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Cameras in the Movies / TV / Media If you are a photographer, it's difficult not to appreciate movies too. In this forum you can discuss movies, as well as the cameras used in them. What camera used in what film / TV show etc has long been a topic of discussion at RFF. Whether the Exakta and 400mm Kilfitt lens in Hitchcock's Rear Window or the Nikons in Eastwood's Bridges of Madison County, cameras are tools which reflect the time and technology of the film.

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Movie Recommendation - "Ida"
Old 11-23-2014   #1
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Movie Recommendation - "Ida"

I wanted to pass along a movie suggestion that I think any photographer would enjoy. It's called "Ida."

It's a Polish film with English subtitles. More than a good story, it's scene after scene of breathtaking compositions, lighting, and black and white tonality. Not sure it's on Netflix, but you can see it on Amazon Prime. I found it visually stunning and thought you all would enjoy it.

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Old 11-23-2014   #2
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John, thanks for the suggestion. I just had a look at the movie trailer on youtube... its looks as you say. I'm going to try to watch it.
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Old 11-23-2014   #4
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I just put it on my Amazon watch list. Thanks.
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Old 11-23-2014   #5
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Yes I saw it at the theatre
Mitch Alland a RFf member here recommended it ...
Shot in Film / harrowing haunts of the past / i left the theatre depressed , quite understandable when viewing the harsh cruel realities of Life and what people do
Though quite Happy I saw it...
Like You John , I enjoyed the cinematography
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Old 11-23-2014   #6
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It was revealed in an interview that Ryszard Lenczewski, the director of photography, used to shoot a lot of medium format work, and it shows .
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Old 11-23-2014   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill_HH View Post
Yes I saw it at the theatre
Mitch Alland a RFf member here recommended it ...
Shot in Film / harrowing haunts of the past / i left the theatre depressed , quite understandable when viewing the harsh cruel realities of Life and what people do
Though quite Happy I saw it...
Like You John , I enjoyed the cinematography
Actually, Helen, it was shot digitally. Sure wish I'd seen the theater release. I was so overwhelmed by the visuals that story didn't have much impact on me. Perhaps I'll watch it again with that in mind.

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Old 11-23-2014   #8
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"Ida" is available at Netflix DVD, don't know about streaming.

Reminder: On the subject of beautifully shot, black and white and Polish:
Polanski's "Knife In The Water" is a treat even for those who saw it many years ago.

Thanks for the heads up, John.

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Old 11-23-2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
Actually, Helen, it was shot digitally. Sure wish I'd seen the theater release. I was so overwhelmed by the visuals that story didn't have much impact on me. Perhaps I'll watch it again with that in mind.

John
oops You are correct . I got confused about it being film
saw it last Spring and had read an interview and got confused about Ryszard shooting 3000 photographs which became the storyboard for the Film and his love of Jean Loup Sieff's work

small Interesting Interview with the Cinematographer Ryszard Lenczewski :
https://www.lensculture.com/articles...still-to-movie

Ryszard uses his Sony RX100 for his daily walk abouts...
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Old 11-23-2014   #10
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Enjoyed that interview. Thanks, Helen.

A telling quote from the cinematographer:
"When we won the Golden Frog [the top prize] at the The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, the second place winner complained that it wasnít fair: we hadn't shot a film, we had only made still photographs."
That's so much of what I like about Ida.

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Remiscent of Polish films of the 50s and 60s
Old 11-23-2014   #11
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Remiscent of Polish films of the 50s and 60s

The Polish New Wave directors included Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski. "Ashes and Diamonds" by Wajda and "Knife in the Water" by Polanski caused quite a stir at the time.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052080/
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Old 11-23-2014   #12
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Yes, it's streaming on Netflix. Thanks for the recommendation. Looking forward to watching it.
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Old 11-24-2014   #13
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I've had this sitting on my Netflix menu for a few weeks but not had the time to watch it nor any real knowledge of it. Now it looks like I may have a late night tonight.
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Old 11-24-2014   #14
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I've seen it at a theatre on last spring and I'll say it would be a pita to watch it on a small screen. It deserves a large screen and the theatre watching conditions.

