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Hamid Khozouie

Your Best Favourite Shot

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The Graduate - essentially every shot especially the shots when Hoffmen 'thinks' he is being seduced....also the shot of Hoffmans hand as he shaves and is "grilled" by his mom!

 

Road to Perdition - the last scene with tom hanks and the reflection of the beach with his son as Hanks gets shot.

 

Amelie - every crane shot and the interior lighting of her house....aslo the hundres of other genious shots!

 

Cruel Intentions - the shot of Sebastian when he finally falls in love and meets Witherspoon at the escalator.

 

Vanilla Sky - the park scene in autumn of Tom Cruiz and Penelope and the skyscarper ending....loved the interior at penelopes house, SIMPLE AND BEAUTIFUL.

 

Shopgirl - the lighting of clair danes house.

Edited by Ckulakov

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My greatest shot would have to be in Man on Fire which was shot by Paul Cameron. Towards the end of the movie it is a extreme long shot with Denzel on the bridge. At the top of the frame is a beautiful sky full of clouds, in the middle on the bridge is Denzel and at the bottom is beautiful green grass. On of the best shots I have gazed upon in my entire life.

Mario Concepcion Jackson

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I completely agree with these two.

 

Some of andrew lesnie's stuff comes to mind in the lord of the rings.

 

Ie, looking into the marshes filled with corpses. When the elves do that sychronised swing at the orcs at the start of the felowship. My favourite in LOTR is when you see the orcs retreating from helms deep and the trees in the forest start movingto take out the running orcs.

 

Clockwork orange when droogs start hiting the homeless guy in silohette.

 

Alot of the stuff in Shindlers list.

 

running through the maze in the shining.

 

Excuse the spelling i woke up about 5 minutes ago.

 

my favourite in LOTR is when gefald creates fireworks for the kids when he is riding the horse carriage(again special FX,but doesnt matter).then comes another scene from tarkovsky's stalker--the big chase,when the stalker and the team are in the jeep and they are trying to escape from the patrol on the way to the zone.for that matter stalker consists of lots of shots which are my favourites.

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I tend to find Tarkovsky unbearably tedious, but there is a shot of reeds moving beneath the surface of water at the beginning of Solaris that I remember more than anything else from the movie.

 

I'm particularly fond of the screws rotating out of the floor-vent in Close Encounters.

 

The two girls at the end of the hallway in The Shining.

 

Nearly every shot in Pink Floyd's the Wall.

 

The first shot of Star Wars, Episode IV.

 

When Michael describes how to avenge his father's shooting in The Godfather. A very slight tilt-down marks a massive shift in the direction of the story.

 

All the shots that make up the raining frog sequence in Magnolia.

 

And now for the cliche: The apeman busting bones in 2001. The music usually gets the praise, but that is one remarkable shot.

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I just love the shot in The Natural of Robert Redford running calmly around the bases at the end while all the stadium lights are exploding.

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Last shot in Tarkovsky's "Nostalghia;" gorgeous, a little bit of trick photography, sums up the whole film.

 

The hotel room/ carousel kiss in "Vertigo." (More trick photography + storytelling.)

 

Orson Welles' intro in "The Third Man," as well as the C/U of his fingers pushing up through the sewer grate, as well as the last shot as Joseph Cotton drives away from Alida Valli.

 

"Man on Fire" ???!! Go see some real movies!

 

Wait a sec, I already answered on page 2! Might as well add the crane shot reveal of the town of Flagstone in "Once Upon a time In The West."

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In Alien when the refinery module seperates from the Nostromo mothership there is a shot of it descending into the dark depths below. The romantic score just magnifies the beauty of that shot. Its definately my favourite.

 

Also in Schindlers List there is a scene where a young woman is recounting to schindler the atrcities that accoured to her parents (i think) and he appears unmoved. He turns to face a window that overlooks the factory beneath. Through his reflection we see a fire in the distance but the framing puts the flame smack bang on his heart area. Its the first time that i started to think about composition as being an important factor in storytelling.

