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shot by Rodrigo Prieto. AMC. BSC explains the path that led him to the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award Letting Go Tough Love 42 Back to the Grid A League of His Own 52 DEPARTMENTS 8 10 12 18 78 82 84 88 89 90 92 94 96 Editor’s Note President’s Desk Short Takes: “Eye of the Storm” Production Slate: The Tempest • All Good Things Post Focus: EFilm at Universal• HPA Awards Filmmakers’ Forum: Jody Lee Lipes New Products & Services International Marketplace Classified Ads Ad Index In Memoriam: Michel Hugo. 1 The International Journal of Motion Imaging On Our Cover: A divorced father of two (Javier Bardem) confronts his mortality in Biutiful. ASC Clubhouse News ASC Close-Up: Jack Couffer 64 — VISIT WWW. 9 2 N O .THEASC.) FEATURES 30 42 52 64 Rodrigo Prieto.COM TO ENJOY THESE WEB EXCLUSIVES — Podcast: Phedon Papamichael.J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V O L . ASC enters futuristic arena with Tron: Legacy Roger Deakins. (Photo by José Haro. ASC. courtesy of Roadside Attractions. ASC. ASC. NSC. Russell’s corner on The Fighter Claudio Miranda. ASC on Knight and Day DVD Playback: Psycho • Videodrome . AMC and Alejandro González Iñárritu make spiritual connections on Biutiful Hoyte van Hoytema. FSF works David O.
theasc. P. Robert S. 1782 N. Patricia Thomson ———————————————————————————————————— ART DEPARTMENT CREATIVE DIRECTOR Marion Gore ———————————————————————————————————— ADVERTISING ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Angie Gollmann 323-936-3769 FAX 323-936-9188 e-mail: gollmann@pacbell. Chris Pizzello.com. CA and at additional mailing offices.. Jim Hemphill. $50. Box 2230. 8065 or by e-mail hrobinson@tsp. Article Reprints: Requests for high-quality article reprints (or electronic reprints) should be made to Sheridan Reprints at (800) 635-7181 ext. 1 The International Journal ofMotion Imaging www. Birchard. 9 2 . Canada/Mexico $70.O. Orange Dr. is published monthly in Hollywood by ASC Holding Corp. CA 90078. (800) 448-0145. Fax (323) 876-4973. CA 90028. (All rights reserved. BOOKS & PRODUCTS CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Saul Molina CIRCULATION MANAGER Alex Lopez SHIPPING MANAGER Miguel Madrigal ———————————————————————————————————— ASC GENERAL MANAGER Brett Grauman ASC EVENTS COORDINATOR Patricia Armacost ASC PRESIDENT’S ASSISTANT Kim Weston ASC ACCOUNTING MANAGER Mila Basely ASC ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE Corey Clark ———————————————————————————————————— American Cinematographer (ISSN 0002-7928). (323) 969-4333. N o . Printed in the USA.S.) Periodicals postage paid at Los Angeles. Iain Stasukevich. David Heuring.com ———————————————————————————————————— CIRCULATION. Benjamin B. Subscriptions: U. Witmer TECHNICAL EDITOR Christopher Probst CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Stephanie Argy. Douglas Bankston.J a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 V o l . Bosley ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jon D. Mark Hope-Jones. Kenneth Sweeney. 4 ———————————————————————————————————— . Advertising: Rate card upon request from Hollywood office. direct line for subscription inquiries (323) 969-4344.net CLASSIFIEDS/ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Diella Nepomuceno 323-952-2124 FAX 323-876-4973 e-mail: diella@ascmag. Hollywood.S.net ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Sanja Pearce 323-952-2114 FAX 323-876-4973 e-mail: sanja@ascmag.. Simon Gray. Jon Silberg. Jean Oppenheimer. $). U. established 1920 and in its 91st year of publication..S.sheridan. all other foreign countries $95 a year (remit international Money Order or other exchange payable in U.A. John Calhoun. Hollywood. John Pavlus.com ———————————————————————————————————— PUBLISHER Martha Winterhalter ———————————————————————————————————— Visit us online at EDITORIAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Stephen Pizzello SENIOR EDITOR Rachael K. Bob Fisher. Noah Kadner. Jay Holben. Michael Goldman. Copyright 2011 ASC Holding Corp. POSTMASTER: Send address change to American Cinematographer.com ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Scott Burnell 323-936-0672 FAX 323-936-9188 e-mail: sburnell@earthlink.
O’Shea Sol Negrin Michael B. Flinn III Michael Goi Stephen Lighthill Isidore Mankofsky Daryn Okada Robert Primes Nancy Schreiber Kees Van Oostrum Haskell Wexler Vilmos Zsigmond ALTERNATES Fred Elmes Rodney Taylor Michael D. Flinn III Matthew Leonetti Rodney Taylor Sergeant At Arms Ron Garcia MEMBERS OF THE BOARD John Bailey Stephen Burum Curtis Clark George Spiro Dibie Richard Edlund John C. but an educational. ASC membership has be come one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a pro fes sional cin e ma tog ra pher — a mark of prestige and excellence.2010/2011 Michael Goi President Richard Crudo Vice President Vice President Vice President Treasurer Secretary Owen Roizman John C. OFFICERS .American Society of Cine matographers The ASC is not a labor union or a guild. Membership is by invitation to those who are actively en gaged as di rec tors of photography and have dem on strated out stand ing ability. Negrin MUSEUM CURATOR 6 Steve Gainer . cultural and pro fes sion al or ga ni za tion.
” page 60). like the glow of a computer monitor.” Iñárritu notes. he found light in the darkest places possible. Though still in his prime and shooting as artfully as ever.40 to represent the transition from [Uxbal’s] tight control to ultimate release. a longtime friend of the magazine who will receive the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. ASC. For the former. the metaphysical and a hyper-realistic approach.” the cinematographer tells Michael Goldman (“Tough Love. LED and Electro Luminescent lighting technology. “The visual grammar of this film was very delicate and sophisticated because it had to combine the social. “When shooting 2-perf for [2.40:1. Uxbal (Javier Bardem). the seemingly tireless Deakins has built a legacy of excellence that simply demanded the ASC’s highest honor. ASC.” he says.”page 30).” page 64) offers illuminating details about his formative years. Realistically and metaphorically. which allowed cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema. some of the lighting was built directly into the futuristic costumes worn by characters in the computer environment known as the Grid: “The suits really drove the pastel look of the digital world.40:1] output. NSC. . Roger’s latest collaboration with the Coen brothers. Biutiful is by far Rodrigo’s most lyrical and poetic work. it’s the way to go. FSF to blend drama scenes shot on 2-perf 35mm with fight sequences shot on Betacam-SP.85 and eventually opening up to 2. AMC is clearly held in high esteem by his collaborators. As Miranda explains to Noah Kadner (“Back to the Grid. The emotional journey of the main character. We wanted to see the suit lights casting interactive light from character to character and have everything look as luminous as possible. The sci-fi spectacle Tron: Legacy required Claudio Miranda. and for the latter. and if you are interested in getting grain and texture.Editor’s Note Rodrigo Prieto. but we decided it worked.85 format with anamorphic lenses. high-speed cameras and face-replacement animation effects. “To me. Russell’s boxing drama The Fighter. you expose far less negative than 4perf. including 3-D camera rigs.” page 42). 13. Steve Preeg (“Barba and Preeg on Tron: Legacy. led Prieto to suggest the unusual strategy of shifting from 1. and head of animation. insights earned after decades of experience.” The film offered Prieto ample opportunity to be creative. he employed vintage Sony video cameras. with a transition point that combined the 1. and within this month’s overview of Biutiful (“Letting Go. director Alejandro González Iñárritu offers his own endorsement in a sidebar commentary (“Iñárritu on Method. Oliver Stone sang his praises in our October coverage of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” page 52). “There was some concern that the shift would be too jarring.” Further insights into the production are offered in a sidebar Q&A with Digital Domain’s visual-effects supervisor.” page 38). Pat Thomson’s account of his remarkable career (“A League of His Own. Stephen Pizzello Executive Editor 8 Photo by Owen Roizman. Eric Barba. BSC. and a sidebar on True Grit. the physical. “I suggested we test starting at 1. saving a lot of money. ASC. van Hoytema used Aaton’s Penelope camera. This issue also offers a heartfelt salute to cinematographer Roger Deakins.85:1 to anamorphic 2. ASC to combine a variety of strategies.” That spirit of experimentation is also evident in David O.
As the new year kicks into gear, there is a lot happening in the industry: more new digital cameras, higher-resolution post workflows, 3-D proceeding full steam, and more sophisticated virtual production. How is a humble cinematographer supposed to keep up with all this? Because the production and distribution of feature films, television programming and Web content are a global business, it is more important than ever that we all be on the same page at the same time on technology, and that we understand where the craft of cinematography is going. For this reason, the ASC will host an International Cinematography Summit Conference from May 2-5, 2011. Every cinematography society in the world has been invited to send a representative to this milestone event. This is not a film festival, nor is it a trade show. It is a work group of the leading practitioners of our craft designed as a means to discover where our differences and common ground lie; it is an opportunity to learn from the tools and techniques that are being used on the other side of the world; and it is a forum to establish more open communication among those who have chosen cinematography as our life passion. The conference is especially significant at this moment, although it has been in the planning stages for almost 18 months. When Mauro Fiore, ASC won the Oscar forAvatar last year, it seemed to amplify speculation about the future of cinematography. This conference will address where we are going and, more importantly, help all of us understand how changes and trends in our profession affect our countries’ industries. It is the necessary next step in coordinating our common goals. Part of the conference will be devoted to demonstrations of current technology, such as virtual production and 3-D, and there will be a detailed analysis of various film and digital archival methods used by innovators in the preservation field. The Acad emy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a new capture-medium/post paradigm designed to enable the maximum input of a camera’s resolution and color-space capabilities into a common post workflow. Leading developers of digital cameras and film em ulsions will speak about what is coming in the next five years, not from a marketing perspective, but with an emphasis on stabili zing the industry. But the most important part of the ICSC will be the dialogue it will create among cinematographers worldwide. We’re not inviting people to come and listen to a bunch of lectures; we want to hear what everyone has to say. There are issues and concerns in some countries that other countries have already resolved. Let’s share that knowledge. Though we exist in a global industry, we tend to work in an insular way. The extraordinarily innovative artistry that many of our fellow lighting masters have accomplis hed, and the means by which they have achieved their results, may never be seen by the world or acknowledged for its originality. If we are to live and grow as artists, and harness the potential that new technologies offer us, we must open our eyes to what our fellow craftspeople are doing in other parts of the world. I have been traveling a lot recently, speaking to cinematographers and students in many countries, and I have been amazed by the common elements of our aesthetic approach, regardless of region, and by the bold visions of those who see the world from a different perspective. Festivals such as Camerimage and the efforts of organizations such as Imago have kept the flame of vis ual artistry burning brightly for many years. And the bond that the Korean Society of Cinematographers and the Japanese Society of Cinematographers have shared over the last 25 years is truly inspiring. The artistic interchange that results from simple commu nication between countries opens the door for all of us to learn and grow, to reach for new forms of visual expression. For the ICSC, each society has been asked to bring a five-minute reel of the best work its members have produced, spanning the entire history of their industry. All of these pieces will be screened as part of our welcome dinner on the first night ofthe conference. If that evening has even a fraction of the magic I felt when I watched a young student’s cinematography during my trip to India, this will prove to be a most magical gathering.
Michael Goi, ASC President
Portrait by Owen Roizman, ASC.
Singer Ben Lovett pilots an airship into a fierce storm in the music video for his song “Eye of the Storm.” Cinematographer Craig Kief utilized bluescreens, black lights and fluorescent tape to isolate key elements of the imagery that would later be combined with CG effects.
Creating an Animated “Eye of the Storm” By Iain Stasukevich
“A couple of years ago, I saw a short animated film by Anthony Lucas called TheMysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello , and it blew me away,” recalls director Christopher Alender. “The animation was done with silhouettes and collage backgrounds, and it got me wondering if I could do the same thing with live action.” Alender put the idea on hold until singer/songwriter Ben Lovett, a close friend, asked him to produce a music video for a song on his album The Fear. When Alender listened to the album, the track “Eye of the Storm” jumped out at him. “It’s like a soundscape with a very cinematic feel,” he observes. Like Jasper Morello, the video for “Eye of the Storm” is set in a steampunk world, a highly technological Victorian society powered
12 January 2011
by steam. The video tells the story of a lonely captain (played by Lovett) battling to keep his airship afloat in the midst of a raging tempest. Alender decided to shoot all of the action against bluescreen, using minimal set pieces and props, and he asked cinematographer Craig Kief, a fellow Florida State University alumnus, to step behind the camera. “Craig is always game when I call him, even when we’re doing something weird,” says Alender. Kief says he was immediately drawn to the images Alender proposed. “A lot of the work I do, mostly commercials and music videos, has extensive visual effects, so this seemed like a natural fit,” says the cinematographer. The visual effects for “Eye of the Storm” called for the creation of the airship and all of the weather effects, and also for picking out specific details in Lovett’s costume and the props. Typically, this would be accomplished by chroma-keying the bluescreen elements of the frame, but Alender intended to shoot 4K with the Red One MX (recording to Red Drives and Compact Flash cards), and he didn’t want the CPU-hogging process to impede the post workflow. “It really slows you down, especially if you’re experimenting and working with high-resolution imagery,” he says. “We worked with the 4K sources but mastered in a 2K comp.” Alender and Kief came up with a way to isolate the elements they wanted to remove by shooting under black lights and using a luma key instead. The idea is based on an RGB image being split into three separate monochrome channels, with each channel containing a separate luma key based on a defined level of exposure. Kief and Alender experimented with different kinds of fluorescent tape and paint until they found the ones that reacted best to ultraviolet light. “Green fluorescent tape was the most powerful, so we used it to build part of the captain’s wardrobe,” says Alender. “Orange
Photos by Craig Cantey. Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Soapbox Films.
Calif. he’d use tungsten lights. Kief used a Sony BVM-L230 HD reference monitor.) The team didn’t shy away from dramatic camera moves. and various tungsten sources were placed at strategic angles to bring out reflective highlights on bits of metal in Lovett’s costume and the props. who hides in plain sight. Creating digital moves in post was briefly considered. and everything else falls pretty close to black. which we used for the background and treated like regular bluescreen. and we followed those boards exactly.. That left blue. the scarf was puppeteered with monofilament as Lovett walked on a treadmill. In some scenes. In the shots where Kief wanted to pull some detail out of Lovett’s face. This creates the holdout matte that cuts out the area of the background plate dedicated to the foreground when the two are combined.” While shooting. puppeteering Lovett’s scarf with filament from atop stepladders or crouching behind flags. particularly the backgrounds.” says Kief. Electric fans were also used in conjunction with the monofilament.” The Digi Blue background was lit with Kino Flo bluescreen tubes. “My primary goal was to give each color as much separation as possible. he’d get shadows on the fluorescent tape. (The filmmakers also monitored an RGB composite for keying white elements. a captain’s chair and a treadmill (for walking shots). reacted powerfully in the red channel. if the lights were even slightly off axis. Calif.” Kief and Alender are aware of the similarities between their process and the photochemical bluescreen process. the reflectance is so bright. giving him a preview of what the individual luma keys were going to look like.000-squarefoot soundstage in Burbank.” The airship set. which allowed him to view one color at a time. comprised little more than a ship’s wheel. Kief notes. but Chris was meticulous about storyboarding every single shot. “The black light was actually strong enough that we were also getting a lot of fill directly from the fluorescent tape. and the foreground was lit with a pair of 4x4 Kino Flo heads outfitted with black-light tubes. Kief brought the black-light Kinos as close and flat to the lens plane as possible for the cleanest reflectance.To create the impression of the singer’s scarf blowing in the wind. “We did a lot of experimenting. despite the extra American Cinematographer work required to track the shots in post.” recalls Kief. the collar almost serves as a bounce surface. which was placed in a corner of Soapbox Films’ 10. “Chris and I prefer to create a move in-camera because a move created in post never looks as good — the three-dimensional perspective doesn’t change.) “When you look at the different channels.” says Kief. “We weren’t 100percent sure what the shot was going to look like in the end. catching the books he tosses into a furnace. (The furnace is CG. The production’s Red One MX was provided by Keslow Camera in Culver City. Two 2K Mighty Moles were outfitted with Mole Shutters for lightning effects. “It’s a real step forward and a real joy to be able to work with the Red at 500 . the most saturated colors become bright white. where composites were achieved by taking shots with bluescreen elements and rephotographing them through a blue filter in black and white so only those elements are 14 January 2011 exposed. The skeleton crew included producer/puppeteer Kris Eber. a couple of 1K nook lights on dimmers provided the illumination from the roaring fire in the airship’s furnace. but.
