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    Stylized Lightings in different eras
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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    I screenshot frames that have striking or unusual lightings, and I love to see how lighting style and technology has evolved.

    I thought I'd start posting some to this thread, and you can feel free to do the same.

    Rewatching the Khan episode from Star Trek TOS tonight (aired 1967) - I love their use of hard, theatrical lighting and also the rich colors from the period costumes/film/grading:

    Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 12.49.33 AM.jpg

    And it's amusing how much her CU lighting differed from the wide shot that it cut from:

    Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 12.59.57 AM.jpg

    And later, same episode:

    Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 9.33.42 AM.jpg
    Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 9.31.41 AM.jpg
    Last edited by ahalpert; 07-05-2020 at 06:35 AM.
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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    I would suggest you study the DPs of the classic age of cinema, they are the ones who wrote the book that we're all still reading from really.

    This is the list you want. https://www.imdb.com/list/ls008698075/ Fire up your streaming services or hunt their work down. As a producer who worked on nothing but documentaries and
    shorts on the Golden Age of Cinema for five years, it's getting more and more difficult to find these films to watch unless you are willing to hunt down DVDs.
    Few people today under 50 will watch B&W films, their loss. Although more esoteric, you probably should take a look at the German Expressionism and Weimar Cinema
    as they also had a very bold and unique visual style in their cinematography. My favorite of this era is "Pandora's Box" by GW Pabst, starring Louise Brooks. The cinematography
    is outstanding and very beautiful. Here's the trailer for a 2018 UK theatrical release, pretty impressive for a 91 year old film! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4EzcJPqAGg

    Sol Polito, Greg Toland, Bert Glennon, Jack Cardiff, Harold Rosson, these are the guys who basically invented and refined modern cinematography.
    If you start with these guys, they are "Genesis" and all of the styles of the 40s, 50s, even into the 70s evolved from what they did in the 30s.
    And of course, you need to take some detours into French New Wave, Italian Art Films, Film Noir to see who the breakouts/styles were of those eras.
    If you are into music, those three styles/eras were basically the "Punk" movements of modern film.
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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input, puredrifting. I've seen about 1/3 of the movies on that IMDB list but I should see them all again. I had film history courses that took me from Gold Diggers of 1933 and the Twisted Cross to Bicycle Thief and Breathless to Dogme 95, wong kar wai... But I'm sure I'd get more from them today. I'm getting a lot more out of my current Star Trek viewings both in terms of cinematography and writing/directing/acting.

    Interesting - apparently the Oscar's had separate best cinematography awards for B/W films and for Color films from 1936-1966.

    I was thinking about getting a Criterion Channel subscription after I finish my current Star Trek marathon. But looking through their offerings, they're missing many of the titles on that imdb list. It will be a hunt.


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    When I was working in a video section of a large electronics store in 1986-87, I tried recommending black and white films. I got scoffed at.

    PS. Criterion has the "The Ascent" by Larisa Shepit'ko and should have the restored version of "I am Cuba" by Mikhail Kalatozov.


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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Yeah, color is not like 3D. People actually want it.

    But there was Roma, The Artist, recent B/W releases. It is a different mode of imagery.

    People who won't watch B/W are depriving themselves, just like people who won't read subtitles.


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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    When I was working in a video section of a large electronics store in 1986-87, I tried recommending black and white films. I got scoffed at.

    PS. Criterion has the "The Ascent" by Larisa Shepit'ko and should have the restored version of "I am Cuba" by Mikhail Kalatozov.
    Gold Diggers is a very fun one of that era.

    "I am Cuba" is jaw dropping, some of the most advanced, sophisticated visual language in all of cinema. It's no wonder Scorsese got the restoration done
    and did all of the bonus features, that film is just incredible. Scosese was actually the one who told me to see it when I interviewed him for a different
    project in his screening room.

    I have not seen Roma yet, although the wife watched it and loved it. The Artist was also amazingly well done, that film put a huge smile on my face, being
    a huge silent film nut. When I had the FX9 a few months ago, all of the interviews I shot were for a friend who is working on the definitve Douglas Fairbanks
    documentary. His wife happens to be the author of the foremost book on Fairbanks and their home is a veritable Fairbanks museum.

    I completely agree, those who shun B&W cinema are missing out on some of the most compelling films ever made.
    It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
    G.A.S. destroys lives. Stop buying gear that doesn't make you money.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    I screenshot frames that have striking or unusual lightings, and I love to see how lighting style and technology has evolved.

    I thought I'd start posting some to this thread, and you can feel free to do the same.

