Visual artists are very fashion driven. As technology creates new possibilities, they get abused.
In the 80/90s music videos had fade/dissolve effects. Then in early 2000s a lot of them played with the aspect ratio "black bands" (like when you play 4:3 on 16:10), making them white, pink, or textured, with border lines and other effects.
In 2010s slow-motion (high FPS played back at regular speed) was the thing. So every other video had the slow motion "water/colored dust hitting something" scene.
Since 2015, color grading is the new fad. Also unnatural weird (LED) lighting, like the left half of the frame in strong red light and the right half in strong blue light.
Color grading is also infecting instagram. For example in city photography, there is quite a trend of grading them orange/teal.
There is also a lot of social pressure to color grade. If you don't, fellow artists will say something like "look at that peasant, he didn't grade his stuff, what a noob, putting out real colors, he probably doesn't even know what a LUT is".
And then you have the honest noob who tries to improve his skill, and he sees all the pros doing it, so he concludes that he should too, since all the pros can't be wrong, even if to his eyes the strongly color graded video kind of looks like shit, but he's just probably wrong and just needs to educate his aesthetics.
There will come a point when color grading will fell out of fashion, just like you rarely see a fade/dissolve or slow-motion effect today, and when they are used it's because they make sense, not because you must do it no matter what.
I could swear I read in essence the same article about movies being all orange/teal a couple or three years ago.
EDIT: oh, that was 2013 actually. Ironically O'Brother gets the blame for that too.
Consider it a warning before you visit the site.
This article quotes a researcher on this topic:
> A rectangle with sharp edges takes indeed a little bit more cognitive visible effort than for example an ellipse of the same size. Our ‘fovea-eye’ is even faster in recording a circle. Edges involve additional neuronal image tools. The process is therefore slowed down.¹
> sharp edges takes indeed a little bit more cognitive visible effort
I have my doubts about this. It is 100% fad IMO.
And how Windows 11 lists rounded windows and corners as a "signature feature"!
That's at least a decade after the W3C had a well-developed concept of relative units for use with the CSS:
Thus, with a sufficiently high DPI display, you're going to miss out on one of Windows 11's "signature experiences" and end up with "legacy" squarish corners instead.
> Because of how the scaling system works, when you design your UWP app, you're designing in effective pixels, not actual physical pixels. Effective pixels (epx) are a virtual unit of measurement, and they're used to express layout dimensions and spacing, independent of screen density. (In our guidelines, epx, ep, and px are used interchangeably.)
Also, Windows scales the pixel size when you use a legacy application (non DPI aware) on high DPI displays.
My notifications pull-down fits about 3 useful notifications. The rest is whitespace and rounded corners 4 layers deep. It's horrible.
Design used to be a differentiating feature. Everything looks the same today. Kind of a Big Tech dystopia, even in design.
Before pill buttons, they were gray beveled rounded rectangles, be it native or web, on every platform.
I don't view now as being especially dominated by sameness versus the past.
Going even further back, the tacky wild fractal wallpaper backgrounds on websites with animated gif “under construction” banners on top.
Give it 5 years and iOS and android will get some visual refresh that makes the current stuff look very dated.
Fashion is constantly changing and being revisited. It’s just the way it is. Something about it is what makes humans what they are. We love it…
I recently learned this specific combo is called “bisexual lighting”:
Probably more late-00s than 2010s, but IIRC, the optical-flow slowdown effect was created (and cheaply) distributed.
Older slow-mo effects required high FPS cameras. But with 00s technology, you could optical-flow time warp to any slowdown you desired, with mostly good looking results. 300 (released in 2006) was the first popular film that did this, but IIRC the effect was being used in a lot of action films all over the place.
Slow-motion was definitely the "Oh wow, that looks cool, and it costs so cheap. Lets do it" effect of the 00s.
Does Spider-Man count in 2002?
This scene from 300 is very clearly just a wide-angle shot (initially), with someone playing with the Optical Flow timewarp effect (sliding it up and down). Its incredibly cheap.