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The final shot of the battered Charlie Sheen in Platoon - in a movie full of classic images, this nails it for me.

 

Seven Samurai - the stolen rice. Hands scabbling on the floor for the few remaining pieces.

 

Ghost Dog - Simple driving shots. Hard to make individual but this film achieves its own style.

 

Return of the Jedi - the dolly track of the swordfight just after Luke is baited. Even the fight moves are relatively simple and yet its far more epic than anything Lucas has tried since.

 

David Dunn, silently revealing his good deeds to his son at the end of Unbreakable while begging him to keep it a secret.

 

 

 

of course I have yet to see the epic "Snakes on a Plane" so this list may be subject to change. :lol:

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I have a suggestion. As this topic has already been quoted in the past, how about making it a little different? How about mentioning your favourite shot(s), nuts and bolts of how it could have been done like going a bit on the technical too and any modifications that would lead to more interesting images etc ?

 

For example, like Spike lee said " If there's a shot I like, the first thing I try to find out is how they did it. Then I see if there's a place in the story where the shot will make sense." And when asked,"One of your more interesting shots is a dolly shot that gives the effect of walking on a moving sidewalk. how did you do that?" he said,"The first time I used it was in Mo' Better Blues with my character Giant. To get that shot you have to lay dolly tracks. Then you put the camera on the dolly. Then you put the actors on the dolly also. Then you move the dolly along."

 

 

Looking forward to your posts

Edited by Motion Flix

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Often what makes a shot great is both it's power as a graphic image in terms of design (composition, color, etc.) but also how it applies to the narrative. In other words, you have to know the context of when this shot was used in the movie to know why it was so great. We can make a guess as to how something was shot based on reading old articles or our own experience.

 

Godfather, Part II. Young Corleone comes to America and is placed in temporary confinement for disease control (he has TB or something.) So there is the romantic image of the Statue of Liberty and what it symbolizes, juxtaposed with the promise of youth, yet also knowing that his experiences will lead to being a crime lord, and also the sense of a visual divide between America and the immigrant, perhaps leading to lifelong suspicion and mistrust. It was shot on 35mm Kodak 5254 (100 ASA) on Panavision cameras using older Cooke Speed Panchro or B&L Baltars, I forget which:

 

GREAT1.JPG

 

2001: A Space Odyssey. The sunrise over the monolith signifying the moment of enlightment in the hominids (and specifically Moonwatcher), borrowing from the legend of Zarathustra (Zoroaster). Again, a flawless composition in terms of its graphic elements. I believe it was created using an 8x10 slide of a sunset or sunrise front-projected behind the monolith on a soundstage. 65mm Super Panavision, 5251 (50 ASA).

 

GREAT2.JPG

 

Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence's first journey through the desert to reach Prince Faisal's camp. The image convey both the vastness of the landscape and the insignificance of mankind within it, but also the romanticism surrounding the desert that will captivate Lawrence. Perfect use of landscape (in Jordan) at the right time of day, perfectly composed. 65mm Super Panavision, 5250 (50 ASA.)

 

GREAT4.JPG

 

Dr. Strangelove. Major Kong riding the bomb down towards the target, which triggers the end of the world. The image, like all these others, is iconographic. It's also full of visual metaphors, the most obvious being sexual. Giant rear-projection screen behind actor I believe. 35mm Kodak b&w, probably 5222 Double-X.

 

GREAT6.JPG

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Arrival of the Mothership. An amazing moment in the theater, after the lightshow of the smaller UFO's. Powerful use of the mountain to create scale. Vague homage to monolith in "2001". Special effects shot using miniatures, etc. mostly shot in 65mm Super Panavision and optically composited and finished to 35mm anamorphic. 65mm elements shot in 5254 and 35mm elements in 5247.

 

GREAT9.JPG

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I was thinking of the 1978 Superman recently, because of the new version coming out, and just wanted to post some examples of romantic close-up lighting by Geoffrey Unsworth in the rooftop scene at night, which I've always liked.

 

superman19.jpg

 

superman20.jpg

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Guest Tim Partridge

I dare you to post that crummy insert shot of the watch!

