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A. Cinematography April 2011

A. Cinematography April 2011

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A P R I L 2 0 1 1

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Christopher Baffa ASC, began his career as
a gaffer and moved into off-beat features
such as Suicide Kings, Running with Scissors
and the cult movie Idle Hands. In addition
to shooting the pilots for the hit series
The Closer, Nip/Tuck and Glee, he helmed seven
seasons of Nip/Tuck and is now in his second
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The International Journal of Motion Imaging
26 Wicked World
Alwin Küchler, BSC renders a dark fairytale world for Hanna
42 A Woman on the Verge
Ed Lachman, ASC helps Todd Haynes remake the classic
melodrama Mildred Pierce
52 Optical Filtration and 3-D
An optical-effects innovator explains how filters enhance
3-D imaging
62 Sundance 2011: Spirited Images
Our annual roundup of the festival’s eye-catching fare
DEPARTMENTS
FEATURES
— VISIT WWW.THEASC.COM TO ENJOY THESE WEB EXCLUSIVES —
DVD Playback: The Sound of Music • All the President’s Men • You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
On Our Cover: An unusual teen (Saoirse Ronan) makes a discovery about her past in
Hanna, shot by Alwin Küchler, BSC. (Photo by Alex Bailey, courtesy of Focus Features.)
8 Editor’s Note
10 President’s Desk
12 Short Takes: “Faeries”
16 Production Slate: Jane Eyre • Battle: Los Angeles
78 Post Focus: Red Riding Hood
82 Tricks of the Trade: Unfettering a Digital Shoot
86 Filmmakers’ Forum: The Image Interchange Framework
90 New Products & Services
98 International Marketplace
100 Classified Ads/Ad Index
102 Clubhouse News
104 ASC Close-Up: Dennis Muren
A P R I L 2 0 1 1 V O L . 9 2 N O . 4
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A p r i l 2 0 1 1 V o l . 9 2 , N o . 4
T h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l J o u r n a l o f M o t i o n I m a g i n g
Visit us online at
www.theasc.com
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Stephanie Argy, Benjamin B, Douglas Bankston, Robert S. Birchard,
John Calhoun, Bob Fisher, Michael Goldman, Simon Gray, Jim Hemphill,
David Heuring, Jay Holben, Mark Hope-Jones, Noah Kadner, Jean Oppenheimer,
John Pavlus, Chris Pizzello, Jon Silberg, Iain Stasukevich,
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American Cinematographer (ISSN 0002-7928), established 1920 and in its 91st year of publication, is published
monthly in Hollywood by ASC Holding Corp., 1782 N. Orange Dr., Hollywood, CA 90028, U.S.A.,
(800) 448-0145, (323) 969-4333, Fax (323) 876-4973, direct line for subscription inquiries (323) 969-4344.
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OFFICERS - 2010/2011
Michael Goi
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American Society of Cine ma tog ra phers
The ASC is not a labor union or a guild, but
an educational, cultural and pro fes sion al
or ga ni za tion. Membership is by invitation
to those who are actively en gaged as
di rec tors of photography and have
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pro fes sional cin e ma tog ra pher — a mark
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Sony, CineAlta, HDCAM-SR, XDCAM, “make.believe” and their respective logos are trademarks of Sony.
Visit sony.com/digitalcinematography for the full story.
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Bring it on.
Several years ago, a subscriber approached me to express
his amazement at professional cinematographers’ increas-
ingly frequent use of both high-end and low-end digital
cameras. Curiously, this gentleman seemed to believe
these new tools for image capture spelled doom for AC.
“What are you guys going to do?” he asked in the tone of
a silent-film buff who had just seen his first talking picture.
We hope our reply has been evident in our
comprehensive coverage of projects shot with every avail-
able type of digital camera. This month’s special focus on
digital production continues our assessment of these
cameras, beginning with three of the five projects covered
in our recap of this year’s Sundance Film Festival
(“Sundance 2011: Spirited Images,” page 62). Morten Søborg, DFF used Red One cameras
on the Oscar-winning Danish drama In a Better World; director Eric Strauss and cinematog-
raphers Peter Hutchens and Ryan Hill employed a variety of Panasonic and Sony digital
cameras on the documentary The Redemption of General Butt Naked, which won the cine-
matography prize in the U.S. Documentary category; and Sam McCurdy, BSC mixed Red Ones
with an Arri 435 on The Devil’s Double. The other Sundance entries we cover, Pariah (shot by
Bradford Young, who earned the Excellence in Cinematography Award in the U.S. Dramatic
category) and Meek’s Cutoff (shot in the rarely employed 1.33:1 aspect ratio by Christopher
Blauvelt), were both captured on 35mm. (We plan to cover other intriguing Sundance selec-
tions as they are theatrically released throughout the year.)
Meanwhile, in the television realm, ASC member Alan Caso has been working with
digital-imaging technician Ethan Phillips to apply a “filmic” approach to their work on the
series The Defenders, which Caso shoots with Sony and Canon cameras. Their strategies for
“untethering” the shoot are outlined in Tricks of the Trade (page 82).
In emulating the look of 1970s cinema for the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce (“A
Woman on the Verge,” page 42), Ed Lachman, ASC and director Todd Haynes opted to buck
the trend by shooting on Super 16mm. Lachman maintains, “Today’s film stock is so good
that shooting Super 16 and then going through a digital intermediate almost mimics the way
filmed looked 20 or 30 years ago, because it has a little more grain structure. But the reason
I really wanted to shoot film was for the exposure latitude, which I still feel is greater on film
than on any digital format, and for the color rendition.”
The striking images in the thriller Hanna, shot by Alwin Küchler, BSC (“Wicked
World,” page 26) also serve as a reminder of film's virtues.
The revival of 3-D filmmaking has prompted us to begin covering more specific
areas of interest to cinematographers working in the format. “Optical Filtration and 3-D”
(page 52) offers insights from Ira Tiffen, former vice president of research and development
for The Tiffen Co., who earned a 1992 Academy Technical Achievement Award for produc-
tion of the Ultra Contrast Filter Series and wrote the chapter on filtration for the American
Cinematographer Manual.
Stephen Pizzello
Executive Editor
Editor’s Note
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As editor of the upcoming 10th edition of the American Cinematographer Manual, I found
myself looking at recent technological changes in the industry with a new perspective. Certainly,
the tools we cinematographers use to create our art have always been in a constant state of
evolution, but the last five years seemed to spawn more attempts to reinvent the wheel than
many decades prior.
For example, when I started the process of deciding what the AC Manual would contain
in terms of new information, digital intermediates were still something cinematographers had to
fight for because producers were balking at the extra cost. Now, if you try to bypass a DI and do
a direct print, you are more likely to catch flak from producers who are convinced that the only
way to get the film to look right is to do a DI.
I want the new manual to have more digital information within its pages to reflect our
readers’ growing interest in emerging technologies. This is not to suggest that tried-and-true
methods and materials are no longer relevant, but, rather, to make the industry aware of devices
and workflows that are currently being used on professional productions. Also, because many of
these devices were developed from a prosumer approach to end use rather than a professional
approach, adjustments had to be made for use in the professional workflow. In the case of some
digital cameras, this has led to the old “Frankenstein” syndrome, wherein a small camera has to
be retrofitted with an army of wires, metal arms, junction boxes and lens adapters in order to be
used effectively because it wasn’t designed to be used on a professional set.
The curious thing about the current rush to adopt new methods of image capture and workflow is that this chaos of experi-
mentation has been condoned by entities eager to save money in a difficult economy. In the past, suggesting that a film be treated
with a new processing formula, like bleach bypass, was met with great wariness lest the result not be deemed of sufficient profes-
sional quality to pass stringent distribution expectations. Now, if you say you’d like to shoot on some new camera that records on toilet
paper for $10 a day, you are looked upon as a maverick who is saving the industry from oblivion.
There are six questions I ask myself when I embark on using any new technology in my work. These questions are especially
significant if you work as an independent filmmaker whose work is not governed by studio preservation policies.
If I capture my images on this camera, do I have any assurance that the images will not be accidentally erased or deleted?
Are the captured images a true reflection of what I intended them to be, should I not be around to supervise an output of
those images at a later date?
Does this camera actually make my job of filming this particular project easier, or is it making it harder and more expensive?
If I am filming in a remote area and my camera breaks down, will I be able to fix it with my multi-tool knife, or will production
have to shut down?
Who is going to be responsible for making sure that all the metadata accumulated during production and post is properly
logged and stored?
What is going to be the archival element for this project?
Innovation is valuable if it’s actually an improvement over what has come before. Reinventing the wheel is great, but make sure
you have truly created a better wheel before you throw away the old one. And don’t forget to keep your eyes on the prize.
Michael Goi, ASC
President
President’s Desk
10 April 2011 American Cinematographer
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12 April 2011 American Cinematographer
Shooting “Faeries” in 3-D
By Iain Stasukevich
Even after 20 years of experience as a commercial cine-
matographer, Christopher Soos, CSC admits that he still has a few
things to learn. While shooting three television and theatrical spots
for the French company Bouygues Telecom, Soos and director Baker
Smith took an on-the-job crash course in stereoscopic filmmaking.
The spots, co-produced by Harvest Films and Wanda Produc-
tions, illustrate the fantasies of Bouygues employees. “This is how
heroic I felt when I helped my customer with her lost cell phone,”
says one employee, after we see a gallant rescue diver fish a water-
logged damsel from the ocean. In another spot, an irate grizzly
throws a tantrum, conveying an employee’s anger after the
company’s virility is called into question.
Both “Rescue” and “Bear” were shot and directed by Soos
and Smith in 2-D on 35mm film. The third spot, “Faeries,” was a
3-D production and thus required a very different approach.
“Faeries” whimsically suggests that the morning routine of a
wood nymph resembles that of the average worker: wake up,
shower, dress, eat breakfast with your dog and then head to work
— only “work” is flitting about the forest sprinkling faerie dust on
everything.
Smith asked French 3-D company Binocle to handle the
stereoscopics and “had them talk to me like I was a second grader,”
he recalls. “I’m not a cameraman, and I will always look to the cine-
matographer for those skills, but I still want to understand what’s
happening.” Next, he approached Paris visual-effects company Buf,
whose artists translated his storyboards into a detailed CGI animatic,
complete with specific lenses and camera moves and a scale model
of the set.
Another thing that set “Faeries” apart from the other two
spots was that it was scheduled to play before major theatrical 3-D
releases. With this in mind, Soos approached the commercial as
though it were a feature, spending almost a week of intense camera
prep at Binocle and Panavision Paris with 1st AC Alex Leglise and
2nd AC Raphael Douge. “In a theatrical environment, your 3-D
specs become exponentially more important in terms of alignment,
sharpness, composition and depth-of-field,” Soos notes.
Stereoscopic technician Jean-Marie Boulet assisted Soos’
team with selecting identical pairs of Primo prime lenses, a task that
proved more difficult than simply matching focal lengths. “If we
wanted two Cooke 12mm lenses, we needed to choose between
maybe five or six to find two that were almost perfectly the same,”
Boulet explains. Binocle’s Brigger line of motion-controlled 3-D rigs is
capable of handling zoom lenses, “which might seem like it’s easier
because you don’t have to change the lenses, but you still have to
meet exactly the same focal lengths, and with zooms, a perfect
match is even more difficult.”
Soos shot “Faeries” with two Panavision Genesis cameras
using Binocle’s Brigger III rig in the over-under mirrored configura-
tion. “[The Genesis] is a wonderful camera for 3-D — very stable and
very heavy,” says Boulet. “Because we are working pixel to pixel, we
don’t want the camera to be loose.”
Boulet’s stereoscopic department doubled the size of Soos’
camera department, and although they were two separate teams,
they strove to operate as a single unit. As the convergence puller,
Boulet assisted Leglise with changing the lenses by removing the
fragile and expensive mirror from the 3-D rig so the 1st AC could
access the camera. Once the lenses were replaced, Boulet reinstalled
the mirror and recalibrated the two cameras. Over at the monitoring
station, 3-D vision director Alexander Sill checked an anaglyphic
Short Takes
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A wood nymph’s
morning routine
is depicted in the
3-D ad campaign
“Faeries,” shot
by Christopher
Soos, CSC.
I
14 April 2011 American Cinematographer
version of the stereo image to make sure
the cameras were properly aligned, while
stereographer Thomas Villepoux supervised
the proper execution of the 3-D effect.
“The 3-D effect is more pronounced
on a big screen, so you have to be aware of
that and do things more subtly when
they’re in-camera,” Soos remarks. “In the
same way your DIT monitors the digital 2-D
image for technical issues, a member of the
3-D team can halt the progress of a shot if
there are technical problems with the 3-D.”
“The big question is, ‘When will you
be ready?’” Boulet says with a laugh. “The
answer was usually, ‘Almost.’ It does take a
little more time than usual not only for the
technical part, but also for the artistic part.
After the cinematographer and the director
decide the shot, then the 3-D guy can do his
job, checking the alignment and depth, and
that doesn’t take long. After a couple of
shots, everyone gets used to the rhythm.”
Smith appreciates the extra attention
to detail, particularly with the final 3-D
image immediately available on set. “It was
helpful to see what worked and what
didn’t, that things coming from screen left
or right can be more jarring than things
rising or dropping into frame,” he says.
So the filmmakers not only had to
get acclimated to a new set of tools, they
also needed to adjust to a different cine-
matic language, which Soos wryly summa-
rizes as follows: “If you move the camera
around a lot in 3-D, you’re going to make
people barf.” Cropping actors on the left-
hand and right-hand sides of the frame
became an issue. “When you’re doing over-
the-shoulder shots, you have to think about
going wider and more static. You compose
differently. You also have to take lighting
into consideration. Do you meet the light-
level requirements to render sharp layers
and sell the illusion of depth?”
Soos notes that the depth-of-field
requirements in 3-D are the opposite of
2-D, “where you want an optical depth-of-
field that creates the illusion of real depth, a
painterly 3-D effect.” In stereoscopic 3-D, a
deep-focus image allows the audience to
better perceive the additional layers of
dimension.
When it came to lighting, the most
important lesson Soos learned about 3-D
had to do with contrast. “If things in the
background are too contrasty, the way the
parallax of your lenses displaces the imagery
can cause two contrasty superimposed
images to create the illusion of misalign-
ment,” he observes. “Hard lighting is also
something you have to be really careful
about. In lighting for 3-D, I’ve found that it’s
smart to consider using soft, directional
sources.”
Soos’ ISO was fixed at 200, but he
needed an effective T-stop of 5.6 to achieve
his desired depth-of-field. His gaffer obliged
by pumping a huge amount of light into the
rock-cave set, a partial build that was
surrounded by a 360-degree greenscreen.
“It felt more like classic studio lighting, with
at least 36 space lights overhead, 10Ks and
20Ks replacing 1Ks and 2Ks, and 12K and
18K HMIs bouncing in 5,500°K fill,” the
cinematographer recalls. “It was a lot of
light, a lot of work and a considerable
investment for everyone.”
“It’s always difficult for the 3-D crew
to become part of a 2-D crew that’s used to
working together,” Boulet muses. “We
understand that they don’t always know
how to react to us, and we don’t always
know how to react to them. I’ve found that
some 2-D crews are afraid of working with
people who are going to advise them on
how to do their jobs.”
But Soos, Smith and Boulet ulti-
mately found that they were speaking the
same language. “It was a question of
philosophy, habit and how we see cinema:
Do we see cinema in the same way?” says
Boulet.
Soos relished the opportunity to
expand his visual vocabulary. “If a picture is
worth a thousand words, in 3-D the effect
is exponential,” he says. ●
Soos (in photo
at right,
wearing
sunglasses)
notes that
deep-focus
images allow
viewers to
better perceive
the 3-D effect.
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16 April 2011 American Cinematographer
A Jane Eyre for Today
By Rachael K. Bosley
Adapting Charlotte Brontë’s literary classic Jane Eyre might
seem an unlikely choice for the director-cinematographer team behind
Sin Nombre, the illegal-immigrant drama that won a cinematography
prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival (AC April ’09), but for the
cinematographer, Adriano Goldman, ABC, that was part of the
appeal. More significant, however, was the chance to reunite with
director Cary Joji Fukunaga. “Since we shot Sin Nombre, Cary and I
have become very good friends, and I like to think that this is a sort of
partnership, something we can develop,” says Goldman. “I like him, I
trust him, and I really believe he’s an artist.”
AC recently spoke to Goldman by phone about his work on
Jane Eyre. What follows are excerpts from the conversation.
American Cinematographer : Jane Eyre is required read-
ing in many American high schools. Is it treated that way in
Brazil? Were you familiar with the novel?
Adriano Goldman, ABC: No, I wasn’t. I was aware that it’s
considered a classic, but it’s not at all part of my culture. That was part
of the challenge. Cary and I read a few chapters together, and we also
watched some of the well-known adaptations, like the Franco Zeffirelli
version [1996], the Robert Stevenson one with Orson Welles [1943]
and the BBC miniseries [2006, directed by Susanna White], mostly to
understand what we didn’t want to do.
And what was that?
Goldman: Well, we wanted to make a period film with a
contemporary look or approach, something that would feel fresh. I
don’t want to say ‘modern’ because that word is a little dangerous,
but Jane Eyre [played by Mia Wasikowska] is very ahead of her time.
She’s a modern girl for that moment in terms of the way she behaves,
the way she treats men and the way she sees her future. Cary also
wanted to do a darker version of the story than previous filmmakers
had done. He wanted to emphasize the mysteries of Rochester’s life,
the secret in the attic, and the strange loneliness Jane experiences in
Thornfield. The [final] cut has changed the movie a lot, as always
happens, but I think the Gothic aspects of the story were something
Cary really wanted to explore.
How did the desire for a contemporary feel translate
into some of your choices?
Goldman: We wanted lighting that would look realistic. The
houses of that time were really dark, even during the day, because it
was very expensive to have fires lit all day and all night. So for day
scenes in Thornfield, we wanted it to feel like all the light was coming
Production Slate
J
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The English
mist sets in as
Jane (Mia
Wasikowska)
runs an errand
in a scene
from Jane
Eyre, shot by
Adriano
Goldman,
ABC.
I
www.theasc.com April 2011 17
from the windows. I used a lot more HMIs
than I typically use because the windows at
Haddon Hall [the location for Thornfield]
were so large. We used 18Ks and 12Ks
warmed slightly with
1
⁄8 or
1
⁄4 CTO, and
attached very thick diffusion — silk and
sometimes cotton, too — directly to the
windows to soften the light. Also, there are a
lot of night interiors lit only with a fireplace
and candlelight, including the scene when
Jane arrives at Thornfield and meets Mrs.
Fairfax [Judi Dench], and the scene that
shows the first real conversation between
Jane and Rochester [Michael Fassbender].
The two of them sit close to the fireplace, and
that plus some candelabra on the wall in the
background are lighting the scene. To add a
little sparkle to the actors’ eyes for close-ups,
we had a Chinese lantern with a dimmed-
down 150-watt or 275-watt bulb and a
single flame bar helping us here and there,
but no reflectors. Every chance we had to cut
reflectors, we did, especially for night interi-
ors. We wanted the look to be believable.
You must have had a great first
assistant.
Goldman: We had a fantastic English
crew, and the first AC, Julian Bucknall, is a
real warrior. We were using [T1.3] Arri Master
Primes, and we decided early on that shoot-
ing wide open would make our lives very
hard, so I tried to maintain a stop of at least
T2, which is difficult when you’re just using
firelight. I tried to give Julian a little more stop
on day interiors, maybe T2.8, but that was
really rare. A shallow depth-of-field gave us
an extra texture that we all really loved, espe-
cially on night interiors, but it’s very hard to
shoot that way. The limit is so fine; in the
close-ups of Jane in her fireside talk with
Rochester, for instance, the depth-of-field is
so shallow that her eyes are in focus but her
nose is slightly out of focus. You have to
explain to the actors what you’re after so
they can help you. It was the total opposite of
Sin Nombre, where we gave the actors full
freedom, partly because they were totally
inexperienced. Jane Eyre is more designed,
and the action was carefully choreographed.
The actors had very specific marks.
Another departure from Sin
Nombre is that you didn’t do all of the
camera operating this time.
Goldman: I operated for the first half
of the shoot, but then we brought in a B-
Top: Rochester (Michael Fassbender), Jane’s new employer, draws her into a conversation.
Middle: Jane dines with her young pupil (Romy Settbon Moore) and Mrs. Fairfax (Judi Dench).
Bottom: Large HMIs through heavy diffusion attached to windows comprised the typical
lighting setup for the main location.
18 April 2011 American Cinematographer
camera/Steadicam operator, Vince McGa-
hon, for a few days. He was really good,
and the producers asked me if I wanted him
to stay on to take over the A camera. I’m
trying to learn how to use operators. I’m
usually very jealous of my framing, but in
this case having Vince helped a lot because
I could work more closely with Cary. Some-
times it’s really hard to do both [operating
and lighting]. I really like doing camera-
work, but I need to find new collaborators.
It was a wise decision.
Some filmmakers are reluctant
to use a Steadicam on period films.
What made you decide it was appro-
priate on Jane Eyre?
Goldman: Cary always said he
wanted smooth moves and long takes; he
didn’t want this to be a ‘cutty’ film. We
used the Steadicam in what we called ‘dolly
mode.’ It doesn’t dance with the actors; it
moves in a straight line. The moves are very
classic, and they could easily be dolly shots.
You used Super 35 to great effect
on Sin Nombre. Did you discuss shoot-
ing this movie widescreen?
Goldman: Cary actually wanted to
shoot Jane Eyre in 1.33:1 because he envi-
sioned it in a totally square frame, but we
couldn’t do that or 1.66:1 [because it would
have complicated distribution], so we
decided 1.85:1 was our best option. We
tried to find frames within the frame or
place objects in the foreground to sort of
square off the 1.85, make it less horizontal.
There’s a striking shot in the
scene that shows young Jane [Amelia
Clarkson] arriving at the orphanage —
the camera moves behind her to show
the other girls, shooting directly at the
windows.
Goldman: We thought the flash-
backs were a chance to try something
different because they should feel like a
memory; they’re moments when realism
can be put aside. Cary and I both love lens
flares, and every time I have a chance to
show him one, I do. We pursued them on
Sin Nombre, shooting against the sun to
add something a little magical to what was
a very realistic story. And on Jane Eyre, we
viewed flares as a chance to ‘dirty’ the
image a bit, make it look a little more
contemporary. Cary suggested placing a
reflector or a light in frame in the flashback
scenes to get that effect. One of the great
things about Cary is that he’s also a cine-
matographer, so he’s always trying to find
something [visual] that will give the audi-
ence a different feel. We heightened the
contrast in the flashbacks a bit in the digital
grade [at Lip Sync Post].
Coming from Brazil to shoot on
location in England for the first time,
did you take any special steps in prep
to study the light you’d be working
with?
Goldman: We had a very generous
prep, seven weeks for an eight-week shoot,
but we prepped in winter and started
shooting at the beginning of spring, and at
the end of winter, the light in England
changes completely. So I couldn’t rely too
much on my prep in terms of studying the
light. Cloudy days were our dream; we
wanted the image to feel soft on the screen,
with muted colors and dark-green grass
and foliage. We had the most perfect days
during prep, of course, but when we started
shooting, the sun started to show up. We
had a lot of cloudy days, but they were very
bright. I shot the whole movie on Fuji 400
[8583], rating it at [ISO] 400, and for day
exteriors we often had double layers of
ND.9 on the lens to bring the stop back to
T8 or T4. The most significant work we did
in the DI was probably bringing the greens
down in day exteriors to match the other
colors in terms of saturation.
Which aspect of doing a period
film like this was the most challenging?
Goldman: It took Cary and me a
little while to understand that on period
movies, with all the hair and makeup and
costumes, you shoot much less. We did 25
to 30 setups a day on Sin Nombre, shooting
handheld with two cameras. When we
started prepping Jane Eyre, our first AD, Lee
Grumett, cautioned us that we wouldn’t be
able to maintain that pace on this film
because we’d have to wait for so many
other people, and that proved to be true.
Mia is in 95 percent of the scenes, so when
she needed to change, we often had to
wait because there was nothing else to
shoot. We did 14 or 15 setups a day. We
had to learn how to use the time we had
with the actors very, very wisely because by
the time they came in, we might have just
an hour to shoot a scene. It was a really
good lesson for both of us. But that’s
moviemaking: every single project teaches
you something. I love it!
TECHNICAL SPECS
1.85:1
35mm
Arricam Lite
Arri Master Prime;
Angenieux Optimo 24-290mm
Fuji Eterna 400 8583
Digital Intermediate
Near right:
Rochester and
Jane pledge their
devotion to each
other. Far right:
Goldman checks
the light as the
crew preps a
dolly shot.

