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David Mullen ASC

Westworld Season 2 trailer

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The main stages and production offices were at Melody Ranch in Santa Clarita. I was there back in 2009 shooting "Manure" on the same stage where the main glass-walled lab sets are (that you see the bulls run through in the trailer) -- sometimes I'd show people while in the lab set what the stage looked like on "Manure":

900manure188.jpg

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Nice.. loved season 1.. watched it all in one go.. out of interest were the Ariels done with a real chopper or a fancy drone.. I wonder what large budget productions are using these days .. is it un usual to shoot episodic TV on film still these days..?

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We shot 35mm film for nearly everything, so no drones, we used a helicopter (Paul Cameron, ASC shot all the helicopter footage both in Utah and then in the Mojave Desert.) I did shoot some security camera footage on a 4.6K Blackmagic MiniPro, but that was for playback on monitors.

 

There are very few episodic shows done on film anymore, I think the other one was HBO's comedy "Crashing" (35mm) and I guess "Walking Dead" is still shooting Super-16.

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Ok thanks.. I was wondering if some of the bigger 8 blade drones were now being used for big budget productions too .. with something like a RED or Alexa Mini rigged up.. is the use of film something the dir or DOP has had the power to insist on.. I would think from the production side.. they would prefer digital ..

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The co-creator is Jonathan Nolan, and he and his brother Christopher are big proponents of shooting on film. And HBO has a long history of using film longer after most everyone else switched to digital -- all of "Boardwalk Empire", for example, was shot in 35mm.

 

On an ambitious show like this, I don't think the cost of shooting on film is a major factor in the budget.

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ah ok .. the Nolan factor :).. that makes sense.. another one I really liked .. Broadwalk Empire.. fantastic show.. yes I guess if the money side of film isn't a factor..I wondered more on things like playback.. post.. and even just not having to worry about the whole lab mistake,scratches,hairs in gates, one copy only.. type thing.. anyway yes its good the film is still being used ..even against the odds as it were..

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I think it's more an HBO thing than a Nolan thing to be honest. I personally find it hard to imagine a western not shot on film. Playback has been solved for a long time by recording off of the tap ;) I even did it to an XL1 MANY years ago.

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well things might have changed .. but thats not usually really a great image :).. we did that back in the 80,s to Hi8.. !!

Edited by Robin R Probyn

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The video tap image from the Arricams that had an HD tap were surprisingly good considering it was a picture of the groundglass. Unfortunately not enough HD taps were ever built for Arricams to get them on every camera.

 

Video playback is the same tech whether the playback person is using the feed from a video tap on a film camera or the monitor output from a digital camera. I think we had video playback only on a few days where there were visual effects involved and we needed to see overlays to line up things, or for a few scenes where we were picking up coverage for a scene shot some time earlier. And of course there is playback for scenes that have monitors playing images on sets.

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Yes thats what I mean its off the ground glass what ever you have attached to it .. not saying that its the be all and end all to have lovely OLED monitors all over the place at all.. I think there is a good case against it.. just it has become for better or worse a "must have" in the digital age.. on this recent Toho shoot.. there were monitors that no one was even watching.. beautiful 17 inch Sony OLED,s.. a bit off tack but yesterday I had a first on a corp shoot.. two of the production companies clients from Canada at two separate locations had to be linked in live by "Face time".. from two different devices .. to give input for an interview.. and it was made known in no uncertain terms ..that this link up was as important as the actual shoot !.. much as it was a bit of a hassle.. it worked out really well.. and due to wifi didn't cost a cent.. probably also will become alot more common.. sigh ..

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The main stages and production offices were at Melody Ranch in Santa Clarita. I was there back in 2009 shooting "Manure"

 

 

I remember the frame grabs from the stage scenes in Manure. I really liked them...slightly theatrical looking, which I found very appealing. Maybe mostly to do with the perspective, composition, texture and color. Till now, seasons I've seen, Westworld seems to me quite hard edged realistic looking (western, science fantasy realism..?)

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David,

 

Was 5245 used as IMDB stated? Did you get to watch dailies? I got the first season in UHD for Christmas and it looks incredible! Really good! Great look.!. Bravo! Anxiously awaiting season 2

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Congratulations David. Great work as usual. I really enjoyed watching your episode. I'm also a big Jeffrey Wright fan.

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