Jump to content


Photo

Rear Window (1954)


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 15 July 2012 - 06:54 PM

I just saw this again projected in 35mm over at BAM...

First of all that movie and its screenplay should be required viewing and reading at every film school, it's so brilliant. And the introduction of Grace Kelly is amazing, those close-ups of her looming into the lens, followed by the step-printed profile angle as she kisses James Stewart, followed by her turning on each lamp in the room.

Posted Image

It's also impressive considering the giant two-story set that must have filled the soundstage from top to bottom and side to side, lit for different times of day and night -- all on 25 ASA film stock! You look at a shadow pattern of sun hitting a fire escape and realize that there must have been a couple of 10K's or perhaps yellow-flame arcs to create that effect just one one part of one wall, and yet the camera moves from just outside the window and then back into the room itself. I wondered if they built the reverse angle on Stewart's apartment on a ground floor in another stage just to make it easier to work several feet away from the actors without using a crane or platform for the camera if it were outside a 2nd floor window, but sometimes the outer courtyard set is reflected in the binoculars and telephoto lenses that Stewart uses. For some shots they could have used a backing or projection to get that reflection but it fills the surface of the curved lenses in those devices, you don't see the borders of a projected frame. I'll have to re-read the 1954 AC article on the production.

But I can't imagine creating all those time-of-day lighting effects on 25 ASA film stock. We have it SO easy today.
  • 0

#2 Brian Rose

Brian Rose
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 896 posts
  • Student
  • Kansas City area

Posted 15 July 2012 - 10:04 PM

I just saw this again projected in 35mm over at BAM...

First of all that movie and its screenplay should be required viewing and reading at every film school, it's so brilliant. And the introduction of Grace Kelly is amazing, those close-ups of her looming into the lens, followed by the step-printed profile angle as she kisses James Stewart, followed by her turning on each lamp in the room.

Posted Image

It's also impressive considering the giant two-story set that must have filled the soundstage from top to bottom and side to side, lit for different times of day and night -- all on 25 ASA film stock! You look at a shadow pattern of sun hitting a fire escape and realize that there must have been a couple of 10K's or perhaps yellow-flame arcs to create that effect just one one part of one wall, and yet the camera moves from just outside the window and then back into the room itself. I wondered if they built the reverse angle on Stewart's apartment on a ground floor in another stage just to make it easier to work several feet away from the actors without using a crane or platform for the camera if it were outside a 2nd floor window, but sometimes the outer courtyard set is reflected in the binoculars and telephoto lenses that Stewart uses. For some shots they could have used a backing or projection to get that reflection but it fills the surface of the curved lenses in those devices, you don't see the borders of a projected frame. I'll have to re-read the 1954 AC article on the production.

But I can't imagine creating all those time-of-day lighting effects on 25 ASA film stock. We have it SO easy today.


Oh my yes what a marvelous film, and such marvelous camera work! Amazes me what those grand old DPs were able to do with such slow films, and such bulky Mitchell blimped cameras.

It's really a shame, that thanks to auteur theory Hitch gets all the praise, when really I don't think there can be enough superlatives heaped upon Hitch's go to DP Robert Burks who lensed nearly all of Hitch's films during his decas dies mirabilis.

And GOD that first shot of Grace Kelly. Absolutely makes me melt every single time.
  • 0

#3 Dom Jaeger

Dom Jaeger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1605 posts
  • Other
  • Melbourne, Australia

Posted 16 July 2012 - 08:24 AM

Yes one of cinemas great highpoints, maybe my favourite Hitchcock film (along with Shadow of a Doubt and Vertigo).

Regarding the lighting, I remember stumbling upon this little snippet:

Lighting the various sets became a problem, particularly during a shot of Stewart in the foreground as the camera focused on action taking place in the apartments across the courtyard. For one scene, Paramount had to employ every light that wasn't being used on the lot--in addition to lights borrowed from Columbia and MGM. The proper amount of light was finally attained, but the heat on the set was intense. "Suddenly, in the middle of it, the lights set off the sprinkler system," Stewart recalled. "Not just a section of it, but on all the stages, and we're not talking about little streams of water but torrents." All activity stopped as the set was plunged into wet darkness. But Hitchcock was unfazed. According to Stewart, "He sat there and told his assistant to get the sprinklers shut off and then to tell him when the rain was going to stop, but in the meantime to bring him an umbrella."

:lol:
  • 0

#4 Paul Bartok

Paul Bartok
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 223 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 16 July 2012 - 12:40 PM

I remember hearing about those Technicolor days, I heard they had to use so much lighting, that make up would melt.
  • 0

#5 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2430 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 16 July 2012 - 01:46 PM

Not Technicolor. This was 1954, so a stop or two cooler on set.
  • 0

#6 Paul Bartok

Paul Bartok
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 223 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 16 July 2012 - 02:48 PM

Not Technicolor. This was 1954, so a stop or two cooler on set.

Whoops, I was under the assumption that it was, does anybody know what cameras they used then,
It was developed by Technicolor:
http://www.imdb.com/...47396/technical

This is what Wikipedia said:
"The film was shot entirely at Paramount studios, including an enormous set on one of the soundstages, and filmed in Technicolor."
???
  • 0

#7 Brian Rose

Brian Rose
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 896 posts
  • Student
  • Kansas City area

Posted 16 July 2012 - 02:54 PM

Whoops, I was under the assumption that it was, does anybody know what cameras they used then,
It was developed by Technicolor:
http://www.imdb.com/...47396/technical

This is what Wikipedia said:
"The film was shot entirely at Paramount studios, including an enormous set on one of the soundstages, and filmed in Technicolor."
???


