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Revenge of the Sith


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#1 Saul Pincus

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 10:31 AM

I caught a midnight DLP screening of this last night, and for the first time in the prequel trilogy, I actually felt a sense of unity and art with regard to the look of the film. I'm still not sure whether to thank David Tattersall or ILM for this, but the results of their efforts, combined with those of the production and costume designers, really went far in accurately conveying the melancholy as the story line reached its inevitable twilight.

As for a review of the film itself, I found it "satifying enough." It's the only film of the prequel trilogy to cook along at a vintage Star Wars pace, and it is so filled with purpose you don't have the time to get swept in its flaws. In comparison, it really just amplifies my feelings that The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones were warm-ups, and ultimately a waste of this Star Wars fan's time!

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#2 Michel Hafner

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 12:45 PM

Saw it today on a 2K DLP. The new 2K models are far better than the old 1.3K ones. Contrast has at least doubled. The black of space is still not black but acceptable. The darkest scenes looked somewhat washed out, the rest is good concerning contrast. Pixelisation/aliasing is still visible at times. So was flicker at least once. Concerning colors the projector seemed not properly calibrated and showed often greenish skin when not intended, I guess.
Overall better looking than all standard 35mm prints I see from Hollywood. But I suspect we need 4K projectors to get that last bit of detail without seeing aliasing. And contrast should double once more.
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#3 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 01:43 PM

While I very much enjoyed the movie, I found David Tattersall's approach dissapointing, once again. I just really don't like the ultra-primary color palate, and I thought that a lot of it was very flatly lit and that the scenes in Anakin's penthouse looked almost soap opera-ish. I felt the CG was kind of lackluster, again, as well. I was left wanting in that department, along with the production design in certain scenes. Some rooms seemed too sparsely decorated or just bland looking. But, the fact is, with the past two prequels leaving me, and many others, so immensely dissapointed, to be able to come home and feel satisfied and happy with this movie was much more important to me than any of above-mentioned qualms!
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#4 Rik Andino

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 04:26 PM

Well it did wrap itself up nicely...
I walked out feeling good about the movie (although it'll never beat Empire...)

One thing it did was leave us all wanting more
And perhaps a small feeling of nostalgia
You know this might be the last we hear of Star Wars...
Although if I know George Lucas...(which I don't... :P )
Ten years or twenty something might come speeding along B)

I have to commend Ewan Mcgregor--He did wonders with Lucas' horrible dialogue.
And Hayden Christensen was better at being dark than angst-ridden padawan
Although there was alot of bad dialogue...and bad acting following the dialogue.

As for the cinematography (that's what everyone cares about)
It was okay (as should be expected from a 100 million dollar blockbuster)
I saw it in a 35mm projection and I didn't notice any technical flaws
Well...the long shots did suck in resolution
And the CG at times wasn't as powerful as it could've been
But there were no really bad digital artifacts...I've been hearing about

I found the cinematography up to par with other summer blockbusters
And even {gasp} other Star Wars films. :o

However I would've taken less CG action and more good camera angles
As well as good dialogue and chemistry.

But I can't complain it was what we were expecting...
Hopefully it'll hold up in the long years to come.
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#5 Kai.w

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 04:43 PM

As for the cinematography (that's what everyone cares about)
It was okay (as should be expected from a 100 million dollar blockbuster)
I saw it in a 35mm projection and I didn't notice any technical flaws
Well...the long shots did suck in resolution
And the CG at times wasn't as powerful as it could've been
But there were no really bad digital artifacts...I've been hearing about

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If you can, try so see a digital projection. I've seen a terrible print of EII when it came out and went to a digital projection the next day. Big difference. If this projection method fits any movies then it is the new star wars series.

If only I had the time to check on EIII now...

-k
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 06:08 PM

I just saw it with standard DLP-Cinema projection at the Mann Village in Westwood.

