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Using Cooke Speed Panchros


Adam Frisch FSF
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Mr. DG Goulder needs to know that his posts read like someone conducting a jihad about cinematography, which in my case, at least, makes me remember that perspective is a good thing.

Okay, R. I'll take your comments under advisement. I may have overreacted, but I was responding to what I felt was a mischaracterization of my comments. Stephen and Max have both been decent and helpful in many past threads, and I will take this opportunity to publicly apologize to them if I came on too strong. (jihad on hold)

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If I'm allowed to give my opinion, anamorphic films tend to look better than those filmed in Super 35 in similar conditions (light levels, film stock, etc). The image is far more detailed and finer grained. Plus anamorphic has deeper blacks and the color seems to be richer to my eye. On the other hand, DIs and the new film stocks have improved a lot the look & quality of spherical films blown-up to Scope.

 

But as a whole, I see the Super-35 vs. Anamorphic debate quite similar to the 1.85 vs. 2.35:1 or even 1.85:1 vs. Academy. Each format (even 8 and 16mm) has its strenghs and weaknesses and IMHO choosing the best for each project is just part of the role of the filmakers. There are lots of details to take into account while choosing between Super 35 and anamorphic (considering your budget is high enough to shoot in 35mm 2.35:1): the light levels the cinematographer will be able to use, the possibility of getting enough matching sets to shoot action scenes with multiple cameras, focus pulling, etc, etc. Even a genre could suggest the format (periods may suggest a softer look and sometimes anamorphic films look almost too sharp, etc).

 

For example, Conrad Hall liked spherical lenses because he used to work at T/2. That aperture would be a nightmare to work at in anamorphic and he would have had to rise his light levels, thus changing his lighting style and the film's look. That's why it was better for him to use spherical lenses. I don't see anything wrong with his approach. Super 35 was just the format that fitted him. Though I tend to prefer the look of anamorphic, in Conrad Hall's case I prefer the lighitning of his spherical works over the films he shot anamorphic ("Harper", "Professionals", "In Cold Blood"). Perhaps he could have shot "American Beauty" or "Road to Perdition" using anamorphic lenses and both of them would still look as good, but the fact that these gorgeus looking films were shot in Super 35 doesn't mean (again, IMHO) that it's a superior format. Hall just took advantage of the format's strenghs.

 

What dissapoints me as a viewer, for example, is a Western with lots of daytime scenes and landscapes shot in Super-35 with apparent reason to avoid anamorphic lenses. That's the tipical case where I think anamorphic -and its sharpness- is better suited. And so on (Sergio Leone's deep focus Techniscope Westerns may prove how wrong I am, or perhaps César Charlone would argue with us about spherical 16 vs. spherical 35mm..., but then, I believe Super 16mm was the right choice for "City of God". The movie wouldn't be the same if they had shot it using big Panavision cameras with Primo anamorphic lenses).

 

Lenses and formats are just tools to do film photography, and since everyone has its own tastes and preferences we can call cinematography an ART and not just technique ;)

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What dissapoints me as a viewer, for example, is a Western with lots of daytime scenes and landscapes shot in Super-35 with apparent reason to avoid anamorphic lenses.

 

I can't edit my own post; of course I meant "without an apparent reason to avoid anamorphic" :)

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""Personally when I go to the cinema I like to see films where a large negative was used.""

 

Exactly. Isn't that what going to the movies used to be all about? That BIG.. W I D E.. perfectly crisp image?

 

And frankly, George Lucas' obsession with using video instead of film is becoming ridiculous. Why is this filthy rich, extremely talented man crafting his masterpieces on video? Sure, if it were an indie documentary or something of that nature but Star Wars -- the Star Wars? What's wrong with using 65mm, cheapskate?!!!

 

As with the restaurant industry, if you downgrade the menu or cut corners in the kitchen, you will lose customers and eventually go out of business.

 

Give your audience what they deserve. We're not stupid. No one WANTS to see crappy video. No one cares if you shot with an Xl1 + mini adaptor -- good for you -- it will never be on par with the image we're expecting to see.

 

Impress us with something big.. entertaining.. AMAZING. Make your films worth our hard earned cash.

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I think some Dops lighting style is not well suited for anamorphic. On 'The Merchant of Venice' for instance there was talk of shooting anamorphic, but in the end the shoot went Super 35. Which was just as well, since most of the film was shot around T2 or 2 1/2. By his own admittance, Benoit Delhomme said that he was happy to have chosen Super 35, because he could not have lit to a T4 at all times. He used lots of bounced light and to get a T2 on 500 Asa was already quite an effort (you would not belive the amounts of lights that were used, some sets got very warm, but were not bright at all). Combine that with a handheld camera that was moving all the times as were the actors and this shoot could not have been done in anamorphic.

