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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old March 7th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #16
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IMO the image quality of motion pictures started to go down hill in the mid to late 90s.
I agree. In the 1890's they really new what they were doing. It all went pear-shaped when they moved from single perf 29mm, then talkies and colour. These guys today, with there high dynamic range, extreme low contrast, super fast grainless stocks and their 4k telecine, they just don't know they're born.

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Old March 7th, 2007, 08:00 PM   #17
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What about safety film, could the rise of that have affected looks in the 1980s?

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Old March 7th, 2007, 08:41 PM   #18
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What about safety film, could the rise of that have affected looks in the 1980s?

heath
Both acetate film from the 20's then polyester in the 40's was used to replace nitrate film stocks, so I don't think that would account for the differences in the 80s.

I think it is just shooting style and trying to be different. Like it or not!

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Old March 7th, 2007, 09:01 PM   #19
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Good point.

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Old March 7th, 2007, 10:41 PM   #20
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IMO I have seen a lot of newer productions and even tv commercials going for that soft lighting/high color of the mid to late 80's. While they technically do look rich and colorful, there is an earthiness and smoothness missing that the true 80's films have. To me it’s like comparing a Photoshop enhanced D2X file printed with a digital printer vs. an optically printed color slide. The look is completely different.

It makes you wonder- If it was really that easy to match, why haven’t I seen anything that looks completely like it.....I think there's some kind of conspiracy going on here :-)

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Old March 8th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #21
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IMO I have seen a lot of newer productions and even tv commercials going for that soft lighting/high color of the mid to late 80's. While they technically do look rich and colorful, there is an earthiness and smoothness missing that the true 80's films have. To me its like comparing a Photoshop enhanced D2X file printed with a digital printer vs. an optically printed color slide. The look is completely different.

It makes you wonder- If it was really that easy to match, why havent I seen anything that looks completely like it.....I think there's some kind of conspiracy going on here :-)
John, I know what you're getting at. But you can't really compare a D2X digital print with an old cyberchrome print - they're two different things. One is chicken and the other is beef.

I recently shot a portrait, of a leading politician here in the UK, on a Hasselblad medium format camera with a 33MP digital back. I had just over an inch depth-of-field, yet his eyes are so sharp you can almost see his soul. Too sharp!

In terms of 80s film and TV being visually superior to modern movies, I simply can't agree. Not every DOP in the 80s measured up to Vittorio Storaro or Chris Menges. Sure, many DOPs and directors today have too many toys to play with, but the technology and training is far superior than it was 25 years ago.

I truly believe there is some seriously good work going on out there. Indeed, I think American TV in particular is going through a purple patch, the like of which there has never been in terms of consistent quality programming: Sopranos, Lost, 24, Prison Break, Grey's Anatomy, House...

Just my 10p worth.

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Old March 8th, 2007, 01:16 PM   #22
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****In terms of 80s film and TV being visually superior to modern movies, I simply can't agree****

IMO "superior" from an artistic standpoint. Its probably less superior in terms of "numbers". The 80's stuff has "soul power". I actually just ordered the Silicon Imaging mini, and if you can indeed get the 80's look from digital then I am absolutely determined to get it. The lack of grain is obviously the biggest draw back, but I would be happy with 85-90%.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #23
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"superior" from an artistic standpoint
Today the DOP has far, far, far more artistic controls than 25 years ago. Today, a DOP can previsualize the look of every scene and lock that look from the set to the screen. If they choose the wrong route, well that's down to their lack of artistry.

Without getting in to a vinyl versus CD type of debate I am curious to know what these great 80's films and TV shows were that you talk of; with a few exceptions I just remember big hair, ludicrous make-up, nihilism, selfishness, the rise of the blockbuster (and thus the end of great cinema) and bad, bad music. Magnum PI was good though...

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Old March 8th, 2007, 02:53 PM   #24
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Yeah I gotta disagree with the original poster as well.