One of the most beautiful movies of the century ever.
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Old 11-24-2014   #15
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Watched the movie on my iMac and thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I specially liked the cinematography and B&W rendition. It is very well done and a joy to see.
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Old 11-24-2014   #16
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I enjoyed it very much, both the story and the photography
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Old 11-24-2014   #17
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Surprising! I'll see it tonight at the theatre where we have a cine-forum!
I already saw it a few months ago and found it very good, both the visual and the story. I didn't know if it was shot digital or film, now I know thanks to the RFF friends!
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Old 03-01-2015   #18
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The story told in "Ida" is so-so but the cinematography is perfect. The story won an Oscar, it's a pity cinematography hasn't...
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Old 03-01-2015   #19
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IDA, indeed, is on Netflix and I just added it to my queue. Thank you for the recommendation. My all-time favorite film for color cinematography is The Fifth Cord (Giornata nera per l'ariete) an Italian giallo made in 1971 that put multiple Oscar-winner Vittorio Storaro on the map (I think this obscure little film is his best work...) Another plus is its Ennio Morricone score. (I happen to love those 60's/early-70's Euro-schlock... seen em all. This one is visuall breathtaking...) This film was recently available on Youtube. Check it out, if interested, before that mole gets wacked. My favorite film for black and white cinematography "today" (there are many and I could change my mind tomorrow...) is probably Incubus (1966), which stars William Shatner, and the dialog is 100% Esperanto(!) It was filmed by the crew of Outer Limits after the show was canceled. Cinematographer Conrad Hall was doing his darndest to ape Sven Nykvist and did a very fine job. He "out-Nykvisted", Nykvist.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_4dsN4a0Y8
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Old 06-07-2015   #20
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John, thanks for that recommendation all those months ago. After Ida languished in my queue for half a year, I finally watched it tonight and must add my praise to that above. Everything was wonderfully shot, except I'm slightly on the fence about the cinematographer's repeated use of that composition with a bodyless head or two at the very bottom (frequently bottom-right) of the screen. No matter; it was in any case thoroughly enjoyable to look at, although quite the melancholy storyline.

I must say the cinematographer's work was made a bit easier by the fact that Agata Trzebuchowska is achingly, breathtakingly beautiful. Her look reminds me quite a bit of Claire Danes when she first appeared on the scene in 1994ish. Lenczewski has certainly done her justice.

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Old 06-08-2015   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argenticien View Post
John, thanks for that recommendation all those months ago. After Ida languished in my queue for half a year, I finally watched it tonight and must add my praise to that above. Everything was wonderfully shot, except I'm slightly on the fence about the cinematographer's repeated use of that composition with a bodyless head or two at the very bottom (frequently bottom-right) of the screen. No matter; it was in any case thoroughly enjoyable to look at, although quite the melancholy storyline.
Lenczewski left the production after a couple of days or so. Officially he had to go because he was ill but Pawlikowski is on the record saying that Lenczewski wasn't happy with where the film was going (or words to that effect). It's hard to fathom in hindsight but shooting was fraught with almost insuperable difficulties, some financial but also to do with the script, and perhaps that played a role in Lenczewski's departure. Anyway, Pawlikowski ended up shooting the film with camera operator Lukasz Zal as DP, someone who (we now know) was very talented and with all the enthusiasm, positive energy and freshness of a newcomer but, crucially, brave enough to try new stuff other more experienced DPs might have balked at doing in fear of losing face/reputation.

Quote:
I must say the cinematographer's work was made a bit easier by the fact that Agata Trzebuchowska is achingly, breathtakingly beautiful. ...
Can't disagree with that. She also brought intelligence and childlike curiosity to a role that would have been too heavily anchoritic otherwise.


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Old 06-08-2015   #22
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Strange. I saw the film as well, and BTW although it has its merits, I did not particularly enjoy the conclusion.
On the part of visual experience, I have been constantly in pain because of horrible digital rendering of B&W. It seems like I am in an ever shrinking minority of people who are used to B&W film standards. The photography was very good, as often happens with Polish cameramen.
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Old 06-08-2015   #23
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I'll check this out, thanks!

