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attitudes about point-and-shoot?


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#1 jef bryant

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 07:25 AM

I've been doing a lot of reading of cinematography boards lately, and I'm amazed at the amount of work and detail that can go into the capturing of the image.

But just the other day I re-read "Rebel Without a Crew" and I was wondering what the meticulous professionals thought (or think) about Rodriguez' handheld, point-and-shoot, one photoflood, set-the-f-stop-and-go method of filming El Mariachi.

This seems like the antithesis of everything I normally read about cinematography.

Do you like the look of the results? Is it an approach you'd recommend?


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#2 Gordon Highland

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 10:13 AM

I think your subject matter and point-of-view will dictate what's best. I love the cinematography in movies like "City of God" or "21 Grams" as chaotic and spontaneous as they seem, because it puts you into that world. I also love meticulous "arty" shots as well, but not for their own sake, only if it works with the story.

Generally speaking, I prefer a fairly naturalistic look that doesn't call extra attention to itself, but often that still means a lot of work to get the camera to see it that way for technical reasons and limitations. Just because it was shot "verite" doesn't mean it's going to look like reality, either.

I'd be curious to see a film that had epic, sweeping subject matter, but done in a down and dirty visual way. "Private Ryan" ws kind of like that, I guess.

Rodriguez used that method out of necessity, but it got him noticed, and gave him leverage to make more of what he wanted later. Interesting to see that he's still seemingly flying by the seat of his pants much of time these days, but the stuff looks awesome (to me). So the sensibility is much the same, but the tools and his knowledge of them are better now. But of course, he has a greater responsibility to the audience these days also. It's pretty clear when you watch "Desperado" versus "El Mariachi" that the filmmaking itself still translates well at higher levels. Same thing with "Narc" versus "Blood, Guts, Bullets, and Octane" from Joe Carnahan.
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#3 oscar jimenez

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 10:21 AM

HI, I work mostly ( maning, all the times ) on advertising. I will say that point and shoot, becomes a neccessity some times, and quite add some "spontaneus" character to the whole story. One thing I love is "editing" on cam, shooting at some 40 Fps hand held and triggering letting the cam go to ramp speed and cutting a second later or half secon later, to have that over expo white flashing beetween shots. ( depending on the kind of spot that I may be shooting of course!!)
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#4 Matt Pacini

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 12:14 PM

El Mariachi was a cleverly made film, but with Rodriguez, it's more a case of him SAYING that he's just pointing and shooting, rather than him actually doing it.
He's been great at self promotion, perpetuating a mythology about himself, an incorrect persona that he's somehow reinvented filmmaking, and it's all easy for him, and he's doing it all himself, which is about 99% BS.
Kinda like Beethoven answering someone's asking him how he composed, with "just write down all the notes that should be there, and don't write down the ones that shouldn't be there".
Yeah, it's easy, no thought involved at all.
Right!

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#5 Greg Gross

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 12:50 PM

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

Photography is a perfect medium for one whose mind is teeming with ideas,imagery,
for a prolific worker who would be slowed down by painting or sculpting,for one who
who sees quickly and acts decisively.

Look for what you don't see

"Un croquis vaut mieux qu'un long discours"
A picture is worth a thousand words.

1.Mark Twain,2.Edward Weston,3.Rashid Elisha,4.Napoleon


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#6 Gordon Highland

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 01:08 PM

Are you suggesting that he didn't do most of those main functions himself? i'm surprised. No question it's not literally "point and shoot" and there's obviously thought that goes into it-- usually a GREAT deal-- but you're wrong if you're saying it can't be done. On my last short film I did as much as humanly possible by myself (wrote, shot, lit, camera op, dolly grip, acted some, edited, graphics, vfx, wrote/recorded music, disc authored, web site) because I've gone to great effort to learn those crafts over a long period of time and wanted to bring them all together. Someone else held a boom, and there were actors in front of the camera, but that's it. Literally.

The bigger his projects get, the more hands are obviously involved, and of course he needs lots of crew help, but when he says he wrote, shot, edited, and did some music, I believe him.

Your Beethoven comment isn't really that big of an exaggertion if you're naturally gifted musician. You think when Mozart was nine he could articulate why his compositions worked on a technical level? I could come up with a piece of music in about 30 seconds that someone would have a reaction to, even if it was only an exercise to me (or vice-versa). Yet there are also brilliant craftspeople who will know what something is going to sound like even on paper before note one is played, and it might be crap.
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