20 April 2011 American Cinematographer
logical conclusion. AC recently sat down
with Ettlin to discuss his work on the
picture.
American Cinematographer:
Lukas, a number of years ago you won
the ASC Heritage Award for a student
film you made with Jonathan. How has
your working relationship evolved
since then?
Lukas Ettlin: Jonathan and I met on
our first day at New York University and
became friends and collaborators instantly,
and Battle: Los Angeles is our third feature
together [after Texas Chainsaw Massacre:
The Beginning and The Killing Room]. He
has an uncanny ability to tell a story in a
visually engaging way, which has always
elevated my work. When you start making
studio movies at a young age, you really
need to trust your instincts and work harder
than anyone else. We’re very similar that
way.
This movie has a lot of handheld
work. What’s behind that choice?
Ettlin: To me, handheld doesn’t
necessarily mean shoulder-mounted. We
used slings, rickshaws, Pogo Cams, and
even put the camera on a bag for long-lens
shots. Some of our crane work was hand-
held on a Chapman Titan crane. The
perspective is always with the soldiers. Our
references for this were The Hurt Locker [AC
July ’09], Black Hawk Down [AC June ’02]
and, of course, Saving Private Ryan [AC
Aug. ’98]. But Jonathan likes to be influ-
enced by various sources, so we also looked
at Neil Blomkamp and Rupert Sanders’ Halo
commercials [AC Dec. ’09], 9/11 footage
and computer games.
Was it difficult to pass Louisiana
off as Los Angeles?
Ettlin: Jonathan wanted to set the
movie in a part of L.A. that’s more industrial,
and we used back alleys instead of recog-
nizable streets. We tried to stay away from
landmarks, which are usually the staple of
disaster movies. Shreveport and Baton
Rouge gave us a lot of great options. Plus,
we have a stunning aerial scene in the
Aliens Strike L.A.
By Iain Stasukevich
In the early hours of Feb. 25, 1942,
air-raid sirens were sounded throughout Los
Angeles County, and a blackout was
ordered. At 3:16 a.m., the 37th Coast
Artillery Brigade began firing anti-aircraft
shells into the air over Santa Monica. Mili-
tary officials reported they were firing at
enemy planes and “a balloon carrying a red
flare.” Whatever happened, the official
reports vary just as wildly as civilian
accounts. One theory is that it was an alien
invasion, and the new film Battle: Los Ange-
les, directed by Jonathan Liebesman and
shot by Lukas Ettlin, takes that theory to its
Above: Military
helicopters are
deployed after
aliens attack L.A.
in Battle: Los
Angeles, shot by
Lukas Ettlin.
Right: Staff
Sergeant
Michael Nantz
(Aaron Eckhart)
plays a key role
in defending the
metropolis.
B
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I
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22 April 2011 American Cinematographer
beginning where marine helicopters arrive in
war-torn Santa Monica, and all those plates
were shot in L.A.
How much of the damage that the
aliens do to the city was practical, and
how much was CGI?
Ettlin: All the explosions and debris
showers were real, but a lot of the bullet
impacts were added in post. There were a lot
of CG set extensions. We often used green-
screens on actual locations to seamlessly blend
in the CG, but Jonathan likes to use as many
real elements as possible. My goal was always
to give him the most flexibility. One scene in a
bus contains elements shot with available light
while the bus was moving, artificially lit blue-
screen stage work, and bluescreen shots
outside with a mix of artificial and natural
light. We decided to use daylight stock inside
the stage to help match the exterior footage.
Using HMIs in the stage was more cumber-
some, but it paid off. We mounted platforms
outside one of the buses where we could have
cameras travel the whole length of the bus
while it was moving. The range of ideal expo-
sures would vary up to 4 stops in a single shot,
depending on whether an actor came right up
to the window or crouched in the center. I’d
often split the T-stops between the darkest
and brightest areas, knowing that [Kodak
Vision3 250D] 5207 could handle it, and that
I could brighten or darken it in the digital inter-
mediate. ➣
Left , top to bottom: A-camera operator Lukasz
Bielan captures a shot from a rickshaw rig with
the help of focus puller Jimmy Jenson
(background, holding remote-focus controller);
a practical explosion ignites a freeway set with
greenscreen extensions; technical sergeant
Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez) stands tall
amid her fallen comrades. Above:
Cinematographer Lukas Ettlin (right) finds an
angle with B-camera operator B.J. McDonnell.
about this film is that it’s so colorful.
The bleak events aren’t rendered with
a bleak image.
Ettlin: Jonathan was adamant that
we go for a realistic look. He didn’t want to
excessively desaturate the image or go for
the popular cyan-and-orange look. That
meant the images had to pop as is, without
the color-timing tools that have bailed me
out before! Luckily, we had a controlled
color palette, and the constant use of dust
and smoke helped us keep the saturation
up without getting garish. For the night
scenes inside the choppers and light
armored vehicles, we came up with strong
military colors that were inspired by night
vision, infrared and utility lights. I love doing
a monochromatic look with one strong
color, like primary red. It looks a bit dirty and
pops at the same time. For night exteriors,
we couldn’t rely on city lights because in the
story, most of the power is out. I asked
production designer Peter Wenham to
incorporate Wacker work lights, which run
on generators and seem like something the
military might bring in for that kind of situ-
Where did you shoot the scene
set in the back alleys of Venice Beach?
Ettlin: That was our biggest set. We
needed a whole block of back alleys that
was fogged in, so we had to shoot it inside
to control the smoke. The set was built right
up against the stage walls, and some action
took place just 20 feet from there! Key grip
Kurt Grossi and rigging key grip Kevin Erb
surrounded the stage with white fabric and
teasers, which we had to hide by backlight-
ing the smoke to sell the notion of infinite
fog. Our gaffer, Dan Cornwall, suggested
we use automated LRX lights on motorized
tracks, and that proved to be a lifesaver. In
combination with fixed Dinos and about
200 overhead 6K space lights, we were able
to match the exterior footage that leads
right into it.
One of the interesting things
Soldiers
advance
toward the
enemy in a
water-filled
tunnel.
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ation. We wired them to cut out the flicker
and precut ND gels to help control them,
and we placed them strategically to get
hard pockets of light. I love the mercury-
vapor color they naturally emit, and being
able to photograph them freely gave us a
lot of opportunities for flares.
Did you use a lot of trick
lighting?
Ettlin: Dan Cornwall set up these
mobile units consisting of Nine-light Maxi-
Brutes with a Gam Flame flicker gag that
we could quickly place wherever they were
needed. That became our hero light when-
ever the power was out, along with the
wonderful burning set pieces that David
Poole and our visual-effects team gave us.
Dan also built a dimmable JEM ball on a
stick; we used it all the time, and it was
especially handy in the water tunnels.
Because we were always shooting 360
degrees, placing fill light was impossible.
The tunnels were also filled with what we
called alien buoys, which were rigged to be
lit from within by LED light ribbons. Our
second-unit cinematographer, Bruce
McCleary, really helped out with the R&D
on a lot of these specialty fixtures. We
adapted pipes that were mounted on the
walls to house gelled Kinos. You could
rotate the pipe to expose the lights or hide
them from view. We used Paparazzi strobes
to enhance the gunfire effect.
It looks like you mixed in some
digital video with 35mm.
Ettlin: We mixed in a Sony PMW-
EX3 [uprezzed with a Flash XDR from
Convergent Design] so we’d have a
compact run-and-gun camera, but for the
most part, we shot Super 35mm. Our hero
lens was the Panavision 19-90mm [PCZ
Primo Compact] zoom. For a lightweight
zoom, it has an amazing range and looks
beautiful. Jonathan loves long-lens hand-
held shots, so Lukasz Bielan, our A-camera
operator, would often handhold an 11:1
[24-275mm] Primo as well. Very few oper-
ators can pull that off, and the movie
wouldn’t look as dynamic if we didn’t have
that kind of range. Luckily, we also had
Jimmy Jensen and Peter Roome, maybe
two of the best focus pullers in the busi-
ness, to keep it sharp for us. B-camera oper-
ator B.J. McDonnell was a master at
running with our Lightweight [LWZ] 85-
200mm lens and got some amazing hand-
held tracking shots. My longtime collabora-
tor, Brown Cooper, would then get all the
great C-camera angles, shooting through
objects and squeezing under cars.
Where did you do the digital
intermediate?
Ettlin: Sony Colorworks, where we
were fortunate to get Steve Bowen as our
colorist. Many scenes were pieced together
from shots acquired all over the schedule,
and Steve integrated them all seamlessly.
TECHNICAL SPECS
2.40:1
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Panaflex Millennium XL, Platinum; Arri 235;
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Panavision Primo, Lightweight
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26 April 2011 American Cinematographer
A fearless teen travels a treacherous
path in the dark fairytale Hanna,
shot by Alwin Küchler, BSC.
By Ted Elrick
•|•
Wicked
World
Wicked
World
H
anna (Saoirse Ronan) is fluent in numerous languages and
proficient with guns, bow-and-arrow and hand-to-hand
combat. She has been trained by her father, Erik (Eric
Bana), a former CIA operative, to survive in a cruel world
seemingly bent on killing her. And she is only 16.
If that sounds like an unexpected turn for director Joe
Wright, the filmmaker behind The Soloist (AC May ’09),
Atonement (AC Dec. ’07) and Pride and Prejudice, it is. Then
again, Hanna is filled with unexpected turns. According to the
film’s cinematographer, Alwin Küchler, BSC, the goal was to
treat this unusual coming-of-age story “like a fairytale, but with
the darkness of the classic Grimm fairytales, which warn you
about what might lie ahead when you venture out into the world.
www.theasc.com April 2011 27
“Fairytale illustrations are mostly
done in primary colors, and we worked
with that idea, but we also wanted
things to change as Hanna’s journey
progresses and her view of the world
shifts from naive to nuanced, from
black-and-white to gray,” continues
Küchler. “This was supported by Sarah
Greenwood, the production designer, in
terms of colors and location choices, and
by Lucie Bates, the costume designer.”
Küchler, whose credits include
Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (AC Aug. ’07),
Michael Winterbottom’s Code 46 (AC
Sept. ’04) and Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern
Callar (AC Sept. ’02), was collaborating
with Wright for the first time, and his
prep for Hanna included a two-week
period that Wright devoted exclusively
to working with him on the visual plan.
“At a certain point in prep, Joe likes to
lock himself away [with his cinematog-
rapher] to thoroughly discuss each
scene,” he says. “It was like being in film
school in the sense that we were dream-
ing up sequences before we had to
confront practical issues like time and
money. We were feeding each other
ideas, discussing what each scene should
feel like and how we could achieve it.
We shot video, with Joe acting out many
of the parts. What’s really great about
this process is that it makes the cine-
matographer very much a part of the
U
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.
Opposite: Hanna
(Saoirse Ronan)
finds herself in a
tight spot after
escaping from a
CIA facility. This
page: The film’s
opening scenes
were shot in
Kuusamo, Finland,
which
cinematographer
Alwin Küchler, BSC
describes as
“beautiful, raw
and dramatic.” Key
grip Adrian
McCarthy brought
on some local grips
and some locally
sourced gear to
achieve some of
the camera moves
in the deep snow
and frigid temps.
28 April 2011 American Cinematographer
director’s creative process. It also saved a
lot of time on set, because we were both
very clear about what we needed to
protect in order to make a scene work.”
The story is presented mainly
from Hanna’s point of view, and the
Steadicam “was an important tool for
this,” says Küchler. “We are always glid-
ing behind or alongside her.” The
production ultimately employed three
veteran Steadicam operators on the A
camera: Jörg Widmer (The New World),
who covered most of the shoot; Peter
Robertson (Atonement), who covered a
week when Widmer was unavailable;
and Tilman Büttner (Russian Ark), who
stepped in after Widmer was injured on
the job.
The production covered so much
ground — locations included sites in
Finland, Morocco and Germany —
that Küchler worked with two gaffers,
Christoph Nickel and Reuben Garrett.
“The film has many big set pieces in
locations that were sometimes quite far
from each other,” says the cinematogra-
pher. “Christoph was our main gaffer,
and Reuben was the gaffer in Morocco
and also helped us pre-light some of the
other locations alongside rigging gaffer
Janosch Voss. We exchanged a lot of
digital photos over the Internet to plan
the lighting.”
Arri in Berlin supplied most of
the production’s camera package, an
Arricam Studio and Lite, an Arri 235, a
full set of Cooke S4 prime lenses and an
Angenieux Optimo 24-290mm zoom
lens. (The filmmakers also used several
Sony PMW-350 and HXR-MC1P
digital cameras for select shots.)
Arri Media in London supplied
Küchler with two other lenses, an f/0.95
50mm Leica Noctilux and a custom-
built 25mm Zeiss prime lens that had
its front element reversed. “The
Noctilux is the most beautiful lens I
have ever used, and I wish there were a
whole set of lenses made from the same
glass,” says the cinematographer. “It
does magic to flesh tones. We used it for
Hanna’s flashback of her mother
[played by Vicki Kreips], a scene we
shot in the absolute last light of day. It

Wicked World
Above:
The filmmakers
prep some
day-for-night
work at Hanna
and Erik’s
cottage, built on
location in
Bavaria. Right:
When the CIA
learns of Erik’s
location, its
agents launch a
night raid — the
first bit of
artificial light
shown in
the film.
www.theasc.com April 2011 29
was so dark I didn’t even bother to take
a light reading, but I felt optimistic that
something beautiful would come of it
because of the Noctilux. Vicki was
standing at a frozen lake, and we lit her
with an LED ring light that we
dimmed down during the shot. She just
fades into the background like a distant
memory.”
Some of the opening shots in
Finland were captured with the custom
Zeiss. “The focus falls off dramatically
toward the edges of the frame, which is
meant to evoke the mystical quality of a
fairytale land,” explains Küchler.
Hanna opens in the frozen
North, where Hanna and Erik have
been living an isolated, frontier-like
existence, hiding out from the CIA.
Determined to keep his daughter safe
from Marissa (Cate Blanchett), the
career CIA agent who murdered the
girl’s mother, Erik has trained Hanna to
be the perfect soldier. Increasingly rest-
less to see the world, the teen decides it’s
time to set out on her own. It’s only a
matter of time before Marissa and the
CIA give chase.
“The scenes in Finland are meant
to represent something like paradise —
life is simple and nature rules,” says
Küchler. “All the colors are natural, and
Top: Following her capture, Hanna is closely monitored at an undisclosed CIA location. Middle:
Director Joe Wright (seated) plans a shot in the set with Steadicam operator Jörg Widmer (left)
and 1st AD Guy Heeley. Bottom: Küchler (foreground) works out a shot of Cate Blanchett that
will be cut into Hanna’s interrogation scene.
“We loved the
idea of this
fairytale cottage
in the forest
suddenly
overwhelmed by
noise and
searchlights.”
30 April 2011 American Cinematographer
films, especially when the locations are
so beautiful, raw and dramatic,” says
Küchler. “In our location, the ice bends
the tops of the trees over so they look
like lollipops or a Tim Burton-style
landscape.”
The temperatures made it a chal-
lenge to achieve some of the fluid,
mobile camerawork Wright and
Küchler had in mind. “My key grip,
Adrian McCarthy, had a very difficult
job,” says the cinematographer. “It was
so cold that when the camera was on
tracks, the rubber wheels would freeze
to the tracks within 20 seconds, so
Adrian had to keep the dolly constantly
moving.
“For one particular shot, we put
Vicki [Kreips] in a stand of trees and
circled around her,” he continues.
“Adrian put in a circular track, but the
snow was about 4 feet deep, and he had
to push the dolly around and around. I
got carried away looking through the
lens, and I kept saying, ‘Faster! Faster!’
After a little while, he was going slower
and slower, and I said, ‘What’s wrong?’
I looked back and saw this panting
figure. It was the first time he ever
cursed at me!” That shot ultimately
ended up on the cutting-room floor. “If
I really like the shot, it’s going to end up
on the cutting-room floor — that’s the
rule,” Küchler notes wryly.
The production used a locally
sourced grip package and “some excel-
lent local grips” in Finland, says
McCarthy. The cranes included a GF-8
and a 30' Technocrane adapted for use
in extremely cold temperatures, right
down to a base equipped with skis.
all the light sources are natural or quite
simple, like homemade candles and
kerosene lamps. The windows of Hanna
and Erik’s cottage are covered with fur,
not glass. The palette is soft, natural
tones, with browns, blues and grays.”
Principal photography began
with these scenes, which were filmed
over two weeks in Kuusamo, Finland,
where temperatures could reach -35°C
(-31°F). “I like physically challenging

Wicked World
Right: This
frame grab
shows
surveillance-
camera views of
Hanna’s surprise
attack on
her captors.
Below: In another
frame grab, Hanna
finds her way
to a tunnel that
runs beneath the
CIA complex.

“Based on my experience filming in
extreme environments, I fought hard to
bring a Libra remote head with us,” says
McCarthy. “As ever, it proved durable
and kept working in the cold, even
rigged on the back of a Skidoo being
used as a fast tracking platform. Much
to my surprise, we were able to leave the
Techno outside overnight. Despite the
extreme cold, there’s no moisture, so the
crane never froze, a problem we often
encounter in the damp British winters.”
The nature of the snow created
problems with building the dolly
tracks, however. “The snow is so crys-
talline it never compacts,” McCarthy
says. “We had to use Skidoos to
compact the snow and then let it freeze
again or, more usually, employ the
Finnish track-laying technique: lay out
plywood sub-frames and then have a
team of large Finnish grips jump up
and down on them till they settle!”
Hanna and Erik’s cottage was a
practical set built in Bavaria by
Greenwood and her crew. The interior
of the cottage is first shown when the
camera follows Hanna inside and then
up to her loft bedroom in a long
Steadicam shot. The sequence takes
place at dusk. “Every take took about
four minutes to shoot, so by the time
we were resetting, the light level
outside was dropping drastically,”
recalls Küchler. “At the beginning, we
did a little f-stop pull, opening up
when we entered the cottage. There are
moments [in the shot] where Hanna is
closing doors and shutters, and we’d
just switch off more and more tubes in
the Kino Flos we had augmenting the
light.”
Left: Greenscreen
and a partial set
build were used
for filming
Hanna’s entrance
into the tunnel.
Below: The
filmmakers
prepare to shoot
the practical
portion of the
sequence in a
functioning wind
tunnel in
Germany. “It was
interesting to
work with an
English and
American crew in
there,” Küchler
observes,
“because that’s
where the Third
Reich tested the
wings of Stuka
fighter planes.”
www.theasc.com April 2011 31
Throughout the shot, Hanna
carries a kerosene lamp that was created
by Nickel. “The actual wick was
replaced by two thinner ones, and
between the wicks we attached a socket
for a 12-volt bulb,” explains the gaffer.
“In the bottom of the lamp, we had to
design a new kerosene tank to allow for
the remote-control receiver, a dimmer
and a 12-volt battery.” The crew built
three of these lamps in order to avoid
waiting between takes for battery
replacement or wick adjustment during
a long scene.
To create soft “no-light” fill for
360-degree Steadicam shots in the
cabin, Nickel’s crew taped tungsten-
balanced LED rope lights on 4'x4' polys
covered with silk and mounted under
the ceiling. The two fireplaces were lit
with gas and augmented by 1' and 3'
flame bars with E14 or E27 frosted
bulbs. Movie Intercom’s LFX Hub gave
the gaslight a natural-looking flicker.
The modern world intrudes on
Erik and Hanna’s safe haven when the
CIA launches a night raid on the
cottage, complete with a helicopter.
“That’s the first time we see artificial
light,” notes Küchler. “Joe and I loved
the idea of this fairytale cottage in the
forest suddenly overwhelmed by noise
and searchlights. Our keylights were
two SX-16 Night Suns, 1,600-watt
Xenons used for military and rescue
work, that were mounted to the heli-
copter.”
To create soft ambient light in
the wooded, snow-covered location,
Küchler’s crew set a 210' Condor about
500' from the cottage and a 150'
Condor about 250' from the cottage
and placed three ArriMax 18Ks
through 8'x20' frames of Light Grid on
each. “We did a test/pre-light with one
Condor and found we needed a bit of
direct ‘spill’ from the 18Ks for the upper
part of the trees, while the main part of
the light had to be softened by the
frames,” explains Nickel. “My guys were
able to move the frames up or down,
depending on the shot, using a system
of ropes.
“For the backgrounds, the
special-effects team surrounded the
cabin with a huge ring of fog tubes, and
we backlit the fog with 6K HMIs
hidden behind little hills or placed in
holes we dug,” he continues. “For shots
that didn’t include the helicopters, we
also floated three 4.8K HMI balloon
lights for ambience. The overall effect
looks amazing.”
The filmmakers had just five
hours to shoot the raid, and Küchler
added Sony HXR-MC1P cameras to
the mix to simulate night-vision footage
and maximize coverage options. (Three
35mm cameras were also used on the
scene.) The digital material was later
graded to resemble night-vision footage
by colorist Paul Ensby at Technicolor
London.
Once the CIA captures Hanna,
she is taken to a facility in Morocco and
32 April 2011 American Cinematographer