See this demo in Premier Pro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErOc_LkZaIk
That's the thing. 300's main innovation was using _cheap_ effects. Optical flow time-warp didn't appear on Premier for another few years, but the algorithm was popular and was just a custom filter / program that was getting passed around at that time.
Your point makes sense though, the commonization of frame interpolation is a landmark moment.
The orange and teal look is just a very widely used combination that utilizes complementary colors. Even though it's been used a lot i personally still find it quite appealing.
See "Be in my Video" song by Frank Zappa, Them or Us album .
The film concerns a virtual-reality game, with scenes shot in both the real world and the game. The game world is absolutely drenched in what that article calls "intangible sludge" - everything is a murky brown, and settings are usually fairly spartan, containing little other than the player characters and enemies. The real world, on the other hand, looks naturalistic, albeit shabby, given that this is set in crapsack cyberpunk Eastern European city.
Or at least, you think it is. Until the final act of the film, when the protagonist gains access to a "Class Special A" level in the game - which is simply modern-day Warsaw, shot straight, like a documentary, and as such is crammed with life and colour. After an hour and a half of the various shades of beige in the earlier levels and the real world, your brain has recalibrated itself to that, and so this perfectly normal scene assaults you with its hyperreality. It's a trick, and a simple trick, but it's amazingly effective!
Also, combat in general is incredibly boring in modern films. Punch, punch, grunt, grimace - without any consequence. Maybe someone has a cut lip which is gone in the next scene. Superhero movies are the worst for this, where characters routinely throw each other through walls and none of it matters because they are as good as invincible.
Many movies these days are simply a formula that as a middle aged person I've seen so many times I just can't watch action or superhero movies, I have zero interest. I am not the target audience though. Even movies aimed at my demographic are laden with tropes, little interesting or creative storyline.
Long form TV is generally much more creative story based and does not reboot old TV so much (Bell Air is more of an exception than a rule).
Re: Bel Air reboot, "dark reboot of light comedy series" is such a ridiculous cliche that I can't believe they've actually done it. Very 2020s.
I'd add Theater of Blood (Vincent Price thespian camp horror with a large number of cameos from British character actors of the 1970s), Tomorrow I’ll Wake Up And Scald Myself With Tea (Soviet time-travel twin-swap comedy), and White Sun Of The Desert, which is traditionally watched by astronauts in their last night of pre-launch quarantine at Baikonur. https://24htech.asia/i-was-bored-so-i-watched-the-movie-that... ; that has some legitimately great shots in it.
To the original question, if you like technicolor you owe it to yourself to see Singin' In The Rain, not just for the title dance sequence but several other big numbers.
Agree with the rest, but I'm afraid that i find 99.95% of the current TV series as boring as superhero movies. At least a movie finishes in (up to) 3 hours...
Agree in general. Atomic Blonde is one of the rare films that doesn't fall into this trap. The lead character gets cuts and bruises that persist between scenes and even changes her hair style at one point to hide a black eye picked up in a fight.
Throwing huge punches is bad. Firing arbitrary laser blasts is even worse. Especially when the consequences of being hit seem so trivial. But it can be done well. I think Thor Ragnarok is a good example of this.
This is the first movie in which both Thor and Hulk were actually shown as extremely strong with little more than just physical blows. What’s noteworthy is that most of the fights they’re in are very easy for them, and frankly it’s much more fun to watch them stylishly stomp 100 goons and look strong rather than incomprehensibly struggle to fend off 10 nobodies. Filmmakers tend to be afraid of having a fight scene without tension.
Avengers infinity war fight v. Thanos also comes to mind as a quick little highlight reel of each of a dozen characters special contributions. It comes across as competent and unique.
Off the top of my head, black panther, iron man 1,2,3, guardians of the galaxy 1,2, Shang chi, wandavision, earlier avengers, all felt particularly bad at this.
There’s a big difference in movies though. Jackie is basically always a human fighting humans. He is always either fighting an extremely competent opponent and it will be fairly serious martial arts; or it will be him comedically fighting a ton of goons which you know are way weaker than him but he’s got some sort of hilarious disadvantage. But it’s always somewhat grounded.
Superhero movies tend to have weird matchups where the balance is already heavily skewed.