There are definitely some over-the-top visuals on some movies/shows, all the new horror flicks, the CSIs, all that stuff, but you have stuff these days that is just gorgeous to look at without all the crazy/gritty/gloomy stuff mentioned --- Nip/Tuck is particularly well done, a lot of the law dramas/cop shows have a very naturalistic yet appealing feel, many commercials, etc.

Compare this to the lower contrast/flat light, "hard light right on the face" stuff going on in a lot of 80s movies/shows.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 02:59 PM   #25
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Without getting in to a vinyl versus CD type of debate I am curious to know what these great 80's films and TV shows were that you talk of

Liam.

To name a few- "Legend" 1985, "Big" 1989, "Ghostbusters" 1984, "Beverly Hills Cop" 1984, "Starwars Return of the Jedi" 1983, "Weekend at Bernies" 1989, "Lucas" 1986.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 03:51 PM   #26
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To name a few- "Legend" 1985, "Big" 1989, "Ghostbusters" 1984, "Beverly Hills Cop" 1984, "Starwars Return of the Jedi" 1983, "Weekend at Bernies" 1989, "Lucas" 1986.
Interesting choices. I'd have gone for; "The Last Emporer", "Chariots Of Fire", "Local Hero", On Golden Pond, "Ran", "Ragtime", "A Passage To India", "Gandhi", "ET", "Excalibur". But the winner surely has to be "Heaven's Gate".

Just a stab in the dark, but are you about 37 years-old?

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Old March 8th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #27
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***Just a stab in the dark, but are you about 37 years-old?***

LOL! No I am 25. I think growing up around the films may have influenced my taste to a point, but as someone said- The newer stocks and lenses are starting to look like super clean digital.

Also, Quantum Leap is a great example for the TV catagory.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #28
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LOL! No I am 25.
And there was me thinking I was Sherlock Holmes.

Quantum Leap was a good show, but didn't offer much in terms of photography; lots of big hair though.

You can add "The Killing Fields, "The Mission", Angel Heart and "Raging Bull" to my list. None of them contemporary 80's films, but all with stunning photography. Can't think of any decent telly, I must have been out.

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Old March 8th, 2007, 05:24 PM   #29
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Nate Weaver- Quote*****Then: Chemistry manipulation (and not much, at that), and primary color printing manipulation.****

Charles Papert- Quote****I'm not suggesting that clean always means best; certainly the grit and grain of certain movies from that era (and my favorite, the American films from the early 70's) are intrinsically linked to the content, and are in some ways tough to duplicate today. Kodak has been pushing the envelope in a last-ditch race to stay relevant in the face of digital, and some feel that their stocks are beginning to emulate a hyper-clean digital look!****

I appreciate the feedback from you guys, this definitely makes sense in regards to my original question.


Liam Hall- Quote****And there was me thinking I was Sherlock Holmes.

Quantum Leap was a good show, but didn't offer much in terms of photography; lots of big hair though.****


Not sure how to take this. Content aside, IMO the final result of the 80s film look was dramatic. It is my personal opinion as an artist.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #30
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Not sure how to take this.
With a smile. I mean no offense.

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Content aside, IMO the final result of the 80s film look was dramatic. It is my personal opinion as an artist.
John, I've given you a list of fifteen films from the 80's all with superb photography. All with different looks. Each achieved in different ways with the technology of the day. I don't think there was a definitive 80's look. For every over-saturated, soft-focus film you could name, I could give you one with a contrary look.

I agree with you that many directors and DP's rush into their 2k telecine and overdo the color correction, but that will calm down: and to be fair it's just like zoom lenses in the 60's.

I think your argument is slightly flawed because the movies you mention are much more contrasty than many films today. Since Kodak brought out Vision2 with its wider dynamic range, lower grain structure and more natural colors etc, etc, it should make it easier to produce the kind of look you're after - just bung on a promist.

Cheers,

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