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Old 03-05-2017, 01:07 PM   #1
seasider
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Cinematography for Indy 5

For some reason this topic has been on my mind lately. Probably because of a discussion I had that fans didn't like how Indy 4 looked too different from the other movies in terms of color and lighting. I recently read an interview with Janusz Kaminski from a few years ago where he concedes,

""I was trying to match the visual aesthetic of Douglas Slocombe and sometimes I succeeded, and sometimes I didn't," He goes on to say "The technologies and film emulsions are a little bit different now they don't make them like they used to. But I didn't want to reinvent the wheel, because this trilogy is a part of film history."

This isn't first interview I've seen where Kaminski reveals some hints of frustration trying to get the look of the movie right. It's almost a foregone conclusion he'll be the DP for Indy 5. The question is should he keep trying to emulate Douglas Slocombe's work from first 3 films or should Spielberg take the restraints off and let him do something like what he did with Catch Me If You Can or Bridge of Spies. I guess a lot of it will have to with how Spielberg decides to approach the film.
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:19 PM   #2
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Udvarnoki has been very vocal on this topic in various threads, and I agree with the views he expressed.

I'm sure he'll chime in at some point.
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:09 AM   #3
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I have been summoned!

I think we're screwed on this front, to be honest. There's every indication that Spielberg and Kaminski were happy with their work on the fourth movie.

It's too bad, really, because the new Star Wars gives lie to Kaminski's intimation that current equipment somehow makes it impossible to approximate a more classical look. Kaminski botched his task not because of the tools, but because he couldn't help himself. I don't see what film emulsion has to do with his insistence on giving a halo to every light source or declaring war on 60% of the rainbow. These were conscious choices, and not coincidentally choices he's made on other Spielberg movies - but what works for dystopian stories like War of the Worlds or Minority Report don't necessary work for Indy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seasider
The question is should he keep trying to emulate Douglas Slocombe's work from first 3 films or should Spielberg take the restraints off

I don't think he was trying to emulate Slocombe's work, and my evidence is: the way the movie looks, which is nothing like the other three. The main area where Indy 4 succeeds in looking like the others is in the shot composition, but that's more Spielberg's territory anyhow. If letting Kaminski shoot an entire Indiana Jones movie with diffusion filters doesn't count as "taking the restraints off", I don't know what does.

I would argue this goes beyond taste. The soft, hazy look of Indy 4 damages the immersion. How is there supposed to be any sense of immediacy during scenes of action or danger when everything looks like it's happening on the other side of a fish bowl? Indy movies have never necessarily looked "realistic", but before Crystal Skull they looked crisp, filmic, and tactile. Kaminski puts a foggy glass pane between us and the movie that keeps us at arm's length throughout.

Last edited by Udvarnoky : 03-07-2017 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
I have been summoned!

I think we're screwed on this front, to be honest. There's every indication that Spielberg and Kaminski were happy with their work on the fourth movie.



There's always the possibility that Disney could intervene and say "Hey, the last movie looked too different from the first 3. We want it to look just like the those movies and if your man Janusz won't do it then get another DP!" but my guess is they will let Spielberg make the film the way he wants.

My theory is that Spielberg told Kaminski to try to emulate the look of the older films but he was able to convince Spielberg to let him mess around with the lighting and color scheme perhaps to make Harrison Fold not look so old.
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:10 PM   #5
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1) Disney would never make a demand like that, because they don't care.
2) Spielberg is Spielberg, which means he does not have to prosecute studio notes like that. He's going to have total control over this movie. And Disney will roll with that because they know they have a cash cow, and because they know they have an entire reboot series to micromanage when the time comes.
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:37 PM   #6
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I thought the lighting was AWFUL on KOTCS. I cannot blame Kamiński, because he's fantastic at it. Here again Spielberg made a mess of things. He kept swearing that they were looking to match what Slocombe had done in the past, but they didn't come close.
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Old 03-08-2017, 04:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzlor
I thought the lighting was AWFUL on KOTCS. I cannot blame Kamiński, because he's fantastic at it. Here again Spielberg made a mess of things. He kept swearing that they were looking to match what Slocombe had done in the past, but they didn't come close.

It wasn't an accident that it was different.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:37 AM   #8
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They could absolutely mimic the older style, if they really wanted to. If Tarantino can make a new movie look like it was released in 1970 (or whatever) they could do this with IJ. Or maybe they can't, by which I mean maybe they don't have the eye for it, though I find that hard to believe.