Shitty movies do this dance where the bad guy is slightly stronger and does irrelevant damage to the protagonist before being one shotted by a dumb trick, which is probably a call back to something earlier in the film.
Better films actually have this implication that in a fight, if an opponent does their thing, you’re going to die.
Marvel is starting to do more of the latter. It’s just much more rewarding when protagonists win by virtue of competence and their own abilities.
This fight contains no particularly good martial arts, has a lot of cuts, and has a lot of big blasty attacks but they’re all very juicy and you do believe the threat is real. It’s especially good because everything both characters are doing are somewhat novel to them. It’s on the fly improv and physical character development.
Very different from Jackie’s stuff but I think very good.
Compared to Sam Raimi's Spiderman films, which has a lot of less CGI and smaller set pieces in general but the fight scenes look more impactful because of it.
I actually hate Attack on Titan as a show, but damn the action scenes actually have weight and logic to them, far superior to the Marvel stuff despite being 100% cartoon.
That being said: Marvel seems to be going with more of a "Dragonball Z" or "RWBY" approach to combat. Which is fine as long as the writing is good enough. Its a different style for sure...
Except ya know. Dragonball Z / RWBY largely does it better.
Its less about action shots and more about demonstrating superpowers. Everyone knows Goku will try to end the fight with a Kamehameha wave. At some point, Goku will go Super Saiyan or beyond, etc. etc.
Similarly: Capt. America will throw his shield, Iron Man shoots some lasers, Hulk will grab, punch, and grapple something.
I also happen to think that the best Spider-Man fight scenes were by far the Andrew Garfield ones. Those scenes were incredibly juicy, especially the second, for all its terrible writing and worldbuilding.
Shang Chi had some good long-shot Wuxia-style scenes.
It wasn't as good as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" but unlike the rest of the Marvel films, Shang Chi actually had proper fight scenes in them.
But you're right in that most Marvel scenes make no damn sense from an action perspective. I'm constantly annoyed by their cuts personally. I'm just surprised that you threw Shang Chi into the same boat, because Shang Chi had more proper action shots than I can remember.
I'm not talking about the CGI-dragon fight at the end (which went back into the Marvel mold of CGI + jump cuts). I'm talking about like, the first scene between Ying Li and Weng Wu (Shang-Chi's mother and father). Or the Bus-fight, which was pretty good IMO. At least, good by Marvel standards (which are pretty bad).
It doesn't hold a candle compared to a good Jackie Chan scene, but at least they kept the camera still _SOMETIMES_ in Shang-Chi, rather than never keeping the damn camera still.
That being said, I enjoy Marvel films. I just wish they shot the action better.
Marvel’s best raw martial arts fights were probably on the likes of Daredevil (Netflix), Winter Soldier, and the Falcon Series. But I don’t feel they’ve gotten Kung fu or traditional Chinese stuff down well ever.
> Marvel’s best raw martial arts fights were probably on the likes of Daredevil (Netflix), Winter Soldier, and the Falcon Series.
That's called "Street Level" superheroes. There are superpowers, but they're much toned down. Its a different genre.
I saw it, it was all people swinging around on wires with the wires painted out. By the arc of their movement, I knew where the wires were, anyway. The whole thing just looked silly.
EDIT: I distinctly remember some of the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" weapon-scenes to be incredible katas that formed a cohesive story. Its an element of dance and martial arts, less practical and less pragmatic but beautiful nonetheless. A lot of them didn't involve wires at all.
I'm not necessarily saying you should like Wuxia, but perhaps you should try to understand it? Its definitely not about being believable, any more so than Odysseus's voyage was believable. (Or perhaps: an opera about a princess who falls asleep because of a sewing needle, and a prince who fights a dragon so that he could wake her up by kissing her).
Shang-Chi had an element of Wuxia in it. Not a lot, but enough for me to get what they were going for.
The Matrix had no kata that was anywhere near as good as this duel from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Like, Keanu Reeves studied Kung Fu. These actresses are king Fu, and the difference is huge.
Matrix 2 had a weapons kata demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXGE0vuuaDo
Its not quite as good.
