Author Topic: The golden ratio is still BS  (Read 1382 times)

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Offline John Albert

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #45 on: August 14, 2019, 04:17:06 PM »
I get it.

I'm asking, for the third time now, what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s, when lining up shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.

Offline jt512

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #46 on: August 14, 2019, 04:22:16 PM »
I get it.

I'm asking, for the third time now, what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s, when lining up shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.


I suspect that he knew what he liked, and it was the golden ratio.
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Offline gmalivuk

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #47 on: August 14, 2019, 04:36:15 PM »
This was not an accident nor BS




Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.

in that shot it certainly was

the phi gridline is on his nose anyway,
Yeah but it misses the center of his nose. That's the issue with a lot of the golden ratio woo: people count anything vaguely close as a "hit". (Plus in artistic compositions it's pretty self-fulfilling. Past artists believed it was inherently pleasing so they used it in art we find pleasing which conditions us to think it's inherently pleasing and to use it in our own art.)

I would really like to see a mathematical explanation of why the Golden Ratio (or some other specific irrational ratio besides pi or e) is an actual solution to any optimization process in nature.
The golden ratio is equal to 1 + 1/(1 + 1/(1 + 1/(1 + ...))). In a precise sense it is the irrational number "farthest" from rational numbers.

For things like leaf arrangements, rational ratios are bad, because they lead to leaves being directly over other leaves in a repeating pattern which is obviously a disadvantage for the amount of light lower leaves can collect. Irrational ratios would never repeat exactly, and the farther a ratio is from a rational number, the better it would be for this purpose.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #48 on: August 14, 2019, 05:01:15 PM »
This was not an accident nor BS




Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.

in that shot it certainly was

the phi gridline is on his nose anyway,
Yeah but it misses the center of his nose.

And the left edge of the Golden Ratio box doesn't go all the way to the edge of the frame, either. You can see a gap there.


That's the issue with a lot of the golden ratio woo: people count anything vaguely close as a "hit".

This is what I'm getting at. It's just too easy to project these kinds relationships onto a finished piece, and ascribe specific intent onto artists without actually knowing their mind.


I get it.

I'm asking, for the third time now, what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s, when lining up shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.

I suspect that he knew what he liked, and it was the golden ratio.

I'm asking about the specific mechanism by which Massimo Dallamano lined up shots so that they conformed to the GR.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 03:04:00 PM by John Albert »

Offline jt512

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #49 on: August 14, 2019, 05:17:53 PM »
This was not an accident nor BS




Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.

in that shot it certainly was

the phi gridline is on his nose anyway,
Yeah but it misses the center of his nose.

And the left edge of the Golden Ratio box doesn't go all the way to the edge of the frame, either. You can see a gap there.


That's the issue with a lot of the golden ratio woo: people count anything vaguely close as a "hit".

This is what I'm getting at. It's just too easy to project these kinds relationships onto a finished piece, and ascribe specific intent onto artists without actually knowing their mind.


I get it.

I'm asking, for the third time now, what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s, when lining up shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.

I suspect that he knew what he liked, and it was the golden ratio.

I'm asking about the specific mechanism by which Massimo Dallamano lined up shots so that they conformed to the GR. If you've ever looked through the eyepiece of a mid-20th Century film camera fitted with a telephoto lens, at a human being in extreme close-up (even an accomplished actor trying to stand stock-still), you'd recognize how difficult it is to be that precise.


Yet he got it pretty damn close, apparently.  And no more difficult than lining it up with any other desired focal point, anyway.
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Offline Sawyer

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2019, 06:39:18 PM »
Thank you to John and Alex for posting some good links.  Don't know when I'll have time to read them, but I'll concede I've underestimated the prevalence of the Golden Ratio in nature.

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #51 on: August 14, 2019, 07:41:07 PM »
I think in most cases frame composition is arrived at naturally or instinctively without concern for rules or ratios, but good composition can naturally fit those forms.

I know of cinematographers who study composition in art, mostly paintings but also sculpture, and compose every shot based on their years of study rather.

Personal anecdote, but I found that the quality of my photography improved substantially when I learned about the rule of thirds.
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Online CarbShark

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2019, 07:52:13 PM »
I think in most cases frame composition is arrived at naturally or instinctively without concern for rules or ratios, but good composition can naturally fit those forms.

