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David Mullen ASC

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Everything posted by David Mullen ASC

  1. I normally feel that for interiors, b&w tonal contrast and luminance can be controlled through art direction and lighting so color contrast filters aren’t really necessary, especially if you are fighting for exposure. However, I can see that when it comes to skin tones without make-up, a greenish filter, for example, would make a face more textured by enhancing freckles, veins, etc.
  2. Correct, b&w film has a type of antihalation backing that is less effective than remjet. I saw it at the Arclight Hollywood. Did you use your cyan "ortho" filter even for interiors? Wouldn't lighting with daylight units with maybe some green on the lamps, plus exposing for less skin tone brightness, get you close enough for that effect inside? Old silent era movies actually used to use light make-up to compensate for ortho's effect.
  3. Dom, is there are published data to confirm that the Panavision Ultra Vista lenses are 1.66X, not 1.6X, and that the Hawks are 1.33X and not 1.3X? I’m working on a written document about non-standard squeeze ratios.
  4. The 1.6X Panavision lenses are meant for that, similar to how 1.5X anamorphic lenses were used on 8-perf 35mm Technirama to get a 2.35 image more or less.
  5. I would guess that a typical anamorphic lens would cover a 24mm height since most cover a 24mm width.
  6. I agree -- the pattern of a Molebeam isn't great, the main advantage is just getting a lot of light concentrated in a beam. On a smaller scale, a spot Parcan or a Source-4 Leko is probably better.
  7. I saw this today -- it was like Sam Shepard and Martin Scorsese worked on a script that David Lynch directed. The look was amazing throughout. Was surprised at how sharp it was considering Double-X 35mm + old lenses but a D.I. and digital projection probably helped mitigate the softness.
  8. 100 foot-candles = f/2.8 (at 24 fps / 180 degree shutter) at 100 ASA. Remembering that will make it easier to break down photometric data on lamps. Every f-stop number is the double or the half the number two stops over, i.e. f/1.4 to f/2.8 is a two-stop jump. f/2 to f/4 is a two-stop jump. Sunny 16 rule, that the exposure is f/16 when the shutter time value under 1/ is the same as the ASA, so 1/50 at 50 ASA = f/16 if shooting under direct sun on a clear day.
  9. If it’s a 1.3X difference then it’s a 1.3-stop DOF difference if you match FOV.
  10. Narrative cinema is well over 100 years old now so perhaps innovation in the form is inevitably harder to achieve as the form has evolved. But as for whether watching old movies is a cause of stylistic stagnation, I'd tend to disagree -- I would think watching only contemporary works is more likely to cause repetition of current fads because of a lack of perspective on the breadth of narrative forms. Today, to be a classist is almost to be avant-garde... certainly a contemporary movie often doesn't seem to have the visual expressiveness of a 40's MGM musical or b&w film noir. Or "Citizen Kane" for that matter. But ultimately, great artists come from all walks of life and some are well-studied and some are just gifted and expressive without experience nor education.
  11. I would only blur highlights for a cosmetic diffusion effect on close-ups if needed, it's not standard operating procedure in color-correction. Isolating bright highlights (like lamp shades, curtain sheers, skies, etc.) and then perhaps bringing them down so they don't clip in Rec.709 gamma is pretty common though.
  12. On “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” we do a lot of complex Steadicam masters, often 360 degrees moving in tight quarters, so we can’t use longer lenses plus we generally don’t get tighter than waist-up — on the other hand, we avoid super wide-angle lenses because of the distortion and how they make people look odd. We’ve settled on shooting most of the show on a 24mm, which given that we shoot 3.2K on the Alexa, is more like a 23mm. We sometimes use a 21mm and once or twice had to use the 17.5mm. Our close shots are done on a 30mm or 35mm. We sometimes use longer lenses, especially when covering a stage performance with multiple cameras.
  13. I tend to avoid the super-wides, they call attention to themselves. I'm always a bit uncomfortable when the most interesting aspect of the shot is the lens used rather than what is front of the lens. However, there are moments when I like that look, like when there is a slow push-in and it has a Cinerama feeling.
  14. Just depends, the issue isn’t the zoom, it’s whether you want to use a longer focal length for the tighter shots. And that depends on the effect you are trying to achieve.
  15. Sort of the opposite, many cinematographers felt that greens plants outdoors in daylight were rendered more richly if you shot without the 85 filter on tungsten stock, particularly John Alcott said this about shooting “Barry Lyndon” and “Greystoke” this way, and the greens are very nice in those movies. And there is even less reason to use an 85 filter on a digital camera since sensors have a native bias towards daylight balance (the blue channel has to be pushed to balance them for tungsten.) Some people used to advocate blue filters for shooting in tungsten light for this reason, like with early Red cameras, but as noise has improved, this has become less necessary though you’d still have a cleaner blue channel if the light is closer to daylight. You should record close to a balanced image by selecting the correct WB on the camera if recording to a compressed format with a low bit rate and 4:1:1 color subsampling just because you don’t have a lot of flexibility after that to make heavy corrections.
  16. If it flies above the top of frame, then it can be a rotating wheel/arm type rig where there is a central point over the actor and an arm of some sort that spins around. I'd use a battery powered LED so you don't have to deal with wrapping power cords. If below the frame, perhaps a rolling low stand of some sort being pushed around by someone ducking below frame for when the light is behind the actor.