I agree with the boring nature of most "superhuman" fight scenes (of both "declared" kind, superheeoes, and the "undeclared" kind, regular mortals who just happen to be over the top for cheap awe effects).
But there have also been some recent examples (ca this century) that I found quite impressive, usually characterized by a short violent burst of crazyness and then everybody is dead, heavily inured or routing, and maybe slowly beginning to consider that perhaps they haven't actually lost.
I enjoyed the fighting scenes in the animated show _Invincible_ much more than any fight scenes I've seen in a Marvel film for this reason.
Explosive and (usually) consequential.
"Being there" is an excuse Hollywood has used for ages for not training actors properly, not doing any fight choreography etc.
Marvel now spends millions of dollars on boring CGI fights because they couldn't be bothered to spend the same (or actually less) money on filming actual fights. Just look at what John Wick did with a 54-57-year old actor and Nobody did with a 57-year old actor for the fraction of the price of most modern action movies.
At least the manga it's still respecting the original artwork.
I mean this kind of stuff has been around forever. The A-Team pioneered “punch punch grimace, get up and walk away” to the point where it was comical.
So much so that I was actually shocked to see characters actually dying in the most recent film.
Most action scenes in movies have moving cameras with fast cuts and zoomed in faces. Makes it impossible to actually track what’s happening. I didn’t realize this until I saw this※ YT video specifically about his action comedy style.
※ - https://youtu.be/Z1PCtIaM_GQ
I hate that scene - the idea is great, but the quality of the <textures?> is in my opinion horrible... . Weird.
Jurassic Park (mentioned as well by the author), maybe as well Terminator 2, maybe something else had some reaaally well done rendered scenes, in my opinion done a lot better than the one of Neo vs Smiths, therefore a movie done a few years later should be able to at least reach the same level of quality... .
In my opinion it's more related about the company doing the CGI and their technical capabilities/know-how/experience of employees than the overall level of technology being available. Mmmhh... .
I just watched The Eternals, and spoiler: they’re not all eternal. It added an excellent real sense of risk to the film.
It’s unlikely, but if you haven’t seen it, check out Dash’s 100-mile run from The Incredibles: https://youtu.be/t5v2qBBD-gE
Peter Jackson mentioned that there is a thing called „Battle fatigue“. Battles should focus on the the main characters and their journey through a battle. Otherwise battle scenes could get boring or repetitive really quickly.
Also it‘s cheaper, as someone else said.
I'd much rather see something with stakes. It doesn't even have to be that large-scale. Two actors hitting each other -- showing their whole bodies, for at least a few seconds between cuts -- gives me a chance to sense how they feel each other out, what risks they're taking, how a blow actually hurts and has consequences.
If the only emotion I'm getting is "confused", then I'm just marking time until somebody tells me who won and who lost.
Star Wars epic light saber battle:
There are many large panning/sweeping shots in this series, such as when the ents attack Isengard, orcs besiege Helms Deep, when the fellowship runs through Moria...
Sure there are some quick cuts happening in some swordfighting scenes. And I agree it could have been better if these scenes were shot in a different format.
I just watched the latest episode of Boba Fett and it had a great fight and a great chase scene. It's like everything was slowed down and you could see the details.
I remember the first time I really noticed this was when trying to watch batman (can't remember which one), at an "imax" cinema, ya know, those ones where you sit very close to a huge screen designed for films that intentionally fill that extra space with peripheral vision information... But for an already annoyingly close cut series of fight scenes it made it so much worse, unwatchable, I had to just close my eyes for half of the film because it was so physically hard to look at.
I don't think showing the grand scale - with tiny pawns moving around in different parts - would be very visually or narratively interesting, unless I'm misunderstanding you.
For the Original Series, the producers were just starting to explore color television and they used the whole pallette.
1990s Star Trek feels more "natural" to me: warm where you expect warmth (ship's crew quarters, hot planets), cool where you expect cool (Borg ship), fairly neutral otherwise, though some of the sets did have an office-park vibe to them.
Current Star Trek, specifically Discovery and Picard, are about as gray-blue and washed-out as ever.
