Jump to content


Photo

1970 Cinematography


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Larry Miles

Larry Miles
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Other

Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:37 PM

I am making a short film that takes place at sundown/magic hour in front of a bright red country store in 1970.
I will be shooting on film using a Beaulieu 7008 super 8 camera with an assortment of lenses available, though
I am leaning towards a Schneider 8-50 with a wide angle adapter. A couple of Edward Hopper paintings, specifically
"Gas" and "Four Lane Road," are serving as inspiration. In terms of what I'm going for, I wish to create living
photographs that at least somewhat emulate those paintings but look as though they were filmed in 1970, with that
year's film technology.

Can anyone help me analyze images from that year and tell me what makes them look specifically from 1970? Then, of
course, please help with how I can recreate that look.

Pro8mm of Burbank will be processing, color correcting, and scanning the film with their Millennium II HD scanning
suite. I believe they can load any commercially available film into a super 8 cartridge, thus I can theoretically
use any film that's out there, though their standards are the Kodak Vision 3 family and Fuji Eterna.

Below is a link to a set of film images from that year. I am leaning towards "Le Circle Rouge", "The Bird With the
Crystal Plumage", and, of course, "The Conformist".



Here are links to "Gas" and "Four Lane Road," respectively:

http://4.bp.blogspot...ward Hopper.jpg

http://www.museumsyn...ages/1/9649.jpg

I deeply appreciate any help.
  • 0

#2 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3059 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:00 PM

Super 8 does have a kind of retro quality built into it, by virtue of its graininess, but it's really going to be your production design & wardrobe that sell the 70s feel.
  • 0

#3 David Mullen ASC

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

Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:15 PM

Your Super-8 footage is going to already have such a distinctive and retro/period look that any photographic tricks or processes that 35mm movies did in the 1970's is going to be irrelevant -- I would just concentrate on costumes, hair design, etc.
  • 0

#4 Larry Miles

Larry Miles
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Other

Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:27 AM

I thank you both for your thoughts. I completely agree that the inherent graininess
of the super 8 format, along with period appropriate costume, design, and hair, will
go a long way in evoking that period.

But might someone be willing to give me their technical, and/or aesthetic, critique
of the movie images created that year. I'm speaking in terms of color, saturation,
luminance, etc. For example, some of today's film boasts a luminance range of 13 and
half stops. I have to assume that film of that day had no where near that latitude,
therefore, I may not want my corrected image to have it, either.
  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

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

Posted 23 June 2011 - 01:28 AM

Negative stock back then had a bit less latitude and more contrast, but really, the contrast problems came in the release printing process -- print stock was more contrasty, prints made from CRI's (reversal intermediates) were contrasty, Technicolor dye transfer prints used by some movies until the mid 1970's was more contrasty than Kodak prints, etc.

Movies had a generally "dupier" look by the time they hit theaters, which is hard to see today as these old movies are transferred from the original negatives or new interpositives, etc.

To some extent, lighting looked a bit harsher at times, partly due to the slow speed of stocks back then, making it harder to use a lot of soft lighting, though some movies were.

There was also a period where a lot of movies were using Fog or Low Con diffusion filters, though not the ones you were talking about.

It would be easy to add a bit of contrast in the video transfer or color-correction process.
  • 0

#6 Larry Miles

Larry Miles
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Other

Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:22 PM

Thank you very much, that is very helpful.
  • 0

#7 Jim Carlile

Jim Carlile
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 23 July 2011 - 02:33 AM

Try using 100D reversal with a bit of overexposure and a light fog filter if you wish. You'll like the look.

Modern negative stocks just don't have the same ooomph that the older ones did, IMO. They look too video-y to me, too clear. Contrast and saturation is key. Use lots of soft indirect or bounce lighting for that European look. Quartz definitely, not tungsten bulbs or spots.

Oh, and avoid extreme wide-angle settings for sure. Don't go any wider than about 12mm/super 8. And shoot closeups with a bit of telephoto. If you really want to get 1970 funky just overuse the zoom. That'll do it. And location sound, not too slicked up.
  • 0

#8 Larry Miles

Larry Miles
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Other

Posted 24 July 2011 - 12:00 AM

Thank you for your thoughts and ideas, they are quite provocative (intellectually speaking).

I agree with you completely about the direction of modern stocks, the sharpness is really
unpleasant and boring; in HD video it's reached horrific. And not to knock anyone specific,
but that high key look of so many modern studio films (I believe popularized by "Love,
Actually") is both boring and highly reminiscent of video, which is not what I want out of film.
I think Gordon Willis was quoted as saying that he was, at the time, most impressed by "Love,
Actually" and then everyone started doing it.

I wish I had the time to do more testing, as I would have loved to have tried out your 100D/light
fog filter idea. Are there any examples you can point me to?

I also agree completely regarding the non-use of wide angle during that period. As a bonus, using
zoom would give it a softer look. However, my personal preference for non-distorted wide angles
may override. As for the light, I am using late afternoon sunlight into magic hour. Do you think
that will be soft enough, or will I need a silk?

(Thanks also for the tip regarding sound. Due to traffic it may not be possible, but maybe).

Edited by Larry Miles, 24 July 2011 - 12:01 AM.

  • 0

#9 Chris Burke

Chris Burke
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1675 posts
  • Boston, MA

Posted 24 July 2011 - 09:40 AM

I disagree about modern negative stocks being too sharp for super 8. Granted they are very sharp, it all depends on the lens used and camera. In your case with that lens, it is going to be sharp, as the 100D will be. It is a rather sharp stock. Here is a link to some pick ups I produced for a music video. It was shot with a Nizo s80 and 7217 stock. All auto settings except focus. With the latitude of modern stock and the ability to grade it any way you'd like, I would cast my vote for either Vision 3 stock as your choice. How are you framing? have you considered using an anamorphic attachment at the front? If you want that 70's scope look with tons of flare, then I see an Iscorama 54 or 42 in your future.


By the way, is that Catherine Schell in the Bird With The Crystal Plumage shot? Love that techniscope.
  • 0


Technodolly

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

CineTape

CineLab

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

The Slider

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape