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Indiana Jones and Crystal Skull etc.


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Indeed!

 

If Spielberg really wanted INdy IV to look like he said during the run-up to the production which we discussed so intensively here on the two other Indy-themed threads - i.e. as integrated and consistent to the original trilogy look, feel, used tech/kit and technicalicities - then he failed, and frankly, his long time collaborators let him (and themselves) down in THAT respect (not saying that kaminksi is a diletante, but he did not achieve what they proclaimed they wanted to do at all -- if they really tried, which I increasingly doubt).

 

Kaminskis cinematography is unmotivated in its stylistics, and uninspired in respect to the Indy films and what they could have contained "naturally/practically" in a visually stunning way. It lead me to appreciate the cinematically less sophisticated, but visually more evoking and craftpersonship-wise more professional and utterly devoid of any hint of self-indulgence work of DOuglas Slocombe much more.

And John Williams seemed to have dialed-in the score after working on it over one week-end fiddling with GarageBand loops, not producing any memorable theme at all!

 

THis looks like a franchise being re-invigorated past its prime after the rights were purchased by a new producer, who shoehornes his own visual style and ideas into it by executive producing it - happens too often now, from Bionic women to Star Trek to other remakes for the screen. And when we paraphrase that, then I think that Lucas' style prevailed and either Spielberg didn't really care in respect to what he (and noone else in this industry) could have achieved with the properties of this series. This is why I say that this chance to make a good film was ruinded by self-indulgent people who have grown a bit too acustomed to each other to really stimule themselves to strive for the better. I think the past 15 years of Kaminski-Spielberg link-up have produced the least interesting work by this director, and Kaminksi became to me increasingly overrated as a DoP over that time period.

 

The best thing that came out of this is an anti-agism proclamation for both female and male leads, in person of Karen Allen and Harrison Ford. THat was overdue in times where Brosnan and Paltrow have to proclaim here in London that they can't find work because they are too old (other then producing for themselves, of course, which is increasingly difficult, of course).

 

I am sure with the new Indy trilogy taking shape (clearly marking George Lucas hold over the franchise and also settting up parallel history here to the Star Wars films <_< ), Indy' IV's style will make more sens vis-a-vis the next two films. But I am sure that they will not have the same impact in cine-history as the original trilogy did. Star WaRs history repeating itself here.

 

BTW, saw Indy IV a third time at a friends place on one of those media kit DVDs that get distributed for broadcaster's reviews. On a TV screen, it looked actually much better then on the screen. Sure, the anamorphic greatness suffers, but this seemed to have a better visual impact on a small screen that when projected. Suprirsed me to see that.

 

 

(sorry for the typos, I am writing from the field in a hurry on a laptop - sunlight not helping with the LCD screen here - what ever happend to sunlight-readable display technologoy anyway?! Do I have to buy an OLPC to get that?)

Well, like the California educational system Hollywood has become addicted to computers. I don't blame my lack of enthusiasm for the latest flick on the Producers as such (though they clearly made the choice to shoot what they did and how they did it), I blame the whole trend in SFX films to be an increasing reliance on both CGI and digital editing. By digital editing I mean inserting characters, objects and even locations into scenes where they clearly don't belong.

 

Two films; "King Arthur" (2004) and Boorman's "Excalibur" (1981). The 2004 film is supposed to be more historically accurate, but, even though it's not a fantasy film (and even though I actually liked the film and enjoyed it) it looked fake compared to Boorman's 1981 film which is supposed to be a pure fantasy pic.

 

When I saw "Temple of Doom" in the theatre I got mildly annoyed with all the miniature work (even though I would become an SFX assistant), but wasn't too put off because most of the film dealt with live actors in non-digitized environments. I didn't get that sense with Indy4. And I don't get that sense with a lot of films coming out as of recent.

 

A film I like a lot is John Milius "The Wind and the Lion". That film had one process shot to show some American battleships in the background. The rest of the film's special effects were shot in camera; i.e. they were live. The explosives and squibs weren't painted in digitally, and they look real not just in terms of story, but in terms of the film's reality.