I recently watched Noah Baumbach's movie Frances Ha, starring Greta Gerwig. It's a pretty good movie, and Gerwig is terrific, but it's filmed in black and white on a Canon DSLR. It struck me as really well rendered digital B&W. Might be worth a look.
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Old 06-08-2015   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argenticien View Post
John, thanks for that recommendation all those months ago. After Ida languished in my queue for half a year, I finally watched it tonight and must add my praise to that above. Everything was wonderfully shot, except I'm slightly on the fence about the cinematographer's repeated use of that composition with a bodyless head or two at the very bottom (frequently bottom-right) of the screen. No matter; it was in any case thoroughly enjoyable to look at, although quite the melancholy storyline.

I must say the cinematographer's work was made a bit easier by the fact that Agata Trzebuchowska is achingly, breathtakingly beautiful. Her look reminds me quite a bit of Claire Danes when she first appeared on the scene in 1994ish. Lenczewski has certainly done her justice.

--Dave
Sure thing, Dave. Glad you finally got to see it. I agree some of the compositions were extreme and repetitious, especially the one you cite. Your Claire Danes comparison never occurred to me, but I've always had a crush on her, so maybe that explains the appeal of this character for me. Some of the compositions have stuck with me just like a few photographs have. I'm thinking of the nuns carrying the cross through the snow and the roadside scene where Ida is kneeling at the shrine.

As far as story, it's a bit hard to watch and not a particularly pleasing ending. But it's that typical Eastern European confrontation between faith and post-war nihilism. I read some of the Polish poets from that era, particularly Milosz and Symborska, so it was a familiar theme to me.

An incredible period in history that produced some great artists. We can only imagine what it was like for those who lived through it. I think the film does a great job of personalizing the repercussions of that history.

John
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Old 06-08-2015   #25
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You have the very same comment to any thread that is involving the word "digital" no matter of the content.
Perhaps if you start thread "I hate digital, film is the best" and make it sticky and not to spill your hate in any thread mentioning that dirty word?

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Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Strange. I saw the film as well, and BTW although it has its merits, I did not particularly enjoy the conclusion.
On the part of visual experience, I have been constantly in pain because of horrible digital rendering of B&W. It seems like I am in an ever shrinking minority of people who are used to B&W film standards. The photography was very good, as often happens with Polish cameramen.
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Old 06-08-2015   #26
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Ida in French for free here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZbYvGSN1cQ
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Old 06-08-2015   #27
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Haha, I am just trying to make my point of view vis a vis what I perceive to be largely a combination of two factors:
- lack of previous knowledge
- endowment effect
It is clear, that people who never tasted good wine, truffles, or for that matter an orange or a potato, will not have a good benchmark against which to judge a "synthetic wine or potato".
But, more surprisingly, many people who end up buying synthetic potatos for reasons of convenience actually become convinced, that their potatos are as good or better than the real ones. This is a well established psychological process, you can google it up easily:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endowment_effect

I am not pretending a one fit all taste in anything, including art or photography, but given that my personal pleasure from viewing this film has been heavily damaged by the digital cinematography employed, I thought legitimate voicing my opinion.

I would never imagine that sticking to what I like in photography would make a whistleblower out of me, but here I am, even if most people on this forum don't like to be whistled at.

Having said this, the guy or guys who shot this film clearly have talent in framing the scenes, which has nothing to do with B&W rendering.
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Old 06-08-2015   #28
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Ned, you tend to use extreme rhetoric in cases where a milder delivery of your opinions is called for. "It is clear that digital BW is quite horrendous." Well, no. To some of us, it appears to be a useful and flexible medium for photography and movies. How about, "I still prefer the look of film"? That has the advantage of being true. Similarly, somebody criticizes you and you respond by suggesting you've been compared to Hitler.

As for the film/digital debate, I mean, Salgado is shooting digital. I saw an exhibition of his recent landscape and ethnographic prints at the ICP last year and it was spectacular. Clearly some people can do great things with the medium. Honestly, that debate is kind of over. Great artists will make great art with whatever materials are at their disposal. Increasingly, in photography, that means digital. It's fine. Their art may be different, but it won't be worse.

