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Batman Begins


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 07:54 PM

Saw an advance screening in IMAX today.

Was really impressed, both with the movie and with the photography and IMAX blow-up. Almost a throwback to a pre-CGI era with mostly impressive stunt work instead of computer efx. And the dialogue scenes were as engrossing as the action scenes; it's one of the most serious comic book adaptations you'll ever see.

Nice to see anamorphic used for a big studio action film again too.
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#2 drew_town

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 08:48 PM

Sounds good. I was hoping to see a different take on the Batman series with Christopher Noland at the steering wheel. I'll be sure to catch it.
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#3 Jeremy Montana

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:45 AM

Thank you for the quick impression. I was thinking Nolan would do some great work with Bale and a such a cherished franchise.

Question: Does the gigantic IMAX screen take away from the experience at all? Do you feel you are looking across and up to catch certain moments, as the entire first few rows of a sold-out showing in a normal theater would necessitate?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 03:02 AM

I sat far enough back so it wasn't ridiculously huge -- plus the IMAX print is matted to 2.35 anyway (being an anamorphic movie) so there's not a lot of up & down to look.

It's more like seeing a normal 5-perf 70mm print like they used to make for movies. Just sit farther back in the IMAX theater than you would for something shot in true 15-perf 65mm and you'll be fine and get all the advantages of the super steady and super bright IMAX projection. Blows even 2K DLP projection away.
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#5 Saul Pincus

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:25 AM

I sat far enough back so it wasn't ridiculously huge -- plus the IMAX print is matted to 2.35 anyway (being an anamorphic movie) so there's not a lot of up & down to look.

It's more like seeing a normal 5-perf 70mm print like they used to make for movies.  Just sit farther back in the IMAX theater than you would for something shot in true 15-perf 65mm and you'll be fine and get all the advantages of the super steady and super bright IMAX projection.  Blows even 2K DLP projection away.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Wouldn't Batman Begins be the first IMAX DMR blowup to originate from an anamorphic negative? All others have been Super 35, or in the case of "Clones," HD.

I'd expect an even crisper blowup in this case...

Saul

Edited by Saul Pincus, 13 June 2005 - 11:26 AM.

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#6 fstop

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:28 AM

How does it compare to past Batmans? I know we both disagree on the Burton entries (I love Pratt's work and you prefer Czapsky's) but it'd be interesting to contextualise this effort. :) From what I've seen, this looks more like something Jordan Cronenwerth could have shot.

Did you notice any blatant miniature effects?
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#7 Boone Hudgins

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:50 AM

From what I've seen, this looks more like something Jordan Cronenwerth could have shot.

Apparently, Blade Runner was a big influence for the look of the movie.
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#8 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:53 AM

From what Pfister was saying this is the first 6K print from a 35mm source to go into wide commercial screening. He said he was really impressed.

The only problem is that the CGI elements are still in 2K. He said at times even though their was sharpening and interpolation at times you can see the edges of the CGI.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:06 PM

From what Pfister was saying this is the first 6K print from a 35mm source to go into wide commercial screening. He said he was really impressed.

The only problem is that the CGI elements are still in 2K. He said at times even though their was sharpening and interpolation at times you can see the edges of the CGI.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


6K was only used for one or two day exterior scenes -- the rest of the IMAX DMR was done at 4K, and from a scan of an IP, since the 35mm version was completed photo-chemically with no D.I. This is interesting because essentially the movie was timed in film so the D.I. hardly involved any color-correction.

The few CGI efx do look visibly more "sharpened" in IMAX from a lower-rez source.

Stylistically, this movie is more realistic overall than any other Batman movie made, so I can't really say it looks like "Blade Runner" -- it's not that stylized in lighting or design -- although it does have a Jordan Cronenweth / John Toll low-key look. Something more like Theo Van de Sande's work in the original "Blade" comes to mind, or even the original NYC scenes in "Superman" minus the fog filters. Dramatic, low-key, and naturalistic more than anything.

