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Karim D. Ghantous

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About Karim D. Ghantous

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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Photography (mainly portraiture and live theatre).

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  1. See what you think: I don't need to spell out what's good or bad about it. But I am overall surprised at how good this footage is.
  2. David, I think you're right. Any light that's not a laser will pretty much follow the inverse square law. I'm not 100% sure about parabolic reflectors, though.
  3. I said that I wouldn't post any examples, but I'm going to post this one, because I want to see On the Rocks anyway: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2271133209?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1 I guess it's okay to punch up now and then, even if it is from an armchair.
  4. It's getting a bit ridiculous. I've seen some frame grabs of recent projects which are underexposed to the point of absurdity. Now, I get it - you're not in the business of shooting stock images or news footage. You don't have to obtain correct exposure for every shot. Sometimes it makes sense to have the scene a bit darker. But in some cases I'm thinking, nah, this is just an affectation, just like weird colours (very prevalent in commercial photography for some reason), skin retouching (not a new thing but still annoying), cross processing, the 'log look', and that stupid blur smear you used to see in commercials maybe 15, 20 years ago. I'm not going to post examples, because I don't want anyone thinking that I'm going after them, or that I'm calling them out, or anything like that. I don't think it's fair to pick on new or independent DPs or directors colorists. I'm an arsehole, for sure, but only up to a point. But, things are always flexing and going back and forth. There's your middle third of acceptable exposure, then there's your extreme third on each side of that. You can't appreciate the middle third until you've experienced the extremes. It's just how we are. So I think we're going to see more of this underexposure trend for quite a while. After all, it is used in Hollywood right now, so it is given legitimacy right from the top.
  5. It's not manipulation, it's clarification. Nobody changed the order of the elements in the scene. Nobody added or took away anything. Frame averaging clarifies details in shadow areas - I would not say, personally, that this is manipulation. In fact, I suspect that every single scientist and forensic photographer would agree with me on both points.
  6. I wouldn't call it cheating - I would appeal to the notion that cinema has a language. Editing is a huge, huge part of that. Camera movements are, IMHO, secondary. FWIW. This applies to documentaries, too, of course.
  7. Personally, I'd rather the subject do the expressing. I don't think it's tasteful to impose expression on a subject. But, as I said, there's nothing wrong with distinguishing different states of a character, such as using CA for memories or dreams. It's not compulsory but it's useful.
  8. AFAIK, truth and fact are different things. Cameras, to the best of their ability, deliver facts as their output. It's up to us to determine truth. For example, an autopsy photo is a fact, but what is the truth as to what happened to the victim, and by whom? Altering the frame rate is no more manipulation than capturing a single moment at 1/8000 sec. But I'm happy to listen to debates about this. At the worst, people must be allowed their views. I only insist that people be straightforward with what they're doing. If you manipulated a photo, you have to declare it. By definition, manipulation cannot increase authenticity. So to me, frame averaging is not manipulation, it is quite the opposite. I'm looking at this from the other direction: What does frame averaging do? I think about the answers, then I decide whether it's manipulation. I know, I'm being very semantic here. You know it when you see it. When I say underexposed, I mean when the photographer **(obscenity removed)**ed up. That's not 'character'. Neither is an unfocused subject - that's just annoying. When I say rubbish lighting, I mean, that crappy, anaemic lighting you get from cheap LEDs. Horrible. You make a good point there. Another point, along similar lines, is that we don't need new movies at all. There are 100 years of cinema that most people haven't seen or heard of. Personally I'm slowly making my way through a collection of film noir.
