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Tyler Purcell

The Last Jedi

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Well... I saw it.

 

Let me preface by stating I'm not gonna talk at all about the story, so don't worry about spoilers.

 

What I am going to talk about is the interesting mix of digital and anamorphic 35mm.

 

I'll first state that I felt the movie was well shot. From early on it had this really nice look that was in my opinion, a step above The Force Awakens. It's a crisp, nearly grain-free movie as well, which was unexpected considering they did use 500T quite a bit in dark situations. I really enjoy cinematographers who deliver a nearly grain-free image and I love cinematographers who light "just enough", both things were very present in this movie.

 

Now... and this was a funny thing... there was A LOT of digital in this movie. This was a real shocker and you could always tell because the oval boca disappeared and it was usually darker scenes where the digital cameras came out. Now, it was kinda hard to tell exactly what scenes were which setups when it's so dark AND you're trying to pay attention to a very fast paced story. So I didn't nail down exactly what was which, but I did notice the lack of the anamorphic boca all of a sudden, which upon closer look of those scenes, were for sure digital.

 

They also shot a bit of 15/65, but unlike Dunkirk which it was very noticeable on the standard 2.20:1 release, on The Last Jedi, it wasn't noticeable at all. I assume it was just the first opening scene which is mostly VFX anyway.

 

Yea, there were a few out of focus scenes... which was strange. Yea there were a lot of green screen shots. Yea, there was quite a bit of action and VFX work with no optical elements at all. Still, somehow the whole thing just worked nicely. There was some real stand out work in this film which everyone should be really proud of.

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So the disappearing bokeh suggested that the movie was cropped down to 2K?

 

Yeah this is what I didn't like about THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. remake, the whole thing looked like it was shot inside a barrel of oil.

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Bokeh and pixels have nothing to do with each other, the lack of anamorphic bokeh just means that a spherical lens was used or a rear-adapted anamorphic lens. An IMAX shot would have spherical bokeh.

 

And what does "cropping down to 2K" mean? Do you mean they took a 4K file and cropped it to 2K?

 

And what was wrong with the way that "The Man from UNCLE" looked? I thought it was quite lovely to look at!

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Bokeh and pixels have nothing to do with each other, the lack of anamorphic bokeh just means that a spherical lens was used or a rear-adapted anamorphic lens. An IMAX shot would have spherical bokeh.

 

And what does "cropping down to 2K" mean? Do you mean they took a 4K file and cropped it to 2K?

Yeah that's what I thought, and I'll explain why, he said he saw a mix of digital video and anamorphic 35mm. I thought he meant the bokeh was there for the anamorphic film, because they were using an anamorphic adapter. But not for the digital video because they had shot full frame and cropped it down to the aspect ratio they used with the film.

 

Now, a word of warning, I haven't had my coffee yet, so I'm likely to make unusual leaps of logic. ;-)

Good morning, David.

 

And what was wrong with the way that "The Man from UNCLE" looked? I thought it was quite lovely to look at!

It was shot on video. And the night scenes looked too dark green on my UHD 4K TV.

 

I go make coffee now.

Edited by Samuel Berger

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By the way, some of my fellow GNOMON alumni worked on THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. and after watching the VFX breakdowns I imagined they shot on video in part because of the large amounts of set extensions that had to be done.

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I don't think the breakdown between anamorphic vs. spherical on "Last Jedi" also tracked with the switch between the film and digital cameras -- I think they used anamorphic lenses on the Alexa most of the times and they used spherical lenses on the film cameras sometimes. Going spherical and using a taller frame, whether on the Alexa or on 35mm or larger, was mainly for ILM when they wanted more vertical area to work with. Other times might have been when they wanted to shoot in lower light on faster spherical lenses or needed more depth of field, or when working with the larger formats like VistaVision, IMAX, or Alexa 65, which are all spherical formats generally.

 

And for the last time, if an image is green, it is not because they shot digital and for some reason "couldn't get the green out" -- it's because the filmmakers wanted it to look green. You can shoot film and make it greenish -- look at "The Matrix". And you can shoot digital and make it look pink!

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And for the last time, if an image is green, it is not because they shot digital and for some reason "couldn't get the green out" -- it's because the filmmakers wanted it to look green. You can shoot film and make it greenish -- look at "The Matrix". And you can shoot digital and make it look pink!

I think it's the first time I bring up the "digital is green" thing myself, but I imagine from your post that others have before.

Edited by Samuel Berger

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I have seen this twice now first time Imax 15/70 film print only print in Europe usually my favorite way to watch .In this case oh a dear a very grainy odd looking print not good at all. Second time a 4K DCP on a very large screen looked so much better . Wasn't impressed with the Cinematography run of the mill ordinary stuff. As for the film it was ok lots of silly story lines way to long came away feeling a bit let down.

