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LOOK OF THE BOND FILMS


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#1 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 06:45 PM

hi,
i am in preproduction of a scottish short film and the main visual references are all the 1960s bondfilms with their "technicolour" retro look. i was wondering what tricks could be used to mock that look with a Z1E, shootin progressive?

thank you
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 07:33 PM

It's a pretty big stretch to make consumer HDV (and the Sony HDV cameras do not shoot progressive-scan by the way) look like 35mm color negative, particular 35mm anamorphic (scope) which the Bonds started using with "Thunderball" (there was one or two after that that went back to flat I believe.) You'd be better off shooting something like 16mm with anamorphic lenses, for example. Generally hard, contrasty lighting with a touch of glamour for the women's close-ups, production design with some strong color accents, etc. I like Ted Moore's work in "From Russia With Love" in particular, and Freddie Young's work in "You Only Live Twice" (although I haven't seen that one in years.)

You also better start looking for some stunning actresses in the 1960's fashion model mode...

Edited by David Mullen, 06 November 2005 - 07:34 PM.

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#3 fstop

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 09:19 PM

I'm with David on the best stuff being FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and might I also add ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. However, I get the impression that your project may not be about celebrating the best bits, but rather the standard/generic look we all remember from that era of Bond. Because of this I'd look towards GOLDFINGER and THUNDERBALL, which are murky with very flat, frontal, multiple shadowed, hard, three point lighting, illuminated for exposure. Zooms were almost never used from what I can remember (even the famous shot of Jill Masterton shooting at Bond in Switzerland from GOLDFINGER was a physical crane shot and not a zoom) as the stocks used were painfully slow, even for the time (25-50asa). Ted Moore was usually also lighting to high f-stops because the pre YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Bonds were so cheap that they couldn't afford to relight for close ups. Video and the smaller chips will help you here!

Make sure all of your driving sequences are made to look like bad process (rear projection and travelling mattes), so use bluescreen and make sure the background plates aren't steady, and ONLY use stock footage for plates. PROUDLY use stock footage for establishing shots of locations, and if you can degrade these as though they have been lifted from another film/stock footage library/a documentary/a detatched second unit (all of which were the truth in Sean's early films). Also shoot without a shutter and speed up in post to simulate the undercranked/choppy editing during the action sequences.

Finally, NEVER use diffusion.

Follow all of those rules and you'll hit the nail on the head. Is this a spoof, by any chance?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 12:44 AM

Have the male actors where heavy make-up, grease their hair back, don't powder their faces (let them shine), and light them with a hard 3/4 frontal key no matter where they go or what time of day or night it is...

just kidding.

But really, it will be 75% production design, costume, make-up, and casting... then 20% lighting... then the last 5% will be format.
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#5 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 02:05 PM

[quote name='David Mullen' date='Nov 7 2005, 12:33 AM' post='74128']
It's a pretty big stretch to make consumer HDV (and the Sony HDV cameras do not shoot progressive-scan by the way)

thank you all for your replies. just a question: if cameras like the Z1E dont shoot progressive, what the cineframe 25 mode is? is it not the progressive mode?
and also, since lighting video is quite harsh and generally looks bad, why shouldnt i use diffusion just to soften it a bit?

thanks

federico bonfanti
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 02:21 PM

25F is not 25P, although it's not as bad as 24F. Sony's "CineFrame" is a fake progressive-scan process. For 25F, it takes 50i capture and processes it to look like 25P, then records back to tape as 50i again. It may or may not be better than just processing 50i in post to look like 25P, but it won't be as good as shooting in 25P HD to begin with.

But if you have no choice, you might as well use 25F for its film look.

In terms of diffusion, yes, video may benefit from a little but this again is the reason why video is the wrong choice to replicate the look on 1960's color negative photography. Now you're using diffusion filters when you're trying to copy the look of movies that did not use them. And you're using a grain-free format to copy movies that had a certain grain texture to them.

