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View Full Version : A pox on the person who put shakey/zoom-cam into Star Wars



JediTricks
03-13-2005, 10:57 PM
One thing I've always admired about the original trilogy is its ability to either move the camera with the action fluidly or just sit in one place and let the audience watch a scene without tricks and gags. However, someone seems to have talked Lucas into believing that Star Wars should now be the space-opera equivelent of Law & Order, and while that show gets away with it, Star Wars I believe does NOT. Moreover, this style is generally used in the prequels in-computer thus further deviating their sense of reality from the shots of live-actors, real sets, and models. TPM had a little of this crazy-camera stuff, but that was mostly just unreal pans; AOTC took the camera "out of the box" and flung it off a roof! Cameras following ragdoll computer models, zipping left and right, reacting to explosions, and possibly my least-favorite, zooming in and out for effect. I hate this stuff, it drives me nuts because it doesn't fit at all with the style; a little might be acceptable (though I doubt it) but the excess used in AOTC and now apparently ROTS bums me out. And if nothing else, it certainly drives yet another wedge between the trilogies, and it's not the OT's fault that these shots aren't there because they COULD have been done that way yet weren't. These shots take the sweeping epic out of the film and try to replace it with gritty reality, and I don't want gritty reality in my space opera.

General_Grievous
03-13-2005, 11:38 PM
I can see what you mean, but I only noticed it during the Battle of Geonosis in AOTC. It made it look like Lucas was trying to do a real-time war documentary.

2-1B
03-14-2005, 04:04 AM
Seems like Lucas got himself a new digital crane. ;)

mabudonicus
03-14-2005, 07:32 AM
That actually struck me first viewing but I didn't think about it much, after a few viewings I have to agree, the battel of Geonosis looked so much like a bad vietnam movie at times (the most striking part was, in fact, the zooms, I recall distinctly one shot of a zoom "through" the battlefield which locks uncertainly on the open bay of a gunship....)
The original films had very little camera movement, the magice of them was more in the multiple shots per scene... I can't recall it too well, but I remember some analysis of ANH where the majority of shots were 1-2 seconds and there were none over 5 seconds or so, the analyst was remarking that it was a really good, subtle way to keep the audience engaged even when there was very little actually happening in many scenes....
So yeah, I guess I call shenanigans on whoever it was too :beard:

Slicker
03-14-2005, 04:40 PM
I noticed the stupid camera movements and that just gave me another reason to not like AOTC. As it's been stated before the OT was a very static movie in terms of camera movement and having the camera move all around like the cameraman was drunk really didn't do anything for me.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
03-14-2005, 05:17 PM
I quite like this way of moving the camera, I think it's cool. However I can understand when you dislike it for not being in the OT, and I can agree. But that doesn't make it any less cool, to me anyway.

stillakid
03-14-2005, 05:32 PM
It's becoming rather Spielbergian. Give Lucas one more film and we'll start seeing Michael Bay American Flags waving about.

Imperial Monarche
03-14-2005, 11:08 PM
One thing I've always admired about the original trilogy is its ability to either move the camera with the action fluidly or just sit in one place and let the audience watch a scene without tricks and gags. However, someone seems to have talked Lucas into believing that Star Wars should now be the space-opera equivelent of Law & Order, and while that show gets away with it, Star Wars I believe does NOT. Moreover, this style is generally used in the prequels in-computer thus further deviating their sense of reality from the shots of live-actors, real sets, and models. TPM had a little of this crazy-camera stuff, but that was mostly just unreal pans; AOTC took the camera "out of the box" and flung it off a roof! Cameras following ragdoll computer models, zipping left and right, reacting to explosions, and possibly my least-favorite, zooming in and out for effect. I hate this stuff, it drives me nuts because it doesn't fit at all with the style; a little might be acceptable (though I doubt it) but the excess used in AOTC and now apparently ROTS bums me out. And if nothing else, it certainly drives yet another wedge between the trilogies, and it's not the OT's fault that these shots aren't there because they COULD have been done that way yet weren't. These shots take the sweeping epic out of the film and try to replace it with gritty reality, and I don't want gritty reality in my space opera.