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I'd like to see functionalism in cinema. I think that HD should be used much more for contemporary cinema. Guys like George Lucas are heros in my opinion. Very often when DP shoot anamorphic they push the negative to achieve greater depth of field, ergo making the negative, even 1,7 larger than Super35, grainier. Plus, I see very little difference between a anamorphic production and a super35 when gone thru the DI route. If cinematographers would shoot in 100/200 asa then the quality of the work would be much better.

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Mr. DG Goulder needs to know that his posts read like someone conducting a jihad about cinematography, which in my case, at least, makes me remember that perspective is a good thing.

 

This site doesn't need an on-going thread called "sign your posts". It needs an on-going thread called "don't leave your civility and sense of humour at the door".

 

I had to laugh, this coming from someone who doesn't sign his posts, and has an on-going jihad thread against the ASC.

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I had to laugh, this coming from someone who doesn't sign his posts, and has an on-going jihad thread against the ASC.

 

Jason,

 

Mr Edge does use his real name and the initial of his first name.

His thread on the ASC seems factual and is of interest to people who don't live in the USA.

 

Stephen

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Jason,

 

I am talking about how people on this forum speak to one-another, which in my view is too often uncivil and humourless. It frequently makes participation in this site an unpleasant experience. I suspect that there are people who won't post, or rarely post, because of this. In my own case, it is the principal reason why I am spending less and less time following cinematography.com.

 

I use my full name on closed internet sites (e.g. D-word) and in e-mail or personal message exchanges. As a matter of personal choice, I use my initial and last name on public sites. I have not noticed any correlation between how people sign their posts and civility on this forum. In fact, the thing that surprises me is that people who sign their full names apparently have no compunction about saying things that they would never say face to face, and that they must surely regret later.

 

My post is about how people on this site talk to one-another, not about what they say about a film or other product. My posts about American Cinematographer Magazine and Zinio, which were critical, well-documented and of interest in particular to non-US subscribers, were about a product, lack of transparency about the product and lack of customer service. As for my general views on the ASC, I have a four year subscription to its magazine.

 

Have a good day.

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If someone is going to criticize people for their negative posts, I think they have to look at themselves to see how much they contribute positively or negatively to the tone of this forum.

 

Excessive criticism of negativity is in itself another form of negativity, especially if not backed up by a history of generally positive, helpful posts.

 

As far as my use of capital letters, I apologize to Stephen (I think it was him) if I hurt his feelings for being overly emphatic, but I tend to get worked up sometimes when I see a factual error being repeated as part of advice to someone. It's so easy for misinformation to get spread on the internet. But I will watch my use of capitalization in the future. And I hope people will feel free to correct my own factual errors, because I honestly don't want to be wrong about something.

 

As a reminder, the post in question was how 2.35 is extracted from Super-35, as compared to how 1.85 is extracted when shooting Super-35 (Full Aperture) as opposed to a sound aperture. In Super-35, 3-perf or 4-perf, 1.85 and 2.35 (2.39 to be more precise) share the same horizontal dimensions, centered just inside Full Aperture, and only vary by the amount of vertical area used. It's only in 2-perf that a 2.35 frame does not use Full Aperture.

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David,

 

I am talking about how people speak with one-another on this site.

 

You can say that it is an issue and that something needs to be done about it.

 

Or You can say that it is not an issue.

 

You can also say that I have a lot of nerve raising the question because you think that I am uncivil, or am humourless, toward other participants on this site.

 

Or you can say that I have a lot of nerve raising the question because you don't like what I have to say generally. If you are going to do that, you have two choices.

 

One is to do what Jason did, and make a specfic complaint. Even if this is a fairly basic rhetorical device, also known as an ad hominem attack, it does have the honour of being specific.

 

The other choice is to make an ad hominem attack that is non-specific. Sometimes, people do this in a way that is designed to make it possible to say that it is a general observation rather than directed at an individual.

 

I know that you don't like what I said about American Cinematographer Magazine, and especially the digital version. Neither you nor anyone else from the ASC has challenged the facts stated in that thread. For my part, I am pretty pleased that a lot of people have read the thread, and as a result know that there are issues with the product. I am not going to apologize, as a consumer, for telling other consumers that there is a big gap, for a product, between what is being sold and the reality. I hope, as someone who has just renewed his subscription to the ASC magazine for another four years, that the ASC is going to do something about this gap.

