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David Mullen ASC

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Everything posted by David Mullen ASC

  1. You’re falling into believing that myth that larger formats somehow give you wider shots that are less distorted because they use longer focal lengths.
  2. Are they? I don’t see any difference in lens distortion, in fact, IMAX movies often have semi-fish-eye shots and corner fall-off issues.
  3. Same difference… my point is that compared to a regular cinema screen, you sit relatively closer in terms of screen heights because the image resolution allows it.
  4. Because there's a cylindrical element at the back of the lens to squeeze the image, if you look at the element straight on, it looks square, so it's changing the shape of the bokeh from round to square. You can probably simulate this effect by installing a square aperture hole at the back of a spherical lens the way some people simulate a front-element anamorphic look by putting an oval aperture at the back of the lens.
  5. Lens perspective (relative sizes of objects near to far) is determined by camera position, not focal length, which just controls degree of magnification. What you see in IMAX movies on a TV screen, besides just clean, sharp photography, can be the shallow focus of wide-angle shots due to the lower depth of field (because longer focal lengths have to be used to achieve wide-angle views on bigger formats). There is also a tendency in IMAX photography to shoot almost fish-eye wide-angle shots because they are meant to be seen on very large screens where you sit very close. See: http://www.yedlin.net/NerdyFilmTechStuff/MatchLensBlur.html
  6. The look of Terminator 1 and 2 is just spherical lenses cropped to 2.40, other than the use of Low-Con filters on the first movie. And film of course. And lighting of course...
  7. https://twitter.com/Portrait_Nation/status/1256830818510614533/photo/4
  8. I haven't seen anything yet but the old HD transfer was quite noise-reduced and smoothed-over, compared to the recent restoration of Trek 2 which was quite grainy. I don't have a 4K set-up either but I was looking forward to a new transfer of TMP. I don't object to some grain reduction to reduce inconsistencies as long as it still feels like the photochemical version. Deep down I was hoping that they would discover the original 65mm effects before they were reduced to 35mm (the 4k restoration of "Blade Runner" was lucky enough to discover the 65mm effects rolls. Back then, Trumbull finished everything from 65mm to 65mm and then had it duped to 35mm elsewhere.)
  9. Not necessarily -- the Japanese-shot scenes in "Tora, Tora, Tora" are generally darker than the American ones, which are somewhat overlit. Early Japanese color movies were touted for their pastel colors but this was because they preferred underexposing Eastmancolor negative for a "thin" look. And there's a lot of moody b&w lighting in older Japanese movies.
  10. No, the lens does not have to be shot wide-open, the light just has to be bright -- if it's bright at f/16 you'll still get the rings.
  11. I can understand the logic but I've never done that simply because I'm shooting a greenscreen shot -- it sort of depends on how well your compositing software handles transparency from blur. But if it's a waist-up shot on someone standing in front of a greenscreen, I doubt there is a lot of movement so either 180 or 90 degrees is probably fine.
  12. It's interesting, maybe, to note that the 3-strip Technicolor camera process could not use a focal length wider than 35mm because of the beam-splitter prism. One or two shots in "Gone With the Wind" tried using a wide-angle adapter to get the equivalent of a 25mm but those shots aren't very sharp (I think it was used to get a wide shot of the auction dance that was then rear-projected behind the announcer, and it's one of the worst RP shots in the movie.)
  13. I never know when Hitchcock talked about the 50mm whether he compensated for shooting in VistaVision in the 50's, i.e. did he switch to a 75mm for movies like "Vertigo", "North by Northwest", etc. or did he just get used to the wider view of the 50mm in that format. Herb Coleman tells the story of supervising a reshoot for "Vertigo", the push-in on Kim Novak's profile in Ernie's Steakhouse when she pauses by the bar where James Stewart sits (sort of his POV of her except that the camera moves) - he said he had to shoot on a 35mm lens because of the tight space and Hitchcock was unhappy about that. But I don't know if Coleman was referring to an actual 35mm lens or the equivalent in VistaVision (a 50mm lens.)
  14. I don't think Ozu ever said he used the 50mm because it matched human vision, he just preferred the way it looked. Whenever he was asked if he wanted to try another focal-length lens, he said "sure" and after looking at the shot, he would say "yes, the 50mm is better." Over time, Kurosawa preferred a 75mm or longer... in some ways, I think the flatter perspective of longer focal lengths fit with the Japanese aesthetic established in their art, which did not develop Renaissance-style vanishing point perspective. They used more flat planes of depth rather than receding diagonals of depth.
  15. Horizontally, Super-35 is 24mm wide and Full-Frame / VistaVision is 36mm wide, so that's a 1.5X difference. So the equivalent to a 50mm on Full-Frame is 33.33333... mm in Super-35 and the equivalent of a 50mm on a Super-35 camera is 75mm on a Full-Frame camera. When you watch old 20's and 30s movies, the master shots of sets do feel a bit compressed as if the camera was outside the room somewhere (which it was) but that kept people in a room looking more similar in size, less receding in size in depth. So in a way, it fed into the star-driven nature of Hollywood cinema where most scenes were shot in medium-shot the actors generally took prominence over the setting. When CinemaScope first was used, it involved an adapted 50mm lens so early cinematographers touted the greater depth of field of anamorphic when in fact this wasn't true, it just made the 50mm shot twice as wide in view.
