Miami Vice - The Movie (Shot on High Def) - Page 4 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Awake In The Dark

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 10th, 2006, 07:24 PM   #46
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 439
Think about it, most people go to 9db or greater gain (that looked more like 12-15db on a 900) because they don't have enough light or time to set up lights. A production of this scale could afford as much light as they could have possible ever wanted or needed. So no, the gain was not an accident, it was intentional. From what I've heard, they liked the look of the sky with gain - both the color and the motion of the noise, so they shot that way. Film could never have resolved ANYTHING in that sky, so that effect could not have been achieved without video.

Clearly a lot of people have the opinion that the visual aspect of the film was bad, because it was very different from convention. Low budget productions try to fight the unlimited DOF and Video look of low-budget tools, trying desperately to look more like the big guys. But that shouldn't be important! There are many ways to look at production, two of which are craft and art. Many people go into a production trying to make their craft flawless as society deems flawless. Others go in trying to make something different or unique. Ok, people argue that video noise or sloppy whip-pans and zooms aren't creative, they're just sloppy. That's an opinion, and an opinion parallel to calling the work of Jackson Pollock braindead and childish. Certainly some people here are of that opinion, but try thinking in broader terms. Michael Mann could have made a perfect clone of the TV series, but chose not to. Mann could have made a perfect clone of the visual experience of every action movie ever made, and it would have satisfied 90% of the people who are complaining now. He chose not to. Granted anyone who breaks the rules will catch heat, until the rules catch up to reality. The rules state that video noise is bad and that pans should take 7 seconds, because video should look like film. Film is the pinnacle of all goodness.

I could go into the evolution of contemporary art, but I think it would be a waste. The parallel between art and the evolution of video is strikingly similar, especially as evidenced here. People like there to be a right and wrong when it comes to creativity. If something pushes the boundaries or uses a weakness of the medium as a visual technique... well they must be wrong! By its very nature, creativity has no right and wrong! Video does not need to be stuck in an age of television talking heads. Go to the MOMA or any modern art show. Go daily for a few years. Go to art lectures, learn about art. Then go see the movie again with an open mind.

Is video/film art or craft? Is it both?
Jaron Berman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 10th, 2006, 11:49 PM   #47
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 273
I say that Hollywood is more craft than art. But Jaron, you have more important points than that.

First, I argue that while different does not mean bad, it also does not mean good. Just because Mann/Beebe/a crew of 200 did one thing different does not mean that they are leading the future of film. Comparing Miami Vice or Michael Mann to Jackson Pollack is not fair. Pollack was avant garde. Miami Vice is almost entirely standard except for emphasizing the video look. The handheld camera, zooms and all the rest has been done so many times in cop shows that it's not only not on the cutting edge, it's derivative. If you take away the unlimited DOF and gain, it's a 100% standard movie, and not a good one at that. What's more, nothing with a $150 million budget is personal expression like painting. I hope even an idealist can admit that.

Second, the filmmakers' intentions and past experience do not absolve them from criticism. I agree that Mann has made some great films, and I'm sure that if I watched Memoirs of a Geisha, I would appreciate Beebe. But that doesn't mean that they are infallible giants of film. As an example: Francis Ford Coppola directed the Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola also directed Jack starring Robin Williams. These people can and do screw up, and it's fair to complain about it. Hollywood movies do often contain mistakes as well. If you pay close enough attention (and I don't, but I listen to DVD commentaries sometimes), you can see that essentially all of them have continuity mistakes. Is it unreasonable to think that someone might occasionally underexpose some video while shooting with a fairly new camera?

Third, it's a nice piece of idealism to say that there's no such thing as right and wrong in creativity, but popular opinion amounts to that. That's part of the point of this forum. I don't know about "any modern art show" - that's pretty broad - but if you go to MOMA you will see exactly what art critics and society have deemed right (and by omission perhaps what they have deemed wrong) in modern art. They don't let anything into MOMA just because someone happened to create it. Institutions like MOMA tell us that Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko and Van Gogh are right, and that we should like them. You are telling us that it's wrong to form an opinion about art, which for me defeats the purpose of experiencing art.