Wicked World
In this frame
grab, Hanna
emerges from
the tunnel and
finds herself in
the Moroccan
desert, where
she falls into
step with two
young English
tourists.
“We wanted things
to change as
Hanna’s view of
the world shifts
from naive to
nuanced.”
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34 April 2011 American Cinematographer
interrogated by her captors in a room
equipped with video cameras. The live
feed is monitored by agents in the
control room and by Marissa, who is
observing from CIA headquarters in
Langley, Va. In the walls of the interro-
gation room, the filmmakers positioned
seven Sony PMW-350s to capture
different perspectives of Hanna and her
questioners. “The whole scene feels like
an alien abduction,” says Küchler, “and,
in fact, the room we used for the shots
of Marissa looks a bit like a spaceship.
This is the polar opposite of what
Hanna has experienced in the first 15
years of her life. She’s trapped in a tiny
space and studied like a medical experi-
ment. All the lighting is artificial, the
cameras are static, and we introduce a
grainy, digital look.”
To underscore Hanna’s feelings of
alienation, Küchler had his crew mount
four practicals — 24-watt Osram U-
tube Dulux 840s — on the wall at about
head height “so we always had a light
flaring into the lens,” he says. All of
these were on a dimmer. For keylight, a
24K Dino gelled with ½ CTB and ¼
Plus Green and going through
3
⁄4 Grid
filmmakers used a functional wind
tunnel for these scenes, and because
they were forbidden from drilling holes
in the concrete walls, they created an
emergency-light effect by placing 30-40
Martin Atomic 3Ks in housings
designed by the art department and
controlling the fixtures through a
dimmer board. For a particular shot in
this sequence, Ronan ran on a treadmill
in the tunnel while the Arri Lite on a
dolly with a rollover rig captured the
action.
Hanna emerges from the tunnel
to find herself in the Moroccan desert,
where she falls into step with a young
English tourist, Sophie ( Jessica
Barden), and her family. Upon arriving
in the nearest town, Hanna is bedazzled
by the modern world, embodied by the
small hotel where she secures a room.
She is fascinated by the electric lights
and appliances, and frightened by the
small television set. For this scene,
which was shot on location, Küchler
introduced a green spike in the film’s
palette to suggest the modern industri-
alized world. “We wanted to sharply
contrast the artificial light with the light
was rigged overhead, and a 7'-wide ring
was hung below it. “We used pulleys to
move the ring up and down to separate
the walls and eventually keep them
darker,” says Nickel.
“I liked the idea of the keylight
coming from an unnatural angle and
creating deep shadows around the
actors’ eyes,” adds Küchler.
In a surprise move, Hanna over-
takes her captors and escapes, eventually
finding her way to a long tunnel that
runs beneath the CIA complex. The

Wicked World
“What helped keep
me going were all
the interesting
challenges Joe
threw my way.”
Left: Küchler eyeballs a location in Morocco. Above: Enchanted by her mysterious new chum,
Sophie (Jessica Barden) offers Hanna a friendship bracelet.
Hanna knows, and we used an Osram
840 as a practical in the room,” he says.
“We gelled some of the fluorescent
sources around it, [Lowel] Rifa lights
and a Barger Baglite, with Lee 247
Minus Green, 212 LCT Yellow and
653 Lo Sodium, and timed some of the
green out.”
Hanna and her English
companions are followed by three of
Marissa’s henchmen, led by Isaacs
(Tom Hollander), and at one point,
Hanna engages the villains in a chase
through a parking lot full of massive
shipping containers. The Hamburg
container park where the scene was
shot was approximately the length of
two American football fields, and the
piles of containers reached up to 50'
high. Wright wanted to film most of
the action in a single Steadicam shot.
(A 50' SuperTechno and stabilized
Scorpio head captured additional
shots.)
“The camera was sometimes just
2 or 3 feet from the actor, and we had to
keep the actors in backlight at all times
in order to prevent the camera from
throwing a shadow over them,” Küchler
says. “Peter Robertson handled this
shot, and we had to carefully work out
the blocking with our stunt coordinator,
Jeff Imada [The Bourne Ultimatum].
There are people crossing in and out of
frame as we run through all these
alleys.”
Garrett handled the pre-light of
the location while Küchler and Nickel
were working nearby in the Hamburg
Harbor. “Two nights before we were to
shoot in the container park, Joe Wright,
Jeff Imada and I shot a rehearsal on film
using a 27mm lens, and then we gave
that tape to Reuben so he’d know
exactly where the actors would be in
relation to the camera,” recalls Küchler.
“We tried to create areas of light
and dark to add depth to an ‘all-in-one’
Steadicam shot that turns around on
itself,” explains Garrett. “It was a chal-
lenge to keep the hard backlight from
becoming frontal keylight, but we
managed to accomplish that except for
one occasion, when we wanted to use
the frontal light for dramatic effect —
Sophie has followed Hanna into the
park and is shocked to witness her
fighting ability. The frontal light
completely reveals Sophie’s innocence
as she sees something dark and aggres-
sive.”
Six Condors, two holding six 12-
light Maxi-Brutes lamped with CP61
(for the hard backlight) and four hold-
ing two Arri T12 Max Movers, were
strategically placed around the actors’
path. “In our pre-light, we observed the
different colors caused by the light
reflecting off the containers, giving a
gloomy half-light,” says Garrett. “To
give contrast to the hard-backlit areas,
we played this bounce light and
augmented it by bouncing 5Ks gelled
with CTB and CTO — the colors of
the containers are predominantly blue,
orange and light red. For the long shots,
36 April 2011 American Cinematographer
we built a sequence of light levels with
the dimmer board and simply cued
them as the shot progressed. Also help-
ing were some silver reflector boards,
which we used to bounce in ambient
light and give minimal exposure on skin
tones, just to pick them out.”
“We were shooting at f2 all the
time because I have a great focus puller,
Ollie Tellett, who would fall asleep at
night if the job weren’t challenging
enough,” Küchler adds wryly.
Careful planning and rehearsal
were also essential for another
Steadicam shot, also captured by
Robertson, that follows Erik out of a
bus station, down an escalator and into
a subway station, where he turns to
confront the agent who is following
him. Three more agents join in the
hand-to-hand combat. The team
rehearsed for half a day and then filmed
five complete takes. “The whole
sequence was very difficult, and we
needed a world-class Steadicam opera-
tor as well as a world-class focus puller,”
Küchler says. “I had to run out after
every take to check the light levels
because they were constantly changing.
Every take I’d have to tell my second
AC, Won-Suk Park, the stop; we were
opening from f5.6 to f2 in the tunnel.
“It was very difficult to hide any
lights because the Steadicam was
revealing so much,” Küchler continues.
His crew augmented the existing fluo-
rescents in the underground space with
ungelled Osram 840s, and then hid 2'
2-bank and 4-bank Kino Flos (holding
840s) where they could. Additionally,
they were able to utilize existing holes
in the ceiling to position two Arri
LoCaster LEDs. 4Ks were bounced off
the orange-tile walls “to create nice
reflections in the tunnel,” says Nickel.
At the entrance to the underground,
18Ks through 8'x8' Full Grid were set
up to provide soft daylight.
Though Hanna features a lot of
intense action, there are memorable
quiet moments as well. In one of them,
Hanna and Sophie exchange confi-
dences while hiding under a blanket in
their tent. Küchler and Wright decided

Wicked World
Top (from left):
A-camera grip
Tom Witt, key
grip Adrian
McCarthy, Heeley,
Steadicam
operator Peter
Robertson and A-
camera 1st AC
Oliver Tellett
prep a long
Steadicam move
that will track
Erik (Eric Bana) as
he steps off a bus
in Berlin and
walks down into
a subway station,
where he
confronts several
assailants. Middle
and bottom: The
team executes
the shot.
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38 April 2011 American Cinematographer

Wicked World
on the coverage, a mix of close-ups and
extreme close-ups, after the director
and actresses rehearsed the scene. “We
used the Arricam ST, which is a very
quiet camera, and it was literally over
the girls’ shoulders, under the blanket
with them,” the cinematographer
recalls. “Joe operated this shot himself
so he could whisper instructions to the
actors. To give us maximum flexibility
in that very small space, we suspended
the camera from a dolly with bungee
cords and put a blanket over it. Sarah
Greenwood put Velcro sections in the
tent so we could remove some sections
to push the tongue of the dolly
through. Bungee cords are a very
useful tool when you don’t want a shot
to be too static or wobbly. We shot the
close-ups with a 50mm and 75mm
and used a 100mm for the macro
shots.
“It was lit very simply — one
Surefire flashlight hung outside the
blanket,” he adds. “We wanted the
scene to feel very intimate.”
At the end of the film, Marissa
closes in on Hanna in an abandoned
amusement park, which includes a
Brothers Grimm cottage and a
narrow-gauge railroad. The filmmak-
ers chose the long-abandoned
Spreepark in Berlin as their location.
Greenwood’s team built the cottage,
and the filmmakers made the most of
the railroad track, which originally
served as part of a rollercoaster ride.
With best boy grip Klaus Witt and A-
camera company grip Tom Witt,
McCarthy constructed a dolly to fit
the track, and it worked so well that
Wright and Küchler increased the
Top: Hanna’s
plan to
rendezvous
with her father
takes her to a
Brothers
Grimm-style
cottage
inhabited by
Knepfler
(Martin
Wuttke).
Bottom right:
Hanna explores
the surreal site.
Bottom left:
Küchler checks
his light in
the set.
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number of shots along it, incorporat-
ing a GF-Jib and a stabilized Scorpio
head. “Some handheld shots were also
made from the jib,” notes McCarthy.
When Hanna first enters the
Grimm cottage, it is to rendezvous
with her father’s friend, Knepfler
(Martin Wuttke). Later, she returns to
the cottage to hide from Marissa.
“When Hanna goes into the cottage
for the first time, it had to be magical
and filled with sun,” says Küchler.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t sunny at all
on the day we shot that scene, so we
had to create our own sun.” Two 18K
HMIs on 50' Condors and several
smaller HMIs were placed outside the
windows; for some shots, these were
used directly, and for others they were
fronted by 4'x4', 8'x8' or 12'x12'
frames of varying levels of Grid Cloth,
according to Nickel.
For interior lighting, Küchler
knew he would have to use sources in-
frame because the ceiling was only 7'-

Wicked World
McCarthy (at jib arm), Tellett (kneeling next to him) and a team of grips capture a shot of
Ronan on a narrow-gauge rail track for the film’s final chase.
40
8' high. To create clusters of colored
light, Nickel’s team wrapped a variety
of gels — 002 Rose Pink, 024 Scarlet,
048 Rose Purple, 075 Evening Blue,
090 Dark Yellow Green and 153 Pale
Salmon — around 25-watt, 40-watt
and 60-watt bulbs and screwed them
into small chandeliers created by the
art department. To bolster that light, a
100-watt or 150-watt frosted bulb
wrapped in the same colored gel was
hidden behind every practical.
Additionally, the crew replaced two
sections of the back wall with
unbleached muslin and bounced 4Ks
gelled with 111 Dark Pink through it
from outside, creating a soft, colored
fill. Kino Flos, Rifa lights and Barger
Baglites were used for close-up work.
“Alwin and Joe wanted the Grimm
cottage to feel like a fairytale but with
something evil lurking in the back-
ground, and it does,” says Nickel. “You
can feel daylight entering but not
reaching the corners of the room, and
with a bit of haze, the overall feel is a
little frightening.”
Surveying his work on Hanna
two months before its release, Küchler
observes, “I would have to say that this
was physically one of the hardest
shoots I’ve done. One of the unsung
heroes of the film was our first AD,
Guy Heeley, whose scheduling was
always very well thought through.
And [2nd-unit director/cinematogra-
pher] Martin Kenzie did a lot of big,
beautiful shots that always matched
our work perfectly.
“I think everybody had to give a
special something to get this movie
made. What helped keep me going
were all the interesting challenges Joe
threw my way.” ●
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Cooke, Angenieux, Leica and
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Kodak Vision3 500T 5219,
200T 5217; Vision2 50D 5201
Digital Intermediate
42 April 2011 American Cinematographer
T
he first time cinematographer Ed Lachman, ASC,
worked with director Todd Haynes was on Far From
Heaven (AC Dec. ’02), which paid homage to the classic
melodramas of Douglas Sirk. Although the film was shot
on location, Lachman’s task was to make it look as if it had
been shot on a studio backlot. The duo’s latest collaboration,
HBO’s five-part miniseries Mildred Pierce, required Lachman
to do the exact opposite: shoot on a soundstage but create the
feel of a real location.
Most people are familiar with Mildred Pierce not from
James M. Cain’s 1941 novel, but from the 1945 film adapta-
tion starring Joan Crawford as a hard-working, middle-class
mother whose blind devotion to her selfish daughter leads to
tragedy. The Hollywood version departed from the book in
two key respects: it unfolded in flashback and it added a
murder.
For the HBO project, which stars Kate Winslet as the
titular character, “we didn’t try to remake the 1945 film,”
stresses Lachman. “Our source material was the book. There
is no murder, and the story is told chronologically. In our
version, Mildred is a middle-class single mother during the
Depression struggling to find her own independence person-
ally and financially, which seems to mirror our own times. She
becomes a sexually liberated woman who does not feel
constrained by society’s rules, but faces her own tragic love
story with her daughter.”
Mildred Pierce charts not only the protagonist’s struggle
and eventual success as a self-made businesswoman, but also
her futile attempts to win the approval of her emotionally
distant daughter, Veda (played as a child by Morgan Turner
and as an adult by Evan Rachel Wood). Some critics have
interpreted Cain’s novel as a satirical commentary on middle-
Ed Lachman, ASC
reteams with director
Todd Haynes on the
HBO miniseries
Mildred Pierce.
By Jean Oppenheimer
•|•
A
Woman
on the
Verge
www.theasc.com April 2011 43
class values. Though issues of status and
class motivate the characters in the HBO
version, “our production is also a psycho-
logical character study, a tragic story of
unrequited love in which the object of
Mildred’s obsession isn’t a man but her
haughty, ungrateful daughter,” says
Lachman.
The two primary visual references
were the revisionist genre films of the
1970s, especially the period dramas
Chinatown and The Godfather, and the
work of American photographer Saul
Leiter. “Todd didn’t want the artifice of
film noir,” says Lachman, referring to the
moody style that director Michael Curtiz
and cinematographer Ernest Haller,
ASC, brought to the 1945 movie. “He
wanted a more naturalistic look: longer
lenses, motivated light and [restrained
camera movement].”
“The films of the ’70s had a
sophistication about them that I think
had a lot to do with their visual restraint,”
says Haynes. “They pulled back a bit
from the action and just observed it. P
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.
Opposite: In Mildred Pierce, cinematographer Ed Lachman, ASC frequently photographs the main
character (Kate Winslet) through objects — in this case, a revolving door — to convey her emotional
states. This page, top: Production designer Mark Friedberg and his crew transformed a hair salon into a
diner. Bottom: Lachman adjusts his angle on a period car.

44 April 2011 American Cinematographer
“Another element that struck me
in those films was the claustrophobia of
family relations,” he continues. “In our
movie, Veda is always going through
Mildred’s closet and drawers. I wanted
the sense of somebody watching
Mildred, but I didn’t want to make it
literal.”
Lachman accomplished this by
shooting through windows and off
reflective surfaces, and by framing
Mildred in doorways or through shelves
and objects to create distance between
the character and the camera — and, by
extension, the viewer. Various types of
glass serve as another visual motif,
allowing the filmmakers to create differ-
ent effects that convey the script’s
subtext. This approach was strongly
influenced by Leiter’s photography,
which features layered compositions,
and whose human subjects are often
obscured by abstract reflections or
partially seen through objects. “Leiter’s
images are not only a representational

A Woman on the Verge
Top: Mildred finds her daughter, Veda (Morgan Turner), difficult to please.
Bottom: Mildred develops her business acumen.
www.theasc.com April 2011 45
view of the world but also a psycholog-
ical one,” says Lachman.
Thus, shooting through or off
storefront windows, revolving glass
doors, a passing bus or a picture frame
became a way to suggest Mildred’s
emotional state. “We’re showing some-
thing of her interior world through her
exterior world, things that Mildred may
not even see in herself as she struggles
to find her emotional footing,” says
Lachman. “The [distortion] created by
the glass suggests her fragmented world
and her sense of dislocation.”
The opening scene of the first
episode offers a prime example of this
strategy. As Mildred makes a pie, all we
see are her hands kneading the dough.
The camera, which remains at her waist
level, is positioned behind her and
slightly to the left, shooting through an
interior French door. “It was a door to
the kitchen, and we opened it at an
angle and shot through it,” says
Lachman. “We made sure the panes of
Space lights provide general ambience for scenes in Mildred’s restaurant, a set built
onstage at Steiner Studios.
glass had the type of prism glass that
produces multiple images.”
Remaining at waist level, the
camera tracks slightly, following
Mildred as she moves back and forth
between the table and the oven. Because
of the French door’s angle, she suddenly
appears through the glass as two sepa-
rate but identical images working side
by side. The use of a long lens makes the
appearance of the two Mildreds espe-
cially striking.
The interior of the house was a
continuous set constructed on a sound-
stage at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn.
The same set was later opened up and
redressed as Mildred’s first restaurant.
Although the story is set in Glendale,
Calif., the miniseries was shot in and
around Manhattan. “The production
designer, Mark Friedberg, did a
masterful job,” declares Lachman, who
had previously worked with Friedberg
on both Far From Heaven and Haynes’
follow-up film, I’m Not There (AC Nov.
’07). “All of the glass was built into
the set; we never brought something in
to create an illusion, nor did we ever
move walls. We treated the set as a real
location.”
Two Arri 416s, operated by Craig
Haagensen and Gerard Sava, were
almost always in play, shooting different
angles or additional coverage from the
same angle. Occasionally, a third camera
(manned by Charles Libin) was used.
Haynes and Lachman both wanted to
shoot film, and Super 16mm proved to
be the best solution. Lachman explains,
“Today’s film stock is so good that
shooting Super 16 and then going
46 April 2011 American Cinematographer

A Woman on the Verge
An older Veda
(Evan Rachel
Wood)
embraces her
inner diva
onstage and
during an
elegant recital.
48 April 2011 American Cinematographer

A Woman on the Verge
through a digital intermediate almost
mimics the way film looked 20 or 30
years ago, because it has a little more
grain structure. But the reason I really
wanted to shoot film was for the expo-
sure latitude, which I still feel is greater
on film than any digital format, and for
the color rendition.”
Noting that the film’s color
palette comprises secondary colors —
muted yellows, greens and maroons —
Lachman observes, “Color temperatures
are different on film and digital formats,
and colors definitely render differently.
Furthermore, digital chips are daylight-
balanced, and I don’t care if someone
tells me you can change it to 3,200°K,
because it still affects the color tempera-
ture when you are shooting.”
He used three Kodak stocks on
Mildred Pierce: Vision3 500T 7219 and
250D 7207 and Vision2 50D 7201.
(The negative was processed at
Technicolor New York.) He opted for
35mm lenses. “I wanted the feel of the
coverage that 35mm lenses provide,” he
says. The camera package, from Arri
CSC, comprised two sets of Cooke S4s
(ranging from 14mm to 150mm), two
Arri Master Zooms (16.5-110mm) and
a Cooke Varotal Prime Zoom (10-
30mm). “Many cinematographers find
the Arri zoom heavy and cumbersome,
but I was really happy with it because of
the lack of focus breathing,” Lachman
reports. “We stayed away from the
wider-angle lenses because Todd
wanted that 1970s look, which seemed
to favor the medium range. We pretty
much stayed between 32mm and
75mm.”
Another characteristic of Amer-
ican films of the 1970s is that camera
movement is often motivated solely by
the actors. In a similar vein, “Todd
didn’t want the camera to be indepen-
dent of the actors or their movements,”
Lachman says. “It was [the opposite] of
Sirk, who liked the camera to have its
own methodology and move indepen-
dently from the character in order to
create a state of mind or a world for the
character. By comparison, Seventies
movies had a much more restrictive
camera, due to the use of static camera
positions or because the camera was
motivated primarily by the actors’
movements. Consequently, the camera
style was much more formal.”
Lachman laughs as he recalls the
first day of production. “Todd said,
‘We’re not going to dolly in this film.
The camera will always be on a tripod.’
Of course, the first shot we did was a
tracking shot of Mildred walking into
the restaurant, seen through a glass pie
case. And we tracked or adjusted with
the dolly for the rest of the film!” The
only handheld scene in the picture is
used to show a humiliated Mildred
storming out of a mansion where she
interviews for a job as a servant.
(Steadicam was never employed.)
Lachman’s lighting was always
motivated, usually by windows and
practical lamps. In general, he prefers to
Lachman’s lighting in the show is always motivated, usually by windows or practical sources.
light spaces rather than the individuals
within the spaces. “Why does light
always have to hit a person’s face?” he
muses aloud. “Why can’t it hit a wall or
a floor or a table? That’s the way real life
is.”
Day interiors on the set were lit
primarily with simulated sunshine
through windows. “I let the windows
blow out more than I normally would to
help create a feeling of naturalism, and I
played with the color temperature as if
we were on an actual location.”
His longtime gaffer, John De
Blau, suggested using a relatively new
lamp called a T-Par. “It’s very similar to
an HMI Par, except it’s tungsten,”
explains De Blau, who has been at
Lachman’s side for 25 years. “It’s an
extremely hard light. Basically, you’re
duplicating the sun on a stage, using a
tungsten environment. It’s 12,000 watts
and has a clear glass in front of it. You
can apply lenses, but we didn’t on this
project.”
The T-Pars were set up 15'-25'
beyond the set windows, depending
upon the scene being filmed. 4'x4' heat
shields proved essential, and a frame of
¼ CTO was set up 1' in front of them.
When Lachman wanted a softer
daylight look, he swapped out the T-
Pars for 12-light Maxi-Brutes or Arri
T12s, adding ¼ CTO and diffusing the
lamps with 12'x12' frames of Light
Grid. To illuminate Mildred’s living
room, a set dominated by a large picture
window with curtains, De Blau set up
both a T-Par and a Maxi to crosslight
the room; the softer light of the Maxi
served as the ambient source.
To provide an all-encompassing
ambient light for the exterior of the
house on the set, a large rig was erected
over what would have been the front
lawn of Mildred’s house. The rig
consisted of a 20'x60' Quarter Grid
Cloth and a dozen chicken coops gelled
with
1
⁄2 CTB; when the set was
redressed, this rig illuminated the front
of the restaurant.
A kitchen set offered two
windows, one over the sink and one by
the breakfast table. Beyond these, the
crew erected a lighting truss from which
Arri T12s could be hung from chain
motors. A second truss was set up next
to the first to carry four 1,000-watt
chicken coops, each of which was gelled
on the bottom with
1
⁄2 CTB and 250
diffusion. Lachman notes, “Many times
we would shoot from outside the house
into the house through the kitchen
window, and you’d see reflections of the
front yard and the studio driveway in
the glass.”
The same technique was used at
other locations as well. In the first
episode, a disheartened Mildred walks
into a diner and is seated at a table next
to a window. The camera gazes at her
from outside, and the activity on the
busy street is reflected in the glass.
Night interiors in Mildred’s
house were lit with a combination of
practical lamps, ceiling-mounted
fixtures and HMIs positioned outside
the windows and gelled with
1
⁄2 CTO.
“Instead of using tungsten and adding
blue, we made it daylight and added
half-daylight,” recalls De Blau. “We
sprinkled tungsten lights in the back-
ground to suggest streetlamps.”
One day, after a bitter argument
with Veda, Mildred storms out of the
house and gets into her car in the drive-
way. She sits there, fuming. “We see
Mildred approaching the car through
the back window on the driver’s side,”
Lachman explains. “As she sits down in
the front passenger seat, the camera
slowly starts to dolly left until it reaches
the front windshield and [reveals more
of her face]. She is clearly upset. Again,
though, she is obscured by reflections —
this time leaves and tree branches.”
Realizing that he has just contradicted

