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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is Romney over?

Well, I finally had a little time tonight (while doing the laundry) to pay attention to politics. Everyone is talking about THAT video and whether it has cooked Romney's goose. I say no. Although even I -- the guy who always bets on the Republican -- must admit that things are looking bad for the Mittster, he can turn this election around with one good debate performance. Besides, there is always the possibility that a major crisis could could ruin things for Obama.

The truly fascinating aspect of that video concerns Romney's audience. Many (perhaps most) of the people he insulted -- the 47% -- live in red states. Leech states, I call them, since they pay less tax money to the federal gummint than they receive. And yet they will nod and applaud Mitt's words. It simply will not dawn on them that those words were addressed to them.

How did this situation arise, and how may we undo it?

(I'll get back to THAT movie -- the one that caused so much turmoil overseas -- very soon.)

By the way: Speaking as someone who'd like to buy a decent HD camcorder when his ship (or at least his rowboat) comes in, and who has been researching modern videography, I had a reaction to THAT video (the one with Mitt) which may surprise you. It looked great! Especially when you consider that it was taken with a cell phone camera...

The two best-looking films of the 1970s were probably Barry Lyndon and Days of Heaven. I suspect that if you brought some of our current consumer-level camcorders to the same locations, you could get even better-looking images.
And yes, it's mostly southern states that have the most citizens who pay no taxes (

I say let's secede from them.

Carolyn Kay
Joe, you're right about the continual improvement in video imaging. "Days of Heaven" was a marvel to behold, and so is Malick's new movie "To the Wonder." The new films "The Master" (from the director of "There will Be Blood") and "Samsara" (from the cinematographer of Koyaanisqatsi") were both shot on 70mm film, a format that will soon go the way of the reel-to-reel tape. If you get a chance to see them non-digitally, do.
I really don't understand all the pearl-clutching about Romney's remarks. Throwing the poor to the wolves has been Republican doctrine for over a century (with the exception of Teddy Roosevelt). He's just talking like a Republican. What do you expect him to do?

I'm a helluva lot more incensed at Democrats who act like Republicans.
Class identification always trumps regional identification.
Ms. Kay, we've already had that war. Let's not do it again. It may cause more of mess this time.

Old Sgt.
How did it happen? Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas?" remains the most insightful analysis of redneck cluelessness that I know about. Frank points out that Reagan had the power to outlaw abortion but he was never, ever going to do it-- because indignance over abortion is the fuel that drives redneck political action. The politics of indignance is what makes rednecks vote against their own economic interests to benefit the 1%--indignance about pornography, about unwed motherhood, about a meth epidemic, and about a black man in the White House.
Ms. Kay, we've already had that war. Let's not do it again. It may cause more of mess this time.

Particularly since most of the military is made up of red-staters.
Gee, Anonymous, they can't be all that stupid. After all, they seem to be receiving tons of Federal aid at the expense of the Blue states.

It's enough to make you wonder who's really voting against their own interests - the guys who are getting paid or the ones who are footing the bills?
Red state native checking in. This whole tired divisive talk based exclusively on geography was tired back in 2008. Don't you know that you could predict more about how a population is likely to vote based on whether they live in an urban or rural area, than what state they live in?

Meanwhile Obama took NC in 2008 and looks like he might be set to do it again. Mr Cannon I have tremendous respect for you, but if you want to know how to undo this situation, you would do well to start by not writing off ~50% of the country based on what state they live in.
I'm with you, viborg. Eliminationist rhetoric is vile no matter who uses it.
The two best-looking films of the 1970s were probably Barry Lyndon and Days of Heaven. I suspect that if you brought some of our current consumer-level camcorders to the same locations, you could get even better-looking images.

Provided, of course, that you could get your hands on one of the Zeiss f/0.7 Planars that Kubrick adapted for the interior scenes. NASA might still have a couple of them lying around, and I'm sure Zeiss would build you a new one if you paid them enough, but they haven't been made in decades.
Those lenses remain, allegedly, the ones with the smallest f-stop ever used on a motion picture. But you have to look at the results. Kurbick used TONS of candles -- and he also used, subtly, conventional movie lights for fill. And the results were still quite grainy.

With modern consumer and prosumer camcorders you get low-light capability that finds details in the dark that the human eye cannot see. And the color is better.

If Kubrick were alive, I don't think he'd still be using his beloved Arris.
He didn't use an Arri to shoot the candlelight scene - he used a custom-modified, non-reflex Mitchell BNC.

According to Ed Giulio, who did the optical and mechanical work on the lenses and cameras for the film, no fill light was used for the candlelight scene:

As a technician and not a creative artist, I asked Kubrick the obvious question: Why were we going to all this trouble when the scene could be easily photographed with the high-quality super-speed lenses available today (such as those manufactured by Canon and Zeiss) with the addition of some fill light. He replied that he was not doing this just as a gimmick, but because he wanted to preserve the natural patina and feeling of these old castles at night as they actually were. The addition of any fill light would have added an artificiality to the scene that he did not want. To achieve the amount of light he actually needed in the candlelight scenes, and in order to make the whole movie balance out properly, Kubrick went ahead and push-developed the entire film one stop - outdoor and indoor scenes alike. I am sure that everyone who has seen the results on the screen must agree that Kubrick has succeeded in achieving some of the most unique and beautiful imagery in the cinematic art.
And here, I always thought that SK was a die-hard Arri man.

But I do recall reading -- was it in American Cinematographer? -- that movie lights were used, to very subtle effect, in some of the "candlelit" long shots.

Despite what Ed DiGiulio has said, it was always pretty obvious that movie lights were used for at least one interior scene: The duel between Barry and his Lord Bullingdon at the end. The natural light spilling in from outdoors is blue. The kelvin temperature difference is a "tell."

But it sure looks great!

At any rate, my main point was not about the interiors. I'm talking about those painterly daylight landscapes. What would happen if you dragged a good consumer-level HD Canon -- like the HF m50 -- to the same locations today? I bet the results would look comparable.

And that's a pretty bloody marvelous thing, really.
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