The pictures in this tweet show it perfectly: https://twitter.com/ShelfNerds/status/1481452739754405889
It occurs to me I'm watching Stargate SG-1 right now, which also has a color grading similar to 90s Trek, and now that I think about it, it's almost a relief. Here I've got this HDR 4K OLED display and it seems like everybody's all like "Hey let's use half-ish of the color gamut of NTSC". I've rejected monitors and laptops for having only the capability of displaying that color gamut and here professionals are using it voluntarily. As a valid choice every so often, sure, like someone else mentions Young Frankenstein in out-and-out black and white, but all the time, everywhere, as the solution to every problem? Come on!
More that the producers had to deal with that fact a significant chunk of the audience only had black and white TVs. Even on color TVs the broadcast would crush colors. So they had to use bright colors that would differentiate characters despite being the same "uniform".
Look at The Cage, all the characters had the same color uniform so everyone sort of blended together except Number One. Shatner and crew were much easier to differentiate in black and white, especially when red shirts beamed down with the principal cast.
Watch a 90s movie sometime and it will make you weep for how beautiful today's movies could be.
For superhero movies in particular, I think a big part of this is a deliberate attempt to distance themselves from the stigma that comics are for kids. They want to sell to an adult audience but adults feel foolish if they consume something too clearly sanitized and kid friendly.
The last thing any Hollywood director wants to do is make their superhero movie look like 1990's "Dick Tracy", or something in the Spy Kids franchise because it will drive adult audiences away. So they slather the whole fucking thing in grimdark so it looks like serious grown-up stuff who are too insecure in their maturity to watch a silly movie about dudes in spandex doing magical acrobatics and punching each other.
(This is also why so much YA fiction which is heavily read by adults is dystopian. And it's why modern superhero movies so rarely have characters use their actual superhero titles, which sounds corny.)
Films that are in teal and orange the whole time drive me absolutely nuts. That combination has a place, but there are others! Two similar hues to create a sense of stuffiness and formality. A neutral tone plus a vibrant one (yellow or something) to create an intensity and focus on the vibrant elements. Green and red to really force the feeling of lushness in a natural scene. Monochromatic scenes have a place as well.
Like I understand that a two toned scene can create a very striking atmosphere, but lets use a _little_ bit of creativity in how we apply that.
Agree about superhero movies though. The color grading does always seem like an intentional choice to create feelings of maturity and grittiness.
What is its competition; Judge Dredd? Captain America(1990)? The 90s Batman sequels? Now that I wrote this, I realize Blade was also a comic originally, but I liked Tracy better.
For more technicolour scenery (albeit mostly painted!) I enjoyed Black Narcissus https://www.imdb.com/video/vi3210478105?playlistId=tt0039192...
“The series featured a very dark and desaturated color grading, apparently inherited from the cinematography of series such as The X-Files and Millennium, co-produced by the same team, but taken to a greater extreme. The strength of desaturation employed in many scenes reaches the level that makes them almost black and white (quantitatively, the saturation in CIE xy color subspace of a typical scene in Space: Above and Beyond is in the range 0.03–0.15, approximately 1/4 of a typical contemporary film or television program).”
Within this current fad, production designers have taken color theory and color symmetry to the extreme and bled all of the primary colors out of what is shot on set. Of course there are accent primaries left in, but they have this down to a science right now and it is why everything looks so perfect these days.
Cinematographers even will gloat about capturing "everything in camera, man" and only having only tweaked minor things in post. Roger Deakins supposedly shot the last Bladerunner like this, where there was little to no grading in the organic scenes.
While I think it's definitely better to get stuff in camera from a craft perspective, this obsession with applying the extreme uses of color theory and winnowing everything down to lifelessness is just so, so boring.
In the 90s things were a little more random and films had a range of colors that lacked symmetry. It felt real! But after the whole teal and orange phase of the 2000s (vomit), people took that same kind of reductionist thinking and broadened the palette ever so slightly.
There was a recent comparison of the very different look between Deakins’ Skyfall and Van Hoytema’s Spectre.