A Woman on the Verge
50
Lachman
(background,
second from left)
and director
Todd Haynes
(third from left)
are flanked by
1st assistant Eric
Swanek (far left)
and camera
operator Craig
Haagensen.
his earlier claim that the camera never
moves independently of the actors,
Lachman pauses and smiles. “Well, now
I’m being inconsistent, because in that
one case, the camera isn’t motivated.” It
was a rare exception to the rule,
however.
Several scenes take place in
Mildred’s bedroom, where 4'x8' sheets
of foamcore lined the perimeter of the
room and served as bounce for 2K
Fresnels and Blondes on a pipe grid
overhead. These fixtures were gelled
with
1
⁄4 CTO, and all of the lights were
on dimmers. “Ed tends to gel almost all
the lights,” says De Blau, who adds with
a laugh, “I told him, ‘Maybe one of
these days you’ll put the color on the
lens so I don’t have to gel all of the
lights!’”
Several of the interior walls in the
house were removed to facilitate the
large dining area of Mildred’s first
restaurant. Lachman planned to use bay
lights in this space, but they proved too
soft. Instead, he substituted small space
lights skirted by black Duvetyn.
A number of scenes were shot at
actual locations, including the diner
where Mildred takes a job as a waitress.
The building was actually a hair salon,
but Friedberg and his crew transformed
it. Outside the storefront were HMIs
gelled with
1
⁄2 CTO and diffused with
12'x12' Light Grid. Some of the light
hit the interior’s back wall directly.
There was 10' of empty space above the
room’s ceiling, and the filmmakers took
full advantage of it, raising the ceiling,
building higher walls and rigging 2K
open-faced Blondes that bounced into
the ceiling. Large, white tungsten
globes served as practical ceiling lights.
Because the production was on
such a tight schedule, Lachman asked
Technicolor colorist Sam Daley to
handle both the dailies and the final
timing. “I thought it would make the
completion process easier because he
would know the material, and it did,”
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says the cinematographer. “Sam was
great. Todd doesn’t like to manipulate
the image too much in the final color
correction; he’d rather have it built into
the negative when we shoot. So the
main things Sam and I did were to
maintain the color palette and preserve
the richness of the shadow detail.” ●
51
TECHNICAL SPECS
1.78:1
Super 16mm
Arri 416
Cooke S4, Varotal Prime Zoom,
Arri Master Zoom
Kodak Vision3 500T 7219,
250D 7207; Vision2 50D 7201
Digital Intermediate
52 April 2011 American Cinematographer
I
devoted 35 years to creating optical filters for every kind of
effect: bluer skies, smoother skin tones, highlight flares,
contrast and color control. Today, I am intrigued by the new
roles I see for filters in stereo 3-D imaging.
The need for filters and for understanding how they
work has never seemed more important than with the
dramatic growth in 3-D filmmaking. It’s ironic that flat opti-
cal components literally add the extra dimension to 3-D.
Many of these new applications are quite innovative. My goal
with this article isn’t to provide an all-inclusive list of applica-
tions or companies figuring prominently in this field; there are
far too many. Instead, I’ve selected examples that highlight
many fascinating ways in which filters are indispensable to
3-D production.
It helps to understand what 3-D is. It’s the next step up
from traditional two-dimensional (2-D) imaging, emulating
the volume and depth perception of the real world. It is differ-
ent from volumetric imaging like holography. In a hologram,
you can look around something to see what is behind it.
Though parallax — the change in the apparent position of an
object as it changes position relative to the observer — makes
an important contribution to 3-D, its scale is more limited.
With 3-D we persuade our eyes to converge on visible objects
as if they had physical mass and position in space, when they
really only exist as light emanating from the two-dimensional
surface of a television or theater screen.
We have learned to recognize that as our eyes angle
more toward each other (converge) when looking at an object,
we are getting closer to it. This principle is behind the sense of
depth 3-D imparts. When we look at something far away, our
An expert explains how
optical filtration can
enhance stereoscopic
imaging.
By Ira Tiffen
•|•
Optical
Filtration
and
3-D
www.theasc.com April 2011 53
eyes are aligned in parallel; when some-
thing is close enough, we can go practi-
cally cross-eyed. Our brain has the
ability to sense that an object viewed at
a certain convergence angle is a certain
distance away. 3-D is about creating this
“illusion” of depth in ways that add
enjoyment to the motion-imaging
experience.
With 2-D images, like paintings,
we discern what would be the relative
depths of objects in them if they existed
in the real world. Visual cues such as one
object blocking portions of another, and
one object appearing larger than
another of similar design, suggest that
the larger, unobstructed object is nearer.
We use these and other cues regularly in
photos and movies, satisfying ourselves
that what we see in 2-D can adequately
represent the scene in the real world, but
minus the third dimension.
Anyone who has donned paper-
framed 3-D glasses is familiar with the
basic concept behind how filters sepa-
rate left-eye and right-eye views. The
“anaglyph” process typically uses
complementary color filter pairs, mean-
ing colors on opposite sides of the tradi-
tional color wheel — for example, red
and cyan, which form gray or black
when combined. Light transmitted
through one filter won’t pass through
the other. The darker the result, the less
cross-talk there will be. Called “ghost-
ing,” this is when one eye sees a vestige
of what the other eye sees, diminishing
some of the illusion of depth. The left-
eye view is presented through one such
filter; the right-eye through its comple-
ment. Superimposing each view over
the other without the aid of eyeglasses,
the image looks fuzzy, with color fring-
ing. Seen through glasses, each eye sees
only what it should; the image clarifies,
taking on the illusion of depth.
The color pairs mentioned above
work best for black-and-white imaging,
where there is no concern for subtleties
of color in the combined image. With
some tweaking, they also find use in
full-color imaging.
Gene Dolgoff, CEO of 3-D
Vision in Westbury, N.Y., and an inven-
tor with a long history of pioneering
work in 3-D techniques (including
holography), uses what he calls the
“FullColor 3-D” color pair of green and
purple. His view is that these colors
have a more even balance of light trans-
mission, producing brighter, more vivid
color than red/cyan. He maintains that
they also reduce ghosting from the
red/green/blue primary colors of televi-
sion.
Liquid-crystal-display shutter
glasses are able to alternately transmit
and then block vision through the two
eyeglass lenses, in electronic synchro-
nization with the appropriate displayed
view for each eye. Because the sync must
be actively maintained between the I
m
a
g
e
s

c
o
u
r
t
e
s
y

o
f

2
1
s
t

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e
n
t
u
r
y

3
D
,

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e
m
e
n
t

T
e
c
h
n
i
c
a
,

S
c
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e
n

P
l
a
n
e

a
n
d

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a
u
t
h
o
r
.
Opposite: An
Element Technica
Quasar rig with
side-by-side
cameras is used
to shoot the
World Cup.
This page, top:
Red One cameras
mounted on
a 21st Century
3D BX-3
beamsplitter rig.
Below: This
diagram of a
beamsplitter
rig reveals the
paths of direct
and reflected
image-forming
light and the
key areas of
difficulty in
matching both
eye views.
54 April 2011 American Cinematographer

Optical Filtration and 3-D
projector or display and the glasses, this
is called an “active” system.
Linear polarizers have long been
popular for separating stereo views
because they can isolate a certain vibra-
tory direction of light to the exclusion of
others. Thus, light passing through a
vertically oriented polarizer will not pass
through a horizontally oriented one. As
long as the projected image of the right
and left views are oriented the same as
the right and left eyeglass lenses, respec-
tively, the 3-D illusion will remain
intact. Theatrical projection can be
accomplished by superimposing both
images on the screen. Because the
glasses will allow only the proper view to
each eye without actively being in sync
with the projector, this is called a
“passive” system.
Variations of the above methods
can improve certain image characteris-
tics. For instance, if you are tilting your
head sideways to gulp popcorn while
using linearly polarized glasses, you will
begin to lose the sense of depth.
Circular polarizers solve that by effec-
tively “corkscrewing” the polarization
axis so that it can function in all direc-
tions. The drawback is slightly lower
polarization efficiency, which can add a
touch of “ghosting.”
RealD is a key supplier of 3-D
systems that make use of either active
shutter LCD or polarized optics that
best suit the application. There is not
just one technology for all situations.
Theatrical screens, like those
made by Stewart and Harkness, tradi-
tionally have been coated with the
familiar white surface. Several 3-D
systems can make use of these, but those
using polarization require a different
reflective surface, one that retains the
polarization properties. For this
purpose, special silvery screens coated
with reflective materials such as fine
aluminum flakes provide higher gain (a
greater percentage of the illuminating
light is reflected and at a more focused
viewing angle). The additional bright-
ness is a welcome assist when light is
already being lost to filtration in the
optical system.
The use of polarizers on the
projector will reduce screen brightness,
but the polarizers in the eyewear
compensates for some of this loss. You
might think these would reduce bright-
ness even further, but by absorbing
much of the generally unpolarized
ambient light from within the theater,
the eyewear polarizers actually transmit
a relatively higher percentage of the
axis-matched light from the screen. The
result is a brighter reflected image from
the screen, compared to the darker
theater interior.
New efforts utilize interference
coatings to break the spectrum into
smaller segments, with fascinating
results. Dolby, known for its sound
systems, uses interference filters to split
each of the red, green and blue bands
into two distinct sections. A different
band for each color is included for each
eye view, providing full-color imaging;
the two sets do not overlap, thereby
eliminating ghosting. Dolby has made
further improvements. One example:
interference coatings on flat surfaces
change light transmission and visual
color as the viewing angle changes. In
typical eyeglass lenses, this means that as
you look anywhere but straight through
the lens, this effect can create enough of
a color mismatch to disrupt the sense of
depth. Instead, Dolby has created
“shaped” spherical lenses, which keep
the viewing angle consistent regardless
of where you’re looking.
A while back, Panavision devel-
oped a breakthrough in the use of inter-
ference filters by fitting them inside the
camera lens, where they can see only
collimated light, thus eliminating the
Left: Element Technica’s Neutron rig. The beamsplitter configuration
allows narrow and overlapping interaxial distances not possible in a true
side-by-side arrangement. Above: This diagram illustrates the mounting
position of the quarter-wave retarder at the front of the BX-3 mirror box.
56 April 2011 American Cinematographer
viewing-angle issue. Now, working with
Omega Optical, Panavision has intro-
duced a 3-D theater system, using filter
technology that breaks the spectrum
into 10 bands of light, another approach
to obtain more vibrant color.
There are yet other twists on the
above techniques, but let’s now see
what’s involved with actually making
the images in the first place.
The most basic capture method
for producing 3-D is to use two cameras
side-by-side, emulating the positions of
human eyes. There is a whole science
built around this concept — on how we
see depth, and how that can be manipu-
lated by adjusting the distance between
the lenses (the “interaxial distance”) and
their angle of convergence — to accom-
modate the many storytelling require-
ments encountered in modern
production.
This has resulted in the develop-
ment of two distinct types of camera
layouts. One is the basic side-by-side;
two camera systems with matched
lenses are mounted together so that
convergence, focus, zoom and other
functions can be readily coordinated.
(This works especially well for sports
because the subject is generally at a
distance.) With this setup, effect filters
mounted in the usual way on each lens
are easy to use as long as both match.
This design suits a wide range of
situations. The Panasonic AG-3DA1
series fits two camera systems with
matched lenses into one housing,
simplifying synchronized control of
zoom, focus and more, making 3-D
capture easy. The lenses in the AG-
3DA1 have a physical size that prevents
them from positioning the interaxial
distance close enough for proper
convergence on subjects closer than 2.2
meters (7.2'). This precludes shooting
within the range of camera-to-subject
distances that require the lenses to be
positioned closer together than they
physically can be. For that, we have the
beamsplitter rig.
The concept behind the beam-
splitter rig is like a Teleprompter. A
special mirror, transmitting some of the
light and reflecting some, is positioned
at a 45-degree angle in front of the two
camera lenses. However, instead of
being positioned side-by-side, the
“direct” camera views horizontally
through the mirror, and the other
camera is mounted vertically, either
above or below, viewing the mirror’s
reflection. This makes it possible to
bring the interaxial distance as close as
needed, even to the point of overlap-
ping. This solves a key problem with the
side-by-side camera arrangement, but
in doing so it introduces a whole slew of
new ones, some of which are tricky to
handle.
Peter Anderson, ASC, one of our
most prolific 3-D cinematographers
(U2 3D, Captain EO), walks us through
the physics of the beamsplitter, high-
lighting the attendant difficulties it
presents: “Let’s take the direct camera.
Using a moderately wide lens, the top of
the lens is looking through the glass,

Optical Filtration and 3-D
Screen Plane’s Production Rig allows multiple arrangements for using effects filters on the mirror box. Shown here are two 4"x5.65" filter trays.
www.clairmont.com
Let us help you pick the right tools for your job. Film or
digital, we’re here for you.
You can choose from a vast variety of 35mm and 16mm
film cameras. These are coupled with the industry’s
widest selection of lenses and accessories to give
cinematographers the ability to maximize their creativity.
Much attention has been focused on 3-perforation and
now 2-perf cameras. Our Moviecam SL MK2 (tri-perf) is
one stellar example, and we’ve recently introduced our 2-
perf Arricams, 35 BL4, 35 BL3, Arri 435 and Arri 3 cameras.
Our digital inventory includes Arri Alexa and D-21, Canon
1D Mark 1V & EOS 7D - PL mounts, Canon 5D 2:35:1,
Iconix, Panasonic, Red MX, Sony F35 cameras and the
amazing high speed Weisscam. All supported with the
latest in monitoring and DIT control equipment.
Our goal is to provide outstanding service 24/7. The
choices to express your creativity are endless. Feel free
to call or drop by anytime and let us show you how we
can take care of you and your creativity.
Sincerely, Clairmont Camera
CREATIVITY!
Your Mind, Our Tools!
Hollywood
818-761-4440
Vancouver
604-984-4563
Toronto
416-467-1700
Albuquerque
505-227-2525
Montreal
514-525-6556
Michael Condon, SOC
VP Digital Division
Andree Martin
VP Technical Services
58 April 2011 American Cinematographer

Optical Filtration and 3-D
almost perpendicular. At the centerline
[of the lens view] we’re looking through
150 percent of the thickness of the glass,
roughly 4
1
⁄2mm, because we’re looking
through it at an angle. When you look
through the top, you’re not quite at
3mm … and when you look through
the bottom, and this gets worse [diago-
nally] out towards the corners … you’re
looking through twice the glass, say
6mm.”
In other words, there is a variable,
wedge-angle-induced optical “distor-
tion” created simply by the necessary rig
geometry. This is made more difficult
because the vertical camera, seeing only
the reflection from the mirror surface,
experiences none of that wedge angle.
And yet it is of critical importance that
the two images match in all ways except
in point of view.
You can see where this is heading.
It gets worse. The image-forming light
that is reflected toward the vertical
camera strikes the mirror at varying
angles in both horizontal and vertical
directions. In discussion with Jason
Goodman, founder and CEO of 21st
Century 3D, who has been building and
using custom 3-D cameras for more
than 15 years, it came out that this
range of angles produces variable polar-
ization characteristics in the reflected
image not seen by the direct camera. It’s
bad enough that the reflected light is
partially polarized and the direct light is
not. For every object in the scene that
reflects polarized light — windows,
water and sky, for example — this
creates an unacceptable difference
between the two views, disrupting the
3-D experience for the viewer.
However, there is a solution. As
Goodman notes on his innovation,
“The use of a quarter-wave retarder in
front of the whole … system would take
any of this incoming linearly polarized
light and convert it to circularly polar-
ized light and … greatly mitigate the
problem.” The retarder depolarizes the
light entering the mirror box, eliminat-
ing the detrimental polarization-
induced effects described above. It gets
even more complicated, for instance,
when you have to mount the cameras so
that their shutters move in different
directions.
Schneider Optics, a prominent
manufacturer of a broad range of optical
filters for imaging, is now offering large
filters for mounting in front of the
mirror box (as described above) in a
range that includes quarter-wave
retarder plates as well as other useful
filter effects.
Because beamsplitters are the
major “filter” involved in production, I
Dolby and 3M
have partnered
to introduce 3-D
glasses (below)
with new,
multi-layer,
optical film
lenses that use
spectral
separation
technology and
boast a lighter
weight with
advanced
ambient-light
management.
Right: This
spectral-
transmission
chart illustrates
how the glasses
separate left- and
right-eye views
by using two
mutually
exclusive tricolor
sets to create
full-color stereo
imaging.
THE ACADEMY RECOGNIZES EXCELLENCE. SO DO WE.
Here’s to this year’s OSCAR
®
nominees that brought their stories to life with the unmistakable look of film. KODAK Film.
© Kodak, 2011. Kodak is a trademark of Kodak.
Oscar is a registered trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
kodak.com/go/motion
thought it best to take a closer look at
what goes into making these mirrored
beauties. I was able to learn more about
beamsplitter construction from Rafik
Alam, Ph.D., an optical physicist at
ZC&R Coatings for Optics.
Making mirrors is like making
magic: everyone has his own “special
sauce.” The precise formulations for the
coatings are proprietary, so I won’t be
divulging secrets here, but I can provide
some important details. Mirror coat-
ings, typically on optical glass substrates,
can be dielectric, metal or, as I learned
elsewhere, organic. Alam was specific
about the requirements: there is the
need to minimize polarization effects
and light absorption. Whereas metal
mirrors are typically better at the former
feature, dielectrics excel at the latter. But
Alam does have proprietary methods
for controlling polarization effects with
dielectrics. Metal coatings are more
“affordably replaced,” which is impor-
tant because they are considered an
“expendable” (especially in certain
dynamic situations), and because
dielectrics can cost several thousand
dollars apiece.
Metal and dielectric mirrors are
generally produced through vacuum
deposition. Organic mirror coatings are
produced by dipping glass into a series
of alcohol solutions that adhere to its
surface in layers of alternating low and
high refractive index. A drawback of
these coatings is their susceptibility to
corrosion from salt water, an issue when
filming at sea.
No article about the uses of
filters with 3-D would be complete
without touching on traditional effect
filters. Cinematographer Geoff Boyle,
the forthright founder of the
Cinematographer’s Mailing List, shares
his thoughts: “Filters and 3-D, oh, dear,
what a topic! I struggle constantly to be
able to use filters as I do in 2-D. My
normal day shooting cars involves
Neutral Blended Ratio Attenuators and
Polas. Okay, the NBRAs can sort of be
dealt with [by employing] gaffer tape
and good visual guesswork! Tape the
filters to the front of the lenses … [and]
I’ve gone back to 1-stop Polas on both
lenses and adjusting by eye for the best
match.”
Peter Anderson says that when
using film, the Tiffen LL-D is “one of
the greatest discoveries in filterdom ….
[It has] saved my butt many times.” This
filter performs the color correction of an
85 filter without the
2
⁄3-stop light loss.
Because half or more of the light is lost
through the beamsplitter, sometimes
there isn’t enough light to compensate
for the 85. Anderson adds that if he has
hard edges in the scene (a problem for
3-D), he drops in a Low Con and a
Black Pro-Mist.
Using effect filters can be tricky
with beamsplitter rigs. You can thread
them onto each lens, but this requires
pulling the cameras away from the
mirror box for every change or adjust-

