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The Terminator (1984) lenses and film stock

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Does anyone know what lenses and film stock were used on the original Terminator (1984) shot by Adam Greenberg?

 

I have heard that Adam Greenberg may have used low contrast filters on the shoot.

 

There is an article in American Cinematographer 1984 vol 66, No 4 April, but I don't have access to issues going back that far.

 

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

Thanks

Edited by Harry Lime

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It was the April 1985 issue but the article does not mention stocks nor filters.

 

It probably was shot on Kodak 250T 5293 just before it got replaced by 400T 5294, and the use of low-con filters is fairly obvious by the halos around light sources.

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Thank you, David.

 

Would you care to hedge a bet on lenses? Maybe Super Speeds mk III or even Super Baltars? Could have also been older Primo...

 

 

thx

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It wasn't a Panavision shoot so it wouldn't have been Primos -- most likely it was Zeiss Super-Speeds since those were the most common lenses at non-Panavision rental houses. Could have used Canon K35's... Also, Primos weren't introduced until the very late 1980's.

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I wonder if we've reached a point in time where the only way to match the grain of 1980s 35mm is to shoot in 2-perf cropped to 1.85:1?

 

Anyway, IMDB does list the negative as 250T 5293. I'd be curious as to which types of low-con filters were used as well. They must have been very popular filters.

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Super Speeds makes a lot of sense and feels about right. I want to say that a long time ago I saw a picture of what may have been a BL-3 on set.

 

Is there anything more you information you can add about the low contrast filter? Would this have been a very weak fog filter by someone like Tiffen or Harrison&Harrison?

 

Adam Greenberg really outdid himself on this film. It's hands down one of the best color noir out there in my opinion. It feels very raw and gritty, which is something you don't see a lot of these days. Love the grain. The lighting is so straight forward and doesn't look 'over-polished'

 

I watched the Blu Ray recently. Some scenes that I remember being more 'Cameron blue' are a little greener than I recall them being, but aside from that it looks really great.

 

thx

Edited by Harry Lime

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I wonder if we've reached a point in time where the only way to match the grain of 1980s 35mm is to shoot in 2-perf cropped to 1.85:1?

 

Anyway, IMDB does list the negative as 250T 5293. I'd be curious as to which types of low-con filters were used as well. They must have been very popular filters.

 

Or push s16...

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Well, movies shot on 100T in 35mm anamorphic weren't that grainy back then... In terms of matching the look though of 5294, I think you'd have to push Vision3 500T by a stop, maybe 2-stops, to get something closer to that grain and contrast. Keep in mind that one reason that movies looked grainy back then was that a lot of people were underexposing high-speed stock.

 

Looking at the April 1984 AC issue, before I realized the article was in the April 1985 issue, I was re-reading Fraker talking about "Wargames" and how he rated 250T 5293 at 800 ASA for the control room scenes, shot at f/2 because of all the projection screens. That's underexposing almost 2-stops. On the other hand, you read Deschanel talking about using more and more 100T 5247 on "The Right Stuff" because he found that 5293 could get too grainy. A number of DP's started to go back to slower stocks by the end of the 80's.

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Or push s16...

 

I can't tell you but, I doubt that Insane is your real name.

Per the forum rules, please change your moniker to your real name.

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I think Greenberg probably used Tiffen Low-Cons. "Barry Lyndon" was shot with Tiffen Low-Cons. Harrison and Harrison also made Low-Cons. They were similar to Fogs but less foggy. Haskell Wexler alternated between Low-Cons and Fogs on "Bound for Glory".

 

https://tiffen.com/contrast-filters/

 

 

 

Thank you, David. I appreciate all the information.

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I did just now look at the AC article on T2, and Greenberg said that he shot the original on 5293, which wasn't as good as the 5296 he was using for low-light work on the sequel.

