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September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie" 
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Post Re: September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie"
Celluloid will never be left behind, not while there are people who still care about what looks good (not to mention that proper IMAX is a film based format!)

I know exactly what I don't want more of in cinema; realism. For example, cinematographers who set up shots "as if seen from a personal perspective". What? Seriously? Who the hell wants to see that? High angle establishing shots of your location for the win, I feel. Also there is the incompetent looking "shakey cam" trend. There is no excuse for this level of retarded camera work, intentional or not. Movies have been made for years with cameras attached to heavy duty dollies that hold them still and it worked out fine. There is no reason to use shakey cam, it's not arty or clever, it just looks sloppy.


Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:57 pm
Post Re: September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Celluloid will never be left behind, not while there are people who still care about what looks good (not to mention that proper IMAX is a film based format!)

I know exactly what I don't want more of in cinema; realism. For example, cinematographers who set up shots "as if seen from a personal perspective". What? Seriously? Who the hell wants to see that? High angle establishing shots of your location for the win, I feel. Also there is the incompetent looking "shakey cam" trend. There is no excuse for this level of retarded camera work, intentional or not. Movies have been made for years with cameras attached to heavy duty dollies that hold them still and it worked out fine. There is no reason to use shakey cam, it's not arty or clever, it just looks sloppy.

Agreed, as long as a film is entertaining and/or compelling, then I REALLY couldn't care less about how realistic it looks, i'm not too fond of shaky-cam myself, certain directors do an OK job with it(Michael Bay is pretty good at using it IMO) while others abuse it to the point where it's almost impossible to see what's happening(i'm looking at you Greengrass) But Blair Witch is arguably the film that jump-started that directing trend, one more reason to hate that film.


Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:27 pm
Post Re: September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie"
Vexer wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
Celluloid will never be left behind, not while there are people who still care about what looks good (not to mention that proper IMAX is a film based format!)

I know exactly what I don't want more of in cinema; realism. For example, cinematographers who set up shots "as if seen from a personal perspective". What? Seriously? Who the hell wants to see that? High angle establishing shots of your location for the win, I feel. Also there is the incompetent looking "shakey cam" trend. There is no excuse for this level of retarded camera work, intentional or not. Movies have been made for years with cameras attached to heavy duty dollies that hold them still and it worked out fine. There is no reason to use shakey cam, it's not arty or clever, it just looks sloppy.

Agreed, as long as a film is entertaining and/or compelling, then I REALLY couldn't care less about how realistic it looks, i'm not too fond of shaky-cam myself, certain directors do an OK job with it(Michael Bay is pretty good at using it IMO) while others abuse it to the point where it's almost impossible to see what's happening(i'm looking at you Greengrass) But Blair Witch is arguably the film that jump-started that directing trend, one more reason to hate that film.


That's true and to be honest, I didn't mind it in BWP because it was meant to be from the point of view of someone who is a total amateur at film-making.

I love to rag on the new Star Trek movie about this. I love the movie, don't get me wrong, but the scene where Pike and Kirk first meet is appalling. The camera switches between the two actors and is swaying about as if a bar patron himself were holding it. Maybe that's the point? In which case, most film students touch upon and abandon that sort of connection within their first year, assuming they approached the course knowing nothing about originality.

I feel the only acceptable use of this technique is in an action sequence, where people are exerting a great deal of physical energy. Not that it matters now since most editors allow you fractions of a second to see each misplaced shot.


Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:47 pm
Post Re: September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie"
"There are those who will argue that a motion picture should never be viewed on anything less than a big screen in a theater. I'm not of that opinion, but 3.5" is too small."

I saw an ad for cinemas on German television: A guy sees a couple of kids watching a movie on a mobile phone. He asks them how tall King Kong is and one of the kids holds up her thumb and forefinger to indicate the size.


Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:32 pm
Post Re: September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKiIroiCvZ0


Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:46 pm
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Post Re: September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Celluloid will never be left behind, not while there are people who still care about what looks good (not to mention that proper IMAX is a film based format!)