Optical Filtration and 3-D
60
ment. Some manufacturers offer better
options.
At rig specialist Element
Technica, company co-founder Stephen
Pizzo highlighted the features of their
beamsplitters and discussed their work
on incorporating effect filters into their
rigs. They have gone to great lengths to
develop exceedingly capable mirrors,
and make it a point to provide their
specifications on their website so their
clients know what they’re getting. They
have also developed new filter mount-
ings that maximize useful focal-length
range, which can be adversely affected
when fitting the mirror box with effect-
filter mounts.
Sebastian Cramer, founder of rig
maker Screen Plane and inventor of the
Skater Dolly, noted that his Production
Rig “offers a wide range of filter options;
both cameras have two 4"x5.65" filter
trays [with space] for an additional 4.5"
round filter. All round filters can be
turned into any angle; the 4"x5.65"s are
fixed in angle. In addition, we offer a
custom filter tray in front of the mirror
box to filter the light that goes into the
mirror box.”
It’s clear that effect filters still
have their place in 3-D.
As for 3-D itself, where do we go
from here?
Technology offers a tantalizing
taste.
The Eastman Kodak Co. recently
announced the development of Kodak
Laser Projection Technology. Em-
bodied in a prototype projector, lasers
provide practical cost advantages in
maintenance as well as performance
enhancements. A key factor is that
lasers are inherently polarized, eliminat-
ing light losses from polarizing at the
projector, providing a brighter image.
Tim Sassoon, president of visual-
effects/post facility Sassoon Film
Design, considers the future: “We need
to … be capturing enough scene infor-
mation … so that one can efficiently
manipulate the image space as part of
normal post processes, as one does color
correction. Generally speaking, today
we are not. I predict that when we do
have a better approach to capturing and
displaying depth information, it will
prove to be fairly inexpensive to imple-
ment … and thus will rapidly become
pervasive at every price point.”
Jean-Pierre Beauviala, prolific
innovator and founder of Aaton, has
hinted online that there may soon be a
new and different approach in sight: a
single camera with the ability to store
spatial metadata.
The more things change, the
more things change. ●
61
62 April 2011 American Cinematographer
I
ce, snow and frigid temperatures failed to keep cinephiles
from flooding the streets of Park City, Utah, for this year’s
Sundance Film Festival. AC braved the wintry clime to take
a firsthand look at an incredibly diverse lineup of films that
hailed from all corners of the globe.
Director Dee Rees and cinematographer Bradford
Young chose Super 35mm for the coming-of-age drama
Pariah, which earned the Excellence in Cinematography prize
in the U.S. Dramatic category, judged by actress America
Ferrera, film critic Todd McCarthy, cinematographer Tim Orr,
and directors Kimberly Peirce and Jason Reitman.
In the U.S. Documentary competition — judged by
director Jeffrey Blitz, cartoonist Matt Groening, director/cine-
matographer Laura Poitras, producer Jess Search and editor
Sloane Klevin — the cinematography prize was awarded to
The Redemption of General Butt Naked. Directed by Eric Strauss
and Daniele Anastasion and shot by Strauss, Peter Hutchens
and Ryan Hill, the film was photographed with a mix of
Panasonic and Sony cameras over the course of five years.
Our coverage also includes the Danish film In a Better
World, shot by Morten Søborg, DFF with the Red One; The
Devil’s Double, shot mostly with the Red One by Sam
McCurdy, BSC; and the period drama Meek’s Cutoff,
photographed by Christopher Blauvelt on 35mm in the rarely
attempted 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
Sundance 2011:
Spirited
Images
This year’s festival offered some stunning
visuals captured in a variety of formats.
By Michael Goldman,
Iain Stasukevich and Patricia Thomson
•|•
www.theasc.com April 2011 63
Pariah
Director: Dee Rees
Cinematographer:
Bradford Young
This year’s Excellence in
Cinematography prize in the U.S.
Dramatic category went to Pariah, a film
that epitomizes the indie spirit. It was a
directorial debut shot in just 18 days; all
domestic interiors were created in a
single location, a Brooklyn brownstone;
all of the grip and lighting gear could fit
in a van; and the entire camera and elec-
tric departments could be counted on
four fingers: director of photography
Bradford Young, gaffer T.J. Alston, key
grip Christopher Koch and 1st AC Hans
Charles. The budget, says Young, was
less than shoestring: “It was dental floss.”
Even so, the Sundance jury was
impressed by the cinematography on this
intimate drama about a young African-
American lesbian finding her identity.
“Pariah could easily have been shot very
plainly, but the filmmakers used color,
framing and lens choices very well to
inhabit the story,” observes cinematogra-
pher and juror Tim Orr. “It felt like
inspired cinematography. It got to the
heart of the story and lifted it to another
place.”
Pariah marks Dee Rees’ feature-
directing debut, but it was actually her
fourth collaboration with Young, follow-
ing the documentary Eventual Salvation
and two short films, one of which was an
early version of Pariah. Even on the short
Pariah, Rees had specific ideas about how
to enhance characterization and express
themes through use of color, and given
that emphasis, Young convinced her to
drop the idea of shooting on DVCam
and use 35mm instead. “This was back in
2006, when there was no Red [One], no
[Arri] Alexa, and I thought video was
going to be a problem color-space-wise,”
says the New York-based cinematogra-
pher. “I was worried about the amount of
resources I’d have and the amount of
available light, especially given the inten-
sity of colors we wanted to push.”
Young subsequently convinced
Rees to shoot the short on 35mm, and
when the time came to prep the feature,
the team returned to that format, shoot-
ing Super 1.85:1. (This enabled them to
reuse footage from the short.) Young
worked with an Arricam Lite and Zeiss
Ultra Primes, favoring 50mm and
65mm for the numerous close-ups. He
shot on Kodak Vision2 500T 5260 and
Vision3 250D 5207. In the digital inter-
mediate at Deluxe New York, Young
worked with colorist Joe Gawler to
further saturate the colors and crush the
blacks.
The protagonist of Pariah, Alike
(Adepero Oduye), is a bashful young
woman who is tentatively exploring her
sense of self. With friends, she is out but
not quite butch, wearing baggy pants
and baseball caps. With her middle-
class parents, she feminizes her appear-
ance just enough to pass as straight,
enabling them to continue their denial
about her sexual orientation.
Rees uses two key words to
describe Alike: “subterranean” and
“chameleon.” To Young, “subterranean”
suggested “water” and “coolness.” And,
like a chameleon, Alike adapts to her
environment; thus, she is always bathed
in the colors that surround her, with
color washes from a mix of sources. The
filmmakers picked colors that expressed
her ambiguous nature. “We were think-
ing of the colors between the colors —
not red, blue and green, but fuschia,
cyan and teal,” says Rees. “Alike doesn’t
really fit.” That ambiguity is resolved in
the final shot, when she is lit with pure
sunlight, “being truthful, being herself,”
says Rees, and the restless camera settles
into a locked-down shot, the only one in
the otherwise-handheld film.
White light suggests normalcy in
the film, and it appears both in the
parents’ house and in the lesbians’ hang-
out on the pier. But even within these
normal environments, disruptions
occur. “Dee was very specific about
conveying an idea of what normalcy is,”
says Young. “Even inside normalcy,
there can be jarring things.” During the
filming of a dinner scene with Alike’s
family, for instance, Rees came up to
Young and bumped the camera. “She’d
come and disorient the framing,” he
says. “And later, when she was building
language in the cutting room, it made so
much sense. She’d want this disruptive
thing happening to suggest that things
are a bit off-kilter.”
Framing provides clues about the
characters’ emotional states. “For Alike,
the camera is always hiding or peeking,”
says Rees. Alike and her mother, both P
a
r
i
a
h

p
h
o
t
o
s

c
o
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r
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e
s
y

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l

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c
t
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r
e
s
,

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C
.
Opposite: Alike (Adepero Oduye, right) bonds with Bina (Aasha Davis) in a scene from
Pariah, which won the cinematography award in the U.S. Dramatic competition at Sundance.
This page: Director of photography Bradford Young (right), director Dee Rees (center) and
1st AC Hans Charles at work on the set.
64 April 2011 American Cinematographer
vulnerable characters, were shot mostly
in profile or three-quarters back. Young
notes, “A lot of that is about confidence
— characters who aren’t so confident
about who they are, or we aren’t so
confident about who they are. As the
story unfolds and they become more
confident, we start to wrap around and
show more.”
By contrast, Alike’s butch friend,
Laura (Pernell Walker), “is very confi-
dent and walks into the camera quite a
bit,” he continues. “She has nothing to
hide!” Low angles enhance her swagger
until a scene at the piers wherein she
displays a vulnerable side. “That’s one of
the first times we’re at eye level [with
her].”
Young also varied his lighting
strategy for characters. Toplight
predominates at the parents’ house, the
mother’s workplace and Laura’s apart-
ment, whereas Alike is treated with
sculpted sidelight. “I was trying to
suggest her complexity, and those angles
on Adepero were really revealing,” says
Young. “I’m really interested in African
masks, and her face is like that, very
chiseled and architectural.”
Having photographed the
Nigerian actress in several films since
the Pariah short, he notes, “Adepero is
my study. She has helped to confirm so
many ideas about [capturing] black skin
tone on emulsion that African and
African-American cinematographers
have been developing for decades.
Malik Sayeed and Arthur ‘A.J.’ Jafa are
my teachers in this area, and I think
what I’m doing is on the continuum of
what they have been developing for
years.”
In the Brooklyn brownstone,
Young often lit from windows, but
when he needed to hide sources inside,
he used a “Pita Light” he and Koch
devised: a 4'x4' frame and 1'x1' batten
strip. “They’re bay lights, basically.
They’re very flat and low profile because
we use small pieces of lumber.” One
frame carried an array of standard
incandescent bulbs wired to separate
dimmers; another was skinned with gels
or diffusion. “Each corner has its own
rope, so we could lower and pitch the
diffusion based on where we wanted the
light to be thrown. Because it’s held
together with Duvatyne, we can cut the
light without having to bring in stands.”
“There’s this idea that in order to
shoot film, you have to have big lights,”
Rees observes, “but Brad and T.J.
designed and built their own lights,
which was a big factor in making this
film possible.”
The director is quick to add,
however, that Young’s vision was far
more important. “Brad brings an eye for
the art, first. He’s not just a technician;
he doesn’t just come and shoot what’s
on the list. He’s always looking to
elevate the story and add meaning to a
shot. He’s a real storyteller.”
— Patricia Thomson
The Redemption of
General Butt Naked
Directors: Eric Strauss
and Daniele Anastasion
Cinematographers:
Strauss, Peter Hutchens
and Ryan Hill
When Eric Strauss first read
about reformed Liberia warlord Gen.
Butt Naked in Robert Young Pelton’s
book The World’s Most Dangerous Places,

Sundance 2011: Spirited Images
T
h
e

R
e
d
e
m
p
t
i
o
n

o
f

G
e
n
e
r
a
l

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t
t

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k
e
d

p
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t
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t
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F
i
l
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.

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s

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y

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y
a
n

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b
o
.
Joshua Milton
Blahyi, the
leader of an
infamous militia
during Liberia’s
civil war, is the
focus of The
Redemption of
General Butt
Naked, the
cinematography
prizewinner in
the U.S.
Documentary
category.
66 April 2011 American Cinematographer
he was instantly hooked. “I couldn’t
believe it,” he recalls. “Was there really a
guy named General Butt Naked? Did he
really do all those horrible things and
turn into someone who was now
wandering the streets of Monrovia
preaching peace and reconciliation? It
gut-punched me. Can an individual
make that kind of change?” Two years
later, he was on a plane to Africa to begin
a five-year journey that resulted in the
documentary feature The Redemption of
General Butt Naked, which won the
Excellence in Cinematography award in
the U.S. Documentary category.
Directed by Strauss and Daniele
Anastasion and shot by Strauss, Peter
Hutchens and Ryan Hill — all
freelancers who met at National
Geographic — the movie covers a five-
year period, beginning with Joshua
Milton Blahyi’s return to Liberia after a
decade-long, self-imposed exile. In the
1990s, during Liberia’s civil war, Blahyi
was a general in one of its most feared
militia factions, which slaughtered
thousands of people. He and his child
soldiers would often charge into battle
naked except for their boots, believing
themselves protected by supernatural
powers. But in 1996, Blahyi had a
religious conversion and abruptly
disappeared from the scene.
When we first meet Blahyi, he is
returning to Liberia as an evangelist
bent on his own personal redemption.
We follow him as he preaches on his old
killing fields, begs forgiveness from his
victims and tries to rehabilitate his
former soldiers. He voluntarily appears
before Liberia’s Truth and Recon-
ciliation Commission, fully expecting
prosecution to follow. It doesn’t, but
death threats do, and Blahyi retreats to a
refugee camp in Ghana, only to return a
year later and try anew.
“The story was very much larger
than life,“ Strauss observes. “It has so
many fantastical elements that we felt
we should avoid stylizing the
cinematography and instead go for a
vérité, handheld feel. We wanted to stay
intimate with these characters so people
would understand that despite these
larger-than-life elements, this is a real
story about real people.”
Between 2005 and 2010, there
were five shoots in Africa, each lasting
several weeks. During that period,
digital-video cameras were evolving
quickly, so a variety of cameras
accompanied the crew. For his solo
scout, in 2005, Strauss brought a
Panasonic AG-DVX100A. Once
production began in earnest, the camera
of choice became a Panasonic AG-
HVX200. Then, Sony’s PMW-EX1
was taken along on one trip. Finally,
Hutchens shot with a Panasonic AJ-
HDX900 and Fujinon HD zoom
lenses. With this, he captured bigger
street scenes, time-lapse atmospherics
and landscape shots, including a
striking pan from ocean to ramshackle
lean-tos and refuse lining the beach.
“Part of what moved us about the story
was that this is a very modern African
story in an urban setting, with a
backdrop of refugee camps and slums,”
says Strauss. “It’s a post-conflict nation,
truly devastated, with grime and soot
and buildings destroyed from war. It
was important to show that and not use
more iconic, beautiful images of Africa.”
(The final aspect ratio was 16x9.)
With three cameramen and so
many different cameras, “a lot of credit
goes to the off-line editor, Jeremy Siefer,
for keeping consistency,” Hutchens
notes. He and his collaborators also
praise colorist Will Cox at New York’s
Final Frame for creating visual
cohesion. “All the magic he did with
matching color saturation and contrast
helped,” says Strauss.
With no filmmaking infra-
structure in Liberia, the team had to
take all their gear in with them and
travel light. Their package usually
included two cameras, storage media, a
few reflectors, light stands and the odd
light. “All of our interviews were lit with
natural light,” says Hutchens. “I was
controlling light with reflectors, silks
and screens, and just positioning the
[interviewees]. It was a pretty stripped-
down approach. I brought a 1-by-1
Litepanels light but used it for just one
interview, when natural light abated.
Part of that was style, and part of it was
the reality of needing to conserve
batteries!”
Hill, who alternated trips with
Hutchens, also maintained a small
footprint. “I brought a jib on the first
shoot and never took it out of the case,”
he says. “Following Joshua around
Monrovia, there were times we had no
idea where he was taking us. For several
scenes, it would have been impossible to
take the time to set up shots.” In terms
of lighting, he notes, “we were in a lot of
burned-out buildings, and there was
never much light. I decided that rather
than try to bring everything up, I would
expose for any light at all and let the rest
be shadows. That decision paid off,
because Final Frame did a wonderful
job removing noise and pulling up parts
they needed to.”
Five years with Blahyi resulted in
an unfiltered intimacy between
cameramen and subject, but some of the
most riveting scenes occur when Blahyi
meets his victims, sometimes by chance.
Filming these sensitive encounters was
never easy. “You want to cover it, but you
also want to back off because this is a
deeply unsettling moment for the
people involved,” says Strauss.
Hill recalls, “One of the most
awkward times for me was when Joshua

Sundance 2011: Spirited Images
Eric Strauss (pictured) shot Redemption with
Peter Hutchens and Ryan Hill and directed it
with Daniele Anastasion.
Monitor
Twin Record
Playback
3X Transfer
(R)evolutionary Uncompressed HD Video Recorder!
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68 April 2011 American Cinematographer
approached Senegalese, his former
bodyguard, whose legs he had shot off
during the war. We had no idea where
we were going. Joshua just said, ‘Follow
me,’ and we did. Then, he suddenly
made eye contact with Senegalese, who
was in a wheelchair, and they both just
stopped and stared at each other. I froze.
I can’t imagine what was running
through their minds, but I just tried to
cover it as well as I could from where I
was standing. I’m sure I could have
covered the scene better if I’d gotten
closer to them and moved around, but
that seemed inappropriate.”
Likewise, when Hutchens later
filmed Blahyi meeting Senegalese’s
widow, “I let that awkwardness play out,
watching the tears fall and exploring the
scene from a single spot instead of
moving around,” he says. “When there’s
something real going on, if you do draw
attention to the camera, it will ultimately
cost you.”
All three cinematographers tried
hard to establish a human connection
when filming victims unannounced.
“One eye is in the camera, and your
other eye is looking around, letting
them know you’re a person, that you’re
friendly,” says Hutchens.
“There’s that moment where
you’re in a scene, you’re trying to convey
your sympathies and you’re almost
looking for their approval that it’s okay
to keep rolling,“ adds Strauss. “It’s a
weird, wordless moment, but it happens
a lot. Sometimes you know it’s not okay,
and that’s when you stop filming.”
Every night, back at their hotel,
the filmmakers would analyze and
debate their own responses to their
complicated, charismatic subject. “Some
days we despised him, and some days
we were seduced by him,” recalls
Strauss. “I knew we’d never be able to
answer the film’s larger questions about
justice and forgiveness. Letting the
scenes play out on their own and letting
the audience really wrestle with the
same moments we wrestled with was
the most honest way to put it out there.”
—Patricia Thomson
In a Better World
Director: Susanne Bier
Cinematographer:
Morten Søborg, DFF
In recent years, Morten Søborg,
DFF has enjoyed great success working as
a camera operator or director of photog-
raphy on six films with director and fellow
Dane Susanne Bier, but In a Better World
may end up as their highest-profile
collaboration to date. By the time the
movie had its U.S. premiere at Sundance,
it had already been nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Foreign-
Language Feature. (It subsequently won.)
While shooting the movie in
Denmark and Kenya over the course of
eight weeks in late 2009, however, such
accolades were far from Søborg’s mind.
“You never know if [a movie] will be
something that makes it big or not, so you
never think about those things,” he says.
“You just work to make the project as
good as possible, and this one was very
hard. A lot of things had to come
together.”

Sundance 2011: Spirited Images
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Elias (Markus
Rygaard, left) and
Christian (William
Jøhnk Nielsen)
plot to get
revenge on a
bully in the
Danish film In A
Better World.
After shooting
with the Red One,
cinematographer
Morten Søborg,
DFF used the
digital grade to
give the images
the look of
slightly
overexposed
50-ASA Kodak
daylight stock.

70 April 2011 American Cinematographer
One reason for that is the fact that
the production spent a week shooting at
a small refugee camp in a Kenyan village
called Kikopey, crafting visuals that had
to be strategically contrasted with the
imagery captured in Denmark. The
locations reflect the dual nature of the
story: a Danish physician, Anton
(Mikael Persbrandt), labors to save lives
in an African refugee camp in the
shadow of a vicious war, while at home,
his bullied son, Elias (Markus Rygaard),
bonds with another bullied youngster
(William Jøhnk Nielsen) and schemes
to get even with their tormenter.
The themes of paternal responsi-
bility, anger, loneliness and revenge are
characteristic of Bier’s work, but they
also posed visual challenges for Søborg
and his crew. Certain aspects of the film
mirror his previous collaborations with
Bier, such as naturalistic lighting and
handheld camerawork, while other
aspects were new territory for both of
them.
“There are always similarities in
our films together in terms of the way
we work,” says the cinematographer.
“They are mainly shot handheld to give
actors maximum freedom. We plan
what we want to have happen, of course,
but I like to hold cameras and let the
actors move freely while I shoot 360
degrees. We also use lots of close-ups of
actors. This story is all about feelings
between the characters, so we do lots of
good close-ups. The lighting philoso-
phy with Susanne is always to stay as
close to reality as possible [and] to give
actors the ability to move freely wher-
ever we are. If the setting is a house, we
light the whole house so they can walk
freely through it.
“But the most important thing in
this movie was to illustrate the differ-
ences between Denmark and Africa.
We wanted Denmark to appear very
safe, secure and rich, and then Anton
goes to Africa, which is completely the
opposite. So the Danish portions of the
story look idyllic, almost like a postcard
— a Kodachrome sort of look. And
Africa [looks] very gritty.”
In the story, the camp is located
in Sudan and is much larger than the
filmmakers’ actual location. Much of
the action there takes place in a medical
facility where Anton works against
great odds to save lives. “The actual
camp in the story was too big for our
budget, so this was a good solution,” he
says. “The people who run the camp
agreed to let us shoot there and even
had people dress up as extras. In return,
we built actual structures for them,
including the medical facility. So we
benefitted from it, and they did, too,
because those structures were left intact
for them to use.
“It was difficult shooting there,
especially because we only had five days,
but Susanne and I shot in India for our
last film [After the Wedding], and I have
a documentary background, so I’m used
to primitive conditions. We were
constantly fighting elements like wind
and dust, which had us concerned
because we were using Red One
cameras, but in the end, the dust looks
flawless on the screen and really helped
the visual realism.”
Søborg used an Arri LWZ-1
(15.5-45mm T2.8) zoom lens for most
of the shoot, and also used a few Zeiss
Superspeed primes for a handful of
night sequences. Footage was recorded
to Red Drive hard drives and sometimes
to Compact Flash cards.
The cinematographer has used
digital capture on all his collaborations
with Bier, and he suggests that for many
European productions, shooting digi-
tally “comes down to economics. A
Danish budget wouldn’t permit us to
shoot 35mm, and I think the digital
formats have now come so far that they
look better than Super 16mm for this
kind of work. On this movie, I was very
pleased with how the Red dealt with the
contrast, the dust and the hot climate.”
Nevertheless, during the digital
grade at Filmek Teknik in Sweden,
Søborg strove to make sure the movie
would not look “digital” on the big
screen. Working under Søborg’s direc-
tion, colorist Peter Hjorth built a
CineSpace-calibrated look-up table
designed to imitate slightly overexposed
Kodak Vision2 50D 5201 and placed it
onto RedLog files throughout the grad-
ing process, which was done on a Digital
Vision Nucoda Film Master.
“Peter made the images look like
they were shot on Kodak daylight film,”
says the cinematographer. “It came out
nicely. About 70 percent of the film
emulation looked right the first time he
laid it on there, and the rest [of the
grade] was spent correcting or adjusting
minor things. We put a lot of effort into