 

That sequence is gorgeous beyond belief, but the watch shot just screams second unit, and a second unit that weren't particularly interested in why Unsworth worked. I saw Lumet's ORIENT EXPRESS yesterday, and it works (photographically at least, I hate Finney as Poirot) because Unsworth used varying degrees of lens diffusion, even from shot to shot. He'd sometimes remove it completely if the lighting didn't compliment it. On that Superman watch shot whoever photographed it (probably Jack Atcheler) just bolted the number 2 Harrison filter on the front without applying any kind of informed judgement. On DVD it looks dreadful, so on the big screen I can't imagine how dire it seemed.

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I dare you to post that crummy insert shot of the watch!

 

It looks bad on the big screen too, but it's a brief insert. To me, it looks like it was shot with an anamorphic 10:1 zoom with a diopter stuck on the end, rather than use a macro lens to get that tight, plus as you say, it looks like they used the #2 Harrison Fog on it, plus maybe even added a Mitchell diffuser, which Unsworth often did for the close-ups.

 

We're all at the mercy of second unit... someone told me that Robert Richardson, on one features, couldn't hire the 2nd Unit DP he wanted for the distant location, so he got the producers to promise that any 2nd Unit footage he didn't like could be reshot by him on 1st Unit. Which he then did, reshooting everything 2nd Unit shot himself.

 

In defense of 2nd Units, they usually have less resources to pull off their shots, although it doesn't justify why simple inserts would be badly done and unimaginatively lit. I try and tell people doing 2nd Unit inserts for me to think less about matching my master, but think about how I would light the insert to look good -- because I'd cheat like hell myself. Too often they read in the camera report that you shot the master at T/2.8 so they shoot a macro shot insert at T/2.8 to "match better" -- which is ridiculous because there's absolutely no depth of field in a macro shot unless you stop down seriously. Ideally, you have to think of inserts more like product shots in a commercial and light them well, matching the wider shots only in feeling, color, and contrast, but not exactly in terms of f-stop or how hard the key light was, etc.

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What's really sad is that shot with the Statue of Liberty reflection from Godfather Part II would probably not be done today. What's so great about it is is that you can tell it is real reflection. The filmmakers went out and filmed that and it real. Today, especially if it were a big budget studio picture, it would be done digitally and no matter how well done, you would be able to tell it was done with green screens and all that trickery.

 

Back to the topic.

 

Almost everything from "Days of Heaven." Pop the DVD in and press the Chapter advance and your eyes will feast.

 

"Fitzcaraldo" has a great shot that is a happy accident. It happens at dusk with the ship moving down river and far off lightning strikes from a distant storm. Everything about that shot is perfect. Movement, sound F/X, Popol Vuh score.

 

Flaming tree in "Cobre Verde." "Even Dwarfs started Small." Drive a truck into a volcano today will great you in big time trouble. That thing is still probably down there.

 

There is some great stuff from "The New World" that only a visionary would try and include and do for real, i.e. no special effects. Shot of the Moon eclipsing Jupiter comes to mind. True what you see is what you get. Very rare. Especially today.

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What's really sad is that shot with the Statue of Liberty reflection from Godfather Part II would probably not be done today. What's so great about it is is that you can tell it is real reflection.

 

But probably of a photo backdrop... so "real" is relative.

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But probably of a photo backdrop... so "real" is relative.

 

 

hmmmm, photo backdrop. I didn't think of that. I just looked at the picture and the critical, almost misanthropic side of me just assumed that they rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty out there in the harbor.

 

Bummer.

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hmmmm, photo backdrop. I didn't think of that. I just looked at the picture and the critical, almost misanthropic side of me just assumed that they rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty out there in the harbor.

 

Bummer.

If it makes you feel any better, the crew DID film a view of the Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island, but ultimately decided against using those shots, supposedly due to structural changes done to the base of the monument since the period depicted in the film.

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Most of the Ellis Island scenes were shot in Italy I believe (or Sardinia?) so the Statue of Liberty wouldn't have been outside the window for real.

