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Kaminski's diffusion


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#1 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 09:23 PM

Anyone know for sure what kind of diffusion Kaminski uses? It looks like it might be some sort of net behind the lens. It's pretty obvious but it only seems to affect overexposed areas.

???
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 09:36 PM

Yes, he uses behind the lens nets. There has been a lot of discussion about this in the past, so try doing a search. You may also find searching for Robert Richardson to be helpful.


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#3 George Lekovic

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 12:55 PM

Yes, he uses behind the lens nets. There has been a lot of discussion about this in the past, so try doing a search. You may also find searching for Robert Richardson to be helpful.
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If I am not mistaken it is 'behind the lens net' + smoke.
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#4 M Joel W

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 11:26 PM

Sorry to revive a dead thread, but this has been bugging me for the longest time. In Munich he does the same thing, but highlights seem to bloom as though they were out of focus even when they are in focus. Street lamps have perfect halos around them, and windows give similar halos to the edges of characters in frame. It reminds me of a tiffen star filter but with perfect circles instead of stars. It's not just a double fog or diffused highlight look (which he has too) but something unusual and very cool looking.

Does anyone know exactly how he does this? Also, was Munich a digital intermediate or merely heavily processed in lab? I'm kind of a newbie to cinematography, but I have to know how Kaminski gets this look since it's so distinctive and really brings a contrast and surreal power to the frame. (I also like how he integrated it with zooms and a grainy (Vision 500 stock?) aesthetic in Munich.) I hope American Cinematographer has an issue on it.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 12:05 AM

The circles around lights are due to the "bubbles" (lenslets) of the Schneider Classic Softs. Since the size of the lenslets are different for each grade of filter, and the focal length affects the effect as well, it's more pronounced in some shots than others. You can see the "ring" effect most dramatically in some of the shots of the ferry at night in "War of the Worlds".

Sometimes you can get a red ring around a light from using a lens with the right combination of uncoated elements.

"Munich" is obviously full of Classic Soft filter artifacts, no question on that (so is "War of the Worlds.") Plus nets in some shots, and the switch to something more like ProMists or something foggy like those for the night attack at the docks in Beruit. I just tested some Classic Softs for a feature and got the same ring effects around glints of light off of cars, etc.

There is a lot of zoom lens shots in "Munich" as well.

Rumor is that Kaminski did not want to do a D.I. for "Munich" -- since it was a Super-35 shoot framed for 2.35 scope extraction, the blow-up to anamorphic would have been done the old-fashioned way, using an optical printer. If it was, it was done well -- I thought it was a very sharp blow-up (given the diffused photography). I suspect he used mostly Kodak 5279 (Vision 500T) for most scenes, especially at night, but that's a guess based on what he did for "War of the Worlds", plus some rumors I overheard. He may have done some sort of ENR-type silver retention / bleach-bypass at some point as well, either to the prints, the intermediates, and maybe some scenes on the original negative. This would tend to "sharpen up" the image.
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#6 timHealy

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 12:14 AM

"Munich" is obviously full of Classic Soft filter artifacts, no question on that (so is "War of the Worlds.")


I saw Munich last night and cracked open a War of the Worlds xmas gift today and though much of the two movies looked very similiar. That's not a criticism. Just a mental note. I enjoyed both and thought the looks were appropriate for the subject matter.


Best

Tim

Edited by heel_e, 27 December 2005 - 12:21 AM.

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#7 Richard Vialet

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:01 AM

I think you can also see the very noticable effects of the classic softs in War Of The Worlds during the Marine/alien battle scene on the hill when the civilians are running up the hill...the glow is very noticable on the flashlights...
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#8 Mario C. Jackson

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:01 AM

Yes Kaminski uses a net behind the lens, although I do not think that he is the originator of this method. A gaffer I know told me the name of the guy who started it but I cant remember his name.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:56 AM

Yes Kaminski uses a net behind the lens, although I do not think that he is the originator of this method. A gaffer I know told me the name of the guy who started it but I cant remember his name.
Mario C. Jackson


You're joking, right? Net diffusion dates back before the invention of cinema -- it's probably one of the oldest forms of lens diffusion. It started being used in silent era movies such as "Broken Blossoms" (1919.) 1930's movies were often shot with nets either behind or in front of the lens.

Even looking at contemporary movies (post 1970), you've got examples like Douglas Slocombe's "The Great Gatsby" and Conrad Hall's "The Day of the Locust" (both emulating to some degree the diffused glamour look of early Hollywood studio films).

Probably the most significant use of nets at the time was "Fiddler on the Roof" (DP Ozzie Morris), which used a brown pantyhose over the front of the lens for the whole movie.

Even before that, Hitchcock had DP John Warren shoot almost all of "Torn Curtain" (1966) with a gray net.

Nets for just close-ups has never really left -- you can even see it in Jean Simmon's close-ups in "Spartacus".

More recent examples would be Robert Richardson, who shot films like "Snow Falling on Cedars" with net diffusion, "Bugsy" (Allen Daviau), "From Hell" (Peter Deming).

