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Review Wanted: "Visions Of Light: The Art Of Cinematography"

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Review Wanted: "Visions Of Light: The Art Of Cinematography"

Old 08-20-00, 08:56 PM
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Anyone have this DVD? I've never seen it, so I'm looking for comments on the documentary itself. I'm also wondering if it will have much replay value.

jim

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Old 08-21-00, 05:28 AM
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I have it. It's nice to have a lot of beautiful photography on one DVD, but I was disappointed that it wasn't nearly as thorough as it seemed like it could be. I haven't been inspired to see it again since I first watched it, so I guess that answers your "replay value" question.
Old 08-21-00, 12:15 PM
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I thought it was an overall pretty good docu (opening, as it does, with a clip from Oliver Twist ) Although, like Thor, I was rather disappointed that they didn't go into as much depth as they could have. And, of course, many of the older films are glossed over in order to concentrate more airtime on the more recent films . It helps if you have a particular interest in the art and craft of cinematography, as I do. On the whole, interesting, occasionally compelling, and no doubt the best docu on the subject.

Buy it? I dunno. I taped it off AMC. And since most of the excerpted footage is of rather poor quality (newer films again excepted), I don't feel like I'm really losing anything in image quality.

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Old 08-22-00, 05:00 PM
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I only bought it because I could get it for about $2, but I had already seen it and knew it wasn't great. Here's how I reviewed it on express.com (the original page is here):

Light-Weight īVisionsī

When Visions Of Light was released in 1992, many critics praised it as the definitive documentary on film cinematography and rated it the best film of the year, largely on the strength of the numerous classic clips. While itīs nice that it was so well received, this film is far from perfect. First of all, 92 minutes is a ridiculously short running time for a subject so rich. The film is really a gloss on the history and techniques of cinematography. The directors of photography interviewed toss around technical phrases without defining them, making the film confusing to those not versed in the lingo, but they donīt go into the kind of detail that fellow filmmakers can appreciate.

While I like this documentary, Iīm not crazy about the idea that it is great because it includes great clips. That isnīt really enough. There are some genuine insights, like Conrad Hall talking about shooting In Cold Blood, but the omissions are unforgivable (No Kubrick-directed films are spotlighted at all, some DPs are interviewed without their filmographies being identified).

The picture on the DVD is acceptable. The interviews were shot on video and all of the clips are presented in their original aspect ratios. The audio is another matter, with some voices muddled and hard to understand. Vilmos Zsigmond, with his thick accent is virtually unintelligible. This disc contains no extras of any kind, which is a shame. Some additional interview material must exist.

Overall, I would say that barring any real competition, this is still the best way to learn about cinematography, but the definitive multi-hour documentary on the subject is still to come.

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[This message has been edited by buskerdog (edited August 22, 2000).]
Old 08-22-00, 05:26 PM
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I have it on laser disc and agree with the
above comments. It's good but not nearly as
good as it could and should have been.
Old 08-22-00, 07:02 PM
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Thanks for the reviews. I think that I'll skip on this one for now. I'll check AMC and try to catch it there. If not, I'll hold off until I can get it cheap or through a trade.

jim

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