Well, one thing that really needs to be taken into consideration is how much the OT is limited. I agree with you that in most scenes I think that type of camera movement does belong more in a war epic, but I think it gave the battle of Geonosis a feel like Saving Private Ryan or whatever (except for the awful zoom from one end of the battlefield into the Republic cruiser...I've always hated that camera technique). In reguards to the OT, the groundbattles probably would have taken that type of camera shooting it they weren't so limited. In the PT, they have digital sets, in the OT they actually had to have physical sets. That's why you get the actors in small rooms of the Death Star as opposed to huge halls in the PT, or Yoda acting in a dinky hut that Luke can't stand in and then in the PT you have Yoda walking around and fighting Dooku. It's all about limitation that you don't see that type of camera movement.

At least the Lucas isn't trying to make the movies look like music video's like what stillakid is talking bout below.


It's becoming rather Spielbergian. Give Lucas one more film and we'll start seeing Michael Bay American Flags waving about.

I remember when The Rock came out and I loved that movie. I watched the other day and saw how bad it is, except for some great action scenes, but it's nothing more than a long music video. Once in awhile, movies with alot of explosions are ok. Then it just gets old. Like Pierce Brosnan James Bond.

JediTricks
03-15-2005, 12:31 AM
I can see what you mean, but I only noticed it during the Battle of Geonosis in AOTC. It made it look like Lucas was trying to do a real-time war documentary.That's where it is most apparent. Lucas did it in other places, and used that real-war documentary feel in TPM as well in the Gungan battle with the "Saving Private Ryan" style of exploding dirt and bigger smoke. I long for the cooler space-explosions of the OT, sure they weren't real, but that's the point, they fit within the context of THAT galaxy, not of ours. To me, the massive change of style makes it stick out as "something different!!!" if you get my meaning.


John, how about consistancy within each film then? Take the OT aspect out of the equation, while it may be "cool", is it really an appropriate part of the film to you?



Well, one thing that really needs to be taken into consideration is how much the OT is limited.... In reguards to the OT, the groundbattles probably would have taken that type of camera shooting it they weren't so limited. I dunno about that, they had handheld cams back then, all they had to do was not be as careful with them, give them a more slipshod modern-documentary feel (I say "modern documentary" because back when Lucas was a documentary maker, this isn't the type of stuff he did with the crazy camera shaking and ultra-beyond-super-realism). In the OT there were plenty of shots that had ground battles without special effects required that could have been this way and weren't.


In the PT, they have digital sets, in the OT they actually had to have physical sets. That's why you get the actors in small rooms of the Death Star as opposed to huge halls in the PT, or Yoda acting in a dinky hut that Luke can't stand in The Death Star has a huge docking bay set that's extended by effects, Yavin has the same thing, and Yoda's hut is small only because it's supposed to be an unassuming building specifically relative to him and his size, look at the Dagobah exterior set, it's massive. Then there's also the location shots which have nearly limitless set-space.


and then in the PT you have Yoda walking around and fighting Dooku. It's all about limitation that you don't see that type of camera movement. Look at the TIE Fighter attack in ANH, Lucas kept saying "I want them to go faster" but when they made 'em that way they were just a quarter-second blur, the excitement of the scene ultimately came about when someone realized that it's not the vehicle that has to move fast, it's the background, the camera swings around the vehicle slowly and the background moves quickly to give it the appropriate sense of speed. It's not that they "couldn't" have made them go as fast as Lucas said, it WAS possible, it's that they knew they "shouldn't" have - not everything that is possible is appropriate.



