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Aronofsky's Mother! 16mm Genius

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As I watched Aronofsky's Mother!, I noted how soft and noisy it was, figured 16mm film (it was: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5109784/technical?ref_=tt_dt_spec). Lots of handheld, close follow shots, POV pan-reveals, and overall genius-level unnerving camera motion and editing.

This is probably his best film to date: A+, 5/5 etc. Camera, color, editing, acting, story, lighting, music, sound, VFX, all top level work. He digs deep into the human psyche / ego / control / fear and doesn't let up 'once it starts' (you'll know what I mean when you see the film). For those who haven't studied psychology, it might seem incomprehensible. However while it works as an amazing horror movie even if it doesn't make sense, it's genius on so many other levels! Worth repeat watching to learn more, it's that good. Recommend not reading any reviews beforehand, and hopefully no spoilers are leaked in this thread.

[edit: removed the trailer link, best to see it without any fore knowledge!]

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

He said the following at the Toronto Film Festival: 

"But with 16 you have an immediate patina, an immediate abstraction, an immediate thing that makes it a piece of work"

And I wonder, could it be that this "immediate patina & abstraction" almost dictates a frame of mind and actually helps in the creative process? 

At least thats how I felt back in the day when shooting with T-MAX 400, and I guess a similar feeling could exist when shooting jpegs with the various film styles of Fuji or Olympus. Shooting RAW has its advantages but I see myself enjoying the process less and less.  

Every movie from Aronofsky (other than Noah), left a lasting impression so I can't wait to get my eyes on mother. 

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45 minutes ago, Don Kotlos said:

He said the following at the Toronto Film Festival: 

"But with 16 you have an immediate patina, an immediate abstraction, an immediate thing that makes it a piece of work"

And I wonder, could it be that this "immediate patina & abstraction" almost dictates a frame of mind and actually helps in the creative process? 

At least thats how I felt back in the day when shooting with T-MAX 400, and I guess a similar feeling could exist when shooting jpegs with the various film styles of Fuji or Olympus. Shooting RAW has its advantages but I see myself enjoying the process less and less.  

Every movie from Aronofsky (other than Noah), left a lasting impression so I can't wait to get my eyes on mother. 

The film has an excellent, organic, abstract, low-res grainy look. The antithesis of pristine 4K! Some films, such as action/adventure/SciFi/Fantasy benefit from ultra clear ultra high-res imagery, and others such as horror/thrillers totally work with organic low-res grainy look: makes one 'less sure' about what they are seeing.

More detail reply in this thread (spoilers; best to watch film first): https://www.eoshd.com/comments/topic/25995-aronofskys-mother-post-watch-discussion-spoilers/

 

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1 hour ago, Jonesy Jones said:

Officially my new favorite term for the film look. Gonna have to work on getting some patina into my GH5 footage.

GH5 => 16mm Patina Recipe:

  1. Reduce DR, esp. highlights. Nothing will be very bright
  2. Down-res to 720p or so, then perhaps scale back to 2K or 4K to add noise (via Nesting, etc.)
  3. Apply really chunky monochrome-ish organic noise (FilmConvert or 16mm film scans etc.). FilmConvert LUT for appropriate Kodak etc. film stock could also help (could then skip (1) & perhaps (2) above)

https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/achieving-a-super-16mm-film-look-when-shooting-digitally/

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To be honest I don t share your view on it, after leaving the cinema I believed it was mostly shoot on 35mm, yes some shoot are quite grainy ( but I did found that more distracting than beautiful), I did found the image much sharper than what I was expecting ( So I was amazed as how much details they got considering it s super 16), I guess the master primes really shine there .
 

I love the movie and found the cinematography amazing, but I don t really see what super 16 did bring to the image, an alexa properly graded would have probably done the same if not a better job, also the dof is quite shallow in a lot of shots, not something that you use super 16 for.

But I understand that super 16 is Aronofsky mastered format, so his preference is not questionable, I just doubt it would bring anything really valuable to a new film maker.

 

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15 hours ago, Don Kotlos said:

He said the following at the Toronto Film Festival: 

"But with 16 you have an immediate patina, an immediate abstraction, an immediate thing that makes it a piece of work"

And I wonder, could it be that this "immediate patina & abstraction" almost dictates a frame of mind and actually helps in the creative process? 

