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Rogue One Cinematography/Film Techniques of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Anthology (Released Films)' started by PymParticles , Apr 10, 2016.

  1. PymParticles

    PymParticles Cruel but Fair Tyrant of New Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2014
    I really liked this thread for The Force Awakens, and noticed that even a few days later, one hadn't yet been started for Rogue One. Now, obviously we can't make any substantial claims about the cinematography of the entire film yes, seeing as the film is still a good eight months and six days away from its domestic release (but who's counting?), but I feel the teaser trailer gave us more than enough to work with for the time being. Considering the equivalent thread for TFA was started immediately after that film's first teaser was released, a teaser consisting entirely of seven shots and lots of black screen, I feel relatively safe in the appropriateness of the timing of this thread's existence, but if the mods disagree I'll more than understand.

    So, here we'll discuss the moving images of Rogue One to our heart's content, as that's where the art of film truly lies (they're not called movies for nothing, you know). Also feel free to discuss Rogue One's previewed cinematography in comparison to the previous seven films in the series. One of the things that excites me the most about the post-Lucas era of Star Wars is we'll get to see different directors leave their creative stamp upon it, and how they do so visually and aesthetically is what I'm most interested in. So post gifs and stills, post side-by-side comparative images, discuss the pros and cons of what you see on display for this film in relation solely to itself or relative to past installments, and please keep it civil. Here are three of my favorite shots to start us off, each of which I feel works rather well in the "every frame a painting" mold.

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  2. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 Porg of New Films & Fan Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2002
    I noticed that a lot of the shots are framed with the characters in the centre of the frame, like this:
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    While visually striking shots, I hope this isn't how the entire film is shot, since that would become boring really fast. But, it's just a teaser, and I'm sure they just wanted to show off some neat looking shots.
     
  3. El_Machete12

    El_Machete12 Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Yea I am sure those shots were chosen specifically because this is a teaser to introduce characters from the film.

    I have to say, moving forward, I would like to see more cinematography that really shows how this is a war movie in the trailers. We got glimpses of it in the teaser, which is fine because this is after all a tease, but that is an aspect of this film that I am very much looking forward to.
     
  4. JabbatheHumanBeing

    JabbatheHumanBeing Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 14, 2015

    I thought we got a lot in the "this is a war movie" vein. For a moment there, I thought Johnson had shot in Syria in the midst of their very real civil war.

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  5. PymParticles

    PymParticles Cruel but Fair Tyrant of New Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2014
    The stormtrooper marching alongside the tank through the street as civilians look on is what really sold the "this is a Star Wars movie" aspect to me. I mean, that is a full-on occupation that feels direct and genuinely threatening in a way previous depictions did not. For instance, occupation of Mos Eisley felt more benign, and the occupation of Cloud City felt a bit distant from an audience perspective. This, with the camera giving the POV of being on the street and seeing this for yourself, really sells how freaking scary it would be to have the Empire's warm breath on your neck. Also, I love how dirty that tank is.
     
  6. Iamnoone

    Iamnoone Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 23, 2015
    I think 'War Movie' is really open to interpretation. It could range from thousands or rebels/imperials on either side or simply a small band of bounty hunters trying to infiltrate a base. Personally I think it'll be like the latter and not as much like 'Saving Private Ryan in space' as some predict.

    I love Lucas' work and whilst I did like TFA and appreciate JJ's skills you could definitely tell TFA was not a Lucas movie. Infact it really threw me off at first but with repeating viewings I became used to the different cinematic style. I'm fine with that and also pleased that different directors who have grown up idolising George will get to work on Star Wars.
     
  7. hippie1kenobi

    hippie1kenobi Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Like the original film, we see several compositions featuring strong, simple geometric shapes with a touch of asymmetry in the overall layout. I won't post pics from R1 again, but see the shots with Mon Mothma and the white caped baddie for examples. Mothma's shot and the one with the hooded figure also seem to play with the screen-within-a-screen deviced used so much in '77 (examples below)



    Bardan Edit: Images removed at user request



    Geometric shapes aiding composition and depth:





    Strong geometric shapes with slightly asymmetrical composition
     
  8. Avnar

    Avnar Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Great thread! The imagery in this film took me right back to my childhood!