The new sensor is so clean that I can start at 500 ASA and have no problem going to 800 ASA. In post.” Kief and Alender see projects such as “Eye of the Storm” as great opportunities to experiment with art. handling most of the rotoscoping. media and technology. and some of the compositing and 3-D animation. The Digi Blue background was lit with Kino Flo bluescreen tubes. Alender peeled apart the RGB channels in Adobe After Effects.” Kief used T1.9 Zeiss Ultra Prime lenses. we would’ve picked a different camera altogether. “Wes Ball and his company. green for his goggles and bits of detail on his jacket.” says Alender. If we hadn’t had access to the MX. “We both love pushing the envelope creatively and technically. and the foreground was lit with a pair of 4x4 Kino Flo heads outfitted with black-light tubes. which look a lot like screen shots from Tron (1982): orange for the small details in Lovett’s shoes.” ● . I evolved into more of an art director on the post side of things — I roughed out a lot of the stuff that others executed. and blue for the outline of the singer and the props. Kief also wanted to keep a shallow depth-of-field. and a good signal-to-noise ratio is important when you’re trying to pull keys. opening the iris all the way and then lighting for the proper exposure level.” says Kief. stepped in to help with a lot of the final product. Bottom: Kief takes the helm on set.” says Kief. As more and more talented specialists jumped onboard.Top and middle: Lovett positions himself for a shot as a crewmember operates a small fan. and they’re really taking it to the next level with gorgeous sky environments and realistic particle effects. jacket and helmet. Oddball Animation. “Before the MX. shooting as wide as possible to accentuate the graphic compositions and American Cinematographer lend a slight distortion to the close-ups. “Using a Red with the original 16 January 2011 chip would have been really problematic because there’s so much junk in the blue channel. Most of the video was shot with a 14mm lens. so he shot every scene by setting the frame. “It’s a lot of fun working with Chris. “They also did the character animation for the demon creature. including crew and wire removal. rating the Red at anything higher than 200 would start to introduce a lot of noise. ASA. He’s been at the helm on some of my most unique projects. Alender started with the raw 4K frames.” Alender concurs.
com FOR MORE INFORM ATION Artwork © 2010 The Weinstein Company. .thecompanymenfilm.F OR YOU R CON SIDER ATION Best Picture Best Cinematography The Company Men PLEA SE VISIT www. All Rights Reserved.com and www.twcawards.
is able to exact his revenge. their entourage. HKSC. shelves of volcanic rock. and Prospera is accused of murdering Prospera appears to command the elements. Franco Zeffirelli elements. the king of Naples. had worked together on a Films. The Tempest opens with one of Dryburgh’s shots. deck and practical cabin. the Duke of Milan. the story hews fairly closely to Shakespeare’s original supervisor Kyle Cooper directed the sequence in which Ariel. Prospera’s daughter. high deserts. with its lava flows. Bruno Delbonnel. Mark Friedberg. shot by of the scene. departed stormy day exterior. wind and fire. Visual-effects that point on. the wife of Milan’s duke. is usurped by his traitorous brother. aid of computer-generated water. Julie Taymor’s film adaptation stars Helen Alonso (David Strathairn). She is exiled to a distant island. he a raging tempest threatens a ship carrying Antonio (Chris Cooper).Production Slate Prospera (Helen Mirren) summons all the forces of nature to whip up a storm and sink her enemies’ ship in The Tempest. Dryburgh rocky cliffs.” says Dryburgh. with the plot. stands in for Prospera’s isle. ASC. and Mirren as Prospera. some years later.) On Hawaii’s Big Island. A downpour begins. some members of Alonso’s family. (All of the photography on was on a plane to Hawaii with the script in hand. and from sprite Ariel (Ben Wishaw) who does her dirty work. “I on Big Island. made on that first morning in Hawaii: a close-up of a sandcastle with storm clouds looming in the distance as violent waves crash on coastal In William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Antonio.” ➣ 18 January 2011 American Cinematographer I The Tempest Hits Hawaii By Iain Stasukevich The Tempest photos by Melinda Sue Gordon. Dump tanks flooded raphy on that film. ASC. Juliet. citing Peter Brook’s King Lear. . but it’s really the her husband with witchcraft. In this version of the tale. ’00) as notable cinematic translaswamps. and exiled to an island where. the duke is killed by Antonio. and Cooper on the “Strawberry Fields” sequence. AFC. We weren’t worried about one scene matching the next. courtesy of Tempest Productions. the film after a few weeks of shooting. and Alonso. deep forests. SMPSP. “There’s a sense that the island is all things to all people. bare rock and orange-red earth. hand of Miranda (Felicity Jones). Prologue production designer. the filmmakers exploited each felt like I’d seen enough Shakespeare to know how it could work on location’s unique topography to accentuate the story’s supernatural film. including Taymor’s Across the Universe . Lanai was done by Doyle. The Tempest’s cinematographer. craters and Dryburgh’s behalf. “It has a very diverse landscape: there’s seashore. LLC. tions of the Bard. Stuart Dryburgh. Dryburgh completed the location filming He showed up to set the next morning and dove right in. and (The film’s visual effects were created by Cooper’s company. a production that involved extensive location work in Hawaii. melting the castle in the Prospero. collaborating closely with animation director Kyle the set with water and giant fans sprayed it in every direction. wrecks the CG ship. and Taymor’s Titus (AC Feb.) When The Tempest’s 18K HMIs backlit a thick layer of smoke to create the impression of a original director of photography. which required a full-sized mockup of the period ship. (Dryburgh did some additional photogcomplete with mast. Friedberg campaigned on The Hawaiian island of Lanai. In the distance.” and Baz Luhrmann’s very different interpretations of Romeo and says Dryburgh.) Throughout the shoot. Christopher Doyle. Dryburgh shot the live-action portion number of projects. and just two days after getting the call.
Bring on the pyro. For my next project. We’ll bring the camera: the new 9000PL. S-Gamut extends your color palette while S-LOG gamma preserves your vision from velvety blacks to piercing specular highlights. Sony’s SRW-9000PL takes on the most challenging assignments.“The 9000PL takes impossible lighting and gets amazing images–very smooth. I want this camera. And it’s easy to just pick up and shoulder. Visit sony. Or VFX.believe” and their respective logos are trademarks of Sony. The PL mount welcomes your 35mm motion picture lenses. “make. And the HDCAM-SR™ 4:4:4 image is not afraid of color grading. Features and speciﬁcations are subject to change without notice. the shadows six stops below key. ASC SRW-9000PL digital motion picture camcorder Bring it on. very ﬁlmic. All rights reserved. Sony. © 2010 Sony Electronics Inc. the high noon exteriors. . And shines.com/digitalcinematography for the full story. XDCAM. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.” –Francis Kenny. HDCAM-SR. Or green screen. CineAlta. You bring the challenge.
” recalls the gaffer. The goal with the subterranean grotto where Prospera and Miranda reside was a feel that was “sparkly and magical. slanting sunlight.) Taymor wanted to set The Tempest in a fantasy world that would feature costumes and imagery from many different periods of history. Once location photography wrapped.” Other scenes required a less realistic approach.Y. production moved to Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. Bottom: Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh.. Technical accuracy wasn’t as important as the emotions the images would elicit. and a lot of my conversations with Mark were about how to light the volcanic rock. “as if the sun is just peeping over the edge of the cliffs.” To create low. and we had narrow-beam [Source Four] Lekos on a pipe grid overhead to create small. Friedberg had a miniaturescale mockup built out of cardboard cutouts in forced perspective. “They were through a light diffusion just to fuzz out the edges. but Julie didn’t want us to worry about discrepancies. the film flashes back to the events in Milan. Middle: Prospera counsels her daughter (Felicity Jones) in their underground home. “We also used Maxi-Brutes through diffusion to push ‘daylight’ through the mouth of the cave. ASC. which appears to be seen through a hazy filter. Rather. and an effect color was used instead of the usual CTO to add warmth. To create this effect. not dark and scary. the director encouraged her lead creatives to design their work to stand out.” says Friedberg. supplied by the art department in different patterns and textures. and B-camera/Steadicam operator Carlos Guerra. A-camera operator Lukasz Jogalla.” Dryburgh adds. “The cave and the courtyard are almost 100-percent practical. N. Dryburgh actually placed sheets of scratched Mylar. (A-camera 1st AC Glenn Kaplan stayed with the production from start to finish.” says Dryburgh.” O’Leary and his crew rigged four Nine-Light MaxiBrutes in a lift in a cross configuration “and just peeked them over the set wall at quite a shallow angle.Top: Rear projection provides the background in a flashback to Prospera’s life in Milan. where Dryburgh’s collaborators included key grip Rick Maroquin. intense beams of light to suggest light creeping into the cave through shafts in the rock. When Prospera recalls Antonio’s act of treason. in front of the lens. gaffer Bill O’Leary. “We went from a speck of rock in the middle of the Pacific to an industrial warehouse in the middle of Brooklyn. These models were American Cinematographer 20 January 2011 . which was made of Styrofoam and paint.
and Wishaw was placed beneath the tank and photographed through a layer of rippling water. the filmmakers suspended a shallow. Difficult or not.” says Dryburgh. It’s like poetry. “Each location was chosen by Julie to convey the feeling she wanted for that scene.The Tempest contains approximately 330 visual-effects shots. and the single feather becomes many.Near right: The filmmakers prepare to shoot actor Ben Wishaw beneath a shallow water tank to create the illusion that the fairy Ariel is underwater. It was about something more spirited. “Sometimes you don’t have any option but to imply things. the banquet table explodes. discuss the look. ‘See you in three days when the first print is ready.” he says. I prefer to let the colorist make a contribution based on my briefing.” Some character effects didn’t involve 22 January 2011 any digital work at all. each taking the shape of an individual Ariel. Rear-projected reflections on the water and the use of foreground elements tie the effect into the real world. Far right: Greenscreen was used for a sequence in which Ariel transforms into a scary. Dryburgh’s goal in the digital grade. exercising poetic license is part of the job. When the men try to pick up the food. For scenes that show Prospera conversing with Ariel through the reflecting pool in her courtyard.” Dryburgh supervised Lucas’ work from New York. covered in black. Wishaw was unable to travel to Hawaii.” explains Dryburgh.” TECHNICAL SPECS 2. oily makeup with these huge wings suspended on cables from the roof. The transformation begins when Prospera drops a black feather into a vial of strange liquid.” explains the cinematographer. Kodak Vision3 500T 5219 Digital Intermediate ➣ . we tried to support the uniqueness of each location with our grading choices.” Rendering the character of Ariel required the combined efforts of the cinematographer. however. we tried to enhance and support the ideas that were formulated in these choices. “I really like those scenes because I had complete control over the lighting. The goal wasn’t seamless. and when you work with Julie. revealing Ariel in the form of a horrifying.) Just as Ariel takes the shape of the elements. some CG was used for compositing purposes. which was handled by senior colorist Yvan Lucas at EFilm in Hollywood.40:1 3-perf Super 35mm Arricam Lite Angenieux and Cooke lenses Fujifilm Eterna 500 8573. Taymor was keen to film these scenes with both Mirren and Wishaw present. production designer and visual-effects team. rather than sit there and call every light. and Cooper later separated them. and then say. Cooper approached the process with a strictly can-do attitude. “In the DI. black harpy. but he appears in many of the island’s exterior scenes. feathered creature. so only background plates and a few wide shots were photographed on location. transmitting notes and then assessing the results. All in all. photographed and then digitally rearprojected or composited into full-size liveaction scenes. glassbottomed water tank 4'-6' off the floor with pulleys. “Then we cut to Ben in his costume.’ Even when I can physically supervise the grade. was to let each scene stand apart rather than try to tie everything together visually. Friedberg concurs. “We tried to not overlap them physically.000 fps with a Phantom HD by 2nd-unit cinematographer David Dunlap). The glass explodes in slow motion (shot at 1. because those effects can be more difficult. he can also transform into other creatures. Dryburgh filmed the actors together at Steiner. (In most cases. where Ariel frequently interacts with Prospera. “Julie had a lot of fantastic ideas — they were good and also kind of outrageous. magical feel. “Some of the things she described would have called for industrial-strength effects were it not for her affinity for a handcrafted look. and the final effect is not quite perfect. If you’re working with someone who knows his stuff. highgloss visual effects. and he’s sitting on a pile of Mark’s glassy volcanic rock in front of a greenscreen. Creating the hundreds of screeching harpies was as simple as capturing Wishaw on a wire rig in American Cinematographer front of a greenscreen and multiplying the image.” Dryburgh remarks. you’d do well to let his knowledge and creativity come into play. “It was more like working with the old-time film timers. A key sequence sees him lure the king and his men onto a barren volcanic shelf with a mirage of lavish food and drink. which gives it a lovely. where you’d look at the work print.
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’ But the reality is that we American Cinematographer all have a shred of that person in us. but that’s how it was for people who were young then. shot by Michael Seresin. more colorful palette. “I like a dark story because it demands more from an audience. we used brighter. which I feel is the most cinematic of the Potter films. BSC.Above: Katie (Kirsten Dunst) becomes increasingly unhappy in her marriage to David (Ryan Gosling) in All Good Things. as well as brighter colors in the wardrobe and art direction.” The story covers about 30 years. high-key lighting. and I felt the film might become gimmicky. Sanford (Frank Langella). Her body has never been found. “I very consciously did not want the film to have a ‘then’ and ‘now’ feel in terms of a grainier Seventies and a slicker present day — that would have been too intrusive. and I don’t have to worry about anything because I don’t have a shred of that person in me. When there are a lot of shadows.” he explains.” continues the cinematographer. . sunny colors.” says Jarecki. his wife. saying. Katie (Kirsten Dunst). ‘That person is obviously totally different from me. some family and friends suspected Robert of murder. we gradually start introducing the idea that things aren’t quite right. but I felt that some of the images could still All Good Things photos courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. “I like movies that gravitate toward the underlit. and their imagination starts to work. Jarecki decided he wanted a cameraman with considerable experience. Right: The early days of the young couple’s marriage are rendered in a brighter. The result is All Good Things. He thought of Michael Seresin. from the mid-1970s to 2001. darker side of life. including financial success. which focuses on the Marks family: David (Ryan Gosling). and Seresin was keen to differentiate the periods subtly. We keep some of the bright colors as a counterpoint. “Michael’s powerful images in films like Angel Heart and Angela’s Ashes . When Kathleen mysteriously disappeared in 1982. “His work suggests that he thinks a film should not just be a continuation of reality. with more contrast and deeper shadows. Intrigued by the unresolved aspects of the Durst case. you often find a real person who had hopes and dreams.” After interviewing a number of young cinematographers for All Good Things . courtesy of his family’s real-estate dynasty in Manhattan. As the story progresses. and a beautiful and loving wife.” says the cinematographer. and even The Prisoner of Azkaban .” he says.” Jarecki observes. “It’s a bit of a cliché to have the story start with bright. was lower key. BSC. director Andrew Jarecki (Capturing the Friedmans ) teamed with producer/writer Marc Smerling and writer 24 January 2011 Marcus Hinchey to develop a fictional thriller based on the events. around 2001. “I’m always attracted by monster stories. I Dark Family Dynamics By Ted Elrick Robert Durst seemed to have everything. “The Seventies was when the world sort of changed from black-and-white to color. I think we tend to take people who do dark. Kathleen McCormack. who said his instinct was correct. and her disappearance remains the most notorious missing-person’s case in New York history. “The young ones seemed like they would come up with clever ideas every second. show that he is someone who cares deeply about the mystery of film. and his real-estate mogul father. The latter period. and then things turned out differently. AC June ’04). “When you look at the truth behind a monster. “We lit the two distinct periods in quite different ways. the audience isn’t quite sure if they can see something or not.” After several long-distance discussions about the script — with Jarecki in New York and Seresin at home in New Zealand — Seresin decided to sign on. For the Seventies. and called Alan Parker ( Angel Heart ) and Alfonso Cuarón ( Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. and with darker clothes and set colors. awful things and put them in a box.
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Above: David reluctantly takes a position at his father’s multimillion-dollar business. Right: Katie offers comfort as the stress of his job starts to take a toll.
suggest something a bit darker to the audience. We get more and more into night photography as the story gets darker.” During prep, Seresin did extensive testing at Technicolor New York, “more to show Andrew a few ideas for the look of the film,” he says. “Tech New York is family, and I love working with them.” Seresin tested the digital equivalent of Technicolor’s ENR process, but, he notes, “this was more of a guide for lighting contrast ratios, and reminded me of an approach rather than serving as a blueprint for the look of the film. I love the photochemical ENR process, which is hard to do these days. But the digital version is getting close.” (The final digital grade was done at Company 3 by colorist Matt Turner.) Apart from some home-movie footage, which was shot on Super 16mm,
26 January 2011
Seresin decided to shoot All Good Things on Kodak Vision3 500T 5219. “I love some of the older film stocks because you can get a sort of lovely patina — some call it grain — and I was tempted to try and find some older stock [for this movie], but I decided I preferred the challenge of working with a modern stock,” he observes. “I think so much of today’s film stock looks too perfect, too glossy, and I think we managed to get some of that patina in 5219. Somehow, it arrived. “I recently had a showing of Angel Heart on film, and it looks so different from the DVD,” he adds. “The digital transfer looks so slick, smooth and sharp. It’s missing that texture from the film stock.” The production’s camera package, provided by Panavision, comprised an Arricam Studio and Lite and a backup
Moviecam Compact. For the home-movie footage, Seresin used a Bolex H-16 Rex-5 “and mostly a 10mm Switar lens. That seemed truer and more appropriate than shooting 35mm and degrading it in post. “Cameras are not a big deal to me,” Seresin continues. “I like the new Arris, but to be dead honest, if I had a chip in my head and could just imagine the picture and then download it, I would. I’m not the world’s most technical cinematographer!” Lenses are another matter, however. “I have a set of Cooke S4 primes and Cooke zooms that follow me everywhere. They came out of JDC [Joe Dunton Co.]. Joe is a technical genius and a great friend, and I’ve used his spherical and anamorphic lenses on pretty much every movie I’ve done.” On All Good Things , Seresin used a full set of S4s and the Cooke 18-100mm zoom. Although the shoot took place in Connecticut and New York, Seresin was able to bring Peter Bloor, his longtime gaffer in Great Britain, aboard as the lighting consultant. “Peter and I first worked together on Midnight Express when he was just an electrician,” notes the cinematographer. “I finally persuaded him to work as a gaffer, and we’ve done more than a dozen movies together.” Seresin has high praise for the rest of the crew, which included Acamera/Steadicam operator Gerard Sava, Acamera 1st AC Stanley Fernandez, B-camera operator Tom Weston and B-camera 1st AC Paul Colangelo, all out of New York. “I am tough on a crew, and they were brilliant,” says Seresin. “We had a lot of handheld and Steadicam work, and a lot of location work. Some days we had two [company] moves, so you end up working at the speed of your slowest truck. We were filming at a time when everyone was taking advantage of New York’s tax breaks, so we were lucky to get such a great team.” Bloor agrees, adding, “We worked some incredible hours, and the crew never moaned or groaned; we just all got on with it.” Connecticut stood in for much of the New York photography, with a large, vacant house standing in for three different locations: David and Katie’s Manhattan apartment, Sanford Marks’ stately home, and the den where David practices “scream therapy.” Of the latter room, Seresin recalls, “There was a crazy quality to the design of the ceil-
Director Andrew Jarecki (foreground) and Seresin line up a shot alongside 1st AD David Wechsler.
ing tiles, which is why we chose that room. We had to shoot a really low angle to show it, but it worked.” Another prominent Connecticut location is the lakefront house where David and Katie escape the city. Fortunately for the crew, the production
found a house whose interior did not require much alteration to resemble a 1970s-era residence. “They even had a yellow Princess telephone,” says Jarecki. “All the phones in the house were dial, not push-button.”