I've uploaded a before and after shot of the baptism scene here: https://imgur.com/a/yAugAV0
Painting With Pixels (O' Brother, Where Art Thou)
Description: This short video about the Coen brother's film 'O Brother, Where Art Thou', the first feature film to employ a full digital colour grade.
I don't own the best TVs in the world, but for the last 5 years (maybe), I have to turn all the lights off when watching movies and series, otherwise I can't see a thing. And if the movie has CG they always happen to be in dark scenes, ergo some movies fully loaded of CG are dark, flat and I have to make an effort to see them (also happens to series/movies for TV only, like those on Netflix).
This, or my forties are hitting hard.
I have enough of that in my daily life, lately; i don’t need more.
Add to that, how your typical flat display fails to create any contrast in dark scenes and the bad streaming quality... Ouch.
In the first seasons, working off of GRRM's writing, the seasons literally subverted expectations, just as the books. Then Hollywood had to get involved, because source material didn't exist, yet. At that point, 'subverting expectations' became the meme it is today.
(Nearly) Every action movie seems just so formulaic. Action movie - hero doesn't want to be the hero for (insert dark/dramatic reason 1). Hero soon finds that being the hero is better for the world than not, regardless of personal consequence. World warps around hero to make sure s/he doesn't die. Bonus points for cool car chase, gun fight, or explosion. Nudity that doesn't move the story forward except to show that Hero likes to have sex isn't required, but will add to the box office, because people like boobies and butts.
Hero stories have been following the same template since the dawn of mankind.
For an example, try to fit the Epic of Gilgamesh (as an extremely old conserved folklore tale) or Don Quixote (as one of the oldest and most famous literary works) to this framework - you will either fail or need to contort them quite a bit, or ignore large chunks.
A friend of mine, when he heard about this in the class, argued "but I want to create something unique that doesn't fit to this or anything else, like... the Matrix!". The professor was speechless for a moment but could keep his calm :)
The two most recent off the top of my head:
* Don’t look up
* James Bond No Time to Die
Of course the books still aren’t done so if they waited we’d still not have anything to watch. IMO from what I’ve read about the books it sounds like they could have cut out less and made the early seasons last longer without it dragging too much.
Seemed to me they ran out of characters to kill, made some filler to get to the last season and then rushed a bunch of stuff badly.
I didn’t watch a bunch of dystopian stuff so why is it pushing on me? Because that’s the movies they made/bought.
There doesn’t seem to be any interesting non grim dark stuff left I haven’t seen already.
>The first movie to use digital color manipulation in the way we’d think of it today — i.e., shifting the colors within a film image to meet a digitally achieved palette — is generally considered to be the 2000 Coen brothers’ Great Depression picaresque O Brother, Where Art Thou?
and not 1999 green tint Matrix?
And we'll laugh about it some day.
Like the "hand held shot" that became popular a decade or so back — in every serious drama the director seemingly gave a GoPro to someone with tremors. A number of TV series were comically unwatchable (well, for me at least).
I was wondering why no one was noticing the lack of color and details in post 2010 films. Watch any 80 or 90s film and see how sharp and details those looked.
I think games may also be somewhat of an influence of it in movies. When colour grading became big in movies, video games was really the place that had been enjoying that level of control and may have set the standards for some of the people getting into it.
For comparison to the desaturated things on TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kMICkmW8r8
There was a while when all action movies were graded to look teal and blue: http://theabyssgazes.blogspot.com/2010/03/teal-and-orange-ho... However when cheaper cameras, better grading tools seeped into the masses, that style was felt to have been played out.
DI, the stage where the colour "grade" is tweaked, crafted and perfected is now an integral part of the edit/VFX stage. Colour is used to push emotion, just like sound and music design.
The bit about LUTs is mostly distraction. LUTs are normally used as a reference, to make sure that all the footage has roughly the same colour (important when you have different cameras for different scenes) They are static colour offsets, so are great for techincal colouring, but not overly useful for making an artistic grade.
TLDR: Its a fashion, just like the pricks who removed the obvious on/off indicators from slider buttons.
