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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:46 pm 
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These are interesting questions, but they detract from the topic, and as time and resources become available, perhaps we can touch on them. I realize a thread like this can become a huge tree of responses, so forgive my request that we stay a little more focused for now.

While it's interesting to discuss the merits of optical zoom over digital zoom, the thing to focus on with respect to PD is that one's perception of PD is based on the relationship between the Vader mask and its background (i.e. perspective). We like to crop Vader helmets from their backgrounds to create fancy shots -- nothing wrong with that -- but to the inexperienced Vader fan, this alone can create misleading results. When the background is removed, the basis of determining perspective is no longer there to help determine how much lens distortion is going on.

Those of us who are well studied in Vader helmets should be able to at least guess the distance based on the size ratio of the helmet to the facemask and how wide the face is in relation to the mask's silhouette. So let's do our best to help the newcomers get better comps! :salut


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:01 pm 
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These are interesting questions, but they detract from the immediate topic, and as time and resources become available, perhaps we can touch on them.

While it's interesting to discuss the merits of optical zoom over digital zoom, the thing to focus on with respect to PD is that one's perception of PD is based on the relationship between the Vader mask and its background (i.e. perspective). We like to crop Vader helmets from their backgrounds to create fancy shots -- nothing wrong with that -- but to the inexperienced Vader fan, this alone can create misleading results. When the background is removed, the basis of determining perspective is no longer there to help determine how much lens distortion is going on.

Those of us who are well studied in Vader helmets should be able to at least guess the distance based on the size ratio of the helmet to the facemask and how wide the face is in relation to the mask's silhouette. So let's do our best to help the newcomers get better comps!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:17 pm 
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CSMacLaren wrote:
While it's interesting to discuss the merits of optical zoom over digital zoom, the thing to focus on with respect to PD is that one's perception of PD is based on the relationship between the Vader mask and its background (i.e. perspective). We like to crop Vader helmets from their backgrounds to create fancy shots -- nothing wrong with that -- but to the inexperienced Vader fan, this alone can create misleading results. When the background is removed, the basis of determining perspective is no longer there to help determine how much lens distortion is going on.


I'll quote your second post as I assume that's the one you intended. The background has nothing to do with the distortion of an object arising from focal length or distance. How could it be relevant and "misleading"? If someone takes a good photo then the background will be either a black, white, or as you say, cropped background. Perspective is how you see an object or how an object appears to the eye, not it's relationship to the background....your own comparisons show that background is not relevant, required or necessary to show perspective.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:55 pm 
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SithLord wrote:
CSMacLaren wrote:
While it's interesting to discuss the merits of optical zoom over digital zoom, the thing to focus on with respect to PD is that one's perception of PD is based on the relationship between the Vader mask and its background (i.e. perspective). We like to crop Vader helmets from their backgrounds to create fancy shots -- nothing wrong with that -- but to the inexperienced Vader fan, this alone can create misleading results. When the background is removed, the basis of determining perspective is no longer there to help determine how much lens distortion is going on.


I'll quote your second post as I assume that's the one you intended. The background has nothing to do with the distortion of an object arising from focal length or distance. How could it be relevant and "misleading"? If someone takes a good photo then the background will be either a black, white, or as you say, cropped background. Perspective is how you see an object or how an object appears to the eye, not it's relationship to the background....your own comparisons show that background is not relevant, required or necessary to show perspective.


If you take a moment to look at the link in my previous post, the writer does a wonderful job illustrating PD and how it's obvious as you see the background barn in relation to the foreground truck. If you crop a PD'd truck from its background using photoshop, most people will still be able to tell the image has a "fisheye" effect to it because most people (1) have either seen a truck or (2) are aware of the three dimensional rectangular structure of a truck to tell.

Vader is a remarkable three dimensional sculpture that has no right angles or corners. When a helmet is cropped from its background and placed against plain white, a newcomer has no frame of reference to tell if the photo is properly representative of the helmet's proportions. This is especially true if he does not possess anything accurate. This is why I said "this alone can create misleading results." It does not imply that people posting such shots are intentionally misleading people. Heck, I post with white backgrounds all the time (though they are primarily just standalone archive shots).