The homeowner was very accommodating, but drew the line when the filmmakers asked if they could remove some tiles and part of the wall from the shower so they could shoot through the wall when Katie joins her husband in the shower. When the owner refused to allow the modification, Bloor suggested building a working shower outside the house: an interior in the exterior. “It was a freezing night in Connecticut, but the shower was boiling hot and full of steam, sufficient so that Ryan and Kirsten, who were nude, felt protected and comfortable,” says Jarecki. “It’s an extremely emotional moment in the story that required a lot of innovative thinking to pull off, and I think it’s one of the most unique images of the movie.” To light the shower, two 18" 3,200°K Kino Flos were positioned behind the actors to silhouette their bodies, and a 650-watt spot through Lee 129 Heavy Frost diffusion was rigged overhead. Another key sequence involves the disposal of a body from a bridge. The filmmakers originally thought of setting the action on a causeway bridge, with lighting
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Lite.” he says.” TECHNICAL SPECS 1. ‘Have you ever seen Rear Window?’ And he said. Vision2 50D 7201 Digital Intermediate ● 29 . That scene was big-scale cinema for a film with this budget!” According to Bloor. “What’s great is that we got a sharp outline of the profile of the bridge against the night sky with mist and smoke. “I suggested that we instead try to find a disused railway bridge. The statement by Fraker that begins at the bottom of page 67 should read. that’s fine. Fraker. “What I love about actors like Ryan and Kirsten is that they sort of suggest stuff to you — you watch them. David really is quite evil. I caught a glint from the glasses he was wearing. and I thought it made him look really evil.” p. and you suddenly get an idea.” The sentence after that should read.85:1 35mm and 16mm Arricam Studio. which are pretty common in upstate New York and Connecticut. The crowd had no idea what was going on when two teams came out wearing different uniforms. 64) was altered and/or omitted because of a production error. “In another career-spanning interview with Bob Fisher. “We actually had a very limited area to light because the goal was to make it creepy. we got it done. ‘Yeah. ‘No.” says Bloor.’ So we shot him in profile using a long lens to isolate him from the background.” says Seresin. “And that’s one thing that’s lacking in some of the films I’ve seen lately — there’s a vague plot.” Also. but I asked him. I usually don’t like asking actors to do stuff for the camera. Seresin adds. “For instance. he stressed the single-mindedness required to succeed in such a glamorous but demanding profession. ASC.” ERRATA Some of the text in our November tribute to William A. “To Billy’s credit. for the scene where David drags Katie out of her family’s party by her hair. But as I was walking past Ryan. the crew rigged a mix of 12K and 6K HMIs.” Seresin says he was particularly pleased to work with Gosling and Dunst. a long time ago.’ And I said. BSC (“King of Cool. a quote from Warren Beatty that begins at the bottom of page 76 should read. “anything we could get our hands on. ‘Remember how the reflection on Thorwald’s glasses made him look really evil? Do you mind if I just ask you to move your head a bit left?’ He said. but you don’t care about the characters. Bolex H-16 Rex-5 Cooke and Switar lenses Kodak Vision3 500T 5219/7219.” to light the bridge from the side opposite the action. the conventional way to shoot it would have been to look straight at her and then look straight back at him. Moviecam Compact. “We spotted one when we were driving back to the hotel one day and did a quick U-turn to check it out.sourced by streetlights. It strongly suggests that underneath it all.
’03) and Babel (AC Nov. ’06). ASC. AMC. and although it does not feature the kind of fractured narrative that characterized their previous features. his latest collaboration with director Alejandro González Iñárritu. all the while concealing his ill- 30 January 2011 American Cinematographer . a divorced father of two. who hustles a living in Barcelona by selling goods from a Chinese sweatshop to African street vendors. When Uxbal learns that he has a terminal illness. Amores Perros (AC April ’01).LettingGo Rodrigo Prieto. By Benjamin B •|• T he new film Biutiful is the latest collaboration between director Alejandro González Iñárritu and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto. AMC discusses his approach to Biutiful. it nonetheless offers a similarly rich tapestry of characters and subplots. 21 Grams (AC Dec. ASC. and by moonlighting as a kind of messenger between the dead and the living — he possesses the eerie ability to see ghosts. he struggles to come to terms with his fate. The film focuses on Uxbal (Javier Bardem).
and you chose to represent it in an unusually naturalistic way. ASC. illustrates the film’s naturalistic lighting and intimate camera style. Bottom: Prieto scopes out his options in a narrow alley.) American Cinematographer: The supernatural is an element that you and Iñarritu haven’t tackled before. ASC. but I did heighten the atmosww. His ability to see and hear the dead is part of his reality. so we didn’t want to depict that differently in terms of the visuals. Photos and HD frame grabs courtesy of Roadside Attractions. Tito (Eduard Fernández). shot by Rodrigo Prieto. Why? Rodrigo Prieto. (See page 38. The metaphysical is part of his everyday life. top: An HD frame grab from the scene that introduces Uxbal’s tempestuous exwife. ness from his loved ones.Opposite: Uxbal (Javier Bardem) helps his daughter. including his children. his tempestuous ex-wife. so I did not emphasize it through special lighting or camera gags for these moments. we were aiming for a subjective point of view that would emphasize Uxbal’s perspective. AMC: On this film. A few months after the film’s premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. and his brother. and we always wanted to stay believable. Ana (Hanaa Bouchaib). Iñárritu shared some observations about Biutiful and his approach to filmmaking. Middle: In another scene. with her homework in a scene from Biutiful. This page. to portray his environment the way he would see it. . AC caught up with Prieto to discuss the project. I wanted the film to feel naturalistic. AMC. Marambra is bereft after a confrontation with her ex. but it’s always based on real sources. Marambra (Maricel Alvarez).theasc. In a separate conversation. Marambra (Maricel Alvarez). I did allow myself to be a little bit more stylized with the lighting. On the whole film overall.com w January 2011 31 Unit photography by José Haro.
the rhythm of the camera 32 January 2011 Alejandro. and it’s the point where he In one of the first discussions I had with either falls apart or decides to take American Cinematographer . There movement was meant to represent was some concern that the shift would Uxbal’s emotional state. At first. and from we stay with the 1.◗ Letting Go Top: Prieto (shouldering a Panaflex Millennium XL2) and 1st AC Arturo Castañeda (center. Prieto shot most of Biutiful handheld.] unravel. Typical of his work with director Alejandro González Iñárritu. he is finally able to let go. I shot about 95 percent of the film handheld. with his back to camera) stay close to the action as Ekweme (Cheikh Ndiaye. where change from 1. but we decided it worked. it. he described Uxbal as someone who is uptight and controlling at the beginning of the film. We tried to be too jarring. keep him in frame most of the time. his world truly starts to Prieto: So you noticed? [Laughs. After that conversation. Alejandro wanted to find a way to represent this transition visually. as he is forced by his circumstances to accept his fate.40 to represent the transition from tight control to ultimate release. Prieto: Yes. We start the transition with the tragic There is a very unusual format scene in the Chinese sweatshop.40:1. This through the story. I suggested we test starting at 1.85 aspect ratio but spherical to anamorphic. Bottom: Prieto captures the climax of the police chase. partway switch to anamorphic lenses. phere of certain scenes through lighting to align the viewer with Uxbal’s thoughts. crucial moment that choice? for Uxbal. and and we thought it was subtle enough the way the camera moves around him is that the average viewer wouldn’t notice motivated by what he is focusing on. we talked about using tighter compositions in the beginning and then going wider as the story progressed. We designed complex shots that would tell the story without the need to cut. but many of the moves were carefully choreographed. I thought about it some more and wondered if we could take that a step further and play with the aspect ratio. far left) and other African street vendors scatter during a police raid. One stylistic carryover from your previous collaborations is the emphasis on a handheld camera. and then. What motivated marks a very powerful.85 and eventually opening up to 2.85:1 to 2.
that slightly liquid feel of anamorphic. we enhanced the flare of bright sources with a Tiffen Smoque Filter on the camera. with Uxbal crossing the bridge at sunset. Middle and bottom: Uxbal’s long walk ends at a garish. I felt that anamorphic lenses would help isolate him and convey his despair because they would slightly alter the texture of the image. where he seeks solace in alcohol and the opposite sex. I wanted the backgrounds at this point to have that softfocus texture. We made the aspect-ratio transition a few scenes later on a crane shot at the beach. and they gave the image a hard edge and contrasty feel that we liked. roaming the streets at night. and for most of the anamorphic work I used Panavision’s G-Series lenses. surreal nightclub.85:1 to anamorphic 2. like a window. Whenever there was a source of light in frame. The 1. Prieto shot this sequence in 1. and then going to meet his brother at the nightclub.theasc. so we ww. Prieto: He is going through a deeply traumatic moment. I shot most of the movie with Panavision Ultra Speed [Z Series] MKIIs.40:1.85 anamorphic passage in the film is very impressionistic. charge of putting his life in order. using an angle of the ocean to open the edges of the screen to 2:40.com w January 2011 33 . For certain moments.Top: This HD frame grab shows part of the film’s transition from spherical 1.85 with anamorphic lenses. the MKIIs would cause a slight flare.
I found that for night scenes. The film has a very rough. So we used [Kodak Vision2 500T] 5260. gave us a texture that we really loved. pass split diopters in front of the lens to defocus some elements in the frame. when there’s a lot of black in the frame. that he’s confused and doesn’t know where to go or what to do. so we would. but in the very dark. which we liked. combined with the USZ MKII lenses. it was his reaction to all the digital developments — he feels that more and more. We found that pushing 5260 by 1 stop. and that became an integral part of the movie’s look. which has a very clean grain. I used [Kodak Vision3 500T] 5219 pushed 1 stop. the pushed 5260 became a little too milky and a little too blue in the blacks. saturated image. How did you achieve that? Prieto: From the beginning. We wanted to create images that weren’t straightforward. Alejandro felt it was important to have film grain permeating the air. However. cleaner blacks. and shooting the evening scene day-for-night to accommodate child actors Bouchaib and Guillermo Estrella. it delivered deeper. Because Biutiful tells one story. I rated both film stocks at 640 ASA. I didn’t want to mix as many film stocks as I have on our other films. and for those I used [Kodak Vision2 50D] 5201. 34 January 2011 American Cinematographer . for example. but it was being discontinued. The stock I tested in the beginning was Kodak [Vision 500T] 5279.◗ Letting Go wanted to use different techniques to create the sense that things are out of balance. and then quiet time as the day comes to an end. Like all of your films with The HD frame grabs on these pages show a late-afternoon interlude in which Uxbal and Marambra enjoy ice cream with their children. The film is bookended by scenes set in the snow. It’s the only part of the movie that’s not pushed. powerful texture and a grainy. I wanted those scenes to be clean and pristine. that gave the night scenes a little less grain. In part. But film grain has actually been an important part of the visual palette in all our films. going back to Amores Perros. which is similar to 5279 but has better color reproduction. So for those scenes. The filmmakers’ sleight of hand in this location included placing greenscreen outside the window for the sunset scene and comping in the background later. to have a very different feel. Pushing enhanced the grain but also enhanced the contrast and the color saturation. highcontrast night scenes. movies tend to look too clean and plastic.
Using a separate diffusion in front of the Blanket-Lite. which creates a powerful but narrow light source that’s easily hidden behind a doorframe. Marambra. which created a soft ambient light. we had soft light for Marambra and a hard light for Tito. to simulate soft lamp light. I also used the Barger-Baglite DV-3 with Chimera Medium Video Pro Shallow Bank. It was a very small room. with a flag cutting the direct light on Marambra ww. along with the boom operator. My only lighting opportunity was the window. We used 18K HMI Fresnels through windows to create sunlight. so we begin with frontal light. the second AC. usually diffused with Full Grid. facing Marambra. with the window behind her. Luis Lattanzi. and when the camera came around on Marambra. So with one light source. We placed an 18K Fresnel on the balcony about 10 feet from the window. was doing the stop change.theasc. For HMIs. as well as the 1K [Lowel] Rifa light. I can bounce them for fill. hiding the shallow fixture behind lampshades or tucking it behind bedside tables. Arturo Castañeda. We put white show cards on the ceiling to create fill. against a wall. like an 8by-8 Full Grid cloth. I started on Tito waking up with my back to the window.” Kino Flo bulbs to rig either on ceilings or. including Flathead 80s and the 6-by-6 Blanket-Lite. My focus puller. we opened up the lens 2 stops. I do it the simplest way. dances on the bed and pours wine on him? Prieto: That location was a tiny room on the sixth floor that had a balcony. and you can rig them quickly. it’s probably the most effective. Biutiful was shot on location. or I’ll use the soft tube adapter. I use Dedolights for accent lighting. I use many different types. for sidelight in tight spaces. and that gives me the confidence to move freely. I used the sheers on the window to bloom the light coming in. We also built 4-by-4-foot soft boxes with eight “If you can find a solution that’s simple. where she bursts into Tito’s bedroom. How did you light the scene that introduces us to Uxbal’s ex-wife.Iñárritu. they don’t require much space or a lot of electricity. January 2011 35 . They’re very practical. gives you a very soft source inside a location. ending up with a fill light that was 2 stops under. The camera basically does a 270-degree move in the scene. We encountered this kind of situation often in the cramped locations. For tungsten.com w but allowing direct sunlight on Tito. I also used 1-by-1 Litepanels LED units configured in a square of four. The 4K Alpha came in handy to light through Full Grid diffusion frames of different sizes. and they all danced behind me as I moved around with the camera. so whenever possible. I used the K5600 400-watt and 800-watt Jokers extensively. has a feel for focus that’s just incredible. What kind of lighting did you bring to the locations? Prieto: I use Kino Flos a lot. and then I end up on the other side of the bed. they don’t get hot.
◗ Letting Go At a key moment late in the film. I do it the simplest way. lit by fill with a little bit of blue in it — a 4-by-4 soft box overhead with eight Kino Flo daylight tubes with ¼ CTB and Full Grid diffusion. So you used the shutters as a bounce board? Prieto: Yes. I had Condor lifts outside with two 18Ks. Uxbal has just a little bit of sunlight on his face. I also had a 4-foot-2-lamp Kino Flo just out of frame above the windows. Ekweme’s wife. the light comes in through the sheers. so whenever possible. using the set itself to bounce light in frame is something I did quite a bit on this film. When she opens the shutters. How did you light the happy scene involving Uxbal. to shoot a background plate with the sun at the right position for our interior location. it’s probably the most effective. I used a similar approach in Uxbal’s bedroom. We had an 18K gelled with Full CTO on a scissor lift just next to the greenscreen creating the ‘sunset’ light. our B-camera operator and second-unit cinematographer. It’s a very natural-looking source. We scheduled that scene so we’d be in the shade of the surrounding buildings for every shot. and it wasn’t oriented toward the sun. which is what happens at sunset — you get the warm sun combined with the reflection of the bluish sky. so we had to hang a greenscreen outside the window and ask Daniel American Cinematographer Aranyó. So there’s golden sun on the bottom part of Uxbal’s face. opens the shutters in Uxbal’s bedroom. Marambra and their children eating ice cream in her apartment? Prieto: That was a practical location on the fourth floor. but we somehow managed! That’s a very simple lighting setup. It’s a mix of color temperatures. Igé (Diaryatou Daff). so that when the shutters were closed. fills the room and flares the lens. If you can find a solution that’s simple. but to get the exposure I had to use a very powerful light. Light from two 18Ks outside the windows. What was your approach on day exteriors. I . I also put a 12K Par on scaffolding outside the window that was exclusively 36 January 2011 bouncing off the white shutter to light Igé when she’s standing in the dark room. we shot day-for-night. like the scene in which Uxbal follows Marambra out into the street and gives her money? Prieto: The main thing for me with exteriors is to schedule the time of day to shoot each angle. I lit the scene as sunset. one for each window. flares the lens as she opens the shutters. for example when Igé [Diaryatou Daff] opens the shutters. blacking out the windows. while the top of his face and the background are cooler. but with an egg crate made from strips of black coreplex to make it a little more directional and keep it off the walls. We didn’t like the view outside the window much. and used the same soft box with tungsten bulbs. we’d have some ambient light representing the daylight seeping in around the shutters. as we wanted this to be a precious moment for the family. For the evening scene that follows the icecream scene. We put Marambra close to the window so the backlight would hit her hair and make her more alluring. Prieto: Yes. diffused by the sheer curtains. and it’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie.