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Guest Ken Maskrey

I personally liked the tracking shot at the party scene in Keira Knightly's (dir Joe Wright) Pride and Prejudice.

Edited by Ken Maskrey

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Godfather, Part II. Young Corleone comes to America and is placed in temporary confinement for disease control (he has TB or something.) So there is the romantic image of the Statue of Liberty and what it symbolizes, juxtaposed with the promise of youth, yet also knowing that his experiences will lead to being a crime lord, and also the sense of a visual divide between America and the immigrant, perhaps leading to lifelong suspicion and mistrust. It was shot on 35mm Kodak 5254 (100 ASA) on Panavision cameras using older Cooke Speed Panchro or B&L Baltars, I forget which:

 

GREAT1.JPG

 

2001: A Space Odyssey. The sunrise over the monolith signifying the moment of enlightment in the hominids (and specifically Moonwatcher), borrowing from the legend of Zarathustra (Zoroaster). Again, a flawless composition in terms of its graphic elements. I believe it was created using an 8x10 slide of a sunset or sunrise front-projected behind the monolith on a soundstage. 65mm Super Panavision, 5251 (50 ASA).

 

GREAT2.JPG

 

 

 

Dr. Strangelove. Major Kong riding the bomb down towards the target, which triggers the end of the world. The image, like all these others, is iconographic. It's also full of visual metaphors, the most obvious being sexual. Giant rear-projection screen behind actor I believe. 35mm Kodak b&w, probably 5222 Double-X.

 

GREAT6.JPG

 

---When I saw Gordon Willis talk after a screening of 'Godfather II' at the AFI, he said that because he's a romantic, he used the same BNCR and set of lenses that he used on Part I. I'm thinking Baltars and CSC supplied them.

 

I'm prettty sure Major Kong on the bomb is a travelling matte. & there's a optical zoom out on him to massage his image getting smaller. None of the bomb's support rig shows up.

The shot inside the bomb bay where the bomb is dropped is also a TM over a still photo. I can't recall where I came across that. Maybe on the DVD.

 

I'm inclined to think the '2001' shot was done on an animation stand. If it were done as front projection, the "sun" would have a bit of the lamp housing around it. Though the sun could have been put in as a seperate pass. But would the moon be as crisp?

A cut out of the monolith on the animation stand with passes for the sun and moon would have been more convienient.

 

---LV

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Many of the examples people have given on the thread have been great! Many of them are my favorites! But I don't think I saw any examples from AMERICAN BEAUTY. I think even though the film won numerous awards for cinematography I believe that it is still a little underrated. Its not really mentioned as much as Road To Perdition is, and I believe that it ranks up near the top of the list of his best work. Besides the rose fantasy sequences, I loved:

 

*The medium profile nighttime shot of the Colonel as he sees his son doing a "dirty deed" next door. He is lit with a slash of light from the window at first, but then in his disbelief, he backs up into the darkness of the room, disappearing for a moment, and reemerging in a dramatic silhouette against the other window in the room.

 

*The shot when the same Colonel, who, after he humiliates himself with Lester, walks shamefully out of the garage into the perfectly backlit rain, and completely disappears in the darkness.

 

 

Ones that have probably been mentioned before:

 

* The plague of locusts in DAYS OF HEAVEN

 

* The leaves blowing during the camera push in as he escorts his mother out of the car in THE CONFORMIST

-some wonderful closeups of women in that film too

 

* Close up of smoking Sean Young during test and dying Rutger Hauer in BLADE RUNNER

 

* The incredible handheld/crane work in the cane fields in I AM CUBA

 

* The long shots of the hallway to room 2046 in IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, with the flowing red curtains and all

 

* The tracking shot into the swamp as the man goes to meet the woman in SUNRISE

 

* The crane move on Jennifer Connelly starting from a silhouette against the backlighting ambulance lights in HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG. The crane shot moves around her and the backlight turns into a beautifully underexposed key on her face. I thought it was very moody and lyrical

 

Those are just a few...I'll stop now lol

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