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Old May 6th, 2012, 09:23 PM   #1
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Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

Alrighty.....

So i took my 12 year old out to see the hunger games finally...Great story, but disappointed at the cinema.

I swear to God, they must've been shooting APS-H or something. The depth of field, and shakiness reminded me of a bloody demo reel, and not a film.
Most of the movie must've been shot with .95 aperture...If this was a vimeo sample, i wouldn't mind. But i don't enjoy watching this kind of thing on the big screen.

Maybe i should just huddle into a corner, watch some classic films that tell a good story, come to terms with my age, and watch the world go by....I'm definitely not liking where things are going with cinema.

Last edited by Peter Manojlovic; May 6th, 2012 at 10:44 PM.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 05:33 AM   #2
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Re: Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

I had a meeting with a producer a couple of months ago to discuss working as the cinematographer for an Indie feature. We discussed camera choices and the overall look he wanted for the film. He stated that he wanted to use the Canon 5d and everything would be shallow dof. I asked more questions to try and find out why he wanted that look for the entire film and he told me that it was more cinematic and professional. I worked to educate him that shallow dof shots should be used with intent and when they add something important to the scene. Otherwise the dof should be closer to what our natural vision provides. Anything else will become an burden to the audience. I was unsuccessful in convincing him. I had to make the tough choice to no do the project because I didn't share his vision.

Just because you can shoot that way doesn't mean you must or even should shoot that way. I have been asked several times why I'm shooing f/8+ on my F3 when I should be shooting wide open to get that shallow look. I tell them that with what we are shooting now the background adds context to what the person is saying. Making it unrecognizable puts all the weight of the scene on the foreground and for THIS scene isn't appropriate.

I really hope its more of a fad and not a sign of where things are going. If that look becomes main stream and ingrained then we are all going to be enjoying the movies less.

Thats how I feel about it anyway.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 04:58 PM   #3
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Re: Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

You don't want things like knowledge, history & experience get in the way! :)

I think there is a growing fear that SDOF is the only way to differentiate from a cell phone camera in many folks eyes.

The look is great, but in context.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #4
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Re: Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

I am constantly battling a friend (fellow shooter) on this. He wants to shoot wide open all the time even on his Steadicam. The last project we worked on together I didnt use most of his footage cause it was out of focus. He's hired me for a gig in a couple of weeks and told me to not even bring my XF300 even though i will be operating my crane for most of the shoot. He want "that look" and I told him that it's going to cause focus issues if I shoot the way he wants me to. I do have a Manfrotto USB focus controller but operating that plus a motion control head on a crane is going to be a PITA!! This is a live performance situation NOT a shot by shot carefully blocked and repeatable project.
We will see!
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Old May 26th, 2012, 06:00 PM   #5
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Re: Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

Peter, you and I feel the same. I was looking forward to seeing a visual treat after reading all three books. Also, the filming in and around Ashville NC , Pisgah National Forest, North Fork Reservoir and Dupont State Forest, which is a visually stunning area, really raised my level of expectations. Unfortunately, what a disappointment. They could have filmed it on a back lot in California. None of the local ambiance came through and I had a headache from out of focus and shaky camera work. I will not be drawn in to paying to see the next one in the series. This could have been a visual treat. It is sad when the advertising posters look better than the movie.
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Last edited by Mark Williams; May 26th, 2012 at 06:36 PM.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #6
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Re: Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

I'm with you guys--not exactly a visual treat, no. I wasn't a fan of the lighting style/overall look either.

I had to dissect the visuals of the film as I was hired to shoot a (let me see if I can get this straight) a parody of the "Hunger Games" trailer to promote a book called "Hunger Pains" that is a parody of the "Hunger Games" book. Holy cow. Anyway--I had to beat up my poor operator, who is a tremendously stable handheld shooter, by constantly telling him to shake the camera more to emulate the look of the trailer...

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Old June 1st, 2012, 10:53 AM   #7
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Re: Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

I am not a cameraman's bootlace, more of a consumer of finished product. I did buy the story and engage with the principle characters. Post-apocalyptic is a favourite genre.

To me it seemed just a damned shame when all that value-adding camera equipment and genuinely photogenic talent was around, to just go either lazy or whatever arty hand-held and shake everything up just because they could. Surely they were not under the hammer of an impossible schedule or maybe they were?

I won't go any furthur. I don't have the skills or the judgement to do so validly. I don't think anyone sets out to aggravate an audience but make a judgement which seems fine at the time.

What I can say with honesty is that they did a better overall job than I could hope to. I surely would have been as much in control as a dog running after a boomerang on ice and hoping to both catch it and stay on its feet.

Last edited by Bob Hart; June 1st, 2012 at 11:09 AM. Reason: error
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Old June 1st, 2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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Re: Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

Handheld/shakycam adds "edginess" and "drama", and can make the viewer feel more like they are "in the action".

Sure it's a bit annoying when one has studied how to keep a camera STEADY and well framed, but when you think about it, it's another "effect", and takes a bit of skill to execute while maintaining reasonably proper framing. I can almost see Charles gritting his teeth trying to get the "perfect shake" after so many years of seeking the sublime fluidity <wink>!

I never noticed that a cameraman was "wandering" in a shot until I was on the shooting end, trying to keep the camera "on target", now I catch it quite a bit, particularly when there's supposed to be a bit of tension, or edge to the movie/TV show...

It's sort of like how you can tell when the camera dude just got an SLR and rack/shallow DoF is the latest "toy"... or when you watch old shows and can tell when certain keyboards were "new" because the soundtracks all have the "same" vibe...

First time something is used it's "innovative", artistic, "genius", second time maybe "novel", but after a while... trite, derivative, or perhaps even annoying...
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Old June 1st, 2012, 06:45 PM   #9
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Re: Hunger Games.......My eyes hurt!!!!!

Well if its a learned skill then I would say they failed with the Hunger Games. Looked like a bunch of inexperienced camera operators running around willy-nilly to me.
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