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Slawomir Idziak


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#1 Sebastien Scandiuzzi

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 06:08 PM

 

Hi Everyone,  

 

Slawomir Idziak, one of my favorite DP's, is going to be in Seattle for the Polish Film Festival and I'm excited to be moderating his master class, 1PM Oct 15th at SIFF. I'm also lucky to introduce screenings of The Double Life of Veronique (Oct 14th, 8PM) and Gattaca (Oct 16th 5:50PM). 

 

What would you like to ask him? Any particular scenes or techniques you'd like him to breakdown?

 

I obviously have my own: his use of filters; his work with Kieslowski, Zanussi, Wajda; working in Russian controlled Poland and after the 89 revolution and a few more. I'd love to hear from others I'm sure there are some great questions I haven't considered. 

 

Thanks!!!

 

Sebastien

 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 11:46 AM

I love to hear how he got the wash of blue light that momentarily covers the frame in "Blue" when she hears music in her head - particularly when she is sitting in a chair at the hospital. And that shot of the doctor reflected in her eyeball...


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#3 Sebastien Scandiuzzi

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 01:55 PM

Exactly the type of question I was looking for, thanks David! 

 

I'm hoping to record the class and if so I'll hopefully get permission to post online otherwise I'll post his answer here. 


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#4 Sebastien Scandiuzzi

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 04:29 PM

Wow. I definitely wasn't expecting to hear his solution to the scene in 'Blue' (the blue wash over Binoche)! I asked if he simply panned a gelled light to the right of camera but he said it wasn't getting the result he wanted so he decided to wrap the camera in blue gel and then open the back to flash the film!!! Amazing. Flashing isn't anything new but I've never heard of DP's wrapping the camera in gel. I suspect you knew it wasn't a gelled light...

 

He said the shot of the Dr reflected in the eyes of Binoche was a 200MM macro and the Dr was lit with a black wrapped 5K. He talked about his extensive collection (over 1000) found, bought and custom filters. He usually brings 500-600 with him in sets of 30 labeled alphabetically with a fliter 'map' for the AC so he can say "get me filter B 15" for his blue custom grad filter. Incidentally, he has a custom matte box with 6 slots so he can layer multiple filters and adjust them on all axis'. I asked if then filmed with a faster film stock because of the multiple filters but he said no, just the normal Eastmancolor but he said he couldn't remember the type of film.  

 

I also wanted to know how he got the blurred effect in Double Life of Veronique (when Weronika dies and they cut to Veronique making love). He used a magnifying glass in front of the lens while holding the camera! Again, it's not an original technique but to do both at the same time was quite impressive. I was interesting to hear how much Kieslowski was against a lot of Idziak's ideas for Double; the cyan/yellow color filters, the lens effects and said he was constantly at odds with Kieslowski for each of their features together. Interesting not because of the disagreements but because of how strong willed and confident he had to be, which was a good reminder. 

 

All in all it was a great night, very informative, relaxed and fun. I'll see if I can find out who filmed the discussion to post. 


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#5 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 07:41 PM

I would ask him why his camera filters in Le Double Vie de Veronique led them to colortime normal looking skin tones so that the day interiors show windowlight to be sour apple green.  It's very odd.  There's a bit of that in Gattaca.  But it makes sense cause it's a futuristic film.  Double life, while poetic and metaphysical and all, is still more realistic and this choice was definitely bold.

 

The original release of the film Krystof used a yellow tint over the whole movie to counter this effect cause he initially was pretty upset.  But the new criterion version has Slawomirs version and it's ...unusual.  I guess in the end Kieslowski stood by Slawomirs intent.  In the interviews Slaowmir stated it was cause he "had a tendency toward green at the time".   I would hope there was a better reason.  Maybe he can expand on that in an interview down the road.  Cause it's a case of a film I used to love, seeming really weird to me now in this latest release.  


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 16 October 2016 - 07:44 PM.

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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 08:11 PM

Wow. I definitely wasn't expecting to hear his solution to the scene in 'Blue' (the blue wash over Binoche)! I asked if he simply panned a gelled light to the right of camera but he said it wasn't getting the result he wanted so he decided to wrap the camera in blue gel and then open the back to flash the film!!! Amazing. Flashing isn't anything new but I've never heard of DP's wrapping the camera in gel. I suspect you knew it wasn't a gelled light...

 

 

That's pretty amazing!  I thought he must have panned a blue-gelled spotlight into the lens with a filter to spread it more, I wouldn't have thought of fogging the whole image with colored light by gelling the camera body and opening the door...