At least the Lucas isn't trying to make the movies look like music video's like what stillakid is talking bout below. Michael Bay is one of the worst things to happen to moviemaking, Disney's little Hollywood blvd prostitute director. I don't think Lucas is really going to go down that hill, but I don't prefer the "Saving Private Ryan" emulation either, I don't think it works in the context of the film.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
03-15-2005, 05:21 PM
John, how about consistancy within each film then? Take the OT aspect out of the equation, while it may be "cool", is it really an appropriate part of the film to you?
I know it's different from the OT, but I don't watch it and say "Damn, they don't have that in the other films. They need to take it out right away!" There's aspects of the films that are different throughout the saga, this is just one of them. I don't have a problem with it. Sort of like how Yoda was a puppet for a long time then CG, I don't really care about the difference.

JediTricks
03-16-2005, 12:26 AM
I think you misunderstood what I was getting at, take the OT element out of the discussion for a moment, concentrate on AOTC since these techniques are used much more in it than TPM, do you think these shakey-cam and zoom-cam styles during some of the action scenes in AOTC - as cool as they may be to you - seem consistant, are able to fit in with the rest of AOTC?

Mr. JabbaJohnL
03-17-2005, 11:27 AM
I think you misunderstood what I was getting at, take the OT element out of the discussion for a moment, concentrate on AOTC since these techniques are used much more in it than TPM, do you think these shakey-cam and zoom-cam styles during some of the action scenes in AOTC - as cool as they may be to you - seem consistant, are able to fit in with the rest of AOTC?
I think they fit in fine with the rest of AOTC. It wouldn't work if they used it every scene, but it works in the battle because of the fast-paced feeling of it. Besides, in most movies there are weird camera movements in one or two scenes while not in others.

JON9000
03-31-2005, 12:36 AM
at least he hasn't succumbed to the choppy frame technique for action scenes. You know what I'm talking about, the one used on Dday in Saving Private Ryan, in Gladiator, in I Robot...

That annoys the crud out of me. As for the other techniques, they may not have been available for the OT, because so much of it was done with models and motion control cameras. I don't really know. To be honest, I never really noticed this difference.

stillakid
03-31-2005, 08:12 AM
The main difference is that in the OT the camera was a passive observer. You never saw a zoom or a dolly into the subject. The Prequels have introduced a Spielbergian style wherein the camera is an active participant in the storytelling process. Just another instance illustrating how the Prequels and the OT don't fit together.

JediTricks
03-31-2005, 05:14 PM
JON, you just named 3 movies I haven't seen. :D

JON9000
03-31-2005, 10:54 PM
Look at the TIE Fighter attack in ANH, Lucas kept saying "I want them to go faster" but when they made 'em that way they were just a quarter-second blur, the excitement of the scene ultimately came about when someone realized that it's not the vehicle that has to move fast, it's the background, the camera swings around the vehicle slowly and the background moves quickly to give it the appropriate sense of speed. It's not that they "couldn't" have made them go as fast as Lucas said, it WAS possible, it's that they knew they "shouldn't" have - not everything that is possible is appropriate.
I don't have a real problem with the ANH SE Tie Attack, primarily because I agree with Lucas, they did look too slow in the OT. And I am not even drawing comparisons to the PT- even in ROTJ things looked a lot faster in the Death Star attack. You are right though, in order to match the other elements and the existing score, it doesn't quite seem to fit right.

Jayspawn
04-05-2005, 09:41 AM
I actually had no problems with the camers shots in AOTC.

princethomas
04-24-2005, 11:19 PM
You guys are wrong in your identification of the zoom style. I hear you comparing what he did here to modern and current movies. Which is not true at all. The type of zooms that GL uses in the Geonosis battle scenes are a the same kinds that were used throughout the late 60s and 70s. The Vietnam reference I belive was correct in that I think much of it was inspired by documentary filmaking of the time. I dont mean to come off like Im saying Im an expert. There is a name for this type of zoom though. It is made to draw attention to the camera. What Michael Bay does is a little different. Not to defend it. Bay uses camera movement to create atmosphere and mood. He uses it in an artistic way. (you can dissagree with that if you like, but it IS his intent) It is not meant to draw attention to the camera. In the 70s. They used quick pans and zooms to create the cinematic equivalent of a double-take. As though they are from someone's specific point of view. Not saying that I particularly liked it. Just that if you do some research youll find that it was a very "70's" thing to do.