It's fine to be a contrarian; indeed, that's the kind of positioning that makes debating on the internet fun. But when you state your opinions in terms of absolutes, or using unnuanced language, you end up shutting off avenues of discussion instead of inviting more detailed analysis. It's not the opinions that's the problem, it's the tone. You seem determined to put people down and cut off the conversation.
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Old 06-08-2015   #29
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film vs. digital is so yesterday!
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Old 06-08-2015   #30
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You know Ned, I have never seen great value in receiving pats on the back. More value comes from criticism.
The issue really is to make it relevant and where possible backed by rational arguments. There is no such thing as "best art" or even "best photographic print", so it is useless to argue in this field.
This does not preclude me from stating my preferences, and I am not going to be scared by criticism of others, or by their idea of me being "a broken record".

I place however the burden of proof on who thinks that miracles exist, that digital B&W has beautiful highlights or that Rap music trumps Jazz. Let's wait and see.
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Old 06-08-2015   #31
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Happy to be agnostic!

This monothiestic film business is becoming such a bore!
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Old 06-08-2015   #32
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Quote:
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You know Ned, I have never seen great value in receiving pats on the back. More value comes from criticism.
The issue really is to make it relevant and where possible backed by rational arguments. There is no such thing as "best art" or even "best photographic print", so it is useless to argue in this field.
This does not preclude me from stating my preferences, and I am not going to be scared by criticism of others, or by their idea of me being "a broken record".

I place however the burden of proof on who thinks that miracles exist, that digital B&W has beautiful highlights or that Rap music trumps Jazz. Let's wait and see.


these things are all different from each other and to compare them is a losing proposition...they all have the possibility to hold both truth and deceit.
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Old 06-08-2015   #33
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"they all have the possibility to hold both truth and deceit."
- Interesting, you might elaborate if you wish, but maybe better over a glass of wine when you pass by the south of France, haha...
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Old 06-08-2015   #34
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"they all have the possibility to hold both truth and deceit."
- Interesting, you might elaborate if you wish, but maybe better over a glass of wine when you pass by the south of France, haha...
if only...
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Old 06-08-2015   #35
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Helen, Ned, in some ways its too bad you both are already married.
You two would make a memorable couple!

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Old 06-08-2015   #36
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Helen, I shoot around 200,000 digital images a year. And I print at least 2000 fb prints a year. I'm comfortable with my assertion that BW film looks much better. Shooting so much digital must mean that I do not hate it. As I said, it has its pluses and its minuses. Anyone else shoots 200,000 digital files a year and properly prints 2000 fb prints every year in this forum? I don't think I'm just the usual guy talking about film vs. digital.
That's nearly 550 digital images on average per day. How much film do you shoot? For that matter.... How do you have time for us "usual guys"?
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Old 06-08-2015   #37
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Ida looks good enough to me, like most modern B/W film digital or analogue it lacks the texture of real B/W which would have suited the movie quiet well but the DP did good work better than some other examples of converted B/W the Good German comes to mind which was shot on film but looks not even halfway as good as this movie.

For those interested in the lighting of the movie http://www.theasc.com/asc_blog/thefi...th-lukasz-zal/

Digital B/W in movies looks no worse than desaturated color film both lack the quality of a good B/W film released on B/W print stock. But since it is very unlikely that any major or minor movie production will use B/W film because the paying public and cinemas in certain markets only accept color (unfortunately) I congratulate any cinematographer, director and producer who has the balls to shoot and release a movie in B/W (digital, color converted, native B/W).
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Old 06-09-2015   #38
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You're wrong... no you're wrong. Good ol' RFF!
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Old 06-09-2015   #39
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You're wrong... no you're wrong. Good ol' RFF!
Well it is the internet after all.

In real life I would just find this this kind of flat discussion so useless I would simply avoid the participants, in future. One only puts up with this kind of thing from siblings.

Just fun I guess? But no one could possibly confuse it with an actual discussion.

Although;
The artistic compromise on a grand scale, referenced repeatedly, is enlightening.
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Old 06-09-2015   #40
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I'm truly sorry that I reanimated this months-old thread. I thought I was graciously thanking someone for a recommendation of something that I turned out to enjoy. I didn't mean to invite a film vs. digital flame war, FFS.

<skulks away, chastened>

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