If you feel you must use diffusion, then use something that increases the noise texture for something of a grain effect, like Black ProMists. But you might be better off shooting clean and adding a grain simulation in post to the image.
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#7 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 09:07 PM

[quote name='David Mullen' date='Nov 7 2005, 07:21 PM' post='74231']
25F is not 25P, although it's not as bad as 24F. Sony's "CineFrame" is a fake progressive-scan process. For 25F, it takes 50i capture and processes it to look like 25P, then records back to tape as 50i again. It may or may not be better than just processing 50i in post to look like 25P, but it won't be as good as shooting in 25P HD to begin with.

sorry mr mullen,

i feel very confused. what hd cameras shoot in progressive then? are you sure that the Z1E doesnt do it at all?
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 09:32 PM

The pro HD cameras like the Sony F900, Varicam, F950, Viper, etc. all can shoot progressive-scan.

The upcoming consumer Panasonic HVX200 will be able to shoot progressive-scan. I believe the JVC HDV camera does. The Sony HDV cameras only offer the CineFrame option, and the upcoming Canon HDV camera supposedly will not capture in true progressive-scan, although there is some debate on this.

In consumer SD, the Panasonic DVX100A and the Canon XL2 offer progressive-scan capture. There may be another. In the pro SD world, there is the Panasonic SDX900 and some of the Sony XDCAM's, plus the DSR-450 I believe, maybe a few more.

Some consumer cameras offer a progressive-scan capture feature but not at normal frame rates, but at half-speed only.

I'm not saying that the 25F function on the 50i Sony HDV camera isn't very convincing as 25P footage though. It will probably be fine for most purposes.

Edited by David Mullen, 07 November 2005 - 09:34 PM.

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#9 AshG

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 07:15 PM

The Sony HDV cams faux progressive mode looks horrific... Better to use an XL2. The JVC HDV cam has worked out some of the kinks and is solid...




ash =o)
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#10 John Holland

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 11:01 AM

I'm with David on the best stuff being FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and might I also add ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. However, I get the impression that your project may not be about celebrating the best bits, but rather the standard/generic look we all remember from that era of Bond. Because of this I'd look towards GOLDFINGER and THUNDERBALL, which are murky with very flat, frontal, multiple shadowed, hard, three point lighting, illuminated for exposure. Zooms were almost never used from what I can remember (even the famous shot of Jill Masterton shooting at Bond in Switzerland from GOLDFINGER was a physical crane shot and not a zoom) as the stocks used were painfully slow, even for the time (25-50asa). Ted Moore was usually also lighting to high f-stops because the pre YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Bonds were so cheap that they couldn't afford to relight for close ups. Video and the smaller chips will help you here!

Make sure all of your driving sequences are made to look like bad process (rear projection and travelling mattes), so use bluescreen and make sure the background plates aren't steady, and ONLY use stock footage for plates. PROUDLY use stock footage for establishing shots of locations, and if you can degrade these as though they have been lifted from another film/stock footage library/a documentary/a detatched second unit (all of which were the truth in Sean's early films). Also shoot without a shutter and speed up in post to simulate the undercranked/choppy editing during the action sequences.

Finally, NEVER use diffusion.

Follow all of those rules and you'll hit the nail on the head. Is this a spoof, by any chance?



Thunderball etc . shot after "The Charge of the Light Brigade" lit by David Watkin , stunning check it out if you have not seen it , same stock 50asa 5251 ,same Panavision anamorphic lenses , Afraid Ted Moore, was just a lazy old school dop. All his films looked crap . John Holland , london.
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#11 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 01:31 PM

Thunderball etc . shot after "The Charge of the Light Brigade" lit by David Watkin , stunning check it out if you have not seen it , same stock 50asa 5251 ,same Panavision anamorphic lenses , Afraid Ted Moore, was just a lazy old school dop. All his films looked crap . John Holland , london.


---Not really the same Panavision lenses.
'the carge of the light brigade' was shot with uncoated lenses. Panavision supplied anamorphic attachments.

Tony Richardson made two other pictures with uncoated lenses, 'Ned Kelly' and 'night must fall'.
Each with a different DP.

---LV
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 01:46 PM

Afraid Ted Moore, was just a lazy old school dop. All his films looked crap . John Holland , london.


I think you are confusing work that belongs to a particular period of color cinematography -- i.e. "old school" -- as being "crap" whereas modern work as by a DP like Watkin as being good (which it is).

Watkin was WAY ahead of his time in the 1960's, but that doesn't mean that DP's who were doing work that was firmly rooted in their own era were somehow bad. They just didn't shoot in the current style of cinematography (naturalistic, soft-lit, etc.)

