Jump to content


Photo

Ridley Scott focal lengths


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 David Ellison

David Ellison

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Director

Posted 20 September 2012 - 12:32 PM

Hi I'm looking for any breakdowns of the early Ridley scott movies (Alien, Blade Runner, Legend, Black Rain) which illustrate from shot to shot which focal lengths were used either in text or image form.
Does anyone know if anything like this exists?

Many thanks
  • 0

#2 Nicolas Courdouan

Nicolas Courdouan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 142 posts
  • Other

Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:03 AM

I don't know if what you're looking for exists, I certainly have never seen it but would be very interested in finding something like this, so please keep us posted if you ever find it.

From what I know about his methods :

I seem to remember that he favors longer focal lengths in general. Sorry for not being able to provide you with a precise quote or website, but if I remember exactly what I read he said that he likes to use lenses from 75mm and beyond.

He shoots with multiple camera setups, sometimes as much as 8 cameras for a two-character dialogue scene.

There's also an interview of him floating around where he mentions using spherical zoom lenses most of the time. He only used anamorphic on Alien and didn't like it because of how it turned focus pulling into a nightmare (at the time).


Good luck!
  • 0

#3 Francisco Martins

Francisco Martins
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Other

Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:46 PM

^ Is correct, except Ridley used anamorphic on Blade Runner instead of cropping, and only started shooting spherical and cropping around the time of Black Rain, the first time he ever did so.
  • 0

#4 David Mullen ASC

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

Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:57 PM

He only used anamorphic on Alien and didn't like it because of how it turned focus pulling into a nightmare (at the time).


Not true - he eventually switched to Super-35 for that reason, and that he preferred using spherical zooms (which is why it is hard to say what focal lengths he preferred) which are faster (T/2.8 instead of T/4.5) but the following Ridley Scott movies were shot with anamorphic lenses:

Alien
Blade Runner
Legend
Thelma & Louise
1492
White Squall
G.I. Jane
Matchstick Men
  • 0

#5 Nicolas Courdouan

Nicolas Courdouan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 142 posts
  • Other

Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:49 AM

My mistake.

Here's his exact quote, that I misinterpreted :

"I always feel that when a film opens up and it’s wide, it’s kind of nice. I don’t do anamorphic. Alien was anamorphic and it was a nightmare for focus. It was the relatively early days of the anamorphic zoom lens. My focus puller in those days was Adrian Biddle (BSC). He recalibrated the lenses one weekend because for some bizarre reason they were forward-focusing. We couldn’t work out why; it would look sharp through the camera. Today, we tend to use Super 35 spherical, which is faster and easier to keep sharp."
  • 0

#6 John Holland

John Holland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2250 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London England

Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:45 PM

I dont where you got the quotes about Alien from . But as far as i rememember no zooms were used on that shoot . Not enough light on sets with 100 ASA stock.
  • 0

#7 David Mullen ASC

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

Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:33 PM

There are a couple of zooms in "Alien"... I think Ripley's close-up at the end as she finishes her log while petting the cat is a zoom, or maybe it was the shot of her sleeping.
  • 0

#8 Nicolas Courdouan

Nicolas Courdouan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 142 posts
  • Other

Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:18 PM

I dont where you got the quotes about Alien from . But as far as i rememember no zooms were used on that shoot . Not enough light on sets with 100 ASA stock.


It's from an interview you can find here : http://www.icgmagazi...e-ridley-scott/

I can remember a couple of zooms in Alien. I wouldn't bet my life on it, but some shots really feel like they were zoomed in.

Now I need to watch it again.
  • 0

#9 Ignacio Aguilar

Ignacio Aguilar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 398 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Madrid, Spain

Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:34 PM

The shot of the facehugger constricting John Hurt's neck in a close-up, as the crew is examining him, has a very clear zoom in. And there are other zoom shots in the movie as well. But I'd say "Alien" was shot wider than most of his pictures, with a 50mm and 75mm lens on the main camera most of the time, and then the occasional 100mm or 135mm lens on the "B" camera. Bear in mind that since "Alien" was shot in the anamorphic format, which for the same angle of view doubles the focal lenght of a spherical lens (i.e. a 50mm anamorphic lens is equivalent in terms of view to a 25mm spherical).
  • 0


CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Opal

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Glidecam

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post