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Butch Cassidy


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#1 Chris Cooke

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:28 PM

I just finished watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on DVD. I loved the way Conrad Hall, ASC lit the opening scenes. They were all in sepia and had a very interesting painterly quality. Hall is a master of light and I've learned a lot from him in many films (Road to Perdition comes to mind). I was a little annoyed though by all the zooms. Some of them were very obvious and jerky especially when accompanied by a rack focus and/or pan/tilt. I do understand why he chose to zoom some shots that were just not possible at the time with a crane or dolly. I was just a little surprised to see so many messy zooms especially since Cronenweth operated. All around great lighting and camera angles in this film, a must see.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:48 PM

Well, it's a little like criticizing someone for wearing bell-bottoms back then -- obvious zooms were part of the style back in the late 1960's / early 1970's.
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#3 Stephen Williams

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:58 PM

I was a little annoyed though by all the zooms. Some of them were very obvious and jerky especially when accompanied by a rack focus and/or pan/tilt. I do understand why he chose to zoom some shots that were just not possible at the time with a crane or dolly. I was just a little surprised to see so many messy zooms especially since Cronenweth operated.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi,

The Oscar jury clearly liked the zooms!

Stephen
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#4 Chance Shirley

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:46 PM

Maybe I'm just "retro," but I still like to see zooms in movies. I think the lens zoom is currently one of the most under-used tools of cinematography.
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#5 Chris Cooke

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 06:01 PM

I feel a little underaccomplished to be criticizing one of the greatest cinematographers ever and that's not what I'm trying to do here. It's just that I found myself being drawn out of the story and I began focusing on the camera. Cinematograpy is essentially about complimenting the story. Although, Mr. Mullen makes a good point about it being part of the style back then.
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#6 Steven Budden

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 01:04 PM

Now I'm curious about the history of the zoom and the development/ utilization of zoom techniques... anyone care to give a brief summary?

(I'm working with zooms and primes at the moment to see which one best suits by shooting style now too, which is probably why I'm curious.)

Thanks!
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 01:27 PM

Sort of a long history you can pick up the threads in "Film Style & Technology".

Joseph Walker, ASC developed some of the early variable focal-length lenses but he's not mentioned in the Salt book in this regards.

Salt says that the first experimental zoom appeared in the late 1920's and was limited to an f/11 and focus had to be adjusted at the same time as the zoom.

In 1932, Taylor-Hobson introduced the "Varo" variable focal length lens, 40-120mm, f/5.6. Then another similar one by Durholz was released. You couldn't pull focus during a zoom with these lenses because elements had to be internally changed; the focus was fixed and near focus was achieved by adding diopters.

In 1947, the American Zoomar lens was released and then in 1950, the French SOM-Berthiot Pan-Cinor, for 16mm cameras. In 1954, the Zoomar Corp. introduced a 35mm version of their zoom lens, a 3:1. Then in 1956, a 4:1 Pan-Cinor was released, 17.5-70mm for 16mm and 38.5-150mm for 35mm. Angenieux then came out with similar lenses just two years later. By 1958-60, you started to see some serious zooming in a few European films.

In 1963, Angenieux introduced a 10:1 zoom (12-120mm in 16mm and 25-250mm in 35mm) which probably had the biggest impact on filmmaking.

Zooms also sort of necessitated that reflex viewfinder cameras become more common, so their use was tied to that trend.

Zoom-heavy 1965 films like Claude LeLouch's "A Man and a Woman" and John Schlesinger's "Darling" caused the style to really take-off.

The Cooke 5:1 was introduced in 1970. Canon started making zooms adapted to cameras too at this time.

The popularity of heavy zooming in movies continued through the 1970's (look at Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon") but eventually died down when it had run its course.
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#8 Bob Hayes

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 02:00 PM

The zoom lens was really perfected in the mid sixties and film makers just jumped on it. It was the new toy and film makers of the 70s over used it. It was particularly over used in television giving the zoom a cheap made for TV feel. Today we are doing the same thing with the Steadicam and digital effects. Thirty years from now people will look at the stuff we are shooting now and say ?What were they thinking?. Then they will pull on their bell bottoms and see a new film called ?Saturday Night Fever? staring John Travolta clone version 4.
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#9 Matt Pacini

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:27 PM

"...I do understand why he chose to zoom some shots that were just not possible at the time with a crane or dolly. .."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Cranes & dollies have been around since almost day one.
It was just the style at the time.

But it's mostly gone the way of the drum solo (thank God THAT'S gone too!)

MP
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#10 Chris Cooke

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 10:08 AM

Cranes & dollies have been around since almost day one.
It was just the style at the time.
MP

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, I'm aware of that but they didn't have huge cranes like the Strada 100 Foot Camera Crane at the time. I'm thinking of one shot in particular where "Butch and Sundance" were up high on some rocks and they looked down only to see those riders after them. The camera showed their conversation and then revealed the riders and did a fast zoom right in to them. Since that was the style of the day, I respect that but if one of us did that shot today we'd probably do this: Take a crane, show the conversation, reveal the riders with the primary actors in the forground and then crane up and to the left (or right), and slowly zoom into the riders. This way, the zoom would not be as noticeable.
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#11 Mike Welle

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 09:15 PM

I always felt that shot had an eerie, almost unnatural feel about it. Perhaps it is because they never show the pursuers faces, but I think this also has to do with the telephoto end of the zoom they use on that shot--keeping them distant, but how distant is really up to your imagination--because, as you know, the telephotos tend to compress the foreground and background. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the human eye can't zoom and seeing a zoom in a movie feels strange to us.


Yes, I'm aware of that but they didn't have huge cranes like the Strada 100 Foot Camera Crane at the time. I'm thinking of one shot in particular where "Butch and Sundance" were up high on some rocks and they looked down only to see those riders after them. The camera showed their conversation and then revealed the riders and did a fast zoom right in to them. Since that was the style of the day, I respect that but if one of us did that shot today we'd probably do this: Take a crane, show the conversation, reveal the riders with the primary actors in the forground and then crane up and to the left (or right), and slowly zoom into the riders. This way, the zoom would not be as noticeable.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#12 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 04:25 PM

In 1932, Taylor-Hobson introduced the "Varo" variable focal length lens, 40-120mm, f/5.6. Then another similar one by Durholz was released. You couldn't pull focus during a zoom with these lenses because elements had to be internally changed; the focus was fixed and near focus was achieved by adding diopters.


---In the chapter on'Scipio Africanus' in 'The Golden Turkey Awerds' there is a photo of Benito Mussolini peering through an amazingly long viewfinder of a B&H 2709 which has a cooke Varo mounted on it.
The shorter US TV version has at least 5 zoom shots in it, mostly in the scene where Scipio's army sails for Carthage.
The Mussolini photo seems to have been taken on this set.

At first glance this appears to be a reflex camera, but the finder is viewing the image directly on the film.
This was common in European cameras, particularly the Debrie Parvos, until the 40s. Anti-halation backings and color stock made viewing through the film impractical.

I'm surprised noone in this thread mentioned that the director would be calling for the zooms.

Carthago delenda est.

---LV
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