EDIT: If you want to see some interesting grading, look up "day for night" https://noamkroll.com/color-grading-tutorial-creating-a-day-... where they take normal footage and make it look like it was shot at night
If you mean, a choice by the team making the movie, and not something imposed upon them by technology or otherwise, then yes.
But I'd say it's usually not very artistic as in artful, as it's neither well done, nor necessary for the story/mood, and is not even about a genuine vision from the director, but rather following the fad.
thats art darling! exaggerated arm movements
I kid, but agree completely.
> not even about a genuine vision from the director, but rather following the fad.
I once heard about a monthly, where the exec producer's current shag was spit balling changes, expensive changes. It was great to see the faces of the VFX producer mentally totting up the cost.
Also when filming the prince of persia, the production team realised that they had a massive plot hole linking two parts of the movie, so they asked the VFX company to figure something out. From what I recall, this is the origin of this scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfVu52tZxd0
In clash of the titans(remake), they spent a boat load of cash on a real set for mount olympus, but then decided that they wanted to make it more "google maps-y" so scrapped it and redid it in VFX.
Some films are Art, others less so. None of them are as artistic as film theory dictates.
Old-style day-for-night is one of the biggest things that jumps out to me and makes a movie feel very dated now.
You can do that in reverse too, shoot at night with a super sensitive camera and make it look like day:
Shooting day-for-night is much more common. It has less to do with the ability of a camera shooting at night. We have these things called lights that helps things.
The main reason for day-for-night is that it is much more expensive to shoot at night. Shooting off-hours is much more expensive. Shooting more than a certain number of hours away from home is also more expensive. There are a lot of things going into the decision of why a shoot is done the way it is, but you can pretty much always assume that it was done the way it was done because it was the cheaper option.
Did you watch the video? It's shot in total darkness, with zero lights. As in night vision. It's not about shooting at night under film lights.
I'm not saying it will replace day shooting, it's just another technique available if you want to go for a weird unreal look.
I've also taken that same camera to use as prime photography attached to my telescope. Cranked up the ISO, and it was the first time I was actually able to view the heavens as the scope slewed to its target. No more adjust position, take single long exposure test shot, adjust focus/position/etc. You can do it all in real time.
Yes, I'm fully aware of some of these camera types
The RED Epics used on the Hobbit (they used other REDs later on, but I can't remember what they were) were running at 48FPS. The set had to be painted in hilarious day glow colours for it to be picked up properly. Part of is was the 3d, a lot of it was the cameras. REDs were not very good for a long time. Sure had huge resolution, but that was literally it.
They were/are expensive. ".r3d" was a proper cock to deal with (Hurrah for cheap GPUs!) and the fan base utterly toxic.
Debayering r3d was not an issue for professionals as they more than likely had a Red Rocket level card to deal with the footage.
doubles the amount of light you need. got to adjust the shutter angle to control motion blur. need to bump the ISO, which means more noise, which mean less optical resolution....
> Shooting 3D also doesn't affect color
Half mirrored camera rigs completely fuck your colour, well half of it...
> Debayering r3d was not an issue for professionals as they more than likely had a Red Rocket
They cost £4k, were fucking fragile, We broke two of them on one job. Debayering is simple, uncompressing the jpeg2000 at any speed was the main challenge in 2012.
It’s changing now with color spaces like ACES becoming the standard (wider color gamut).
I Work in the industry.
Why are modern films underexposed?
These days the default profiles on TVs are better, but perhaps people's expectations may be off from the past experiences. Just the other day, by chance witnessed a neighbor's gigantic TV wall with a pronounced orange cast and almost toxic spill of overly saturated colors showing something as mundane as news broadcast... No need for any dramatic enhancement here. Well, perhaps the warmed tones are deliberately set for some other primary content ...I don't need to know.
So, aesthetic may be at play, but simple lack of a technical ability to configure the screens may still be the factor, so directors may be compensating for the target medium, which in this day is prevalently a TV/device screen.
I know that it wasn't the first, but I hadn't really seen much, before that. Star Wars had effects in color, but there wasn't any actual CGI involved.
I know they added a bunch of CGI, when they remastered the series, some years ago.
It’s a plausible story if nothing else, but I would also guess that a large part of the reason is just fashion & trends in film making. A more saturated look will return in time no doubt.
