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Bad cinematography, bad direction.


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"If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything" is good advice. But sometimes you just can't help but to pick your jaw up from the floor...

Why did the big name actors agree to do this? Walter Hill's legacy? I simply wasn't prepared for just how cheap this looks. It's like daytime soap opera or student film lighting and direction. It's sad, because I know so many great commercial DP's, struggling directors, writers etc who would kill it with a project like this, but are never ever given a chance to do features or long form. But this gets made and shot?

https://youtu.be/-7EhBLbZwh0

PS. Read the comments on trailer.

 

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It looks a lot better if you clamp the black level back down.

It doesn't solve all the problems, of course, but look how sat up it is. Dubiously competent post production, I fear. To be fair, it is quite easy to accidentally do that when preparing things for YouTube and similar, but it'd be very much in the category of schoolboy errors.

image.png.27b5f661a0f2c16f74a6dc970a0bc279.png

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It's a deliberate use of old-school lighting that worked so well in "Geronimo" (1993), which was shot in 35mm anamorphic film, so I think the grade of this trailer is one problem, the black level, contrast... but maybe it is accurate to how the feature looks.

The lighting feels sort of reminiscent of a Howard Hawks western from the 1960s. I'm sure the cinematographer struggled with the time and the use of multiple cameras, which sort of works against that classic Hollywood western style (or even the style of Sergio Leone) but I think Hill has always liked that approach, being a Kurosawa fan.

If I had any observation, it's just that you get into a 'neither fish nor fowl" problem if you don't commit fully to recreating a classic old-school look, but that also happens when your budget and shooting schedule are tight.  If I were going to do a lot of hard lighting for a period western, and pull out the color, I might have tried to go for a deep depth of field such as in b&w classics like "The Westerner" or "My Darling Clementine", or a Sergio Leone movie (though those have normal color).  But that would have been the opposite of modern trends towards shallow focus and soft, underexposed natural light. And it takes time to do that.

Anyway, it looks like a Walter Hill movie, most of them have this style. Just with better black levels than this trailer.

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