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Old 05-24-2008, 01:48 PM   #1
deckard24
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What's up with Spielberg and Kaminski?

I still haven't decided how I feel overall about KOTCS, but when I see it for the second time tomorrow I'll have a better idea of where I stand. One thing is for sure Janusz Kaminski's cinematography was as distracting and out of place as I knew it would be!! It seems Spielberg's continual use of him for his films, really gives weight to the argument that he's gotten complacent, comfortable, and somewhat lazy in his advancing years.

If you go back to Jaws in 1975, Spielberg used Bill Butler for his cinematography, then for Close Encounters of the Third Kind he used Vilmos Zsigmond, for 1941 William A. Fraker, for Raiders of the Lost Ark , Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Douglas Slocombe, for E.T. Allen Daviau, for The Twilight Zone:The Movie Allen Daviau, John Hora, and Steven Larner, for The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun Allen Daviau again, for Always Mikael Saolomon, for Hook and Jurassic Park Dean Cundey. Then from Schindler's List(1993) to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull( 2008), 11 films in total plus 4 more over the few years including the upcoming Lincoln, Spielberg has used and will use Kaminski! 15 films?!

I don't get it! Spielberg switched up cinematographers continually for some of his greatest films Jaws, Close Encounters, and E.T., the Indy series with exception, but now he's gotten into this trend of Kaminski and Kaminski only! I for one am sick of Kaminski's visual style! His blue/grey metallic palette, overly lit, hazy atmospheric look has gotten stale. I personally think KOTCS would have been light years better if someone other then Kaminski was behind the lens. Come on Spielberg, get out of your rut and mix things up again!!

What do you guys think?
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:32 PM   #2
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Douglas Slocombe is my new hero.

Maybe Douglas Slocombe is the unsung hero of the first 3 Indy films.
I totally agree with deckard24, I hated the look of KOTCS. I hated the washed out, overexposed dull frosty look of KOTCS. Go back and watch the originals, lush colors, crisp details, and excellent lighting.
Also, the trilogy's placement of the camera, with interesting angles, and the camera set in realistic locations with attention to composition. Something glaringly different in KOTCS was the computer generated flyover or flyaround shots. In the original films every camera was mounted to a truck, the ground, or a helicopter or a plane, throughout the originals the camera was attached to a physical thing.
If there was a matte painting it was a 2 dimensional element that was creatively composited with live action footage or effects. That was the formula we remember and love. It should have been recreated, but sadly was not.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:48 PM   #3
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yeah the film looked more like the SW prequels than Indy. I was even more disappointed to find that Speilberg had asked Kaminski to match up to Slocombe's. I don't see it at all. The worst scene was near the end when they are all sittting on top of the hill and everything is wahed out. The wedding too! It is like the kind of cinematography you would expect in a dream sequence not for the whole movie!
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:50 PM   #4
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KOTCS has the same look as Spielberg's "Taken"
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy's Fist
yeah the film looked more like the SW prequels than Indy. I was even more disappointed to find that Speilberg had asked Kaminski to match up to Slocombe's. I don't see it at all. The worst scene was near the end when they are all sittting on top of the hill and everything is wahed out. The wedding too! It is like the kind of cinematography you would expect in a dream sequence not for the whole movie!


Maybe that's how they'll explain KOTCS in Indy 5. Indy wakes up. I just had the most terrible dream about Crystal Skulls and I dreamt I got married in a Chapel O' Love.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:57 PM   #6
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I can sympathize with anyone who says they didn't like the new look of the film compared to others in the series. But as I have said in other threads, I actually feel like I found many similarities in the way the films were shot, and didn't altogether mind the new look when it appeared greatly different in certain areas.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by herr gruber
Maybe that's how they'll explain KOTCS in Indy 5. Indy wakes up. I just had the most terrible dream about Crystal Skulls and I dreamt I got married in a Chapel O' Love.
Ha!Ha! Maybe they will come to their senses and put Indy in his say his late 40's early 50's and set the next movie on the 1940's. An Indy 4 should have come out in 1996,97 or 98. Not 2008.
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:27 PM   #8
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All will be revealed in the upcoming American Cinematographer article.
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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One of the few problems I have with KOTCS is Kaminski's cinematography. While camera (movement and composition of the frame) wise the film looks like the original three, the lighting bears no resemblance to Douggie Slocombe's work. Whites are blown out and he uses A LOT of lens filters which causes the image to almost glow (as he does with most of his work).

And unfortunately that results in a MAJOR drawback.... special effects work. It's incredibly difficult to make effects work look real when details are fuzzy and edges are not defined. CG work sticks out like a sore thumb...

I'm not a fan of what Kaminski did.

Yancy
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gallandro
One of the few problems I have with KOTCS is Kaminski's cinematography. While camera (movement and composition of the frame) wise the film looks like the original three, the lighting bears no resemblance to Douggie Slocombe's work. Whites are blown out and he uses A LOT of lens filters which causes the image to almost glow (as he does with most of his work).

And unfortunately that results in a MAJOR drawback.... special effects work. It's incredibly difficult to make effects work look real when details are fuzzy and edges are not defined. CG work sticks out like a sore thumb...

I'm not a fan of what Kaminski did.

Yancy
You're in Phoenix too?
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:50 PM   #11
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I didn't think it looked that bad.
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:56 PM   #12
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Kaminski is a very talented guy, and I absolutely LOVE his work in most of Spielberg later films(Minority Report, War of the Worlds, A.I., Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List), but it was kinda weird for this one. Maybe because this a more modern movie, but it loses that ol Saturday morning serial feel.

