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Elephant


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#1 Alex Haspel

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 07:31 AM

i recently saw this movie and loved it.

it was either shot with available light or lit extremely well.
i really liked the look of it, so un hollywoodish.

does anyone know more about it?

i found out that there is an article about it in the october 2003 issue of American Cinematographer,
but i havent got that one. (only sept. and nov. 03 unfortunately)

thanks in advance,
alex.
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#2 Stas Tagios

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 05:59 AM

i recently saw this movie and loved it.

it was either shot with available light or lit extremely well.
i really liked the look of it, so un hollywoodish.

does anyone know more about it?

i found out that there is an article about it in the october 2003 issue of American Cinematographer,
but i havent got that one. (only sept. and nov. 03 unfortunately)

thanks in advance,
alex.


Love the cinematography of "Elephant." According to AC, it was shot on Kodak Vision 500T 5263, printed on Kodak 2393, and shot with Arricam ST and LT cameras and Zeiss superspeed lenses.

From the article:

"Because of all the 360-degree views, Savides couldn't add lights, "even if this were an $80 million movie," he says. After blocking a scene and seeing what was needed, "if I could bounce a light into the ceiling, change the practicals, or turn off lights, I did." Mostly, the cinematographer simply added HMIs to balance the daylight and changed the school's hodgepodge of fluorescents to keep them consistent."

You can order the Oct. 2003 issue off the ASC website, here:

http://www.theasc.co...B2000s&start=36

Check out a book called "New Cinematographers," which features, among other terrific newer DPs, Harris Savides, who lit "Elephant." The book talks about his lighting style and the various movies he's lit, and has great photos.

You might also be interested in the Nov. 2000 issue of "American Cinematographer," which has an article on Savides's lighting for "The Yards."

Meantime, here's some brief info on the cinematography of "Elephant," from the film's website:

The makers of Elephant were determined to shoot the film in a real high school. Producer Wolf was able to secure the school system?s permission to use a recently de-commissioned high school in northeast Portland. The school?s furniture and fixtures were still mostly intact. "In pretty short order we had the whole place looking like it was a normal school again. We wanted it to be as real as it could be," Wolf explains.

Elephant filmed for twenty days in November 2002. The film marks the third collaboration between Van Sant and acclaimed director of photography Harris Savides, who shot Van Sant?s Finding Forrester as well as Gerry , which earned Savides a 2002 Independent Spirit Award nomination. Shot in 35mm, Elephant is remarkable for its pictorial beauty and detail: the vistas of land and sky; the long tracking shots that quietly follow the students; the patient observation of a human face. Yet it is also a very immediate and authentic portrait of an environment, and the people within it.

In arriving at the film?s visual aesthetic, Van Sant and Savides drew inspiration from the documentaries of Frederick Wiseman ( Domestic Violence ,The Store ,High School ) and the photography of William Eggleston. Says Van Sant, "Wiseman is always shooting in relatively difficult places to film, whether it?s a department store or a high school. He?s really trying to get a portrait of the situation, the people, the place. Same with William Eggleston: he?s taking still shots of environment, but it?s also characters and people. With both Wiseman and Eggleston, you?re not exactly sure where they are, but wherever it is, it looks amazing. So we were thinking in terms of things that look great but aren?t necessarily pampered or overthought or over-worked. We used a lot of window light, or whatever light was there, really ? and tried to find what was beautiful in that."

The decision was also made to shoot the film in 1:33 ratio, rather than the wider 1:85 ratio used in most contemporary films. The format had been the industry standard until the mid 1950s, and Van Sant had used it in his early 16mm films. He was eager to use it again. "I really like the shape of that format. Also, we were going to be shooting in situations that I thought would look good in 1:33, like hallways," he explains. Moreover, American schools showed 16mm films in 1:33 for decades, until video became the norm.
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#3 Joseph White

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 01:06 PM

yeah, the entire trilogy that van sant and savides did together is phenomenal - Gerry, Elephant, and Last Days. savides' use of contrasty lenses, low-con stock, and very realistic lighting made for some stunning, moving photography.

also see "birth" if you haven't, shot by savides and directed by jonathan glazer. really gorgeous stuff as well, although in a different vein.
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