Spelling's flat-lighting ... how much did it hurt??

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Snarky's Ghost, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

    Message Count:
    5,946
    Trophy Points:
    6,136
    Occupation:
    INFJ
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +7,719
    Medals:
    7
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    It's well-known that Aaron Spelling demanded his shows be flat-lighted --- where every imaginable corner of the screen be filled with light so you can see every single object... unless it was a night scene, and sometimes even then.

    How much did that hurt the atmosphere and texture of DYNASTY?

    Obviously, plot and performance are most important, but DALLAS' best era was when Bradford May was behind the camera and shot the show like a movie (which producer Lenny Katzman didn't like nor care about, soon demanding the flat-lighting for DALLAS quickly be resumed).

    Would DYNASTY have benefited from not looking constantly like they were in a studio?

    [​IMG]
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  2. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,411
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Ratings:
    +2,048
    Medals:
    1
    Let these examples speak for themselves:



    (Now THIS is how Alexis' penthouse should have looked - or at the very least, should have had a great big open window so you could see the Denver skyline! :D)



     
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,411
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Ratings:
    +2,048
    Medals:
    1


     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

    Message Count:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    892
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Instigator
    Location:
    Alexis' studio
    Ratings:
    +3,272
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    2017 I think (unless it is 2016)
    The pilot was not flat-lighted. It was probably because it was impossible to flat-light FiLoLi like the studio recreation of FiLoLi, but it gives us an idea of what Dynasty would have looked like.

    The thing that is always driving us insane with Dynasty is not that they did not pay attention to any detail--it was what details they deemed important. Like, gowns and keys to the cars were important, location shooting was not.

    One of the things that bothered me about Dynasty's over-lit atmosphere was the weird shadows when there were no windows around or sun anywhere to be seen. Maybe other shows had that too, but with Dynasty's increasing claustrophobia it became an issue. Look at all the bizarre shadows (including of the champagne glass) in this scene

     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

    Message Count:
    5,946
    Trophy Points:
    6,136
    Occupation:
    INFJ
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +7,719
    Medals:
    7
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    Even in the '80s, I wondered why the show didn't look like the TV commercials.
    Director Ralph Senensky said that one of the reasons the Shapiros wanted the 1980 pilot for DYNASTY shot at Filoli (500 miles away from Hollywood) was to keep Aaron and his sensibilities as far away from it as possible.
    Oddly, though, the scene you posted was more effective than usual --- the spring garden party vibe is palpable, even during the interior scene. It seems to result from the blending of the exterior shots on the lawn at Arden Villa with the spring gowns' colors on Joan and Linda, and that cake, in the dining room.



    Anyway, I'm OK with the flat-lighted ways Seasons 1 thru 3 were photographed (by Richard Rawlings), just because the show was establishing itself. I'm even OK with Seasons 5 and 6 being shot that way by Michel Hugo (although Linda's Ultress commercial, shot in a château in France, makes me think of how the Moldavian scenes, had Alexis briefly become queen as planned, could have felt -- even if they never left southern California).

    But for some reason, I always want to see Season 4 photographed differently --- that should have been shot more like that 'Scoundrel' ad; while Season 7 and 8 should have been filmed differently, too -- more moodily than they were.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Matthew Blaisdel

    Matthew Blaisdel Soap Chat Dream Maker

    Message Count:
    1,865
    Trophy Points:
    2,396
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    enjoying life
    Location:
    past orbit, on the way out of the solar system
    Ratings:
    +3,240
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    sometime 2005 (i guess)
    The new HD tranfers of S7 are comletely destroyed anway because of the horrible low contrast from episode 2 onwards.
     
  7. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

    Message Count:
    5,946
    Trophy Points:
    6,136
    Occupation:
    INFJ
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +7,719
    Medals:
    7
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    Region 1 or 2 DVDs?

    The original broadcast prints from 1986 and 1987 totally sucked, as we've discussed before. They were blurry and grainy almost beyond belief. I've heard the Region 2 DVDs were struck from those awful prints -- not actually the fault of the principle photography.
     
  8. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

    Message Count:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    892
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Instigator
    Location:
    Alexis' studio
    Ratings:
    +3,272
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    2017 I think (unless it is 2016)
    I think the show's vibe, an amalgam of seasons 1 and 2, was obvious to everyone but the show's producers. I mean, look at what they are doing with Amanda's likeness in the Oxenberg commercial, and what the show had her do in season 6A. Ironically for a show called Dynasty, Esther Shapiro could not choose a worthy heir to keep the show going in her charted course once she stepped back and started treating it as a cash cow.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  9. Matthew Blaisdel

    Matthew Blaisdel Soap Chat Dream Maker

    Message Count:
    1,865
    Trophy Points:
    2,396
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    enjoying life
    Location:
    past orbit, on the way out of the solar system
    Ratings:
    +3,240
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    sometime 2005 (i guess)
    Sadly the better RC1 version is of very low contrast for most of S7. Of course you can turn the contrast waaay up on the TV, but a few details are lost. But thank god that's the only season with that problem.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,453
    Trophy Points:
    3,348
    Occupation:
    Entrepreneur
    Location:
    Tuscany Valley
    Ratings:
    +7,239
    Medals:
    8
    Member Since:
    December 21st, 2013
    I hadn't seen those Joan or Catherine ones before. They're great!


