camerawork to static in pt?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by battlewars, Apr 3, 2005.

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  1. battlewars Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    seems wierd since lucas can move his camera so much (supposedly) moreso than in the ot. i think it wouldve given the films a more dynamic feel
  2. Smuggler-of-Mos-Espa Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2002
    star 6
    Even with all of the CGI work of the Prequels, Lucas isn't going to start with the whole abnormal "dynamic" style in his films. It's not his style.
  3. BauconBatista Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2004
    star 4
    ^^^

    Very much true.

    I find it funny how some regard GL a "fetishist" for his grand total of TWO establishing shots of Kamino while calling Peter Jackson a "god" for his constant use of sweeping, sensationalistic 360-degree aerial shots and emotional character close-ups in the LOTR trilogy(Which is second only to SW, IMO :) ).
  4. Deeysew Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    Faster more intense would have been nice. :p
  5. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    SoME is exactly correct.

  6. battlewars Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    well if he panned, which i thought was the point with cg, then people wouldn't have noticed so many flaws, most movies even the ot move there cameras around more. he does like to electronically zoom though for whatever reason
  7. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    The visual style of the newer films is pretty much the same as the older films.

  8. battlewars Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    i really don't agree with that. you notice it being static it kinda stands out whereas it didnt seem that way in the ot
  9. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    Can you elaborate? Because I can think of tons of camera movement. Pans, trucks and zooms of all kinds. Also lots of movement coordinated within the shots as well as similar design and set decoration elements. So I am really curious how the newer films are static...

  10. battlewars Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    just about every scene in the pt is static, but paticularly the dinner scene in tpm, the balcony scene in aotc alot of scenes
  11. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    You keep making the same statement over and over. Give specifics. Let me:

    -The Senate scenes in TPM. The camera never STOPS moving.
    -The long two shot of Anakin and Padmé sitting in the meadow
    -The shot in TPM of the Theed palace
    -The shot in AOTC of Padmé's ship arriving on Tatooine
    -The wide shot of the Theed generator room during the Duel in TPM.
    -Many shots during the space battle in TPM
    -Many shots during the Battle of Geonosis including the extreme zoom shots
    -Many shots during the podrace


    You see... Lucas moves the camera during action sequences in major ways. He moves it subtley during quieter scenes. The dinner scene in TPM on Tatooine SHOULD be static. I much prefer George's visual style to idiots like Michael Bay who need to be told not to constantly be trucking and zooming during quiet scenes. Peter Jackson's LOTR camera style with helicopter shots, cable cam shots, sweeping CG shots just does not FIT Star Wars.

    In fact I would say that the number of static shots to moving shots is the same ratio in the OT as it is in the PT. George just has a fairly simple documentary style.


  12. Tyranus_the_Hutt Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2004
    star 4
    well if he panned, which i thought was the point with cg, then people wouldn't have noticed so many flaws, most movies even the ot move there cameras around more. he does like to electronically zoom though for whatever reason

    Long ago, a device known as the Dykstraflex was created by a man named John Dykstra, who happened to be a special-effects supervisor on the original "Star Wars" film in 1977 - this device was otherwise known as a computerized motion control camera system which enabled two seperate planes of imagery to move together simultaneously in pre-set formations. Therefore it would be possible to "pan" across a composite of special-effects shots and live action footage due to the fact that the computer controlled camera motions could be repeated in precise fashion many times over. If Lucas had this equipment at his disposal for the first picture, why would one assume that he didn't have a later, more technologically advanced model for use on "The Phantom Menace"?

    As others have already mentioned, Lucas' mise-en-scene in these pictures is classically formed and straightforward. The aesthetic is derivative of old Republic serials and other such Saturday afternoon matinee-type films; there is a relative amount of camera movement in the prequels, but it is deliberately contained - these aren't Scorsese pictures here, in which the ceaseless, roaming camera suggests a protagonist's tortured soul - they are pulpy space operas. Lucas tends to use quite a few long lenses, and adheres to more routine cutting techniques for the majority of his films: master shot, medium/close-shots, reverse angle, and so forth. Not very fancy, but serviceable.