Ted Moore, after all, was nominated both for an Academy Award and a BAFTA for his cinematography of "A Man For All Seasons".

Some DP's like Ozzie Morris and Geoffrey Unsworth straddled two eras of cinematography and their work incorporated elements from both the past studio-bound era and contemporary styles, other DP's were more firmly in the 1940's-1960's camp in terms of their color work. That era of hard lighting isn't necessarily better or worse than modern, more realistic cinematography.

What's amazing about Watkin, and to a lesser degree Morris & Unsworth, was the ability to push a more naturalistic soft-lit style at a time when film stocks were only 50 ASA.

Just don't fall into the trap of assuming a modern, realistic cinematographic style is superior to an obsolete, old-fashioned, theatrical style.

Edited by David Mullen, 11 November 2005 - 01:47 PM.

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#13 John Holland

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 01:59 PM

I think you are confusing work that belongs to a particular period of color cinematography -- i.e. "old school" -- as being "crap" whereas modern work as by a DP like Watkin as being good (which it is).

Watkin was WAY ahead of his time in the 1960's, but that doesn't mean that DP's who were doing work that was firmly rooted in their own era were somehow bad. They just didn't shoot in the current style of cinematography (naturalistic, soft-lit, etc.)

Ted Moore, after all, was nominated both for an Academy Award and a BAFTA for his cinematography of "A Man For All Seasons".

Some DP's like Ozzie Morris and Geoffrey Unsworth straddled two eras of cinematography and their work incorporated elements from both the past studio-bound era and contemporary styles, other DP's were more firmly in the 1940's-1960's camp in terms of their color work. That era of hard lighting isn't necessarily better or worse than modern, more realistic cinematography.

What's amazing about Watkin, and to a lesser degree Morris & Unsworth, was the ability to push a more naturalistic soft-lit style at a time when film stocks were only 50 ASA.

Just don't fall into the trap of assuming a modern, realistic cinematographic style is superior to an obsolete, old-fashioned, theatrical style.


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#14 John Holland

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 02:11 PM

David as you say David Watkin was years ahead of his time in the 60s, and was hated by the old school cinematographers over here , Freddie Young was old school and used hard light , but did with care and great skill , which i love , so i was not knocking that stlye of lighting . Ted Moore just wasnt in the same class .The lenses used on The Charge of the Light Brigade , were very old Ross Express, very slow and with a Panavision Anamorhic in front even slower . Just a stunning looking film and made me change my ideas about lighting , when i saw it in 1967 at the Odeon Leicester Sq , on their huge screen. john holland ,london.
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 02:20 PM

I saw "Charge of the Light Brigade" for the first time, on DVD, just last year and was amazed at how modern it looked in terms of its lighting style, considering how slow the film was and the fact that he was shooting in anamorphic (and not afraid of shooting wide-open). I'm sure some older DP's back then probably thought it was a mistake to shoot anamorphic in such low light levels, with such shallow focus and lens distortion, but the results certainly were beautiful. Watkin himself probably was not too happy with how the anamorphic lenses behaved in low-light; he certainly was never a fan of the process.

How many anamorphic films did he shoot? I recall them as being:

Charge of the Light Brigade, Catch-22, The Boyfriend, Hanover Street, This Boy's Life

Edited by David Mullen, 11 November 2005 - 02:20 PM.

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#16 John Holland

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 03:08 PM

I saw "Charge of the Light Brigade" for the first time, on DVD, just last year and was amazed at how modern it looked in terms of its lighting style, considering how slow the film was and the fact that he was shooting in anamorphic (and not afraid of shooting wide-open). I'm sure some older DP's back then probably thought it was a mistake to shoot anamorphic in such low light levels, with such shallow focus and lens distortion, but the results certainly were beautiful. Watkin himself probably was not too happy with how the anamorphic lenses behaved in low-light; he certainly was never a fan of the process.

How many anamorphic films did he shoot? I recall them as being:

Charge of the Light Brigade, Catch-22, The Boyfriend, Hanover Street, This Boy's Life



David the only other Anormorphic films i can think of are Mademoiselle [B+W] The Devils, White Nights. thats it i think , john holland .
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#17 fstop

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 04:15 PM

Ted Moore, after all, was nominated both for an Academy Award and a BAFTA for his cinematography of "A Man For All Seasons".


