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Getting the Look of Spaghetti Westerns


Stuart T
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The lenses used in Leone's time are still around, basically something like the old 25-250mm Angenieux would be a good choice, shot stopped-down.

 

So in 16mm, the Angenieux 12-120 should work? The 12-120 was the zoom used by Toei studios in most of their tokusatsu shows such as Kamen Rider V3, Kaiketsu Zubat, etc. In fact there were some scenes in those shows, especially whenever Saburo appears in KIKAIDA, that try to replicate the Leone look and feel, down to the soundtrack (Needless to say, it creates an interesting hybrid since we're talking about androids rather than the old west).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Leone shot in 35mm, if you are shooting in 16mm you'd want to use the sharpest lenses you can get.

 

David,

 

That's going to be hard to find on a CA-1 mount, but I do have an Arri-to-Cameflex adapter. I wonder what's the sharpest zoom I can get for that.

 

Ok, so to recap: If you are shooting 16mm, use sharp lenses, 7203 film (Vision3 50D), push process by one stop?

 

And if you have an actual Techniscope camera and are shooting 35, use 25-250mm Angenieux, shoot 7213 (Vision3 200T) stopped down?

 

I'm using these stocks as suggestions because most stocks mentioned in this thread are dead. It's still possible to find some 7248 in people's freezers but that's iffy.

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Whenever you talk about recreating an old movie look, you have to decide just how much degradation due to age or printing practices, etc. you are copying, versus copying the look of pristine original negative of the time. Our impressions of old Leone westerns for years were based on prints, which were rather contrasty. And you can tell that movies back then were lit to take the contrast of printing through dupes into account (or in this case, the contrast of dye transfer printing at Technicolor). Hence all the fill light from reflector boards in the desert that probably was a bit in excess of what the color negative of the day required for shadow detail (50 ASA 5250 and then 5251.)

 

The question is whether it is worth recreating some of that higher contrast through push-processing or just in the digital color-correction. Depends on if you want the increase in grain from the photochemical push.

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Reversal never looked the same as neg stocks.

 

Are you planing to have a 16mm print or have a digital finish for digital projection?

 

Reversal has a little less latitude than negative, which COULD make it resemble more closely the prints of the era. I also remember that Spike Lee shot one of his features on reversal for that reason. I think it was CLOCKERS that he shot on 5239 and had it cross processed.

Edited by Samuel Berger
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Cross-processed reversal has a pretty bizarre look. Shooting reversal and processing it normally as reversal has rarely been done in 35mm cinema -- there was the movie "Buffalo 66" which used the VNF Ektachrome stocks used for NFL Films, and some of "Blow" (2001) was shot on Kodachrome and processed normally before being duped to negative.

 

I think today the problem is getting large amounts of 35mm reversal and processing it as reversal (i.e. E6). The other issue is that while the look would be similar to an older print, you have so little latitude for exposure mistakes so there would be more variation in quality than a timed print of something shot on negative stock.

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There seems to be so many visual looks in the recent restorations, that it really depends on the "look" you personally want, rather than attempting to recreate what seems to be a moving goal post.

 

http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13539

 

http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/news/news-articles/fistful-dollars-restored-da-vinci/410234

 

I'm not sure a trailer is the most accurate reference, these can be different because the workflow often results in a lower quality than the film itself. .

Edited by Brian Drysdale
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I would test some 7203 to see how it looks. If you want a contrasty look on video try getting a projection contrast print made and transferring that, assuming you don't want to change things when colour correcting in post..

 

 

Are you saying scan it in (say, simple HD ProRes 422 or other basic DI), edit in the box, then export your edit back to the lab for a film output....and scan that film out back in to add contrast?

 

I'm also trying to get my head around a process that would allow for more of the feel of a photochemical finish, complete with the grimy charms and blemishes of antiquity (so be it) without the need for negative cutting (expensive....and likely not even available). I would love to know what sorts of workflows one can take trough the DI process for editing but still yield a contrasty, slightly old school photochemical look.

 

Something that would allow me to shoot on S16 and obtain the same kinds of looks that harken back to an optical workflow David Mullen got with Love Witch, for instance.

 

EDIT: and yes, I know the looks come from lighting, set design, lenses, etc. But I'm specifically addressing here the choice to embed some character into the printing process aspects....to add a tool to the tool chest if you will...

Edited by Matthew B Clark
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