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Christophe Collette

300 the Movie

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'Caught the movie tonight - visually stunning Mr.Fong... and some really nice staging of the action. 'Though I thought some pretty ropey acting brought it down for me... Interesting to read that frames were pulled rather than in camera ramping - which I had presumed having seen it. It's all about choices I guess...

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Thank you so much for your insightful comments mr. Fong, I absolutely love your work on 300, the eyelights are fantastic... ...beautiful lighting, really... I am amazed that you lit a lot of it from afar...

 

 

Many Thanks for your words on this forum, this is so greatly appreciated!

 

Christophe

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I recently watched 'One Night with the King'. Xerxes is one of the main characters in that movie.

 

While that Xerxes is not realistic either, he's more in that direction than the shaved gay sex slave in '300'.

 

 

Here is the real Xerxes:

 

http://iranpoliticsclub.net/history/300/im...The%20Great.jpg

 

King Speedo Boy in '300':

 

http://iranpoliticsclub.net/history/300/images/Xerxes.jpg

 

Xerxes in 'A Night with the King':

 

http://solofemininity.blogs.com/./photos/u...d/making_14.jpg

 

 

David Farrar in 'The 300 Spartans', photgraphed in Greece by Geoff.Unsworth:

 

Xerxes%20300%20Spartans%201962.jpg

 

Directed by Rudolf Mate, who was no slouch as a cinematographer himself.

 

Farrar is the closest, but too much like Prince John.

 

Harry Anrews as Darius in Rossen's 'Alexander the Great' seems to be the most realistic looking Persian momarch, but couldn't come across any pictures of him.

 

Yes, I seem to have a fetish for historical accuracy & am waiting for the sequel, '700'.

It's about the 700 Thespians who died along side of the serf murdering pederastic Spartans at Thermopyle.

 

here's an entertaining pro Iranian site about '300':

 

http://iranpoliticsclub.net/history/300/

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My thanks again to Mr. Fong.

 

I'm just happy people are discussing the movie and are clearly engaging in some deep thinking, which is not quite what I see on some other forums and the discussions I can have with my non film crazy or non film major friends are really not at the same level as these discussions.

 

I love the internet!!!!

 

K.

 

PS: I love this forum too!!!!

Edited by Krystian Ramlogan

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Again, my apologies for bringing the subject back to cinematography.

 

1. I remember doing in-camera speed ramps maybe 15 years ago using a Preston speed-aperture computer. It controlled the frame rate via a cable, and the aperture via a geared motor. Very primitive but it got the job done. Then the Arri 535 came out which could do ramps automatically with a Remote Control Unit--the difference being, exposure was controlled via the shutter angle rather than the iris. Because of the 'strobey' effect that appeared sometimes, I didn't like it as much but it was certainly quicker and easier. But it seems the trend over the past years has been speed ramps in post. I can't remember the last time I did it in-camera. Obviously the disadvantage is that you don't know if you hit the button at the right time. The director has complete control over timing, choice of take, etc. if you do it in post.

 

2. We chose film neither for reasons of resolution nor because it was a 'natural' choice. The reasons were 1) a lot of high frame rate work, and 2) more so, for the aesthetics. Many would argue the logic but like Mr. Whitman said, it's all about choices, and that was ours.

 

3. Mr. Mullen gives so much of his time and thoughts in these forums that I can't be compared to him. One could learn more from his posts than from film school!

 

4. I appreciate fetishes of all kinds but may I suggest historicalaccuracy.com for a more appropriate soapbox. I've posted detailed lighting diagrams from '300' there. Seriously though, as a DP, not a historian, I feel my responsibility for accuracy was the graphic novel. Here are MY Xerxes references:

 

post-3668-1176400630.jpg

 

 

post-3668-1176400685.jpg

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Visually and artistically, at least as far as I'm concerned, "300" is right up there with the virtuosi of the Rennaisance and Mannerism eras.

 

There's just something about "300".. I don't know.. the abundance of testasterone, unquestionable comraderie, the composition, lighting and colors..

 

This is by far the most visually inspiring film I've probably ever seen. I'm getting shivers down my spine just writing this..

 

So..