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I thought that, for some reason, Mark Hamill was photographed 'not very well' rather more often than not. Some of it to me almost looked like grabbed on the run camcorder or super 8 shots, as in, a bit ho hum. I mean the way his face was lit. And of course, that already somewhat famous focus, um, bit. Where he leans in and it goes out of focus. Yeah, okay, I've been watching some David Lean films and am influenced by that style of doing things. But, for me, the most underwhelming SW I've seen. Will go back and see if I feel better about it next time round.

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Will go back and see if I feel better about it next time round.

 

I'll catch it on TV sometime, as a fan of the original trilogy only, I can't see any valid reason for watching this thing, especially with Ms. Fisher gone. Her absence saddens me too much.

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In terms of the movie, I did enjoy it quite a bit. I felt there was a silliness about the whole thing that worked really well. Yes the pacing is fast, yes there are a lot of things going on at once, but all of it does work. Yes the main over-arching plot is silly, I mean it's borderline stupid. It also follows "boat" physics rather then "space" physics, which is fine... it's not a Star Trek movie. Yes, the movie wouldn't even exist without the empire being idiots, yea yea yea. With all that said, the script was really great and punchy. Rian Johnson just wanted to have fun with the characters and he did just that. It worked really well because the subject matter is a bit dark, so they needed to offset that darkness with some light.

 

Without going into details and spoilers, I really enjoyed it. This film is exactly what the doctor ordered and it was good fun.

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Ok, Tyler, once again, you're off the mark. Rian Johnson has said the film is 80-85 % shot on 35mm film anamorphic, 10-15 % is Alexa for specialty shots, some low light situations, an elaborate Steadicam shot, a bit of Alexa 65 probably for aerials. THAT'S IT. Film was the default as Yedlin & Johnson said. Also, there's a cool ICG article where Yedlin explains his process to match the Alexa with 35mm with his special secret sauce, it was visible on Canto Bight imo, grain wasn't natural film grain, on the big IMAX screen, it's visible but overall, it worked very well. Also, yes, some spherical lenses were used from time to time like David said. The grain was very visible on the IMAX screen, very cool, also, Rian said in an interview there were just a few IMAX shots for some isolated scenery shots, but the ratio doesn't open up in IMAX, so they might have left those on the cutting room floor.

 

http://www.icgmagazine.com/web/in-the-name-of-the-father/

 

"While the movie was primarily shot in anamorphic, using Panavision G-Series (full set), C-Series Close Focus 50 mm, the AWZ (40-80 zoom) and some other anamorphics, Yedlin and Johnson also mixed in spherical lenses (a 19-90-mm Primo Compact Zoom and an assortment of Primo primes).

We wanted the idiosyncrasies of anamorphic – oblong bokeh, curved distortion, its characteristic flares, and the anamorphic ‘egg’ [the lenses’ inability to focus at the top and bottom of the frame],” Yedlin details.But there were times that we either didn’t want those idiosyncrasies – like if an actor’s face was going to be in the blurry part of the ‘egg’ – or when we needed to do a rack focus to closer than an anamorphic can focus. We also sometimes used spherical simply because VFX requested it: either because they wanted the extra image padding outside the framing area or because they wanted a more technically pristine lens.”

An AC article is coming in February as well

Edited by Manu Delpech
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I saw 'The Last Jedi' again today, my second time. I liked it much better this time. It has grown on me. Well done Rian Johnson, crew and actors.

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Looking forward to Star Wars IX.

 

Just watched 'The Last Jedi' again and it really is growing on me. In some ways I like it more than 'The Force Awakens'. It's probably the quirkiest Star Wars picture at any rate. There's something special about it.

 

To whet appetites for IX, here's something rather wonderful.

 

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I think it's a badge of honor that "The Last Jedi" generated so much controversy, it suggests that the director was trying things outside of fan expectations, whether or not every element worked. Though "Empire Strikes Back" was less controversial, I think it has stood the test of time because the director took a more mature and complex view of the story and characters. Maybe being the middle film of a trilogy allows more flexibility to take the audience out on uncomfortable tangents because there is less of an expectation to wrap things up with a satisfying bang.

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Bingo, I'm sure JJ will bring it home but I think TLJ is a masterpiece. There's nothing worse than your film being met with a collective shrug, sometimes, being bold and controversial pays off and is more interesting. I also think of certain superhero films that many people supposedly hate and yet keep talking about to this day, hem hem :D

Edited by Manu Delpech

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