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Enough with Lens Netting....?


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#1 Dominik Bauch

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 12:23 AM

Look, anyone who has shot tons of movies with arguably one of the greatest directors / storytellers of our time is obviously supremely talented but....

 

I've been re- watching a bunch of Spielberg movies recently and all of his 'recent' efforts in my mind are marred by egregious diffusion / blown out, glowing highlights. I just don't get it, the whole netting the lens really looks so over the top and flat to me. Film looks great as is...

Minority Report, AI, Bridge of spies, Indy 4 (By far the worst culprit.) to name a few.

 

There's insane art direction, set design that just gets nuked with huge soft blobs of diffusion. 

Occasionally there's a close up without a hot light source in frame where the diffusion looks great on skin but as soon as something hot creeps in frame...

Am I missing something? I'm not against diffusion filters; I love an 1/8 Hollywood black magic for example but the lens net look is just too much for my taste.

 


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#2 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 12:48 AM

I think Janusz's work is all gorgeous. It certainly has a 'look', but I've never had an issue with people creating different looks from others.

Variety's the spice of life.

I used to be a more liberal with my use of diffusion, whereas lately I've tended to use it more sparingly, or for specific scenes or purposes. But that's how taste works, it changes and evolves.


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#3 Dominik Bauch

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 12:57 AM

So true, it's all just a taste thing. Just interested in whether I'm an outlier in not being particularly into the heavy diffusion look.

No offense intended, I would consider my work life a success with less than 1/10th of Janusz's credits...


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#4 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 01:17 AM

Its also what look is in fashion at the time.. most 80,s films seem to have heavy diffusion glued to the lens.. now there is sort of a fashion away from it.. I dont think you see it that much these days..and there is also more that can be done in post these days.. I guess fundamentally as with all the other components of camera work for a specific film..  it should serve the film.. not over power it..


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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 11:51 AM

I've never been a fan of nets, particularly the rainbow colored star shape around specular highlights. The are more than a few instances in Spielberg films where the light happens to hit the lens at the wrong angle and the net becomes visible for a frame or two. It always seems unnecessarily heavy-handed to me, but I prefer a clean lens anyway.


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 01:08 PM

As I've said before, I like variety -- we have plenty of good cinematographers doing subtle, low-key naturalism with a clean lens.  It's great when 1 out of 10 want to poke you in the eye now and then, do something on the verge of being too much and occasionally crossing the line. What's wrong someone with being heavy-handed when the majority are playing it safe?

 

Truffaut once made the comment that people who complain about the visual excess of Orson Welles fail to see that you wouldn't have a Welles movie without that. Who really needs a subtle Orson Welles? When I want subtle, I watch an Ozu movie.

 

I love the look of Fincher movies but I don't want Spielberg's movies to start looking like Fincher's movies. I don't think even Fincher wants that!

 

Most movies are shot pretty clean ever since the 80's.

 

I like the "dazzle" of a net flare when it happens at the right moment, like in "Atonement" when Kiera Knightly is looking into the mirror.  "Minority Report" has some great flares at the peak of surreal or intense scenes like in the opening police action.

 

I do agree, however, that when the entire net is washed over and you see this grid patten over the whole frame, that feels unintentional.

 

There was a period in the 1930's when a lot of movies were shot through nets, even crime dramas like "Le Jour Se Leve" (1939).


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#7 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 02:02 PM

What's wrong someone with being heavy-handed when the majority are playing it safe?

Nothing at all wrong with it, generally. I just feel that Kaminski's photography all too often screams 'Look at me!'. Heavy Nets, Bleach Bypass, super hot backlights, all vying with each other for attention. In the right context, all that is great, but with him it seemed to become a signature style, to be used regardless of subject matter.


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#8 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 02:10 PM

... but with him it seemed to become a signature style, to be used regardless of subject matter.

 

Can't the same be sait of, say, Storaro, who from film to film has certain ways of lighting that appear regardless of the period the film is set in, the subject, the atmosphere, or anything like that?

 

And I presume he's not the only one.


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#9 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 02:15 PM

 

Can't the same be sait of, say, Storaro, 

You can probably say it of many DPs, but we happen to be talking about Kaminski. The more overt a DP is in their style, the more you notice when they repeat themselves.


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 02:38 PM

Take a look at "The Post" - it's not as stylized as "Minority Report".  


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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 02:59 PM

I'm not trying to say that all his work looks the same, merely that he has a tendency towards overtly stylized photography in a way that is not to my personal taste. There's no doubt that he's very good at what he does.


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#12 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 07:55 AM

maybe its part of a bigger question.. every DOP wants very shot to look fantastic ..  thats their craft and well basically we all want to show how good we are.. how great when  everyone is looking at the monitor saying how lovely it looks..we get a warm glow and clear shelf space for the Oscar.. and praise the art direction.. seeking to cast some greatness their way and appear humble ..

 

But some times a vandalized  bus shelter in a council estate in Glasgow ,in a dizzily winter morning is just a shitty place.. and should look like one.. 


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