    I don't think I have ever done a 360 with a film the way I have with Rogue One. I was indifferent and now I am counting the days down :cool:

    This trailer did something for me no Star Wars trailer has since the originals - It made me fear for the good guys. Can't explain why...
     
  9. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Well in the other movies, you know Luke or Rey in the end win the day.
    Ryn and her Dirty Dozen? They get The Tape, but do they survive? We genuinely do not know.
     
    DaddlerTheDalek and Revyl Ren like this.
  10. Revanfan1

    Revanfan1 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2013
    I think the AT-AT scene is the R1 equivalent of the Captain America: Civil War money shot. Observe:

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    Matter of fact, the R1 trailer in general gives me the same feel as Marvel-style trailers.

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  11. Avnar

    Avnar Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2007
    I think it also has to do with the OT Empire... They are like the Nazis, when they show up - someones going down! It's an imagery thing to me.

    I never felt anyone was in real danger in the PT. The ST (so far) has been better but the stormtroopers aren't menacing. I don't know - maybe it's the design.
     
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  12. PymParticles

    PymParticles Cruel but Fair Tyrant of New Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2014
    Stormtroopers are most menacing when they're gunning down expendable extras. See: the Tantive IV shootout that opens ANH, mowing down Rebels during the Battle of Hoth, or the village massacre that opens TFA. The only other two times they're scary, the carnage is seen off screen, i.e. the Jawa massacre and the torching of the Lars family. When they're up against our heroes, there's not as much menace to them because we can pretty safely assume the good guys will be fine. At that point, the stormtroopers are pretty much just canon fodder. See: literally every other action scene they're in. The Force Awakens understood this in a pretty self-aware way, which is why we saw some pretty comical scenes with the troopers getting messed up. Like when that door opens and reveals the stormtrooper standing at attention, and the next thing we see is a shot of him getting blasted in the chest and thrown down a hallway so hard his armor shatters when he hits the adjacent wall? Hilarious.

    Here, of course we're going to see them as canon fodder. They're the evil equivalent of red shirts in Star Trek. However, I think we might actually see them as a bit more competent than usual. The Death Troopers (or Death Squad, or whatever they end up being called) are going to have to be pretty menacing in order to justify adorning the packaging for this movie, and I wouldn't be surprised if they're responsible for the death of a supporting hero or two.
     
  13. Darth Smurf

    Darth Smurf Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2015
    [​IMG]

    Are there Jawas on this picture?
     
  14. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 Porg of New Films & Fan Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Nope.
     
  15. PymParticles

    PymParticles Cruel but Fair Tyrant of New Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2014
    I was thinking the brown robe on the right might be. I know they're typically depicted as quite small, but there were a few in ANH that were about average human height.
     
  16. Hernalt

    Hernalt Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2000
    I can say I got the Star Wars feeling in my gut seeing the Star Destroyers move across the field with mass, momentum, pace, stateliness, grandeur, as the camera reveals the correct size contrast to the Death Star. This is in keeping with the introduction of the command Ship Executor in ESB, where the scale of the ship was shown not told, by dint of it eclipsing the (revealed) relatively smaller ISDs. So whoever did this, did it. They "did" Star Wars. They got it correct. They correctly used an established classical rule set and visually rhymed with prior experiences, without aping anything in a 1:1 aspect ratio. After the re-calibration due to TFA, this is an achievement. Someone actually cares.

    The second thing that I feel worth posting on is the AT-ATs. I received a vibe like Saving Private Ryan with the commanding pill boxes of Omaha Beach (2:14 of

    ). Also the tripods of War of the Worlds (0:58 of
    )
    . 1980's ESB was a "wholesome" movie. Its intent during that epoch was not to viscerally transport the viewer into the arms and eyes of imminent death. This moment in this trailer ties together a more visceral, more personal involvement in the action. More so than what was at the time was AOTC's motivated use of embedded reporter POV to reference the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    Seeing Mothma framed to embody cool, calculating response (formalized, disciplined rebellion, which distills a When in the Course of Human Events...) to what must be personal vendettas (some grudge/motivation on the female lead's part) recalls to me the scene where Bail Organa hits the stone wall (surrepticiously - doesn't want to project the wrong message) about what change to the representative Republic has occured during his tenure. SO: The absense of Organa from a film about what destroys him is going to be an interesting failure / missed opportunity.

