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Wolf Hall, photographed by Gavin Finney, BSC

Wolf Hall Gavin Finney BSC Period Drama TV Series BBC2

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#1 Miguel Angel

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 04:20 PM

Very nice interview to Gavin Finney, BSC about his work on the new BBC Series "Wolf Hall" shot entirely with candles at T1.4 on Arri Alexa and Leica Summilux lenses. 

 

http://www.fdtimes.c...ummilux-c-t1-4/

 

I haven't seen the series but the trailer looks promising

 

Wolf Hall

 

Looking forward to watching it when it is aired!

 

Have a good day. 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 04:40 PM

The series is great!
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#3 Miguel Angel

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 05:53 PM

Ah! I have to wait to see it either on Netflix or on TV3 here in Ireland because it is not available on any of the platforms we use at home, and I don't want to download it. 

 

BBC Live Player doesn't work in Ireland either! 

 

I like that part where Mr. Finney says that the viewer never sees anything that Cromwell's character doesn't see, very interesting approach! 


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 09:54 PM

I just read the first novel a few weeks ago, having enjoyed the series so much.  Haven't read the second novel.


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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 12:00 PM

Nice shout out to Chris Reynolds, his 1st AC. Having worked with him many times over the years, I can testify just how good he is.


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#6 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 08:25 AM

I have to say, I find the cinematography of Wolf Hall a bit of a conundrum. I read Jon Fauer's terrific interview with Gavin Finney in the current F&D Times, and while I really admire the specificity of the approach Finney and Peter Kosminsky took to the material, and how determinedly they stuck to it. For me, their approach failed spectacularly.

 

The 'documentary' style of shooting handheld, just drew so much attention to itself (particularly in the context of a period piece, and how we're used to seeing them) that I could never really get past the outward artifice of the show and engage properly with the narrative. It was like having a permanently broken fourth wall the whole time.

 

I also found that the naturalism of the lighting at times, particularly harsh sunlight through the windows at times, when combined with the incredibly modern crispness of the image (as you'd expect from Alexa and Summilux-Cs) just felt so harsh (again in the context of what we're used to with period films) that it would also take me out of the show at times.

 

Which brings me to the lenses. When I first read about the new Leicas they sounded spectacular. Like every possible lens flaw had been addressed. A remarkable feat of optical engineering. So I started seeking out material that had been shot by these incredible lenses, only to discover that each and every thing I saw felt somehow flat and lifeless, lacking in the dimensionality we're used to seeing in films. I noticed this same quality yet again with Wolf Hall, and it's led me to the conclusion that the Summilux-Cs are simply too perfect for their own good.

 

All of which leads me to why I found the cinematography of the series a conundrum. Their approach to it has been executed superbly, and they seem to have achieved exactly what they set out to do (which is to be commended) - but the approach they chose just doesn't work for me at all. I found the style of the imagery distracting and detrimental to the quality of everything else that was being put on the screen.

 

Now it may be that I'm simply too used to the conventional glossiness of period dramas, and that's why the unique approach Finney and Kosminsky took with Wolf Hall just rubs me up the wrong way. But it really didn't work for me. I'd be very interested to hear how their approach worked for other people?


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 10:38 AM

I thought it was wonderful, I felt like I was there in those places back in time with those people.  The "new" convention of using handheld for period movies is now so old that it is no longer very unusual.  I was just watching Pasolini's "The Decameron" (1971) and a lot of it was shot handheld, even for wide establishing shots, and it was set in the Middle Ages -- that movie was made 45 years ago!

 

Sharp lenses rarely bother me unless they are distractingly unflattering to some actor.  Certainly I haven't found the Summilux stuff to be fundamentally different than viewing something shot with Master Primes, for example.  I really don't get the sensitivity over lenses that some people have, declaring that this or that lens has dimensionality (by somehow being softer?) or that the LACK of artifacts in a lens is somehow more distracting??? That makes little sense to me.  Plus in this case, we are talking about a lot of stuff shot wide-open with a lot of softness in the backgrounds, so I can't say that the sharpness of the show was particularly overbearing.  Wasn't "Gone Girl" shot on Summilux lenses?  If it had been shot on Master Primes instead, I wouldn't have been able to spot it.


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#8 Doug Palmer

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 03:42 AM

Not cinematography, but this could be an interesting talk by Hilary Mantel who wrote the novel. Next Tuesday on BBC radio, or afterwards at

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b08x9947

How fiction changes when it's adapted for stage or screen.  The earlier lectures she gave in this series have been fascinating too.


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#9 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:26 AM

This is the article I referred to, on another post about Wolf Hall.. re light meters .. and as said a very classy shout out the skills of the focus puller.. great series..  


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#10 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 07:04 AM

Whats also amazing is obviously alot of the buildings are still around .. even my high school in the UK was an old Tudor manor that Cromwell visited.. and took a chunk out of table with his sword .. and the table is still there !!    to those that didnt pay alot of attention during Tudor history lessons in 70,s UK like myself.. the series really opened my eyes to those times.. and that Cromwell had even been at my school !.. amazing .. 


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#11 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 08:06 AM

Whats also amazing is obviously alot of the buildings are still around .. even my high school in the UK was an old Tudor manor that Cromwell visited.. and took a chunk out of table with his sword .. and the table is still there !!    to those that didnt pay alot of attention during Tudor history lessons in 70,s UK like myself.. the series really opened my eyes to those times.. and that Cromwell had even been at my school !.. amazing .. 

It's a fascinating bit of history. I do wonder if my dislike of the series had something to do with the fact that (having been raised a good Irish Catholic lad) it was Thomas Cromwell cast as the hero and Thomas More as the villain (rather a twist on the catholic perspective!). 

Well ingrained propaganda does die hard.


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#12 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 07:53 PM

Yes all that for a divorce..!   in my day Cromwell was pretty much portrayed as a goodie in history classes.. poor kid made good.. Catholics and Europe still being the enemy :).. 70,s UK ..but that image of him has changed these day I believe .. from what I know the books and the TV series were very accurate historically ,the whole lot of them are pretty dodgy .. but its a good story..  and I think you have to admire the risks they took shooting it that way..  rather than the more usual "BBC".. Pro mist/Panther/Crane .. period drama style.. when aired there was actually  complaints about it being too dark to begin with.. but people seemed to have accepted the look after a few episodes and it was very well received .. but not to everyone liking .. 


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