Originally Posted by Hollowbrook Drive-In
Quote:Possibly I'm being a bit simplistic. A normal diopter would leave an area where the differential must be well hidden. If one examines, for example, the shot in which Kane is signing off on turning over the paper -- Thatcher behind desk at left in MS, Bernstein at R in BCU, there seems to be no line of demarkation. The shot appears perfect in every respect. The use of the word "diopter," at least for those who know photography seemed to be the easiest way to explain in a forum atmosphere.
What you're describing are traveling mattes, and the film is full of them and practically every other kind of special optical effect developed to that time, including glass shots and the Schufftan Process, but not for the scenes you and the others refer to.
There's no line of demarcation between Kane, Thatcher and Bernstein because there's no matte or split field -- it's all just deep focus, a technique sadly all but lost today in a cinematic world where the typical practice is to photograph two-shots from forty feet away using a telephoto lens.
I would direct your attention to John Frankenheimer's films of the early-mid 1960's, particularly SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, where he uses the same deep-focus techniques to exceptional effect. Again, no special effects employed, only a stopped-down lens and copious amounts of light. Frankenheimer and his cinematographer, Ellsworth Fredericks, had an advantage over Welles and Toland: faster film stocks and lenses, and one big disadvantage: they had to light a (flat; spherical lenses) 1:1.85 frame, meaning more of the set had to be lit brightly, whereas KANE was 1:1.37. In the end, as to the amount of light needed for each fill, it was probably a wash.
Most directors know how to compose a frame side to side and top to bottom, but only a really superior director, like Welles and Frankenheimer, can compose a shot front-to-back in such an exquisite way that it becomes a key component in the story-telling process.
If what you're suggesting is correct, that would account for the overall quality of the image. With apologies for inattentiveness, my mind is not functioning on all cylinders at the moment, as I'm spending most of my time editing into the wee hours. I presume the shot would have to be taken with a 35 or less with Bernstein not more than a foot or so from the camera, and would account for the effect of Welles coming in from the background right.
Toland's work, what there is of it, is a master's class in cinematography. Long Voyage Home is beautifully shot, as are The Westerner, Little Foxes, Best Years of Our Lives and the magnificent Song of the South. Checking his CV, he started shooting in 1926, at the age of 22 on The Bat, and spent the next 22 years shooting great films. Had he survived, I love to think of what he might have done in large format.
BTW, welcome to HTF. If you'll take over this thread, I can work for a bit.
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