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Scott Larson

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About Scott Larson

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  • Birthday 11/08/1966

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    Portland, OR
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    I'm just a still photographer here to steal ideas from the motion picture pros.

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  1. And that's the case generally in still photography. You will not hear the phrase "good flares" in a lens review. The distorted bokeh of beloved expensive anamorphic lenses would also be considered cheap and harsh looking yet no one in the motion picture industry seems to notice it.
  2. When "The Blair Witch Project" was released, I heard about lots of problems with audiences around the country making jokes at the screen and ruining the experience. Here, I only saw that happen once and the ushers kicked the troublemaker right out immediately as if they had been expecting trouble. This movie was a great audience experience. Everyone would be laughing at a joke then suddenly the theater would be silent once frightening noises began on the soundtrack. And it didn't look much better on DVD or Blu-ray.
  3. Is it unreasonable to expect at least DVD image quality in a movie theater these days? Every film I've seen projected in a theater for at least the past five years at has been incredibly blurry, clearly inferior to even a DVD at home. To save my eyesight I've been going to local digital theaters. They always look better than in film theaters even though most (maybe all) are only HD resolution. One theater sometimes projects (if that's the right term) foreign films that are from tapes intended for standard definition television broadcast in Europe. Even they look better than projected films. The most surprising thing is that very few people I've talked to have noticed how terrible these movies look on the big screens. It's probably not a factor in declining movie revenues.
  4. The showing of The Blair Witch Project I was at was unlike any other I've experienced. The movie had some improvised humor which the audience laughed at, but cut immediately to black footage with strange sounds in the distance. The audience instantly went from laughter to total silence.
  5. If you want the aperture in a Canon EF lens to stay at a certain f stop, you can use the DOF preview button to set it to that f stop, and then rotate the lens just enough so the pins on the lens no longer make contact with the camera but not so far that the lens falls out. This means simultaneously pressing the DOF preview and lens release buttons. I don't know why you would do this. The camera will not expose until the aperture is set correctly.
  6. Although I don't think David did this trick, Andrzej Sekula did a simple and clever in-camera trick for this kind of shot in American Psycho. When shooting Christian Bale running at night on ISO 50 film with New York in the background, he shot a few minutes of the skyline in the upper background at something like ten frames per second so it would be exposed correctly. Then he rewound the film and shot Bale lit in the foreground at normal speed as a double exposure. Nowadays I guess it's easier to do a composite in post than in camera.
  7. I'll be stealing that idea for my holiday season event photography. Another thing I like about the dance scene is that they let the actress be visibly taller than the actor. Could someone please tell Hollywood that it's OK for women to sometimes be taller than men?
  8. In the Showtime film "Rated X" there are what appear to be white outs and jump cuts in a few scenes. These started by accident when a camera battery started dying. Instead of reshooting it, they decided it was a cool effect and used it several more times in the film. So it's just a matter of making the flicker look like an intentional effect. :lol:
  9. One thing I remembered as a kid watching Alien was just before the "birthing scene" a couple of strange out of focus blobs and silhouettes suddenly were thrown on the screen: They seemed out of place and there was no other hint that anything horrifying was about to happen within the next few seconds so I've often wondered if that was subtle foreshadowing or just accidental.
  10. But they are available although not many new ones are left. I bought new one a few months ago for my five year old HDTV and some stores still have them. If not, check eBay or other places for a Samsung DTB-H260F or other ATSC set top boxes with component and HDMI outputs. Used ones are getting cheaper as more people replace their old HDTVs with ones that have built-in tuners.
  11. Depends on how many large men helped me! Note that we only see the upper part of the hallway wall so it could have been on wheels. Also if I remember right we see very little of the bridge set through the doors before a cut so it may have been moved just a few feet to the side. You know some guys were high-fiving each other when they pulled this off. Well, high fives weren't in common use yet but I'm sure they were doing whatever white guys did in the late sixties in these situations. ;)
  12. Oh yes, the "planets" were minimal of course. The strategic placement of huge boulders everywhere was to distract from the non-existent horizons which were clearly gelled lights. I don't think there was any precedent for creating sets like that on television, was there? You can tell they put some effort into the "ruins" in Man Trap. The budgets for these episodes were incredibly low. I could imagine NBC executives watching these early episodes on a projector looking for anything that didn't look right. Another fun cheap scene to look for is a shot from inside a turbolift. They appear to enter it from some nondescript hallway, and without a cut thirty seconds later the doors open and we see the bridge. Of course it was just a simple matter of using a "hallway" set to block our vision of the bridge while the doors were open and moving it out of the way while the doors were closed to reveal the bridge set when they opened again. No, that would be Vancouver, B.C. :)
  13. I had the opposite reaction. Nothing about it shocked me. The bridge didn't have just the "blinking lights" that signify cheap sci-fi but many of the "displays" and controls around the bridge had a surprising amount of detail that made them look almost realistic. They did replace close ups of some the truly dated props like Sulu's "analog" chronometer. One thing I noticed is how they "cheated" the focus in some scenes. In one conference room scene there were three actors at different distances from the camera. Instead of focusing on whoever was talking, they simply kept the focus on the middle actor and let the other two be slightly out of focus while they talked. This was barely noticeable on the DVD but is certainly obvious in HD.
  14. Sadly, running a public forum on even the most trivial subjects is inviting people who suffer from unfocused rage at the world to pick you as their target. I help moderate a forum on, of all things, automated cat litter boxes. We also have one crazy person who felt he was done wrong by being banned and has made it his mission in life to cause the owner of the forum and the moderators as much grief as possible. He had found out where we work, our home addresses and threatened us with legal action. It's most likely pointless nonsense but you have to take lunatics seriously because even they don't know what they're capable of. Unfortunately shutting your site down is exactly what they want. I'm sure the guy who attacked Deakins' site was jumping with glee in his basement since his mission was accomplished.
  15. Kodak released the DCS-14n in March of 2004. Canon responded with the EOS-1Ds Mark II with a 16.7 MP sensor in September of 2004. The Kodak sensor was very noisy and the product was a disappointment. Worst of all, Kodak was never able to solve the noise problems and permanently left the DSLR market to other manufacturers which continued to develop sensors with increasing resolution and sensitivity.
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