  17. No, it's not that easy to get a deal on Hawks, but besides, we we are talking dreams, I'd rather get the bigger 4-perf 2X anamorphic negative, or shoot 3-perf 1.85. 3-perf 1.3X is more of an economic / practical choice to get 2.40 with slightly more negative than cropping spherical Super-35 to 2.40. Other than the longer mag times and other practical considerations of 3-perf, I'd rather shoot 4-perf anamorphic if we are talking dreams here.
  18. I like playing around with formats too much to pick one, but it would be a dream to shoot a feature in 65mm color negative and to shoot a b&w feature (though I'd be happy to use an Alexa for that, not a big fan of Double-X unless it fit the mood -- but if I wanted to do a deep-focus b&w movie where everything was shot at f/16, I'd rather use a faster digital camera). If more than one project, I love shooting in 35mm anamorphic, it's a great format.
  19. Cinematographers aren't being paid off to use some manufacturer's piece of equipment. And no cinematographer is going to pick a piece of equipment that doesn't perform to standards, the risks are too high. So it doesn't matter if Sony or Panavision or ARRI wines and dines them (and certainly they don't pay anyone off) -- ultimately the decisions on gear are made for other reasons, not all of them noble and artistic of course, some practical, some due to budget, some due to decisions made by higher-ups, etc. And the truth is that some cinematographers invest in equipment and then have a financial motivation to promote that technology, but that also means they believe in it enough to spend their money on it. As for video villages, the culture on the set really depends on the people involved. I've been on shows where we set up a village for hair and make-up and another village for producers and executives, every day, and the director and I never hear a peep from those areas or people, so there is hardly any disruption other than the poor assistants who have to build the villages and move them around. Not all input or extra eyes on things is a bad. I think the creeping mediocrity is more a function of scale and budget rather than technology -- more money at stake, more people feel a need to have some input, and that would be true no matter what camera is being used. If you're shooting film, perhaps the executive notes would come from dailies rather than on the set, which is a good and bad thing -- there can be a lot more anger if the executive feels that it is now too late to fix something, so early input can sometimes be better than late input.
  20. There were some very crude rigs in the 60s that like the motorized heads to pan the cameras on the race cars for “Grand Prix”. The first big extended use of the Louma was on Spielberg’s “1941” but it had been invented and used earlier. The opening shot of “Rosemary’s Baby” used it, the opening shot flying over the surface of the Planet Krypton model for “Superman” (I think the opening shots moving over the landscape and city models for “Logan’s Run” used it too.) “Moonraker” also used the Louma. Wesscam was also invented in the early 70s as well and was used on “Sleuth” and “The Passenger”.
  21. You may also be responding to the difference in look between current Vision-3 stocks and the 90's EXR stocks, which were more contrasty.
  22. In practice, it was not a big deal to correct out the blue cast, but your printer lights were very skewed with the blue printing at very high numbers. If you had an accidentally overexposed shot, there could be a chance of hitting the 50 light value for blue and not being able to shift colors anymore without retrimming the printer, but that was pretty rare. The image of the corrected shot wasn't exactly the same as if you used the 85 filter, skin tones might look a bit paler for example. You might also have more blue haze in daytime shots from the lack of UV filtration that the 85 filter also provided. I did several features without the 85 filter on tungsten stock in daytime, but they tended to be winter movies or horror movies where I wanted to leave the image timed on the cool side with less saturated reds. In other words, I wasn't going to have to try to time the scene warm when it was cold on the negative. It also depends on how many filters you plan on using in the mattebox, if you don't like stacking glass and you plan on always having a diffusion filter, for example, then at least for day interiors, it might be better to avoid the extra glass of an 85 filter that could cause double reflections. Outdoors where likely an ND would be required, it makes less of a difference, you might as well use the 85ND combo filters.
  23. There's no reason for a D.I. to look any muddier or lower in contrast, that's all about choices in color-correction. When people talk about muddy, they mainly mean black level and contrast, or they just have an issue with soft underexposed mood lighting... (and in that case, an optical blow-up isn't going to make a difference.) Certainly a film print in general has better blacks than most digital projection, but that's a separate issue. Unless you find a place to make a direct blow-up from the S16 neg to 35mm print for projection (and then the problem is that all you have is a 35mm print), it doesn't make much sense to do the blow-up in an optical printer through an IP/IN (usually to a color-timed S16 IP and then an optical blow-up to a 35mm IN) for making prints. Certainly the quality of the final 35mm print won't be higher compared to a D.I., it might actually be lower. Certainly grainier and softer without the benefits of dust & dirt removal. On the other hand, a direct optical blow-up would get you a print without the costs of a laser recorder film-out. But today, most people need a digital master more often than they do the film print, if they need a film print at all. I think you're objecting more to modern lighting & exposure approaches to shooting in Super-16; back in the days of photochemical blow-ups, because of fear of grain and softness, there was more of an attempt to counteract that by, for example, lighting for 200T instead of 500T, using more contrast in lighting, overexposing the negative, using sharper lenses, etc. Now that digital is the norm, people embrace the imperfections of S16 and shoot it for what it does naturally rather than try to make it look like 35mm. A Super-16 blow-up through dupes and an optical printer was not a superior way of getting to a 35mm print. I did one feature that way and it was tough to post "opticals" that couldn't be done in A-B roll printing, which had to be done in 35mm, cut into the 35mm blow-up IN, and then optically reduced to a S16 IN so that the cut master of the S16 original had the effects in them.
  24. Was there another digital revolution after the first one in the early 2000’s???
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