Sundance 2011: Spirited Images
Søborg captures a shot on location in Kenya.
that, but as the cinematographer, I was
mainly concerned with the overall
mood, the emotion of the visuals. We
got it looking the way we wanted
quickly.”
— Michael Goldman
The Devil’s Double
Director: Lee Tamahori
Cinematographer:
Sam McCurdy, BSC
“Criminal gangs who run coun-
tries need to be exposed,” says director
Lee Tamahori. In The Devil’s Double,
the country is Iraq circa 1987, and the
criminal gang is Saddam Hussein’s royal
family. The vilest criminal is Saddam’s
sadistic son, Uday (Dominic Cooper),
the focus of Tamahori’s film.
The Devil’s Double tells the story
of Army Lt. Latif Yahia (also played by
Cooper), a schoolmate of Uday who
bore a close physical resemblance to the
prince. Yahia was offered a choice:
become Uday’s body double, or see his
own family slaughtered. A morally
upright individual, Yahia is thrust into a
world of debauchery and corruption,
and he endangers his own life by
becoming involved with the prince’s
mistress (Ludivine Sagnier).
Though loosely based on Yahia’s
autobiography, The Devil’s Double
makes no pretense of being a political
history. “This is our Middle Eastern
Scarface,” says cinematographer Sam
McCurdy, BSC (Centurion, AC Sept.
’10). Tamahori concurs, “I’m hoping
audiences will see it as a gangster film.”
Most gangster movies don’t
attempt the feat at the core of Devil’s
Double, however: having a single actor
play both lead roles. It was up to
the filmmakers to weave Cooper’s
two performances into a seamless
whole, and they used an array of tools
for this purpose: strategic cross-cutting,
motion-control with split-screen
composites, and digital face replace-
ment. But to keep the story comprehen-
sible, McCurdy and Tamahori stuck to
conventional camera moves. “We tried
to keep it as simple as possible, even
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72 April 2011 American Cinematographer
within the action sequences,” says the
cinematographer. “There are far too
many gangster movies that try to
impress with camera trickery. This was
such a complex story that we didn’t
want to compromise it with 360-degree
Steadicam shots, cameras flying over-
head, or lots of handheld stuff. We went
out of our way to go back to that late-
’80s way of making movies: Everything
was dolly and track, very composed, and
kept almost still to let the performances
come out.”
Principal photography took place
over 42 days in Malta, whose North
African look and swank hotels gave the
feel of 1980s Iraq. Except for Saddam’s
office and bedrooms, everything was
shot on location, with the hotels’
entrances, lobbies and suites providing a
solid base for production designer Paul
Kirby. (Additional plates and flybys
were shot in Jordan.)
McCurdy captured most of The
Devil’s Double digitally with a Red One
(for a final aspect ratio of 2.40:1). His
camera package, provided by London’s
Take Two Film Services, included two
Red Ones, an Arri 435 (used for action
sequences) and Cooke S4 prime lenses.
“Having worked with the Red quite a
few times, I know its problems and
pitfalls when it comes to action,” he
explains. “It has a lot of dropouts, and
some very strange things occur with the
camera when you try to blow things up
[onscreen] or fire shots straight into it. It
causes dropout and can result in a phase
bar.”
Because the budget allowed for
only six or seven shots of face replace-
ment, the filmmakers relied mostly on
motion control to accomplish scenes in

Sundance 2011: Spirited Images
Right: The Devil’s
Double follows an
unfortunate Iraqi
who is forced to
serve as a body
double for Uday
Hussein, Saddam
Hussein’s sadistic
son. Dominic
Cooper plays both
roles in the film.
Below: Director of
photography Sam
McCurdy, BSC at
work on the set.
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which Uday and Yahia appear in the
same frame. Kontrol Freax in London
provided a KFX motion-control rig,
which allowed for speedy setups on
location. “It’s a fully hydraulic system,
but it runs on standard tracks,” says
McCurdy. “We could literally lay down
a track that the A camera was going to
use, then pop it off and put the KFX
straight on it.” What might have taken
two to three hours to set up with a
different mo-co rig took less than an
hour.
The production could afford just
three weeks with the KFX, so McCurdy
devised a poor-man’s motion-control rig
to fill in at other times. “We had an
ArriMotion system, which is basically a
remote head whose moves are
completely recordable,” he says. To
create a twinning shot, he’d break the
camera move into two parts; the first
would have the A camera on track and
dolly, operated normally, and the second
would begin when Cooper’s other char-
acter entered the frame. “We’d lock the
camera off at the end of the track and let
the head do the panning, tilting and all
the rest, because it was fully recordable,”
says McCurdy. “That meant we could
shoot Dominic as Uday on the motion
head, then take the B camera and shoot
other angles and leave the A camera
where it was. When Dominic came
back from makeup dressed as Yahia,
we’d put him straight back in where the
A camera was locked off, and it would
repeat its move while he played the
other character.” The switch from trav-
eling camera to moving head was seam-
less and never felt like a lockoff. “All it
meant was that we lost a camera for a
half hour, maybe an hour, depending on
how long makeup was.”
For McCurdy, the most impor-
tant part of making motion-control
work is the eyeline. “It’s not about
matching the background perfectly. If
we had the two of them in the same
frame, you’d have to believe they’re
looking at each other. That’s one of the
beauties of shooting digitally: We could
download straight away to our DIT
Station, where we had Final Cut Pro. It
was very rough and ready, but it would
give us a very quick composite to check
eyeline, background registration and
performance.”
To establish eyelines, the produc-
tion avoided the ball-on-a-stick routine.
“You may recall the stories of Bob
Hoskins going mad on Who Framed
Roger Rabbit? because he was playing to
an orange ball,” says McCurdy. “We just
didn’t want to do that to Dominic.”
Instead, Cooper would play to no one,
or he would play to an actor hired to be
his physical double and provide the
eyeline. During these shots, Cooper was
using an earpiece to hear his perfor-
mance as the other character.
For any one shot, McCurdy
would do three or four passes: a clean
one, which gave the scene its look and
set the template for grading; one pass
each for Uday and Yahia, and occasion-
ally one with Cooper and his double.
“You can imagine Dominic going off on
a full Uday rant, with the double just
standing there, trying to keep still and
not quiver,” McCurdy says with a laugh.
“It was a very different experience for all
of us, and we all felt for Dominic when
he had to do the big scenes. We hope it
comes off seamlessly.
“When I watched the first full cut
for the first time, I completely forgot
that Dominic was playing both parts,”
he adds. “If I can do that, we must have
done something right!”
— Patricia Thomson
Meek’s Cutoff
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cinematographer:
Christopher Blauvelt
Set on an infamous branch of the
Oregon Trail in 1845, Kelly Reichardt’s
Meek’s Cutoff provided a wealth of
opportunities and challenges for first-
time director of photography
Christopher Blauvelt, a longtime assis-
tant and operator for Harris Savides,
ASC.
The unusual nature of the film is
evident in the very first frame: Reichardt
chose the long-dormant aspect ratio of
1.33:1 instead of standard 1.85:1 or
widescreen 2.40:1. “Kelly decided early
on that she wanted Meek’s Cutoff to
reflect the look of an older film, and a
1.33 frame enhances the landscape just
as much as ’Scope,” says Blauvelt. “We
were working with these huge, beautiful
locations, and because the frame is
square, we were able to include a lot of
foreground as well as lots of sky in the

Sundance 2011: Spirited Images
M
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s
.
Pioneers on the Oregon Trail are the focus of Meek’s Cutoff, which played in the
festival’s Spotlight program.
74
same frame.”
The filmmakers were careful not
to emphasize the splendor of the
Oregon locations, however. Visual influ-
ences included Terrence Malick’s Days of
Heaven as well as Peter Weir’s starker
Picnic at Hanging Rock. “The story is
about the hardships these characters are
facing on their journey, so Kelly didn’t
want to make the images all about
beauty,” says Blauvelt. “We never
wanted the audience to notice the
camera, and that’s a goal I really admire.
There had to be a purpose for every
[shot].”
In the film, three lost families bear
a heavy emotional and physical burden
as they traverse the same high-desert
trail where the real-life trapper and
guide Stephen Meek (played by Bruce
Greenwood) led his followers to an
uncertain fate.
During the day, Blauvelt shot
with mostly natural light, occasionally
employing bounce cards or one of the
two 12'x12' UltraBounces that were on
hand. “Overall, it was very natural,” he
says. “If the actor was supposed to be in
shade, we’d try to put Half Grid or
Quarter Grid overhead when we’d come
into close-ups.”
Blauvelt’s biggest challenge was
making the most of whatever sources
were available to light night scenes, most
often firelight and candlelight. To
augment that, he had just two 2K
Blondes, two 1K Redheads, and a
1,000-watt Chinese lantern. “For wide
shots of the camp at night, we’d have all
the fires going and use those two 2Ks,”
he recalls. “Our production designer,
David Doernberg, placed the wagons
and fires close to each other to help
make it seem like there weren’t multiple
sources, and to hide the lights’ falloff as
much as possible.”
Blauvelt had no choice but to
underexpose the image during these
night scenes, which he shot on Kodak
Vision2 Expression 500T 5229. But
even when shooting in the bright light
of day, on Kodak Vision2 250D 5205,
he still chose to shoot 1-2 stops under.
“We were living on the ragged edge of
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disaster in some of the night scenes,” he
recalls, laughing, “but working with
Harris, I learned a lot about how far you
can push things. I fell back on my
instincts, and I’m happy that Kelly was
willing to go for it. I love living in that
zone; when you can pull it off, it’s beau-
tiful.”
In one noteworthy scene, two
characters (played by Michelle Williams
and Will Patton) have a hushed conver-
sation in a tent, a cover set constructed in
an airplane hangar. The scene was lit
with a single double-wick candle. “The
practical was inside the tent, and we
enhanced it with a flicker box and a
Redhead gelled with Full CTO outside,”
says Blauvelt. “We aimed the light
toward the candle, and that would illu-
minate more of the tent and enable us to
direct the light a bit more.”
To slightly desaturate colors,
Blauvelt had the negative pull-processed
by 1 stop at Deluxe Laboratories in
Hollywood. “With day exteriors, I’d read
for the highlights and not compensate
for the pull, and at night I was just going
for the most natural darkness,” he says.
When the time came for the digital
grade, which was handled by Next
Element in Burbank, “the image was so
underexposed at times that we couldn’t
do much,” he adds. “I’m proud that we

Sundance 2011: Spirited Images
653
The unwrapping
of foil signals an
inconspicuous
celebration.
Tink LEE
www.leefilters.com
Meek’s Cutoff
cinematographer
Christopher
Blauvelt takes a
break on
location. The
drama marks his
first credit as a
director of
photography.
76
were able to get so much of the look in-
camera.”
Meek’s Cutoff was not Blauvelt’s
first all-exterior shoot in a harsh envi-
ronment — his credits include assisting
Savides on Gerry (AC April ’02) — but
he describes the conditions as “pretty
extreme.” In the first week of produc-
tion, a crewmember was hospitalized for
heat exhaustion, and during the third
week, actor Rod Rondeaux was hospi-
talized for hypothermia. “We were
hiking all the time, going as far as we
could off the trails, and where there
weren’t any trails we’d drive for hours
into nowhere land,” says Blauvelt.
In this terrain, the covered
wagons navigate wide fields filled with
divots, rocks and uneven ground. Even
with a Steadicam, following the action
was a challenge. For long shots where
the camera tracks with the wagons,
Steadicam operator Greg Schmidt rode
on a customized golf cart, following a
path cleared earlier that morning by
grips and production assistants.
Keeping the cameras (an Arricam
Lite and an Arri BL-3) and lenses
(Cooke S4 primes) protected from the
elements was almost a full-time job for
1st AC Stephen MacDougall and 2nd
AC Eliza Plumlee. “They would all but
hermetically seal our camera truck,” says
Blauvelt. “The dust in a lot of those
locations was so fine that it got into
everything. After the first week of
shooting, we had giant, plastic sheets
covering the door to the camera cube
and then a metal door, and then we’d
cover over all the seams with Velcro and
tape. But Stephen and Eliza always kept
us functional and free of scratches.”
Having safely and successfully
navigated his first trek as a cinematogra-
pher, Blauvelt speaks with equal passion
about his fellow travelers: “David
Doernberg and [costume designer]
Victoria Farrell really took my work to
the next level — they were with Kelly
early on, taking photos on location and
sampling their surroundings for color.
On set, everybody helped out with
every single thing, from the producers
on down. If we had to lay a hundred feet
of dolly track, everybody would get
involved. It changes the whole experi-
ence when everyone is onboard with the
goal of making something great.”
— Iain Stasukevich

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Warner Bros. MPI Facilitates Fast Finish for
Red Riding Hood
By Michael Goldman
Color is not only in the title but also at the core of Catherine
Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood, and the director worked with the
film’s cinematographer, Mandy Walker, ACS, and colorist, Maxine
Gervais of Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging, to achieve what she
had in mind. Hardwicke suggests the trio’s close collaboration was
particularly crucial in light of the picture’s short schedule: 43 days of
principal photography and 10 weeks’ less post time than originally
planned.
“We were supposed to have 31 weeks [for post], but that
was shortened to 21 after Warner Bros. secured a great release date
in March,” says Hardwicke. “It was handy to do the color timing on
the lot, where everyone else was. I had never worked with Maxine
before, and she’s a real artist. You barely give her an idea, and she’s
quickly making a cool little matte and tracking it. She’s a real rock star
on that console, and that’s what Mandy and I needed to get what
we wanted on our schedule.”
When they spoke to AC (in separate interviews), the team
was still putting the finishing touches on the picture. All three
emphasized their intent to create a magical world in which the titu-
lar heroine (played by Amanda Seyfried) encounters dark forces and
enjoys a passionate love affair in a mysterious forest.
“It’s definitely not a horror film,” says Walker. “It’s a thriller
and romance [wrapped] in a fairytale. Our forest scenes are magical,
with lots of shafts of light, lots of color and lots of atmosphere.”
Hardwicke, a former production designer, based the look on
reams of designs, pictures and drawings from medieval times to the
present, and had long talks with Walker about the colors she had in
mind. Walker, who shot on Kodak Vision3 500T 5219 and 250D
5207, jokes that the two of them turned to Gervais “to sprinkle fairy
dust on top of some of our images. Maxine was really able to
compliment what we did in-camera and also push a bit further
things we couldn’t achieve fully in-camera, such as giving the skies
stronger contrast and color, and doing some beauty touch-ups.”
Gervais was involved earlier than usual on the production,
working on various tests and timing several preview screenings
herself. “That helped because we could really put the filmmakers’
vision into the previews,” notes Gervais. “Many previews come
straight out of the Avid, but in this case, we did intricate, full-on digi-
tal grades. We’d take an HD DNx 115 output [from Avid] to HDCam-
SR tape, ingest that tape into [the Filmlight Baselight 4.2 color-
correction system], scene-detect it to break it into cuts, and time it in
Rec 709. We timed the previews as if they were the final DI, except
for the fact that it was compressed HD.
“Because of that, by the time we finally scanned the negative
to start final color correction, I already had a strong direction from
the filmmakers and could go through the first pass before Mandy
and Catherine came in to do final tweaks,” she continues. “Then we
could spend the rest of the time refining it. This enabled us to bring
it all home in crunch time with our tight schedule.”
“Color is very important in this film, especially with the art
Post Focus
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Left: Red Riding Hood’s magical world was finessed in the digital
intermediate at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. Above:
Cinematographer Mandy Walker, ACS (right) checks the light on set.
I
direction, costumes and lighting,” notes
Walker. “During both the shooting and the
timing, we were mindful of the contrast of
colors, and in particular of how that red
cloak would show up in the frame. We
were doing tests with Maxine on the cloak
and other colors very early on, soon after
we started post.”
Red’s iconic cloak is a central visual
device in the story. “In fact, it’s the only red
in the movie!” notes Hardwicke. A variety
of fabrics and shades of red were tested
early on, and Hardwicke and costume
designer Cindy Evans eventually chose a
specially embroidered silk fabric from India.
“Mandy shot a test to show how we could
enhance the color,” Hardwicke recalls. “You
can see how it really pops from the back-
ground, especially against the white snow.
Mandy was very careful in her balancing
and lighting, and we then enhanced when
necessary in the DI.”
The philosophy of highlighting
particular colors was carried over to other
aspects of the visuals. The priest (played by
Gary Oldman) wears rich purple robes that
were likewise designed to stand out.
“Warner Bros. actually mandated vibrant
colors,” says Hardwicke. “They didn’t want
muted grays, blacks or whites, or too much
desaturation. So we were constantly think-
ing about how to make specific colors
pop.”
Gervais credits the Baselight system
with allowing her to solve certain kinds of
visual-effects challenges in the DI suite. Red
Riding Hood has 300 visual-effects shots,
supervised by Jeffrey Okun, and the artists
creating them were laboring on many of
those shots up to the last possible minute.
But, says Hardwicke, “there are certain
things that Maxine could do very rapidly in
the DI, and I don’t just mean cosmetic
fixes.”
In particular, Gervais helped Hard-
wicke achieve the colorful sky the director
originally planned when she captured heli-
copter footage for the movie’s opening
titles one day early in the shoot. The day
that footage was captured “was not
perfect, and we had been working on this
idea that the sky could be better than real-
ity,” says Hardwicke. “So Jeff Okun’s team
put in some clouds, a CG mountain range
and things like that, and then Maxine gave
it a hint more color and dimension.”
“Basically, I was creating something
in the sky that was not there when it was
photographed,” says Gervais. “In Baselight,
I pulled a matte of the sky and created a
shape that would simulate sun rays glow-
ing out of the clouds and sky. With keys,
shapes, transforms, softening and glows, I
was able to achieve a visual-effects-like
effect. It was done to match later [shots]
that had natural sunrays piercing the sky.
This sequence is also where the main titles
are, so I asked the title house [PIC Agency]
to deliver titles with a matte channel, so I
could build them in Baselight on top of the
color-corrected images. There are a lot of
things like that in this movie that go beyond
“During both the shooting and the timing, we were mindful of the contrast of colors, and in
particular of how that red cloak would show up in the frame,” says Walker.
also give clients access to Prime Focus’
View-D proprietary 3-D conversion process.
Connected by Prime Focus’ Global
Digital Pipeline, the New York office will
work closely with its sister offices in London
on advertising and broadcast projects, capi-
talizing on the opportunity to offer clients
on both sides of the Atlantic extended
reach and services, and with the Prime
Focus Los Angeles and Vancouver offices
on visual effects and View-D projects.
“This expansion of our services,
infrastructure and capacity is a natural
step,” says joint managing director Mary
Martin. “We pride ourselves on the
personal service, comfort and convenience
we offer our clients here in New York, and
this new facility will allow us to continue to
offer this with the addition of a brand new
infrastructure and an expanded range of
services.” Martin and joint managing direc-
tor Anthony Matt will be overseeing the
move into the new facility and the recruit-
ment of new talent.
“We’ve been planning an expansion
of our services in New York for a while, and
the usual DI work, but by doing it in the DI
suite, we gave Mandy and Catherine more
control, and we helped the visual-effects
team when they were [up against dead-
line].”
Hardwicke notes that Gervais also
assisted with the film’s central visual effect:
the monstrous wolf that prowls the dark
woods. The creature was created by
Rhythm & Hues, whose artists built mattes
for the wolf’s body, fur and eyes as separate
elements, permitting Gervais to isolate
different parts of the creature and adjust
them to fit specific cut and scene require-
ments.
“That way Catherine was able to
bring up details wherever she felt it needed
it,” says Gervais. “For example, we could
bring up the eyes to add drama.”
Red Riding Hood was also
conformed at MPI entirely in Baselight by DI
editor/assistant colorist Katie Largay. Gervais
notes that this was another advantage on a
project that was on such a fast track. “Noth-
ing had to leave the DI room and then come
back,” she says. “Everything happened in
front of me, Catherine and Mandy. Every-
thing moved super fast, but with great
quality control.”
For more on Hardwicke and Walker’s
collaboration, see the author’s blog, “Art of
the Craft,” at www.theasc.com.
Facility News
Prime Focus Opens N.Y. Facility
Global visual-entertainment-services
company Prime Focus has announced plans
to create a cutting-edge visual-effects and
post facility in New York City’s West Village.
The opening of the 13,300-square-foot
studio at 345 Hudson St., slated for early
summer, marks a major expansion of Prime
Focus’ presence on the East Coast and
allows the company to double its workforce
in New York.
In addition to a 3-D-enabled digital-
intermediate theater, the studio will offer a
5.1 mixing theater, a full complement of
offline and online editing suites, and 2-D
and 3-D visual-effects suites. The facility will
80
the timing is now right,” says Simon Briggs,
managing director, U.K. “We have the right
building, a fantastic team, and the drive and
ambition to make this office a very signifi-
cant part of our global network.”
For additional information, visit
www.primefocusworld.com.
Tunnel Post Incorporates
Codex Digital Lab
Tunnel Post, a full-service digital post
house in Santa Monica, Calif., has
purchased Codex Digital’s Digital Lab
system and is making it the hub of a digital-
lab service for commercials, television
shows and feature films.
Tunnel Post will use the Codex Digi-
tal Lab to process digitally acquired media,
prepare files for editorial, facilitate color
grading and create archival media files.
Used in tandem with Codex recorders and
data packs, the system provides a standard-
ized, end-to-end workflow for digitally
acquired media and is compatible with
most professional-grade digital cameras,
including the Arri Alexa. The Digital Lab can
process camera media at speeds several
times faster than real time and output files
in formats required by most editorial
systems, including Apple ProRes and Avid
DNxHD.
“Our new dailies workflow with
Codex Digital Lab streamlines the digital
production process by eliminating the prob-
lem of managing codecs and formats,” says
Tunnel Post CEO Kyle Jackson. “We will be
able to provide production companies with
fast turnaround for their dailies and greater
security for their digital assets. It will also
benefit editorial companies by freeing them
from the complex task of processing digital-
media files.”
Tunnel Post plans to offer three
grades of processing service, with one-light,
best-light and DI-graded color treatments
applied; same-day or next-day service is
available, depending on the level of grading
applied. “With our Codex workflow, direc-
tors, cinematographers and editors can see
their dailies in hours, not days,” says Jeff
Brue, Tunnel Post’s chief technology officer.
“Additionally, this system makes it possible
to preserve camera data and similar infor-
mation throughout the postproduction
process, maintaining important lines of
creative communication between the [cine-
matographer] and the colorist, between the
editor and the sound mixer, and between
the dailies colorist and the final colorist.
“We can make sure everything looks
great in the edit bay,” Brue continues.
“Later, when [the filmmakers] want to do a
final touch up, they can do so with much
less time and cost, because a lot of the
work will already be done.”
For additional information, visit
www.codexdigital.com and http://tunnel
post.com. ●
Digital Vision is grateful to its customers who continually
raise the bar of excellence and propel them to push the
boundaries in nonlinear grading.
www.digitalvision.tv
Recipient of the HPA 2010 Engineering Excellence Award for its High Dynamic Range Pipeline.
“The work that we do at Hydraulx is inventive
and demanding. Our tools and methodology have to keep up.
When we dug into the sophisticated grading tools of
Nucoda Film Master and its OpenEXR architecture,
we saw that it would serve both our films and the visual
effects clients of Hydraulx in an extremely powerful way.”
Greg Strause | Skyline Director
– Owner of Santa Monica based Hydraulx.






































