Finally I have a question for you (and this is serious): do you really think that in a movie that uses continuity editing, the filmmakers cut between noisy shots and clean shots on purpose as an aesthetic statement? If so, what statement do you think this makes?
Zach Mull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2006, 01:40 AM   #48
Hawaiian Shirt Mogul
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: northern cailfornia
Posts: 1,261
"Is it unreasonable to think that someone might occasionally underexpose some video while shooting with a fairly new camera?"

are suggesting that BEBE underexposed by accident rather then underexpose for effect ?

re: JACK ... Coppolla was a hired director = i'll pay you X $$$$$$$$$$ if you direct this script & you do NOT have final edit ... so was it the script or the director ?

if i remember correctly Van Gogh never sold a painting in his day .. in 1990 a van gogh painting sold for 82.5 million !! which in 1990 would be more then a BIG budget hollywood film ... maybe in 50-100 years Miami Vice might be considered "art" because of the way it used digital ???
i'm not so sure that Mann was out to create art .. entertainment YES .. ART not in my mind but perhaps others think of all cinema as ART ...
we'll find out very quick just how entertaining Miami Vice was ( box office ) .. it will take some years to see if it is/was ART ...
Don Donatello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2006, 05:33 AM   #49
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: UAE
Posts: 54
okay.. em.. i bet many of you here have watched the movie "28 days later" it was shot with canon xl1's and You get to Feel the realism.. it really does tingle your imagination. it gave me an experience.. it made the whole movie seem real. i could feel the man standing in an empty town... etc. i experienced something.

miami vice... i didnt experience anything. when the guy zooms.. he zooms when people are walking... nothing is going on. whereas if he zoomed really quickly when something was going on in a scene.. added some grain there.. in the dark.. yeah.. id buy it. but the guys were walking down the road and the zoom was stuttering. whoever shot those scenes should watch the news more often.. that way he'd know when to zoom in and when not to. when ure watching news or some documentary.. the camera man see's something exciting... he wants to see more so he zooms in as if he really wants to see whats going on.. THATS Experience.

i really dont care if it was shot on video or film, i just thought it would be interesting, i thought that maybe im in for a new experience, and i didn't.
Abdulla Bastaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #50
American Society of Cinematographers
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Mull
Is it unreasonable to think that someone might occasionally underexpose some video while shooting with a fairly new camera?
It's not unreasonable to think that a professional would occasionally underexpose some footage, not out of ignorance or inexperience with the camera, but because of the nature of filmmaking. You've got multiple cameras at night covering some scene and the director asks for some quick reframing of something, or to shoot in some other unlit area, and in the hustle to grab stuff, the exposure might not be perfect. Or sometimes with so many cameras, some crew member changed some setting and forgot to switch it back. Especially if what looks like another angle in a scene is actually a pick-up shot made months later.

But considering that they tested all the cameras for a month solid before shooting and then used them every day, for at least twelve hours a day, for months and months, well, the camera wouldn't be very "new" to you for very long. Besides, Beebe used these cameras on "Collateral" and I'm sure his engineer/DIT had even more experience with them.

Mann is not easy to deal with. One DP working in the daytime on a Mann shoot told me that Mann would start shooting whatever angles he was most interested in, maybe even an insert or a close-up, and then when the sun was gone and it was too dark to shoot, he'd suddenly want to get the master shot for the scene, which would then be underexposed and grainy compared to the coverage. He doesn't shoot wide first and then march in tighter, and he doesn't shoot in any order that makes continuity of lighting or exposure easier. Another DP told me that after they lit a location according to the pre-production plans and tech scout, on the day Mann would want to shoot in the oppposite direction instead where nothing was lit.
__________________
David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles
David Mullen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2006, 11:07 AM   #51
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 273
Thank you, David. The only silly thing to me about this thread is the idea that professionals can never make mistakes. Well, I suppose the second silly thing was my new camera theory, but you have a real explanation. Thanks!

Don, if we can trust the Lee's Movie Info numbers (and I don't know whether these are trustworthy) then Miami Vice is an unqualified failure at the box office. But I think DVD sales are a better measure of success for many movies now, so I agree, time will tell.
Zach Mull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2006, 06:06 PM   #52
American Society of Cinematographers
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 123
As long as movies are made by human beings, they will have flaws in them because no one is perfect.

But in the case of "Miami Vice", at times it so aggressively discontinuous, mismatched, that you have to believe that it was part of a general plan of attack and style, because a professional crew like that could have created more seamless work had they been instructed to do so, so while an occasional problematic shot could have been just a plain mistake, I think a greater proportion of them were part of the design of the movie to make it look rough, unsmooth, jarring, whether or not you or I agree it was successful.