Which, to be honest, isn't anything special and just involved floodlighting for exposure John Box's typically inspired art direction (PASSAGE TO INDIA, anyone?). Ernest Lazlo or Connie Hall should have got the Oscar that year for Fantastic Voyage or The Professionals.

I have to agree that Moore wasn't up to much as an old school DP. He was only chosen for Bond because they could get him cheap, and as soon as the budgets went up they threw him off in favour of Freddie Young. As soon as the budget was slashed for Diamonds are Forever (which pales next to Unsworth's unintentionally more epic Bond spoofing Return of the Pink Panther) through man with the Golden Gun, he returned. Alan Hume who shot the later Roger Moore Bond films was shooting The Carry On movies and The Avengers episodes on FAR tighter budgets/shedules at the same time and his work makes a joke out of Moore's stuff (compare Carry On Spying to Thunderball).

I have trouble believing Ted Moore shot FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.

Young shot You Only Live Twice with the scope of a Lean picture and and Michael Reed's Cool Britannia romantic approach to On Her Majesty's Secret Service was more Terence Donovan and John Cowan pop fashion photography than The Third Man. Still, they were both of Moore's generation, and on those movies often used hard light, high f-stops and measured in footcandles.

Ted Moore wasn't in the same league as the already mentioned old school DPs like Young, Unsworth or Morris, and there are many others of that generation worthy of mention: for example Arthur Ibbetson (Anne of a Thousand Days was only equalled by Hall's Butch Cassidy regarding the cinematography oscar for 1970) and Christopher Challis, who's lighting approach is flat out antiquated now, yet every one of his pictures today appears regal and made in such an overwhelming baroque but ultimately skillful fashion (like delicate Victorian press printing in an era of colour Inkjet). Real priceless art and craft stuff. Those guys were old school, studio trained movie cameramen who had graduated from operator just as Moore did, unlike Watkin who was a transport documentary cine cameraman who moved into TV ads and features.



What's amazing about Watkin, and to a lesser degree Morris & Unsworth, was the ability to push a more naturalistic soft-lit style at a time when film stocks were only 50 ASA.


As Leo A Vale already mentioned, Tony Richardson deserves some of the credit for Charge of the Light Brigade's naturalistic visuals (Night Must Fall was Karel Reisz though). Richardson's Woodfall productions made loads of kitchen sink dramas including A Taste of Honey and Look Back in Anger years before Light Brigade (this was while Watkin was lighting the title sequence of Goldfinger for... Ted Moore!). Richardson was a performance director who wanted the documentary edge without all the technical formalities and Walter Lassally had done all that naturalism for him (albeit spherical and b/w) which then Watkin followed and interpreted with Lester on The Knack. Have you seen Richardson's Mademoiselle? It's anamorphic Watkin, and not quite as liberated as Charge, but both those films show Richardson really finding the meeting point between new wave naturalism and the artifice and formalities of Scope (and not just as far as the camera and lights are concerned). So Richardson (and cameramen like Walter Lassally) definitely is a key factor in the equation, even if Watkin's vision and integrity as a visual innovator is undeniable.

I'd also once again like to point a finger to the naturalistic form of European new wave and British swinging sixties fashion photography, with the likes of Donovan and Bailey who the really "hot" DPs of the day definitely had an eye on.
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#18 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 04:41 PM

Richardson was a performance director who wanted the documentary edge without all the technical formalities and Walter Lassally had done all that naturalism for him (albeit spherical and b/w) which then Watkin followed and interpreted with Lester on The Knack.


And don't forget that Charge of the Light Brigade's 2nd unit photography was handled by Peter Suschitzky, who also came from documentaries.

Here's a capture form the film, showing the optical distortion from the lenses at both sides of the frame:

Posted Image


What would be the maximum (wide) f/stop on those lenses?
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#19 John Holland

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 05:23 PM

I would have thought max wide open aperture f3.2/ 2.8 . john holland ,london.
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#20 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 05:34 PM

Panavision C-Series, which this film probably was shot on open up to between T2.3 and T2.8
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