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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


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Old August 10th, 2004, 08:36 PM   #31
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<<Did they really say that? I can't imagine a Panavised F900 being easier to use in a confined location than your average compact-body film camera.>>

The big issue with even the best 35mm cameras for this sort of thing tends to be the magazine; it not only extends the length of the camera but sticks up above (even when it's a backloaded 400 ft.). Theoretically you could use a 200 footer but I have rarely seen those trotted out. The Cinealta is no "little guy" by any means, but stripped down without a lot of hardware on the back and a prime lens, it might just be handier. You can also potentially use a remote LCD monitor and not have to have your eye in the eyepiece, which would help get into really tight corners. That's possible with a film camera also, but you are risking not seeing something gnarly in the frame with the lower resolution video tap, so we try to avoid that.

But I think the real issue here was not whether the 900 was better suited physically than any given film camera, knowing that Mann was using HD specifically to "see" into the night; it would be whether the 900 or the Viper would be best suited. I'm actually surprised that the 900 won out because I believe the Viper is the smaller camera (more hardware to contend with, but that was housed on the camera car, so as long as the picture vehicle was being towed...)

I think I'm rambling.
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Old August 10th, 2004, 08:51 PM   #32
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<<<<<I imagined the choice to shoot on video had something to do with the budget, then I read that this thing cost $65 million!

Wow, that's a lot of scratch. -->>>

I think the $65M is just tom's take:')

I spent a lot of time "looking" at the film, and I still can't decide whether the HD look of the film was intentional or not. There's a quality to the motion that definitely says "video"...almost a deinterlaced look...blurry whenever something moves...yet on the otherhand its mostly really sharp, very detailed, and certainly without all the color anomalies I've seen with other video to film projects.

I think the grain was really a product of the low light levels used throughout to hold background details...I mean they captured the silhouettes of trees against a dark sky...really phenomenal how you get a sense of how the night feels in LA...The grain really wasn't objectional to me. the only thing that bugged me was the overall color cast...sort of a desaturated, slighly-green flatness...you could tell that the camera was capable of registering more color--every once in awhile they'd throw in some orange, red, or yellow to spice things up.

Regardless, it was a phenomenal film. Tight, Gritty...everybody did their job and then some.

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Old August 10th, 2004, 09:00 PM   #33
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Charles,

They said the Viper was less portable. In the Star Wars Ep. 2 DVD, they talk about how BIG the 900 is.

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Old August 11th, 2004, 12:39 PM   #34
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Barry, what you saw was exactly what Mann was trying to get by using video.
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Old August 11th, 2004, 03:38 PM   #35
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collateral

i saw it last night.....yes it still looks like video...even after being blown to 35 but who cares....it was a great movie and as we all know.... if the story is good..dont matter what its filmed on! :D
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Old August 11th, 2004, 10:40 PM   #36
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Saturnin,

Your site comes up, then defaults to microsoft.com on my Mac's browser, Safari.

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Old August 12th, 2004, 08:19 PM   #37
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I'm kind of surprised that so many people liked the story so much...I could see why it was more important to capture the many levels of darkness for visually and metaphorically artisitc reasons, but the grain just got to me too much (It was probably just because I'm always going nuts trying to prevent it in my own cheapo videos). It was a gritty film, but felt that aspect felt inconsistent to me. What I liked most, is that it had a beat all it's own that was unconventional, but really felt like a "natural" compression of the ten hour story time during the 2 hour running time.
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Old August 14th, 2004, 08:01 PM   #38
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Just got back from seeing the film and I thought it was Excellent!! Also, I could not believe at how "amateurish" the shots were...but the story was still engrossing.

That just proves that there really are no rules in filmmaking...just be sure you have a good story, then go ahead and make the darn thing.

Time to take the camera off that tripod...(but not like Bourne Supremacy).
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Old August 15th, 2004, 12:59 PM   #39
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I saw it Friday evening and it was a good film. My problems with the film were more to do with the characters and the story (major problems to be sure) but the technique I didn't mind at all. The HD I thought was less than 20% of the shots. I may be wrong. But when I did notice it, I thought it was a good decision. It really did show off the LA at night cool factor.

If people are interested in further use of the HD, I would recommend trying to see "All Tomorrow's Parties", which is a post-apocalyptic drama shot by a Chinese director. It is superb-looking. Beautiful.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 10:15 PM   #40
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I heard it was more like the majority of the movie is HD.

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Old August 16th, 2004, 11:29 PM   #41
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I was surprised how much the video footage looked like video. I guess I shouldn't have been though, because, hey, it IS video. I don't think it looked bad, but definitely different. I really liked the movie, but was disappointed in the ending. I don't want to ruin it for anybody, but there's a certain coincidence in there that is just plain stupid.

Someone asked how they shot the car interiors by the way, and the other day I saw one of those fawning "making of" documentaries on HBO. They actually built this tree-house sized shack over the front of the car and towed it around LA. The American Cinematographer article also mentions that they used some new type of lighting for the interior of the car. They said it resembled foam core and could be cut to fit. There's little pieces of it all over the interior of the car.

Also, I can't help but mention that I was really upset when I found out the plot of this movie because I had just finished writing a script with almost the exact same premise, as Keith Loh can verify. I'm not saying they stole my idea or anything, as they were already in production before I even finished writing, but how weird is that? My bad guy was a serial killer though, and the driver was some poor sap who happened to share a taxi with him, so it wasn't exactly the same, but close enough for me to abandon the project. Sigh.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 11:52 PM   #42
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YEs, Marco, it was quite similar. Though I think there is still room for your story as well.

Just as long as you stay away from L.A. :)
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Old August 17th, 2004, 08:35 AM   #43
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marco,

i know EXACTLY how you feel! it goes to show ya that if you don't do it quickly enough someone ELSE will find a way to do it. not to toot my own horns but i've always wanted to do a sequence where an action character (like a john woo gun-touting chow yun-fat hero) uses guns (or one machine-gun) is in a room and every exit/entrace is blocked by heavy enemy fire and he's the only guy left. so what does he do? he uses his gun to shoot a circle around where he stands and then the entire floor-board falls through to the lower floor (we're assuming he's on the 2nd floor or above). anyway they already did that in underworld. my jaw dropped when i saw that in the TRAILER of underworld. but my idea was a wee bit different though... so i still may do it =).
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Old August 17th, 2004, 09:48 AM   #44
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That was also kind of done already in Escape from New York where Snake Plisken is trapped in a bathroom and sprays a man-sized hole in a wall with his machinegun so he can bust through it.
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Old August 17th, 2004, 10:05 AM   #45
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Interesting.
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