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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Grindhouse: Half digital, half celluloid

I happened to be visiting Troublemaker Studios, Robert Rodriguez' Austin headquarters, last March when they were unpacking the Panavision Genesis digital camera they planned to use for 'Grindhouse.' At that point, the plan was to shoot both halves of 'Grindhouse' digitally, with Rodriguez shouldering the Genesis for Quentin Tarantino's 'Death Proof.'

"I'm gonna be Quentin's DP [director of photography], but have him operate the B camera on my half ['Planet Terror']," Rodriguez told me around that time. "He can learn about it."

But somewhere along the way, Quentin decided to serve as his own DP, and shoot on film. Mike Curtis has some background on HD for Indies, and there's a bit more detail in this Q&A with Rodriguez, from the March issue of Wired. An excerpt:

    You tried to coax Tarantino, a film purist, into going digital. What was your argument? I told Quentin we could make a digital movie and have it look exactly like a film from the era. He said, "If you can do that, I'll be convinced." I took footage from Sin City and From Dusk Till Dawn, degraded it digitally, and mixed it with some music. I wanted it to look like a living graphic novel. I showed him the results, and he was blown away. He said, "All right. You win."

    But he ultimately shot his movie analog. He has his own style. But he is adapting. He picked up on digital techniques right away. For instance, he knows he can ask the tech guys to previsualize car crashes, which means he can choose angles and things like that in advance. I think he's starting to see how valuable it is to have all this stuff at your disposal.

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