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we were completely invested. (You can ask the actors. the reality of walls. I’m not interested in reality. And I have to tell you that after three months of shooting. — Alejandro González Iñárritu I don’t know if I’m a masochist. The other reason I shoot all my films on location is that there’s something uncomfortable about locations that. which is what a film is really made of. and if all of us are traveling in time and space with the characters. and that made a big difference in the final result. the sets don’t have soul. and Biutiful is a requiem. 21 Grams is jazz. ha!) I wanted to shoot Biutiful in chronological order because that not only helps the actors travel correctly. It’s very difficult to describe Biutiful because in it. Babel is operatic. and we don’t know exactly the division between reality and illusion. that was an element of the film that was very difficult to find the right balance for. I think reality can never be matched in that sense. There’s something about the texture. he found light in the darkest places possible. I would say that Amores Perros is rock ’n’ roll. I like that. is made of the tension and rhythm that one image creates against another. Visually. Like many others. but it also has a metaphysical element. but also very profound. but I didn’t want to take the film into another territory. You know. and as an exquisite neurotic I can be unbearable as a director because Idemand whatever number of takes to get what I. we suddenly begin to be affected by the film. I wanted to create a perfume of the metaphysical element. the physical. for me.To me. Realistically and metaphorically. I’m interested in the truth of the universe that I try to portray. It’s a film that explores a timeless question — Where do we go when we die? — in the very specific and complex time we are all living. Ha. We just go straight to the DNA. We were living the experience. the vibe. Over the years.•|• Iñárritu on Method •|• are in time and space. and not only because I think that they will never represent reality correctly. It is close to a tragedy in the classical sense. Film. the metaphysical and a hyper-realistic approach. I played with elements that are new for me. the story of them. and I think it’s a very effective psychological environment. If I use musical analogies. but I hate soundstages. in a way. Biutiful is by far Rodrigo’s most lyrical and poetic work. but also helps me and Rodrigo and the rest of the crew really understand where we 38 January 2011 American Cinematographer . the character and the film need. I am obsessive. helps everybody feel they are in real territory and not making a film. Rodrigo and I have developed a communication level that is not only effective and very productive. the smell. We skip all those things that you normally have to go through when you start collaborating with someone. a perfectionist. Even if the builder creates sets exactly the same. The visual grammar of this film was very delicate and sophisticated because it had to combine the social. meticulous.
I went low with the camera to catch the flare from the skylight in the moment when he relaxes for a second in her arms. I try not to “Using the set itself to bounce light in frame is something I did quite a bit on this film. We had some MaxiBrutes gelled with Lee 013 Straw Tint uplighting the buildings in the background. Whenever I can. As you mentioned. as I find it can look quite fake. Did you use any lighting in the long sequence that shows Igé’s husband and the other African street vendors getting busted by the police? Prieto: No. it’s really tricky to schedule and rehearse it and make sure you capture the right moment.” use any electrical lighting on day exteriors. It’s all about scheduling. We lit other buildings in another part of the shot with Lee 728 Steel Green. I asked the production designer. it’s also the dusk of Uxbal’s life. Can you talk about the scene that shows Uxbal crossing the bridge? Prieto: At that moment. When Uxbal hugs her. I didn’t. representing the sodium-vapor streetlights at the location. just a handheld 3-by-3 white card for the eyes. to build in the fluores- . Brigitte Broch. as if metalhalide streetlights were glowing up the façades. With any dusk scene. The shifting color on their faces is the blue skylight combined with warmth that came from the sun bouncing off the brick buildings. there are many dusk scenes in the film.didn’t use any lighting.
digitalvision. he goes in and out of pools of cyan fluorescent light with uncorrected Cool White bulbs that contrast with the sodium hue in the background.tv “For ‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole’. we tried to emphasize Uxbal’s point of view.” Eric Whipp | Head Colorist at Animal Logic Digital Vision are grateful to our customers who continually Vision are grateful customers who continually raise the bar of excellence and propel us to push th exce ellence propel u the raise boundaries in nonlin near grading. We wanted an unsettling feel.◗ Letting Go The shot involved a very complex choreography of the handheld camera with the different elements surrounding Uxbal. www. we wanted it to look real and organic but somewhat enhanced. He was an amazing support for me. Can you talk about the sequence in the nightclub? The extreme colors and lighting provide a strong contrast to the rest of the film. Alejandro came up with the idea of having the strippers outfitted with latex breasts on different parts of their bodies. I have to mention that the entire crew was great. cent fixtures that you see on the bridge. we wanted to enhance the feeling that this is the moment when Uxbal just lets go. Prieto: It was a lot of fun to design that lighting. nonlinear grading. it was exhilarating. and again. He decides to drink and forget about Prieto checks the light on Bardem stand-in Francesc Sadurní. Recipient of the 2010 Engineering Excellence Award fo its High Dyn r or Dynamic Range Pipeline Recipient Excellence Award for Range 40 . and I think my gaffer. but when we got it. It was an extensive lighting job. Jose Luis Rodriguez. all shots were graded and composited in Nucoda Film Master in EXR format. which was great as it was like working with a ﬁlm negative in the sense that there was range in the highlights that could be pulled back if required. is one of the best gaffers in the world. so that as Uxbal walks on the bridge. Getting everything right at the exact moment of dusk light was quite a challenge.
we wanted more dramatic lens flares. We brought in most of the lighting. which is the ultimate mirror shot. 50D 5201. Peering into another dimension is what Uxbal does. As Uxbal enters the room. and I ended up choosing waves of colors.everything. Vision3 500T 5219 Digital Intermediate Printed on Kodak Vision Premier 2393 . and a few strobe lights. he is bathed in ultraviolet ‘black light. Prieto: We didn’t make a conscious decision to use mirrors.85:1 and 2. They figure in several scenes. gelling most of the units with Rosco 90 Green and Storaro Orange. including the last one. I also used a video projector with bubbly images for one of the strippers climbing up a wall. but I think that the feeling you get throughout the movie is like Through the Looking Glass. But we can’t talk about that because it would be a spoiler! ● TECHNICAL SPECS 1. I also used these lenses for the scene after the club. it’s his gift. so we used the special Panavision C-Series ‘Flare’ lenses in the club.’ and we shot without a UV filter on the camera. Mirrors seem to be a recurring motif in the film. which creates a hazy. Mostly. I lit that area with this sort of blue cyan with waves of purple that I felt was more in tune with Uxbal’s despair. G-Series and C-Series lenses Kodak Vision2 500T 5260. many pulsing Par cans.40:1 35mm Panaflex Millennium XL2 Panavision USZ MKII. until a red light flashes as the music changes and they move to the dance floor. as though the mirror is another reality. What about the very saturated blue light that bathes the scene when Uxbal talks to the woman in the booth? Prieto: We lit the booth with two 4-by-8 Martin LC series RGB LED panels that we positioned overhead. We could program the panels with digital video images. We had robotic Mac 2000s projecting patterns and colors throughout the club. To emphasize the otherworldly feel. We took that all the way in the last scene. where a drunken Uxbal goes back home to discover that his son has been left alone by Marambra. atmospheric. indigo light that contrasts with the orange and green of the first part of the scene. What I liked about it was that it didn’t have the hard edge of standard nightclub lighting — there’s a softer texture to the light — and we could shift the colors as the scene progressed.
FSF mixes 2-perf Super 35mm and Betacam-SP for the period boxing drama The Fighter. NSC. they had raw and uniquely American visuals in mind. at its core. Hoyte van Hoytema. to get that job done. Wahlberg stars as Boston boxer “Irish” Micky Ward. Russell was impressed by van Hoytema’s work on the Swedish feature Let the Right One In. NSC. Dickie (Christian Bale). and on the blackand-white Swedish television show How Soon is Now? What Russell hired van Hoytema to shoot was. Russell partnered to develop The Fighter. portions of which were re-created by the filmmakers American Cinematographer . By Michael Goldman •|• Tough 42 January 2011 Love F rom the earliest moments that producer/actor Mark Wahlberg and director David O. The movie is built around the framework of a real 1995 HBO documentary that covered Dickie’s descent. they turned to a European cinematographer. a gritty. Ironically. who learns how to be a champion from his half brother.Hoyte van Hoytema. even as Dickie battles drug addiction. reality-based drama. FSF.
“I prefer 2-perf over all the digital cameras I’ve tested.Additional photos courtesy of the filmmakers.” Abel Cine Tech provided the production with three new Penelopes..40:1] output. while working extremely fast. NSC. Shot entirely in Lowell. you expose far less negative than 4-perf. and if you are interested in getting grain and texture. (Principal photography took 38 days. Russell and van Hoytema both wanted to be improvisational to a large degree — going handheld. which may be why 2-perf hasn’t really been used here. studio picture. Europe seems a bit more flexible — in a smaller industry. HBO lent the production some personnel. mobile and as light as possible — and when creative requirements and budget considerations appeared to suggest a digital format for principal photography. it’s the way to go. Because of Wahlberg’s relationship with HBO via his series Entourage. “I find that workflows and proven working methods are harder to change or adapt in an established industry like Hollywood’s. Mass. “In that respect. January 2011 43 . you need to be able to adapt. The filmmakers also took an unorthodox approach to the drama surrounding the boxing. FSF shoulders an Aaton Penelope.) The cinematographer was accustomed to shooting 2-perf in Europe. Opposite: Trainer Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale) raises the arm of his half-brother. top: Ward takes a shine to Charlene (Amy Adams).com w Unit photography by JoJo Whilden. and felt he could use the format to more successfully accommodate Russell’s desire to shoot mostly handheld or with a Steadicam in small locations. (The production prohibited the use of Super 16mm. often in limited light.” he adds.” says van Hoytema. This page.theasc.S.as a framing device. and the filmmakers’ equipment included period-correct Betacam-SP standarddefinition ENG cameras (supplied by Pittsburgh’s NEP Supershooters). saving a lot of money.after a big win. an unusual move for a U. courtesy of Paramount Pictures.) This approach would also enable the filmmakers to capture grainy images to suit the story. a sharptongued bartender. “When shooting 2-perf for [2. ww. van Hoytema instead suggested using Aaton’s Penelope cameras to shoot 2-perf Super 35mm. Bottom: Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema. the Fighter team was given full access to the network’s sports-broadcasting unit so they could accurately re-create portions of some of these fights. “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg). The Fighter includes extended boxing sequences choreographed and shot to mimic Ward’s real fights in the late 1980s and early 1990s as they were broadcast on HBO.
“We used some of the saturated look of the big colors from the late Eighties.” It was important to Russell that the images “not look designed.” says Russell. Micky wears a red shirt when he confronts his family. and we use red very selectively. with the rest being fairly monochromatic. a little eclectic. and I had used it before. but he eventually concludes that her career guidance isn’t optimizing his prospects.” he says. also serves as his manager. Eterna 250T 8553. so the choice was a comfort thing. For example.” he says. American Cinematographer The zooming added a new axis to the equation and occasionally gave us unexpected results.” according to van Hoytema.” Because The Fighter is a period piece. but it often also smoothes out moves and becomes a bit too clinical or predictable. and red also shows . “We didn’t want people to watch this film and directly pinpoint a look or an obvious intention. “I often handled the remote zoom to make small adjustments in movements and close-ups. which meant lots of color in parts of the frame and little color in other parts.◗ Tough Love Right: During a key bout. The Steadicam is very handy. sort of like jamming in a band. Russell wanted it to evoke the palette and style of the early 1990s. Alice (Melissa Leo). “It’s good to be acquainted with the limits of your film stock. Van Hoytema chose three Fujifilm stocks that he knew well. “Each [bold] color has a purpose. Angenieux Optimo 28-76mm zoom lenses. and with the Steadicam rig this became a versatile and flexible tool. “We even wanted things to look a bit messy. and a set of Arri Master Primes (ranging from 14mm to 150mm). Sometimes it added that extra bit of tension and dirt. 250D 8563 and 500T 8573. “I felt the Fuji would respond well to lots of different colors. it gives you less 44 January 2011 to worry about and more time to focus on what’s in front of the camera. “The Penelope allowed us to use a small zoom. but we also picked a palette for each scene with [production designer] Judy Becker so that we’d have only one bold color in each frame. Eklund urges Ward to dig deeper and follow their fight strategy. For me. [the visuals] had to be more closely linked to the direct. emotional side.” he continues. Below: Ward’s feisty mother.
” Haley observes.theasc.” In fact. But there was one occasion. ‘Okay.com w January 2011 45 . “We used the camera almost in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. he continues.’ We just called ‘roll out.After a violent confrontation with the police (top).’ so takes lasted as long as there was film in the camera. or design shot lists ahead of time.” A-camera operator Geoff Haley captured most of the drama sequences with a Steadicam. Eklund lands in prison (middle). which David excels at. “David rarely called ‘Cut. “I’d say this was the most difficult shoot I’ve ever done as an operator. don’t cut!’ So. in the middle of a take. and David asked me to go to a longer lens and move around Christian.’ and David yelled. Haley says this was a direct result of Russell and van Hoytema’s desire to improvise without stopping frequently for reloads. We were about five minutes into the take. ‘No. for the first time in my career. where he urges Ward to follow his advice for an upcoming bout with a formidable opponent. I said. up as blood in the ring. he would show up on the day with the actors and allow the scene to organically play itself out. He didn’t storyboard. Bottom: Ward’s parents console him after he suffers a brutal beating at the hands of a much heavier fighter. I stopped and ww. let’s cut and quickly change lenses. when we were shooting in Dickie’s apartment on a wide prime lens. Instead. per se. He and Hoyte were adamant about wanting a camera style that could adapt quickly and easily with little or no down time.
and he suggests it’s a “simple way of lighting a set while still being able to look out windows. he should light through the window. gyms. tight locations such as apartments. he should light through the door. You . and then bouncing a large light. lights always stayed on the ground. Indeed. “Hoyte believes that if there’s a window. over the face of the building. gaffer Mike Moyer 46 January 2011 calls van Hoytema one of the most talented source lighters he has ever seen. The “eyebrow” is something he has been utilizing for years. we could just move lights to different positions on the ground to get different angles of attack with soft light coming through the windows. The production lent the fight scenes extra authenticity by employingperiodcorrect Betacam-SP standard-definition cameras. jail cells and police stations. The floor is clean of lights. natural-looking bounce through the windows that was very controllable.◗ Tough Love Right: Ward goes nose-to-nose with WBU champion Shea Neary (Anthony Molinari) during the prefight introductions for their2000 lightwelterweight title bout in England. and we used large bounces. into that reflective material. Below: Ward exults after defeating Neary on an eighthround technical knockout. bouncing up into it. changed lenses on the Steadicam while the film was still rolling through the camera!” Many settings were dingy.” says Moyer. and if there’s a door. so the camera can move around freely. With the bounce material in place.” Van Hoytema says it was almost a steadfast rule to light from the outside. We hardly ever put a light up in the air. with very few exceptions for drama sequences. “The way he achieves this is by creating large ‘eyebrows. in this case reflector flood Arrimax 18Ks.’ basically reflective material over every window or whatever the American Cinematographer source is. and we had large lights on the street below. which are frequently visible in frame. rigged off trusses and motors over the side of a building. By adjusting the angle of the truss frame. we created a wonderful. and van Hoytema’s source-lighting schemes were central to the realism Russell was pursuing. One bounce was 120-by-12 feet.
rather than setting them up shot by shot. This was mainly because Wahlberg wanted to do all choreographed fighting himself. he decided to avoid bringing cameras inside the ring and close to the actors. the shooting and lighting paradigm changed to emulate HBO broadcasts of three of those fights.” recalls Russell. In keeping with the story’s period. one lifted a 48-light spot Dino. creating realistic ambience. van Hoytema was committed to avoiding a sodium look on the streets. Russell was also keen to find an approach to the boxing scenes that would be different from the stylized imagery in Raging Bull and Rocky. The light will fall off quite fast the farther it goes into the room. one lifted a 20'x20' Ultrabounce. so the filmmakers didn’t want to prolong it. however. except for a brief montage in the middle of the film and a few shots in the climactic fight.◗ Tough Love Right: An overhead grid of Par 64 cans illuminates the ring in Lowell’s Paul Tsongas Arena. because numerous sequences take place 48 January 2011 on the urban streets of Lowell. Again. and a bit of smoke helped carry the light a bit further. and one lifted another 20'x20' Ultrabounce to capture and bounce spill from light shooting across the street. Moyer says such scenes were largely lit with three Condors.” Van Hoytema was equally dynamic with the film’s extensive streetlighting work during night filming. so all streetlights close to the filming were fitted with metal-halide lamps (250-watt 4. the goal was to light as naturally as possible. and that work left him exhausted. Thus. “Mark really wanted to shoot the boxing scenes so they flowed in one big sequence. All of the boxing scenes were shot over three days in Lowell’s Paul Tsongas Arena. where all of the fight scenes were shot over three days. For action in boxing arenas. so there is quite a dynamic when the actors move around. Below: Large “eyebrow” reflectors suspended above location windows allowed van Hoytema to bounce lighting into the interiors. can throw light into the room without blocking the view outside. We just let them go dark away from windows.000°K 90CRI) that were more neutral. reducing the contrast. bouncing light across and around sections of streets when actors were interacting up against American Cinematographer or near buildings. “We did shoot a small fight sequence that was stylized from the .