Still, I did like it, since I such a big fan of his style, but it seemed kinda off for an Indy flick.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Indy's Fist
You're in Phoenix too?

There are a couple of us here. BTW, I highly recommend KOTCS at Cine Capri @ Tempe Marketplace. The Cine Capri @ Scottsdale 101 was pretty fuzzy. My buddy who worked as a projectionist with Harkins for years thinks the projector at the Scottsdale location is having some alignment issues. The image was a little on the fuzzy side (besides what Janus was doing DP-wise)... the quality at Marketplace was a lot better.


Yancy
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gallandro
There are a couple of us here. BTW, I highly recommend KOTCS at Cine Capri @ Tempe Marketplace. The Cine Capri @ Scottsdale 101 was pretty fuzzy. My buddy who worked as a projectionist with Harkins for years thinks the projector at the Scottsdale location is having some alignment issues. The image was a little on the fuzzy side (besides what Janus was doing DP-wise)... the quality at Marketplace was a lot better.


Yancy
I went to AMC 30 Deer Valley. The picture was pretty good. You know I really miss the REAL Cine-Capri, you know the one that's now a parking garage?
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:21 PM   #15
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Kaminski should be shot

I hated the cinematography. Liked the movie though.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy's Fist
I went to AMC 30 Deer Valley. The picture was pretty good. You know I really miss the REAL Cine-Capri, you know the one that's now a parking garage?

Those bastards from that Swedish company that bought the original Capri and converted it should burn in the fiery pits of Hell . They claimed the property was a money loser, yet they converted it to office space (a skyrise) which has remained largely empty for almost 10 years.


Yancy
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:02 AM   #17
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I think Spielberg dveloped some kind of personal connection with Kaminski after first working with him on Schindler's List.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:04 AM   #18
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I've personally enjoyed every film Kaminski has shot, and this was no exception.

I'm really getting tired of the "It didn't look/feel like the old movies!!!" It's 20 years later, there's better film technology, and we've got a different cinematographer. I mean, what, you were expecting Doug Slocombe to rise from the grave and for Harrison Ford to de-age 20 years?

Nostalgic hardcore fanboys make me ill.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gallandro
There are a couple of us here. BTW, I highly recommend KOTCS at Cine Capri @ Tempe Marketplace. The Cine Capri @ Scottsdale 101 was pretty fuzzy. My buddy who worked as a projectionist with Harkins for years thinks the projector at the Scottsdale location is having some alignment issues. The image was a little on the fuzzy side (besides what Janus was doing DP-wise)... the quality at Marketplace was a lot better.


Yancy

I live in Scottsdale and have viewed the film at BOTH locations. :P

I didn't notice a huge difference. Although in Temple I was in the very back row, and in Scottsdale I was in the 4th row.
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Old 05-25-2008, 02:02 AM   #20
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In regards to Kaminski, the movie is set in the 50's, which Lucas inparticular is famous for representing through a nostalgic "haze". I wonder how the influences of, & the memories of the B-movies worked their way into the cinematography?
The American Graffiti factor, is that too much of a leap of imagination? It's hazey because of the nostagia for the 50's???

I really loved a lot of the shots, really beautiful stuff, especially the opening credits/scenes. Then again I loved the cinematography in Munich...

Perhaps I should have introduced myself before I wrote this

Last edited by Liberator : 05-25-2008 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 05-25-2008, 02:52 AM   #21
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I mean, what, you were expecting Doug Slocombe to rise from the grave

Slocombe is still alive at 94, but he's obviously retired.
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Old 05-25-2008, 03:32 AM   #22
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I wish Doug had advised them more. So many signature shots were missing
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:07 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Dust McAlan
I've personally enjoyed every film Kaminski has shot, and this was no exception.

I'm really getting tired of the "It didn't look/feel like the old movies!!!" It's 20 years later, there's better film technology, and we've got a different cinematographer. I mean, what, you were expecting Doug Slocombe to rise from the grave and for Harrison Ford to de-age 20 years?

Nostalgic hardcore fanboys make me ill.
First of all no one was expecting Slocombe to rise from the grave, considering he's still alive and retired... not dead!

Secondly, there might be better film technology 20 years later, but that doesn't change the fact that Spielberg used the same guy he's become the most comfortable with for the last 15 years, and tried to take his unique visual style and change it to emulate Slocombe's. That makes no sense to me, when he could have instead got a different equally talented cinematographer with a style that was similar to and complemented Slocombe's. I'm not knocking Kaminski's talents, because he's very good, but just wasn't right for this film. Where were the rich saturated colors that the original films contained? There was never a washed out, metallic, dream sequence look to the old films.

Lastly, I don't think calling this out is being a nostalgic hardcore fanboy, but instead a discerning critic of a set of films tons of people have come to love. A lot of people have gotten interested in the process of film because of Raiders and the other Indy films, and the visual continuity between all of them is obvious, unlike with KOTCS. There's a big disconnect in my opinion! Yes some shots look similar, but as a whole it doesn't feel like an Indy film asthetically!

Dean Cundey the cinematographer for Jurassic Park would have been a better choice, as would have Adrian Biddle form The Mummy films, or Shelly Johnson from Hidalgo!
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:16 AM   #24
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I agree that KotCS looked a little too "washed out", not just for an Indiana Jones film but simply for a film in general.


-G
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:26 PM   #25
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I could've sworn I'd read somewhere that Douglas Slocombe had passed away. My apologies.

But at 94, isn't that the same thing?
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