 

There's a scene near the end of that film where Sean Connery's character is fighting a Prussian (German) officer on horse back. Connery was replaced with a stuntman for much of the sequence, but I can't help but believe that that looks more convincing than digitally pasting an actor's face over a stuntman, of filming the actor on a mockup on a green stage and pasting him into the scene.

 

Personally I don't think computers have been all that helpful for films other than in editing, screewriting, and motion control for miniatures. I've grown up with computers, used teletypes in the 70s, was trained on Apples and PCs in the 80s, and build my own boxes to this day. I've used CAD programs, MATLAB, programmed in basic, C, fortran, pascal and was surfing the net when it was still a university only thing. I love computers, but using them as a cruch for what should be stunts shot live, in my opinion, is really distracting when seeing the final product on screen.

 

Just my two bits.

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George did you see a film print projected ? or a digital projection ? . If the first answer is yes than the crap quality of the projected images was because of the awful 2K DI that the print came from . This film was shot anamorphic which produces pristine images when shot well and should never ever go through a low res. 2K DI . I feel very angry about this DI system and the way some DoPs allow their work be f-ed up by it .

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"As an example, the motorcycle sequence; it looked fake in a digital sense. I wasn't sold that what I was seeing was "real" in the sense of the film's reality. Seeing Harrison Ford slide under library tables and so forth all looked really phoney to my eyes. There was a time when this kind of stunt would've been shot live with a stuntman..."

 

We did some plate shots, but that was a real bike and real car driving right at me (dolly grip) at 30mph, w/ a bunch of stunt extras jumping out of the way. Stuntman Mike Justice jumped out of the car, and pulled himself up onto the bike, w/ a camera crane chasing him, and they weren't going slow. It was plenty real.

Edited by Jon Rosenbloom
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George did you see a film print projected ? or a digital projection ? . If the first answer is yes than the crap quality of the projected images was because of the awful 2K DI that the print came from . This film was shot anamorphic which produces pristine images when shot well and should never ever go through a low res. 2K DI . I feel very angry about this DI system and the way some DoPs allow their work be f-ed up by it .

It looked like a film projection, but I guess I can't be sure unless I ask the theatre.

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We did some plate shots, but that was a real bike and real car driving right at me (dolly grip) at 30mph, w/ a bunch of stunt extras jumping out of the way. Stuntman Mike Justice jumped out of the car, and pulled himself up onto the bike, w/ a camera crane chasing him, and they weren't going slow. It was plenty real.

Oh I'm sure the bike and car were real enough, but what I'm saying is pasting Ford's likeness into the scene is what throws it for me. The stunt-people you guys used in the campus chase sequence were real and looked real, but Ford sliding under tables in the library, to my eyes at least, looked like a digital insert. It wasn't Ford being dragged in a trench behind a truck, so to speak. It's that kind of stuff that bothers my eye.

Edited by George Ebersole
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Well, like the California educational system Hollywood has become addicted to computers. I don't blame my lack of enthusiasm for the latest flick on the Producers as such (though they clearly made the choice to shoot what they did and how they did it), I blame the whole trend in SFX films to be an increasing reliance on both CGI and digital editing. By digital editing I mean inserting characters, objects and even locations into scenes where they clearly don't belong.

 

Two films; "King Arthur" (2004) and Boorman's "Excalibur" (1981). The 2004 film is supposed to be more historically accurate, but, even though it's not a fantasy film (and even though I actually liked the film and enjoyed it) it looked fake compared to Boorman's 1981 film which is supposed to be a pure fantasy pic.

 

When I saw "Temple of Doom" in the theatre I got mildly annoyed with all the miniature work (even though I would become an SFX assistant), but wasn't too put off because most of the film dealt with live actors in non-digitized environments. I didn't get that sense with Indy4. And I don't get that sense with a lot of films coming out as of recent.

 

A film I like a lot is John Milius "The Wind and the Lion". That film had one process shot to show some American battleships in the background. The rest of the film's special effects were shot in camera; i.e. they were live. The explosives and squibs weren't painted in digitally, and they look real not just in terms of story, but in terms of the film's reality.