stillakid
04-25-2005, 09:40 PM
You guys are wrong in your identification of the zoom style. I hear you comparing what he did here to modern and current movies. Which is not true at all. The type of zooms that GL uses in the Geonosis battle scenes are a the same kinds that were used throughout the late 60s and 70s. The Vietnam reference I belive was correct in that I think much of it was inspired by documentary filmaking of the time. I dont mean to come off like Im saying Im an expert. There is a name for this type of zoom though. It is made to draw attention to the camera. What Michael Bay does is a little different. Not to defend it. Bay uses camera movement to create atmosphere and mood. He uses it in an artistic way. (you can dissagree with that if you like, but it IS his intent) It is not meant to draw attention to the camera. In the 70s. They used quick pans and zooms to create the cinematic equivalent of a double-take. As though they are from someone's specific point of view. Not saying that I particularly liked it. Just that if you do some research youll find that it was a very "70's" thing to do.

First off, it's called a "snap zoom." And secondly, you missed the point. Sure, they used zoom lens frequently throughout the 70s, but that's inconsequential in regard to Star Wars because Star Wars didn't use it. The argument being made is that the Star Wars Saga didn't establish itself as a film series which utilized camera techniques, such as the zoom or the dolly-in. Filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay established a style which emphasizes the use of the camera in helping to tell the story. In contrast, Star Wars episodes IV, V, VI specifically did not use the camera in that way. The sudden and unexpected use of the camera as an active device in the saga with TPM and AOTC was out of place given the established storytelling technique.

JON9000
04-26-2005, 09:36 AM
The more we talk about this, the more I am convinced it is small potatoes as far as stylistic continuity is concerned. Unless you were to wash out all of the effects shots and backgrounds in the OT and replace them with fully digital renderings (and pile them on to the point of sensory overload), there is going to be a marked difference between the look of the OT and the PT.

I understand camera technique is probably more of a judgment call than effects technology, but I am sort of resigned to not having a seemless viewing experience.

princethomas
04-26-2005, 06:11 PM
Stillakid:
I didnt miss the point. I know what you mean. The only reason I said anything was just because it seemed like people were misplacing the blame. I understand that its different than Star Wars movies from the OT. Just I felt Lucas was being blamed for taking on some sort of new 90s/2000s style of Camera movement, which is clearly incorrect.

I actually agree with you in that its a little different than the other films and that makes it stick out funny. So in truth I guess Im on your side. Just that I think people improperly identifying that which they were angry about.


-T

stillakid
04-26-2005, 09:44 PM
Stillakid:
I didnt miss the point. I know what you mean. The only reason I said anything was just because it seemed like people were misplacing the blame. I understand that its different than Star Wars movies from the OT. Just I felt Lucas was being blamed for taking on some sort of new 90s/2000s style of Camera movement, which is clearly incorrect.

I actually agree with you in that its a little different than the other films and that makes it stick out funny. So in truth I guess Im on your side. Just that I think people improperly identifying that which they were angry about.


-T

I see. :) Perhaps I misunderstood the thrust of your post.

bigbarada
05-29-2005, 11:42 PM
The nice thing about CG is that the shackles are off and anything the director can imagine is now possible.

The bad thing about CG is that the shackles are off and anything the director can imagine is now possible. :)

I didn't find the "handheld camera" look in AOTC all that annoying, but it was something that seemed out of place in Star Wars. However, IMO, it's not nearly as objectionable as ramming the camera down Joh Yowza's throat in the ROTJ: Special Edition.

Just because it is possible doesn't mean that it is a good idea.

JediTricks
05-31-2005, 03:06 AM
Wow, this thread must be a zombie because you just resurrected the dead BB! :dead: :D

While I don't think ROTS was a superior film to AOTC, and its battle scenes were in some ways not as good as AOTC's, I didn't notice anywhere near the level of outlandish camera work there which felt out of place in the SW universe. We still got the customary CGI-makes-cameras-fly-behind-everything-super-fast shots of missiles and Wookiee flyers, but we didn't zoom in on the Wookiees while they were battling the droid forces, or shake wildly as the clones arrived on Utapau to back Obi-Wan up (I think there was a zoom in the shot though, come to think of it).

The thing that I don't like about CG giving the director such freedom is that sometimes the director, especially in Lucas's case, isn't thorough enough in the pre-production phase or seasoned enough with the CGI to recognize when it's time to stop tweaking and just make a solid decision, so he doesn't know what kinds of things he wants to do and makes endless changes without taking the time to think 'em out carefully. I've said that Lucas acts like he has Adult ADD and this is one of the biggest areas where it seems to show up, like Lucas changing the assassin centipedes at the beginning of this film over and over even though each version seemed to look fine, or adding those ball turrets to the Republic Gunship at the last moment, those are just small examples of his type of thing (Lucas did this with TPM as well, and kept tweaking the OT films towards the very end as well but with those the film realm didn't make as possible these CTRL-H dashes of FIND-REPLACE so every clonetrooper now has blinking lights on the left instead of right or their guns make a "waaarg" sound instead of "blarrm". I'm not saying the director shouldn't have these tools at his disposal, I'm just saying I feel the director should be fully aware of how he should use the tools, as well as any shortcomings he has in that area.

stillakid
05-31-2005, 08:07 AM
Speaking of "out of place" in a Star Wars movie, this whole business showing Padme's death scene and later including Obi Wan in it. This is probably better served as it's own "complaint" thread ;) , but the use of dream sequences or flash-forwards or whatever...stuff that pulls you out of the linear progression of a film...doesn't belong in a Star Wars movie. We went 5 deep without any of that and AOTC even didn't, opting instead to show Anakin playing with himself. :D

2-1B
05-31-2005, 12:32 PM
That ESB sequence with the Vader apparition is very dream-like to me.

JediTricks
05-31-2005, 07:14 PM
I also thought the ROTS vision sequences were very out of place, like something from the Sci-Fi Channel rather than Star Wars. The difference is that the sequence where Luke faces the Vader ghost thing is actually happening to some degree, it's the only use of slow-motion in the trilogy but it's still in linear events. However, in ROTS, when we see Anakin's dreams twice, it's not only out of linear events, but it's also just a vague vision of something that may happen, in the OT and in Eps 1 and 2, those sorts of visions were always just discussed by the characters and shown their reactions to them.

2-1B
06-01-2005, 01:58 AM
I don't think the Vader Dagobah thing is completely linear since it shows Luke's face under that helmet, as in a warning of what could become of him . . . just as Ani's dreams about Padme were warning him of what would happen to him.

stillakid
06-01-2005, 06:48 PM
I don't think the Vader Dagobah thing is completely linear since it shows Luke's face under that helmet, as in a warning of what could become of him . . . just as Ani's dreams about Padme were warning him of what would happen to him.

While we can't define it for sure, this was a "magic" tree where time slows down and presents the visitor with his worst fears. And it works in "real time," which is how and why Yoda sits out there waiting for Luke to come back. Despite it being a kind of "altered" reality for Luke, it still happened within the context and style of linear time that was established from the word go in 1977.

But a cut-away to show what's going on inside someone's mind in no way fits in with the established style of this series of movies. It's the same as if they suddenly were showing flashbacks or using voiceovers or chapter titles or if everything was suddenly claymation.