Well, it was better than the earlier prequels, which isn't saying much, but the last act achieves a grandeur and melancholy sweep that was atypical of Lucas. I still think that he needed a more complex and compelling actor to play Annakin, but Christensen was fine in the part. Ian McDiarmid is always interesting to watch.

Photography was nice, a little darker overall than the previous ones, for obvious reasons. Considering how piecemeal everything was, bits of actors and bits of sets shot against green and bluescreens, I'm not sure one can get more creative with lighting in these circumstances, so it's hard to blame Tattersal if things look a little pasted together.

I saw some minor improvement overall in color and sharpness with the 4:4:4 HD recording, fewer digital artifacts and noise problems, but the HD look is still there -- it didn't look like 35mm color negative photography. But other than that, I thought the picture quality was pretty good.

At some point, I'd like to see the 35mm print, the 2K DLP projection, and then the eventual IMAX version (if there is one). But not too closely together -- it's not THAT good of a movie.

Looking forward to Schrader's version of the Exorcist prequel just to see what Storaro did for Schrader that he didn't do for Harlin. Not often do you get to see the same movie (more or less) directed by two different people but with the same cinematographer. I wonder how it was posted though.
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#7 Michel Hafner

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 03:34 AM

I just saw it with standard DLP-Cinema projection at the Mann Village in Westwood.
I saw some minor improvement overall in color and sharpness with the 4:4:4 HD recording, fewer digital artifacts and noise problems, but the HD look is still there -- it didn't look like 35mm color negative photography.  But other than that, I thought the picture quality was pretty good.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Standard DLP=1280*1024? That version is far worse than the 2K projection. But even the 2K projections are not all the same. Only if you see a screening from a server with JPEG2000 in 4:4:4 and lossless compression you see the original. Most cinemas with a 2K projector show a MPEG-2 version with 4:2:2 and ~60-80 Mbit/s. Not bad at all, but definitely not visually lossless compared to the master.

Edited by miha, 21 May 2005 - 03:34 AM.

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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 10:05 AM

It's worse but I wouldn't say "far worse" -- the difference between 1280 pixels across and 1920 pixels across is not THAT huge and will be affected by viewer-to-screen distance. Anyway, I've seen 2K (actually 1920 x 1080 HD but everyone seems to round up theses days) projection already and it IS an improvement, no doubt, but not a radical difference.
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#9 Michel Hafner

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 10:39 AM

It's worse but I wouldn't say "far worse" -- the difference between 1280 pixels across and 1920 pixels across is not THAT huge and will be affected by viewer-to-screen distance.  Anyway, I've seen 2K (actually 1920 x 1080 HD but everyone seems to round up theses days) projection already and it IS an improvement, no doubt, but not a radical difference.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Contrast was far better too. Detail was uneven. There were shots that had detail unavailable from 35mm prints that are not from the camera negative. Other shots were created soft. But if the best stuff looks like this with only ~800 horizontal lines of resolution, compressed and color subsampled, 4K will look like 70mm from a 4K projector. And that's very exciting.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 11:05 AM

Contrast was far better too. Detail was uneven. There were shots that had detail unavailable from 35mm prints that are not from the camera negative. Other shots were created soft. But if the best stuff looks like this with only ~800 horizontal lines of resolution, compressed and color subsampled, 4K will look like 70mm from a 4K projector. And that's very exciting.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hopefully there will be a 4K DLP projector someday, because the Sony 4K Qualia projector uses LCD technology, which has worse blacks than DLP.

Yes, I believe 2K projection is competitive with 35mm projection (even though origination should be 4K to compete with 35mm -- you need to originate higher than what you project at, especially for a film print) and in theory, 4K projection could seem more like 70mm projection, assuming 4K or higher origination.

