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Slightly Tilted Horizon in BR 2049 (3 replies and 7 comments)

Tom B.
2 months ago
Tom B. 2 months ago

Hello Roger and Friends,

I watched a video that summarized various cinematographic techniques used in BR 2049, and one of the things mentioned was that the horizon is often not level in many of the shots.

The video demonstrates this by overlaying a perfectly horizontal line over the horizon lines in the footage. While this unevenness is technically true, the tilt is so minuscule, perhaps 1 or 2 degrees. I have a hard time believing that this was intentional, and to me it just seems like over-analysis, nevertheless, I found the idea intriguing, so I must ask:

Roger, or anyone who has knowledge of the topic, was there an intentional decision to make the shots in the film slightly tilted?

- Tom

 

Here is the video:

https://youtu.be/lF5lmYgoYEM?t=27»

Mike
2 months ago
Mike 2 months ago

Very interesting question.

I always get very suspicious when I see or read about a film being analysed and have to ask myself ‘why’?  If these ‘oddities’ are in the film then they were intentional but I never noticed them. I have only seen the film once and that was in a 450 seat multi screen cinema that had a reasonably sized screen, I was the only one in the auditorium so technically I was the sole audience in the 4pm show. This meant that I could concentrate on eating my popcorn without disturbing anyone else and ofcourse they could not disturb me. I sat under the projector in the center aisle, I have never been so comfortable in a cinema, I settled down to watch the film. 

The images were very impressive but I could not understand the storyline, I found it confusing. Perhaps, I should have seen the original first to fully appreciate the film but I didn’t so I was lost in a confusing mass of images and sound effects. The dialogue was lost in the haze of multiple base speakers which vibrated the auditorium, infact these speakers dominated nearly every scene and the stereo image bounced from one wall to the other without any degree of subtlety causing nausea.

If the horizontal plane was tilted I was too occupied to notice it.

Narrators some times like the sound of their own voices so I do not take his opinion seriously. Obviously, Roger knows the answer to the question.

David W
2 months ago

Of course the composition was intentional, I believe that Roger and Denis had 2 months to discuss ideas and visuals. I think the YouTuber was overanalyzing, I don't remember seeing any tilted horizons.

I had close to the same experience Mike. My dad took me to see it cause he's a big fan of the original. I didn't understand the story nor did I try to, nonetheless I was entranced. Ive seen it at least 20 times now.

Mike
2 months ago

Now this is interesting. What is so intriguing about the this film that compels you to part with your money 20 times? I did like the photography although the images were far too eleborate for the script. I found the film very depressing and far too dark and dismal for my taste. I enjoyed the popcorn though. The cinema is next to the beach so I managed to get a few hours in the sun so as to recover my thoughts otherwise I would have committed suicide. More than once is enough for me.

David W
2 months ago

Well I only saw it on the big screen once, I have been streaming it on HBO. My first viewing, it was just a series of beautiful images, sounds, and acting. Once I went home to watch the original, things started to click, I rewatched 2049 with a little more knowledge of the story. It wasn't until the 5th viewing till I pieced together the puzzle and everything made sense. Once this happens you start to realize just how rich the story is, I implore you Mike to watch the original so that you can fully understand the story.

Many cinematographers have expressed that they would rather have their work go unnoticed and blend into the story. After seeing 2049 I partially disagree this statement, because it is possible for someone to notice and enjoy the cinematography and still be encapsulated with the story, and I don't see why it is a bad thing for a viewer to leave the cinema saying, wow the cinematography was wonderful.

Yes it is a very dark and dismal film, but I love dark and dismal films! Films with heavy drama are far more powerful and thought provoking than other genres in my opinion. Perhaps my love for darker films is why Roger's work resonates with me so much, the majority of his films have a similar tone ie. 2049, 1984, sicario, prisoner's, NCFOM, shawshank, jesse james, the list goes on.

Mike
2 months ago

David, you have convinced me to buy the BR dvd, I will watch it as you suggested, maybe a second or third viewing might do the trick. But teaching an old dog new tricks may be too much to ask but I will try. Perhaps Roger could loan you his Oscar for a while as a reward for promoting his film.

David W
2 months ago

I hope it grows on you, like all good movies it takes some digging to piece it all together.
Haha, I wouldn't accept it! It belongs to Roger, he truly deserves it.

Roger Deakins
2 months ago
Roger Deakins 2 months ago

There was not a conscious decision to shoot some shots with the horizon line off level. Was this a mistake? Yes, if it is in fact the case.

Mike, don't watch the film again if it gives you such thoughts! It is only a film although our actual future may not be so very different.

Mike
2 months ago

It was only the Script, Actors and treatment of the film that bothered me. The sets and photography were breathtaking and I ‘cried’ when you got the Oscar. The statement you made on stage ‘Whatever’ followed with a shot of James just “creased me up, beautiful timing. Live theatre at its best, what a showman. Bravo!

Stuart Brereton
1 month ago
Stuart Brereton 1 month ago

Often, when you are composing a frame, there are many different horizontal and vertical lines to consider, and getting one of them perfect means that the others look wrong. So, you judge them by eye, as as my old art teacher used to say "if it looks right, it is right".

Analyzing movies frame by frame and laying grids over the picture to examine level seems to me to be completely missing the point. If the composition works, and it tells the desired story, who cares if it is "perfect"?

Mike
1 month ago

It was the narrator of the documentary who spotted the “horizontal” issues but I never saw them nor did anyone else on this forum. The narrator was convinced that it was intentional to unbalance the framing but was not our view. The narrators critique was really to highlight his observational skills at “nit picking” other people’s work with a view to selling his documentary. Interesting to watch but has little substance.

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