Actually for the most part, I liked the mood of the movie and its hyper-digital aesthetic -- no, it wasn't particularly original except that it was for a multi-million dollar movie and not an episode of reality TV. But that in itself was a bold choice.

I wasn't so enamoured for the really poor shots, though, that looked like DV or surveillence camera stuff in terms of quality, but the "sharp-but-noisy" night stuff was fine for me, just like I liked the gain-boosted scene in "Collateral" in the empty office at night with the city lights silhouetting the actors.
__________________
David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles
David Mullen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #53
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 439
Definitely good info David, nice to know that directors at all levels can be overly demanding.

Zach, you have a number of good points, but I think you missed mine. I wasn't trying to idolize Michael Mann or Dion Bebe, I merely meant to bring up the fact that a lot of people here claimed their work on Miami Vice was sloppy and amateur... I wanted to say that they had done very nice work on other projects, so it would be unfair to say that their skills were lacking in general. It is completely legit to say that one does not like the application of their skills on this project, as you have.

When it comes to creativity, there really aren't rights or wrongs. The idealistic thing is to think that society does not create norms. I would never argue that society does not, by popularity, do exactly that. But to say that a norm of society is inherently right is, in my opinion, very closed-minded. Institutions like MoMA aren't important because someone is trying to tell us what is right and wrong with modern art. MoMA is important because it opens a dialogue that we must consider things not normally in our confort zone. Art is curated into collections of contemporary art because it is important, not right. If we are never exposed to collections that are/were provocative, we would never evolve creatively. And my point is that this idea applies universally among creative endeavors.

As an example again, Pollock used a combination of known techniques to create work that was uniquely his. I don't mean to compare the merits of Pollock vs. Bebe, so let's not start that. But in a broad sense, Bebe and Mann using known "cop film" style moves with new technology and their own motivations IS their own work. Does it look like anyone else's out there?

It is never wrong to form an opinion. My point is that to form an opinion, it is sometimes nice to consider a number of aspects beyond the immediate and easy. Forming opinions about craft is a far different affair, and in my sometimes inflammatory responses I was trying to open the discussion about this movie beyond a simple dissection of craft. I don't know why they chose to use cuts between noisy and clean shots, and I could never speak for the artists based on my opinions. But more importantly is the consideration that like much of modern/contemporary art, what we like and what is important in the evolution of visual elements may not always be the same pieces. Like it or not, the visual style of Miami Vice is a departure from virtually every other movie made on that scale. It may not be the most successful use of that particular visual language, but the fact that it ventured into creatively different waters is important...not right or wrong.
Jaron Berman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2006, 04:24 PM   #54
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Western Oregon
Posts: 138
er..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaron Berman
the fact that it ventured into creatively different waters is important...not right or wrong.
i think the point that some of us are trying to make is that it is not creatively different waters. the style that mann chose is the same style that thousands of amateur student films have been using for the past 10 years. i know because i've seen and made alot of them. just because he applied that aesthetic to a big-budget film and chose it willingly does not make it anymore creative. he simply made a stylistic choice and executed it, in my opinion, poorly. i say poorly because his 'film' happened to take on alot of negative characteristics of those amateur films! BAD ACTING (mann's responsibility), BAD DIALOGUE (mann's responsibility), TOO LONG/BAD EDITING (mann's responsibility).

and i also think that creative choices can very much be 'right or wrong' when they're related to a commercial product, which miami vice is. if a furniture designer created a chair with a giant rusty spike in the headrest, it could be considered a work of art if it was sitting behind glass in an art gallery somewhere. but if that same designer mass-produced the chair and forced people to sit in it, then his 'creative decision' could most definitely be called 'wrong.' i would not say that miami vice transcended its product placement for 'captain morgans' to become of art. however, i would say that 'heat' and 'the insider' are 'works of art'. just as some chairs are indeed works of art.

