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Looking for bad examples of Cinematography in mainstream cinema


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One of the things I really liked about the Battlestar Galactica reboot was it's effects work - especially those effects shots where there would be a wide angle composition suddenly followed by a fast zoom in on some spacecraft action, as if some vision switcher had crossed a moment too early to a camera operator onboard a spacecraft, catching them in the act of composing their shot.

 

I found the cinematography quite beautiful. Indeed I really got into the gritty blown out look and feel. Unfortunately, beyond that, I can't find many more words to elaborate why that is the case. Could be the way it dovetailed with the effects work. There's something quite mad about an effect, which requires enormous precision, expressing the complete opposite: a kind of quick thinking adrenaline response to something.

 

Twister will employ an early form of this, in handheld point of view shots, of a twister, from inside a vehicle. Cloverfield will make it the basis for an entire film - and perhaps kill off the technique completely.

 

C

Edited by Carl Looper
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Ok, you've clearly made up your mind, and obviously your opinion is more valid than anyone else's.   It's amazing how many students, and others with no verifiable film experience have appeared aroun

I'm a bit cautious about that point of view. I try (and commonly fail) to avoid using overly provocative language, but I don't subscribe to the view that we must respect the taste of people simply bec

LOL, another enlightened cinema artist. Underexposing neg. two stops looks like poop. You try to print it up and there's no contrast, no blacks. It looks bad. If you want to be a "pioneer" and sho

One of the things I really liked about the Battlestar Galactica reboot was it's effects work - especially those effects shots where there would be a wide angle composition suddenly followed by a fast zoom in on some spacecraft action, as if some vision switcher had crossed a moment too early to a camera operator onboard a spacecraft, catching them in the act of composing their shot.

 

C

And all it looks like to me is somebody copying what they had already done (by the same artists in some cases) on FIREFLY.

 

I always find it strange when the second or third show out of the gate that does something gets the credit for introducing it, just because it is a little more popular.

I do admit liking hte percussion only music with spaceship movement, that's something I always wanted to do myself.

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And all it looks like to me is somebody copying what they had already done (by the same artists in some cases) on FIREFLY.

 

I always find it strange when the second or third show out of the gate that does something gets the credit for introducing it, just because it is a little more popular.

I do admit liking hte percussion only music with spaceship movement, that's something I always wanted to do myself.

 

I haven't seen Firefly but I take your point.

 

It's very much like Jurassic Park, where we might otherwise consider the animation of dinosaurs as an innovation that this particular film introduces for the very first time. But in fact the animation of dinosaurs was already being explored in experimental films long before it's adopted for Jurassic Park. Indeed originally the dinosaurs for the film were going to be done with animatronics. It is when the experimental films were seen by Spielberg that a decision was made to employ such techniques for the film. This is not to say that those making Jurassic Park don't elaborate on that work and make their own important contributions.

 

Its a thought to keep in mind with respect to experimental films.

 

C

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Context is a factor too. I've seen the early John Whitney slitscan tests (in fact they were included on a laserdisc of 2001, probably the Criterion one) and while they definitely predate Trumbull, they were far too animated-looking in style to actually cut into a narrative feature. And then a decade later after Trumbull went off and invented MagiCam, Abel was building on HIS work with those streaky commercials, which probably demonstrated a style Trumbull wouldn't have chosen to chase.

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Context is a factor too. I've seen the early John Whitney slitscan tests (in fact they were included on a laserdisc of 2001, probably the Criterion one) and while they definitely predate Trumbull, they were far too animated-looking in style to actually cut into a narrative feature. And then a decade later after Trumbull went off and invented MagiCam, Abel was building on HIS work with those streaky commercials, which probably demonstrated a style Trumbull wouldn't have chosen to chase.

 

Yes, the context reshapes any particularity one might identify.

 

For example, one might take a pin and scratch the emulsion of some film, and discover in doing so, that when projected such looks like some sort of laser beam or death ray on the screen. And this can be clarified through context. For example one might provide a figure holding a ray gun. This idea of a laser beam, that the scratch might provoke, can be clarified in this way.

 

We can say the introductory sequence to Jurassic Park provides contextual support for that moment where computer animated dinosaurs will be introduced. Dinosaurs, already provoked by the particularities of the animation work, will be clarified in this way. Montage, as much as collage, is in full operation here.

 

C

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I bring up 3D animation as not being cinematography as a comparison of something else I don't understand, and someone wants to start that debate again. Unreal.

Maybe I should start a debate as to why cinematography is really animation, then?



Phil Rhodes: You say, far more eloquently, part of what I was trying to say. Thank you. There are a lot of DPs who got away with the film latitude with negative who did not understand the differences with digital.


Absolutely unqualified people did and do get hired. It's not always a lot of skill, sometimes, even at the very top, it's who you know, who you're related to, and a lot of luck. . .


