Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The "House" wrap-up

I didn't watch the season finale of "House," partly because I don't watch "House" normally, so watching it because of the camera used to shoot it seemed a bit silly; and also because I didn't think I'd really learn anything. I figured it wasn't going to be terrible - they wouldn't have used it if it was - and not being a regular watcher, I wouldn't even know if this show was stylistically any different.

So I left it to others to watch and report. There's a thread over at Philip Blooms site with some interesting comments. To sum up, I think everyone was generally impressed, or happy with the results, and most of the complaints are acknowledged to be more along the lines of nit-picking than serious criticisms:

The noise was distracting on one…maybe two setups? Otherwise it looked clean and great. The depth of field was a little too shallow for me on some of the bathroom scenes at the end

The only thing I noticed was the color and visual mood shifted a bit much in the bathroom scene from the close up shots to the hallway looking into the bathroom that it was a bit distracting, but this is picky stuff.

Definitely a different look than ‘House’ usually has. I am a huge fan of how House is shot normally, but I thought this episode had a unique look and really paid off. As with any great story I found myself a bit more involved in the drama as the episode went on and less involved with criticizing the camera!

The thing that fasinated me the most was how this episode looked just like every other episode of House I’ve watched. The most obvious difference was the amazing use of shallow depth of field that the 5D can provide.
[Okay, these two people need to compare notes!]

...the color rendering on the skin tones is very unique to the 5D. The wider the shot the more obvious the flat skin tones become. Not sure why the camera shoots like this, perhaps is the lack of color information in the compression.

Some shots, (80mm?) seemed overly blocky/contrasty, but most were nice. Some of the finer detail was lost in the image and seemed softer than it ought to have been. The macro shots with the pills were surreal and very intimate, but it was a bit too much for my tastes with the medium shots where one eye was in focus and the other was a blur, a bit distracting.

In a post on his thoughts about the significance of the episode, Vincent Larforet reports that they mainly used the 24~70mm 2.8 and 70~200mm 2.8, lenses which is interesting. He also notes that the episode took longer and cost more to produce than a standard episode: while HDDSLR systems are cheaper and require small camera support - obviously: a lot of other things (crew/talent/permits etc.) still cost close to the same…. something I’ve been telling many producers over the past 1-2 years. This is especially true when you have an incredibly experienced crew - that is introduced to an entirely new camera system… it may take them a little extra time to get adjusted to the new system… another thing that I’ve been sharing w/ people - there is a learning curve (albeit a short one) with these cameras for even the most highly experienced union crews.

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