its as if a great painter has all of a sudden discovered a box of crayons for the first time and gone, 'wow, these are great.' now most people grew-up drawing with crayons and consider them inappropriate for painting a serious picture, but this guy (to the horror of alot of his peers) applies them to everything he creates from now on. what's worse, he abandons alot of what he's demonstrated he knows about what makes a good piece of art..
..i'm not saying you can't create a work of art with crayons, because its been done.. but most of time what you draw just ends up looking silly. and when you spend a $million dollars copying the 'visual style' of a 3 year old.. er...
Eric Gorski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 16th, 2006, 05:20 AM   #55
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 261
Very very well said Eric. I agree with you all the way. I am wondering though how you make a movie look this bad. This isnít sarcastic. I am really wondering what settings u would use on ur camera. If you are using 24p how do u make it look like 60i. Is it a shutter speed thing? I film shorts using an XL2 and I have tried to make my video look like this but still be 24p and havnt been able to. I know how to make it look like film but I cant make it look like video LOL.
Alan James is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2006, 09:08 PM   #56
Tourist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mexico city
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Gorski
..i'm not saying you can't create a work of art with crayons, because its been done.. but most of time what you draw just ends up looking silly. and when you spend a $million dollars copying the 'visual style' of a 3 year old.. er...

So, according to you every movie of a certain budget needs to look sharp, crisp, or a certain way??? I hope you're not a cinematographer, you're closing your options with that.

I think what both Mann and Beebe did is extremly good, maybe because this is a video forum, but all the cinematographers I know all over the world, including me, loved the film's photography as much as Collateral, even if they are very different. If you don't like the movie, hey it's your right, but judging aesthetic decision as mistakes is not very intelligent, specially if both are a lot more talented than you and most, if not all people here, David is the only one at that level.
Pablo Villegas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2006, 09:13 PM   #57
Tourist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mexico city
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Weber
I have to say that I did like Collateral better as a HD film that Miami Vice.
They were totally diferent, on collateral, even if it was shot on HD and the night sky is somewhat similar, the look was achive dwith very soft light, and low contrast, on Miami Vice the style was lot diferent with hard contrats, single source un softened sidelighting, pushing the HD with gain, etc... They are totally diferent.
Pablo Villegas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2006, 07:40 AM   #58
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Aus
Posts: 3,884
"miami vice... i didnt experience anything. when the guy zooms.. he zooms when people are walking... nothing is going on. whereas if he zoomed really quickly when something was going on in a scene.. added some grain there.. in the dark.. yeah.. id buy it. but the guys were walking down the road and the zoom was stuttering. whoever shot those scenes should watch the news more often.. that way he'd know when to zoom in and when not to. when ure watching news or some documentary.. the camera man see's something exciting... he wants to see more so he zooms in as if he really wants to see whats going on.. THATS Experience."

Have a look at Serenity and the Firefly series... a perfect use of zooms within a shot is done manually as well as digitally... with deliberate "hunting errors"
this is what makes these shows FEEL real... but it seems that the inadvertant behaviour of camera operator was "too staged" in this regard for this movie and they advertantly tried for this and because of their concious effort in including these kind of shots, they felt "strained"

As for the colour grading.. it seems that Mann has watched too many CSI Miami episodes.. theyve toned CSI down now, but to me, the "Bad Boys 2" colour scheme was far more impressive for this harsh "environmental" look and vibe.
Miami Vice as art? No.. it was never that.. sure enough it was a serious TV show.. despite its tackiness... but in the end filmaking IS an artform, so IMO its all relative to the viewers perception
Peter Jefferson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2006, 11:46 AM   #59
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 439
Eric, when it comes to that analogy of the chair, I think once again you're disproving your point. A chair with an iron spike, which is INTENDED as art, will never be shoved down the throat of the consumer. Sure, an artist could mass-produce a piece like that, but even then it would not be wrong. It might not sell well, but it wouldn't be wrong. Irresponsible, maybe, but again I think you're trying a bit too hard to draw an impossible line of correctness between creativity that you like and do not like.

One point you make which needs to be addressed is the point about creativity and commercialism being immisible. Do you own an ipod? Do you own anything in your home that ventures outside of strictly utilitarian design to be slightly "nice" looking? Something can be mass-marketed and at the same time visually interesting and different.

Take the chair again. You say you have no problem with a chair made under the premise of "art," a chair that has a rusty spike. Let's say you mis-calculated, and all of a sudden MoMA contacted you to add the chair to their gift shop catalog. The chairs sell 10,000 copies each month, and people display them in their homes, calling you the next coming of art. Was the chair wrong to begin with? Is it wrong now that it's a commercial success? Let's say you made the chair for K-Mart instead of your own art. K-Mart realized that it could appeal as a chair, but they could sell it better in their decorations department...as art. So now you sell a million every month. Curators from galleries start calling you and wanting you to appear with your brilliant piece. You intended the chair as a commercial success, eventhough you put some creative thought into the design of it. But people found brilliance in the design of your spiked chair, they flipped out. Would you argue with them?

