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Giray Izcan

Star Wars Episode 7

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But the new "Star Wars" is being shot on film, doesn't anyone here appreciate that? Are we really going to nitpick over some temp CGI effects for a movie that is a year away from being finished?

 

That's actually one of the things I'm most excited about with the new film. Also the fact the original cast are on board as I suspect there will be some great acting moments. I was just talking about the trailer which I don't like. I might like the film tho, I havn't seen it yet, I'm just really don't like that trailer. I guess because it shows little of anything that I might be into but trailers can badly misrepresent a movie.

 

Freya

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But the new "Star Wars" is being shot on film, doesn't anyone here appreciate that? Are we really going to nitpick over some temp CGI effects for a movie that is a year away from being finished?

 

And the original "Star Wars" had some floating ball-like droids in them, one was completely added in post (the light saber training ball onboard the Millennium Falcon -- the torture droid in Princess Leia's prison chamber looked live on the set, but either way, the movies already established that droids can be as simple ball shapes.)

 

Some people seem to think that if J.J. Abrams doesn't use an optical printer and models, he's somehow betraying the films when he's already doing them in a more retro approach then Lucas did a decade ago on the prequels. I'd cut the guy some slack until you see the finished movie.

 

Okay it's not about the fact it is ball shaped, I have no issue with that. I don't even have an issue with the fact that this is done in cgi. What I have a problem with is that the cgi looks really bad. The beach ball droid looks like it has been pasted into the movie and doesn't appear like it is in the same environment. It also moves in a way that doesn't look believable even for a beachball. These aren't the limitations of cgi, they are maybe more the limitations of cheap cgi.

 

I do however prefer to keep complex cgi to a minimum and not to use it where it is uneccesary. One reason for this is because it is a bit like comedy. It's difficult to get right and when you get it wrong the effect can be damaging. I think if you put the money into it you can get it right but it can be expensive and in this case it seems to have gone badly wrong to my eye.

 

Having said all that, it's clear from the fact I am having to explain all this, that other people are not seeing what I'm seeing and this is the problem with everything at the moment for me in cinematography. I constantly have that experience of people saying "looks great!" about something that looks awful and I feel really confused about it all. It's very clear that other people are not seeing what I'm seeing by the responses along the lines of "OK clevercloggs, what shape do you think it should be?". I feel compelled to try and explain but it's obvious that there is such a gulf between the way I am seeing these things and other people are, that there is no way to even get the message across!

 

What's even worse is that if someone else really loves the way something else is then why should I argue with them about it? They are happy right? So what's the issue?

 

I mostly just bring it up to check that we definitely are completely on a different book let alone the same page and it's apparent that this is the case. It's one of those things where you can't believe so you have to check it's not a misunderstading.

 

You've just done a great job of underlining all this for me David!

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black
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According to Mark Hamill the rolling droid is a prop not CGI. He even enjoyed playing with it on set.

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/new-star-wars-vii-rolling-droid-real-robot-not-cgi-article-1.2047026

 

Great link thankyou!

I'm sure there is a real prop... I look forward to seeing it do that stuff in the trailer! ;)

 

Freya

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Okay it's not about the fact it is ball shaped, I have no issue with that. I don't even have an issue with the fact that this is done in cgi. What I have a problem with is that the cgi looks really bad. The beach ball droid looks like it has been pasted into the movie and doesn't appear like it is in the same environment. It also moves in a way that doesn't look believable even for a beachball.

 

Well, keep in mind - it's not a beachball - it is what it is, and what it is we don't really know yet.

 

Best to just wait and consider yourself 'teased' in the meantime :)

 

 

Having said all that, it's clear from the fact I am having to explain all this, that other people are not seeing what I'm seeing and this is the problem with everything at the moment for me in cinematography. I constantly have that experience of people saying "looks great!" about something that looks awful and I feel really confused about it all. It's very clear that other people are not seeing what I'm seeing by the responses along the lines of "OK clevercloggs, what shape do you think it should be?". I feel compelled to try and explain but it's obvious that there is such a gulf between the way I am seeing these things and other people are, that there is no way to even get the message across!