 

There's a scene near the end of that film where Sean Connery's character is fighting a Prussian (German) officer on horse back. Connery was replaced with a stuntman for much of the sequence, but I can't help but believe that that looks more convincing than digitally pasting an actor's face over a stuntman, of filming the actor on a mockup on a green stage and pasting him into the scene.

 

Personally I don't think computers have been all that helpful for films other than in editing, screewriting, and motion control for miniatures. I've grown up with computers, used teletypes in the 70s, was trained on Apples and PCs in the 80s, and build my own boxes to this day. I've used CAD programs, MATLAB, programmed in basic, C, fortran, pascal and was surfing the net when it was still a university only thing. I love computers, but using them as a cruch for what should be stunts shot live, in my opinion, is really distracting when seeing the final product on screen.

 

Just my two bits.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with these two bits.

 

For the DI of Skull, it is 2K, if I'm not mistaken.

Edited by Radoslav Karapetkov
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Two films; "King Arthur" (2004) and Boorman's "Excalibur" (1981). The 2004 film is supposed to be more historically accurate, but, even though it's not a fantasy film (and even though I actually liked the film and enjoyed it) it looked fake compared to Boorman's 1981 film which is supposed to be a pure fantasy pic.

 

When I saw "Temple of Doom" in the theatre I got mildly annoyed with all the miniature work (even though I would become an SFX assistant), but wasn't too put off because most of the film dealt with live actors in non-digitized environments. I didn't get that sense with Indy4. And I don't get that sense with a lot of films coming out as of recent.

 

A film I like a lot is John Milius "The Wind and the Lion". That film had one process shot to show some American battleships in the background. The rest of the film's special effects were shot in camera; i.e. they were live. The explosives and squibs weren't painted in digitally, and they look real not just in terms of story, but in terms of the film's reality.

 

'King Arthur' is not only not historically accurate, but is a recycled western plot. Cavalry company on its last patrol has to evacuate ranchers endangered by renagades that've escaped from the reservation. While there was a real L. Artorious Castus, he was in Britain 300 years prior to this story & was an actual Roman. Claiming this movie is historically accurate was sleazy.

 

At least miniatures are grounded in physical reality. Compare the Nautilus in the Disney movie against the pootertoon Nautilus in 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'.

& think of the video game planes in 'The Aviator'. The miniature ships in 'Sink the Bismarck!' were quite impressive and beautiful at times. While some shots of the Armada in 'Elizabeth: the Golden Age' where rather pretty, they still looked like paintings at best. There never was a sense of reality to them.

The problem with the miniature mine tram in 'Temple of Unpleasentness' was that it was on a roller coaster track.

 

You are right about the need for physical reality in a movie, particularly in a fantasy movie.

Grounding it in the physical world makes it more believable.

 

Though I will say that the Narnia movies really shouldn't be grounded in the physical world & need the stylization that comes from cel animation.

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If somebody would be nice enough to tell me the film type, camera type, lens type of the past three films I'd surely appreciate it.

 

Panavision cameras, anamorphic lenses.

 

High speed stock:

 

Raiders, 81 - 5293 - 250 ASA

 

Temple, 84 - 5294 - 400 ASA

 

Crusade,89 - 5295 - 500 ASA

 

 

SOURCE: American Cinematographer

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'King Arthur' is not only not historically accurate, but is a recycled western plot. Cavalry company on its last patrol has to evacuate ranchers endangered by renagades that've escaped from the reservation. While there was a real L. Artorious Castus, he was in Britain 300 years prior to this story & was an actual Roman. Claiming this movie is historically accurate was sleazy.

 

At least miniatures are grounded in physical reality. Compare the Nautilus in the Disney movie against the pootertoon Nautilus in 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'.

& think of the video game planes in 'The Aviator'. The miniature ships in 'Sink the Bismarck!' were quite impressive and beautiful at times. While some shots of the Armada in 'Elizabeth: the Golden Age' where rather pretty, they still looked like paintings at best. There never was a sense of reality to them.