    While we're on the subject, was The Colbys lit exactly the same way Dynasty was? Was it just as flat? I'm not sure that it was.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,044
    Trophy Points:
    2,638
    Ratings:
    +8,485
    Medals:
    3
    Member Since:
    July 2007
    No from what I recall they did some nice work where it looked quite good for night scenes. I'm remembering scenes in Sable and Jason's bedroom and the living room with the family together. The pool house was basically a light box though.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

    Message Count:
    5,946
    Trophy Points:
    6,136
    Occupation:
    INFJ
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +7,719
    Medals:
    7
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    Sam Elliott complained that the beauty of his wife, Katharine Ross, was countered by Spelling flat-lighting on THE COLBYS. So it was still done, yet somehow the spin-off made everything look better than DYNASTY.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,044
    Trophy Points:
    2,638
    Ratings:
    +8,485
    Medals:
    3
    Member Since:
    July 2007
    Something really went wrong with Katharine Ross' look on The Colbys. She was a great beauty but it somehow didn't translate well on The Colbys. Whereas Stephanie Beacham just looked gorgeous, and all the other ladies did too, so it wasn't the lighting. I think with Ross it was that her own personal beauty which was a very natural kind just didn't show up well when everyone else was ultra glam and ultra quaffed. I think Ross probably wasn't as willing to look as OTT outrageous in the big gowns, and turbans and jewels. She also always had a much simpler makeup than Beacham.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,453
    Trophy Points:
    3,348
    Occupation:
    Entrepreneur
    Location:
    Tuscany Valley
    Ratings:
    +7,239
    Medals:
    8
    Member Since:
    December 21st, 2013
    It's so true. Also I don't think that hairdo suited her at all. Longer, darker, more natural hair would have suited her better.

    fr.JPG
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  15. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,044
    Trophy Points:
    2,638
    Ratings:
    +8,485
    Medals:
    3
    Member Since:
    July 2007
    Yes she needed more hair. And also to have her own unique look. All the Dynasty divas had their own look. Krystle, Alexis, Sable, Dominique even Caress had something that set them all apart while all looking equally glamourous. Krystle is an example of how a slightly more natural look worked well. She wore a lot of white and beige and light blue. Gold/nude and black. Frankie didn't really have a signature style. She just wore stuff. I agree her hair should have been darker, and she should probably have worn some kind of hair piece. She needed a signature style and colour palette for her wardrobe. I cant think of any memorable looks for her which is strange. There was one black and yellow dress that was really nice for her she wore when Sable called her a Slut at a party. That looked great on her.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

    Message Count:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    892
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Instigator
    Location:
    Alexis' studio
    Ratings:
    +3,272
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    2017 I think (unless it is 2016)
    Season 7 of Dynasty in the original broadcast looked worse than anything, for reasons you have explained. But actually when THE COLBYS premiered they had quite a washed-out look on screen, much worse than Dynasty's 6th season which was quite vivid. I think it lasted almost half to 2/3 into it and then they fixed it.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,411
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Ratings:
    +2,048
    Medals:
    1
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Katharine Ross should have looked on THE COLBYS like how she did in "Secrets of a Mother and Daughter":

    (skip to 0:48 for her first appearance)


    I just can't get over how gorgeous she looks in this. And this was only a mere 3 years before THE COLBYS, so don't tell me she just "aged badly"! Plus her acting style here is much more how Frankie should have been.
     
  18. Ferdnand Colby

    Ferdnand Colby Soap Chat Member

    Message Count:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    74
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Los Ángeles
    Ratings:
    +70
    Gender:
    Male
    Wow, she's really hot here in this clip!

    I think the reason behind the change between her looks in Secrets and The Colbys is that she was meant to be older than she looked to be credible as Jeff's mother, same thing happened with Stephanie Beacham and her shades of gray hair, however while Sable looked sophisticated, Frankie became too simple in that aging process, I guess.

    Sable was stunning with her femme fatal look, but Frankie, who was supposed to be The Colbys's Krystle, was always like she was in pain, and somehow this translated into her fashion and looks.

    Really, she was beautiful in Secrets. Thanks for the clip, Ked.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. colbyco

    colbyco Soap Chat Active Member

    Message Count:
    256
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Location:
    Germany
    Ratings:
    +429
    Her hair was wrong .... this style looks much better

    Francesca.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,411
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Ratings:
    +2,048
    Medals:
    1
    Perhaps, but how old are the characters all supposed to be? Is Jeff 30? So Frankie should be around 50. Katharine Ross was 46 at the time, so I don't see any harm in her looking that age; they could have just said Frankie simply looked younger than she was supposed to. Like you said, the older makeup worked for Stephanie, but not for Katharine. After all, Jason was supposed to leave Sable for Frankie... but why would he when Sable was so much more attractive?

    Exactly. Had she looked like that on The Colbys, she would at least have been equal with Sable in the looks department, and therefore Jason switching over to her would have been believable.

    You're welcome. :)

    Sorry, but I'm gonna have to disagree with you there.
     

Share This Page