 

 

I can certainly relate to this!

 

I'm back at university and the people I spend a lot of my time with share many common interests (that's why we are studying what we are studying) I still find that major gulf you mention with lots of things in film and music. Some of these people haven't even seen the new trilogy, that's just an age thing I need to get my head around, but what I find interesting is they don't share the realization that some parts of film are purely there to tick boxes for a target demographics expectations.

 

Maybe film always was like this, montages of fulfillment and maybe I was just like them in the 80's lapping it up - I'd like to think it wasn't, but I find it hard to be objective.

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With modern technologies, it would be very easy to make photochemical composites very good.

 

Back in the day, multiple layers of film were shot using a single, non-adjustable lamp source and photographed onto a single stock. Some compositing was done in 8 perf horizontal 35mm vista vision. David pointed out all the issues with this technology and why digital compositing has been a god send for special effects films. In my point of view, it's ruined films because filmmakers are no longer bound to making realistic vision's.

 

I'm actually writing a white paper on a new optical printer which solves a lot of these issues. Thinking outside of the box, using modern technology, there are many solutions to resolve simple compositing. I will post something when I'm done with it and hopefully it will garnish some attention and maybe someone will try to build it. Wish I had the money, but unfortunately developing it would cost quite a bit and there really isn't a serious market at this point since everyone is so infatuated with digital technologies. However, the net result would be a compositing and color correction pin-registered machine for multiple formats (2, 3, 4 perf 35mm/4, 8, 15 perf 65mm) which would be computer controlled via a plugin within DaVinci for coloring and Shake for compositing. Allowing artists to do their work digitally in a restricted environment with translation back to the machine which then does the work photochemically.

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There's nothing more "realistic" about an optical printer composite versus a digital composite!

 

Matte lines and multi-generational duping make an effects shot more believable? With digital compositing, not only can matte lines be eliminated completely and the grain of the composite match the grain of the original, but you can use CGI to touch up a shot for even GREATER realism -- you can add all sorts of things that are difficult to do with just miniatures and cell animation, things like layers of atmosphere, water droplets and flames that are at the correct scale, heat wave distortion, flare, glare, camera shake, focus shifts, all sorts of things that are extremely difficult to do in an optical printer. For example, in the launch of the Saturn V in "Apollo 13" (which involved a miniature) they were able to add ice shaking off of the rocket, steam streaming down the rocket, all sorts of textures that don't scale well in miniature.

 

Even though he's obsessed with doing things in camera, and in using large-scale miniatures, you didn't see Christopher Nolan telling his "Interstellar" effects people that the work would become more realistic if composited in an optical printer. He did what he could to avoid a D.I. for the movie itself, but he didn't see a need to composite effects elements in an optical printer and end up with effects shots that were three or four generations removed from the surrounding live action.

 

Also, if you are using a DaVinci for coloring and Shake for compositing, and scanning film to get the image into those systems... then where does optical printer compositing come into play??? You're basically improving optical printing by avoiding it?

 

Photochemical optical compositing means a positive film element in the projector side of the printer and a new negative in the camera side of the printer. It's always been pin-registered ever since the first optical printer was built. So how can "modern" technology improve any more on the process once you've already improved the stocks and the printer lens and the registration and the line-up, all of which was already done by the time that digital compositing took over? You're still talking about making multiple generations no matter what, otherwise it's not optical printer compositing.

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So how can "modern" technology improve any more on the process once you've already improved the stocks and the printer lens and the registration and the line-up, all of which was already done by the time that digital compositing took over?

You can say there could have been improvements just as much as you can say there was no more room for them.

 

Maybe Tyler has something up his sleeve - maybe he is reinventing a wheel...

