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The Movie 21, One of the opening Clips

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Rob Grauert
The Movie 21, One of the opening Clips
on Sep 21, 2008 at 2:30:12 pm

Last night I watched the movie 21. It has some great shots.

The first one I noticed is in the beginning. It is a shot that starts as a wide shot over a river from a helicopter. The camera did a big arc and went over a bridge and then moved into a medium shot of the main character's face as he rode on a bike. This all happened in one shot.

Anyone know how they do something like that. It didn't look like they were just zooming with the lens. When it got to the main character's medium shot, it looked like the lens was still rather wide.

Robert J. Grauert, Jr.


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Todd Terry
Re: The Movie 21, One of the opening Clips
on Sep 21, 2008 at 4:37:03 pm

I haven't seen 21 yet, but these kinds of shots are getting more and more commonplace... so much so that they lose a bit of the punch that they once had.

They are usually done in one of three ways:

1) Completely Practical. They find some way to actually fly a camera in and do the real shot. There is a great shot like this in "Less Than Zero" where the camera flys across the empty plains to land in a closeup of the three main characters sitting in a car. This one was completely practical. The giveaway was all the wind and kicked-up dust produced by the chopper as the shot got close to the end (in an otherwise very calm and still scene).

2) Multiple Practical. In this way, it's all practical, but it's actually multiple shots, not just one. There may be a helicopter shot, followed by a crane shot, followed by a dolly shot. In editing some pretty darn good compositers manage to stitch the shots teogether seemlessly. The 2004 movie "Secret Window" has a scene in it like it, all made out of practical sub-elements.

3) CGI + Practical. This is the most common way this is done today. The first part of the scene (the big fly-in) doesn't exist at all, it's entirely CGI... composited together with practical footage where a real camera dollys in to complete the scene.

I'll try to check out 21 soon, as I wanted to see that but didn't catch it in the theatre. Just from the description I'm willing to bet it was method #3, or number 2 and 3 combined. There may be a director's commentary track on the DVD that gives some clues as to how it was done.


T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Rob Grauert
Re: The Movie 21, One of the opening Clips
on Sep 22, 2008 at 12:27:49 am

thanks. i was just wondering. i dont think i'll ever get a chance to do something like that. Judging by your descriptions though, I think they used method 2

Robert J. Grauert, Jr.


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Richard Herd
Re: The Movie 21, One of the opening Clips
on Sep 22, 2008 at 4:37:29 pm

http://www.ascmag.com/magazine_dynamic/April2008/21/page1.php



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Todd Terry
Re: The Movie 21, One of the opening Clips
on Sep 22, 2008 at 5:04:15 pm

Wow... very interesting article. I didn't know that was a Genesis movie. Interesting that it was cropped to 1920x800 and still looked great.


T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Richard Herd
Re: The Movie 21, One of the opening Clips
on Sep 22, 2008 at 6:18:43 pm

This was a good quote, too. It's long but worth it.

Since the dawn of the digital revolution, the cinematographer’s mantra has been “protect your highlights,” because it’s a well-known axiom that digital imagery has the inverse characteristic curve of film, with a soft, sloping toe and a short shoulder. Once a highlight clips past 100 IRE, no detail can be recovered from that highlight ever again. Another axiom about digital is that it “sees deeper into the shadows.” On 21, Carpenter found these “truths” required modification. “I found the Genesis to be very, very good with highlights, but I also found I needed to protect my shadows more,” he says. “If you go with the popular wisdom and shoot for the highlights and then try to raise up the shadow detail in post, you might be surprised. Sure, there are details down there, but they won’t ‘come up’ in the subtle way we’re used to seeing on a film negative. When analyzing my frame in the raw mode on set, I definitely saw detail down in the ‘toe,’ but the one time I wanted to bring that ‘toe’ up in the digital timing, the information clumped up and didn’t rise in a subtle way. In the future, I might open up a third of a stop.

“I’ve heard that other digital cameras react to highlights and shadows the way everyone says they do, but I found the Genesis reacted more like a film stock than a digital CCD,” he adds. “I ended up using the Genesis the way I would [Kodak Vision2 500T] 5218 or something similar.”



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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.
Re: The Movie 21, One of the opening Clips
on Sep 23, 2008 at 8:58:30 pm

The shot is a transition from a helicopter to a technocrane on the back of a truck. If you look closely you will see the bus that passes is CG and the background focal length changes as well as a car and a few pedestrians disappear.



Emre
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