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  17. PymParticles

    PymParticles Cruel but Fair Tyrant of New Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2014
    We don't know for sure if Organa isn't in the film. As far as I'm aware, we didn't know a thing about Mothma being in it until the teaser hit, whereas for Bail MSW reported on concept art of him for the film last May.
     
  18. JabbatheHumanBeing

    JabbatheHumanBeing Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 14, 2015

    I have a feeling that Rogue One is going to end seconds before A New Hope.

    Tantive IV officer: Your highness...An Imperial Star Destroyer. On our tail.
    Princess Leia:...

    Iris out.
     
  19. PymParticles

    PymParticles Cruel but Fair Tyrant of New Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2014
    It's interesting to see how a similar scene is depicted 36 years apart. On top you have you have the AT-ATs center frame, and the camera is completely still as your eyes follow their gaze down towards their targets (it actually looks like they're all taking pot shots at the same dead body) who are fleeing away and out of the image. Below, we (the audience) are the camera, zig-zagging and racing alongside the completely screwed soldiers soldiers, some of whom hit the ground and are left behind by the frame, and then we look up at the terrifying behemoths bearing down on us. It gives a totally different impression to the walkers.

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  20. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Back in ESB days the simple fact they made walkers work and look as good as they did was pretty damn impressive. The camera had to be static when mixing live action and animation. I'd pity the poor stop motion animators otherwise.

    But this is what you want from the new movies. Take the old elements and do them in a more dynamic way. TFA did that wonderfully with TIE Fighters.
     
  21. PymParticles

    PymParticles Cruel but Fair Tyrant of New Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2014
    The effects in TESB (and the original trilogy as a whole) were and still are amazing. I mean, it's a testament to the phenomenal work done in those films that I can watch them now, 39-33 years after they were released, and still find myself completely immersed by them on a technical level. The point I was trying to make was what you said, that the way to do this is to take what was done before and find dynamic ways to make them anew. Getting to see the range of motion and maneuverability granted to the TIE Fighters, X-Wings, and the Millennium Falcon by advancements in technology, in addition to how the camera was able to track their movements in ways that would have been previously impossible, was one of my TFA's great pleasures.
     
  22. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    :) (sorry if I sounded more combative that I intended)
    This is a scene I am keen to see. See how far they can make the Walkers feel like they are really there. Since our heroes are running towards them, while they are sloshing around in the water, I can see the next scene in my head.

    The Rebels avoiding being stomped while legs smash down in water spraying everywhere. Trying to do a Luke zipline?
     
    TX-20 and PymParticles like this.
  23. Millennium Falcon 888

    Millennium Falcon 888 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Wow, the second shot of the AT-ATs shooting at the Rebels is just amazing... So realistically done and lends a menacing feeling to those watching the clip!

    And maybe it's just me but why do those AT-AT remind me of the dreaded Tripods from "War of The Worlds", laser blasters and all?
     
    Master_Lok and PymParticles like this.
  24. Hernalt

    Hernalt Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2000

    I do not have film studies language to grapple with this, but a frame exists in the trailer where the main character looks directly into the camera. Precisely in time (0:24) when Mothma is reading off her own list of grievances, specifically, "reckless", which is of course not exactly a synonym for "rogue", but is a very close suite of traits. And of course I assume that this is just a mistake in acting and a mistake in editing and a mistake in the director having her re-shoot the scene. But if it is not, it is an interesting choice. It is an interesting thing to have done for this trailer and for the genre. It redeems (in my harsh opinion of TFA) the constant wall breaking and exploitative call back.
     
  25. miasma

    miasma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 29, 2013
    I totally agree about the PT, but I thought the storm troopers in TFA were more menacing than what we saw in the OT (not the design, necessarily, but their actions.) I'm hoping Rogue One maintains that ST level of menace, even if it makes it somewhat inconsistent with the OT.
     
    Millennium Falcon 888 likes this.