View Full Version : Maybe someone can explain the look of District 9
08-21-2009, 01:33 AM
First i want to say i liked District 9 very much, and i did not expect to like it, not my kind of movie.
i was thoroughly entertained, but i don't want to get into discussing the story. Not why i am here.
I went to see it at the Arclight Sherman Oaks, theatre 3. My first time there, i live closer to Arclight Hollywood. I mention this, in case there is a technical explanation for this: it look granny and video-e. and i am not talking about the documentary parts, i am talking about the rest of it. it definitively did not look like 35mm film to me.
Neither did Steven Soderberg's Che, but as i understand, he shot it in 2k and wanted that look. and i liked that look, and i liked it for district 9, but what i am wanting to know, what i am hoping to hear, is that the Red can also achieve the other kind of look, the "Legends of the Fall" look, if you know what i mean.
So, i guess my question is: can the Red do mind blowing beautiful photography? and not just for the small screen, but for the big screen? and if so, where can i see it, what movie sample is there out there for me to see?
thank you in advance for your answers, oh wise Red savants.
08-21-2009, 01:40 AM
08-21-2009, 02:03 AM
Kenn, so what you are saying is that these movies look good in the big screen? 'cause i am looking at them in my computer and i can't really judge by that.
instead of links, i would love to hear an explanation of why district 9 looked that way and i welcome suggestions of movies shot with Red that i should see in the theatre. but anything you suggest i look at here in my computer isn't going to show me anything. i already know the Red looks good in the small screen.
08-21-2009, 02:23 AM
I know what your saying lenny..
d9 had a video feel to it for sure.
I think the DP is floating around here somewhere.. maybe he can answer the tech specs
08-21-2009, 02:32 AM
Yes, D9 had a very specific aesthetic that was required of the story being told. I saw D9 at the Americana in Glendale from a film print, and the RED stuff was absolutely filmic and didn't feel like the purposeful video 'news' footage.
As for the RedReel - I've seen one of the movies (the fly fishing one) in a DI theater projected 2K and it looked stunning. Very warm and smooth - very 'Legends of the Fall'. It all depends on what look the storytellers are after. D9 needed a gritty, harsh look. Book of Eli seems to be not as harsh, but still a bit gritty.
Did you see The Knowing? I thought it looked great on the 'big screen'. Seen the trailer for 'Gamer' - in the theaters, I would've never thought it was digitally shot.
A friend of mine just finished directing Fame. He shot 35mm and did pickups on RED. He told me that the two ended up intercuting seamlessly - however, they needed to 'blur and dirty up' the RED footage to match the 35mm.
From my experience, the whole 'does RED hold up on the big screen' thing is moot. It does. Shoot some pretty stuff with it and call it a day.
08-21-2009, 10:55 AM
Hmmm, I like to think I have a very critical eye when it comes to the "video look", and I didn't feel it in D9 - maybe because I saw it on a film print?
08-21-2009, 01:32 PM
Yea, saw it on a film print here, and compared to the VERY video-look of "Public Enemies", this looked far more filmic (and I saw both of them on film prints, so that isn't even a factor).
I thought that D9 had a harsh desaturated "docu"-look on purpose, and it looked fantastic to me.
08-21-2009, 02:00 PM
I think the point is well taken. I have also yet to see a RED film that makes me say "wow almost Technicolor". And please, refrain for including Book of Eli on this thread. That film is graded like a dark cappuccino.
I've seen a lot of very nice images shot on REDCODE, so the system is obviously very capable. I'm sure as we start seeing major projects start to use the new RED color science we'll start to approach that cinematic nirvana we're all looking for.
08-21-2009, 05:00 PM
thank you, Jose. i have seen the Red demo stuff and it is beautiful. But it looks digital to me, not necessarily like film. sure, the short depth of field is there, and it is as sharp as can be, but maybe too sharp? i am a little older, so maybe i am just comparing it to "gone with the wind" or " the wizard of oz" type films, maybe it is just that i have a different sensibility, maybe i am just missing the grain. i don't know. but D9, as great a movie as i thought it was, looked to me like i could have shot it with my old Varicam, in terms of look. actually, it reminded me a little of Borat, and that was shot with a Varicam.
08-21-2009, 05:23 PM
I saw D9 on a film print and it largely looked good to me. Definitely not "video-ey."
Been trying to spot a local digital theater to go see it there again.
No dice as of yet.
In terms of public footage, knowing was quite good.
I think Pretty much all TV commercials are now being shot on RED, some of them are stunning.
I disagree though that that D9 could have been shot with your varicam. You would definately know if it was. Keep in mind, Neill Blomkamp has always deliberately treated the footage "down" to play tricks with the audiences mind in termas of reality vs non reality of the expected medium. Maybe not so much in this feature as in his shorts, but its still there.
RED footage printed to film (even at 2k) tends to look 100% like film to me.
08-21-2009, 05:35 PM
maybe it is just that i have a different sensibility, maybe i am just missing the grain.
"Properly" shot Red material can appear super-clean compared to film (especially if it's digitally projected). If desired for the "film look" you might even want to add a bit of grain in post to your Red footage. Personally, unless it's a desired artistic effect, I'm not a huge fan of grain or noise - it's not particularly realistic or reflective of human perception...I think people can get a little caught up in the whole film-look thing. I think another thing that might appear lacking to you is maybe exposure latitude where film is still king?
08-21-2009, 05:53 PM
I agree with you 100%, David. As far as I'm concerned, the more it matches the way I view things in real life, the more I'll like viewing it. The "inadequacies" of traditional film acquisition and projection, which a lot of folks have learned to love, I personally see as "defects" and wish they were fixed once and for all (the technology is getting there, so why not?). But, hey, maybe that's just me.