 

Mr. Fong.. from the bottom of my heart.. thank you for your extraordinary vision and phenominal contribution to this film.

 

-Jonathan

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I just saw this film two nights ago - very 'poetic' for use of a better word. I see a lot of thought and effort has gone into the compositions - very aesthetically pleasing and classical. Slow motion was certainly a 'tool' that was used dominantly in the battle scenes, and I must say was used to great effect. At times it was almost like watching a choreographed ballet as Leonardis dispatched his foes one by one with rhythmic precision. The almost brown / sepia look to the film was unusual though I can't really say whether I liked this look or didn't like it. However, with some shots of the wheat grass, the combination of the light colours and the grain tended to make the images just a little bit too soft looking for my liking.

 

I had no problems with the acting that others had complained about. I was actually quite impressed by the woman playing Leonardis' wife and queen - and she was beautiful too, and a strong spirited character - one of the gems of this film.

 

What didn?t work for me was the use of heavy metal music when the Persian ships were crashing - most inappropriate! I think people should take note from watching Kull the Conqueror which made the mistake of using heavy metal music to accompany the sword fights. I hate to say this but the digitally created wolf looked more than a little fake, as did the CGI seagull that flew off the top of a spear after one of the battle scenes. At the time, I couldn't help but think that a real wolf could have been used in that early scene. The wolf and the boy could have been shot seperately, then there could have been a tightly framed shot of the wolf lunging through the air (jumping on command) followed by the shadow of the wolf speared on the cave wall as was done in the film. Afterall, a real wolf will always look more menacing than a digital one!

 

Overall, in regards to the cinematography, you have done great work, Larry Fong!

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I had the inestimable pleasure of seeing 300 at the Universal City Imax on Saturday evening. Although some of the CG was a bit obvious at that scale, I thought it looked fine. Grain amazingly tight; I presume the imax prints are made from the original neg, or lasered out, or something. That projection format is blisteringly unforgiving - there was just one really wince-worthy focus problem on a close-up of Dominic West during the conversation with Lena Heady (where he assaults her). One aliasing problem on the big CGI crane over the ten thousand spartans at the end - the shields shimmer. Otherwise startlingly good. It don't look like that round here!

 

There is of course the issue of whether a movie shot for the "normal" big screen really works in Imax - big closeups, chin-to-eyebrows stuff, become almost overwhelmingly huge; you can't take in the expression without glancing around the screen. But the movie worked superbly in the format otherwise.

 

I know nothing about the way it was shot other than there was obviously a lot of blue/green screen. In point of fact I'm going to have to read up on it...

 

Phil

 

PS - There is a glitch with that particular theatre - there's a shiny vertical line about two thirds of the way across (working left to right) which is quite distracting during bright scenes.

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I have been looking for info on how they achieved that look but can't seem to find anything. I know it is a green screen movie, but does anybody know about the process they used to get that look?

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im suprised to read a 300 thread and nothave no one mention the amazing physique of the actors lol.

 

 

But any who stylistically its one of my favorite movies. It does what few can acheive in this method of shooting and that is taking something completely abstract and unreal and bring us into it to the point where we do not question it. Great job Mr. Fong.

 

 

 

ON A SIDE NOTE: My freind lost my AC issue with the 300 article in it and well im still very upset about it. I mean cmon who leaves it on the bus :(

 

 

 

carlos martinez

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Larry:

 

I've been hunting around for a setup I need to do next week where we need a wide and a tight with the same optical axis (talent must look into lens for both angles). Envisioning a half-silvered mirror with the cameras at right angles, a la old 3D setup. The wrinkle is that both cameras must be operated independently--and possibly dollied (!)

 

Called Clairmont and someone there thought they had read that you used a setup like this on "300"--I was wondering if you had it built and/or if it resides at a rental house in LA somewhere?

 

If anyone else has thoughts on this, happy to hear them--we won't have time or budget to commission a major build. I'm currently considering just getting a substantial half-mirror that will be fixed to the dolly and having both cameras mounted (one normally, the other off the side, possibly on a Sparrow head) so that they can pan and tilt a bit within the mirror.

 

Many thanks...

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