The problem with the miniature mine tram in 'Temple of Unpleasentness' was that it was on a roller coaster track.

 

You are right about the need for physical reality in a movie, particularly in a fantasy movie.

Grounding it in the physical world makes it more believable.

 

Though I will say that the Narnia movies really shouldn't be grounded in the physical world & need the stylization that comes from cel animation.

You're right of course about King Arthur. That's why I put "more", but I guess I should've said it differently. My bad :)

 

I actually like miniature work compared to CGI and digital inserts. There's a few exceptions. In "Master and Commander" the Surprise was digitally inserted into a storm whose basic footage was shot off of Cape Horn. To me that's a good use of digital inserts. In Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" I liked how his production team were able to duplicate company sized sets of Roman soldiers in the opening battle sequence to create an entire army (though that sequence is dark... probably to cover it up some). And the CGI in "Gladiator", to me at least, looked like it was complimenting the story by creating believable visuals.

 

Yeah, I wasn't too convinced by the sea battle in "Elizabeth". I thought the film was respectable enough, but you're right. The ships, for all the effor that went into them, seemed more like an animated matte painting.

 

I used to work for one of the guys who helped work on the Indy train car sequence. He also did the Death Star surface and interior fighter sequence in Return of the Jedi. I've been trying to hunt him down. If I find him I'll ask him about those films.

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Panavision cameras, anamorphic lenses.

 

High speed stock:

 

Raiders, 81 - 5293 - 250 ASA

 

Temple, 84 - 5294 - 400 ASA

 

Crusade,89 - 5295 - 500 ASA

 

 

SOURCE: American Cinematographer

 

Correction! The source was the June, 89 issue of A.C. and I just found out the information, in the article, was flawed. I ran across this thread on the net:

 

http://www.cinematography.net/Pages%20GB/r...ye%20effect.htm

 

David Mullen addresed this topic. Raiders was shot on 5247.

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Dont think any "47 was pushed in Raiders as far as i know . Kodak my have called "47 high speed at the time as a reletive term [like its not 25asa]

 

IDK. I was just suggesting a possible explanation. I never saw "Raiders" on the big screen. To my eye some of it looks pushed.

 

Back in the day, according to my '47 Naval Photography Guide, they used to call 100 speed film "Super Speed", so anything over ASA 100 used to be considered fast.

 

Now the slowest color still pro stock Kodak makes is 160 speed, and the slowest movie stock cinematographers seem comforatable using indoors is 200T. Go figure. . .

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Hmm, I expected a production of this level to get a 4K DI\filmout...

 

 

All of you guys are mistaken about this film being a DI that was then a film out. The only parts of the film that went through a DI were the effects shots that contained background plates composited over blue screen for some of the more epic exterior and interior shots (i.e. The Temple sequence when the gang's being chased by the warriors). By and large (85%), this film was timed photochemically. It amazes me how much Janusz bashing is going on in this thread. For the most part, I believe the work is a pretty good match to the others. There are moments where we see some signature Janusz moments (i.e. intense back lights, diffusion, etc). I like the choices Janusz made in this film because they were respectful of the previous work, but, at the same time, he made some choices that set it apart. For me, this worked. Especially the shiny depiction of the 50s and the idea that this was perceived to be a more idyllic time.

Edited by Adam McDaid
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Adam you are wrong its all via a 2K DI . And the lighting sucks ,cant say it all again.

 

Hey John,

 

I'm not wrong. I was Janusz Kaminski's camera intern for the show and our day started everyday at Technicolor, where Janusz gave timing notes to his colorist everyday for three months. The DI was done at the end for certain scenes and not the entire film - it was a combination of the two. While The Crystal Skull may be some of Janusz's less inspired work, it hardly sucks. It looks good. Plus, he had Diving Bell to show how creative and innovative he can be when given the story.

 

Best,

Adam

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He had Diving Bell to show how creative and innovative he can be when given the story.