He says HBO’s guidelines for how to shoot these scenes were easy to follow.S. “David would sit at a table with monitors from all the camera outputs.” recalls the cinematographer. handheld cameras just outside the ropes to get more intimate coverage of the fight. we shot those scenes as if they were broadcasts of real matches.actor’s point-of-view. “There were two long-lens cameras perched basically halfway up the stadium stairs to get long-lens and wide shots. “We’d work in sequences rather than moments or beats.” Van Hoytema notes that he had never shot or even watched boxing before making The Fighter. there was some banding in the images when they were blown up. and I enjoyed that. It was tough for MARK II Available with For all 35 mm lenses incl. and some of the original HBO cameramen and technicians also worked on these scenes. but I feel that gives it a historical feel. PL54-mount Optimo Rouge DP PANA-mount BNCR-mount Representative in U. [B-camera operator] Dana Gonzalez and I came in. with additional material to choose from on tape.com . Because we used older video cameras that were clearly meant for the small screen. and let things happen. but otherwise. CA 91605 Tel. Those four cameras were taping to isolated tape decks in the production truck but were also being cut together live by an HBO technical director.” The team used the same kind of Sony BVP-900 and BVP-950 Betacam-SP cameras that were used to capture Ward’s fights. That gave a rawness and realness to the flow of the fights. There was a certain flow to shooting in one movement with the [Betacam] cameras rather than stopping and starting.” notes Haley. Then.: camadeus Film Technologies Nor th Hollywood. and then they had two apron cameras.) “The technique is essentially how HBO still covers boxing matches. ropes and arena advertisements used for those televised matches. (The network even provided the same boxing ring. abandoning our film cameras and using Sony [UVW-500] Betacams to cover all the events happening outside the ring and around the arena. +1-818-764-1234 We accept www.denz-deniz. That gave them a line cut they could use as a starting point and that David could use in editing.
” Kulikowski continues. According to post supervisor Christopher Kulikowski. a Massachusetts native and one of the project’s producers. “They playback on set. what David wanted. A basic and then we converted it to HD at 24 established sports style. a glassy surface will soon be shattered.” truss grid over the ring lit most of the fps by running it through a Terranex In the shimmering heat. 352 Think LEE www. It was a bit of different broadcasts. which is film be shot in his home state to capture the local flavor.” The project’s post workflow was handled at Technicolor facilities in New York and Hollywood. thinking for us to make the drama fit an harsh feel” on the big screen. Wahlberg. every other light. so that one lens was horizontal and one was vertical. the standard-definition video footage blew up to 24-fps Wahlberg. David to see everything live on all the Lighting in the arena was largely “It was basically a two-step monitors we had.◗ Tough Love action. Bale and crewmembers prepare to shoot the movie’s opening scene on the streets of high-definition nicely while retaining Lowell. so there was a lot of configured exactly as it was for HBO process. “It was a box grid the dimensions of the boxing ring. insisted that the “the gritty quality of the video. and the Hollywood house handled the digital intermediate.com 50 . “All the lenses were turned. including up-rezzing and converting the Beta-SP images. The New York house provided dailies. creating what Russell calls “a shot in the Beta-SP format at 30 fps.leefilters. with about 35 medium Par 64 cans for each side of the ring.” Moyer explains.
but on the other hand. where the conversion work was done by Technicolor Creative Services. and then later converted all the video material to DPX files to be incorporated into the DI files.40:1 2-perf Super 35mm and Digital Capture Aaton Penelope.” Russell says his creative synergy with van Hoytema was so complete that he regards the cinematographer as “someone I think I can work with for a long time. He’s a very special guy. you treat it like a visual-effects sequence and paint those out. We felt this was an obvious and quite logical way to do it. It was an enormous undertaking largely because they shot six to eight video cameras inside the arena.conversion box. “and when we tested it in prep.” ● TECHNICAL SPECS 2.” As far as massaging the 2-perf 35mm footage went. David and I thought that looked better than the HD tests we made. retaining the noise and imperfections of the original Beta-SP. “As far as removing imperfections. “The DI requires everything to be turned into a 4-perf anamorphic negative and print. the director asked Dustin to be subtle. Technicolor has great restoration tools for that sort of work. That was true even with the Betacam footage. in a departure from the extensive post manipulation he has requested on films like Three Kings (AC Nov.” The DI. because he was satisfied that van Hoytema had largely achieved the desired look in-camera.” he says. which van Hoytema describes as “strangely sharp and rough at the same time” on the big screen — exactly what he and Russell wanted. 500T 8573 Digital Intermediate Printed on Fujifilm Eterna-CP 3514DI 51 . 250D 8563. organizing all that footage was challenging. “Something really interesting happens with the texture when you convert Betacam to film. it made their lives so much easier in production for this kind of a movie. BVP-950 Angenieux Optimo and Arri Master Prime lenses Fujifilm Eterna 250T 8553. Sony BVP-900. was the first of Russell’s career. Shooting 2perf means you have to take some more time in post. ’99). so the optical-blowup issue has gone away. This time. I like people with a fresh eye who are not cynical or hungry.” says the cinematographer. Kulikowski suggests that today’s DI tools have made those adjustments fairly straightforward. handled by colorist Tony Dustin. The tapes were actually sent to Los Angeles. actually.
David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (AC Jan.Tron: Legacy. shot by Claudio Miranda. “At the time.” says Kosinski. leaving behind his son. Sam (Garrett Hedlund). who has become an aimless extreme-sports enthusiast. But the trailer was a hit. mixes 2-D and 3-D to update the environments of the 1982 sci-fi hit. the action-packed journey required Miranda to shoot both 2-D and 3-D and help to further evolve the digital facial-replacement techniques that played heavily into his previous feature. . the project would be put on hold. location work for sequences set in the real world was done around the city. and he’s always up for tinkering with something new. Principal photography commenced in April 2009 and was done primarily onstage at the Canadian Motion Picture Park outside Vancouver. [Disney] wasn’t sure there was demand for a Tron sequel. “Claudio and I have done another 14 or so commercials together since then.” says Kosinski.’09).” The first steps toward realizing Legacy included the creation of a teaser trailer. The sequel Tron: Legacy reveals that Kevin disappeared in the Grid 20 years ago. By Noah Kadner •|• Back tothe Grid I t’s been nearly three decades since Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) first entered the high-stakes digital world of the Grid in Tron. Among other challenges. where he is finally reunited with his father. directed by first-timer Joseph Kosinski and shot by Claudio Miranda. which premiered at Comic-Con in 2008. Legacy. and the feature received a green light. ASC. and we knew that if we failed [at Comic-Con]. Fincher introduced Kosinski to Miranda in 2005 when Kosinski was looking for a cinematographer to shoot a January 2011 52 American Cinematographer commercial in Los Angeles. takes Sam into the Grid. He’s an amazing artist with a great technical mind. ASC. “He has been a great friend and partner.
referring to the point in space where the two cameras’ lenses are aimed.Opposite: Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) follows in his father’s footsteps and races a light cycle within the world of the Grid in Tron: Legacy. Kosinski started the day by showing off the Comic-Con trailer in high quality and then reviewing storyboards and cutout models of key set pieces. This page.” When shooting with the 3-D rig. 1st AC Jonas Steadman supported camera operator John Clothier from a specially converted digital-imaging-technician station.as the filmmakers prepared to shoot a major action sequence and close-ups of Hedlund simultaneously on different stages. “I loved its shallow depth of field and softer. many of which paid subtle homage to the original film. and which determines whether objects appear to float in front of or behind the screen plane. using a pair of Sony CineAlta F35 cameras. For example. and in order to further distinguish the digital world created by Kevin Flynn from the real world. shot by Bruce Logan. To enhance the sense of technological progress that has marked the intervening decades. where he used a Camnet touch-screen ww. system. fitted with Sony HDC-F950s. Steadman pulled focus with a Preston remote-focus handset. Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Disney Enterprises.0. Recording 1080p HD to Codex hard drives. Bottom: The filmmakers utilized digital face-replacement technology to create Legacy’s antagonist. they shot sequences set in the Grid in stereoscopic 3-D. After testing a number of options. Miranda decided to work with Pace’s Fusion 3-D system. were achieved primarily by painstakingly rotoscoping and colorizing black-andwhite 70mm film and incorporating state-of-the-art computer animation. in addition.com w system designed by Pace to handle interocular/convergence. was used on James Cameron’s Avatar (AC Jan. Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is reunited with his son. CLU 2. “we decided to January 2011 53 . ASC ( AC Aug.” Miranda says during a break in filming. ’82). An earlier iteration of the Fusion Unit photography by Douglas Curran. “we really preferred the 35mm-sized sensor in the F35. more pleasing 3-D effect. and although the Legacy team tested that rig. directed by Joseph Kosinski and shot by Claudio Miranda. The groundbreaking visual effects in the original Tron. mirror corrections and iris. the filmmakers devised their own guidelines for their 3-D work. AC visited the Legacy set in June 2009. ’10). Inc. the Legacy team chose to embrace high-definition video. top: Twenty years after disappearing into the Grid. ASC.theasc.
“We treated convergence as a fixed point in 3-D space that moves independently from focus.” notes Kosinski. Flynn’s Arcade was constructed at the Canadian Motion Picture Park outside Vancouver.35 frame in order to keep items from breaking the horizontal frame lines.◗ Back to the Grid Top: Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) informs Sam that he received a page from the longabandoned Flynn’s Arcade. which helps guide the eye along with the depth cues.35:1. Miranda ruled out handheld and Steadicam shots. “I would have needed Arnold Schwarzenegger to carry that rig.” The filmmakers framed for 2. Joe liked nodal shots on axis and linear. it tends to ruin the illusion. deliberate camera moves from point A to point B.” Given the complexity and weight of the dual-F35 3-D rig. not lock convergence with focus. which makes the screen appear like a box you’re looking into. “The style of cinematography we envisioned for Legacy was well suited to dolly and crane shots. which is logical for a movie set inside a computer. and “we protected the top and bottom of the 2. Many of our sets were elevated. Additionally. “When the brain perceives a depth cue disrupted by those edges. and we spent a lot of time on a Hydrascope telescoping arm combined with a Titan crane and a 54 January 2011 American Cinematographer . Middle and bottom: Aided by digital extensions.” Miranda explains. and keeps things from leaping out unnaturally. we went against the ‘rule’ of deep-focus depth-of-field for 3-D and let our backgrounds go really soft.” he says with a laugh.
It also allowed me to create a perfect highspeed circle track. In the first Tron. “I didn’t use the original film as a reference.” In Legacy’s present day. the idea was to treat the lighting no differently from any ww. For this. allowing Miranda to shoot at up to 1. and the body double. to check on Kevin’s long-abandoned arcade.” explains Miranda.. to work as a gantry motion-control crane.theasc. Pace supplied the production with a modified 3-D mirror rig fitted with two optically linked Vision Research Phantom HD cameras. As on Benjamin Button. “Jeff was on set to digitally drive the facial animation. Flynn’s Arcade was a real location in Culver City. and Bridges was able to play his younger self thanks to the facial-replacement technology pioneered by Digital Domain for Benjamin Button . Eric Barba.com w other scene. designed by Pacific Motion Control.” Some of the action set in Legacy’s digital world also required high-speed photography. Inside the arcade. Legacy opens with a prologue set in 1989 and then jumps ahead to the present day. cuing the film’s switch from 2-D to 3-D. Bottom: Sam discovers his father’s secret lab. We also modified a Graphlite. I could reach anywhere on set without laying track.” says Miranda. Instead of laying motion-control track on the ground. This gave us great flexibility. arcadegame machines and the street outside. January 2011 55 . Bridges’ facial movements were captured by means of a headmounted rig with four witness cameras. where he inadvertently triggers a laser that digitizes him and transports him into the Grid. reprising his role from Tron) prompts Sam. and then we Top: Miranda motivated the lighting inside Flynn’s Arcade from hanging practicals. Button’s visual-effects supervisor. Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner. and production designer Darren Gilford painstakingly re-created the set at the Vancouver studio for Legacy. The double had a hairstyle and build similar to Jeff’s younger self. again collaborated with Miranda for Legacy.000 fps while closely matching the F35 material. the track and crane were inverted to come from the ceiling. we didn’t want to draw any special attention to the effect. these sequences were shot in 2-D with a single F35 on location in Vancouver. shot with a body double mimicking his physical movements. “wore a gray mask to facilitate the replacement process. Miranda notes.Chapman G3 stabilized head. so we could go without the mask on over-the-shoulder shots. Calif. The prologue features a young Sam (Owen Best) and Kevin. now 27.
we had a few four-bank Kino Flos in soft boxes overhead. which serves as a focal point in the arcade. For ambience. “We put a bunch of practicals in the lab. we put R40 tungsten lamps inside the hanging practicals.” Hidden behind the Tron video game. the digitized face was then mapped onto a body double. Miranda used a digital projector to give the light a subtle computer-grid effect. a couple of 4-foot single Kino Flos gelled with ½ CTO for fill.”The lab contains a laser capable of digitizing a human and transporting him or her into the Grid — the same mechanism that launched Kevin into 56 January 2011 American Cinematographer . but they were used very minimally. In the arcade. The only lights were the 20K [with ½ CTO] outside the window and. which casts a blinding beam of light akin to a helicopter searchlight. We used conventional lights outside the arcade — the big light through the door was a 20K gelled with ½ CTO. The place is supposed to be dilapidated now. Middle and bottom: Bridges wore a head-mounted rig fitted with witness cameras to capture facial movements for CLU 2. creating pools of light. for fill. The arcade machines lit themselves. Sam finds a passageway that leads to his father’s secret lab. and it’s lit by the glow of covered arcade-game machines and sodium-vapor lights motivated by the street outside.0.◗ Back to the Grid Top: Sam is discovered by a Recognizer. though I did augment them a bit with some Blue Green Kinos around the machine for lighting Garrett. but turned them all off in the end because we decided to play things darker and more mysterious. “Our version of the look is less saturated and has warmer tones.
” notes Miranda.) In Tron. we integrated Vision X 4-foot off-road-racing LED headlamps everywhere. and we beamed it all around Sam to create the effect. with long stretches of roadways and façades.500°K side. (Quantum Creation FX supplied the suits. The good guys have cool tones — blues. the filmmakers were determined to create the effect in-camera. and then sent directly to manufacturing and cast in latex.0. Instead.’” “The suits really drove the pastel look of the digital world. but we mainly used only the 5. The Recognizer casts a blinding beam of light onto Sam. CLU 2. is transported to the Grid.” notes Miranda. The suits were sculpted in 3-D using [Luxology’s] Modo and [Pixologic’s] ZBrush. The actors wore lithium battery packs. the uniform of all of the Grid’s inhabitants. which were built as backlot sets with interactive lighting. “We avoided traditional 1K and 2K units. and Miranda “wanted it to feel like a helicopter searchlight. the glowing effect was created in post through frame-by-frame cel animation. Gilford explains. who looks exactly like Kevin Flynn circa Sam is pressed into play in the lethal Disc Arena.” the cinematographer continues. purples and greens — while the bad guys have the warmer reds and oranges. the digital realm in Tron. too. The cinematographer also eschewed filtration in order to minimize light loss and deliver pristine imagery for post. a U-shaped flying troop carrier/prisoner transport that appeared in a more primitive form in Tron. The suits’ low light output necessitated shooting with minimum levels of fill light and keeping lenses at their widest apertures. “I generally lit to the monitors and didn’t carry a light meter.” says Miranda. The latter “had 5. We used a digital projector with the grid pattern loaded up.” says Miranda. we’d turn the lights on as the cameras started rolling and switch them off right at ‘cut. Miranda worked with a selection of Arri Master Primes.” After being picked up. which was constructed onstage as a mostly bluescreen set. Sam is introduced to the film’s antagonist. “After a while. “The primary lighting in the costumes was EL [Electro Luminescent] technology derived from cell-phone displays. “We really wanted the suits to read bright. for Legacy. Sam is discovered by a Recognizer. and we controlled the lights wirelessly to conserve power. like the glow of a computer monitor. it’s a very thin lamp sandwiched in a film laminate. 58 January 2011 “Instead of streetlamps. he. When Sam inadvertently triggers the laser. Sam is American Cinematographer . The world of the Grid includes city streets. He turned to the 14mm and 18mm to take in the sets’ full scope. he and gaffer Drew Davidson employed Image 80s with Kino Flo 55 tubes for a 40'x40' overhead soft box and some Philips Color Kinetics lights. but a little different — the beam has a subtle computer-grid effect over it. at which point the film transitions to stereoscopic 3-D. “We wanted to see the suit lights casting interactive light from character to chara cter and have everything look as luminous as possible.” Once in the Grid. and we wanted to capture their interaction with the sets and characters.◗ Back to the Grid taken to a room and fitted with a skintight latex suit accented with glowing piping.” says Miranda.” Lost on the Grid. favoring the 25mm and 32mm.200°K LEDs hooked to a dimmer so we could mix color temperatures. you get used to lighting to the waveform.500°K and 3. “They looked beautiful.
