Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Everyone's Gal and a Happy Bear

"The only natural enemy of the hole is the pile."

From a letter I wrote responding to an actor's asking about what Angry Planet will look like, I'd lent her a copy of Pandora Machine:

"I really hate giving people Pandora Machine because that's two whole generations behind where we're at now. Maybe even about 2.5 generations. Here's my latest cinematography reel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPaS5s9BSVA
Now, I tend to think in terms either over-specific or too vague when talking about the movie generally. So I'll just ramble a bit about what I'm thinking.
Angry Planet's "look" will likely be a fairly bronze palate -- somewhere between the exteriors you can see on the Millennium Crisis trailer and an early 70's spaghetti Western is what I'm thinking of now. This is a reasonable notion of what the "bronze" look might be: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7BcqMq2WwU
I tend to prefer a pre-Raphaelite frame with some depth to it -- my preference is for elegance rather than grotesqueness or Mannerist compositions. That being said, we will actually be using a fairly shallow depth-of-field on this picture (which I'll get to in a minute).
Aesthetically we've tended to either build frames out of specific odalisques or paintings which amuse us, or to alter the shooting style to match the kind of scene we're doing -- whether we go handheld or use big elegant sweeping dolly moves, etc.
In reference to science fiction movies we certainly have quoted Star Wars quite a bit visually in the past although I think that things more like Blade Runner interiors for our interiors would be more likely what we'll go for. The sequence in the original Alien where Harry Dean Stanton goes to look for the cat also has some of the color palate we're going for although none of our locations have that specific look to them at all, and we'll likely be lighting half with florescent lights with a mix of Source 4's and tungsten and halogen 100w lights. The most obvious comparison will end up being to the Firefly series (and the feature Serenity) because of the "Western" aspect of the script although I don't know how much "old West" will survive the final aesthetic.
The android references probably have more to do with the character of the Major in the anime "Ghost in the Shell" series. But the thing I can think of closest in performance to the android is the Ripley character in Alien IV.
Sometimes we try to emulate "comic book" types of framing in order to create a particular dynamic to the shot and to the scene.
Technically we will be shooting high-definition on a Panasonic HVX200 camera however we will also be using a 35mm adapter and a set of prime lenses so that the camera has the same depth of field of a 35mm camera. I assure you that no distributor we take it to will think we shot on anything other than 35mm.
Personally, I like an infinite depth-of-field but distributors have learned to not like it. So we'll shoot as much as we can with an 85mm lens wide open to make that big beautiful "portrait" look.
Of course, none of that matters. The only thing which people respond to is how the movie sounds. If it sounds good, it looks good. If it sounds bad, it looks bad.
Does any of that help?"

I bet the answer to that question is "no".

Today I made up a new emoticon. The happy bear.

Update: that actor isn't interested in our show. That's OK, we didn't offer any roles to her!

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