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The unique looks of Drive and Bellflower
December 7, 2011 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Drive and Bellflower are both movies with fast cars and distinctive looks but one had a budget 765x the other. Drive was captured to Betamax's grandchild, Bellflower to a Mac Book Pro.

"Refn and Sigel were inspired by the look of location-scout photos Sigel snapped using the Hipstamatic app on his iPhone. 'There are some color palettes in that program that reference retro photographic looks, like Kodachrome or Ektrachrome,'" They used production design and lighting for their look and shot with a camera that's new and digital, but comes from a traditional cinema photography house.

"'As part of my test, I took Ryan out in a car, and Tony and I rigged the car with a rack overhead with all different kinds of tiny lights, such as LEDs and 150-watt [Arri Fresnels],' says Sigel. 'We wired them all into dimmers in the trunk that could be wirelessly controlled, so we could turn lights off and on or dim them up and down. The lights were all so small and unobtrusive that they were never in shot, so Ryan could just drive around while Tony played the roof rack like a musical instrument. There were also times when we'd kill all of our lights -- we'd pull up to a stoplight, and you could see the light on Ryan's face go from red to green.'"

Bellflower has a "distinctive look, credit given to cinematographer Joel Hodge's shooting style and the one-of-a-kind camera designed and built by Evan Glodell, who combined vintage camera parts, bellows and Russian lenses, around a Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini."

"This camera does things that no other camera on the planet can do," Glodell says. "It can do tilt-shift effects with any lens. It can make a Steadicam shot from five feet away look like a telephoto shot from 100 feet away. It's like looking out of a whale's eye."

The Coatwolf Model II digital cinema camera in action.

Drive had a drivable trailer for holding a non-functional car and an SUV-mounted crane while Bellflower's cameraman hung out the window.
posted by morganw (21 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bellflower got some really uncertain reviews, but I loved it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:23 AM on December 7, 2011


My wife distributed Bellflower, and I met and liked the director and cast (and got to sit in Medusa!), but I thought the movie was self-indulgent hipster twaddle.
posted by Now I'm Prune Tracy! at 10:43 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: self-indulgent hipster twaddle.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:47 AM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


"self-indulgent hipster twaddle." I'm going to use this phrase an infinity of times now!
posted by Blake at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought the movie was self-indulgent hipster twaddle.

I am curious if you would be willing to unpack any of these phrases, which are entirely meaningless to me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that took four minutes, really. (seanmpuckett's comment, I mean.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2011


I find their creativity and inventiveness that went into making that camera way more impressive than I found the film. But, god what a pain in the ass to lug around the laptop on the camera rig.
posted by matt_od at 10:52 AM on December 7, 2011


I find their creativity and inventiveness that went into making that camera way more impressive than I found the film. But, god what a pain in the ass to lug around the laptop on the camera rig.

From the specs I saw on the Cam body, SI-2k, it has HD-SDI out and recording to a MacBook seems like a terrible idea instead of renting a Cinedeck or something similar.
posted by wcfields at 11:02 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Bellflower had been more about the car, it may have sucked less.
Drive was decent, I thought it could have used like one more violent scene, to put it over the top.
posted by stifford at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


That camera is pretty cool, it is like some bits a guy glued together and hooked up to a car battery with jumper cables(!) I like the dedicated jumble of wires carrier lady.

Can't hate on these people even if they are hipsters.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:28 AM on December 7, 2011


Metafilter: I'm surprised that took four minutes, really.
posted by zippy at 12:22 PM on December 7, 2011


Drive was decent, I thought it could have used like one more violent scene, to put it over the top.

Did you perhaps walk out to the lobby for popcorn when they entered the elevator?
posted by zippy at 12:23 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a lot to like about Bellflower, as long as its not the story, theme or characters.
posted by cazoo at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bellflower is going to get a bad wrap for years to come, but it simultaneously repelled and attracted me like no other movie I've ever seen. The second half is confusing and tedious, but there's still no other film like it. I can't wait to see what the Coatwolf guys do next

Drive is nearly perfect, easily my favorite movie of the year so far.
posted by JimBennett at 1:09 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drive was decent, I thought it could have used like one more violent scene, to put it over the top.

Did you perhaps walk out to the lobby for popcorn when they entered the elevator?


Nope, I was there for that, and I enjoyed that scene.
I just thought it could have used one more intense scene like that,
the movie can drag a little at spots (imo).
posted by stifford at 1:09 PM on December 7, 2011


> I thought it could have used like one more violent scene, to put it over the top.

Someone is ready to receive the Videodrome signal, I see.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


> SI-2k, it has HD-SDI out
The full camera does, but they're using the "mini" which "must be tethered over gigabit ethernet to a controlling workstation or laptop system running SiliconDVR."
posted by morganw at 1:14 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter needs to use the "heygirl" tag more often.
posted by book 'em dano at 2:18 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I watched Bellflower, and I loved it for what it was. However, the trailer really made me feel like working on cars and doing cool apocalyptic stuff would be more central and less incidental, so I didn't feel as satisfied with what was delivered as I could have if I hadn't seen the trailer and drooled everywhere. Also, the first half seemed a lot better than the last half, mostly because the transition was so jarring.

In spite of what I just said, Coatwolf people did a really awesome thing, and it was 100x more interesting than just about any other movie I've seen in the last year or two, on story, on character, and on plot, even if it went somewhat wrong away from what it promised. Movies usually put me to sleep. It's damn near impossible for a movie to have me gripping my chair and feeling COMPELLED to yell at the guy to STOP STOP STOP and this movie did that thing just fine. Over a makeout scene.

I build cameras myself -- I think the camera craft is little bit overblown but still very cool in a way that is self-consistent with the rest of the movie, and I appreciate that as well.
posted by fake at 3:19 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


> the camera craft is little bit overblown
The fastco-design writeup is a little light on details, and high on gee whiz, but the July 2001 American Cinematographer gets into the details on the Coatwolf I and II. They were certainly inspired by the 35mm SLR lens to rotating-ground-glass to miniDV camcorder rigs, but wanted the flexibility to use more offbeat lenses.
posted by morganw at 3:24 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everything that fake said. Bellflower is an imperfect movie that's still breathtaking.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:12 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


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