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Spectre mixing film and digital


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#1 Alex Birrell

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 04:51 PM

Just thought I'd share this article as there has been a lot of talk about the new Bond film "Spectre" being shot on 35mm. No-one was more happy about this news than me but it seems from this article that the film will actually also use the Alexa. In these newspaper stills of Ben Wishaw on location in London you can't see the camera behind the matte box but you can recognise the Alexa viewfinder. Looks like it'll use the Alexa for at least some scenes:

 

http://www.dailymail...ilm-London.html


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#2 Shawn Martin

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:37 PM

I thought they were just using Alexas for second unit and underwater, but like you said they're apparently mixing both film and digital for all the units.

A few days ago I came across the CV of one of the assistants on the second unit--have to look for it later--and it said they're shooting anamorphic, spherical and even VistaVision.

In the video in your link, the director's holding a viewfinder with what looks like one of the C-Series.
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#3 Shawn Martin

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:41 PM

Here it is:

http://www.wizzoandc...FocusPuller.pdf
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:50 PM

I am not sure the photos are from the "Spectre" . It is from the "Mail" after all . Plus says Take 2 on fluid head , Panavision are servicing this film.


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#5 Alex Birrell

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 10:01 AM

See what you mean John (and believe me, I would never read the Mail, I just happened to see the photos). If this picture were from Skyfall instead of Spectre however, it would have to be a deleted scene as there was never a Ben Wishaw on a bridge scene or a scene that needed Q in casual clothes.


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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 07:35 AM

Here's the trailer:

 


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#7 KH Martin

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 07:09 AM

Perhaps the digital end of this is a lot less than first thought. While i was trying to do a cinematography/vfx article on SPECTRE, the PR folk said Hoyte needed to know my 'angle' for the show. An odd question, given that the 'angle' usually arises out of the interviewee's responses, since that's the person in the know.

 

Anyway, I mentioned that getting these various digital captures to 'live' with the mostly shot-on-film stuff would be one area I would probably be asking about, and I got a response a week later that Hoyte declined the interview on the grounds that he considered this a film project. At that point I was three weeks into pursuing this (on my third or fourth PR person, and then another week passed before Sony PR decided they didn't want me to even do a VFX-only piece either, with no explanation whatsoever (this is after I've already done well-received features on QUANTUM for ICG and SKYFALL for HD VIDEO PR.) Very strange stuff. I loved his work on TINKER TAILOR and HER, but couldn't get him on the phone for proposed HER and INTERSTELLAR pieces either, so I guess this is strike three.

 

Then there was the one from a couple months ago, a DP I was interviewing about a film that comes out this month hung up on me (first time that has happened to me in 25 years of writing about film) when I mentioned I hadn't seen the film yet. The number of times I have seen a film before doing interviews is so small I can count them on both hands, and the PR folk who set up the interview knew they hadn't made the film available to me too, and yet he was surprised and apparently offended that this was the case. 


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#8 Manu Delpech

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 06:41 AM

Per the November issue of AC, I understand why Hoyte would say he considers it a film project because it's basically 95 % film, and 5 % digital. They shot the Thames boat chase on the Alexa 65 with Primo 70s as he said because they were working with extremely low light levels but everything else was shot on film with Panavision C-Series lenses and also the Arri Master Anamorphics. 


Edited by Manu Delpech, 24 October 2015 - 06:42 AM.

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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 01:16 PM

That's what it looked like to me in the trailer, you can see those few night-time digital shots on the river. They stick out in the trailer like a sore thumb; "can't do that on film"
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#10 Omar Alboukharey

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 08:53 PM

Kodak seriously need to invest making Vision4 stock or extend the current stock by adding 1600T :D


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 10:11 PM

It's the only thing film doesn't do well, no matter what CMOS will always have better sensitivity.

You can push Vision 3 500T very easily to 1000 ASA, I've done it many times on 16mm and it doesn't look half bad. Grainy for sure, but very artistic looking.
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#12 Omar Alboukharey

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 01:02 PM

But surely in situations like that, you would just throw in more (fill)light to gain decent exposure. Surely the Vision3 500T is more than capable of handling the job, no?

 

I thought this was something Hoyte would've done. 


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#13 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 01:40 PM

If you did a good job lighting it, yea it would be OK. But that kind of setup takes a lot of time and can look unnatural. Since the film isn't out yet, it's hard to know what they're doing and why. I bet there is a reason we just don't know yet. Same with 'Rogue Nation' shooting underwater with the Alexa 65. It was a better choice for that scene then film. It meant they could use less light and have less grain for the green screen work.
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#14 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 12:47 AM

But surely in situations like that, you would just throw in more (fill)light to gain decent exposure. Surely the Vision3 500T is more than capable of handling the job, no?
 