Present company excluded, of course!

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@Carl Looper I am sorry if I was not clear (as I guess special effects is now cinematography??). I was speaking only of the live action in BSG. Nothing against the space ships and battle sequences, although I for one did not care for the snap zooms.

I didn't find them hard to watch. I was commenting on the camera work.

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Well, I'm not sure threads about taste or deficiencies are a good idea to begin with…. But a recent trailer really surprised me. To see just how unpleasing certain esthetics are to my eye. The night stuff in particular - I personally find it very ugly. Like a bad film school short from a DP who might just be starting out.

 

This cinematographer is stylistically uneven - sometimes I might see a great image from him, and the scene right after might be a disaster in lighting. His aesthetics are always so wildly varying. An enigma.

 

But a little tip to perhaps up and coming DP's: Learn from beauty or hair commercials: hard backlight on hair only produces frizzy imperfections and is not always a good idea. As in 00:14 in to this clip.

 

https://youtu.be/pwU7rbCrksY

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Ari is at it again... What do you mean by film negative should not be underexposed by more than 2 stops? On the basis of what? What if that's the level of darkness you wish to see in the end? Are you talking about not being able to lift the image without introducing "too much" grain? Have you really tested each and every stock to come to this conclusion? You make all these statements, but, unfortunately, we haven't yet seen one piece of material from you. Please share one, so maybe we can all learn something about "correct" cinematography. You claim to be a "loader." I didn't know loaders were also cinematographers... Who do you work with? Any particular ACs or DPs?

Edited by Giray Izcan
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LOL, another enlightened cinema artist.

Underexposing neg. two stops looks like poop. You try to print it up and there's no contrast, no blacks. It looks bad. If you want to be a "pioneer" and shoot your whole movie this way, he y man, go for it.

Great idea.

But go ahead and try to pigeon hole me as someone "beholden to the rules," "unenlightened."


Then you make a personal attack on me. I have two working eyes, correctable to 20/20.

Yes I have tested stocks.

Haven't seen my material? Too bad. None of your damned business, don't care to share, and the pair of eyes I've mentioned above, not my contributions to the art of cinematography qualify me as a judge.

Another attack, second guessing, questioning my qualifications. Thanks.

Maybe I should log into my preferences, click a box, and make myself a DP then? I've DP'ed shoots, yeah. Does that make me qualified to list it as my primary occupation here? Maybe I should put an ASC, or claim an Oscar after may name.

Sheesh.

And again, none of your business who I have worked with. Make all the ad hominem attacks on me that you would like, it doesn't lessen what I have said for anyone whose sense of logic and reasoning is firing on all cylinders.


I like how you're questioning if I'm a "loader," too. Technically I am an A.C. as there's no loader position in the Eastern region. Unlike others here who are eager to gloat, brag, name drop, and make frequent use of appeals to authority and various other logical fallacies, I would rather give a REALISTIC description, rather than an inflated, self-important one, of my qualifications.

I've been shooting, processing, and projecting film for 13 years though, and I happen to know when something is objectively ugly-looking garbage that is aesthetically displeasing. I've shot plenty of it myself, but never on purpose.

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Passive aggressive, and trolling me after WEEKS that this thread is inactive. Have you looked me up on Wikipedia or IMDB yet?

I really love the people that try to use YOUR WORK against you! To save you the trouble, I don't work under "Ari Michael Leeds," I use a nom de plume.


Keep up the good work with the blind appeal to authority, name-dropping, and personal attacks. You're another one it must be a THRILL to work with after hour 18, if you're going to come here and TROLL me after a month ON THE INTERNET. What are you like when fit really hits the shan in real life?

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Yes, you described me perfectly Ari Michael Leeds or whatever your name is haha. Name dropping? Whose name have I dropped? Don't worry about it. I'm not interested in getting into some posting battle with you "Ari Michael Leeds."

Edited by Giray Izcan
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FYI on the BSG "look":

 

http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Naturalistic_science_fiction

 

It was the deliberate choice of the series co-creator Ronald D. Moore. I also recall an interview from around the time the show began where Moore said that he thought the hand-held camerawork was "cool".

 

Some criteria for "bad cinematography" that *might* be valid: 1. Does it call attention to itself in such a way that it takes you out of the story?, 2. In an attempt to create realism or naturalism, does it do just the opposite?, 3. Does it cause vertigo/nausea in more than a few individuals.

 

I am also of the school of thought that the cinematography should generally be an attractive feature of a movie and ideally should be a drawing card as opposed to something that drives audiences away or results in bad word-of-mouth. So a really "ugly" look to most viewers is something to be avoided. Of course "ugly" is pretty subjective. My $.02.

 

Dylan W

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey, what do ya'll think of this? This is one of my recent experiments that I did to test the limits of my Panasonic GH4. Please provide me with as much critiquing as possible, as this was a learning experience.

 

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