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#7 Sebastien Scandiuzzi

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 01:30 PM

I would ask him why his camera filters in Le Double Vie de Veronique led them to colortime normal looking skin tones so that the day interiors show windowlight to be sour apple green.  It's very odd.  There's a bit of that in Gattaca.  But it makes sense cause it's a futuristic film.  Double life, while poetic and metaphysical and all, is still more realistic and this choice was definitely bold.

 

The original release of the film Krystof used a yellow tint over the whole movie to counter this effect cause he initially was pretty upset.  But the new criterion version has Slawomirs version and it's ...unusual.  I guess in the end Kieslowski stood by Slawomirs intent.  In the interviews Slaowmir stated it was cause he "had a tendency toward green at the time".   I would hope there was a better reason.  Maybe he can expand on that in an interview down the road.  Cause it's a case of a film I used to love, seeming really weird to me now in this latest release.  

 

Its tough to nail down with him which version of Veronique is most accurate, when asked he says: "none of the versions are accurate, only the original 35MM print" but when I asked which is closest he said "Criterion blu ray is closest". As you mentioned, Kieslowski and Idziak had a difficult relationship and initially Kieslowski hated the look of the film. But at what point or which print did Kieslowski change the color back to Idziak's preference, I wasn't able to get a clear answer. Its seemed bitter sweet for Idziak, their working relationship and friendship. When asked which of his movies was his favorite, his 'best' work, Idziak paused and looked at the screen with images from Veronique and said: "... this. Veronique is probably my favorite." I suspect the yellow/cyan was his intention. Also, he also has an extensive collection of gels as well and used them with his custom filters. There are scenes where the green is intentional, lighting the set behind Jacob while keeping her face neutral or slightly cyan/yellow. 

 

Part of the reason he used filters was to create a distinct look but it also had to do with only using tungsten stock (he made it seem as though T was the only option but Eastmancolor did make 50D but maybe it was cost prohibitive or that's all they had? Not sure). He says that it was too easy to get an in camera 'blue' look by not using an 85 correction filter in daylight. So he decided to try and use custom filters instead to create a unique look while maintaining contrast. He also mentioned that using a correction filter decreases your contrast because you're limiting the spectrum of colors on the negative. I should note, I'm paraphrasing, english isn't his first language (he's also loosing his hearing, said it was because he would often operate and forget to put his earplugs in to protect his ears) and the more detailed/technical the questions the more tangental his answers became, he would hear 'the look' or 'film' and repeat "there are 3 layers on a negative, I didn't like blue so wanted to change it to yellow/cyan" and I didn't feel like pushing him further so we'd shift to another topic. 

 

Hope that helps, I'm writing this pretty fast since I have to go, excuse any typos. I'll edit this later if there are issues. 


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 08:47 PM

As much as I respect all the DP's who make similar statements about the 85 correction filter, it isn't true.  Cancelling an excess of blue wavelengths in daylight so that the layers are more evenly exposed, as opposed to an overexposed blue layer or an underexposed red layer from not using the correction filter, is not limiting the spectrum and there should be no affect on contrast, other than the affect that printing at different printer lights can affect the density of your blacks on the print.  The whole range of colors is still present with the correction filter, you are just limiting the intensity of one end of the spectrum.

 

If anything, one can argue that skipping the 85 filter can lead to less contrast in some situations because it also acts as a UV filter, so without it you can get some UV haze creeping in sometimes.

 

Now certainly there is nothing wrong with favoring the colors that you get from skipping the 85 and correcting in post, and if there is an increase in overall density from not using the filter (definitely an increase in blue information density) then that might affect color saturation, etc.  I understand why some DP's might prefer the look of a denser blue layer but to say that the 85 filter is taking away color information is not accurate, it is merely balancing the color information more evenly for each layer if shooting in daylight.  If using the 85 was "incorrect" for getting accurate colors in daylight using tungsten-balanced film, then Kodak would never recommend it, would they?


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#9 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 11:06 PM

 

Its tough to nail down with him which version of Veronique is most accurate, when asked he says: "none of the versions are accurate, only the original 35MM print" but when I asked which is closest he said "Criterion blu ray is closest".

 

Hope that helps, I'm writing this pretty fast since I have to go, excuse any typos. I'll edit this later if there are issues. 

As far as getting the skin tones correct.  I would agree that the Criterion Bluray is the closest.  Personally, I wish they redid the original release with the sepiatone.  Perhaps it's because that's how I first viewed it and I really loved that look.  DoubleLifeofVeronique3.jpg

 

 

 

I don't know if I would have preferred the mountain dew looking windows if I saw this first.   tumblr_mzu2dyu5RF1srl30mo2_500.png

 

Hard to say.  I just have no frame of reference for a day interior looking like that.  It's not exactly subtle as a cue that "somethings off" about the story.  Just overkill.  IMHO.  Still one of my favorite films and he did brilliant work in it for sure.  Might have gone too far with that filter though.


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