During the lightcycle scenes. but CLU was more difficult because everyone has seen Jeff Bridges in his thirties. but I’m so close to it that all I see are the imperfections. recorded his face. Mexico City. Eric Barba: Our first step was to build a previsualization team. It needs to be massive. studied Jeff’s movements and performance. Mumbai.•|• Barba and Preeg on Tron: Legacy •|• T he following are excerpts from a recent conversation with Digital Domain visual-effects supervisor Eric Barba and head of animation Steve Preeg about their contributions to Tron: Legacy. ‘This is the first time people will see a Recognizer. similar to what was done on Avatar. his body double. John. and it needs to be the coolest thing we’ve never seen before. so we developed a system that used four helmet-mounted cameras.500 visual-effects shots came through Digital Domain in Venice. I’m proud of my work. We walked Jeff through a FACS session. Let’s talk about the CLU character. Barba: It’s hard to put down that paintbrush — they have to rip it out of your hand! We had an amazing team. and they let us determine what muscles were activated to move those points to a given position. Barba: We did some face replacement for Sam [Garrett Hedlund] as well. The disc game was an early sequence that helped us establish the look of the Grid. Preeg: The first time Eric and I did something like that was on Benjamin Button . and then [our propriety program] Faceplant transplanted Jeff’s muscle system to CLU’s. That whole system came from Joe wanting to shoot from any direction. We looked at different films and pictures of Jeff from that era and tried to figure out the things about him that are constant. When it came time to shoot. a photo-real re-creation of a young Jeff Bridges. and we wrote a number of tools specifically for Tron: Legacy . and built a database of expressions. This was in 2008.’ We did 120-odd versions of that shot before Joe [Kosinski] and I were both happy with it. based on performance data we captured with the helmet cameras. before the live-action team was hired. would mimic Jeff. Did you approach Legacy with the goal of doing something no one had ever done? Steve Preeg: It was certainly a concern that we live up to the original. When it comes together on the big screen. Toronto and Thailand. We planned out every sequence and every shot. — Iain Stasukevich 60 January 2011 American Cinematographer . We also built a library of facial performance motions based on the Facial Action Coding System Paul Ekman developed in the 1970s — it’s a 140-point map of hundreds of human facial expressions. but we also worked with our Vancouver office and companies in Northern California. We built art-department assets into the previz to get an idea of how things would work in front of a stereoscopic lens. wearing a gray hood covered with tracking dots. While Jeff performed his CLU scenes with the other actors. How do you know when you’ve successfully animated a believablelooking CG human? Preeg: That’s for the audience to decide. but any major visual-effects film requires some level of new software development. we used a four-camera Red One array to photograph Garrett’s face and project it back into Sam’s helmet. determining what would be synthetic and what would be practical and how to build both. and new render technologies and tracking software. What new techniques did you develop for this process? Preeg: Jeff wanted to be on set interacting with the other actors. John Reardon. The points represent the regions of the face that move in relation to one another. whereas no one has seen Brad Pitt at 80. We started planning what we were going to shoot and how we would shoot it. including new acquisition techniques for animating CLU. to capture his performance. What do the discs look like when they hit a wall? What effect do they leave behind? How hot should they be optically? The other thing that helped us establish the Grid’s look was the first shot of the new Recognizer. All 1. and then we would replace John’s head with Jeff’s CG features. I kept telling my crew. American Cinematographer: The original Tron was a watershed moment for motion-picture visual effects. all you can do is cross your fingers and hope the audience loves it.
complete reflections of the actors. “We shot one of my favorite scenes in there. a lighting match or lip sync. a huge. We also installed 4-foot and 2-foot single Kinos in the walls. we’d use mirrored floors to see the The set for Kevin’s safehouse recalls the “alien zoo” from 2001: A Space Odyssey.Benjamin Button . the Disc Arena footage was shot almost entirely against bluescreen. “There were literally miles of LED lighting strung all over the place. “The CLU character could only exist post. “With other digital creatures.” After he receives his “digital duds. which would later be mapped onto the virtual set extensions.” Sam and Kevin unite to escape the Grid and return to the real world. Sam meets Quorra (Olivia Wilde).” CLU 2. a journey that leads them to the End of Line nightclub. we used different floor surfaces to get the interactions right. but the safe house had a low ceiling.theasc. Once again. to time his flying kick perfectly into the Phantom’s Lexan-protected lenses.” Once he survives the games in the Disc Arena. and we had sheens of light everywhere. The minimalist abode is reminiscent of the “alien zoo” from the final scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. 99 percent isn’t good enough.which was still under construction when AC visited the production. you can get away with a lot. when Sam speaks with Quorra and their suits are actually lighting and interacting with each other. During AC’s set visit. Being hit by a disc is fatal.1982. Eschewing the trend of January 2011 61 . floating battle cruiser. with a low ceiling and a glass floor lit from underneath with Kino Flo Image 80s controlled by a GrandMA dimmer board. We used Image 80s to light each panel from ww.” says Miranda. he meets his father. face-replacement was employed to capture Bridges’ facial movements and map them onto a body double. hurtling through the air on a wire harness. In anticipation of the sequence’s extensive visual effects. at last. where he is forced into a deadly game in which players fling light discs at one another. “Most of the other sets were built with high ceilings. “Once the floor panels were going. CLU’s main enforcer. which Miranda lit with overhead soft boxes fitted with Image 80s with KF55 tubes. we’d switch to pure glass floors for more muted reflectivity. Gilford explains the various lighting setups: “Depending on the shot requirements. It’s a gut reaction when something’s not right in a shot of a digital human — it could be an eyeline. Miranda deployed the 3-D-linked Phantom HD camera rig to capture shots of martial artist Anis Cheurfa as Rinzler. If the angle got too high. which enabled Miranda to create geometric chase patterns for various effects.” Miranda details. along with a floor consisting entirely of 6-by-6-foot glass panels. who takes him to a safe house. The actors all understood we were pushing the envelope with this process.0 keeps his command center on the bridge of the Rectifier.” says Kosinski.com w below. The bridge set incorporated extensive practical LEDs covered with orange-tinted film and milk Plexiglas over which heads-up display graphics were placed in post. “We placed a big soft box with Image 80s overhead and had LED ribbons in the floors and walls. Miranda and Kosinski asked for a few extra takes to enable Cheurfa. Davidson recalls. but with a digital human being. where. the safe house didn’t need much augmentation.” Each Image 80 was individually connected to a GrandMA dimmer board.” Sam is taken to the Disc Arena. At certain angles.
Miranda and key grip Kim Olson employed the overhead Graphlite rig. Instead. the filmmakers chose to construct almost the entire set with a minimum of bluescreen outside the club’s windows. which was parked just outside the stage. They also watched full-resolution 3-D dailies each day in Pace’s 3-D mobileprojection trailer. providing a more realistic stage for the performers and camera.” notes Miranda. but the rig’s weight made that too challenging.” Miranda and Kosinski monitored their work in 3-D while shooting with specially calibrated 50" Hyundai HDTV monitors that offered a halfresolution representation of their work. “We used two 4-by-20foot Barco panels placed to the actors’ left and right. measuring approximately 20'x20'. “We also used the Barcos to simulate elevator effects. and the media the filmmakers ran was clouds. Operated by the extravagant Castor (Michael Sheen).◗ Back to the Grid to create a Steadicam-style feel. programming it with automated moves 62 . and on those panels we ran media to simulate the elevator traveling up or down. “We initially thought of doing some handheld or Steadicam shots leading into the club. was fitted with Barco panels. “The on-set monitors Kosinski (lying on the floor) works out an angle with Miranda (right) and Hedlund. the End of Line club features interlocking LED panels laid directly into the walls and ceiling. partial sets surrounded by bluescreen in large-scale visual-effects movies. This was a lighting effect only and not in shot.” says Miranda. The club’s floor.
“but the F35 is really soft in that transition.40:1 3-D and 2-D Digital Capture Sony F35. To emphasize the cool feel within the Grid. fun challenge. Vision Research Phantom HD Arri Master Prime lenses Digital Intermediate 63 . however.” ● TECHNICAL SPECS 2. Miranda developed a look-up table that the filmmakers could toggle on and off on their monitors during production to get a sense of the intended look. “I wouldn’t recommend that strategy for other digital cameras. Kosinski enthuses. “I was able to sit in on a few of the sessions and gave some notes. their level of commitment exceeded my expectations. This was truly one of the best teams I’ve worked with. they could actually alter the convergence of footage after filming to determine where shots might work better with a different level of depth. 3-D in real time. and I’m very happy with how things worked out. and it feels like there’s a lot of excitement for this movie out there.” AC was invited into the Pace trailer to review an assembly of dailies in 3-D.” he cautions. “There was a unified camaraderie from the studio on down. “It added a bit of contrast to the raw footage and served as a one-light correction for our dailies.200°K.” says Kosinski. I’d also occasionally take a piece of footage and grade it myself in Apple’s Color as a reference. Miranda and Kosinski pointed out that because the Pace trailer uses two optically interlinked projectors. because I was committed to another project.” Miranda adds. Miranda typically lit for a 5.” says Miranda. as well as special-unit still photography also shot in 3-D.” The final digital grade was completed at Laser Pacific with colorist David Cole.” After working on Legacy for nearly four years.500°K color temperature and kept the camera balanced for 3. “but the projected dailies we watched at lunchtime were where we’d really get a feeling for what we were getting in terms of depth and detail. It’s been a tremendous. During prep. “I’m really impressed with the work the entire team has done.” he says.allowed us to see what was working in 2-D vs. “I did not spend as much time there as I would have liked.
BSC receives the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award for a body of work that reflects vision. purpose and a personal perspective. Deakins’ presence looms so large at these ceremonies that when Robert Elswit. as they will honor him next month with the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. By Patricia Thomson •|• fter four decades behind the camera.” The four films that earned Deakins his double nominations reflect his special niche as a shape-shifting cinematogra- of A 64 January 2011 American Cinematographer . Roger Deakins. “I think I’m doing work now that’s as good as I’ve ever done. His peers in the ASC clearly agree. BSC.A League His Own Roger Deakins. is at the top of his game. The ASC honor is the latest in an incredible run that has included double ASC Award nominations for two consecutive years.” he says. 2008 (for Revolutionary Road and The Reader) and 2007 (for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men). ASC. Indeed. ASC accepted the 2007 ASC Award for There Will Be Blood. he suggested that the Society establish a special category for “films shot by Roger Deakins. ASC.
and Michael Weinstein. BSC awaits the next shot on the set of Revolutionary Road (2008). He also took up the brush. Deakins preps a dolly shot.” he says with a laugh.theasc. Top right: As a student at England’s National Film School. Gary Oldman and Graham FletcherCook. Bottom: During filming of Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy (1986). about a yacht race that circumnavigated the globe. Mario Tursi. top left: In the mid1970s. Martin Scorsese.when I was working in London in the film industry. Bob Rafelson and Norman Jewison.com w AC file photos by François Duhamel. my father still thought I’d come back and take over!” Instead. Deakins took after his artistically inclined mother. an actress and amateur painter. Deakins (at far left) works on The Penal Colony (1972/1973). Bruce Birmelin. directed by Neil Levenson (at camera). America’s most idiosyncratic auteurs. as it has led him to collaborate with filmmakers such as Joel and Ethan Coen. and his grandfather was a fisherman. None of this was in the crystal ball when Deakins was a young lad in Torquay. “That’s a very small niche right now. “My dad wanted me to take over his business. the town didn’t offer many career options for a youth with artistic inclinations. “I suppose I took up still photography ww. Once a Victorian resort. including the current release True Grit.pher for auteur directors with substantive. “They were pretty depressing. painting realistic renderings of people and landscapes. SMPSP. But they led him to still photography. Deakins takes the helm while working on one of his first documentaries for British TV. SMPSP.” he says. SMPSP. actually. Deakins’ father ran a construction company. But it’s one that many cinematographers would envy. Deakins practices his punk-rock sneer while surrounded by actors (from left) Tony London. John Sayles. ASC. This page. a fishing town on England’s southwest coast. “For many years. Of course. Roger Deakins. he is most closely identified with the Coens. Opposite: Surrounded by some of his signature soft light. Sam Mendes. Additional photos courtesy of Roger Deakins. January 2011 65 . Frank Masi. Merie Wallace. Melinda Sue Gordon. Middle: In another Penal Colony still. character-driven scripts.” Deakins recalls. he has shot 11 films for them since Barton Fink (1991).
Colin Young.” But there was a small film department. American Cinematographer . He and his brother trudged miles to watch everything from Italian neorealist films to Peter Watkins’ faux vérité documentaries. for instance.” He even pinched the school’s darkroom key to make a copy for himself. Deakins wasn’t sure what to do. with the implicit promise that he would be admitted the next year if he acquired some practical experience.” he says.’” Deakins laughs at his youthful chutzpah.” says Deakins. Watkins’ vivid scenario about a nuclear explosion in London.” he says. because I always had an interest in [seeing] people within their environments. then days out. When the academy brought in professional photographers as guest teachers. deeply impressed Deakins. photography itself was not part of Bath’s curriculum.’ I said. so I applied along with my friend. particularly those imparted by Roger Mayne.’ He pointed to the photo behind him and said. “I thought that really made sense. So. Colin said. he discovered still photography — in a big way. because my photography was tending towards documentary. to find out why. 66 January 2011 Intending to become a painter. ‘Well. it was seeking an entry class of 25 students who already had some filmmaking experience and could self-start in an unstructured educational environment. Deakins soaked up the lessons. “He was one of the first photographers to go out in the street and photograph the lives of people in London. “Abstract was in. and I didn’t do much of that. ‘ That’s filmic. that’s a blurred photograph. Neither of them got in. but found himself assigned to the graphic-design department. For the next year. but the idea of making a career out of film hadn’t yet coalesced in his mind. “On the wall behind Colin’s deskwas this photograph of a horse and car. Deakins wandered around the country- Top: Director John Sayles works out a shot with Deakins on location for Passion Fish (1992).” After college. “It was just a way of recording images to be used in graphic design— if you were designing book covers.” says Deakins. “He was quite a big influence on the way I started to see things.your photographs are not really very filmic. Deakins made an appointment with the school’s headmaster. Curiously. A friend told him about a new school opening up in London called the National Film School. he enrolled in the Bath Academy of Art. He recalls. The Bath Academy principal told him about an arts center that wanted to create a photographic record of rural life in North Devon. “I guess they didn’t like my naturalistic paintings. but only two or three students were allowed to play with film cameras. Right: The cinematographer at work on Michael Apted’s Thunderheart (1992).” Instead. Seeing a woman faint during TheWar Game . “I disputed his idea of what was filmic and what wasn’t. and I didn’t get the chance. Deakins looked for a job. “I used to spend nights in a darkroom printing.◗ A League of His Own just wandering around towns and seaside communities taking pictures. “I wanted to get involved in that. It was blurred because it was a time exposure. ‘No.” Because it was the school’s first year.” Deakins had the opportunity to soak up art-house movies through the Torquay film society.
” Deakins’ own first film was a documentary about stag hunting in Devon. They just gave you an opportunity to find your own way of doing things. very serious guy. “I’ve had no formal training. January 2011 67 .) He had no supervisor. Deakins shot and sometimes directed documentaries for British television. which brought the cinematographer his first ASC Award. “Both were places of anarchy. county fair-goers and other rural folk in their element.” As one of the few students who wanted to shoot.rogerdeakins. “In the end. music videos. woodsmen. At the NFS. I looked for work as a camera assistant. For the next seven years. So I started looking for work as a cameraman. “It was very much make-it-up-as-you-go. long-form observational films in the vein of Frederick Wiseman and Richard Leacock. Deakins kept quite busy. It became very apparent very quickly.com.”he recalls. not so much in what he did but just in his approach to things.com w Above: Firsttime director Frank Darabont poses with Deakins on location for the period drama The Shawshank Redemption (1994).” Director Michael Radford remembers his NFS schoolmate vividly: “Roger was clearly one of the most talented guys. really. (Some of these black-and-white images are posted on his website. “In the rural community there. which Deakins entered in 1972 as part of its second class.” he notes. “For many months. even though I went to film school and art college!” he says with a laugh.” Deakins graduated with the idea of making documentaries. that he was a very. a cut above everybody else. but one or two were on 35mm. stag hunting used to be a very big focal point of social life. and I didn’t get any. and they showed it in village halls for quite awhile.side. a documentary about the war in Rhodesia. I took the film to North Devon.” The jobs gradually came: industrial films. which I think is the best training. so the film wasn’t just about stag hunting. in his first big break.theasc. “One was a 90-minute gangster movie! Most were on 16mm.” he says. www.photographing farmers. “I shot something like 15 films in three years. Left: Deakins checks the camera as the crew readies a dolly/crane shot in Shawshank’s main set. He spent nine ww. and then. practical instruction was not part of the deal.