This and things like it are the reasons I'm a little worried about Indy V. I didn't hate CS as much as some (in fact, I rather like it), but I almost feel like I'd rather see someone else direct, as much as I hate to say that. I think, like Lucas with the prequels, Spielberg isn't all that interested in going "retro" in his directorial choices. Imagine if they got someone who grew up with Indy and always wanted to make a movie like Raiders. I'm thinking of the guys who did Stranger Things; I know some don't care for it, but it nailed the 80s horror atmosphere and look. (Not saying they should direct an Indy movie, just giving them as an example of young guys who nail the old-school look and feel.)
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:46 AM   #9
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While Crystal Skull didn't leave me with a lot of optimism that this crew still knows how to make this kind of movie, I do think it's appropriate that the series concludes how it started: with Spielberg and Ford. Let the old timers have their chance to close out what they created with some dignity and flair. The equivalent of J.J. Abrams is welcome to try his hand at it when they inevitably reboot the series, but this movie should be a product of the original team, for better or worse.
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:21 AM   #10
DARTH ZOIDBERG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
I have been summoned!

I think we're screwed on this front, to be honest. There's every indication that Spielberg and Kaminski were happy with their work on the fourth movie.

It's too bad, really, because the new Star Wars gives lie to Kaminski's intimation that current equipment somehow makes it impossible to approximate a more classical look. Kaminski botched his task not because of the tools, but because he couldn't help himself. I don't see what film emulsion has to do with his insistence on giving a halo to every light source or declaring war on 60% of the rainbow. These were conscious choices, and not coincidentally choices he's made on other Spielberg movies - but what works for dystopian stories like War of the Worlds or Minority Report don't necessary work for Indy.



I don't think he was trying to emulate Slocombe's work, and my evidence is: the way the movie looks, which is nothing like the other three. The main area where Indy 4 succeeds in looking like the others is in the shot composition, but that's more Spielberg's territory anyhow. If letting Kaminski shoot an entire Indiana Jones movie with diffusion filters doesn't count as "taking the restraints off", I don't know what does.

I would argue this goes beyond taste. The soft, hazy look of Indy 4 damages the immersion. How is there supposed to be any sense of immediacy during scenes of action or danger when everything looks like it's happening on the other side of a fish bowl? Indy movies have never necessarily looked "realistic", but before Crystal Skull they looked crisp, filmic, and tactile. Kaminski puts a foggy glass pane between us and the movie that keeps us at arm's length throughout.

all I have ever heard Spielberg and Company talk about is Indy 4 was set in the 50's that they went with lighter hues or colors, I am sure Indy 5 will look more like the first three! what did you guys think of Star Wars TFA and RO ? I think Disney hit huge grand slams out of the park, Indy will be no Different now that Disney owns it!
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:06 PM   #11
seasider
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Hypothetical scenario. Lets say Spielberg goes with another DP for Indy 5. Who would be one that you feel would best capture the look of the first 3 movies?

There are the obvious Hollywood heavy hitters like Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki and John Toll but's never really been Spielberg's style. He's almost always gone with cinematographers who were not really household names. Heck, Kaminski's most famous credits were The Adventures of Huck Finn and Cool As Ice when he started working with Spielberg.
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:40 PM   #12
Udvarnoky
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What's Dean Cundey up to?

Daniel Mindel kept it old school with Star Wars Episode 7.

And Kaminski himself is more than qualified to do it. He's got the capability. The question is does he have the selflessness.
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:48 PM   #13
DARTH ZOIDBERG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seasider
Hypothetical scenario. Lets say Spielberg goes with another DP for Indy 5. Who would be one that you feel would best capture the look of the first 3 movies?

There are the obvious Hollywood heavy hitters like Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki and John Toll but's never really been Spielberg's style. He's almost always gone with cinematographers who were not really household names. Heck, Kaminski's most famous credits were The Adventures of Huck Finn and Cool As Ice when he started working with Spielberg.
that aint happening. but If it did I would be fine with the guy that did Star Wars TFA or RO but like I said that isn't going to happen so forget about it. besides Indy 4 what Janusz Kaminski film has looked bad? I really think to much is made of how The cinematography looked in Indy 4, as Spielberg and others in production have said it was supposed to look like it was filmed in the 1950's I am sure Disney wont make that same mistake, as was seen in TFA and RO these films are like love letters to the fans or fan service. no worries from me on this.

I'll tell you one scene I think was lit perfectly, the scene where Spalko was Interagating Indy with the skull in the tent! very old school Indy to me!

