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Lucian

Hotel Grand Budapest

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Finally saw this at the cinema last night, did anyone else notice how soft (and soft edges) and at times almost out of focus the anamorphic sections of the film were? 

 

It looked excellent, it was just interesting to see these traits are not specific to the enthusiast/pro-sumer end of the anamorphic spectrum.

 

Some of the 4:3 stuff looked almost like video at times. Very strange, but totally worked.

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Softness, chromatic and edge softness are the traits associated with most classic anamorphic lens families.  Read almost any interview with an A-List DP working in the medium and they're often making their selection based on these "artifacts" as a conscious decision, counting them as a positive.  All of the things enthusiasts and amateurs and bench engineers routinely poo-poo in "affordable" adapters, ironically.

 

The term "sharp" is also a more or less relative term when you're talking anamorphic.  Look at the chart tests found elsewhere here on the Iscorama 54.  Compared to the shittiest spherical kit lens that I've ever seen it's soft as hell, but as one of a few coveted Iscoramas it's considered nearly a "gold standard".

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Haha yes I love these artifacts in my own shooting but I guess I didn't expect them to be so pronounced in this film. I'm not sure if my eye for it has sharpened or this film was particularly bold. I watch a lot of films shot anamorphic but I was acutely aware during this.

 

Loved the film, although I prefer his- and in  general, smaller scale more intimate stories.

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Sean do you know what the deal was with the 4:3, why the motion looked video-ish at times?

 

it had a "downtown abbey" TV look in places and I don't mean the period, i mean the motion and look of the camera image.

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I've yet to see it.  But I'm pretty confident it's a shuttering thing.  It's not present in every shot, right?  I've seen the trailers online, on television and at the theater and there are a few shots in there where I know there's some kind of horse-hockey going on with shutter smear, either in-camera or post.  It's most noticeable in the scene with the nose punch.

 

My initial thought from the trailer is perhaps this was a poorly done post enhancement to an off-speed stunt, speeding up footage and doing a naive frame blend but it sounds like this look appears elsewhere?  It looks like what you get when you shutter out flicker with a digital camera and drives me up the wall when I see it in shows.  Night stuff on Dexter was just filthy with this look.  I hate it.  I say let lights flicker or fix the lights.  But The Grand Budapest Hotel was shot on film so I'm more or less baffled why it's present.  Perhaps long-shutter film looks just as bad as when it's done with video.  Previously, I've only seen demonstrations of "the video look" with high shutter film.  Or maybe it's just, again, some poorly done post process.

 

If it's intermittent then I'm inclined to think there was an error with a camera or just something present in only some of the footage that they're trying to correct.  

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I only noticed it in certain shots, but it may have just been that it was more noticeable in closer up shots. The punching shots that you mentioned definitely caught my eye, I thought they had tried to speed it up in post or something. Yes definitely had the feeling of some shutter wierdness, like a subtle version of the horrible "motion interpolation" soap opera effect of some modern tvs.

 

I noticed they struggled with light or something in some shots too, occasionally there would be a shot that inconsistently grainy or soft. It didn't bother me, I loved the artisnal handmade feel of things, in fact it only inspired me to worry smaller problems in my own work so much and just plow ahead with the story. Fail and try again!

 

I am curious what happened though. Maybe they were under odd conditions and trying to shoot all those different aspect ratios caused some slip ups. 

 

I watched it at the arclight who are  fussy about projection so I think it was definitely the film.

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In the ACM piece they seemed to have plenty of light at the hotel.  Massive inflatable diffuse sources hanging overhead.  I'll have to go back and look at it again to see if they mentioned any technical issues encountered.  Having a "digital-y" artifact would be really out of character for Wes Anderson given the pains everyone had to take on Steve Zissou for the digital post to either be completely invisible or have a hand-made, crude look to it.  He pretty much forbid motion blur, etc.  

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Finally saw this at the cinema last night, did anyone else notice how soft (and soft edges) and at times almost out of focus the anamorphic sections of the film were? 

 

It looked excellent, it was just interesting to see these traits are not specific to the enthusiast/pro-sumer end of the anamorphic spectrum.

 

Some of the 4:3 stuff looked almost like video at times. Very strange, but totally worked.

 

I noticed this as well- and not just on this film. Specifically, the wide shots of the ball room/restaurant had some really soft edges. But really, I think most people picking apart an image will go for shot composition first rather than technical details.

 

Incidentally, I enjoyed the film. It felt like the inverse of The Shining, if that makes sense, and I really liked the changing of aspect ratios that actually seemed to be for a coherent, creative reason.

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