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Sandra Merkatz

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Everything posted by Sandra Merkatz

  1. I don´t get that: why would that kind of lighting bring out the texture more? (You mean the Rembrandt-lighting?) If you would light the object with much light, so that the whole image would be bright, you would see the texture too, or not? For example the shot of the alien or the hand: when you light that much brighter you would still see the texture of the skin, the pores, I think. (I´m not criticizing you or doubt what you say, I just want to learn more about this!) You said it´s also a convention to do that Rembrandt-lighting, I would agree with it, but can there be also some kind of meaning behind it, or would directors do that only because it looks good? What can that lighting imply? A dramatic situation? A romantic situation? A "dark side" of the character? Greetings, Sandra
  2. Hello! :) In this thread I want to present Blu-rays that are - in my opinion - very good, but I also want to hear other opinions and other members present their favourite Blu-rays. With "very good" I mean all the technical things like picture- and sound-quality, bonus material, not the quality of the movie itself. For me, the most important thing is, that the movie looks and sound great. No filters, no DNR, no upmix from Mono to 5.1 or something like that. I want to start with "Bram Stoker´s Dracula" from 1992. (I love "Dracula" also because it was my first "real" book in english that I read completely in a version from "Penguin Popular Classics". I tried other books like "Frankenstein", "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" etc., but that english is much more difficult, but "Dracula" was easier in comparison, except for the parts when british slang is spoken. I also read it because I was disappointed by my three german translations of that book. When Lucy asks Mr. Morris to talk "American" and he uses the word "ain´t", you can´t translate that properly). Of course I have all german versions of that movie, but the master is the same as in the US. I have the movie on VHS from the 90s, on the first release on DVD, then on the Collectors Edition on DVD (2 Discs), and on the 4K Blu-ray which is relatively new. That 4K version is absolutely fantastic! The colors are great, and you see so much more details then I saw before on the other versions! Suddenly you see the texture of the clothes, you see the form of the embroidery on dresses, etc. etc., I don´t know why so many people and even movie companies think, that grain is some kind of dirt that has to be removed with DNR. Grain is a part of the film stock and contains information too! Fortunately, they did not use filters for this Blu-ray release; you can see the grain in every scene, and that´s why the picture has a high richness of detail, skin doesn´t look like wax. Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are some minor complaints. Although they call it "Deluxe Edition", it´s just one disc (at least in Germany), and they put mass of bonus material (mainly the old bonus material from previous editions along with a few new interviews) on the same disc, which leads to very small compression. But you see that compression only when you press pause and zoom in the picture, then you can see just a little bit more grain, a little bit more details. But nobody watches a movie like that. But from a "Deluxe Edition" I expect the bonus material on a separate disc to minimise the compression. Another thing are the subtitles in the parts when they speak Romanian. In the original movie there were english subtitles in a typeface that matches with the mood of the movie. On this Blu-ray they removed those subtitles and put in forced subtitles in an ugly white font that doesn´t match to the movie. And you can´t turn them off!! Here are some comparisons between the 4K Blu-ray and that bad old Blu-ray of that movie. Here, on the 4K-version the edges are more defined and sharper, that dragon-figure looks more three-dimensional, you can see the text much better, as well as the three red lines, which are not blurry anymore. In this comparison, the skin on the old BD looks very glossy, like wax. But the background is horrible! There is no color gradient, it looks like a pixelated mess, as if someone played with filters, or something. Here is a stronger closeup. The skin looks - as I mentioned before - still like wax, the blood on the lip is just a round spot, her necklace is a mess, and the ruff is blurry. On the other hand, on the 4K version the blood on the lip is more defined, you can see the single pearls on the necklace as well as the pattern on her ruff. I guess in the future there will be much better versions of this movie, but till now, in my opinion this BD is the best version so far, the film never looked better!