Both were places of anarchy. Another Time. but because of Roger’s stunning photography— in Super 16mm! At that time. “That was a big movie. It was really a big break for both of us. Radford called. the decision paid off in spades. with a forest of little lights in these very tiny spaces. I decided that was more me. and every single foot of it was useful!‘How to shoot a concert with one camera’ was what that lesson was about. we’d hired six cameramen. a love triangle set in Scotland during World War II. “It was also an instinct that he was going to deliver. “Then I had terrible second thoughts! I thought. his partner wanted to keep filming. but it doesn’t tell me anything. “I began to feel 68 January 2011 that what I was doing was very voyeuristic. ‘What am I doing? I know the guy. and not at all solely because of my direction. even though I went to film school and art college.really. months on a yacht during an aroundthe-world race. So when I got the chance to shoot dramas. He was planAmerican Cinematographer ning to direct his first theatrical feature. or whether it was just me trying to further “I’ve had no formal training.about what we’re going to do now. an adaptation of George Orwell’s novel. his first collaboration with director Ed Zwick. Working with 16mm and an Éclair NPR.” the director says.” His first dramatic project was a TV miniseries called Wolcott. Radford was among his early collaborators. He filmed anthropological documentaries in India and Sudan. he stopped shooting documentaries. The film worked very well. They reteamed two years later for The Siege (1998). “I questioned how much effect I was having. The film was a real success in Europe.◗ A League of His Own Deakins prepares to take to the skies to capture a shot for Courage Under Fire (1996).“I remember .” says Radford. Soon thereafter. “For the first concert in Belfast. which came through a friend of a friend. a turning point came on a documentary about schizophrenia that followed eight patients after their release from a London hospital. He reteamed with Radford on 1984.” he recalls. You had about half a stop of variation on it. and he’d been impressed by Deakins’ work on the miniseries. it got a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes. I was quite conflicted. but Deakins instead put the camera down to assist the woman. After that. I’ve seen this TV series. really. Another Place. He came under mortar fire in Ethiopia during its guerrilla war.” my own career.’But in the end. Super 16 was very marginal.” says Radford.” says Deakins. who adds with a laugh. and they all missed the plane. so Roger literally shot the first half of the concert on his own. “Roger’s camerawork was amazing. One of their documentaries followed Van Morrison on tour through Ireland( Van Morrison in Ireland). When one suffered a horrendous breakdown in her apartment.” For Deakins.” “I never looked back after that. so Roger had to light very precisely. he became increasingly adept as a camera operator.
” says Deakins.” says the cinematographer. “You could always go to him and ask. You’d have a proper discussion. White Mischief. As we drove onto the set. Deakins has likened the film to a poem. “Everything was shot in-camera.One film that helped Deakins clarify what he didn’t want to do was Air America.S.-style comedy. “I thought we were going to make some sort of subversive. “but there were absolutely no special effects whatsoever.” Deakins worked steadily in England.” He earned an ASC Award nomination for his work on the film. “Roger was a great foil.com w January 2011 69 . 25 assistants. but it didn’t turn out that way.000 extras.” Radford notes with amusement. where we were going to show whether we’d got it or not.’ It was the big time. this is it. it wound up as a buddy film.” says Radford. James Deardon ( Pascali’s Island) and Bob Rafelson ( Mountains of the Moon). Rather.H.but it was a bit too big for its own good. really. Terry Jones (Personal Services ). we looked at each other and said. directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. Radford and Deakins made one more film together. ww. “That film was a great opportunity.” including the ubiquitous front-projection newsreels (“horrendously complicated”) and the menacing helicopters. and he told AC.A. “At one point These photos show Deakins at work on Martin Scorsese’s Kundun (1998). and 1984 won numerous awards for special effects. a highly unusual telling of the story of Tibet’s Dalai Lama.theasc. Deakins achieved the film’s bold. M. including features with Alex Cox ( Sid and Nancy ). and it was at night. six camera units. unusual palette photochemically with the bleach-bypass process.Mike Figgis ( Stormy Monday). ‘Yep. and it’s seen primarily from his point of view . the first time a cinematographer had used the technique. It was just huge.driving with Roger to the set of the rally with 2. The director says he was always impressed by Deakins’ investment in the content of the film and his close observation of the actors. ‘What did you think of that take?’ and his answer would address more than mechanics. “The story is really about the child. The story was about a pilot recruited into a corrupt CIA airlift operation in Laos.” Deakins was subsequently admitted to the British Society of Cinematographers.
Shooting on location in the Southwest. “They were brilliant. Deakins figured he could capture the scene with a Libra head and an electric cart. who is hiding in Indian Territory with his gang. especially on the side of a rocky hill. the filmmakers got what they wished for. so the team loaded the equipment onto a stake bed and plowed through the snow. each stretching 120'-150'and holding more than 20 12Ks and 18Ks.“People were saying. That’s when preparation really counts. “The only way to do that is to get as big a light as you can afford and put it as far away as you can. “I didn’t want a hard. the film is narrated by 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld). with the help of a one-eyed marshal. and it was partly true. “We managed to make it there just by afternoon. key grip Mitch Lillian. “We had the first and second sequence ready to go. 1stAC Andy Harris.” — Patricia Thomson . The two are joined by a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) who has his own reasons for hunting Chaney. dolly grip Bruce Hamme and gaffer Chris Napolitano. “Rumor went around that I was using 55big HMIs. singlesource moonlight effect. n the face of it. wintry look.” says Roger Deakins.” he says. The pattern was set on day one.and we got the scene. True Grit appears to be one of the simpler stories that Joel and Ethan Coen have tackled.” says Deakins. ‘What the hell can we shoot today?’” recalls Deakins.” he says.” and the Coens’ script called for a bleak. courtesy of Paramount Pictures. our rigging crew was moving lights from the first position to the third. wincing. Deakins found Portis’ book “meditative and melancholy. but something softer because of the oncoming snow. BSC. ASC. he had to design three separate lighting setups. they were divided among three hillside platforms. “I looked around and thought.•|• Displaying True Grit •|• O 70 January 2011 American Cinematographer True Grit photos by Lorey Sebastian and Wilson Webb. all without benefit of cranes because of the rocky location. Because the sequence comprised three parts. Deakins stayed nimble with the help of his core collaborators. ‘It’s three people and their horses. far-flung locations and harsh terrain created a challenging 55-day shoot. “It’s hard to move around at night. The Coens set this sequence entirely at night. When they discover that the dwelling is occupied by two members of Chaney’s gang.” That was his approach to a major sequence in which Mattie and her compatriots seek refuge from a snowstorm in a mountain cabin. but “it’s probably the most difficult film we’ve ever done together. some of it through forest and some of it on an open. and then. “Under those conditions. Rather. when the filmmakers woke up to discover that a nighttime blizzard had dumped 2' of snow on them. What could be so difficult?’” Deakins recalls with some amusement. each with a different eyeline. Only one scene called for snow. and that location was 150 miles away. empty plain — and you’ve got to light it!” Deakins says.” he says. a shootout erupts.while we were shooting the second sequence.” True Grit required extremes of lighting: minimal (flame-lit cabins) and maximal (nighttime gunfights and other action). Chaney (Josh Brolin). but I wasn’t using them all at once!” says the cinematographer. When the rest of the gang arrives. The crew then leapfrogged the lights. gritty and real. they set up a stakeout on the surrounding hills. who tries to track down her father’s killer. Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). Adapted from Charles Portis’ novel of the same name. but impetuous weather. you really had to float with it. requiring Deakins to light a half-mile swath of valley. “Imagine you’re on an electric cart with a stabilizing head tracking with a galloping horse at night.
which brought Deakins another ASC nomination. winds up suffering writer’s block.”Deakins had just come off Air America.” says Joel Coen. The response was not enthusiastic. Because Barton Fink would be a low-budget. Where Art Thou? (2000). Deakins’ agent recommended he turn the film down. and you pile money into shooting stuff that’s never used. Then his agent received the script for Barton Fink.com w January 2011 71 . the filmmakers dolly down a row of prisoners. ‘Wait a minute!’” The Coens recall that they had been tracking Deakins for awhile by the time their first cinematographer. they narrowed the field to foreign cinematographers. and unknowingly befriends a serial killer (John Goodman). “She said it was very strange. more contained movies were for me. As All of these photos were taken on location in Mississippi during filming of the period comedy O Brother. and that it seemed to be two different movies. “We wanted someone with experience whose work we could look at. the cinematographer stoops to capture some action with a chicken.” recalls Deakins. Barry Sonnenfeld.theasc. Clockwise from top left: Ethan Coen (left) and Joel Coen join Deakins at the camera.we had three crews working. so they called that film’s producers to inquire about him. It made me decide that smaller. so I said. decided to move on to directing.” He put his London apartment on the market and bought a flat in Devon. during a break in filming. “Of the people we were talking to. nonunion production. the Coens’ fourth film. Roger had done the most by far and had the most impressive work. his gregarious next-door neighbor. Things get away from you.” he says. about a pretentious New York playwright (John Turturro) who moves to Hollywood in 1941 to take a screenwriting job. ww. “I just thought I’d get out of London and do things that I really wanted to do. “But I’d heard of the Coen brothers by then. Deakins and Andy Harris. his longtime first assistant.
and it’s a good or idiosyncratic way to shoot. “We just seemed to be on the same wavelength. “It Joel. which brought Deakins his second ASC Award. and he likes to operate. Roger is brilliant at bringing habit that originally sprang from the some extra dimension that changes the brothers’ budget-consciousness.” says the cinematographer. “After we do a draft [of the storyboards] ourselves. there’s little need for them to talk. ‘He doesn’t like working with multiple cameras. so the film’s look is established Deakins’ input continues during in the script. “From shot design.’ as though these were criticisms. the Coens use very visual it. the match felt right. For examway of working. during which the storyboards continue to evolve as the filmmakers secure locations and discuss ideas. They work very economically.” Typically.” Deakins says. “Even when he’s shooting inserts.◗ A League of His Own Top: Deakins and Harris capture a close-up of Frances McDormand’s legs for a scene in the Coens’ period noir comedy The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001).” says Joel. helps them focus on what’s really he’s always looking for a more effective important in the scene. American Cinematographer . By the time the Coens and Deakins are on set. Todd Anderson. usually as soon as they’ve drafted the first set of storyboards. in No Country for Old Men [AC Oct. and they know when they’ve got screenwriters. Ethan adds. to how and when you move the storyboard artist J. we’ll do another draft with Roger so we can talk about each scene and incorporate his ideas. “They said. to lightboarded in its entirety with longtime ing. “We use Roger as a sounding board for the movie in its entirety — he’s the third collaborator. As want. Deakins relates.” language. a camera.five weeks are allotted to preproduction. Bottom: Deakins lines up a shot of Jennifer Connelly for Vadim Perelman’s House of Sand and Fog (2003). “Their sets are very quiet.” says Deakins. he doesn’t like using a zoom lens.” The brothers involve ple. “They don’t do a lot of takes.” says still like to storyboard.” Barton Fink established a work 72 January 2011 Deakins in that process early on.” But this assessment was music to the Coens’ ears. “They entire feeling of what you’re doing. And from their very first encounter. unpretentious people. “They’re very straightforward. The film is then storyproduction. which required the creation of some convincing exteriors onstage at Culver Studios. They know what they pattern that continues to this day.
that’s kind of interesting and important. Harris and other crew members chase Bryce Dallas Howard for a shot on M. observational side.◗ A League of His Own Top left: Deakins. “We cut our own movies. settling in Santa Monica.” Ethan notes. Bottom: At ease in the muck. But instead of framing it against the ground. which is how we both thought of it. and he earned his first Academy Award nomination and won his first ASC Award for 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption (AC June ’95) . and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun (AC Feb. He moved to the United States in 1992. it’s an insert of a watch. ’07].’or you think about the information that has to be relayed: it’s an hour’s passage. You think [the shot] is about the watch face. including the Coens’ Fargo (AC March ’96). Allen Daviau and Steven Poster. he became an ASC member in 1994. Deakins waits to capture a shot for Jarhead. Top right: Deakins and Shyamalan plot their approach. after being proposed for membership by John Bailey.” Joel adds. you think. Night Shyamalan’s The Village (2004). which showed the brothers’ more naturalistic. American Cinematographer 74 January 2011 . and as an editor. He shot another dozen films that decade.” In addition to marking the start of his collaboration with the Coens. “And in a movie all about landscapes. the 1990s were significant for Deakins for other professional reasons. Middle: The cinematographer stands beneath a grid of space lights onstage at Universal Studios for Sam Mendes’ Jarhead (2005). Roger put it against a big landscape with the trees. we were shooting just an insert of a watch — it’s when Llewelyn [Josh Brolin] is waiting for that wounded guy to die under the tree — and Roger framed it in such a way that it was as much about the landscape as it was about the watch. Calif.. ‘Oh.
Where Art Thou? (AC Oct. ’01). including Ron Howard ( A Beautiful Mind ). ’00) and The Man Who Wasn’t There (AC Oct. Deakins’ documentary background was key.For The Man Who Wasn’t There . Night Shyamalan ( The Village.’98). but the filmmakers were contractually obligated to create a color master for foreign markets.Deakins shot on color stock and printed on Kodak 5269. Deakins’ recent credits include several features with new creative partners. In addition to his ongoing collaboration with the Coens. O Brother quickly gained fame for being the first U. (To satisfy union requirements. For the latter film. he hires an operator.” he says. essentially providing an apprenticeship. and Deakins spent almost two months on the process. ’04) and Paul Haggis (In the Valley of Elah ). The following decade was equally busy. He recalls. just Tibetans [reenacting] their own heritage. ’04).S. It’s diverse work. O Brother. the goal was luminescent black-andwhite imagery. but he often picks a new member of the local. M. “There weren’t any professional actors in the movie. as well as forays into animation as a technical consultant on Wall-E (AC July ’08) and How to Train Your Dragon. using the technology to drain every trace of green from the lush Mississippi landscape. Vadim Perelman ( House of Sand and Fog . AC Jan. a blackand-white stock designed for film titles. which told the story of the Dalai Lama. studio feature to be digitally colorcorrected in its entirety. In a novel solution. so Marty was concerned about the relationship between the cameraman and subject. Deakins completed 19 features. to be sure. but his résuméhas some underlying consistencies that can be traced back to his roots in documentary filmmaking.) He has repeatedly stated that composition is the most critical part of . He won his second ASC Award for The Man Who Wasn’t There. including two technically pioneering films for the Coens. First and foremost is the fact that he always operates the camera. AC Aug.
” Shooting 76 .” and that documentary leitmotif carries over into his dramatic work in subtle ways. he has stabilized the camera with a beach ball — “a poorman’s Wescam. best. Here.” he told AC. “It’s much more important than lighting. instinctual thing. and Roger is by far the plans. the cinematographer’s job. Deakins tries to pre-rig lighting as much as possible.” he says. By the time we Deakins’ skills.every location. if you like. but they’re a good place to start.” He earned an ASC nomination for his work on the film. “I want to be able to say. I don’t like the distortion of anamorphic or the depth-of-field. seated on an ATV for a shot tracking through the woods on Revolutionary Road. and I like to feel somebody’s presence in a space. I’ve got a whole file on “Composition in movies is often an on. ‘Okay. You either and lighting diagrams for everything.” I’m one of those people who believe that Well known for carrying an array of his own gag lights. Deakins is also quick to improvise a camera solution or two. Heprefers Super 35mm over anamorphic for widescreen movies because “I like being close to people. and scene breakdowns the-fly. but. We’ve worked with Not that I necessarily stick to those a lot of operators.as Joel Coen says.’ so I can then concentrate on the framing and documentaries no doubt honed what the actor is doing. I don’t like backgrounds being out of focus. I’m lit. have it or you don’t. “I don’t want the lighting to get in the way of operating.” Because he operates. come to shoot. his second collaboration with Mendes. “The balance of the frame— the way an actor is relating to the space in the frame— is the most important factor in helping the audience feel what the character is thinking.◗ A League of His Own Deakins has also maintained his interest in “people within their environments.
Filming only with zooms. another common thread in Deakins’ work. It’s not just technique. which seemed really unique. it’s something you have to develop yourself. “Most of my comments end with. “[Shooting with primes] forces you to move the camera and think about where the camera needs to be.the more organized you are at the beginning. it’s less about technique and more about a way of seeing. is “a sloppy way of shooting. assisted by Harris. Deakins has freely shared his opinions and advice in a forum on his website.” Gaffer Christopher Napolitano recalls that on House of Sand and Fog . the more freedom it gives you to play around when you’re on set. There’s no right and wrong. along with his preference for prime lenses.” That kind of precision is possible on a single-camera production. It’s just a matter of spending time on your ownand finding it. rules. You can’t learn it from somebody else. I rigged everything to his notes. “Roger handed me a stack of notes. and there’s no easy way to do that. In fact. and he used every one of them. Cinematography is personal. “Every shot and every movie is different. and nothing ever changed.” he says.’” he says. ‘There are no On location in New Mexico for the Coens’ True Grit (2010). He had everything down to exactly how many lights he wanted somewhere. Deakins captures some river action.” ● 77 . he contends.” Since 2005.
