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Tom Jones: Technical difficulties with modern lenses


Tom Jones: Technical difficulties with filters
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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The other technique that I've used, well there's two other techniques that I used in Tom Jones, and I've used ever since. One is to find a filter, or a series of filters that will soften the colour and diffuse the image a little bit. Because this is a principle which applies right across the board. If you photograph something, in colour, and you project it on a screen surrounded by black, you have two factors going which increase the contrast. First of all, the film itself increases the contrast against what you would see with the eye, or what you would perceive with the eye. Because, don't forget, with the eye, as you look across from a light space to a dark space, your iris opens and closes automatically. God was very clever in that respect, it doesn't need any adjustment, you know, it's all built in. In the camera, of course, you have to do it.

Born in Germany, cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926-2017) was best known for his Oscar-winning work on 'Zorba the Greek'. He was greatly respected in the film industry for his ability to take the best of his work in one area and apply it to another, from mainstream to international art films to documentary. He was associated with the Free Cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. In 1987 he published his autobiography called 'Itinerant Cameraman'.

Listeners: Peter Bowen

Peter Bowen is a Canadian who came to Europe to study and never got round to heading back home. He did his undergraduate work at Carleton University (in Biology) in Ottawa, and then did graduate work at the University of Western Ontario (in Zoology). After completing his doctorate at Oxford (in the Department of Zoology), followed with a year of postdoc at the University of London, he moved to the University's newly-established Audio-Visual Centre (under the direction of Michael Clarke) where he spent four years in production (of primarily science programs) and began to teach film. In 1974 Bowden became Director of the new Audio-Visual Centre at the University of Warwick, which was then in the process of introducing film studies into the curriculum and where his interest in the academic study of film was promoted and encouraged by scholars such as Victor Perkins, Robin Wood, and Richard Dyer. In 1983, his partner and he moved to Greece, and the following year he began to teach for the University of Maryland (European Division), for which he has taught (and continues to teach) biology and film courses in Crete, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Tags: colour, image, film, camera

Duration: 59 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008