I agree that there will be some directors who will continue to make movies on film, but I'd be surprised if any venue other than specialty houses was showing celluloid ten years from now. Case in point: a 16-plex close to where I live just swapped out all their traditional projectors for digital ones last week. (They did three auditoriums per day.)

Two points:

(1) They are now the only theater around here that's all digital, but the trend is in this direction. It is favored by the distributors and the theaters (once they get past the initial expense associated with installing the digital projectors). And the manager tells me he has never had any complaints in the past about the look of digital (they had 4 digital projectors before the changeover).
(2) They are not having any trouble getting digital copies. All of the major films are available for download, as are most of the art house titles. The manager said there's basically nothing he can't get in digital.


Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:17 pm
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Post Re: September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
Celluloid will never be left behind, not while there are people who still care about what looks good (not to mention that proper IMAX is a film based format!)


I agree that there will be some directors who will continue to make movies on film, but I'd be surprised if any venue other than specialty houses was showing celluloid ten years from now. Case in point: a 16-plex close to where I live just swapped out all their traditional projectors for digital ones last week. (They did three auditoriums per day.)

Two points:

(1) They are now the only theater around here that's all digital, but the trend is in this direction. It is favored by the distributors and the theaters (once they get past the initial expense associated with installing the digital projectors). And the manager tells me he has never had any complaints in the past about the look of digital (they had 4 digital projectors before the changeover).
(2) They are not having any trouble getting digital copies. All of the major films are available for download, as are most of the art house titles. The manager said there's basically nothing he can't get in digital.


In an average cattle pen of a multiplex, I see no harm in showing a movie via a digital projector as it's a cheaper way of fattening the attending cattle. My personal passion lies within the creation of the movie itself; showing a movie made on film via a digital projector is fine (aside from the proper IMAX format of course).

What I do have a problem with is the change being made and still being charged the extortionate price. Now that my student card has expired, the cheapest ticket I can get at the Vue near me is about £6 odd (off peak, at lunch time I think). If the operation of digital equipment is indeed cheaper then surely a little relaxation on admission is due?

As for quality, hearing and seeing without noticing a change is paramount. The Vue in question is rather new and as is my experience, both attributes are fine. Slightly further afield is a multiplex of which the brand name escapes me; here the sound is littered with the occasional squeak of distortion associated with digital audio compression. Most people don't notice as it's a fraction of a second at most but it made me request a refund on one occasion (I was refused and haven't been back).

Like I said, the difference in my view is how the film is made in the first place. Despite my experience being based in still photography, not cinema, many of the sample theories apply. I'd never dream of using a digital camera to shoot work where I was intending to take an artistic approach to the visuals. I use digital for commercial work and most often for social documentary style material (seems appropriate considering the social obsession with the digital era) but I use 6cm film for when I require something to look the business.


Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:49 am
Post Re: September 20, 2010: "The Sum and Substance of a Movie"
Awkward Beard Man wrote:
James, you make it sound like watching movies at a cinema in the USA is an absolute nightmare. Here is Australia I've almost never had a negative experience with projection quality and the attitude of the crowd. People tend to talk an text during the opening trailers, but almost immediately stop once the movie begins. I'm not sure whether it's the different cultural attitudes but it's quite shocking to hear of how many negative cinema experiences you've had...

To be honest I used to think that Mr. B was perhaps exaggerating a little when talking about unpleasant theater experiences, or perhaps it was an American thing... but then last month I saw The American (the Clooney one) - the aspect was wrong for the first five minutes which ruins one early key scene and dilutes a lot of the impact (if you've seen it you'll know which scene I mean). And apparently the audience was expecting a lightly-hearted sort of movie, so they chortled at everything and cheered at random moments, generally being asses in other words.

Liked the movie but it was an unpleasant experience. I can't imagine how awful that must be for a critic who has to sit through many of these experiences.


Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:24 am
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