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81
82 April 2011 American Cinematographer
Alan Caso, ASC Unfetters a Digital Shoot
By Michael Goldman
When Alan Caso, ASC teamed with
digital-imaging technician Ethan Phillips on
NBC’s series Trauma in 2009, they sought to
meld high-definition-video cameras with film-
style philosophies and logistics. They pursued
“a way to shoot HD like film— not tethered,
not anchored, with the ergonomics of film,
and without being locked into a tent,” Caso
explains.
The way they “untethered” their
cameras was by replacing the DIT tent with a
portable, lightweight, 12-volt engineering
cart and recording to onboard SRW-1 HD
tape recorders. “It was a primitive but instru-
mental first step in simplifying the digital-
capture process to match the way I work,”
says Caso.
Now he and Phillips are collaborating
on the CBS series The Defenders, and they
have improved the approach. Thanks to
advances in wireless technology, they transmit images wirelessly to
the cart in order to remotely adjust color values on their recorded
images. “We shoot all aspects of the show without camera cables,
and we’ve rejected LUTs, instead choosing a simpler path,” says
Caso.
The production utilizes the engineering cart
to control and manipulate images captured
using various combinations of Sony F35, Sony
PMW-EX3 and Canon EOS 7D cameras, all
recording in full linear ITU-709 space to tape via
the onboard recorders. The signal, however,
also travels to Phillips’ mobile cart through an
IDX Wevi transmitter and a TTR 4x1 12-volt
switcher. There, Phillips adjusts the color-value
settings remotely to Caso’s specifications using
Sony’s RMB 750 camera-control system, an
Astro Waveform Vectorscope, and a 17" Pana-
sonic LCD monitor that is calibrated to closely
mimic colorist Steve Porter’s 42" monitor at
MTI Film, where the final color correction
happens.
Phillips and Caso prefer this method to
recording raw Log data because the latter
“would give too much control of the image to
the producers,” says Caso. They rejected the
LUT path “because of the necessary cables and excess equipment,”
he adds. He acknowledges that this preference is controversial in the
Tricks of the Trade
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Alan Caso,
ASC (left)
examines a
monitor
image with
digital-
imaging
technician
Ethan Phillips
on the set of
the CBS
television
series The
Defenders.
“We shoot all
aspects of the show
without camera
cables, and we’ve
rejected LUTs, instead
choosing a simpler
path.”
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“a common misconception,” explaining,
“It’s actually not true. It’s the other way
around. Log cannot be fully fleshed out
because it’s so squished in the center. Any
colorist will tell you that the LOG file
compresses things. I’m leaving the stuff
wide open. We hit that sweet spot on the
tape where color values remain legal, and
we don’t blow out whites or crush blacks.”
Caso says an added bonus is that he
“lights [by eye], just like I always have when
shooting film. Nothing misleads the eye
more than letting electronics change the
way you paint. Instead, I’m using the tools
and the incredible ability of these cameras to
capture light and imagery to my advantage,
to enhance how I’ve always lit things. And I
can manipulate things on set, taking advan-
tage of the best of what digital capture has
to offer — instant viewing of imagery —
without getting seduced by the technol-
ogy.”
Both men emphasize that this is a
customized solution that works best for
their particular situation. But they also
suggest the real innovation is not their tools,
but, rather, how they approached the prob-
lem to begin with. “Most people are in the
DIT tent because they’re trying to get the
best image possible, basically color timing
sense that it leaves the impression that
cinematographers are “stuck” with adjust-
ments they place on the master tape while
shooting. However, Phillips calls that notion
The Defenders cast and crew reset between takes on a set free of camera cables.
84
on set,” says Caso. “But no matter how
much you do at that stage, you’re going to
time the show again in post, so it seems
ridiculous to spend production time doing
that. My goal is to control the look of the
show by leaving enough of an imprint that
producers and the post team will clearly
know what I had in mind, but still give
myself flexibility to go wherever I want in the
final timing.”
Caso believes this technique is more
exact than other, older methods of commu-
nicating the cinematographer’s vision, such
as coloring still photos as references. “All
those other ways can be misinterpreted,” he
says. “To leave a blank page open for inter-
pretation is the cinematographer’s enemy. In
the past, there was no way to fully calibrate
the image in the field with the image in
post. Even now, you never know what kind
of monitor the person on the other end is
using. The big problem with working digi-
tally is that there is no standard. This was
solved by LUTs, but the trouble with LUTs is
the amount of equipment needed on set,
and the time one inevitably [spends] fooling
around with ‘looks’ during production.
“What we’ve done is create a stan-
dard by matching my monitor with the
colorist’s monitor,” he continues. “There is
nothing more exact than that. It’s finite.”

Caso emphasizes that his strategy on The Defenders is a customized solution that works
best for the show’s particular needs.
86 April 2011 American Cinematographer
The Importance of the
Image Interchange Framework
By Stephanie Argy
In last month’s issue, we outlined the use of the Image
Interchange Framework on the television series Justified (Produc-
tion Slate, page 16). The IIF is a new, forward-thinking workflow
architecture devised by a group of color scientists and industry
experts working together under the auspices of the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to address the problems created
by the industry’s adoption of digital tools for image capture. It
defines the image characteristics of cameras, color-correction
systems, output devices and other elements
of the production pipeline so that maximum
dynamic range and color information can be
maintained through the entire production
and post workflow.
Justified is the first real-world use of
the IIF. In this conversation, Ray Feeney, co-
chair of the Academy’s Science and Technol-
ogy Council, and Curtis Clark, ASC, chair-
man of the ASC Technology Committee,
delve deeper and explain the IIF’s impor-
tance to the industry.
Ray Feeney: If you’re reading this
magazine, you have an interest in images, so
right now you need to be paying attention
to the IIF. A lot of people think it’s only for
the future. They say, ‘That IIF stuff is inter-
esting, but it doesn’t relate to me right now.
Why should I care? Why should I change?’
My experience is that colorists make the
picture as good as they possibly can within current color-manage-
ment workflow parameters. Then, from there, if they turn the
dials left, right, up or down, it only gets worse, and they say,
‘Anything else I do to it makes it less good. I’m already making the
picture as good as it can be. So why do I have a problem?’ What
they don’t understand is that because of the system they have, ‘as
good as it can be’ isn’t really as good as it can be.
Curtis Clark, ASC: You’re using a color-management
workflow that won’t let you achieve optimal results, and you’re
throwing away vital pieces of your image data, including highlight
and shadow detail, along with color bit depth. It’s like looking at
a VistaVision image in an Academy format. The difference
between a Rec 709 rendered implementation and an IIF-ACES
implementation is so powerful that you cannot come away from
the comparison of the two with any other conclusion than, ‘This
is how I must work.’
Feeney: When we deal with people one-on-one, we tell
them, ‘Take something you’ve done that’s gone on the air, some-
thing that’s as good as you can get within your time and budget,
and then take the source material behind that and bring it into IIF
and spend just a couple minutes tweaking it. If you don’t like the
IIF system better, we’ll be very surprised.’
Clark: You can shorten the amount of time it takes to do
certain things because you’re starting off from a better place. It
boils down to a simple question: How much time do you want to
spend making creative decisions vs. doing fixes?
Feeney: The problem is that we can’t do that one-on-one
demonstration for everybody. When we make presentations to
cinematographers, they go back to their
trusted colorist and say, ‘I hear there’s this
thing called IIF …,’ and the post facilities say,
‘Yeah, we know about it. When it’s ready,
we’ll talk about it, but don’t worry your
pretty little head about that.’
Clark: We’ve heard those comments
even in the ASC Technology Committee: ‘It’s
a science project.’
Feeney: Clients are often told, ‘You
don’t need that.’
Clark: With Justified, we didn’t have
any doubts about what the IIF-ACES would
be able to achieve because of all the work
we’d already put into it. A year and a half
ago, the work in the Academy’s IIF groups
had arrived at a level of maturity that created
the consensus that the system was ready to
be implemented in real-world trials. People
needed to be confident that it’s ready for
primetime.
Feeney: We have said, ‘We’ve done all we can as a
research group. We need facilities that are willing to try this and
give us feedback.’
Clark: We set up several test beds, initially at Laser Pacific
with Ron Burdett and Lou Levinson. We had a very enthusiastic
reception using a Baselight color corrector and got valuable feed-
back that we brought back into the IIF working groups. Then,
with Justified, we had the advantage of having already done
successful test beds, so we knew how to rapidly deploy the
system at Encore Hollywood. In addition to Pankaj Bajpai, Jennifer
Tellefsen, Ada Anderson, Jay Bodnar and their excellent Encore
team, we had tremendous support from Doug Walker at
Autodesk for the Lustre, because that’s a key component, too —
the actual implementation of the IIF architecture. Doug had been
part of the initial committee from the very beginning; he’s a color
Filmmakers’ Forum
“You can shorten
the amount of
time it takes to
do certain things
because you're
starting off from a
better place.”
I
scientist with a clear understanding of the
IIF’s potential.
Feeney: If you’re a post house and
you have a Lustre or a Baselight, you’re
being foolish if you don’t set up a test bed
to try this internally. The Academy is avail-
able to help. In 10 days or so, you should
be able to go from a standing start to
being able to fully evaluate the system in
your own facility, in the viewing environ-
ment you’re used to, on your screens and
with your projectors. We’re happy to help
with that process. And the IIF is a whole
system; we also need people to step up
and try it with on-set preview or in
conjunction with restoration tools.
Clark: The facilities need to be
onboard with the solution because the
heart of the architecture’s implementation
is at the post facilities. If you’re already
going to Encore, it’s a done deal. If you’re
going somewhere else…
Feeney: …we’ll help. And no
matter what camera you’re using, you
should be doing this.
Clark: Any camera can have an IDT.
[Ed. Note: An IDT is an Input Device Trans-
form, which takes into account a particu-
lar camera’s characteristics and then trans-
lates the camera’s image into ACES, the
IIF’s working color space.]
Feeney: IDTs already exist for the
leading professional cameras, [including]
the Sony models, the Red and the Arri
Alexa. Most likely, the camera you’re
considering is in the process of being vali-
dated in the IDT. But we won’t call any of
this ‘done’ because it’s all being refined
and adjusted. It’s like when Kodak issues a
new film stock: they tune it up a little for
the next few months based on cine-
matographer feedback. The IDT is just like
an emulsion. The next step of the IIF work-
flow is the Reference Rendering Trans-
form, which encodes the image with an
unlimited color gamut and a dynamic
range exceeding that of any current or
anticipated output device. The RRT is
already implemented in numerous high-
end color correctors. If your facility uses a
Baselight, a Lustre or, to a certain extent, a
Nucoda, you’re fine — those workflows
have all been tested within the commit-
tee. The Baselight and Lustre workflows
have also been tested by people who are
using them in production. If you must
have your color-correction system up and
running in a rush, we can set you up
immediately. Getting set up on the color
correctors is quick.
Clark: Remarkably quick.
“No matter what
camera you're
using, you should
be doing this.”
88
Feeney: However, calibrating film
recorders is extremely complex. It requires
running everything through the lab and
turnarounds and measurements, so it’s
not a quick process. We tell most people
setting up their first IIF project to do all
their color correction internally, but
subcontract the film recording to a place
that’s already set up to do that, like EFilm.
We’ll still help them get their in-house film
recording calibrated, and most likely
they’ll have that ready by the time they do
their second project. But it might take as
much as eight weeks.
Clark: Companies need to get their
creative people onboard. If the project is a
TV show, the primary person is the cine-
matographer, working in conjunction with
the producer; if it’s a feature, the creative
politics will determine whether the direc-
tor is also involved with the cinematogra-
pher, as well as the producer.
Feeney: The director, producer and
cinematographer should get together and
say, ‘We want to try this.’
Clark: Cinematographers need to
say, ‘This is an essential part of our ability
to control the look. We need this.’ Don’t
take no for an answer, especially now that
there’s concrete evidence of the work-
flow’s success.
Feeney: In May, the ASC is plan-
ning a summit of all the international soci-
eties of cinematographers. One of the
major motivations for that gathering is a
shared feeling that the cinematographer’s
role is eroding. The issues are so important
that the Society is convening this unprece-
dented summit, and the IIF system is
aimed right at the heart of those issues.
The IIF is a positive, constructive way to
help reinforce the role of the cinematog-
rapher. The ASC is not taking this lightly,
and no one else should, either. The
bottom line is, the IIF works, and if you
contact either the ASC or the Academy
for help, you will be pointed in the right
direction. ●
“This is an
essential part of
our ability to
control the look.”
89
90 April 2011 American Cinematographer
HydroFlex Borg Assimilates
Element Technica Neutron Rig
Element Technica has announced that its
Technica 3D Neutron rig, mounted with Silicon
Imaging SI-2K cameras, can now be enclosed in
the purpose-built Neutron Borg 3-D underwater
housing system from HydroFlex. The underwater
3-D camera system incorporates a Cinedeck
recorder inside the housing.
The Neutron 3-D rig’s small form factor is
particularly attractive for underwater use, since it
makes a compact underwater housing possible.
The combination of the Neutron rig and SI-2K cameras allowed
HydroFlex to design an anodized aluminum, cuboid-shaped housing
that measures 15" wide, 17" long and 16" tall. The Neutron Borg
housing weighs 114 pounds out of the water and 3 pounds under-
water.
Pete Romano, ASC, recently used the first production model.
“It is easy to move in the water and follow the action,” he says. “It
is balanced well for handheld use and I couldn’t be happier.”
The Neutron Borg system utilizes Element Technica’s inte-
grated lens control. By fitting the SI-2K cameras with Zeiss 16mm
cine lenses, the system can take advantage of those lenses’ f1.3 aper-
tures and close-focusing capabilities. The system also accepts Schnei-
der 4.8mm, 8mm and 12mm lenses, and Linos 12mm, 16mm and
15mm C-mount lenses.
“Because of its size, camera quality and lens compatibility, the
Neutron 3-D rig and SI-2K camera combination made an excellent
choice for a small housing,” says Matt Brown, HydroFlex’s operations
manager. The Neutron Borg system can be configured as a free-
swimming, untethered housing, with operator viewing on the
Cinedeck and full lens and stereographic control underwater. Alter-
natively, video and full remote control of the rig’s focus, iris and
stereoscopic properties can be cabled to the surface and operated
from there.
The HydroFlex Neutron Borg housing is designed to remain
watertight to a depth of 60' and incorporates watertight connec-
tions for lens focus and iris, interaxial and convergence. When utiliz-
ing the Cinedeck for internal recording, SD video can be run to the
surface with an underwater coaxial cable. Alternatively, the Cinedeck
can be bypassed to run full HD from both cameras to the surface via
underwater Ethernet cables.
The Neutron Borg system is available for rental from
HydroFlex. For more information, visit www.hydroflex.com and
www.technica3d.com.
Fujifilm Expands Eterna Vivid Line
Fujifilm Corporation has announced the introduction of
Eterna Vivid 250D, a daylight-type motion-picture color-negative
film formulated to offer high color saturation and high contrast.
Incorporating Fujifilm’s proprietary Super Nano-Structured Grain
Technology, Super-Efficient
Coupler Technology and
Super-Efficient DIR-Coupler
Technology, the Eterna
family of motion-picture
color-negative films offers
exceptionally high-quality
images.
Eterna Vivid 250D
shares the same gradation and color saturation characteristics as the
tungsten-type Eterna Vivid 500 and Eterna Vivid 160. Not just an
excellent film for shooting in exterior locations, Eterna Vivid 250D
can also be used under mixed-lighting conditions.
All films in the Eterna family are characterized by their ability
to reproduce natural skin tones and grays in under- to overexposed
conditions. Additionally, Eterna Vivid 250D provides rich and distinc-
tive colors as well as deep blacks with the optimized gradation
balance, enabling a wide range of expressive dramatic effects.
Optimization of orange-mask density and sharpness balance
contributes to enhanced image quality for film scanning or direct
telecine transfer of images from negative film to videotape, making
this newest addition to the Eterna lineup well suited for commercials
and other motion-picture production utilizing the latest advanced
digital technologies.
For additional information, visit www.fujifilm.com.
Pixel Farm Shares Free Airgrade
The Pixel Farm, a manufacturer and
marketer of image-processing and visual-
effects software technologies, has intro-
duced Airgrade, a free color-grading
engine that is remote-controlled from an
iPhone.
Airgrade emulates professional film
and television grading tools and combines
a powerful Mac-based grading engine
with an easy-to-use wireless remote
control on the iPhone. Users roll a 3-D trackball and rotate a radial
wheel on their iPhone to adjust precise tonal ranges using Lift,
Gamma and Gain controls, as well as a Saturation control for over-
all color intensity. The result appears interactively on the user’s Mac,
and on any other connected monitoring device, such as a digital
New Products & Services
• SUBMISSION INFORMATION •
Please e-mail New Products/Services releases to:
newproducts@ascmag.com and include full contact
information and product images. Photos must be
TIFF or JPEG files of at least 300dpi.
projector. A shake of the iPhone resets the
parameters, allowing a fresh grade to be
made.
When the desired color grade has
been achieved, Airgrade’s color engine
saves the grading data in the ASC CDL
format, which allows color decisions to be
transferred between color-grading and
finishing solutions. The graded image is
saved simultaneously to the iPhone’s photo
album, delivering a fast visual reference.
Users can download the free, Mac-
based color engine at www.airgrade.co.uk;
the iPhone remote controller is available
through the iTunes store. For more informa-
tion, visit www.thepixelfarm.co.uk.
Quantel Offers Software-Only
Pablo PA
Quantel has released Pablo PA, the
company’s first standalone software prod-
uct. Pablo PA is designed to help Quantel
customers get the maximum value out of
their high-end eQ, iQ or Pablo suites by
handling conforms, preparation and work-
flow, allowing the main suite to concentrate
purely on client-focused work. As a stand-
alone system, Pablo PA also offers facilities
that don’t currently own Quantel systems a
low-cost way to benefit from Quantel’s
high-quality post tools.
Pable PA has all the Pablo V5 color,
multi-layer timeline, import, export, archive,
conform and Stereo3D tools. It also
supports Red and DPX soft mount of third-
party storage for instant access to media,
and will handle conform verification, Red
shot selection and live de-bayering as well
as file i/o. When work is complete, only the
recipe of what’s been done on Pablo PA
needs to be transferred to the eQ, iQ or
Pablo, saving valuable time that would
otherwise be spent moving media.
The release of Pablo PA follows a
91
successful Beta testing phase with a number
of Quantel customers. Pablo PA is being
offered on a 30-day “try before you buy”
scheme.
For additional information, visit
www.quantel.com.
Panavision Introduces Digital
Transfer Station
Panavision has introduced the Digital
Transfer Station, providing a unique solution
to enable greater flexibility in the production
process. The DTS complements Panavision’s
Solid State Recorder,
increasing the SSR’s
capability while provid-
ing consistency through-
out the production
workflow. The DTS takes
uncompressed content
from the SSR and
outputs DPX or Quick-
Time files while offering
a production the option
to simultaneously generate a backup tape.
This solution provides value to vari-
ous departments in the production process.
For the cinematographer, it is an invaluable
addition that allows the application of look-
up tables so that material can be generated
for editorial needs as well as dailies. Cine-
matographer David Tattersall employed the
system on Gulliver’s Travels and The Hungry
Rabbit Jumps. “It was an invisible part of
our camera equipment,” he says. “I was
almost unaware it was there.”
The DTS provides for near-set quality
control of the master image, enabling near-
instant feedback on set before the files are
sent to postproduction. The system also
helps to accelerate the delivery of off-line
files for the editorial process. “Panavision’s
Digital Transfer Station eliminates the trans-
fer-from-tape portion of the deliverables
distribution, and eliminates the compression
associated with tape,” says digital-imaging
technician Doug DeGrassio. “I liked the
compact size and reliability. It’s simply very
clean and it makes our work very clean.”
The DTS solution can also enhance
the entire production workflow, including
visual effects and postproduction. For visual
effects, this means every frame is available
as a DPX file directly from set. “Having all
the DPX files in the cutting room is excel-
92
lent,” says editor Alan Bell, ACE. “It allows
for very fast turnarounds delivering [visual-
effects] elements and gives us options when
it comes to doing the final conform.”
Josh Limor, Panavision’s technical
marketing manager, says, “We wanted to
design a system that is easy to use, invisible
on set, and can satisfy every aspect of the
production team’s needs. In addition, every
production will have Panavision’s support in
designing and implementing a workflow
that works for them.” Other productions
that have already utilized the DTS include
Captain America, Vamps, The Smurfs and
Ironclad.
For additional information, visit
www.panavision.com.
Panasonic Adds Pro Monitor
Panasonic Solutions Company has
introduced the BT-LH910, a 9" LCD monitor
for field and studio applications. Features
include a new, high-brightness, high-
contrast IPS panel; newly developed 3-D
assist functions; and professional interfaces,
including HDMI and 3G-SDI. Equally suitable
for production, broadcast and institutional
applications, the cost-effective BT-LH910 can
be utilized on-camera as an electronic
viewfinder, on location, and in mobile or live
settings.
The BT-LH910 offers production-level
critical viewing with 1280x768 WXGA pixel
resolution, the highest in the 9"-and-under
professional LCD monitor category. The
monitor’s high brightness, high contrast,
horizontally aligned IPS panel has 176-
degree vertical and horizontal viewing
angles. It delivers exceptional imagery with
superb color accuracy and exhibits minimal
changes in brightness and color due to the
viewing angle.
The BT-LH910 incorporates a 2X SDI
IN overlay and side-by-side display that
provides a 2-D view of various 3-D checks,