    Rewatching the Khan episode from Star Trek TOS tonight (aired 1967) - I love their use of hard, theatrical lighting and also the rich colors from the period costumes/film/grading:

    Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 12.49.33 AM.jpg

    And it's amusing how much her CU lighting differed from the wide shot that it cut from:

    Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 12.59.57 AM.jpg

    And later, same episode:

    Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 9.33.42 AM.jpg
    Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 9.31.41 AM.jpg
    Also, the heavy soft filtration used on her CU, as well. I used to notice this a lot more in "older" shows/movies than I do today. Wide shots and even CU's of the male actors were generally unfiltered(or very very lightly done) but the female actors had obvious filtration.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    Yeah, color is not like 3D. People actually want it.

    But there was Roma, The Artist, recent B/W releases. It is a different mode of imagery.

    People who won't watch B/W are depriving themselves, just like people who won't read subtitles.
    Getting off topic (surprise surprise), but I hate subtitles in a movie or show(I'm not talking about the quick occasional use). You're watching a movie. It's a visual medium. You are supposed to be watching what is going on, on the screen. Instead of paying attention and catching a subtle telling glance that someone may have thrown or visual clue to something in the background, you're reading. Perfect example: Inglorious Bastards. There was ZERO reason for every scene that had German speaking characters to be subtitled. The Hunt for Red October showed an easy way around that. When the Russian speaking character were around Americans that didn't speak Russian, there were subtitles, but when it was just Russians speaking amongst themselves and you were "in the circle", it was English. There have been a few "foreign" series on Netflix where the native language spoken is not English and they have dubbed them. Yeah, the lip-sync is off sometimes, especially with words that don't fit the same time span to speak, but I'd much rather have that than an entire show/movie subtitled. At that point, you're just reading a book on-screen with something going on in the background. It totally defeats the point of MOTION PICTURES. A great modern-day parallel is someone reading a text and replying while driving. What are you paying attention to? Even if you didn't wreck or have some type of accident, what color was the car you just passed? Wait, what car? Exactly...


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    In my yuf, all foreign films were dubbed. Even in musicals ... although in "Csardasfürstin", singing was from the original German soundtrack. But these days, with much of Europe being fluent in English, there's a tendency to leave the original sound in.

    In "Der Untergang", Bruno Ganz's Hitler would have been disastrous in any overdub.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Run&Gun View Post
    Getting off topic (surprise surprise), but I hate subtitles in a movie or show(I'm not talking about the quick occasional use). You're watching a movie. It's a visual medium. You are supposed to be watching what is going on, on the screen. Instead of paying attention and catching a subtle telling glance that someone may have thrown or visual clue to something in the background, you're reading. Perfect example: Inglorious Bastards. There was ZERO reason for every scene that had German speaking characters to be subtitled. The Hunt for Red October showed an easy way around that. When the Russian speaking character were around Americans that didn't speak Russian, there were subtitles, but when it was just Russians speaking amongst themselves and you were "in the circle", it was English. There have been a few "foreign" series on Netflix where the native language spoken is not English and they have dubbed them. Yeah, the lip-sync is off sometimes, especially with words that don't fit the same time span to speak, but I'd much rather have that than an entire show/movie subtitled. At that point, you're just reading a book on-screen with something going on in the background. It totally defeats the point of MOTION PICTURES. A great modern-day parallel is someone reading a text and replying while driving. What are you paying attention to? Even if you didn't wreck or have some type of accident, what color was the car you just passed? Wait, what car? Exactly...
    I consider cinema to be not simply a visual medium but an audiovisual medium. Even silent films are typically greatly enhanced by the addition of sound. I prefer to watch any cinematic work in its original language form, because in that way I get to experience the most of the original production's creative aspects. The tones of the actors' voices, as well as the original sound mix, put me more into the story. I find dubbed films all too often have voice actors whose vocal qualities are mismatched to the visual and personality aspects of the characters they are playing. And then there's the sound mixing! One of the first things to take me out of the story and be aware I'm watching a film is to hear lines that are obviously being recorded in a sound booth, not sounding like they are taking place on set. Watching films that are entirely (or largely) dubbed in post, I can get used to the sound when the dialogue is in the original language. But when it's being dubbed in a different language, the mismatch between spoken words and mouth movements just amplifies whatever negative aspects are there, such as vocal quality and sound mixing. All that being said, I greatly appreciate subtitling that is done with the viewer in mind (try to make it easier to determine which character is saying which line, and make the screen time match the time needed for reading--why in the world am I given 2 seconds to read a 20 word line, and 10 seconds to read the word "Yes"?).

    Back on the topic: It seems that, generally, black and white cinematography was more "artistic" than color until sometime in the late-60s/early-70s. By that I mean that it wasn't until the latter era that color cinematography (in general) let go of the high key lighting with its harsh and/or unrealistic shadows. In black and white, artful cinematography used the shadows to help make the image. But in color, in the first several decades, the shadows were an unwelcome byproduct of the amount of light needed to expose the film, and it took a while to perfect lighting techniques to equal the artistry of the good black and white images. Instead of helping make up the image, the shadows seemed to be contaminating the image.

    At least, that's my opinion...


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