And this one. (Done in processing)
Of course it makes more sense to look at each scene by itself, but it’s less fun
1990s Vancouver. Rain. Grey. Science fiction changed from the bright colors of LA (Star Trek) to Vancouver's rain forests (X Files, Stargate, Outer Limits). Why were Star Trek's colors so bright? Desi Loe Studios paid extra for the color film and wanted to use it. X files was on a tight budget and couldn't afford to brighten Vancouver enough to make it look like California. So the backgrounds become dark and grey.
Similar things happened in many film. Alien had budget problems and difficult creature effects. Net result: hide everything in darkness. The color has as much to do with budget as art.
Another overused (imo) coloring technique is different color sources, often used in youtube videos and game interiors, like cyberpunk.
While I don't know if she knew the Watchowskis then, the original Matrix movie was absolutely a stylistic homage to her videos, and that they would have been familiar with her work via Bowie and Manson videos, makes it more plausible. If you look up Floria Signismondi's work, it's so distinct and often emmulated or copied, and once you've seen it, you can't unsee it.
I had also wondered if streaming was driving some of these changes, by reducing noise and providing better compression reducing the image to simple gradients.
Surely there is a better word? "Optimizing"?
(of course "grading" is also used, but "timing" really needs to be dispensed with)
And it turns out it was actually the incompetent movie/tv producers themselves the whole time? WOW.
Two other very dark films at around the same time: Dark City and Fight Club. Dark City is dark because it's night time, but it doesn't appear to be desaturated. Fight Club is intentionally underexposed for the whole film for stylistic effect.
It's been interesting to see the same room go from one style to the other, really highlights how much influence these things have.
2. We still aren’t there yet on CGI. CGI humans are still in that uncanny valley. And what helps cover that up? Well, muddy up the color palette, and decrease brightness and contrast. I’ve certainly done that in my still photography work, where I was on a deadline for a volunteer project, and I thought to myself “you know, dialing up that vignette slider is really going to cover that up.”
Dark colors are an easy way to present your work as more dramatic and serious, and not “for the kids”.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. The last season of GoT was particularly agregious as was The Justice League movie.
Backlight should only be used to adjust the contrast between the screen and your environment, and not in an extreme fashion either. That is, don't sit in the dark or in a very sunny place, and use backlight to try to fight unreasonable environmental lighting.
* modulo black levels, but you aren't going to get eye strain from backlight bleed.
Please don't try to paint entire classes of technology as unhealthy just because some low quality implementations are. PWM is a fundamental technique in electronics and displays and there is nothing wrong with it at that level. Nobody gets migraines from > 1kHz PWM. If your backlight is doing 60Hz PWM then you might want to get a better display.
Some better machines and displays have also light sensor built in, it is quite possible to include that input with the "ddcutil"-program.
There are ML-efforts underway to make games look more realistic. And they do that by reducing colors and reducing contrast. Because Caucasian people don't look orange in real life, we look a pale beige with a hint of pink.
The article brings up a great point, it’s just lower effort to make dull films which minimize how much people notice digital effects and mistakes in general. In full sunlight you notice where shadows are which stands out if you want to stitch together shots across hours. Makeup and wardrobe mistakes similarly standout when things aren’t simply a big blur.
And then we go to Maritimes and the North east where every house is a beautiful vibrant colour, and yet movies always try to make them look bleak through desaturation.
They are being raked over the coals for getting the look too right.
I mean, when my kids are seeing children's programming on Netflix I can very rarely tell what show they are watching, because they all look alike.
Maybe reusing a good template is a cost-saving/production-optimizing strategy?
I don’t know, but I can tell it’s being done deliberately purely by observing.
*because you want to watch a new superman with your friends. you got me there
I don't really think one needs to go for technical explanations at all because that modernist aesthetic of black and white colors is pretty much everywhere. Inside Apple Stores, in the clothing you see in offices or even at fashion events. If you see something extremely colorful or extravagant today it almost automatically stands out.
Or.... it's the lizard people controlling the world and making everyone miserable by using only dark grim colours?!