explains that he shot on 5219 and 5213. He exclusively used 5219 and pushed it a stop for all of the night scenes because he "needed the stop with the long lenses". And yeah, the use of hard light was supposed to be a call-back to Zsigmund. Fong explains that Close Encounters of the Third Kind was a major influence for the look of the film, so they decided to light in that style (as well as make other key choices, such as going with anamorphic).
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#14 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 12:30 AM

I felt the flares in general were well motivated, except for maybe 2 shots. The establishing crane shot of the train station, and then one where we were in the opening of a supposedly dark cave where there shouldn't have been any source for a flare.

I thought the movie was fun, but way too familiar, I saw too many Spielberg visual references all throughout. Nice at first, but it grew tiresome eventually.
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#15 Evan Stulberger

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 09:59 AM

Question for, Evan Stulberger, how in the heck did you get an actual frame grab from Super 8 exactly where you wanted it?

Also, I assume others noticed the use of the intentional line crossings to make the actor briefly appear on the opposite side of the screen? They used it on the shot of the boy in the restaurant, for example. It was quite jarring, which I assume was the intent?

I wonder how many non-film people where jarred by it, or was it just me because I have edited a lot of stuff?

R,


Mostly luck. I scrubbed through the trailers online until I found the shot.
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#16 Chris Millar

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 04:58 PM

... and then one where we were in the opening of a supposedly dark cave where there shouldn't have been any source for a flare.

Although it wasn't as laser light show as some of the earlier scenes that one kinda nailed it for me... The non-film industry/interested person I was watching it with asked why they didn't remove that flare in post (she hears me talking about film all the time) - gave me a funny look when I pointed out that some of the flares were actually added in post...
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#17 Brian Hulnick

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 05:31 AM

I watched it at the weekend and absolutely loved it. It did indeed feel like early Spielberg. Abrams did good work me thinks. The acting was top notch. Superb movie.
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#18 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 09:14 AM

What the hell kind of movie was this? It wasn't 3D!! I think they even shot this on film too!!

What is this world coming to? Is JJ Abrams trying to send filmmaking back to well....1979!

Sheeesh. And what was all the embracing of lens flares? We know they are universally bad. I think they used a tri-pod as well, I just don't get it???? :blink:

R,


Haven't seen it yet, no.

I'm actually waiting for the prequel: Standard 8

Rumour is it'll be shot in 3 strip Technicolor, use heaps of tripods and take filmmaking back to... 1949! Can't wait! :)
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#19 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 12:42 AM

I'm curious why the circles of confusion (bokeh?)...


two separate and different things :)
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#20 Evan Stulberger

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 08:22 AM

two separate and different things :)


Thought so, but wasn't sure. Which one is correct?
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