    Here's an excerpt from a 2001 "American Cinematographer" interview with Lucas, which was conducted on the set of "Attack of the Clones". The interviewer, Benjamin Bergery, asks Lucas about matters such as the one posed in this thread:

    The cinematography style in the "Star Wars" movies seems very classical. Who are some of your favorite cinematographers?

    Lucas: I've always been a fan of Haskell Wexler. I admire David Watkins, who I was fortunate to work with on "Return to Oz". I'm a fan of Conrad Hall. Gregg Toland is one of my favorite cameramen of all time. He's a genius; I love watching his movies, especially when they're brand-new prints that look good. I like black-and-white, and I like depth of field.

    [The look of] "Star Wars" is extremely controlled. I purposely kept the look reasonably conservative. I have to stay in a particular norm that is designed for young people and family movies.

    I think "Phantom Menace" looks beautiful, and all of the "Star Wars" movies look great. Even though we have moody scenes, it's still reasonably straightforward in terms of framing and lighting. It's clean, nicely lit photography. I think it's aesthetically pleasing. It's not flashy or overlit, and I'm very proud of it.

    At the same time, if I had to pick what I really love to see in a movie, what I'd like to do more than anything, this is not the style I would pick.

    Then why use it?

    Lucas: Because it's appropriate for the material. This is a particular story that needs to be told in a very romantic, classic, "Golden Era of Hollywood" style. That's part of what "Star Wars' is. This film is very specifically done in the style of a 1930s Saturday matinee serial. It's an old-fashioned movie designed to be like a serial, with six episodes.

    The camera doesn't move much in the "Star Wars" movies.

    Lucas: In the past, the technology was not conducive to moving the camera because I had a lot of effects. Now I can move the camera a lot more. If you watch the "Star Wars" films, you're watching the progression of learning to walk in the digital medium.

    End of excerpt. So Lucas believes that there was actually less camera movement in the OT - I would tend to agree with that, for many of the reasons stated above. I hope that that was helpful, battlewars.
  13. battlewars Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    it really doesn't and lucas seems to contradict himself there too.
  14. Tyranus_the_Hutt Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2004
    star 4
    it really doesn't and lucas seems to contradict himself there too.

    Could you please be a little more specific about some of your qualms with the work, battlewars? I respectfully submit that it is easy for an individual to constantly make claims or conjecture, but without a reasonable amount of substantiation, it is difficult for anyone to know what you're talking about. You think that the camerawork in the prequels thus far is not mobile or fluid enough? That's fine, but there are some pressing questions: How? Why is that? Are you able to cite some examples? You implicate Lucas as being "contradictory" in his remarks, yet have offered less proof than he in indicating why you think that is so. It is one thing to make a claim, and another to support it.
  15. battlewars Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    he likes sweeping camera moves for the ships but static camera for talking scenes seems contradictory, and an excuse for him not wanting to think of better camera moves. just like his dialogue answer "its because its in the style". just admit you don't write dialogue well and you don't like to move the camera. i would respect that more. by the way, i don't mean to anger anyone on these boards
  16. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    Dialogue scenes SHOULDN'T have a lot of movement. They should largely be static. Go watch the OT again and you will see that most of the dialogue scenes are static. They should be. The audience needs to focus on what is being said not on distracting camera moves. Nothing is worse than needless camera movement.

    It is an axiom of filmmaking that one only moves the camera when there is a REASON to.

    And by the way, Lucas has said on many an occasion that he doesn't like to move the cameras a lot. He was teased by Spielberg and others for it. But the style is established in the OT films and the newer films have to stick roughly to that style. If they didn't, the films would not feel like Star Wars.

