A Stark Reality

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Rove, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    A recent viewing of Dallas reveals how one minor change can alter the look and feel of a series forever. Bradford May's photography in Season 7 (per DVD Release) is exceptional until there was a sudden change in Director of Photography, namely Robert Caramico. Looking at the 3 images from left to right the first two show how rich and beautifully framed Dallas was filmed. Then Bradford was released and Robert was installed. The last image is so blindingly striking I sometimes feel I have to put my sunglasses on when viewing "End Game."

    Dallas.jpg

    Does anyone know why the sudden switch?
     
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  2. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    Very good observation, Rove.
    And I'll back up what you are saying from the viewpoint of somebody who lives in Texas:

    Look at the first picture-- Bradford May captures the "feel" of Texas. Notice the small details such as the lumps under the blanket. This is no studio backlot, with a perfectly smooth area to lay out the blanket. This is an actual working ranch, with imperfections such as lumps of grass under the blanket.

    Look at the second picture-- again, Bradford captures the "feel" of a wealthy Texas home. Notice the shading, the indirect light on the side of the spiral staircase, and the hardwood floor. These are things you might not notice one by one, but they combine to give the feel of a real home, with real people living in it.

    Now, on to the third picture-- this has an artificial feel to it. You can easily imagine that if they pull the camera back a few feet, it will expose the studio lighting overhead. I think if Barbara Bell Geddes lost her balance and bumped into the wall, then it would knock the wall over and you could see them filming "The Price is Right" on the other side.

    I don't know the reason for the sudden switch, but you did a fine job figuring out exactly when the changes became noticable.
     
  3. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Artificial is an understatement. The lighting is blinding. I was aware Bradford had been let go but now it's obvious. My initial reaction was I had accidentally pressed a button on the remote thereby changing the coloring on my television...not so. What a shame he wasn't there to film Miss Ellie descend those famous stairs. The lighting is so bright she nearly blends into the wallpaper. It's too harsh.
     
  4. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    Here's how much lighting can make a difference:

    Look at the second picture, the one with J.R in it. Look at the staircase and notice that it appears strong and solid. Now look at the third picture. The same exact staircase railing looks flimsy in the harsh lighting.

    In fact, when you look at the third picture, it almost looks as if Barbara Bel Geddes is holding up the railing!
     
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  5. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting observation. I am sure that the fact that they filmed the first scene outdoors helped though. But it's obvious that Bradford May had a great eye for details and depths in the image.
     
  6. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    Yes! And that's why the early years are so enjoyable. They are shot on location and you just can't reproduce that on a sound stage.
     
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  7. garry

    garry Soap Chat Member

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    D.F: BRADFORD MAY JOINED AS DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY FOR ONE YEAR, GIVING THE SHOW A VERY CINEMATIC LOOK. THE LOOK IS VERY POPULAR WITH THE DALLAS FANS TODAY. DID YOU LIKE IT?

    DP: I did. I did like it. However, that was the only year he was on the show. I liked it because of the difference and the richness that it gave. But I think Lenny Katzman was probably right on insisting that we go back to the standard, wide shot, medium and close up, because what you wanted to see were those characters. You didn't want to see a director's idea of them. You wanted to see J.R talk, Sue Ellen talk, Pamela talk. You wanted to see them. And it was an entirely different show.

    Brad could have done wonderfully on Knots Landing for example. Because there, you had a lot of freedom to pretty well do anything you wanted. You had different looks there and different styles and that was all acceptable within the context of the show. Dallas was, face it; it was a cartoon.

    David Paulsen
    Dallas Writer/Producer
     
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  8. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    In this regard Lenny was wrong. Dallas by Season 7 had grown into something else. It deserved that cinematic look because it had become event television. Bradford had given Dallas and its characters warmth. Lenny's insistence they return to the previous formula gave the series a coldness, something I personally didn't like.
     
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