I know of cinematographers who study composition in art, mostly paintings but also sculpture, and compose every shot based on their years of study rather.

Personal anecdote, but I found that the quality of my photography improved substantially when I learned about the rule of thirds.

Cool.  That's one of the best things about those kinds of basic and simple rules, is they help dabblers and hobbyists.

Not so much the pros though.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2019, 08:00:11 PM »
I think in most cases frame composition is arrived at naturally or instinctively without concern for rules or ratios, but good composition can naturally fit those forms.

I know of cinematographers who study composition in art, mostly paintings but also sculpture, and compose every shot based on their years of study rather.

Personal anecdote, but I found that the quality of my photography improved substantially when I learned about the rule of thirds.

Cool.  That's one of the best things about those kinds of basic and simple rules, is they help dabblers and hobbyists.

Not so much the pros though.

Oh, and I was very much a dabbler and a hobbyist. :)
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Offline Captain Video

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2019, 11:50:53 PM »
Perhaps those who doubt what I have been saying think I am claiming the DP perfectly measured out the curve and placed the subject at the exact perfect grid line created by placing the curve and thats not what I am saying.

It does not work that way, there may be a million different factors that result in framing of a shot. Even with the rule of thirds you don't get it exact, you have a line to work with and you work around it.  Perhaps you have to cheat to the left because there is a turtle in the shot, or the  light, or an ugly spot in the desert because the sun moved.

Also you are looking at one frame and nobody is perfectly still. Clints nose sits in the general area they wanted for the shot, in this case using the golden ratio not the rule of thirds.   

John Albert keeps asking "what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s" he used his eyes.

I read somewhere that Sergio Leone did not use storyboards and showed Dallamano paintings to give him an idea on what to shoot.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #55 on: August 15, 2019, 09:59:40 AM »
Also you are looking at one frame and nobody is perfectly still. Clints nose sits in the general area they wanted for the shot, in this case using the golden ratio not the rule of thirds.

Or maybe they did use the rule of thirds, measuring the negative space to the right of Clint's head to occupy one third of the frame. Doesn't that seem just as likely?



Maybe they set it up that way, instead of choosing the left edge of his nose for some inexplicable reason. Why the left edge of his nose? Seems an arbitrary choice.


John Albert keeps asking "what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s" he used his eyes.

I kept asking because you never answered.

So when setting up the shot Massimo Dallamano may have instructed Clint to stand perfectly still while he took great pains to adjust the camera so that the actor's nose was right at the dividing line. But despite Massimo's deliberate intent to use the Golden Ratio in his shot composition, he employed no guideline or ruler to see where the Phi lines were in the camera's eyepiece. Even if he did, that wouldn't ensure success because the aspect ratio of the viewfinder is different from the aspect ratio of the film frame.  But it's a good thing he was such a great cinematographer, so even without guidelines he somehow got it only slightly off.

We may never know why Massimo chose the left edge of Clint's nose to place at the Phi line, instead of the right edge or even the centerline of his nose. Or some other prominent feature like his eyes.

Alternatively, Massimo might have just eyeballed the shot in such a way that it looked good to him and his director.

Then, some years later a GR true believer went looking for examples of the Golden Ratio in film shot composition, pored over numerous iconic stills from movies, and found the pic of Clint. There's no particular reason to have chosen this particular frame out of the 190,080 frames in the entire film, other than the fact that it kinds-sorta lines up. So out of the countless shot compositions in all of the cinematic arts, which employ countless arrangements of countless subjects (moving and still) in countless compositions with countless ratios from all 4 edges of the picture frame, this still frame of Clint stands as the proof of GR theory for cinema.

I dunno, man. Seems like a stretch.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 05:12:35 PM by John Albert »

Offline Captain Video

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #56 on: August 15, 2019, 10:40:33 AM »
yea except 4 frames down the line his nose moves to the right of camera, I don't know why this shit gets me so angry but your arguing style is infuriating as usual and I will no longer choose to engage with you. You win and are completely right, I was obviously completely wrong, my experience of being on set daily and all the work I have done up to this moment in time where you refuted me means nothing. Thank you John
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Offline John Albert

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #57 on: August 15, 2019, 10:59:53 AM »
yea except 4 frames down the line his nose moves to the right of camera

So then what is the point of this exercise of measuring a single frame of a 2 hour and 12 minute film? It's bullshit.