  3. Here I found another example in one of my favourite movies: Bram Stoker´s Dracula from 1992, directed by F.F.Coppola. I think this is a good example of Rembrandt-lighting, because you can clearly see the "Rembrandt-triangle" under the eye, which I marked here: But I´m more interested in this type of lighting. Of course it looks "beautiful", picturesque, maybe it´s also a dramatic effect? If yes, from where is it coming? One side of the face is in shadow, the other in light - I´m sure that has some kind of "meaning". Sometimes I read explanations about Film Noir-lighting, and they say things like "One side of the face is covered in darkness, that is a hint that the character is half-good/half-evil" or something like that. Is that also the case in the Rembrandt-lighting here? I also read, that Rembrandt used to show the bright side of the face to the watcher, the dark side aways, which is not very flattering for the object, like in this painting from him: I never got WHY it´s better if the dark side (like in this picture from "Dracula") is nearer to the camera. And I´m interested in the effects that lighting can create. What are the benefits when you do that lighting, with the dark side to the camera? Does the face look smaller or thinner or more equal that way? Greetings, Sandra
  4. Do you think that strip of light-technique is also the case in my picture? If yes, maybe that was intentional, because Indiana Jones is set in the 1930s and the whole IJ-movies are a hommage to those old adventure movies from that era. Maybe he wanted to use lighting like back then? Would Spielberg think that way? I think this light is interesting, because they used it not only for romantic scenes, but also eerie scenes (like that one in "Dracula"). They could have shot a close up of the eyes (like Sergio Leone did in his Westerns), but instead they shoot the whole face and highlight the eyes. It looks unrealistic and very artificial, but it works! Do you think it´s outdated? There is a funny example where such a light strip appears in nearly every scene: Morticia Addams from "The Addams Family". I guess that´s also a hommage to the old b/w movies, but also a joke, because that lighting appears nearly all of the time on her face, which is quite unrealistic. Greetings, Sandra
  5. That´s a great picture, thank you! I guess it was taken in the 30s or 40s. You can clearly see that filter in front of the spotlight. The most important thing for me was the question, if they had (and used) soft light in the 20s. Now for another picture: In "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" there is a picture that I don´t have to interpret, because it´s quite clear what´s the meaning, the purpose of the lighting. Here the face of the evil guy is very dark (matching his "dark" character), and the light comes from down below so the shadows would go upwards, which creates an unnatural, creepy effect. When Indiana Jones is a bad guy himself for a short time, he is also lighted that way, light from below. But then there was this scene (I couldn´t find a better picture of it): In documentaries about lighting they said, in old movies they often used a "light strip" on the eyes, while the rest of the face is covered in shadow, so the audience would pay attention to the eyes. Is this the case here? Because it looks very much like a light strip on her face. Greetings, Sandra
  6. Of course I´m not a pro, so I just can guess what they did. I marked it so you can see it better. I think there was a strong backlight (marked in blue), that is quite strong. Look at the blonde hair on the left, it´s so bright that the details of the hair and the left side of the lips are lost. I also thing that light comes from the right, because if you look closely at Peter Pans arm, you see that the right edge of the arm (from our POV) has more light then the left edge. So I guess that the backlight is maybe especially for the woman on the lef, not for both? And maybe there is a key light, that shines on Peter Pans face; you can see the the brighter spot on his face and on the front of his shirt (marked in red). I think the shadow on Peters cheek and neck comes from that light, NOT from a fill light. Greetings, Sandra
  7. That´s a good point, because that is one of my main problems with movies: either there are intellectual thoughts about the lighting, and I don´t see it, or there are no intellectual thoughts, and I do interpretations that aren´t necessary. Maybe that´s also a mistake many people make: either they say “Well, this is an old silent movie, they were not as good as the filmmakers today, they hat bad equipment”, or they say “Wow, every detail is exactly planned, look at the background, how the ceiling disappears into the darkness, what could that mean?”, and in reality that was without any thought, but just a side effect because of the equipment. I just watched videos about those lamps, pretty impressing lights! And did they also put a diffuser in front of that spotlight in order to create a soft light? Could that be the case in my picture? Because the light looks VERY soft on it, and the carbon arcs create a more intense light. I see :) That sums up the problem I mentioned above very well! And then there are people like me who (try to) interpret everything :( Oh ok, that means, that backlight can also be a motivated lighting, without the intention to make the actors look pretty. Now I see different meanings of backlight: 1) motivated light (moon, sun, etc.). 2) to separate the object from the background 3) to make the actors look pretty 4) to make especially blond hair more visible and look “more” blond 5) to create a mysterious or transcendental or "religious” halo, as if the light comes from the object itself Again I want to thank you for your answers. I never use irony or sarcasm! If some sentences from me look like they are sarcastic, it was unintentional and the fault of my english skills! Greetings, Sandra