  17. Forcefire Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2000
    star 4
    I don't see what's so contradictory about it. Different events on screen call for different types of camera moves. Besides, half of Strilo's excellent examples relate to things that have nothing to do with ships or action. I'd throw in a few of my own if my DVDs weren't two hours away.
  18. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Strilo posted on 4/4/05 1:44pm

    />

    Definitely. It's something I actually hadn't noticed much until there were some breaks with it in the PT. The most noteable, to me, is in the Battle of Geonosis. There's this wider shot of the battle, then it zooms in on one of the troop carriers. I can't help but feel a bit thrown from the film every time I see that. A lot of movement works in some films, but it feels off in SW because that's just not what SW is.


    -sj loves kevin spacey/>/>
  19. battlewars Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    my point is the characters are stiff as it is, why not move the camera more to get rid of the OVERALL stiffness to the prequels
  20. Deeysew Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    The editing and Cemera work in RotS seems much faster, more intense, from what I've seen in the few clips and trailers. Lots of movement. I think you will be quite pleased. I noticed a lot of boring still shots too. *bash*Would a close-up have hurt in some of those scenes GL? *bash*

    He's definetely changed the overall style for the better this time. Oh yeah.

    The action scenes are still very wonderful. Like the shot that parallels Vader's spin in ANH. IIRC, Annie did the same thing. The editing could be a smidge tighter though.

    hopefully we'll get that for the special ubber editions of the saga. :D
  21. Magic_Al Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2003
    star 3
    It is possible to move a camera too much, especially in CG visual-effects shots. Directors should choose, either have a conventional camera setup showing something impossible, or have an impossible camera move showing something ordinary. Don't have more than one level of unreality or it just becomes an attention-whoring cartoon.

    As for the PT, Lucas wants all six films to work together so he's not going to radically change the style. Adding some CG flying shots to the OT gave him some leeyway to do the same thing in the PT but he doesn't go too far from the kind of camera work the OT has.
  22. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    I can hardly even believe the topic of this thread. If anything, I've felt that there's been a bit too much camera movement in the prequels, so far. Don't get me wrong, I still love the Dickens out of them, it's just that I feel there are quite a few subtle visual motifs he keeps repeating in these films that kind of go against the overall static aesthetic of the original trilogy.

    Throughout TPM, and especially AOTC, there's a lot of little zooms and pushes into images, even a few minor uses of cranes. While for the most part episode 1 still adheres to the standard formulas of the OT, episode two includes minor camera motion in practically every shot of the film. I thought I was watching a frigging Robert Altman movie at times. In my opinion you'll find far less occurences of this type of mis en scene in the OT, save for a few moments here and there, such as in the Death Star conference room, the Hoth command center, various hallways in Cloud City, and a few important moments in the ROTJ duel.

    What I find interesting is that when the camera moves in the OT it's often kept in the same place. Watch the scene where Luke finds the recording of Leia, right when Threepio talks about Artoo's restraining bolt, or the scene where everyone's putting together a plan to rescue Leia in the Death Star control room. There, the camera moves quite a bit as it rapidly points from person to person, but it stays fixed into one spot (this is just from memory, by the way-- I could be mistaken). This also happens as people walk through hallways in these films-- the camera whips around to follow them, but stays put. I've found that you'll find those kinds of camera motions mostly in space sequences, following ships, in the PT, rather than following people.

    Really, though, the camera is less static in the PT, though Lucas has been careful not to betray the classic serial/cinema verite style he put to good use in the OT, and instead has used the new technology to amplify his sensibilities in ways that resonate to today's audiences.
  23. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    my point is the characters are stiff as it is, why not move the camera more to get rid of the OVERALL stiffness to the prequels

    Umm... ok. It doesn't really work like that dude.

  24. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Yes, making viewers motion sick really wouldn't improve things much.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  25. battlewars Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2005
    star 4
    maybe its just the stiffness of the acting then, i don't know something feels weong about the pt
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