Most of "Excalibur" (1981) was shot with white nets over the back of the lens, and Harrison Black Dot Texture Screens over the front.

Walter Lassally ("Tom Jones") was also famous for shooting most of his movies with a net.

Besides Kaminski, probably Robert Richardson is the most common user of net diffusion these days (although not much of "The Aviator" was shot that way.)
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#10 Matti Poutanen

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:47 PM

Sorry for derailing this thread a bit, but what is the diffirence between a net in front of the lens vs. the back of the lens?
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 06:04 PM

Sorry for derailing this thread a bit, but what is the diffirence between a net in front of the lens vs. the back of the lens?


That's a good question. I wish I knew...

From what I can tell, basically part of the strength or heaviness of the effect depends on how loose you can get the weave to be by stretching it versus how much of the net material you are looking through, so focal length of the lens is a factor.

I suspect that the same piece of net material behaves more uniformly in strength if stretched over the back of a series of lenses rather than stretched on a frame in front of the lenses, where the apparent strength would be more affected by focal length & f-stop & distance focused. Also, the net would be less prone to veiling from stray light compared to a front-mounted net. Most people use the nets behind the lens these days (I don't know if Kaminski is using them in front of or behind the lens.)

One advantage of doing it in front of the lens on a frame is that it is easy to remove it or replace it with a glass filter, whereas most people fix netting to the back of the lens using something like snot tape, so tend to create a whole set of lenses pre-netted and would hesistate taking the net off and on all day because of the time factor, unless they had the budget for an extra set of lenses that could just remain netted for the whole show.
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 10:22 PM

Examples of nets used by Kaminski in "War of the Worlds":

Posted Image

Posted Image

Examples of Classic Soft diffusion used by Kaminski in the same movie:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
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#13 Tim Tyler

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:48 AM

Thanks for the examples, David.

What Classic Soft values do you think are at work in those images? I was looking at Schneider's site and the effect seems less pronounced, even on their #2 example http://www.centuryop...lassicSoft2.htm
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#14 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 02:23 AM

Good point Tim. The examples on the site you linked is of an image with a fairly evenly exposed shot. Kaminki's diffusion looks different bacause of the hot backgrounds and/or the hot point-sources of light...two things absent from Schneider's example.
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 03:21 AM

I would guess that he was using the #1/2, maybe also the #1 Classic Soft. I tested the #1/2 and got similar effects around bright points of light, but the #1/4 was too subtle to see much of that.

Edited by David Mullen, 29 December 2005 - 03:21 AM.

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#16 Max Jacoby

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 06:03 AM

David

For this halation effect around bright lights, which do you reckon is the best filter (or nets), i.e. which fiter gives you the most halation with the least amount of softening? I really like this look. When I shoot stills with my Nikon from the 60s it comes build in becasue of the old glass, but with modern film lenses one can only achieve it with diffusion. However I do not like the reduction in sharpness that comes with that, so I'm curious what the best compromise would be.
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:12 PM

It's hard to get nets to be light enough, and then when they are, it's hard to get much halation. "Mist" or "fog" type glass filters are the best; you need to use lighter grades and heavier, but small, areas of intense overexposure.

Otherwise, the only way to get halation but NO diffusion would be digitally, applying a halated image over a sharp one in post.

You'd think the Fog Filter would be better than the ProMist for adding halation with less softening, but unfortunately the design of the Fog Filter tends to slightly de-focus the image. Some might use a LowCon instead. I'm curious to test the lightest Fog filter (#1/8?) for a movie.

I'm also sort of intrigued by the odd halation effects of using the lightest grade of the new Tiffen Smoque filter, which reminds me of a Double-Fog crossed with an UltraCon with minimal softening effects. The halation though is less contained to just the light area. But the #1 Smoque doesn't seem to soften as much as a ProMist.

Lately I've been using the #1 GlimmerGlass because I think it's slightly less strong than a #1/8 ProMist. It also has a cooler cast to the halation. Fogs have a much bluer halation than ProMists, which are neutral.
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#18 Max Jacoby

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 08:27 AM

If one is shooting black and white, since that filmstock has no antihalation backing if I'm not mistaken, a reflective pressure plate would create halation as well, wouldn't it?
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#19 Stephen Williams

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 10:56 AM

If one is shooting black and white, since that filmstock has no antihalation backing if I'm not mistaken, a reflective pressure plate would create halation as well, wouldn't it?


Hi,

Yes, many years ago I had a problem with strange marks on Gev 553 in highlight areas. It turned out to be the pressure plate had some silver marks where the black had worn away!

Cheers,

Stephen
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 12:14 PM

You'll notice in true b&w photography a tendency for car headlights to get a small ring around them due to halation, sort of similar to the Classic Soft effect.

B&W stocks do have an anti-halation layer, but it does not involve rem-jet and I guess it's not quite as effective, but it does provide some degree of anti-halation.
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