You win and are completely right, I was obviously completely wrong, my experience of being on set daily and all the work I have done up to this moment in time where you refuted me means nothing.

I never said your work means nothing, and I didn't mean to make you mad.

I'm saying it's a mistake to pretend you know the mind of another person, or an artist's specific intent in a transient moment of a performance. Unless Leone or Dallamano came out and said they were going for the Golden Ratio in that shot, it's just a post hoc assumption to assert that they did.

Art is largely subjective, so you can't necessarily say whether the Golden Ratio produces more beautiful visual compositions. Good composition is subject to lots of considerations such as form, color, chiaroscuro, use of lines, mass vs. negative space, etc. Some compositions rely upon symmetry, others benefit from the rule of thirds, and others work better with different arrangements.

There is a theory that creativity benefits from constraints. It's more difficult to make a choice with 100% freedom and no significant options. I have no problem with the idea that the GR can be a handy rule of thumb to fall back on, even when it's not 100% practicable.

But this idea that great art conforms to some arcane mathematical formula is just woo.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 05:14:08 PM by John Albert »

Offline seamas

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #58 on: August 16, 2019, 12:01:29 PM »

Art is largely subjective, so you can't necessarily say whether the Golden Ratio produces more beautiful visual compositions. Good composition is subject to lots of considerations such as form, color, chiaroscuro, use of lines, mass vs. negative space, etc. Some compositions rely upon symmetry, others benefit from the rule of thirds, and others work better with different arrangements.

Yes.
Compositional schemes are varied and there are several that are employed to create different effects . Beauty being just one of them.
A symmetry will often be employed for an effect of serenity and perhaps stillness. a lot of devotional art will employ various degrees of strictness to this,.
As for the GM< or the rule of thirds, both have been employed to certain degrees by some artists, and then many, when not going for symmetry will choose their center of focus somewhere in the vicinity of one of those modes--not exactly, but close.

But the idea that having or choosing one of these compositional schemes --and sticking to it with some manner of exactitude --and declaring it the most successful--or best, or magical or whatever doesn't seem to be supported very well. Walk into any museum and you will see some great illumination that have some adherence to the Golden ratio, some with symmetry, some with rule of thirds and then a good number that are successful without any of them.

That said, the idea that the "Golden Ratio is bullshit" I don't agree with, as it does have considerable merit in composition.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 12:03:48 PM by seamas »
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Offline John Albert

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #59 on: August 16, 2019, 02:37:18 PM »
I didn't say "The Golden Ratio is bullshit." I didn't say that artists never use it, or that it doesn't figure prominently in the layouts of some iconic works.

But as you said, there are lots of popular techniques for laying out compositions, the GR being just one of them.

Is the GR more prevalent than others? Possibly.

But I surmise that would depend on which specific elements in a given composition that you decide to measure.

For example, measuring the distance between the right edge of the picture plane and the left edge of Clint Eastwood's nose, you get a rough approximation of the GR, but measuring the area of negative space to the right of Clint's face gives you a rough one-third.

Measuring from some arbitrary edge of the frame to Clint's right pupil would give a different ratio, measuring a different edge to the same pupil would give yet a different ratio; the same goes for his left pupil, his cigar, and so on and so forth. Those are all different ratios that reference the primary focal points in that image. Why aren't we paying attention to all those ratios? Perhaps because the GR is a specific thing we've decided to look for? 

Walk through any art museum and you'll find an infinite variety of proportions in the designs of the images and sculptures. You could pick any numerical ratio out of a hat, then take a stroll through the Louvre with a measuring tape and check the distances between arbitrary elements in every painting and you'd find countess examples.

Does that mean every randomly chosen ratio was intentionally utilized by all the artists? Or were they all employed unconsciously on the artist's intuition?

Does every random, arbitrary ratio have the ability to impart some mystical quality of beauty?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 05:17:57 PM by John Albert »

 

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