 

I also know that I made some comments about the film Goodnight, and Good Luck, that you don't like. My opinion of this film, which is not high, was expressed in a way that is pretty obviously intended to be irreverent, indeed amusing. I actually do think that the film is a didactic exercise, and it does remind me of Charlie Chaplin's speech at the end of The Great Dictator, and Schwartzenneger's films and part of Forster's analysis of the novel. Some people might think that that kind of analysis is off the wall. Others may think that it is close to the truth. What surprised me is that some people didn't see the humour in it.

 

What surprises me even more is that someone who thinks that Good Night, and Good Luck is one of the best films of the year, might think that it is ok to make an oblique, non-specific attack on someone that can't be defended. Ultimately, that is what the film is about.

 

Beyond those two examples, all of the posts that I have made lately have had two characteristics. The first is that they have been entirely technical. The second is that they have been written in a way that is expressly designed to avoid an argument. A good example are my posts on the the thread about the FR-2 sound recorder. The fact is, those posts contain some helpful information about what is currently out there, and what is coming, in terms of time code recorders, and also explicitly sidesteps a debate about bit rate via a link to another site. In other words, I don't agree with what was said about bit rate, but I'm so gun shy about this site at this point that I'd rather provide a link to another site than say so. The one exception to these characteristics is my post on the Arri 416, in which I ventured the observation that 416 equates to "for 16", which is about as far as I am prepared to go anymore when it comes to humour on this site.

 

This very long post is the result of being told, however obliquely, that the issue is my credentials for raising the issue of civility and humour, not the issue of civility and humour itself.

 

To be honest, I expected more than that.

 

It is important to understand something. Being on the receiving end of a personal attack, especially when it gathers steam and starts to resemble an attack by a pack of wolves, is not fun. The prospect is intimidating, and almost certainly inhibits people from participating. In my case, I believe that I am capable of defending myself, but I don't want to spend my time doing that. It is one thing to participate, as a game, in a high school debating society. It is another thing to revisit that experience as an adult, especially when the first thing that one learns, as a 16 year old debater, is that ad hominem arguments don't cut it.

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I'm sorry if my comments derailed the thread, and I apologize for my previous post. Sometimes one should think a little bit more before hitting the 'Add Reply' button, and make sure they have their facts straight.

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I guess I don't take kindly to being sniped at, at your posts about how you're disappointed in me, how you frankly expected more of me, etc. It's incredibly condenscending, like I'm being graded by you on every one of my posts. You managed to pick a tone that was bound to provoke a negative response from me, in a post about how we should all be more civil!

 

As for my ONE (as I recall) correction to Stephen over a technical matter, again, I'm sorry if my use of capitalization caused him offense. My mistaken reasons at the time were just that I felt he was doggedly sticking to a particular bit of misinformation that I felt the need to shake him out of, so my resonse was tinged with some frustration. But obviously I could have stated my response with less emotion attached, so I apologize for that.

 

I find his posts to be VERY helpful and he's an important contributor to this site -- that should be obvious to anyone. I always look forward to reading what he posts. I don't even disagree with him about the superiority of anamorphic photography over Super-35, but he should recognize that other well-respected DP's seem to prefer spherical photography not only for technical and practical reasons, but also aesthetic ones.

 

We're all passionate about cinematography here, and we're all opinionated, and some friction is bound to occasionally erupt despite everyone's general attempts to remain civil. And I completely admit that I'm not perfect, that I can be occasionally grumpy, or just plain wrong.

 

I do get the occasional private email asking how I manage to be so patient with some of the people who post on the internet, so I guess the answer is that sometimes I lose my patience.

 

By the way, if anyone is in doubt as to Stephen's skill or talent, check out his excellent work on his website:

http://www.stephenw.com/index.htm

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I'm sorry if my use of capitalization caused him offense. My mistaken reasons at the time were just that I felt he was doggedly sticking to a particular bit of misinformation that I felt the need to shake him out of, so my resonse was tinged with some frustration. But obviously I could have stated my response with less emotion attached, so I apologize for that.

 

I don't even disagree with him about the superiority of anamorphic photography over Super-35, but he should recognize that other well-respected DP's seem to prefer spherical photography not only for technical and practical reasons, but also aesthetic ones.

 

Hi David,

 

I was not offended and pleased to be corrected. I should have known better, I actually own a S35 2.35 GG for my Mitchell that I have used on a Job!

 

My reason for addressing only the technical aspects of Anamorphic was to avoid the usual long threads that subjective opinions create.

 

Stephen

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And all I wanted to talk about was old lenses! :D

 

HEY MAN, IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!

 

As your original post inquired about the feasibility of older Cookes for super 35, a recent example to check out would be "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", which used Cooke S2 series lenses for the closeups. S4s were used on the wide shots, although the wider S2s should also cover.

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