The Batman Discussion Thread? The new ARRI ALFAs look nice (4 replies and 5 comments)
Hey folks! I saw The Batman yesterday, and I'm going back again today. I recommend that you catch it in Dolby if superhero movies are your cup of tea. I loved the visuals. I know not everyone wants to see caped crusaders on screen, but I'm an adult toddler. If you enjoyed the Dark Knight, then I think you'll enjoy this one.
Greig used ARRI ALFA anamorphic on the LF and LF Mini. They are new large format lenses that I'd never heard of before now. The best information I found suggests they came out in late 2021. The promotional material from ARRI talks about how they designed the lenses for "more character" while maintaining center sharpness. I think they succeeded.
I'm curious if Greig used filtration on top of them because all the closeups on the actors had such a nice texture. There were a few scenes with glowing highlights that felt like heavy Pro-Mist. Looked great!
I loved 'visuals' too: wonderful lights, nice composition but no resolution, no detail, almost always out of focus, and poor dynamic range. Just to be clear, IMHO, this film holds the worst detail and resolution ever seen from decades.
I saw 'The Batman' here in Italy, both times on 22m wide screen, through Christie's latest 4K RGB laser projetcors: I'm afraid that's the 'Hybrid Finishing - Digital to Film (and Back)' invented by Grieg Fraser for Dune again:
Most of the time, the resolution I perceived was like from a poor VHS and the 'focus plane' was out of the frame.
That's insane! Because the 'Alexas' used by Fraser are almost the same as Roger's on '1917': a wonderful paradise for my eyes. I'd like to ask 'Magister' Deakins what he thinks about Fraser's commitment to the mortification of detail, resolution, focus, and dynamic range.
They chose extremely flawed lenses, they didn't want a clean image or a sharp one even. It conveys the sense of dirtiness Gotham has been living in and part of that is the look and how flawed the image is, I guess you watched it looking for sharpness and resolution but try to watch it as a whole and skip the eye check.
I know. Reeves' interview with "The Ringer" is enlightening:
time 8:30 "... not only do we use anamorphic lenses but we use lenses deliberately that the camera house thought were bad..."
What we see in The Batman - and which Reeves also certifies (from 9':15" to 9':55") - are not the Arri LFs but a mediocre 35mm shot with the worst anamorphic lenses ever made.
Do you really need to 'bleach' (quoting Reeves) the image that much to 'immerse' the audience in your film??? Look at 1917 and tell me how immersive is JD's look. So clear. So clean. Same 'philosophy'.
I think that everything is related to art is subjective in a certain way. So if you felt "distracted" about the final quality of the image then their visual achievement did not work for you of course.
'1917' is a masterpiece of a master like Mr. Deakins but is a "subjective" (more a collaborative) work by Mr. Deakins and Mr. Mendes and the visual result that we see is something that they wanted to achieve.
If the final visual result in "The Batman" is something that the director and the DP wanted in order to tell their own story, then they are achieved their goal.
Not everyone has to follow one specific way or formula with the image-making process, otherwise, every film could look the same (something that in my opinion already exists).
Maybe the audience's eyes (including us) getting used to the enormous amount of motion picture and multimedia content with sharp and clean images (given also from the high-end camera on the market) that feel a different type of images not "familiar" and distracting.
I think in the years a lot of filming techniques are changed also related to the audience's "feeling" in seeing motion pictures and image quality. I think this is either interesting but also "limiting" because could impose to follow certain "trends" to produce something that has to be "marketable".
It is an art but it is also an industry so producers want to "sell" the art first of all.
Of course, I respect your opinion, and if the final visual result and image treatment took you out of the story, then something was going wrong for you.
I wish you a nice day.
Sorry for wrong name *Emidio
I agree with you, Max. My first reply was intended for Daniel, speaking about the new 'Arri Alphas': it's almost impossible to have an idea because of the specific 'digital - negative - IP - digital' process of this movie.
Maybe you are right about 'getting used' to resolution and detail. But resolution and detail it's also related to very old movies.
I enjoyed Fraser's work on color, lighting, and composition. I don't like the return to the 70s look: in my opinion, it's a trivial shortcut.
Thank you for your reply
I thought the movie looked excellent in Dolby Cinema projection!
Artists don't make all the same choices, if they did, things would get rather dull. I love Roger's work but I don't think even he would want everyone to shoot exactly in his style!
Indeed no. That's what makes it all so interesting. It was fun for us to talk about people's different approaches to making films in the podcast. We always "did our homework" and watched a number of people's films before we spoke with them and it made us appreciate how many different approaches you can take.
@Emidio, thanks for those links. I hadn't seen that interview or article before now.
As David says, it's great we don't all make the same artistic choices! I enjoyed the look just as much the second time around.