Tuesday 20 November 2007

A rant about Cloverfield...

About the cinematography specifically, starting with fake Hollywood DV tape glitches.

Either do a real-looking tape glitch, or don't bother. Grrrr! If "Grindhouse" can manage real-looking film print damage & glitches, then some editor can manage realistic digital tape glitches for a miniDV camera - which is what the entire film is supposed to be shot on, even though the footage is from a much fancier camera set up than your average mid-range miniDV, which is what the characters would own.

Also, looking at the footage, it'd be better if they did a mix of DV type stuff, and other stuff that was filmed hand held but by someone not included in the movie - like they did on "Saving Private Ryan" on the beach sequence - just tell the cameraman to get stuck in, documentary 'in the moment' style and there you go.

And yes, fake wobble is annoying, and the picture is not true to the sort of DV camera those people would own, nowhere near for the most part. Also, why would those sort of people have a mounted light? Those sort of people would more than likely use night vision, or just have a dark room, or use existing light.

It's that sort of stretching of the DV aesthetic that I find pointless. If you want the documentary immediacy, either:

1) Write it from the point of view of a news crew(s)
2) Do it 'Private Ryan style' (as previously mentioned)

"The Zombie Diaries" did FPS DV shooting properly, so it peeves me off when Hollywood emulates it with really expensive camera rigs, set-ups and editing.

And then finding ways to get big sights 'caught first hand' is just pushing it. Either do it as-true-as-life, or do it from a news cameraman's POV ... or 'do it Private Ryan style'.

Despite my personal grievances with the cinematography and the possible mindset it represents in high-up filmmakers, I still want to see the movie. It does look good and it should be fun, just as long as it lives up to the whole "we're going to cock tease you for months without showing you anything beyond shaky-cam and the odd choice cut" hype.


Danny Smith said...

aye for a point of view shot you cant do much better than saving private ryan, that beach scenes apparently been on the film education curriculum since the year afte rit came out.

Nick Thomson said...

Aye, I even wrote an essay about war movies, specifically SPR - in which I did an entire shot-by-shot breakdown of the first 30 minutes...took something like 4 or 5 hours to do...I shit you not.

Did a bunch of screen shots too, then referenced them specifically in terms of the 'realism' issue, then compared to Full Metal Jacket - which confused my prof on the course (Lucas & Spielberg unit)...which was bizarre and annoying. I chose it because FMJ is the best war movie example of a filmmaker's eye, rather than a soldier's eye...got nout to do with *which* war is being shown, sheesh!

So I 'only' got a 62 (which is still a 2.1, which is good), but I was pissed because I put waaaaaaaay more effort into that essay than one about Star Wars I did earlier in the unit on which I also got a 62, so it was the comparison factor that made me pissed off...but the prof was a strange one anyway, the smut he insisted on reading into anything & everything just didn't suit my own film viewing style.

Anyway, I'll shut up now, my point being, SPR is a superb film for student consumption.