Film Talk

Posted on by

Just watched the Collider interview. (7 replies and 1 comment)

RobertoAntonioni
1 month ago
RobertoAntonioni 1 month ago

Roger, I just finished your Collider interview and you said that if any film was meant to be shot by you, it was "1917". What was your reasoning for this? Was it the WW1 genre? If so were some of the films that inspired you "All Quiet On The Western Front" or "Paths of Glory"? Any others that were truly great? I would say "Idi I Smotri" but that was WW2.

Thanks! 

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

It just felt like a good fit. I am a bit of a history buff these days. Both the World Wars can really be viewed as one conflict with an interval. I'm reading 'Stalingrad' by Vasily Grossman right now. His 'Life and Fate' was published a long time ago but this is a new, more complete English translation of 'Stalingrad' ('For a Just Cause') written 15 years before 'Life and Fate' but about the same characters at the beginning up to WW2.

simon m
1 month ago
simon m 1 month ago

Hello Roger, you mentioned in the Collider interview that you used two cameras to film Susan and Sean as their speaking on either side of the prison bars. If I understood correctly, it was because there was a fair amount of improvisation in the scene. I just watched a clip of the scene on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQyYa3DBhNA»

I have a couple of questions:

1 ) I notice you start out MCU and then move to CU, and then back again. Did you use zoom lenses?

2) I'm just guessing here, but I would imagine that many actors do a take or two where they improvise. What is it that makes you feel comfortable using single camera in these instances?

I'm very interested in this set-up because we're planning a documentary which will have some conversations in it between two people.

Thanks so much

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

I can't remember exactly but I imagine we shot wider first and then closer with the two cameras. We didn't use zoom lenses on this or any other part of the film.

It is not so much a matter of me feeling comfortable shooting single camera but the director. Perhaps most directors would rather shoot with multiple cameras regardless of the scene but, for the majority of a shoot, that has not been the case with the directors I have worked for. Perhaps that is because most of them rehearse and settle on the dialogue before the camera turns. The jail cell scene was quite particular and the two characters were not going anywhere.

Shooting with multiple cameras and improvisation restricts what the camera can do. It forces the film maker into using longer lenses and panning shots rather than shooting one considered developing shot. Imagine Antonioni or Melville shooting with multiple cameras. Kirosawa started shooting with multiple cameras towards the latter part of his career and you can see the stylistic change quite clearly. I am sure that is partly because he was filming ever larger and more complex battle scenes so this was an expedient way to do it. Nonetheless, his films become somewhat removed and observational because he is shooting with longer lenses and the operators are 'observing' the action rather than involving the audience in it. Look at the difference between 'Rashomon' and 'Ran' for example or 'Seven Samurai' and 'Kagemusha'. He still made brilliant films but not everyone that utilizes multiple cameras has his talent.

Of course, with our state of the 'art' techniques it is relatively easy to erase a camera from shot so this perspective may be out of date. I often remove a lighting unit from shot so why not a camera? That is a rhetorical question by the way!

simon m
1 month ago
simon m 1 month ago

Thank you, that all makes sense.

That's a funny idea, but it has some merit!  DaVinci Resolve has a very powerful 'object removal' tool. We might just have to do some tests!

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

People remove cameras from shot quite often in action films. I have had a camera reflection removed a couple of times, which is not so different. As I said, I also leave lamps in shot and have them removed, or turned into something that fits the scene, if I think it key to the lighting effect I am after. I did with the lamps I was using to mimic oil fires in 'Jarhead'. All these new techniques are really helpful in particular circumstances but I hope they don't lead to more sloppy film making.

simon m
1 month ago
simon m 1 month ago

Yes, I had a similar thought. I would want to guard against becoming lazy with it, but in the right situation its just another tool to use. Thanks for mentioning it, by the way. We'll definitely do some tests. It could open the possibility of using wider lenses for more depth and intimacy.

simon m
1 month ago

On a side note - I just received 'Le Cercle Rouge'. Look forward to watching it.

Zippy
1 month ago
Zippy 1 month ago

I just hope Warner Bros at least re-releases a new Blu-ray for Jesse James. The current 11 year old Blu-ray is BD-25 disc, VC-1 codec and only Dolby Digital 5.1 as audio. Even with such long runtime, Warner Bros shouldn't never used a BD-25 in the first place. It takes a bit hit in the PQ.

 

 

 

Back to Film Talk...