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What Is This Very Clean Look Called


Marcos Cooper
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Watching "What Lies Beneath" I was struck by how clean the image is. I'm wondering what this look is called and how to achieve it. Is it all just in the lighting? What is going on here? 

Cinematographer Don Burgess shot the film on shot on 35 mm (Kodak Vision 500T 5279, Eastman EXR 200T 5293, SFX 200T) with a Panavision Panaflex Platinum and Panavision C-Series Lenses.

It was a popular style in the late 1990s, I believe but I also think of it as the Blake Edwards/Mike Nichols/Nora Ephron look. 

The stills are definitely not as clean as the moving picture, but here they are. 

wWhatLiesBeneath2.thumb.jpg.55d41b952618b497b02895a9cd688646.jpg

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I don’t understand what you mean by ‘clean’. Can you explain that in another way?

 

The commonality between the images to me is the slightly retro fashions, mostly warmed up a bit colour wise, and slightly lifted/low detail blacks (crushed then lifted?)

 

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If by "clean" you mean un-diffused and no-grain, keep in mind that if you are judging by a home video transfer, you don't know what degree of noise reduction or sharpening was applied to the image.  In terms of lighting, those movies had well-exposed negatives requiring decent light levels even for shadowy, darker scenes, so you may just be responding to the feeling that each scene was "lit" in a polished way.

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Mel and David: "Polished" is a much better word. I was watching the show on Amazon so the quality is what it is, but even so the images had a much more elegant look than a lot of current fare. The specular highlights are nicely defined and edges are sharp yet the actors look sensational, the light isn't highlighting their skin texture or lines.  

So when you say "lit in a polished way" are you saying that the show (and others like it) are created with complicated lighting plots? Or are there some techniques used by Mr. Burgess that might work for those of us shooting on smaller budgets? 

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