Tag Archives: christopher nolan

BABY DRIVER – STUDY IN PRE-PRODUCTION PRECISION

At the DGA screening of Edgar Wright’s BABY DRIVER, Christopher Nolan (of BATMAN and INCEPTION fame) handled the exceptionally smart Q&A with the near-manic Wright. Nolan’s questions discussed the project’s genesis (some 20 years in the making) and the complex pre-production process, which was told with a certain amount of joie de vivre! Wright, as you’d expect, is a solid raconteur.

Baby Driver's creator Edgar Wright
Writer/director Edgar Wright

 

BABY DRIVER is a… charismatic… film; to categorize it, I’d say it’s an action musical (a musical thriller is a moniker I’ve seen, too). Wright explained how every sequence was written for a specific song — with precise script page counts honed and refined to a given song’s run time! For example, if a chase was married to a song and the song was four and half minutes, then the chase was taking up four and a half pages in the script.

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Controlling the Aspect Ratio

The bulk of this article comes from Benjamin B’s article in The ASC magazine, entitled THE ELASTIC FRAME, any remarks or additions have been marked in blue.

In our current age of digital projection, the projection aspect ratio is subject to change at the will of the filmmaker, giving the filmmaker unprecedented control of how he or she wants to present their work on what canvas.

The aspect ratio of a film the “canvas” in which we filmmakers compose our images.

Let’s take a look at the options and their history.

1. Film-Projector Gates
2. Digital Projection
3. Biutiful (2010)
4. Anamorphic is not 2.40
5. Mommy (2014)
6. The Elastic Frame
7. Tradition and Innovation

Addendum:
11 35mm and 70mm Aspect Ratios

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1. Film-Projector Gates

In the days of film projection, aspect ratios were defined by pieces of metal. In film cameras the gate is the window that lets light through to the negative. Gates have a slot for sliding hard mattes, thin pieces of metal that narrow the window to a desired aspect ratio. (Hard mattes were more frequent in European cinema than Hollywood, where producers demanded open gates to have the option to do minor reframing). Many (but not all) film prints were also exposed with metal mattes that blocked light, putting black around the intended image frame.

Film projectors were outfitted with metal gates that matched the aspect ratio of the film, though these gates were often slightly bigger than the target aspect ratio; for example, some theaters used 1.66 gates for 1.85 films so as to be sure to not impinge on the image.

In traditional 35mm, aspect ratios could be changed by optical printing, but it was a complicated process. Note also that prints of anamorphic films had squeezed images, and required changing the projector lens as well as the gate so as to unsqueeze the image optically during the screening.

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INTERSTELLAR and Kodak Film Stock

Last night we had a chance to see Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR… as dense and complex a movie that he’s attempted, and he — by and large — succeeds in creating a fascinating “Dude with a Problem” film where the fate of the world is at stake… at its core is a crushing father-daughter story, and Jessica Chastian soars in her portrayal of Matthew McConaughey’s daughter.

As a big science fiction epic that ventures into 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY territory, INTERSTELLAR was captured on good, old-fashioned Kodak film stock; that endangered species in the filmmaker’s toolbox (and there are several locations where you can see it in 70mm IMAX). There is a quality to the motion picture that would be probably be missing with the improbably sharp, yet decidedly flat images aesthetic of HD video (even at 6K, which Fincher used to capture GONE GIRL).

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