At least thats how I felt back in the day when shooting with T-MAX 400, and I guess a similar feeling could exist when shooting jpegs with the various film styles of Fuji or Olympus. Shooting RAW has its advantages but I see myself enjoying the process less and less.  

Every movie from Aronofsky (other than Noah), left a lasting impression so I can't wait to get my eyes on mother. 

Well, shooting negative film is certainly much closer to shooting raw, than baked (as in jpeg). The negative is unusable until printed and there is a great deal of choices that need to be taken during exposure, development and printing. Choices which command the tonal and color characteristics of the image. There may be "immediate patina and abstraction" in the result, but getting the result isn't immediate by any means.

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40 minutes ago, cpc said:

Well, shooting negative film is certainly much closer to shooting raw, than baked (as in jpeg). The negative is unusable until printed and there is a great deal of choices that need to be taken during exposure, development and printing. Choices which command the tonal and color characteristics of the image. There may be "immediate patina and abstraction" in the result, but getting the result isn't immediate by any means.

It's not the "immediate" part rather than the relatively restricted space of choices which forces our imagination to live in while shooting. 

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8 hours ago, Laurier said:

To be honest I don t share your view on it, after leaving the cinema I believed it was mostly shoot on 35mm, yes some shoot are quite grainy ( but I did found that more distracting than beautiful), I did found the image much sharper than what I was expecting ( So I was amazed as how much details they got considering it s super 16), I guess the master primes really shine there .

16mm is considered below 2K/HD digital resolution due to large film grain: http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=14944 (without grain is similar to HD).  In that thread they state there is no actual resolution for film, however if you shoot resolution charts indeed there is...

The Mother! trailer looks especially soft on YouTube compared to other trailers, likely due to issues with compression since the grain is so heavy.

One of the tricks used for softer / lower resolution cameras is to shoot mostly closeups, as was done with the Canon 5D3 H.264. Low resolution is especially visible in wide shots. Aronofsky used mostly tight / closeups where the soft/grainy look worked well for the narrative of Mother!.

To get e.g. the GH5 looking like 16mm film, you'll want to reduce the resolution and add large noise grain (e.g. FilmConvert or 16mm noise scan).

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On 10/1/2017 at 11:56 AM, jcs said:

One of the tricks used for softer / lower resolution cameras is to shoot mostly closeups, as was done with the Canon 5D3 H.264. Low resolution is especially visible in wide shots. Aronofsky used mostly tight / closeups where the soft/grainy look worked well for the narrative of Mother!.

To get e.g. the GH5 looking like 16mm film, you'll want to reduce the resolution and add large noise grain (e.g. FilmConvert or 16mm noise scan).

Agreed about the close ups. Any smaller scale formats really shine in this setting. The extreme being Super 8 or Polaroid film. Portraits on polaroid look like they've already been airbrushed. 

On the discussion of 16mm. Stuff I have shot with the Bolex has just been the most rewarding for me. The colors, skin tone, and overall feel are very hard to replicate. 

I think someone saying they can easily copy the 16mm look with filters, is the same as saying the GH5 can look like an Alexa or a F35. I suppose there's different traits that people would to copy. To some people that would mean analog inconsistency; film burns, grain, jumping gate, etc. There is a huge difference in the film stocks alone. 

These first two frames are 1080p scans on the Shadow. This is a 10+ year old scanner. The 3rd frame is a 4k scan from a Scan Station. This is just cheap c-mount glass. I've n ever used Zeiss on a bolex, but I am sure the results would be very nice. 

On 10/1/2017 at 8:34 AM, meudig said:

My go-to benchmark of 16 mm is Andrij Parekh's work with the Arriflex 16SR3 (if I remember correctly) on Half Nelson (2006).

Talk about sexy grain.

I've never seen this but the trailer looks good. I'll be checking that out this week. 

16mm_2.jpg

16mm_Frame.jpg

Kyle_16mm.jpg

 

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“While digital sees blue Kodak film sees shades of blue..”

 

a remarkable view..in a very competative market with Kodak giving the dp a step up

go to  Panavision in Woodland Hills where a super 16mm or 35mm camera is waiting ..it’s your destiny

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