 

Point is that it's an open question :)

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Photochemical optical compositing means a positive film element in the projector side of the printer and a new negative in the camera side of the printer. It's always been pin-registered ever since the first optical printer was built. So how can "modern" technology improve any more on the process once you've already improved the stocks and the printer lens and the registration and the line-up, all of which was already done by the time that digital compositing took over? You're still talking about making multiple generations no matter what, otherwise it's not optical printer compositing.

 

That's the old way, lenses, multiple gates, multiple negatives all lined up, etc… It's a horrible way of building a "composite".

 

Here is a really rough draft of my white paper. It's been an idea I've thought about for years, but never quite had the time to think through. This whole 70mm projection buzz has got me thinking more and more about how to integrate modern with old technologies. If LP's can make a huge come back and they don't really sound that great… then I foresee things like 70mm theatrical film becoming "a thing" in the future.

 

http://tye1138.com/stuff/filmcompositing.rtf

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But the new "Star Wars" is being shot on film, doesn't anyone here appreciate that? Are we really going to nitpick over some temp CGI effects for a movie that is a year away from being finished?

 

And the original "Star Wars" had some floating ball-like droids in them, one was completely added in post (the light saber training ball onboard the Millennium Falcon -- the torture droid in Princess Leia's prison chamber looked live on the set, but either way, the movies already established that droids can be as simple ball shapes.)

 

Some people seem to think that if J.J. Abrams doesn't use an optical printer and models, he's somehow betraying the films when he's already doing them in a more retro approach then Lucas did a decade ago on the prequels. I'd cut the guy some slack until you see the finished movie.

 

David - I could care less about the shape & size of the droids in this new episode. And as cheesy as this new trilogy may seem, let's all remember that people who considered themselves "serious filmmakers" around 1976 all thought Episode IV would be a huge flop. And look what happened in 1977.

 

What I responded to is what I believe is the larger issue that Freya is addressing. I think she sees the droid as underscoring a further lowering of the bar with regard to the quality of film-making, at all levels, these days. And it extends beyond just cinematography. In my view, there are a lot of reasons for it and the rise of digital technologies is only a small part of it. At a certain point, you have to ask yourself why there is such an over-reliance on digital. But that is another thread.

 

I agree we should let this film speak for itself when it comes out.

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Before we make a nosedive into debating the fidelity of vinyl records, I really don't think it is comparable in this argument.

 

Both are physical, analog media, but vinyl records are like super 16 when compared to 35mm or 70mm or IMAX. I get the comparison you're trying to make but we risk sliding into lumping together analog into its own box semantically speaking.

 

Very interesting draft, and definitely a cool idea, but isn't this basically something like an Arrilaser that is, in effect, recording and re-recording an SFX composite?

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But the new "Star Wars" is being shot on film, doesn't anyone here appreciate that? Are we really going to nitpick over some temp CGI effects for a movie that is a year away from being finished?

 

And the original "Star Wars" had some floating ball-like droids in them, one was completely added in post (the light saber training ball onboard the Millennium Falcon -- the torture droid in Princess Leia's prison chamber looked live on the set, but either way, the movies already established that droids can be as simple ball shapes.)

 

Some people seem to think that if J.J. Abrams doesn't use an optical printer and models, he's somehow betraying the films when he's already doing them in a more retro approach then Lucas did a decade ago on the prequels. I'd cut the guy some slack until you see the finished movie.

 

Sorry...it wouldn't let me edit the post. Here is the full final paragraph:

 

I agree we should let this film speak for itself when it comes out. But are we really at the point that, regardless of what film it is, I should be saying "Well, that looked horrible but at least it originated on film" if I believe the imagery could have served the story in a better way?

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Very interesting draft, and definitely a cool idea, but isn't this basically something like an Arrilaser that is, in effect, recording and re-recording an SFX composite?

 

It doesn't "record" any "image" onto film. It's only a high resolution controllable light source which illuminates the proper areas for exposure. Film recorders like the Arrilaser are a one-pass system which exposes a complete image onto the film.