I thought this was something Hoyte would've done. 


How do you fill in miles of the Thames river at night? Anyway, I suspect they wanted to balance their lighting to the light level of the existing city lights in the background.
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#15 Manu Delpech

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 03:17 AM

From the article:

 

Dan Sasaki speaking:

 

"The fact that the Primo 70s performed well at T2 was very important to Hoyte. He was happy with the way the lenses handled flares and random glare during his initial tests but he was shooting down the Thames where he didn't have control of all the lights, and he didn't want any unforeseen surprises showing up. So we did another battery of tests to look at the flare and glare, and that was another factor that prompted a change in the coatings to a much higher tolerance than we originally had."

 

To be frank, they barely talk about the use of the Alexa 65 in the AC article, this is from a sidebar with only Sasaki speaking, it just says at the beginning: ".... a nocturnal boat chase along miles of the Thames riverfront in London, for reasons of exposure, the latter was shot with Panavision's new Primo 70s on Arri's new Alexa 65 digital camera."

 

About the fill thingy, Hoyte says this: "We wanted to give the film a retro feeling, but that doesn't mean making a retro film. So we used very modern elements and technology, with a slightly old-fashioned "laid-backness". It's a mixture, a blending of both worlds. In general, I'm not big on fil. I love the idea of just putting the light source in the right place. There have Bond films in the past where his face is lit in the same meticulous way in different scenes: a 3/4 frontal with a little bit of fill. When you find the perfect light for a face all the time, you step away from reality. 

 

For this Bond I wanted close-ups to have different feels, and I also used different tools: Rifa-Lites, fluorescents, LED panels. I like to do dynamic close-ups, where the light on the faces changes because of the mise-en-scène."

 

 

About the Thames epic lighting installation: "It's the biggest lighting setup I've ever done, and it might be one for The Guinness Book Of World Records ! It took five weeks to set up. My gaffer, David Smith, and his crew set up eight construction cranes and two floating pontoons on the Thames, plus dozens of other fixtures on the shore. We had 28 generators."

 

 

Hoyte also notes he's done a 4K DI because he feels that if "you render grain in 2K, it turns into noise - some sort of digital interpretation of grain."


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#16 John Holland

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 01:05 PM

Having just watched "Spectre" on a very large IMAX screen all can say this a beautiful shot film , the majority shot on film looks fantastic the Thames night scenes at the end of the film blend in without any problem ! This is a great Bond film loved it .


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#17 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 02:24 PM

So they set up lights, but still shot digital. Makes a lot of sense. :shrug:
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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 02:25 PM

Having just watched "Spectre" on a very large IMAX screen all can say this a beautiful shot film , the majority shot on film looks fantastic the Thames night scenes at the end of the film blend in without any problem ! This is a great Bond film loved it .


That's what everyone is saying, which is so exciting. It's unfortunate Craig won't be joining for another installment.
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#19 Omar Alboukharey

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 11:10 PM

This is pretty much a big budget film, they have the time and luxary of lighting any set and location that they demand. I find it very hard to believe that this was an obstacle, many films before this manage to film in low light scenery on film, good examples being the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, all shot on film and to the more recent Mission Impossible Rogue Nation during the climax of the film in London!

 

I even worked on Les Miserables where a horse chase scene was being done in a location where there wasn't much light sources, it was a night shoot but it was completely filled by using a gigantic chinese lantern on a crane! It looked so pretty :D The end result still looked like a night time scene where we can see what's happening and to my recollection it looked fine too.

 

Personally, if the lighting was going to be much of a problem, personally I would use the money that they used to rent the Alexa 65 and produce 0.5x focal reducers engineered specifically for 35mm cameras, that way more light is focused thus increasing exposure by 2-stops, the field of view would decrease by half as well giving a much wider angle shot, but that can be rectified easily by slapping on a normal or telephoto lens instead :)


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#20 Omar Alboukharey

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 09:21 PM

Have i said a little too much here for people to respond? Was my focal reducer idea silly or something?? :D

I'll be seeing the film at the Bfi Imax this Sunday (extremely annoyed they are presenting it digitally at 2K! :( ) so i am looking forward to it, but from the look of things i still believe a Vision3 500T stock would've suffice those Thames River scene.
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