  8. That´s a great picture, thank you! :) From when is this? I see a lot of those lights, but they are standing like a wall. Didn´t they also have spotlights, or just this type of light? With "slowness" you mean that the stock needs a longer exposure time? Oh, so the muslin sheets worked as a diffuser? I guess, they also used diffusers in the 20s to create a soft light like in my picture? That there was a lamp directed on the face(s) and a diffuser in front of the lamp to create the soft light? Thank you very much :) The problem was, that I never knew if every light in silent movies is exactly planned and used artistically, or if they were so limited in their technical possibilities so they said "Ok, we can´t do this and that, let´s just throw a spotlight on it, who cares about whether there are dark or soft shadows". In a documentary about silent film lighting, they showed that for a short time (I think in the 1910s) they just had lamps on the ceiling, and that created horrible light effects and looked quite unflattering on the actors. In this case they obviously didn´t care much about the look of the light, as long as you can see anything on the finished film. That´s why I asked if they used light artistically back then or if they were so limited by their technical equipment (or unexpierienced?) that they can´t do much. Another question: what could that light in my picture "mean"? Why that hard backlight? The face on the left is half shadow-half/half-light, and the face on the right has that very soft light-spot on the face - maybe to throw attention to the facial expression here? It looks like the light-spot on the face comes from another light-source, but rather a spotlight then one of these banks. Thank you both for your answers, I really appreciate it when pros like you explain that stuff. :) Greetings, Sandra
  9. Thanks for all the technical informations, but I don´t understand much of it, because I´m just an interested viewer, not a filmmaker :) So the film stock in that time actually was able to film soft light properly, when I understand you correctly? I also wonder if they cared for light just as much as modern filmmakers did. Did they use light doubles too, did they spend hours for set up the lighting? Did they use main light, fill light, backlight and background light as well? When I see a picture like that from the movie, I don´t know if they said "Let´s use a backlight to separate them from the background, and let´s use a soft filler from the other side, so we have soft shadows on the cheeks, and a little soft lightspot on the face, that will make the heads more three-dimensional". Or did they just say "Backlight to separate them, some fill light so we can see the actors". In those early movies, I never know if the lighting was done and used artistically, and even if they wanted to, if the technical stuff from back then allowed them to do so, without compromises. When I watch a movie like this, it would be a pity if they were forced just to put some lights on the actors in order that they are bright enough to be seen, without any artistical thoughts behind it. Greetings, Sandra
  10. Hello! As I mentioned in my introduction, I´m very interested in movie lighting, especially the meaning of different lightings. Most tutorials only explain HOW it´s done (which is also interesting!), but not exactly WHY it´s done, what effect a certain lighting has. I really want to learn (and discuss) about that things with some picture-examples. The first picture is from the movie “Peter Pan” from 1924. What I see here is a strong backlight, probably to separate the actors from the background and to highlight the blond hair on the left. I guess that was necessary due to the monochromatic film and to add a little depth to the picture. But I wonder if they used soft light back then, diffusers or reflectors, because I think especially on the face on the right there is much soft light. Or did they just use the obvious backlight here? (Because I read in early cinema, the film stock wasn´t very light sensitive so low-light-shots were a problem). On the right face I see a brighter spot in the “middle” of the face, and some soft shadows on the cheeks, that gives the head a three-dimensional look. Was that done on purpose? Did they plan that look even in 1924? (The illuminating of a movie scene can take hours I read, was that the case even back then?) I look forward for your answers and learning more about this interesting topic (lighting) :) Greetings, Sandra
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