  16. Yes, it's inconsistent. The trouble is with the whole concept of "matching human vision". Are you matching field of view? Or degree of magnification of objects? And doesn't that depend on how close you are viewing the image? Because human vision doesn't have a nice rectangular border around reality. For example, IMAX nature/science documentaries tend to use very wide-angle lenses but you are supposed to sit close enough to the screen that a certain percentage falls into your peripheral vision, so you are basically concentrating on the lower center of the image, which is like cropping to a more normal focal length. The 4-perf 35mm film format was invented before the 8-perf 35mm still format, and yet the early silent cinema cameras started out mainly with a 50mm lens, so I can only assume this was one of the "easier" focal lengths to build and it became the standard for both cinema and stills, though of course in 8-perf 35mm horizontal format, it has a wider field of view. At some point, people started to say that the 50mm was the most "natural" focal length for matching human vision and this got taken as gospel by everyone without much thought. It also depends on how close you are getting to the subject -- a 50mm wide shot in 4-perf 35mm can feel a bit long-lens-ish but a tight close-up on a 50mm can still have some distortion due to how close the lens is physically to the face (it's not the focal length creating the distortion, it's the distance that the focal length is causing you to put the camera to get the tight size.) By the way, once 4-perf 35mm movies started cropping 1.37 Academy (which was already a bit cropped from Silent) to 1.85, the 35mm and 40mm focal lengths started to be used more in its place. 2.66 : 1 Cinerama, with its 144 degree wide-angle perspective, was also touted as being like human vision but this was a very widescreen image projected very large, so a similar experience to IMAX at least on the horizontal plane.
  17. It's a long (older) zoom lens pointed into the sun, zooming in. Probably a 10:1 Angenieux. Go to the 3:56 mark in this clip from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" where Doug Trumbull mounted a 35mm zoom, the old 25-250mm Angenieux, to a 65mm camera to create the rings of lens flares as V'Ger transforms and disappears, leaving only the Enterprise.
  18. Some examples of short-sided framing in "The Insider".
  19. The movie was shot in Panavision anamorphic and that rainbow flare happens on some of the older longer focal lengths (see "Alien" for example) -- however in this case, it might have been a flare element they shot separately to add over the image at the key moment. Or it was done by panning an off-camera light into the edge of the lens at the right moment.
  20. It's often called "short-siding" -- it's useful in a story where paranoia is a theme, you see this sort of framing in "The Insider" for example as the main character thinks he is being watched or followed. It's useful when the background is ironic in some way, for example in "Manhattan" an outdoor cafe conversion is framed this way to show the happy couples in the background while the main characters are breaking off their relationship. I've also done it when the background is simply more interesting that way, like in a restaurant scene with a two people talking at a table against a wall, short-siding the close-ups keeps the busy, crowded restaurant in the background rather than a wall.
  21. Obviously if the frame rate is higher there are more motion samples to create smooth motion despite the fact that usually the PER FRAME shutter time is shorter at higher frame rates so there is less blur PER FRAME. So if you shot at a higher frame rate BUT dropped frames to create normal speed at 24 fps playback, then the motion would be choppier, as if you used a shorter shutter angle at 24 fps.
  22. An even number of blades produces the same number of points in a star burst when pointed at the sun or other bright light; an odd number produces twice as many points as the number of blades. But the shape of the bokeh is the primary reason for having more blades.
  23. Not sure I'd agree with using fast film if going for a dim soft underexposed look, in 16mm you are already risking some muddiness. I'd stick to 50D but timed for a bluer look, or 200T without the 85 filter. Underexpose a little then time it even darker. You could, for example, shoot a grey card / scale 1-stop overexposed at the head of the roll and tell the colorist to transfer that to normal brightness, then everything that follows will have been brought down by 1-stop. Add a warming filter as well when shooting the grey card / scale and pull it for the footage and it should appear bluer. Hard to avoid the sky on open water unfortunately. I'd bounce a lot of fill into the faces, or a side key, so that once everything is darkened, their faces don't go silhouette. You could try an ND attenuator grad filter at least to help bring down the top of the frame without a strong grad line. Also, use heavy NDs to avoid shooting stopped down, real night photography would not have been shot deeper than f/4, and often more like f/2.8.
  24. You'd have to define what you mean by soft focus and hard focus. Do you mean sharp versus diffused images? Or slow versus fast focus racks?
  25. A sensitive camera? Assuming you are willing to live with the look of something shot under a yellowish narrow wavelength lamp. See: https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?65779-Building-a-Sodium-Vapour-Safelight
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