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So, have you seen House of Cards, Season 2?

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Jeremy Garchow
So, have you seen House of Cards, Season 2?
on Mar 13, 2014 at 10:02:00 pm

No matter if you like the show, or not, it is beautiful to watch (if you can find beauty in the vindictive and calculating).

I think the lighting/cinematography should win an award.

The motivated source lighting through windows with just a soft bounce or augmented fill to light the front of people's faces is truly a work of art.

What would have been a silhouette 10 years ago, is no longer a silhouette.

This is the most recent example of modern film-making technology truly coming in to it's own. It is certainly reaching, and probably surpassing film. I have always said I would take more dynamic range over more resolution, and Season 2 of House of Cards is exactly the reason why as it is a wonderful tool, and informs the audience of mood and tone much more than quadruple the resolution.

I really like the show as entertainment as well, but it is also a great benchmark for what can be achieved with new and improved acquisition technology.

Cheers,

Jeremy


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Tim Wilson
Re: So, have you seen House of Cards, Season 2?
on Mar 14, 2014 at 1:19:59 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "I think the lighting/cinematography should win an award."

Season 1 won an Emmy for Best Cinematography For A Single Camera series. It was shot by Eigil Bryld on a Red (Epic? I'd have to look it up), and this season is by Igor Martinovic, definitely on an Epic -- shot in 5K, framed in 4K. I don't know the extent of Fincher's involvement at this point in the proceedings, but I know that a cornerstone of his approach is to finesse framing in post. Epic is ideal for that.

BTW, Igor also shot the Oscar-winning doc, Man on Wire. I LOVE THAT MOVIE, in the upper reaches of my list of best docs ever. AMAZING MOVIE.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: So, have you seen House of Cards, Season 2?
on Mar 14, 2014 at 1:38:04 am

Yes, great movie!

I did some digging after watching Season 2 and heard Igor talk about his approach to shooting Season 2.

He said camera position and angles were decidedly similar, but he worked at the lighting, choosing to use motivated sources as (ahem) source lighting instead of using overhead lighting a la Season 1.

It shows. It's really beautiful and I think this should be a showcase for Epic as to what that camera is capable of showing.

I don't know Fincher's involvement at this point either, but it certainly still has his influence, direct or emulated.

I'm just glad to see real and practical examples of new technology adding to the story in a way that says more than "Look! It's filmic!" :)


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Mark Suszko
Re: So, have you seen House of Cards, Season 2?
on Mar 14, 2014 at 4:01:43 am

The show compares most favorably to the original Brit version, which was itself quite awesome. A great binge-watching day would be to watch all of Alpha House and all of House of Cards in one day.


.... Alpha House of Cards? Get me the production guys at F.O.D> :-)


p.s. agree Man On Wire is a terrific movie, documentary or not.


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Mike Cohen
Re: So, have you seen House of Cards, Season 2?
on Jun 25, 2014 at 6:17:49 pm

I am almost done with Season 2. There are some shots of Kevin Spacey that are almost unlit - just a sliver of light on the side of his face, while there is practical lighting visible in the scene. Kudos to the producers for having the courage to make television with such cinematic visual choices. Thanks to the Red (or any high end digital cinema camera, or presumably a fast filmstock as the case may be) they have extreme dynamic range available and despite being unlit, or perhaps minimally lit, you can still make out the detail.

As far as the other unique aspects to this show, I love those little moments where Spacey speaks directly to the audience. If Breaking Bad's thing was the unique POV shots, House of Cards has these asides, much like a play may have a narrator (Midsummer Night's Dream, Our Town), however in this case the main character is also the narrator, as you might find in a novel. I love it.

Spacey plays a Jekyll and Hyde character, but one who is well aware of the other side. After the first few episodes of Season 1 I thought it was Mrs Underwood who would be pulling the strings, and that remains the case to some degree. So as to not give anything away, I'll say no more.

I also like the fact that there is a character called Rachel Posner. My wife's first name and my grandfather's last name!

Here are some COW articles about the show (I have not read all of these, so not sure about spoiler content):

http://library.creativecow.net/kaufman_debra/House-of-Cards_FotoKem/1

http://news.creativecow.net/story/876155

http://news.creativecow.net/story/871887

and some non-COw links on the subject:
http://nofilmschool.com/2014/03/house-of-cards-dp-camera-lighting-secrets-n...

http://www.pushing-pixels.org/2014/03/20/cinematography-of-house-of-cards-i...

http://www.diyphotography.net/cinematography-house-cards/

Good stuff

Mike Cohen


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Mark Suszko
Re: So, have you seen House of Cards, Season 2?
on Jun 25, 2014 at 7:16:01 pm

The original british show also used the "breaking the 4th wall" conceit. Not that many shows that use the technique, the examples that come immediately to mind tend to comedy, not drama.


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