Trouble with 2K origination or 2K D.I.'s is that it becomes less than 2K once projected from a film print onto a screen, so if film prints are planned, you really need to be mastering at 4K. But I think 2K is fine for an all-digital throughput from origination, mastering, and digital projection. Of course, there are other quality issues wih this unrelated to resolution...
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#11 Michael Most

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 12:09 PM

I saw some minor improvement overall in color and sharpness with the 4:4:4 HD recording, fewer digital artifacts and noise problems, but the HD look is still there -- it didn't look like 35mm color negative photography.  But other than that, I thought the picture quality was pretty good.


I saw hugely significant improvements over Episode 2, not the least of which was the ability to do relatively seamless compositing - every stray hair visible, very little "frying" of matte edges. I also saw a much deeper color pallette overall - although the entire "lava planet" sequence probably pushed those limits beyond where they should be pushed.

As for it not looking like 35mm negative photography, that was the intent. As two people who have said more than once that the purpose of digital cinematography should not necessarily be to emulate film, I think we both should welcome that. It had an "HD look" because that is the aesthetic that George wanted for these pictures - in your face detail, sharpness beyond what is normally possible on film, deeper depth of field, brighter colors - all of these things are present in abundance. If we are to applaud Michael Mann's efforts at utilizing new tools for a new aesthetic, we should also applaud George's attempts at the same thing, regardless of how we feel about the picture as a whole. And in spite of its weaknesses (namely dialogue, performance, and direction) I did find this movie quite entertaining.

On that note, I think this movie, more than any other I've seen, helps to point out the weakness in the "all green screen" approach when a movie is being made to epic proportions. The inability of the actors to comprehend the surroundings, and the resulting flat performances, especially when compared to something like "Sin City," emphasize that. Of course, there's also the directing style and abilities of George vs. Robert to consider, but even considering that, the only performance I felt had any truth in Star Wars III was that of Ian McDiarmid. Even George couldn't ruin that. In any case, it takes a truly gifted and visionary director to help the cast to overcome this. Peter Jackson comes to mind, but there aren't too many Peter Jacksons around. And certainly George Lucas is no Peter Jackson.
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 08:06 PM

I agree that the keying around hair was much improved this time and the movie was "cleaner" all around, less chroma noise in the shadows. But occasionally the skintones went a little funny -- maybe some poor color-correction choices.
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#13 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 08:53 PM

I just saw a 35mm presentation of the film.

The image quality generally was good considering that it was an HD film, though the blacks were poor and the overall look was too soft. The last half hour featured more dramatic lighting and was the best shot part of the movie in my opinion.
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#14 Michel Hafner

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 02:21 AM

Hopefully there will be a 4K DLP projector someday, because the Sony 4K Qualia projector uses LCD technology, which has worse blacks than DLP.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

While TI and the projector companies don't confirm it some people working with these projectors say that a 4K DLP is in the works and coming as soon as next year. The Sony competition and digital cinema standards leave TI no choice. One does not necessarily need a 4K chip. A half 4K chip with wobulation might do the trick till a 4K chip is here. It offers more than 2K but not full 4K.
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 11:15 AM

While TI and the projector companies don't confirm it some people working with these projectors say that a 4K DLP is in the works and coming as soon as next year. The Sony competition and digital cinema standards leave TI no choice. One does not necessarily need a 4K chip. A half 4K chip with wobulation might do the trick till a 4K chip is here. It offers more than 2K but not full 4K.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The question is how many recording formats can playback 4K in real time? What's nice about the 2K projectors is that you can output from an HD deck for a screening if you need to. With 4K, it would have to be hard-drive based, or some sort of compressed recording on disks of some sort, I don't know.
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#16 Jon Amerikaner

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 11:15 AM

Saw Sith in DLP. Not sure of the resolution. Definitely missing all the general film print artifacts. But it was like watching the film on a giant TV. The pixels were more than evident and diagonals suffer. Reading this post brings to mind, yet again, the argument for unified standards for digital projection. Although I've come to accept that every time my images are shown they will look different. I will still fight for a system that works to preserve our original intentions. (As a digital cinematographer I've had moments where the image in my viewfinder was different from the one on my flip out screen, different from the on-set monitor, and still different from the monitor in the edit bay.) I think the biggest reason for the lack of standards in theaters is the loss of dedicated projectionists. Men and women who understood how to care for and show a film and who actually stayed in the booth to ensure a successful screening (and to switch reels). I'm sorry, but teenage theater managers who start the film and run to do other work are just not the same. And I'm afraid as digital projection increases, even these theater managers won't be needed.
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#17 Tim Tyler

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 01:42 PM

I saw a film print on a relatively large screen yesterday and was dissapointed.

Sharprness and resolution looked good on the CG environments, but faces always looked soft. I kept thinking that the projection was soft, but then I'd see contrast and clarity in a background element within the same frame.

It was a bit hard to get past the dialog and many performances too.

I'll check out a digital projection and compare.
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#18 drew_town

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 09:14 PM

Hope all you Star Wars fans have had a chance to see THIS.
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#19 Krystian Ramlogan

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 11:36 PM

Hey guys, this is my first real post so I hope it's good enough to serve as an introduction to how I think. I'm not quite the professional filmmaker just yet, but I'm working on it.

I just came from Star Wars Episode III, and I wanted to offer my thoughts on it. First thing, I am impressed with how far HD-Video, has come along since it's inception, though, as others have mentioned, I do not think it will ever replace film. It does seem to be on its way to becoming a viable alternative or tool for the filmmaking process, though time will tell.

One thing I liked about episode III in comparison to Sin City - which I thought was a lesser film for many reasons - were the greater variety of shots, and more speficially the longer type shots. Episode III seemed more of a complete attempt at telling a visual story from the bigger picture; from the outside inward, as opposed to Sin City's intimate, almost claustrophobic feel (at least for me).

I won't belabor the lacks inherent in episode III, but for me the main ones are: G. Lucas' directorial skills aren't the best, but I always thought he should have improved by now, the lack of chemistry between the lead actors was there from the beginning (Ep. II) and I can't quite understand why it still is, too much emphasis on digital wizardry - just because a tool or option is available does not mean it should be used.

However with that said, I think this story was much better - though it could have been tighter, the visuals flowed better than the other 2 episodes, the technology has matured somewhat and I think that came across, and even with a lot of the story known, I think there was enough to keep me interested throughout the entire movie.

In terms of the cinematography, others have mentioned the softness of faces and I have to agree. What I'm wondering though, is how is that possible with the ability to "see" a better picture while shooting? If someone could throw me a bone here, I'd like to wrap my brain around that item, since I've never shot HD. I've done 16mm, DigiBeta, D-SVHS, Betacam Sp and DV in all it's flavors - also MII, Hi8, and VHS :-)

Also one other thing I dislike about the whole digital wizardry thing: the reduction in set design and real props. I always felt that the original trilogy felt so real because of the sets: they add a quality to a scene that CGI can't capture or recreate, in my opinion, just yet.

The lighting as well seemed different to me. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's such a difference from Episodes I and II to III (and of course, IV, V and VI), that to me, Episode III seems removed a bit: almost stands on its own. Maybe its the latitude or thre fact its a darker movie; I'm not sure. Maybe someone with a more practised eye can offer something on that as well.

To close, I think Episode III was a credible end to the series - if it really ends - and much more enjoyable than Episodes I and II - which I truly suffered through.

So that's it, my first post. Thanks for reading it!
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#20 Michel Hafner

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 05:06 AM

I saw a film print on a relatively large screen yesterday and was dissapointed.

Sharprness and resolution looked good on the CG environments, but faces always looked soft. I kept thinking that the projection was soft, but then I'd see contrast and clarity in a background element within the same frame.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Soft faces might be intentional (vanity...). Fact is that the close up of Portman giving birth showed the makeup quite clearly in glorious detail. Probably not soft enough for some tastes. :D

Edited by miha, 23 May 2005 - 05:07 AM.

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