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94 April 2011 American Cinematographer
including composition, convergence, color
and luminance, focus and zoom position,
and parallax. This 3-D assist function is ideal
for production crews that require a 3-D
review in the field. The monitor also offers
two times SDI loop-through to allow it to be
used with existing 3-D rigs while still feeding
video to any downstream equipment. Addi-
tional functionality encompasses a Black
mode for confirming dark scenes, an RGB
waveform monitor, a vectorscope, an RGB
direct white-balance adjustment, a color
audio level meter, new front/rear design,
SDI closed-captioning support, a head-
phone jack and tilt stand.
The 15:9 aspect-ratio monitor is
compatible with multiple HD/SD formats
and features the industry’s lowest image-
processing delay, a Diagonal Line compen-
sation function and such advanced focus-
assist functions as Focus-in-Red and Pixel-
to-Pixel matching. Measuring only 3.1"
deep and weighing only 3.7 pounds
(excluding the tilt stand), the space-saving
BT-LH910 also boasts an eco-friendly W-LED
backlight.
When used as an electronic
viewfinder, the BT-LH910 can be configured
with Panasonic’s full range of HD shoulder-
mount cameras, using the optional BT-
CS910 viewfinder cable. The 12-volt DC-
powered monitor is equipped with both a
4-pin XLR DC input and an Anton Bauer
battery gold mount, making it ideal for
outdoor use.
The BT-LH910 has a suggested price
of $3,500. For more information, visit
www.panasonic.com/broadcast.
Abel Cine Tech Authorized
by Zeiss
Lens manufacturer Carl Zeiss has
appointed equipment supplier Abel Cine
Tech as a Carl Zeiss Authorized Service Part-
ner. Building on years of cooperation
between the two companies, the aim of the
partnership is to allow Carl Zeiss customers
in the Americas to benefit from optimized
customer service. In particular, the partner-
ship will further reduce the amount of
downtime associated with repairs. In the
future, local services will be carried out
more efficiently and according to the high-
est quality standards.
“The appointment of a Carl Zeiss
Authorized Service Partner creates an
important foundation for intensifying our
cooperation with Abel Cine Tech,” says
Josef Kohnle, director of operations of the
Carl Zeiss Camera Lens Division in
Oberkochen, Germany. “Our clients in
America can now send their lenses directly
to Abel Cine Tech for maintenance and
repairs. The professional and localized
customer service will guarantee quick and
smooth service and increase effectiveness.”
Pete Abel, president and CEO of
Abel Cine Tech, adds, “We’re delighted
with the special trust Carl Zeiss has placed in
us through this official partnership. We will
use our experience and technical know-how
to build awareness among Carl Zeiss
customers in America for its products and to
provide the outstanding performance and
quality for which Carl Zeiss lenses are
renowned the world over.”
Abel Cine Tech operates facilities in
New York City, Burbank and Chicago. Qual-
ification as a Carl Zeiss Authorized Service
Partner involves training by Carl Zeiss part-
ners as well as the provision of special tools
that ensure the company can guarantee a
uniform level of service for all its customers.
For additional information, visit
www.abelcine.com and www.zeiss.com.
Vocas Adapts Lens Mount
Vocas has introduced a lens-mount
adapter from Micro
4
⁄3" to PL mount,
designed with the Panasonic AG-AF100
specifically in mind. The adapter, which
enables the use of PL-mount lenses on digi-
tal cameras fitted with a Micro
4
⁄3" sensor,
comes with a 15mm support bracket for
using the mount on a 15mm rails system.
Vocas also offers a 15mm rails system,
which is suitable for adding more acces-
sories.
For additional information, visit
www.vocas.com.
Denz Accessorizes
Panasonic Camera
Denz has introduced an accessory
package for Panasonic’s AG-AF100 Micro
4
⁄3" digital camera. The package includes a
Universal Holder, PL54-Support, Ultra Light-
weight Handle System and FFM Follow
Focus.
The Universal Holder attaches onto
the camera’s handle and can be fixed via
two clamping screws, which allow for
different positions depending on the needs
of the operator. The Universal Holder can
also be used in conjunction with the
Cineroid electronic viewfinder.
The PL54-Support allows users to
mount any PL-mount lens to the camera, no
matter the lens’ weight. The support system
contains a mount for 15mm support rods as
well as Arri/Denz-standard rosettes for
adjusting handles and accessories.
An optional shoulder rig can also be
mounted to the 15mm rods, and the Ultra
Lightweight Handle System incorporates
two handles, one of which can be equipped
with shutter control.
Finally, Denz’s FFM Follow Focus
perfectly fits the system and mounts to the
15mm rods sideways beneath the lens.
For additional information, visit
www.denz-deniz.com.
Redrock Micro Works with
Really Right Stuff
Redrock Micro has introduced the
MicroRRS clamp for adapting the Really Right
Stuff line of quick-release clamps and plates
for use with Redrock’s HDSLR camera rigs.
Redrock customers now have a choice
of camera mounts for their Redrock rigs: the
Redrock DSLR baseplate or the MicroRRS
adapter clamp with Really Right Stuff. The
MicroRRS with Really Right Stuff clamps are
an excellent choice for still photographers
who want to continue using their Really Right
Stuff quick-release system, or for cinematog-
raphers who demand the ultimate stability in
a camera-mounting system. The MicroRRS
allows HDSLRs to be used either vertically or
horizontally, and it can be used with either
camera or lens support plates.
“Really Right Stuff is extremely well
regarded and hugely popular in the photog-
raphy world today,” says James Hurd, chief
revolutionary for Redrock Micro. “Our new
MicroRRS clamp really benefits customers by
bringing together the best of both worlds for
video DSLR rigs and accessories.”
The MicroRRS clamp is priced at $229.
For more information, visit www.redrockmi
cro.com and www.reallyrightstuff.com.
JBK Cinequipt Focuses on DSLRs
JBK Cinequipt has introduced the FF-
2010 HD, a lightweight follow focus
designed for use with Canon’s EOS 5D and
7D DSLR camera systems. The FF-2010
attaches directly to one 15mm support rod
and locks into place with a quick-lock clam-
per. Constructed of Black Delrin, the FF-2010
boasts a sealed gear box, weighs only 5
ounces and has an outside diameter of 3".
The FF-2010’s interchangeable drive
95
gear is held in place with an Allen screw,
making it easy to swap out for different
drive-gear sizes. The unit also features a
marking disk, and the knob accepts stan-
dard accessories, such as a speed crank or
whip.
For additional information, visit
www.jbkcinequipt.com.
FG Follow Focus
from Ikan
Ikan has introduced
the FG Follow Focus,
offering precision
machined aluminum construc-
tion, lightweight design, beveled dry-
erase marking disk and compatibility with all
Ikan Elements kits and any 15mm rod-
based camera-support system. Driven by a
2"-diameter control wheel, the FG Follow
Focus features low backlash and is compat-
ible with standard film-pitch gearing of .8
MOD supported by a 2.3"-diameter focus
gear. The horizontal adjustment feature
accommodates a wide range of DSLR lens
diameters. The FG Follow Focus also
features a focus mark indicator and lockable
focus control.
The included 17" FG Follow Focus
Whip features vinyl covering and a crank
stability grip for smooth control. Utilizing
Ikan’s compact square connector, the FG
Whip provides leverage over distance and
smoother focus pulls all around. The 2.3"
FG Follow Focus Crank Knob provides rapid
focus, allowing users to move from one
focus mark to another at high speed. Fitted
with Ikan’s square connector, the FG Crank
Knob offers fast and accurate control. Also
included is a pair of 2.5" to 4.25"-diameter
adjustable zip lens gears.
For additional information, visit
www.ikancorp.com.
Zacuto Updates Z-Finder Pro
Camera-accessories manufacturer
Zacuto has released the updated Z-Finder
Pro DSLR viewfinder. The optical viewfinder
offers 2.5x or 3x focusable magnification, a
40mm-diameter Zacuto optical designed
lens, an anti-fog coating protective shield,
an eyecup preventing extraneous light leak-
age, a diopter and a field of view perfectly
matched to 3" LCD screens. Also included are
three extender frames, a gorilla plate with
DSLR short body frame, a lens cap, a protec-
tive boot, a lanyard hook and lanyard, and
three extra anti-fog coating protective covers.
The anti-fog protective covers serve
two purposes: to protect the actual lens from
damage and to prevent fogging. “We’ve
spent over a year and a half to come up with
the Zacuto anti-fog formula,” says Steve
Weiss, product designer for Zacuto. “The key
to creating an anti-fog lens is to create a
texture on the surface so that moisture cannot
collect.” Weiss and fellow product designer
Jens Bogehegn developed inexpensive anti-
fog shields for customers to use as expend-
ables in case of loss, scratch or damage to the
covers. Bogehegn notes, “We found that the
texture of the protective cover can rub off.
Whether you have an older Z-Finder or Pro
Series, anti-fog lens or non-anti-fog lens,
96
these shields will protect your existing lens and
make any Z-Finder anti-fog.”
For existing Z-Finder owners, the Anti-
Fog Protective Cover Upgrade Kit comes with
a three-pack of anti-fog protective covers, a
lens cap and newly designed eyecup to fit all
covers. For more information, visit
www.zacuto.com.
Acme Illuminates Komet
Pipe Light
Acme Lighting & Grip has intro-
duced the Komet Pipe Light. Light-
weight and self contained, the
6,500°K LED fixture is simple to use
and sets up in seconds.
The all-weather Komet Pipe Light
features a nylon body and T6
aluminum head. The fixture weighs 17
pounds and folds into a cylinder that
measures 32" long and 4.5" in diam-
eter, allowing for easy transport.
The Komet Pipe Light features low,
medium and high operating modes;
according to Acme’s photometrics, the
Pipe Light produces a maximum of
500 foot candles at a distance 6'. The fixture
runs off of a battery, which recharges in
approximately 8 hours and offers 2.5 to 9
hours of operation, depending on the oper-
ating mode. The power supply and charger
are included. Other accessories include a
four-way barndoor, a wide lens, four gel
frames and a car power adapter.
For additional information, visit
www.kometled.com.
MSE Supports Fluorescents
with K-Stackers
Matthews Studio Equipment has
introduced K-Stackers, a simple solution for
fluorescent-lighting support.
Based on a concept from gaffer Alex
Amyot, K-Stackers allow for the placement
of large fluorescent fixtures in a tight
pattern for more punch, or for an overhead
source with fluorescent fixtures hung from a
Junior Boom or telescoping hanger. Two or
three large fluorescent fixtures can be tied
together on a rolling stand or Runway Base;
up to six 4' fixtures can be mounted, with
the ballasts hanging off the back of the K-
Stacker. Two K-Stackers on a
stand or base allows for place-
ment of four 4' fluorescent
fixtures vertically around the
stand. Rotate the pin 90
degrees and K-Stackers can be
conformed from a horizontal
to a vertical light-fixture mode.
This compact, powerful light
source can be moved almost
anywhere.
“Crews spend a great
deal of time building contrap-
tions out of C-stands to achieve the same
effect that the K-Stacker gives them in
moments,” says Kelly Koskella, president of
Hollywood Rentals, one of the first compa-
nies to take delivery of the K-Stackers.
“Those time-saving quality products are
what production professionals demand.
Hollywood Rentals is always on the lookout
for tools that improve production for our
clients, and K-Stackers certainly do that.”
For additional information, visit
www.msegrip.com. ●
97
International Marketplace
98 April 2011 American Cinematographer
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Advertiser’s Index
16x9, Inc. 98
Abel Cine Tech 37
AC 92
Aja Video Systems, Inc. 11
Alan Gordon Enterprises 98
Arri 33, 39
ASC 1
AZGrip 98
Backstage Equipment, Inc.
91
Barger-Lite 93, 99
Bron Imaging Group - US 77
Burrell Enterprises 99
Camera Essentials 99
Cavision Enterprises 69
Chapman/Leonard Studio
Equipment Inc. 19
Chemical Wedding 87
Chimera 9
Cine Gear Expo 101
Cinematography
Electronics 93
Cinekinetic 98
Clairmont Film & Digital 57
Codex Digital Ltd., 13
Convergent Design 67
Cooke Optics 25
CTT Exp. & Rentals 96
Dell Inc. 21
Deluxe C2
Denecke 98
Digital Vision 81
Duclos 74
Eastman Kodak 59, C4
EFD USA, Inc 23
Film Gear 73
Filmtools 91
Flying-Cam Inc. 80
Fujifilm 16a-d
Gekko 51, 92
Glidecam Industries 47
Grip Factory Munich/GFM 6
Hollywood Rentals 84
Hydroflex Inc. 71
Innovision 99
JEM Studio Lighting 74
J.L. Fisher 40
K5600 65
Kino Flo 89
Kobold 77
Lee Filters 76
Lights! Action! Co. 99
Lite Gear 91
Maine Media Workshops 73
MAT - Berlin 79
Matthews Studio
Equipment/MSE 99
M. M. Mukhi and Sons 99
Movcam Tech, Co., Ltd. 55
Movie Tech AG 99
Nalpak Inc. 99
NBC Universal Media Works
35
New York Film Academy 50
Nila Inc. 4
Oppenheimer Camera Prod.
93, 98
PC&E 85
P+S Technik 83
Panasonic Broadcast
TV Division 15
Panther Gmbh 61
Ped Denz 75, 98
Photon Beard 98
Pille Film Gmbh 99
Pro8mm 98
Production Resource Group
49
Professional Sound Services
6
Rag Place, The 95
Rosco Laboratories Inc. 60
Scheimpflug Digital 24
Schneider Optics 2
Shelton Communications
98
Samy’s DV & Edit 41
Service Vision 88
Solid Grip 71
Sony Electronics 7
Stanton Video Services 75
Super16 Inc. 99
Surreal Road Limited 6
Thales Angenieux 5
Tiffen C3
T-Pars, Inc 49
Transvideo International 97
VF Gadgets, Inc. 98
Visual Products 95
Welch Integrated 103
Willy’s Widgets 98
www.theasc.com 92, 98, 99
Zacuto Films 99
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100 April 2011 American Cinematographer
Cine Gear Expo
June 2-5, 2011
Expo & Conference
Premiere & Master Classes, Film Competition
The Studios at Paramount, Hollywood, CA, USA
September 24-25, 2011
Expo & Conference
Metropolitan Pavilion, New York City, NY, USA
phone: 310.472.0809 fax: 310.471.8973 email: info@cinegearexpo.com
www.cinegearexpo.com
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Rom Named Associate
Domenic Rom, head of producer’s
services for Technicolor New York, has
joined the ASC as an associate member.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from
South Ridge State University in South
Ridge, S.C., Rom worked as a sales repre-
sentative for Lit Ware, Inc., and Duffy
Vineyards before joining DuArt Film &
Video in New York. In his 16 years at
DuArt, he climbed the ranks from night
colorist to executive vice president. He
went on to serve as the COO of lab oper-
ations at Moving Images/Postworks. He
joined Technicolor last year.
Spirit, BAFTA, Academy Awards
Honor Cinematographers
The 2010 awards season saw
Matthew Libatique, ASC win a Film
Independent Spirit Award for Black Swan
(AC Dec. ’10); Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC
win a BAFTA for True Grit (AC Jan. ’11);
and Wally Pfister, ASC win an Oscar for
Inception (AC July ’10).
The other Spirit Award nominees
were Adam Kimmel, ASC, for Never Let
Me Go; Jody Lee Lipes, for Tiny Furniture
(AC Jan. ’11); Michael McDonough, for
Winter’s Bone (AC June ’10); and Harris
Savides, ASC, for Greenberg.
Joining Deakins in the BAFTA
competition were Libatique; Pfister;
Danny Cohen, BSC, for The King’s Speech
(AC Dec. ’10), and Anthony Dod Mantle,
BSC, DFF and Enrique Chediak, for 127
Hours (AC Dec. ’10).
The other Oscar nominees were
Cohen, Deakins, Libatique and Jeff
Cronenweth, ASC, for The Social
Network (AC Oct. ’10).
SOC Hosts Awards Gala
The Society of Camera Operators
recently honored Pete Romano, ASC
with its Lifetime Achievement Award;
Jost Vacano, ASC with its Historical
Award (for Das Boot); and ASC associate
Frank Kay with its Distinguished Service
Award Cammy.
Lifetime-achievement awards were
also presented to camera operator
Michael Ferris, 1st AC/camera technician
Alan Disler and stills photographer David
James, SMPSP. Steadicam operator Colin
Anderson won the Feature Film Operator
of the Year award for The Town, and
David Frederick, SOC won the Television
Camera Operator of the Year award for
Sons of Anarchy.
The SOC Presidents Award went to
the Grip Union, Local 80, and Technical
Achievement Awards were given for the
Arri Alexa and for the Ultimate Arm Gyro-
Stabilized Camera Crane.
Zsigmond Visits Park City
Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC paid a
visit to Park City, Utah, to participate in
events sponsored by Kodak at the
Sundance and Slamdance film festivals.
The cinematographer participated in a
Q&A with producer Jack Robinette follow-
ing a screening of their film Summer Chil-
dren (1965), which was believed lost until
35mm black-and-white elements were
discovered in Canada, France, New York
and Los Angeles. The next day, Kodak
hosted “Coffee with Vilmos,” during
which Zsigmond discussed his creative
process.
Cundey Talks Jurassic Park
Dean Cundey, ASC recently
visited The Art Institute of California-
Orange County to discuss his work on
Jurassic Park (AC June ’93) with student
filmmakers. Instructor Scott Essman inter-
viewed Cundey as the film played, and
after the screening, the cinematographer
answered students’ questions. ●
Clubhouse News
Top to bottom: New associate member Domenic
Rom; Oscar winner Wally Pfister, ASC, with
presenter Tom Hanks; Dean Cundey, ASC (wearing
blue-striped shirt) with students at The Art Institute
of California – Orange County; (left to right) Scott
Sakamoto; Steve Campanelli, SOC; David Frederick,
SOC; Colin Anderson, SOC; Geoff Haley; and
Peter Rosenfeld, SOC.
102 April 2011 American Cinematographer
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Never Stop Learning. Never Stop Networking.
New Professional Level Workshops 2011
Book your seats at www.studentfilmmakers.com/workshops/
INTENSIVE FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS
• 3D • Digital Filmmaking • Documentary • HDSLR Cameras • 16mm • 35mm • HD • RED One Filmmaking
• Production • Screenwriting • Directing • Acting for Film • Digital Editing • Production Sound
• Broadcast Journalism • Cinematography • Image Control • Film Business • Distribution • And More
HDSLR Filmmaking Workshops
Starting April 16th 2011
Instructor: Patrick Reis
Dates: April 16, May 28, July 16, August 13, October 22, December 10
Venue: StudentFilmmakers.com Workshop Studio
1123 Broadway #307, New York, New York, 10010
104 April 2011 American Cinematographer
When you were a child, what film made the strongest impres-
sion on you?
When I saw The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), I was knocked out. I saw
it eight times in the first week, which wasn’t easy for an 11-year-old
who couldn’t drive to the movie theater. Korda’s The Thief of Bagdad
(1940) was another huge influence.
Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most admire?
John “Hard Way” Fulton, ASC was always looking for the better effects
shot, no matter what it took to make it. His ideas were progressive, and
the shots were surprising in a good way. Of the live-action cinematog-
raphers, [I admire] ASC members Charles Lang
and Gregg Toland and all the usual suspects,
some of whom I’ve been lucky to work with. I
love the classically perfect shot.
What sparked your interest in photography?
To have a visual reminder of an effects shot I’d
seen in a movie, I’d use a toy spaceship or plastic
dinosaur and try copying the shot, which gave
me a print that I could study and hold.
Where did you train and/or study?
I was self-taught. There was no real interest in
effects until Star Wars came along — no classes,
nothing. So I had to guess how things were done
and shoot my own stills and 8mm and 16mm
effects movies. Occasionally, American Cine-
matographer would have an effects article with
pictures!
Who were your early teachers or mentors?
In the ’60s, there were only a dozen of us effects fans in Los Angeles.
One was Jim Danforth, who graciously took time to teach me about
art and film and quality. Phil Kellison gave me my first job using 35mm
gear, shooting effects commercials at Cascade Pictures. Phil was an
amazing cameraman who knew how to light a dime to look like a
dollar. I also found people in the phone book. Bill Abbott, ASC kindly
let me watch some model shoots at the Sersen Tank in Malibu.
What are some of your key artistic influences?
When I was a kid, The Beatles, Ray Harryhausen, John Singer Sargent,
Arthur Penn and the real world. Today, it’s the real world, George
Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Jim Cameron, Phil Tippett, Steve Jobs and the
Internet.
How did you get your first break in the business?
[Future ASC members] John Dykstra and Richard Edlund hired me at
the start of Star Wars. John felt my camera/stop-motion background
might be valuable in shooting with his new computer-controlled
cameras. I didn’t know anyone working there, but rumor had it that
they were trying something new, and I was eager to learn. I even cut
my salary to get hired.
What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?
Whenever an impossible shot is finished and it works. I’ve always been
driven by seeing the final image, not by the process.
Have you made any memorable blunders?
Long ago, I was the only cameraman using three old high-speed
Mitchells to shoot a big exploding miniature. When the dailies came
back, one camera was underexposed by five stops. The next time, I
triple-checked everything, and guess what? Same
thing. I traced the problem back to one lens. The
Mitchells vibrated a lot at 128 fps, and that
caused the iris to close down all by itself.
What is the best professional advice you’ve
ever received?
Jim Danforth taught me the value of critical think-
ing, especially about your own work, and how to
see your work as the audience will see it. And
during The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas
showed me a helicopter shot and asked if I could
add a creature running on the ground, which at
the time seemed impossible because of the six-
axis camera motion. He said, ‘Give it some
thought,’ and within 15 minutes I had a solution.
That taught me that a right answer might be one
thought away.
What recent books, films or artworks have inspired you?
The Social Network, the Phantom camera at 1,000 fps, the aerial-plat-
form sequence in Star Trek (2009), the zero-gravity hallway in Incep-
tion, the 3-D stereo design of Fly Me to the Moon (2008), a Blu-ray of
Gone With the Wind on my Sony LCD at a simulated 120 fps, and
everything by Malcolm Gladwell.
Do you have any favorite genres, or genres you would like to
try?
Not really.
Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for member-
ship?
Richard Yuricich, Allen Daviau and Joseph Westheimer.
How has ASC membership impacted your life and career?
Everyone in this business holds the ASC in high regard, which has
given me some clout on a set when I’ve most needed it. But really,
what I most appreciate is being part of a distinguished group of great
cinematographers with a long tradition of excellence and mutual
support. ●
Dennis Muren, ASC Close-up
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DAVI D B OYD, AS C
ONFILM
To order Kodak motion picture film,
call (800) 621-film.
© Eastman Kodak Company, 2011.
Photography: © 2011 Douglas Kirkland
“I think a lot about how best to interpret a
screenplay visually. Pushing and shoving
through this creative process, alongside
the director, a film starts to become its own
thing. I view myself as its protector in its
infancy, and when it really gets rolling I get
out of its way. Risk-taking is central to good
work. I’m visually succeeding if I’m somewhat
uncomfortable throughout production—it
keeps me sharp. I’ll use any tool I can
get my hands on to photograph a story
well, and deny myself all the others. And I
believe the utmost emotion and connection
a cinematographer can create with an
audience comes with shooting on film. It
represents the first and most important leap
into a story’s visual interpretation. It is the
means by which an image crawls up out of
the mud and becomes symbolic. It is the
very instrument that engages an audience.
Shooting, printing and projecting on film tells
the story best.”
David Boyd, ASC’s credits include the
television series The Walking Dead, Men of
a Certain Age, Friday Night Lights, Without a
Trace, and Deadwood, for which he received
an ASC Outstanding Achievement Award
nomination. His feature credits include
12 Rounds, Full Count, Kit Kittredge: An
American Girl, Get Low, and the forthcoming
Joyful Noise.
All these productions were photographed on
Kodak motion picture film.
For an extended interview with David Boyd, visit
www.kodak.com/go/onfilm

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