Edited by Tyler Purcell

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I honestly can't imagine anyone going back to compositing photochemically. Just like I can't see anyone going back to cutting mag audio. It's just not going to happen. Digital compositing (and digital audio for that matter) were huge advancements and were seen as major improvements to the process. There just wasn't the same desire to hold onto analogue technologies in these fields as there has been in cinematography. And even that desire seems to be fading. That's not to say that some artist or filmmaker wouldn't find your proposed machine useful, but as for compositing special effects for a major motion picture, I just don't see it happening.

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Brian, thanks for posting that. I saw it earlier in the day and did not have a chance to post it. There are so many Star Wars junkies on this forum, I 'm surprised it took this long for anyone to say anything. I was floored when I first saw it. There are so many thought provoking images in the Teaser #2 trailer. I can't stop watching it. I have heard a longer version of that trailer will debut very soon.

 

 

Here is a direct link to the new teaser trailer.

 

https://youtu.be/ngElkyQ6Rhs

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Not bad. But I'm afraid (just speaking for myself) the magic is gone. I'm probably just too old now to truly love this stuff. Looks like it'll be the usual JJ Abrams romp with slightly fewer lens flares.

 

I have just one question though - why the heck does CG Chewie look so damn young? Is Benjamin Button disease common among Wookies?

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I was impressed with the new trailer. And it looks like models are being used in these shots. But I'm still worried this movie will be all action with less slower character moments. I have heard there is only one scene that was shot in IMAX, and the rest is 35mm. I wonder if the special effect model shots will be shown in IMAX or just cinemascope?

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Yea, I too am a bit skeptical. JJ is a one trick pony, the film is going to be a lot of "Wow that was cool", glimmer, reflections and sparkle, which is NOT what Star Wars is all about. What made the original star wars films so great is the characters, story, the sparse use of special effects, the slower pace and of course the actors themselves. In my opinion JJ ruined star trek through his obsession of "wow that's cool" moments, which maybe great for younger people who don't understand what Star Trek is all about. However those of us who experienced star trek on television and in the theaters for our entire lives, it was a huge departure and unfortunately kinda ruined the franchise. Luckily the next two Star Wars films won't be made by him. The reigns have already been handed over to younger, less experienced director, which maybe good or bad. Honestly, I'm already looking at episode 8 and 9, knowing JJ's #7 is probably going to be just like his other films.

 

In terms of IMAX material, I've heard rumors the final 20 minutes or so is 100% Imax. The rest will be heavily processed anamorphic 35mm.

 

It still humors me to this day that ease of workflow is more important than quality. When you've got a huge film like Star Wars, what stops you from shooting THE WHOLE THING in IMAX? It's not budget… If Christopher Nolan can shoot 90 minutes, Star Wars can certainly do the same thing.

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JJ is a one trick pony, the film is going to be a lot of "Wow that was cool", glimmer, reflections and sparkle, which is NOT what Star Wars is all about. What made the original star wars films so great is the characters, story, the sparse use of special effects,

It's funny, but the Star Wars I remember had a terrible script, and a hugely limited Director. The special effects, which were ground-breaking for the time, were all that made people want to see the movie. Of course, I saw Star Wars long before it turned into a cult.

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I don't know -- I felt very nostalgious and happy feelings when I watched the trailer. I'm sure it'll be at least as good as Star Wars IV and certainly better than I-III.

 

Some years ago I wanted to share with my wife the glorious experience of watching the original trilogy. As we watched the first movie I constantly felt like I had to defend it -- "oh, this is the later director's cut, not the original one, (I'm sure) it was way better than this!" It just wasn't as special as it was when I saw it first time and my wife wasn't impressed at all.

 

I think JJ is better suited to direct Star Wars. I have had a feeling that this is the movie he has been wanting to shoot every time he has directed one of the Star Treks. To me those felt way too starwarsy. Maybe this time he has the right pieces for the right movie?

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