Are you familiar with an artist named Andy Warhol?

Everyone has an opinion about what visual elements work and do not work, and that carries across any medium. Peter makes some good points about his experience with the movie. He disagreed with the choices, and to some extent I agree with his points. I know it sounds like I thought the movie was perfect, but that's not at all true. It certainly had flaws, but I think the importance of it goes beyond whether they pulled-off the look flawlessly or not. That would be an argument about craft, which I choose not to entertain. To draw a line in the sand and say certain things are right and certain things are wrong... well it's a bit closed minded. Peter's right, Miami Vice was never intended as art. But in the most recent iteration, the visual look took a HUGE departure from what has been done on the big screen. Sure, Eric may have inadvertantly perfected this look years ago on student films, but sadly most of us probably haven't seen those.

My point initially about looking from an art perspective was to engage dialogue more critically than "it was crap, I could have done better." A urinal never knew it would revolutionize the art world, but in 1964 Marcel Duchamp changed the face of contemporary art thought using just that. I don't mean to draw a direct parallel to Miami Vice, but occasionally people present work that is so far different from the accepted norm that it creates more than just a stir. I think already, box office numbers aside, Miami Vice has created that stir within the industry.
Jaron Berman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2006, 05:43 PM   #60
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 273
This is a great thread, but I think it's still missing one thing: can anyone on here who liked Miami Vice offer a detailed explanation of what worked for him/her in this movie? There are a ton of detailed posts in this thread criticizing the film for its look, editing, performances, story and about everything else outside of production design and catering. I reviewed the older posts, and I don't see anything positive about anything except the look, and some of those posts are guarded (i.e. the closest they come to offering positive comments is saying that Miami Vice is different or will be influential, not that it's a good film). Can anyone offer a fresh perspective from the positive side (or at worst a rebuttal to the negative posts that deal with things other than the look)?

I agree with Jaron (and I think Don was getting at this too) that Miami Vice might be important in the long term. It did look different than anything I've seen in a theater, and I think other Hollywood types could apply its lessons without spending $135 million or whatever it cost to produce this. I could see it showing up in film history textbooks as a turning point or the start of a movement in mainstream cinema, but I still don't imagine many people looking back on it fondly as anything but a different-looking movie. The shots of the private jet in front of the clouds were gorgeous, but did they have any meaning beyond that? Reviewing this thread makes me think I would have been more excited by watching Beebe's month worth of test footage than the final film. I'd like an argument that says I'm wrong.

I was thinking about this because I watched the French Connection again this week, and it took me about 2 seconds to realized that Miami Vice is a direct descendent of this movie in terms of theme and aesthetic (if anyone on here has not seen the French Connection, it's a movie about undercover narcotics officers who blur the line between cop and criminal, and William Friedkin and his crew shot it with a bunch of faux documentary techniques that were then novel in Hollywood, if not in France and elsewhere - there, and I didn't even have to ruin the ending). The French Connection works for me because it has an overall story, performances and an editing style that fit with its look. It has a ton of handheld camera, shaky tracking (the commentary says it's an operator in a wheelchair) and even zooms - just like Miami Vice (and about every cop show I see). But the French Connection edited that doc-style footage with heavy use of ellipsis, which made it convincing for me. It's always a little disorienting, as if the camera op and the editor are always trying just as hard to find where Doyle and Russo are as I am while I'm watching - and Friedkin would have you believe that they were. It also had writing (or maybe improvisation, or maybe story editing) that matched the overall aesthetic. Doyle never explains what he's talking about when he's badgering suspects about Poughkeepsie or what it means when he tosses a straw hat in the back of his undercover car. This feels wildly different than Colin Farrell explaining to every five minutes how drug trading works or what it means that his phone is jammed. I think this is a fair comparison because the movies are so similar in their concept.

That said, I buy into the faux documentary look of the French Connection because it fits as a whole, and I don't buy into Miami Vice one bit. Can anyone explain why it works? Can anyone offer an explanation of how cutting noisy shots with clean shots makes an effective statement beyond "this will remind you that you're watching a movie?" Please, someone speak out in favor.
Zach Mull is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Awake In The Dark

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:09 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network