The newcomer, however, still might be able to discern if the camera is too close (sometimes camera phone limitations are pretty obvious) or might be able to say, "That doesn't quite look right. I'm no expert, and don't have an eye for this, but something looks... off." But those of us who have studied Vader for a while shouldn't have to wait for PD to become extremely obvious before we notice that something is off.

Many newcomers perhaps saw wonderful pictures of the Rubie's Deluxe / Supreme Vader (same mask) on fan sites, as well meaning fans photographed them at about 4 feet away. However, when their Rubie's helmets arrived, it looked altogether different.

Image

Above is the same helmet taken at two different distances. The one on the right was taken at about 3-4 feet. Here, the facemask seems nicely shaped. But the photo on the left (6-8 feet) shows a thick neck, thick skull and very flared neck corner. With these undistorted proportions, it can be seen that this Vader is less believable than the one on the right, and yet they are the same mask.

There are some people who discovered that the Rubie's looked atrocious in real life when you stand back to 6-8 feet. There are others who discovered long ago that the Rubie's is atrocious at any distance! :toothy

Photographed 6 feet away:

Image

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:49 pm 
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Camera Angle and Distance

Image

This, I feel, is a wonderful shot showing the height, angle and distance relationship between the Panavision camera and the actors. The camera angle and distance will vary from scene to scene. Notice how the Panavision is on a dolly -- a platform with wheels. If memory serves, the white-shirt assistant is one of two or more people who are pulling the dolly backwards using ropes as Vader and the officer are walking forward.

Image

The movie camera, however, is roughly waist level or lower, and is angling upwards.

One must wonder if the inset photograph below is what they were seeing!

Image

Notice the silhouette of the dome up close versus that in the production photograph. Our perception of the helmet/dome's shape will vary depending on photographic distance. The movie camera may have been 6-8 feet, while the photographer was standing behind everyone at, perhaps, 12-14 feet distance.


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:50 am 
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Wow that last post was pretty mind blowing. Very neat to see what we see on screen vs. what the set photographer shot, and the comparisons.

Very interesting thread. I always try to take my photos 6 ft back simply because I see it posted everywhere, but I never took the time to really read this thread.

Cool stuff, Mac.


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:01 pm 
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When I first saw that inset photo in black and white in a magazine, I thought vader's chin extended all the way down to his chest armor. lol


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:12 pm 
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GREAT thread! :thumbsup


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:44 pm 
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CSMacLaren wrote:
One must wonder if the inset photograph below is what they were seeing!
Image


Not quite Mac, but close:

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:57 pm 
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Wow! I recall now: the original footage ended up on the cutting room floor, and was repurposed and redubbed for the Star Wars Holiday Special! I had been wondering why I never recalled seeing that officer in ANH.

Thanks, Karo! :thumbsup


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 3:16 am 
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Actually he sits at the table in the imperial board room scene....and announces something to Tarkin I think that they've entered the Alderaan system...one of the announcements... :salut

It seems the still photographer was lower and to the left of the film crew...but I think it still illustrates the effect angle and distance can have on the look of the helmet. Generally, the shorter the focal length, the further back you have to be to get a more neutral perspective without barrel distortion.


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:28 am 
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I've updated Post #3 to cover the definition of Pitch, Roll and Yaw. I hope to build this out into an article.

Enjoy the illustration for now. There is a brief writeup in Post #3.

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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:10 am 
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Very interesting and great work on these photo's. I am amazed how close the current rubies likeness to the DP is.


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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:29 am 
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double post


Last edited by chicken45 on Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Doing Better Photographic Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:30 am 
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This is pretty intense stuff. You guys are doing a heck of a job teaching here! I've learned so much. I noticed this distortion when I was first taking pictures of my helmet and thought...does it really look like that? I wonder why it looks better from further away. There definitely is a sweet spot. Thanks Mac! :thumbsup


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