Wally Pfister was most happy about the black levels of the Vision print in IMAX, which are better than the theatrical 35mm prints made from an IP/IN. This is unusual for a D.I. in my mind going onto normal Vision print stock -- rich blacks & colors -- but perhaps it's because it was recorded to camera negative, with enough density, using a CRT Solitaire recorder and not to an IN using a laser recorder. Normally you'd want to use Vision Premier or Fuji Hi-Con to get decent blacks from a D.I. But these blacks were BLACK for the most part, the same density as the surrounding black border of the screen. It may help that IMAX projection is more like 22 footlamberts rather than 16, so if your whites are hotter, the blacks look blacker in comparison.

My only complaint about the IMAX version is that they didn't need to use quite as much sharpening and grain reduction as they did -- it would have looked fine with less of that. A little grain would have been OK with this story.
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#10 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:16 PM

Was this an ASC screening?
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:25 PM

It was a screening set-up by the local IMAX company doing these DMR blow-ups, for friends and family sort of. Bill Hogan got me a ticket since he's friends with the head of this company. I saw Wally Pfister and his family there, and Daryn Okada and his, plus John Hora, but that's it for ASC members I think.
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:12 PM

Hi,

> But these blacks were BLACK for the most part, the same density as the surrounding
> black border of the screen

While it might have looked that way, as you said from the high brightness IMAX projection, I seriously doubt that was actually the case, if you'd put a spot meter on black print and black border!

Phil
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#13 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:20 PM

I doubt that David actually takes his spotmeter to the cinema very often. Looking through that 5 degree viewfinder makes it hard to follow the story....
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#14 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:40 PM

Can't wait to see it on the big screen - just to see some good old anamorphic crispness again, warts and all.
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#15 Michel Hafner

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 10:37 AM

My only complaint about the IMAX version is that they didn't need to use quite as much sharpening and grain reduction as they did -- it would have looked fine with less of that.  A little grain would have been OK with this story.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

So there were the usual DRM grain reduction artifacts visible as in earlier films?
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#16 Sam Wells

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 12:54 PM

Take a program or I sometimes just take the small notebook I carry around (in case I get a profound thought which rarely happens :) ) and cover your eyes so you just see the "blacks".

(you can flag off part of the projector beam from the top seats but audiences get agitated for some reason :ph34r:

milky DI black stands out in most cases, as Bob Dylan said you don't need a spotmeter to know which way the wind blows. Well sort of :)

-Sam
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#17 Christian Appelt

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 04:31 PM

What type of anamorphic lens did they use for BATMAN BEGINS ?
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#18 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 04:57 PM

They used the E and C series from Panavision. They also tested the Primos, but Pfister preferred the look of the other series.
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#19 drew_town

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 11:15 PM

I enjoyed the darker tone in Batman Begins. I think it's something the other movies needed to delve into a good bit deeper to do justice to the story and the nature of the characters. And while this is what I was expecting from the movie, I found it terribly hard to buy. I couldn't swallow the characters or the story as they were portrayed. I think this was mainly because I really didn't like how the movie was edited. It's pace seemed off throughout the movie- rushing past moments and looming on others. I think eventually it couldn?t keep up with the momentum it built during the first half and lacked a suitable transition. It seemed to get away from the dark subplots and focus on the car chases. And the whole Batmobile thing was just a silly boy-with-toy moment. The movie obviously catered to an audience aware of the Batman story or who had at least seen the other movies. I found it odd that the movie explained so many things to a point I felt like it was spoon feeding me a bit too much.

I will say, as David mentioned earlier, that the dialogue sequences were rather compelling. Perhaps more compelling than the action sequences. Perhaps one of the few things I REALLY enjoyed about the movie. I think the mood and the tone was right but Christopher Nolan couldn't sell it.

The theater's projection where I saw the movie was incredibly dark and difficult to make out at times. And the photography of some of the action scenes was so fast and choppy they seemed almost random. I think I sat a bit too close to the screen, because the action sequences seemed a bit overwhelming. I think Batman Begins is one of the better Batman movies. But I think there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Oh, and the Scarecrow was the perfect villain for this darker version of Batman. The hallucinogenic effects were done quite well.
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#20 DavidSloan

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 03:27 AM

the photography of some of the action scenes was so fast and choppy they seemed almost random.


I couldn't agree more. I thought the film was weak overall, but had a few interesting moments. The whole thing about this film being serious, and intelligent is blown way out of proportion. It's a standard summer blockbuster. Sin City was a lot better.

The best part of the night was the trailer for The New World!
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