 

Also, I have a theory that in the early 1980's, a lot of cinematographers were using the fog and low-con filters that they were used to using on 5247, only to discover that the lifting of the blacks with those filters tended to make the grain more visible in those early high-speed stocks, so those older filters began to be used less and less (also, the trend was towards more sharpness.)

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I did just now look at the AC article on T2, and Greenberg said that he shot the original on 5293, which wasn't as good as the 5296 he was using for low-light work on the sequel

 

5296. I remember working on a movie in the mid 90's trying to pull green screens shot on that stock and it had grain the size of golfballs...

 

I have some vintage low cons and Harrison&Harrison fog filters buried in a box somewhere. I'm going to have to dig those out and do a little experimenting to see how that works on digital. I always loved the glow around lights in Terminator.

 

 

post-60385-0-09892800-1517300718_thumb.jpg

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Terrific looking movie! I'll always love those wetted down streets.

 

I wonder if he overexposed a touch and then printed it down. Or those keys could just be very hard with no diffusion.

Edited by Harry Lime

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It's funny but last night I was watching Sidney Lumet's remake of "Gloria" (1999), shot by David Watkin, on some HD channel -- and noticed that it was shot with the Mk.1 Zeiss Super Speeds with the 9-bladed iris that created a triangular opening. I know that Watkin liked Zeiss lenses for their quality but I'm surprised he didn't upgrade to the later generation.

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I've been wondering about the stock used in feature films -- did they generally stick to one iso throughout the entire film or was it common to use different isos depending on the shot?

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It was common to use the slowest stock for each scene, though a number of high-profile DPs (such as John Seale) preferred a 500T stock for everything (he shot the desert scenes of "English Patient" that way through a lot of NDs, when there more than enought exposure for 50D stock!).

 

I haven't seen "The Terminator" in a while, but my notes indicate Zeiss Superspeed T1.3 lenses for most of the stuff, with a little use of the T1.4's (High Speeds, B Speeds, First Generation, whatever you like to call them). The T1.3s and T2.1 had just come out in 1983 when ARRI introduced the PL mount.

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It's funny but last night I was watching Sidney Lumet's remake of "Gloria" (1999), shot by David Watkin, on some HD channel -- and noticed that it was shot with the Mk.1 Zeiss Super Speeds with the 9-bladed iris that created a triangular opening. I know that Watkin liked Zeiss lenses for their quality but I'm surprised he didn't upgrade to the later generation.

 

Hello David, do you know if that one was shot already on Kodak stock after Agfa got discontinued? T1.4's are softer and lower in contrast to T1.3's, maybe he wanted to retain the feel of the AGFA XT while using a higher contrast stock. There's some three iris blade bokeh through "Full Metal Jacket" as well, so Kubrick didn't upgrade this lenses to T1.3 right after they came out either, though by the time of "EWS" he shot Variable Primes and T1.3's.

I saw "Gloria" at a very large screen back in it's day, so so movie but the look was good.

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It was one of the movies made after Watkin had to switch to low-con Kodak once Agfa stopping making his favorite XT320 stock. I think he used 5277 320T, which came out in 1996, rather than 5287 before that. I don't know if he would have used an older Zeiss Mk1 just as a form of "softening", it may have been just an availability issue at the rental house in NYC. Or maybe he was one of those cinematographers who owned his own lenses so there were what he had been using all through the 80's (I'd have to look to see if "Hamlet" had similar bokeh.)

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It was one of the movies made after Watkin had to switch to low-con Kodak once Agfa stopping making his favorite XT320 stock. I think he used 5277 320T, which came out in 1996, rather than 5287 before that. I don't know if he would have used an older Zeiss Mk1 just as a form of "softening", it may have been just an availability issue at the rental house in NYC. Or maybe he was one of those cinematographers who owned his own lenses so there were what he had been using all through the 80's (I'd have to look to see if "Hamlet" had similar bokeh.)

 

 

He also "invented" the Wendy Light for night shoots..

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