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Friday, November 22, 2013

Godzilla 2014 To Have Historical Origins in 1954

Recently Godzilla 2014 Cinematographer Seamus McGarvy(Avengers, Anna Karenina) was interviewed by Pushing Pixels. The website and interview are somewhat technical and not specifically about Godzilla, but more about cinematography in general. However, during the interview, McGarvey revealed that part of the new Godzilla 2014 reboot will take place in 1954, which is the year of the original Gojira film. From the beginning of the production, Gareth Edwards said they were mostly inspired and pulled heavily from the original Godzilla movie. A historical origin to Godzilla is necessary to connect the film to the original Toho character and McGarvey's comments confirm this. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Kirill: Shooting on film had all the imperfections of the analog medium, from the lens distortion to all the mechanical parts to the grain of the film itself, while capturing on digital sensors is much more exact and, to a certain degree, lifelessly perfect. Do you see it as a certain magic that will be gone from the moviegoing experience?
Seamus: It is, and I did like those aberrations. We can still preserve this with lenses, for instance, that are now more vital as we put them in front of the sensor. On “Godzilla” I used the old C series anamorphic lenses, and for the section in 1954 I used really old vintage lenses from the early 1960s. They took the edge off of the very vivid, sharp sensors, and gave it a distant period feel. That’s exciting as glass is coming back in terms of lending difference to each project that we do. It’s nice to be able to interfere with image, to sort of mess it up a bit.
There’s a lot more that we do now in digital intermediate [DI]. That becomes a much more important part of my job because of the possibilities of the manipulation. Now I try to have my contract include that they keep me on to DI. You used to do it physically with film stock, pushing and pulling different processes, and now it’s done entirely digitally. In some ways you have a lot more control in the digital realm, and it’s not baked in either.
I still conceive of something of how I would do it on film, so I’m not just sitting in the DI trying this and that. I still have the same disciplined approach to imagining what the image might be. For example, for the 1950s section on “Godzilla” I knew that they look I wanted was a peeled look with muted colors and diffusion on the highlights, a sense of period distance. I found a lot of photographs and magazines, and I knew that I wanted the blacks to be imbued with a tint of magenta. I assembled a lot of references, and I was able to show it and do some tests in advance. We nailed the look when we established a lookup table which we applied every time we shot those section. It was the same pre-conception of what we were going to do on the day.
(I initially though Ken Watanabe would play a Dr. Serizawa like character in the past. If he does appear in the present, will he make the ultimate sacrifice to stop Godzilla like in the original film?)
McGarvey also said as a cinematographer, he's no fan of shooting or watching 3D and considers it more of a marketing gimmick that he hopes goes away soon.  Doing Avengers that way was a "complete pain in the ass". "Godzilla" was shoot in 2D, but will have a 3D version.
We know the official trailer will b released with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug around Dec. 13, next month. We'll see what plot details it reveals. 
Godzilla will decimate theaters on May 16, 2014

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