Last edited by DARTH ZOIDBERG : 03-08-2017 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 03-08-2017, 01:11 PM   #14
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What 50s movie does Crystal Skull look like?
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Old 03-08-2017, 01:17 PM   #15
DARTH ZOIDBERG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
What 50s movie does Crystal Skull look like?
Spielberg meant the look of the time, pastels and what not not any particular film.
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Old 03-08-2017, 02:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
What's Dean Cundey up to?

Daniel Mindel kept it old school with Star Wars Episode 7.

And Kaminski himself is more than qualified to do it. He's got the capability. The question is does he have the selflessness.

Looking at imdb.com, Cundey is still around staying busy. Once upon a time he was hot property working for Zemeckis, Ron Howard and Spielberg. I also like John Seale who did Mad Max: Fury Road. I also like Larry Fong who has worked with JJ Abrams and Zack Snyder.

But as I and others here have pointed out, it's going to Janusz again unless something happens where he's not available. I'm actually fine with that. I just wish he'd hold back on his urge to backlight the crap out of everything and have the actors sporting halos all the time.
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Old 03-08-2017, 02:27 PM   #17
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Here's a few screenshots of 1957 films, submitted without comment. Of course, these are from Blu-Ray releases, possibly with color timing of variable quality.







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Old 03-08-2017, 02:57 PM   #18
Udvarnoky
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I see filmic, crisp, vibrant images with none of the unmotivated filtration and blasted backlighting of Kaminski's work. Funny how the techniques Kaminski was supposedly using to capture a 50s aesthetic happen to be recognizable in pretty much all of his other work and have no obvious basis in actual 50s cinematography. Sometimes the correct explanation is the obvious one.

Don't get me wrong, Kaminski is a manifestly skilled DOP, but his style is very distinct and he chose to bring it to Indiana Jones when it had no place there, and most insultingly after we'd been explicitly promised Slocombe's work would be honored. Kaminski's flourishes fit projects like Lincoln, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, etc. quite well, but this was the project to dial that stuff back on and he chose not to.
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Old 03-08-2017, 03:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DARTH ZOIDBERG
Spielberg meant the look of the time, pastels and what not not any particular film.

What quote from Spielberg are we talking about, exactly?
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:41 AM   #20
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The lightning inside the warehouse was the best work Kaminski did in my opinion.

Last edited by Wilhelm : 03-09-2017 at 04:51 AM.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
I see filmic, crisp, vibrant images with none of the unmotivated filtration and blasted backlighting of Kaminski's work. Funny how the techniques Kaminski was supposedly using to capture a 50s aesthetic happen to be recognizable in pretty much all of his other work and have no obvious basis in actual 50s cinematography. Sometimes the correct explanation is the obvious one.

Don't get me wrong, Kaminski is a manifestly skilled DOP, but his style is very distinct and he chose to bring it to Indiana Jones when it had no place there, and most insultingly after we'd been explicitly promised Slocombe's work would be honored. Kaminski's flourishes fit projects like Lincoln, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, etc. quite well, but this was the project to dial that stuff back on and he chose not to.

It was more the overall '50s look they were going for:


Last edited by Attila the Professor : 03-10-2017 at 01:20 PM. Reason: Image replaced with smaller version of same.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:00 AM   #22
Udvarnoky
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Your claim is not supported by those photographs, and those photographs are barely supported by my browser.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
What's Dean Cundey up to?

I'll ask him tomorrow, when I see him at a convention!
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
I see filmic, crisp, vibrant images with none of the unmotivated filtration and blasted backlighting of Kaminski's work. Funny how the techniques Kaminski was supposedly using to capture a 50s aesthetic happen to be recognizable in pretty much all of his other work and have no obvious basis in actual 50s cinematography. Sometimes the correct explanation is the obvious one.

Don't get me wrong, Kaminski is a manifestly skilled DOP, but his style is very distinct and he chose to bring it to Indiana Jones when it had no place there, and most insultingly after we'd been explicitly promised Slocombe's work would be honored. Kaminski's flourishes fit projects like Lincoln, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, etc. quite well, but this was the project to dial that stuff back on and he chose not to.

Why is it such a big deal?
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:09 AM   #25
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Why is it such a big deal?

I think it goes back to making the viewer feel at home and feel like they're going back to those adventures they loved in 80's. In my opinion, the cinematography doesn't have to completely mimic the first 3 movies but it should be shot in a way that draws you into the movie and makes you feel like part of the action. Many would argue that Kaminski failed to understand that his glossy soft color schemes and excessive backlighting was distracting and did not give the viewer a fully immersive experience.
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