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Sven Nykvist


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#1 joshua gallegos

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 04:30 PM

I didn't see a topic on Sven, but I've been trying to find technical information as to the type of film stocks he used in The Sacrifice. No one in cinema has ever used natural light the way he did. On the documentary of the making of 'The Sacrifice', I noticed in the filming of the exterior house which burns in 'The Sacrifice', that he didn't use any equipment at all. Was his specialty knowing how the sun behaved at a certain point in time by doing some scouting, photographing the scenery before the production commenced? His images are moving poetry! Added to the music and incredible vision by Tarkovsky, it's like i'm watching a painting moving in real life. He was masterful in both black and white and color in Bergman and Tarkovsky pictures.


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:07 PM

Odds are high that he used Kodak stock, and back in 1985 when the movie was shot, his choices were basically 5294 400T and 5247 125T.  I think he did some movies on Fuji stock (I could be wrong) but I don't recall hearing that this movie was done on Fuji.  He was fond of the Cooke 10:1 zoom back then when he didn't need the speed.


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#3 joshua gallegos

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 04:57 PM

Odds are high that he used Kodak stock, and back in 1985 when the movie was shot, his choices were basically 5294 400T and 5247 125T.  I think he did some movies on Fuji stock (I could be wrong) but I don't recall hearing that this movie was done on Fuji.  He was fond of the Cooke 10:1 zoom back then when he didn't need the speed.

 

Wow, they had 400T stock in1985! I had no clue, I thought film stocks would be slower. I've never seen anything quite like the monochrome look the movie has, it looks like an actual painting! 


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:03 PM

The monochromatic sections were done with optical printing -- you made a color IP and a b&w positive off of the color negative, then combined the two positives onto a new dupe negative, using whatever percentage of color vs. b&w you wanted.  "Sophie's Choice" did this for the WW2 flashbacks.


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#5 joshua gallegos

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 10:56 PM

It's interesting how there hasn't been much progress regarding faster emulsion speed in modern stocks, Kodak only has 500T. That's very interesting technique, how would that differ in digital? i thought that kind of a look was achieved by adding a series of filters, but it seems most of the real work is done in the lab and manipulating the film to achieve the look the director is after. Do cinematographers work with colorist in pre-production (digital) to get the look they are after before they begin filming? Or does the cinematographer work by himself? I would think modern cinematographers would require an extensive knowledge as to how to manipulate color on a computer, as opposed to the old way of altering the film by printing it at a certain number and photo-chemically changing it - or however that was done! 


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#6 joshua gallegos

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 11:26 PM

I remember reading an article in which Elia Kazan explained how serious he was about the color palette of his films. Namely in East of Eden, he was very crafty in picking the wardrobe, and interestingly enough, I seem to remember that beige sweater that Caleb (James Dean) wears in the movie, the color yellow and certain variants of it, seem to dominate the look of the entire picture, and most of it was achieved by coloring the walls of the sets, the furniture, wardrobe etc You don't see so much detail go into modern day films, and it affects the entire picture, because cinema is all about the experience, and if you don't believe what you see, then it's not "real". That was the main problem with American Hustle, there wasn't too much attention to detail, it was a cartoon, and there was no suspension of disbelief in that regard, so I felt it was a very lazy effort by David O. Russel, I suppose the point is that a great director knows how color affect the feeling of a movie, it evokes a certain emotion. When I see East of Eden it feels modern, the sensibilities of a human never change, no matter how long  ago a story takes place. The story, which is really the biblical story of Cain and Abel, made me realize that history repeats itself in every generation in manifold forms, if there's a picture with important and insightful cinematography it's 'East of Eden', it's more than just about the look and more about feeling what you see. Cinema is about emotions, which is something I don't see too often anymore, great cinema is felt. 


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 12:25 AM

You try to nail down the look in preproduction, you shoot tests and take them through color-correction, look at them on the big screen (if you are shooting for the big screen).

 

The tricky thing is to what degree you can cheaply get any special looks to be carried through in dailies so that the editor and director will spend the next few months looking at something close to being correct.  Usually most looks can be broken down into variations in contrast, color saturation, and color bias/tint and much of that can be done with a simple LUT for dailies and monitoring, plus the conventional ways of adjusting contrast and color (lighting, set design, playing with color temperature, etc.)  It gets harder if you look involves more advanced color-correction tools like digital diffusion, power windows, isolating certain colors from others, etc.  Sometimes with those things, you just have to save them for the final color-correction.


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