 

The difference between the great cinematographers of cinematic history, and good cinematographers doing their work with professional craftsmanship is, that a great cinematographer takes any given story, and transforms it into something greater.

There aren't stories that don't set the scene for great cinematography - in fact, the better the story, the easier it is to get away with uninspired or pretty self-evident cinematography. Diving Bell is a good example in case. Anyone well-versed in French contemporary cinematography should find Janusz work for Diving Bell rather ordinary, in respect to inventivness and motivation.

 

The 15 years of cooperation between Janusz and Spielberg gave birth to the most uninspired and dreary films of Spielberg's career, to the point where the tag "a Spielberg film" has almost become meaningless. In the run-up to Indy IV, it was quite clear that this tag should be reinvigorated, and the chosen subject was ideal. Yet none of the aspects declared relevant (no CGI, cine-film only, craft-oriented tech & gear, grassroot work ethic, Slocombe-consistent cinematography, "practicals" throughout all areas) was even slightly pushed through. In the end, it came across as a couple of industry sages being "à la recherche du temps perdu", not realising that they had to put more effort into fighting for their declared ideals. Given the control they excercised over their project, the shortcomings are stark and pretty unforgivable. As if they stopped truly caring about the film once they took delivery of the final script and Fedoras, as the reason of their "reunion party" was already taken care of.

 

His work on Indy IV is miles away from what he could have done in respect to historic integrity, invention and motivation; and what you refer to "his signatures" in an earlier post is exactly what are either cliché elements (the 1950s "Taken" diffusion and highlights, the light "idealised" view that noone in the 1950s ever used, and noone ever thought about idealising the 1950s - most who lived then was happy to get out of them) or practices that don't really give the impression it was thought through from the start, as I think either David or Max pointed out early in this thread in respect to working with anamorphic and Vision2.

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Adam i dont know when your internship with the camera dept finished end of 1st unit shoot ? If you say is true then its even more worrying that apart from the really bad cinematography i cant blame the awful look on a 2K DI !!. You werent there for post production ? . Anyway if you read this months A.C. mag everything i thought has been confimed by Mr Kaminski .

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been reading Frank Darabonts script and I seem to have found out what went wrong. Frank Darabont wrote a really great script. Steven Spielberg loved it George Lucas didnt. What a shame.

 

If Darabonts script had been used properly this would have been brilliant.

I can see why it probably didn't..

 

I reckon it was decided this would be the last one and so as long as it made loads of money on the back of its nostalgic past that was what mattered most and that of course is what films are about.

 

To MAKE MONEY.

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@Michael Lehnert

 

I'm confused :blink:

I'm not a cinematographer, just a mediocre photographer and I enjoy movies, so maybe I'm completely wrong, but...

 

Spielberg has made many movies in the last three decades, some were weak, some "only" good and some are masterpieces! In fact, when I think about all the great cinematic moments Spielberg created, it's really hard to find someone in history of cinema that can be compared to his work over the last 30 years!? Well, maybe some people simply weren't lucky enough to stay in this business for such a long period of time, but I think Spielberg has changed cinema forever and not only 20/30 years ago!

Who is Janusz Kaminski? Is it fair to compare someone who is lucky enough to work with Mr. Spielberg (strong visual components, big budgets, lots of freedom) to somebody who tries to get the best out of small-budgets, small-stories!? I don't know, but I think that his work with Mr. Spielberg set standards and that the visually strongest Spielberg-movies we're all made by Mr. Kaminski (just because these movies were more expensive, the technology more sophisticated?).

Schindlers List, Amistad, James Ryan, AI, Minority Report, Catch me... Just five movies that came to my mind in a few seconds, visually really impressive top-notch movies to me -complex, innovative and yet different (fitting the story) looking movies. How many cinematographers can compare to that? Three, four?

 

I think Indy4 was a modern George Lucas-movie, but Spielberg/Kaminski have proven far too often that they're real masters, responsible for some of my most unforgetteable movie experiences of all time! Indy4? Already forgotten and forgiven (I know who to blame ;-), I'm looking forward to their new project!

 

Am I alone?

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