A deluge of photos appeared two or three days ago of Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth shooting scenes in Manhattan for New Line’s Sex and the City movie, but I found this one (taken by Anna Zozulinky and supplied by Israeli columnist/ blogger Yair Raveh) especially intriguing because it shows you all the heavy-duty location-shoot regalia — trucks, canvas coverings, metal lighting stands, light reflectors and filters and whatnot.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Noth (i.e., “Mr. Big”), shooting three days ago on upper Fifth Avenue — Thursday, 9.20.07

I’m hardly a production veteran but Parker and Noth look a bit over-flanked. This is how location-shoot hardware looked in the ’80s and ’90s, but does today’s hand- held, ultra-light-sensitive, high-def Red One visual aesthetic really need all this stuff?

What this shot “says” is that Sex and the City‘s dp John Thomas (who shot Whit Stillman‘s Metropolitan way back when but has since worked mostly for television, including 36 episodes of the Sex and the City series) is key-lighting this film within an inch of its life, no doubt having been told to make the cast members (most of whom are 40ish and 50ish) look as young and squeezey as possible, which in itself tells you this the film is probably going to be on the glossy and fastidious side.

Not that anyone expects Sex and the City to be William Friedkin‘s The French Connection or even a mid ’70s Antonioni film, but there’s always hope that a feature-film version of a TV series will kick things up to a higher (grittier, less poised, more New York authentic) level. This photo tells me that ain’t happenin’.