Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

style="margin-bottom: 0"> 

class="style5" Picture Quality And Script

>Published : 30th Sept. 2005

>You know up until last night I would have said that a script always came first.

>A film is nothing without a good script.

>I would have said that a good script could over-ride bad pictures, only problem is that Sky movies are running a series of Sundance films.

>I got to see Tadpole last night, well some of it, I had to turn it off because it was totally unwatchable.

>Now, did I see what people at the festival saw? NO!

>I saw a movie shot on DV then bumped to film then TK's for TV then compressed to hell for transmission then re-sized to fit my 1366 *768 pixel TFT TV.

>The result was a smeared blob of contrast over-saturation and very pink/magenta faces.

>It was totally unwatchable so it didn't matter whether the script was any good or not, it didn't get watched.

>So, there is a baseline

>I also have to say that everything I watch goes through the same compression/upsizing etc. and if it's well originated it not only survives, it glows...

>Cheers

>Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net


class="Paragraph">>So, there is a baseline

>It's the nature of all rules that you have to accommodate exceptions... There have been some good films made with not-so-great scripts at the start of production, and somehow they pulled together a good script during the shoot, or films made with vague scripts but a solid story concept behind it, etc. Dale and I had this argument a long time ago here, me basically suggesting that a good film needs a good STORY foundation but doesn't always start out with a good SCRIPT (i.e. "2001" is a great story and a great film -- but I'm sure that the script is nothing to write home about...) -- Dale basically not separating the concept of the script and the story, and arguing you can't have a good movie without one (splitting hairs, I know, because I agree IF one doesn't make the distinction between a screenplay and a story.)

>"Celebration" was a film shot on a single-chip consumer video camera that all came together pretty well, the crudeness technically supporting the feeling that this was some sort of perversion of a family home video approach.

Of course, what you are talking about is an example of taking technically poor material and making it WORSE than the filmmakers intended by adding digital TV compression, etc. I mean, it would suck to go and see a 70mm presentation of "Lawrence of Arabia" with the projection seriously out-of-focus...

>David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles


>Geoff Boyle writes :

class="Paragraph"> >So, there is a baseline

>David Mullen writes :

class="Paragraph">>It's the nature of all rules that you have to accommodate exceptions...

>There have been some good films made with not-so-great scripts at the start of production, and somehow they pulled together a good script during the shoot, or films made with vague scripts but a solid story concept behind it, etc. Dale and I had this argument a long time ago here, me basically suggesting that a good film needs a good STORY foundation but doesn't always start out with a good SCRIPT (i.e. "2001" is a great story and a great film -- but I'm sure that the script is nothing to write home about...)

>Actually, the novella isn't too bad. It appears to have been written with a film in mind -- much like Peter Blatty's The Exorcist, before Friedken was camped it up, but I digress.

>I think before any meaningful discussion takes place some sort of agreement on terms might be a good idea.

>Just what do we mean by script? Words on paper? A plot outline? On the other hand, a film can be simply a purely visual experience without any words, or it can be nothing but dialogue transposed from the pages of a novel to the screen., or anything in between or beyond.

>Blade Runner is a great example of a film that broke a lot of "rules". The "story" Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a pale shadow of the film, thanks to Ridley Scott et al.

>Westerns are notorious for being based on what are generally considered terrible stories, but their have been some pretty fair films made from them.

>There are also classics of literature that have been destroyed by filmmakers trying to "improve" them.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP