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The DARK Cinematography of Solo

Discussion in 'Solo' started by darth sputnik, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. darth sputnik

    darth sputnik Rebelscum

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    So, I just bought the 4k Blu Ray with HDR today. This is my third viewing of Solo (Once in the theater, once with the digital download and today), and I love the movie itself -- it gets better every time.

    However:

    I HATE the cinematography. It's too dark and too murky, like someone dialed down the contrast to zero. Not only is most detail lost in the gray haze, but it's downright uncomfortable to watch -- to the point of eye strain.

    I understand cinematographer Bradford Young is a highly respected photographer who has won all kinds of awards, and I also understand that the dark murkiness is an aesthetic choice, but COME ON. This is a $200 million+ tent-pole feature of the biggest IP on Earth. This isn't an avant-garde art film, it's fun popcorn entertainment and I'd really like to be able to actually see the background details, costumes, droids and aliens in this movie.

    Anyway, it genuinely boggles my mind that they'd look at dailies while shooting and not think "holy crap, today's scenes were all horrificly under-lit". And they had two opportunities to get the look right.

    It's just disappointing, more than anything. Half the fun of a Star Wars film is looking for all the background details. Of course, it helps if those details are actually visible to the human eye.
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 26, 2018, Original Post Date: Sep 26, 2018 ---
    UPDATE:

    Watching the 1080p Blu Ray now and it is significantly brighter and more pleasant to look at. Pretty bizarre that the theatrical and 4k experience are both inferior to the basic Blu Ray.

    Weird...
     
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  2. Pawek_13

    Pawek_13 Jedi General

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    Wheewver I see the clips from this film I often think about its cinematography. At the time of Solo's release there was an interview with Bradford Young where it was told that this look of the film was developed when Lord&Miller were directing. I can't stop wondering if the version of the film they shot was much more serious tonally than the Ron Howard's version, if it played more into the dark nature of SW underworld and because of time/budget constraints and continuity they decided to stick to the same style instead of changing it.
     
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  3. Madmartigan

    Madmartigan Rebel General

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    I absolutely agree Solo has a very dark cinematography, specially in the beginning with Lady Proxima. And Mimban, first Sabaac and Kessel run in a minor way, where we can't appreciatte much what we are seeing. But I have to say it's so brave being like this, what makes the difference with other blockbusters.

    For me its more than a blockbuster, and Howard has recovered the best of him. I see more an author movie than a popcorn flick, that's why Solo is so great and is better and better with every viewing. That's why i find it a great movie, because it has entertainment but away from modern films. And I supouse thats why it flops, because general public no longer appreciates this kind of popcorn aproximations. A real shame.

    The dark tone is along the movie, we can deny it, but in my opinion we can appreciatte enough the backgrounds, costumes and droids in the most part of it, specially in the domestic version, a little more clear (as you say). I think it works perfectly with this underworld they want to show us.

    Love to see all details, droids and costumes in SW too. Solo is a very organic movie and appreciatte the interior of MF, the droids and costumes in the mine, the costumes in Vos' ship... is glory to my eyes. I have seen it five times and in every viewing i find new details.
    It's a movie I can watch again and again like the great 80's adventures.
     
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  4. daRinze

    daRinze Rebel Official

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    I agree.
    When I played the digital version at home, I was first afraid the 'blackness' was due to an encoding flaw. I stopped the viewing quite quickly (somewhere close to the Mother Proxima scene), enhanced the brightness on the TV, then came back to the start of the movie.
    Thus, during the chase scene that opens the movie, as I was noticing (again) that rat running on the cable, I also saw in-progress-ISD roaming in the sky, something I didn't notice first ; I had barely seen some lights above the scene, but I had not figure out what they actually were.
     
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  5. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Lord Commander
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    The darkness never really bothered me too much. I read an article awhile back about projectors and theaters not being up to par on their quality control, and with a darker film it was even more noticeable. With the Blu-ray, I did notice a difference in the brightness over the theater as well.

    The most obvious thing to me is that these darkest scenes would all be dark in reality. They could have added some more light in, or brightened up the final product, but then do you start to wonder why you can see characters so well in an underground lair that is supposed to be devoid of all natural light? I guess it's a pick your poison type of deal, break the immersion because you can't see what's going on too well, or break it because you can see.

    I agree, whether it was a calculated risk or just a product of the environment, I really enjoyed the way the film was shot.
     
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  6. deadmanwalkin009

    deadmanwalkin009 Rebel General

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    Now i'm curious to see Solo now in 4k. I also bought the 4k HDR but i haven't watched it yet (i saw the movie in theaters). I'm really curious because not all 4k tvs are created equal and not all of them support HDR. I know my TV does, because all i buy is 4k blurays now. I'm curious to see how it looks on my tv. Also someone did a review of Solo 4k on here and they talked about the lighting. This is that they said about it:

     
    #6 deadmanwalkin009, Sep 26, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
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  7. AstromechRecords

    AstromechRecords Jedi General

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    It might be your tv/projector...
     
  8. darth sputnik

    darth sputnik Rebelscum

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    ive wondered that myself (since my tv is nothing special), but i thought it was too dark in the theater as well. fortunately, the regular blu ray is decent. id still prefer added detail over muddy darkness, though.
     
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  9. daRinze

    daRinze Rebel Official

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    Don't misinterpret what I feel :) as a metaphor, please consider Picasso's painting versus Da Vinci's work :

    g.jpg j.jpg

    One may legitimately wonder why Pablo Picasso is used to paint the two eyes on the same side, and thus state that nothing is natural in the Guernica painting. Thus, this one may then complain this Guernica is absolutely and definitely not realistic.
    But in the same time, the same one could legitimately consider that this way of painting is an artistic point of view, it makes an actual difference with other paintings, something close to perfection such as the Da Vinci's Joconde. The torn Picasso's painting fully enhances the urgency, the chaos and the terror that emerge from the whole scene, where nothing compares to the calm and poetry looming from the beautiful Joconde.

    In the end, there is no reason to oppose these two points of view about these two major paintings : they should coexist, it's just a matter of perspective.

    That is how it works for me when coming to "the darkness in SOLO" : I am not blaming the photography of this movie, when it comes to an aestethic bias. I am just saying some dark scenes led me to miss some elements in the background, and it's not a blame as those elements are not very important to the story itself. I could then say "Hey guys, I notice there are two eyes on one single side in the Picasso's Guernica, and this is not realistic, ah ah ah - but don't be mistaken : this is not a blame and it might make me love this painting even more".
     
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  10. deadmanwalkin009

    deadmanwalkin009 Rebel General

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    That's a possibly. If your tv isn't 4k and doesn't support HDR, than watching 4k content won't be anything special and will effect your viewing. If anything, it may be little more cleaner than a standard bluray.
     
  11. darth sputnik

    darth sputnik Rebelscum

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    My TV is 4k with HDR, just not a fancy OLED or anything.
     
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  12. deadmanwalkin009

    deadmanwalkin009 Rebel General

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    I gotcha. I just watch Solo on 4k with my TV and it looked amazing. I can get why people didn't like the darkness. I wasn't bothered by it so I guess it's all about preferences.
     
  13. AstromechRecords

    AstromechRecords Jedi General

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    i will give you an example: my house has a THX certified theater with a 110in screen and 12 .1 surround sound...sometimes the sound and the movies do not add up even after all the investment although i am working on a technology for automated sound adjustment and light adjustment paired with ATMOS in my theater so it all boils down to calibrations..PM or let me know what kind of projector you might have and maybe I could give you some advice on helping for a consistent screening
     
  14. Viper78

    Viper78 Rebel Commander

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    I bought SOLO in 4K today so I'm looking forward to seeing what the quality is like. I've see SOLO ten times now, twice in the cinema and eight on digital and I love it!

    I did manage to watch the bonus disk today which was very good.
     
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  15. srg

    srg Force Sensitive

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    Agreed with the opening post. I strongly dislike the look of this otherwise amazing film. IMHO the cinematography is the exact opposite of what it should be. I think it should be colourful and fun-looking with an old-school adventure vibe. And instead it feels darker and grittier than Rogue One. I don't get this creative choice at all.
     
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  16. Smullie_1138

    Smullie_1138 Rebelscum

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    For those of you who own a copy of Solo, the Fort Ypso featurette mentions this, about 40 seconds in:

     
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  17. RockyRoadHux

    RockyRoadHux Ginger General

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    Agree with everything you said, except the movie doesn't quite nail the Han Solo character's ambivalence. With Jyn and Cassian we have two characters that I feel accurately fit (my personal) definition for a gritty character.
     
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  18. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    The only more gritty or darker scene in Solo (than in R1) was the transition to Han's participation in the war.

    If we look at the "definition" of gritty...
    The word "gritty" is often used by reviewers to describe films which portray graphic physical violence, lone wolf characters, and probably a line of coke or two. While I feel that's accurate, my own personal definition for a gritty film differs slightly.
    ...then we can see that Solo isn't really gritty.
     
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  19. srg

    srg Force Sensitive

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    All I meant was the visual vibe. Solo is predominantly a light-hearted and fun adventure, yet the visual style seems more appropriate for some kind of dark story.
     
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  20. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    Reading early Blu-ray video reviews of Solo, I was expecting scenes to be too black (meaning you can’t make much out of anything) and I was pleasantly surprised that none of that occurred on my home viewing. I have seen it on certain TV shows (there was an episode of The Walking Dead last season that was so dark it was uttetly distracting for 60 minutes). I’m fine with the cinematography for Solo as it’s a gritty/underworld.

    And the audio was great too as it wasn’t as muted at TLJ Blu-ray.
     
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