  9. I'm not sure about point 2. I'll take your word for it. Got any examples? The camera neither lies nor bears truth. It's a recording medium that gathers data. If you record something, then it's authentic. If you alter it, like adding a bird or a dinosaur, it's now not a recording, but a work of art based on a recording. One of the oldest audio recordings I know of is supposedly of Queen Victoria. It's authentic if it's actually her. Is it realistic? I guess, apart from S:N, it is, although this isn't a candid recording we're talking about. On image character: I reject poorly exposed images, or images with rubbish colour or lighting. That is not character. I suggest that CA and distortion are not character either. They are aberrations, and distracting ones. But, some people think that grain is an aberration, too. In which case, there are affordable digital cameras that exhibit next to zero noise. Correcting distortion or vignetting is simply correcting the obvious imperfections on a mechanical device. Frame averaging, a technique used rarely in motion pictures, is also a way to correct the flaws of the recording medium. In fact it results in more authenticity and realism, not less. The only grey area I can think of is frame interpolation. You aren't altering anything, you aren't taking or adding anything in the scene, yet at the same time you are creating a new frame ex nihilo. It's a technique that has innate contradictions. Interpolated frames are technically not authentic - it's actually the opposite of frame averaging. Frame averaging is both authentic and realistic, whereas frame interpolation is technically realistic but not authentic. Photography is a capture medium, and is therefore inductive. It is not creative, and therefore it is not art. But, good photography requires good craftsmanship which you could say is 'artistic'. History and medicine are not branches of science, but you can be 'scientific' about them.
  10. IIRC this was done in Blade Runner in the scene where Leon Kowalski confronts Deckard. Specifically, when Kowalski smacks the gun out of Deckard's hand.
  11. That does not look like DOF to me, that looks like a combination of contrast and slightly receding detail. A very effective technique, to be sure. But not quite the same thing as defocusing.
  12. Photography by definition cannot be anything but authentic - once you alter an image it becomes something else. Which is fine for narrative work, like dinosaur movies, as narratives are not documentaries. You can also mess with documentary imagery as long as the audience knows what they're looking at, and you are obviously not trying to deceive anyone. However, you asked about realism, not authenticity. I don't know about that. You can film something in Super 8 and get the exposure right and the colours right and the lens could be consistent and well corrected. But is Super 8 'realistic'? I'd say, no. It has character, which adds an innate aesthetic to the scene you captured on it. If you don't like this aesthetic, then that's cool. We can do 35mm or 65mm if you prefer! Even they have character, although subtle. Vignetting is dumb. Distortion is lazy. That's how I see it. You could argue that there can be and should be exceptions. You sometimes need to delineate between states, such as past vs present, or dream vs reality. There are different ways you can do that. The first time I watched Fire Walk With Me was on a 10 year-old pan-and-scan VHS tape on a 48cm National Quintrix TV. It was so worn that I had to turn down the contrast - quite easy to do on analogue TVs, as most of you may recall. It wasn't desirable but I just put up with it. I do miss video stores but you really did not want to rent old tapes if you could help it. Some of them are poop, some of them give you 80% image quality with 80% character. That balance is hard to find. Now that anyone can afford a decent digital camera with good video, you have to separate yourself from the crowd, and anamorphic lenses are one way to do that. Oh, man. You had me at "sin" but you lost me at "desirable"! Anyway, I think you're right about the 14.5mm. I'm sure that detail is buried in the production notes somewhere. Speaking of DOF, I really cannot believe some people when they go on about how selective focus is "cinematic". For goodness sakes. Do people actually watch movies or nah?
  13. 1. With respect, I disagree completely. Vignetting and distortion have no place in photography IMO. 2. Ah, that does make sense. The shot of the corridor could have been done with the 14.5mm.
  14. We'll see about that! That's one step away from being a full frame fisheye. But, I would never correct it now, because that would change the film. Kubrick could have fixed it, but he chose not to. And besides, if you correct it, you're going to change the framing. I'd be tempted to correct shots like this, which have very little distortion, and therefore the frame would only be altered trivially: IMDB says that Cooke and Zeiss lenses were used so I have no idea which lens this was. If I'm using fSpy correctly - and I don't think I am - the focal length for 4-perf S35 is indicated as 12mm.
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