No doubt the confusion was due to the fact that during this transitional period, when studios were beginning to adopt the new eastman monopak, but Technicolor had not yet abandoned its proprietary 3-strip process, you often had productions which were shot on Eastman, but then had Technicolor manufacture the exhibition prints, by creating separation masters from the single strip neg, and production dye transfers prints as they would if it was a three strip process. And in the credits sequence, Technicolor was somewhat misleadingly given the usual credit, "Color by Technicolor," even though it wasn't the same as if they had actually shot it in their process.

It was not long before this practice was changed (for obvious reasons, as I'm sure Eastman Kodak had a thing or two to say about that policy) and you started to see the more accurate credit "Prints by Technicolor."
  • 0

#8 Paul Bartok

Paul Bartok
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 223 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 16 July 2012 - 03:24 PM

Very interesting. Thanks heaps Brian.
  • 0

#9 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 16 July 2012 - 04:20 PM

Eastmancolor came out in 1950 and 3-strip Technicolor photography stopped by 1955, so there's a five-year overlap of the two technologies (not counting the other film stocks like Agfacolor/Anscochrome, etc.)

Actually when Eastmancolor was first released as 5247, it was 16 ASA daylight balanced and considered similar in speed to Technicolor (though that had switched to tungsten-balanced by then.) So there wasn't much speed advantage with Eastmancolor, even when 5248 (25 ASA tungsten-balanced) came out in 1952 -- it wasn't until 5250 came out in 1959 that you saw a real increase in the speed of the color stocks available for cinematography -- 5250 was 50 ASA.

I find it an interesting time, the 1950's, between the demise of 3-strip by the middle of the decade and the rise of widescreen and larger negative formats, causing some interesting variations in look.

Once the studios jumped onto Eastmancolor, thus allowing them to process negative in-house, 3-strip became available for independent and lower-budgeted studios, which is one reason why John Ford shot "The Quiet Man" and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" in 3-strip Technicolor.
  • 0

#10 Brian Rose

Brian Rose
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 896 posts
  • Student
  • Kansas City area

Posted 16 July 2012 - 04:33 PM

Once the studios jumped onto Eastmancolor, thus allowing them to process negative in-house,


And for a brief time each studio named their own process something. Remember Warnercolor?
  • 0

#11 Jon Rosenbloom

Jon Rosenbloom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 713 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:29 PM

Yes, one of the all time great movies!
Since you mentioned it, David, can you elaborate on the step printed shot?
  • 0

#12 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:00 AM

Yes, one of the all time great movies!
Since you mentioned it, David, can you elaborate on the step printed shot?


In what way? It must have been a normal speed shot step-printed to be slower.
  • 0

#13 Jon Rosenbloom

Jon Rosenbloom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 713 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 20 July 2012 - 03:46 AM

I mean what exactly is step printing?
  • 0

#14 Simon Wyss

Simon Wyss
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1415 posts
  • Other
  • Basel, Switzerland

Posted 20 July 2012 - 06:52 AM

Intermittent, step by step, contrary to continuous printing
  • 0

#15 Jon Rosenbloom

Jon Rosenbloom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 713 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 21 July 2012 - 04:02 PM

Well, if the negative and positive are going in the same steps, wouldn't it be continuous? Guess I'll just go to Wikipedia.
  • 0

#16 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 21 July 2012 - 10:43 PM

Well, if the negative and positive are going in the same steps, wouldn't it be continuous? Guess I'll just go to Wikipedia.


Generally it just means making an optical printer effect by repeating the same frames from the IP onto a new dupe negative in order to slow-down the motion (let's say, by copying the same original frame three times in a row, and then the next original frame copied three times in a row, etc.), but one can get clever with the cadence of the repeated shots.

Slowing down footage digitally has a similar look unless you blend frames to create less strobing.

"Terminator 2" has a step-printed optical slow-down of the Terminator coming up the conveyor belt to shoot the other Terminator at the climax. Shots slowed down in post generally look steppy because of a lack of temporal information.
  • 0

#17 Jon Rosenbloom

Jon Rosenbloom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 713 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 27 July 2012 - 08:48 PM

Generally it just means making an optical printer effect by repeating the same frames from the IP onto a new dupe negative in order to slow-down the motion (let's say, by copying the same original frame three times in a row, and then the next original frame copied three times in a row, etc.), but one can get clever with the cadence of the repeated shots.

Slowing down footage digitally has a similar look unless you blend frames to create less strobing.

"Terminator 2" has a step-printed optical slow-down of the Terminator coming up the conveyor belt to shoot the other Terminator at the climax. Shots slowed down in post generally look steppy because of a lack of temporal information.



Thanks for the explanation.
  • 0

#18 Leo Anthony Vale

Leo Anthony Vale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2010 posts
  • Other
  • Pittsburgh PA

Posted 07 August 2012 - 10:05 PM

quote name='Paul Bartok' timestamp='1342468132' post='374117']
Whoops, I was under the assumption that it was, does anybody know what cameras they used then,
It was developed by Technicolor:
http://www.imdb.com/...47396/technical

This is what Wikipedia said:
"The film was shot entirely at Paramount studios, including an enormous set on one of the soundstages, and filmed in Technicolor."
???
[/quote]

Production stills show a Mitchell BNC.

Posted Image

So it was Eastman color.
I understand that all of the original RPs were printed off of the OCN (orig. color neg.)
But Technicolor did make the eastman color prints.
Which they also did with 'The Robe', also advertised as being in Technicolor.
Pathe labs sued TC for crediting and advertising eastman color as Technicolor,
even Pathecolor was Eastman color. I never found how the suit went. I suspect Pathe lost.
Hitchcock thought that the Technicolor prints of that time were too soft.
Though TC did come up with a sharper IB matrix system to deal with larger screens and wide screen.
  • 0


Aerial Filmworks

Opal

CineTape

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Glidecam

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

CineLab

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Opal

Glidecam