” Universal also benefits from the new on-lot service. “It was the kind of tweak that only takes five minutes to perform. “Film has such a wonderful dynamic range. It’s also a great opportunity for us to build our business model for remote services.” says Chris Jenkins. dedicated fiberoptic connection that is fully encrypted. Interactive sessions with EFilm and Deluxe Laboratories’ other locations in New York and London are also possible. “With so many post services in one location.” says Josh Haynie. but we’re waiting for the scanning technology to catch up. .) “This will be far more efficient. HPA photos by Ryan Miller. “We just had a session where we piped information over to a cinematographer in London. we understood what was going on very early in the production because we were providing CinemaScan dailies. Before the suite officially opened.” he says.” EFilm’s parent company.” he says. we can do it. executive vice president and general manager of EFilm. From a data standpoint.” explains Kevin Dillon. have to drive across town to sign off on a simple task. Inc. “We can transmit anywhere we need to go.” Recent projects that were finished at EFilm’s Universal suite include Paul Weitz’s comedy Little Fockers. Thanks to the new suite. (Film scanning and filmouts will still be done at EFilm’s Hollywood facility.” As for the future. private. He worked on images. The print deal will see the studio utilizing Deluxe facilities in Hollywood.” Although digitally captured features are becoming increasingly common. “They often said. Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. Toronto. while we were watching at EFilm in Hollywood. shot by Salvatore Totino. and having the suite on the lot meant he didn’t 78 January 2011 American Cinematographer EFilm photo by Gary Krueger. BSC. ASC. it’s as easy to work with in the digital domain as any digital-capture format. dailies or trailers. says Haynie. allowing real-time access to scans and media over a secure. but not until scanning technology advances far enough to make for a quick turnaround. London. “Of course. EFilm is considering 4K dailies. “We’re seeing a lot of 3-perf and 4-perf coming through CinemaScan dailies. EFilm is still seeing many productions originate on film. once it becomes a file. as directors and cinematographers alike have often lamented the time they spend traveling back and forth between DI facilities and Universal’s sound department.. EFilm’s vice president of operations. Haynie notes that involving EFilm early in production through the CinemaScan process in Hollywood always leads to the best results. the director of another feature popped into the grading suite to oversee the finessing of a visual-effects shot. picture-editing suites and other sound services. Plus. I EFilm Opens DI Suite at Universal By Simon Wakelin Digital lab EFilm has opened a digital-intermediate suite at Universal Studios’ postproduction facility. Barcelona and Sydney. ‘Wouldn’t it be great to simply walk out the door here and go into a DI suite?’ It’s just practical. It’s important for Universal to expand its capabilities this way. allowing filmmakers to digitally grade their projects under the same roof as Universal’s full sound services. all with absolute accuracy. “Right now. shot by Remi Adefarasin. “For Ron Howard’s movie The Dilemma. turning around 4K scans at a fast enough rate for dailies deliverables isn’t possible. courtesy of Capture Imaging. everyone’s goal is 4K dailies. recently entered into an exclusive multi-year filmprocessing and printing agreement with Universal. “It’s only going to help the DI process if we come in early and are involved in camera tests and hair and makeup tests as well.” says Haynie. courtesy of Deluxe and Universal. sound editorial.Post Focus EFilm recently opened a DI suite within Universal Studios’ post facility. clients can now access uncompressed 2K 4:4:4 scans. it will be easier for clients to finish products in a timely manner. “Directors used to have to run around Los Angeles to perform their DIs. senior vice president of Universal Studios Sound. The DI suite offers white and silver screens available to accommodate both 2-D and 3-D XpanD and RealD systems. and do digital grading while situated next to Universal’s soundmixing stages. Rome.” Interchangeable film-projection and digital-projection systems are in place at Universal’s Alfred Hitchcock Theatre.” says Haynie.
Tim Vincent of LaserPacific ( Mad Men . and . AC Oct. AC Jan. Motion Picture Imaging (The Book of Eli ). HPA President Leon Silverman. “Souvenir”. Dos Equis. “Ice Fishing”. AC Aug. which honor outstanding achievements in post processes for features.HPA Honors Outstanding Achievements in Post By Jon D. ASC associate Steven J. “Get ready to be proud to be in post!” Echoing Silverman’s review of the past five years. Dave Hussey of Company 3 (Chevy. served as the master of ceremonies at Skirball Cultural Center’s Cotsen Auditorium. Crudo then presented awards for Outstanding Color Grading to ASC associate Stefan Sonnenfeld of Company 3 for Alice in Wonderland (AC April ’10). marveling at the rapid changeover from the predominance of photochemical finishing to the now ubiquitous digital-intermediate process. Scott Klein of Technicolor (True Blood. the general manager of Walt Disney Studios and an ASC associate member. Steve Porter of Riot for “Episode Five” from the miniseries The Pacific (AC March ’10). and Siggy Ferstl of Company 3 for the AT&T commercial “Legends. Scott of EFilm ( Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief ). ASC reflected on the technological evolution that has marked color correction’s recent history. Yuri Neyman and Daryn Okada. “Cliff Diver”). ’10). Witmer The Hollywood Post Alliance recently presented its fifth annual HPA Awards. Kevin O’Connor of Deluxe Digital Media (Temple Grandin). ’09). he passed the baton to the evening’s presenters with the proclamation. after musing about the unsung importance of post professionals. television and commercials. He noted how the awards have grown since their inception — the Awards Committee received more submissions this year than ever before — and. Skip Kimball of Modern VideoFilm ( Avatar. The judges for the awards included ASC members Stephen Lighthill. “Bad Blood”). Tom Poole of Company 3 NY (Dos Equis. “We Can Carry”).” Ferstl was also nominated for his work on ESPN’s Robben Island. Richard Crudo. ’10). Natasha Leonnet of EFilm ( Get Low. Also nominated were Maxine Gervais of Warner Bros.
which supports the recording of Apple ProRes 4444.” The NAB Show sponsored the Engineering Excellence Awards. Erich Eder and Giuseppe Tagliavini of Weta Digital for Avatar. Brent Burge and Chris Ward of Park Road Post Production for District 9. Mark J. “Theatrical Trailer #1. Gilbert Lake. Tim Masick of Company 3 NY (ESPN. “Robben Island Promo”). Joe DeAngelis. including color-management processing. Cine-tal earned an award for its Davio Signal Processor.” Outstanding Sound awards were presented to Michael Hedges. Tim Osborne and Adam Rowland of Frame- store for Kia Soul. “Help Me”. Goldman and ACE members Christopher Nelson. Russell Dodgson. which were presented to three companies. which were presented to Lee Smith. which boasts a flexible architecture supported by a library of software packages that enable a wide range of tasks. and Chris Franklin of Big Sky Editorial for American Express. Avid Technology sponsored the Outstanding Editing awards.D. “This or That. ASC (center) presented HPA Awards for Outstanding Color Grading to Stefan Sonnenfeld (left). 422 (HQ). “Geoffrey Canada. for Inception. Luis Galdames and Jackie Oster of Universal Sound for House. and Diramid Harrison Murray. ACE. Robin Hollander. Stephen Semel and Henk van Eeghen of Touchstone Tele- vision for Lost. display calibration and 3-D stereo workflows. “The End”. Digital Vision earned an award for its Open EXR color workflow.” Outstanding Compositing awards went to Erik Winquist.. Siggy Ferstl (right) and Steve Porter (not pictured). LT or Proxy encoded images onto onboard SxS memory cards for direct editorial delivery. and David Brolin of Universal Studios and Phil Daccord of Giaronomo for Devil. Brad North. 80 . Arri earned an award for its Alexa digital-cinema camera. M.Richard Crudo.
Four HPA Judges Awards for Creativity and Innovation in Postproduction were also handed out during the ceremony. video and digital sources.which utilizes 16-bit “Half Float” OpenEXRs to support true. while Lightstream distributes those files. FotoKem picked up an award for its NextLab Mobile proprietary software and commodity hardware system. Outpost allows operators to verify. shared the stage with producer Jon Landau and composer Patrick Doyle to introduce Gagliano by way of personal anecdotes from years of collaboration and friendship. LightIron Digital picked up an award for its Outpost and Lightstream systems. real-time high-dynamicrange content grading. “Movies are still light and sound [in combination with] great stories — science intertwined with art. . the X-Men series. the special editions of the original Star Wars trilogy.” ● HPA President Leon Silverman reprised his role as the awards’ master of ceremonies. Gradient Effects earned an award for its Gradient Location-Optimized Workflow (GLOW) previsualization and nonlinear production system for 2-D and stereoscopic 3-D. was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Gagliano has shepherded more than 600 features through post. Additionally. which presents an advanced toolset for file-based post. Gagliano also noted. yet the rewards have never been so great. Capping the evening’s festivities. Deluxe President and CEO Cyril Drabinsky. Ted Gagliano. including Titanic. Texas Instruments earned a special recognition for its DLP Cinema Technology. Reliance MediaWorks earned an award for its Custom Image Processing software applications for film. and Avatar. 20th Century Fox’s president of feature post. Since joining Fox in 1991. the stakes are higher. render one lights of and transcode footage simultane- ously on set. which is used for color management and mastering in post facilities around the globe. backup. Additionally. “Movies are harder to make now than ever. an ASC associate member. Pledging to return to the office the next morning to begin “the second half” of his career.” Gagliano enthused as he accepted the award.
One of the reasons I was interested in working on Tiny Furni. so we were place in Aura’s all-white apartment. Most of the action takes the camera’s CMOS rolling shutter was very apparent. white space. We generally wanted soft light. with For the scene between Aura and her sister (played by Lena’s very little action. One example is the scene in which Aura (played by Lena) and Jed. We both like Woody Allen’s films. and it looks kind of like an art hesitant to move the camera. We shot night interiors at 400 ASA.so we decided their rooms splits the shot down the middle. mostly the latter. We chose to shoot on We used a lot of natural light or added to what was there the Canon EOS 7D two weeks after it was released. watching people have conversations. the wide shot tells the story best tional methods of visualizing the story. and they ended up distorting the image around ronment and the tone than the specific words and facial expressions the edges when we opened them up. . nonfiction and fiction. assistant and operator. had to be to convey that their two bedrooms are basically the same Gordon Willis. We shot of the Queensboro Bridge right before the sun rises. things wide and do a lot of one-shot scenes. One great example is the epic We wanted to give Tiny Furniture a clean. ASC and Woody Allen did a great job of making bold room. Most of the features I’ve because it forces the audience to think about the characters in their worked on. pushed through 8-by rags and used a lot of practicals to light deep 82 January 2011 American Cinematographer I The Challenges of Shooting a Feature With the Canon 7D By Jody Lee Lipes Photos by Joe Anderson. you can’t see it but want to. and I respond it’s a wide shot that shows them coming in and turning on the lights to films that are plotted in a conventional way but use unconvenin this big. which was shot with the Canon EOS 7D. so the shots were either handheld or locked off. lamps. and it also enhances the comedic moment with the an abstract screenplay. I set up the camera in such a way that the wall between a visual experience.Filmmakers’ Forum Left: Writer/director Lena Dunham (holding cage) and cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes (at camera) line up a shot for the the feat ure film Tiny Furniture. which got us into a bit of trouble because we didn’t have a backs in a single extreme-wide shot. Joe Anderson. To us. high-key look. When we with a couple of Kino Flos. first that are often emphasized in this kind of scene. my friend. That’s where the camera that talking about Manhattan was a good place to start. so we asked ourselves how we could turn that into sister. and with environment. which says a lot about their relationship. the Nietzschean Cowboy (Alex Karpovsky). paper lanterns or very small tungsten watched our tests projected off HDCam-SR at Technicolor New York. On that film. There was no other way to illustrate the proximvisual choices that make the audience forget they’re essentially ity of their rooms. They enter through Aura’s mother’s studio. most of the time you’re working against the dead hamster. Grace). and hearing them story to help it make more sense to the audience. who develops a crush on her co-worker Keith (David Ca ll). courtesy of IFC Films. It becomes more about the envi. but divided. describe it in detail makes that moment funnier.chance to test them. but we only see their primes.visit her apartment. we decided we should also strive to keep difficult camera system. I often tried to use the architecture of the location to give shots more visual interest. Writer/director Lena Dunham’s script was dialogue heavy. We also couldn’t afford a Steadicam or gallery. so we bounced lamps or dolly of any kind. have been more abstract. all dialogue scene between two people sitting. Right: Dunham also stars in the film as Aura. and ture is that it’s a very traditional story in a lot of ways. It’s a shot day interiors at 200 ASA and used fast Canon EF lenses. did an amazing job pulling focus with a very For Tiny Furniture.
did most of the lighting by himself because we couldn’t afford a larger crew. (When we shot handheld. So instead we worked largely with natural light. Lance delivered a ProRes locked picture to Technicolor New York. Sam and I were both surprised by how malleable the image was in post. clean camera moves are nearly impossible. a true artist. The camera’s look settings were all at zero. and not like we had a single source just blasting the subject so we could see. It looks noisy and grainy but real. Going up to 10bit was important for color correction because it gave us the bit depth necessary to create windows and secondary isolations. I think the light quality would have been more of a distraction if I’d tried to force a clean image without the appropriate equipment or personnel. a couple of 1Ks and rope lights.000 ASA. setting the 7D to 800 ASA and sometimes going as high as 2. HDCam cassettes and a QuickTime were dubbed for exhibition. my longtime colorist. From there we did a tape-to-tape color correct from HDCam-SR to HDCam-SR on a DaVinci 2K Plus. After converting the native 1080 24p H. It made sense to ramp up the exposure. follow focus. there are significant moiré problems. and I was very impressed by the latitude in the highlights when using the highlight-protection function. straightforward stuff. I would never choose to work with this camera again for a theatrical presentation. came up with the workflow for posting Tiny Furniture . Jeff Peixoto. That kind of stylization would have been very distracting with this kind of story. and it’s very uncomfortable to operate.264 files to ProRes for a Final Cut editorial. a matte box. and my gaffer. a lot of NDs and no diffusion filters. It was simple. We had a 2K.) Editor Lance Edmands and Sam Daley. However. The image is very compressed. The 7D can be a helpful tool in lowlight situations. it was important that the night exteriors look natural. ● . Technicolor up-rezzed to 10-bit uncompressed 4:2:2 QuickTime files and recorded those out to HDCam-SR. Even though we had a tiny crew and no equipment.into the background. which wasn’t enough to light on the scale that the complex night work demanded. I used a Zacuto shoulder mount with handlebars.
has introduced the AG-MSU10 P2 Media Storage Unit. Deliverables formats include MPG4 H.495. the grayscale displays the exposure setting and determines exactly how gamma curves are affecting the image. QuickTime (with various codecs) and broadcast WAV audio files. For more information.0 of its Cinedeck Extreme cameramountable recorder. which helps keep you consistent in terms of colorimetry throughout postproduction. image resizing tools. The CamBook includes unique Red framing formats. The Red CamBook also contains the Chro84 January 2011 • SUBMISSION INFORMATION • Please e-mail New Products/Services releases to: newproducts@ascmag. which features an 18-percent gray background. Cinedeck Extreme v2. On-Set Dailies has an easy-to-use. In addition to benefiting productions working with Arri digital cameras. disk and solid-state recorders. Cinedeck Extreme v2.264 for Web delivery. screeners and archiving. problem solver for Red. Cinedeck Gets Extreme Cinedeck LLC has released version 2. and a range of burn-in options. 24 colors. Avid DNxHD.” The Red CamBook costs $480 and can be purchased directly from DSC Labs or Red.com. a lightweight. Its image-processing capabilities include primary and selective color correction. is available for $3.com. both have Red camera framings for up to 5K.0 enables any camera with an HDSDI or HDMI output to bypass onboard compression codecs and record to any of a number of loss-less compression standards.0 offers full support for all versions of Apple’s ProRes codecs.New Products & Services Colorfront Optimizes On-Set Dailies Colorfront has announced a partnership with Arri for Colorfront On-Set Dailies. QC. four skin tones and an 11-step crossed grayscale. QuickTime files with various codecs.com and include full contact information and product images. For additional information. For additional information. The FullStream Uncompressed option. and it produces a record of the actual lighting on set. and TIFF and JPEG stills and WAV audio.com. 422 (LT) and 422 (Proxy). printer light and ASC CDL compatibility. Panasonic Introduces P2 Storage Unit Panasonic Solutions Co. audio and metadata management. allowing stereo adjustments of color and position. Delivering fast. monitor and playback device. the compact P2 Media Storage Unit elimi- American Cinematographer . The system also works with stereoscopic media. iPhone and iPad. “The neutral white and 18-percent gray backgrounds are great for achieving an accurate white balance. stable transfer of data.” says Graeme Nattress. maDuMonde 28 chart. ArriRAW. visit http://dsclabs. color grading.0 is available for $9. and can load media files from film scans. ProRes 422 and 444. Photos must be TIFF or JPEG files of at least 300dpi. mobile-workflow tool that simplifies the process of backing up P2 content. “The Red CamBook allows you to achieve better exposure [and] a more accurate white balance. The Red CamBook includes three pages of charts designed specifically for the Red One and Red Epic.995. a state-of-the-art digital-dailies tool optimized for use with Arri’s Alexa and D-21 digital cameras and their corresponding workflows.com and www. including ProRes 422 and 444 for Final Cut Pro editorial. 422 HQ. which includes a 256GB RAID SSD. Avid DNxHD MXF and QuickTime files. the application of 3-D LUTs. including 4444. Input media formats include DPX. visit www. The On-Set Dailies system incorporates production-proven tools for dailies work — including playback and sync. and simultaneous faster-than-realtime deliverables in common file formats — combined with Arri’s color and image science. Colorfront’s system can be integrated into any digital-dailies workflow. or from DSC’s worldwide reseller channels. node-based operator interface.cinedeck. streamlining the camera-to-edit workflow for Final Cut Pro users. MPG2 for authored DVDs and chaptered Blu-rays. including all varieties of Avid DNxHD and CineForm Digital Intermediate. Cinedeck Extreme v2. The system also synchronizes sound files with picture using automated and manual techniques. A FullStream Uncompressed option adds even more flexibility for uncompressed 444 and 422 recording. visit www.colorfront. DSC Labs Adds Red CamBook DSC Labs has added the Red CamBook to its popular CamBook series of charts.arri. including one chart with the industry-standard 18-percent gray background and a second with DSC’s CamWhite background. and it assembles takes into rolls and tapes for deliverables. tape capture.
Unlike the basic DMX512 standard. visit www. The robust Wi-Light system also includes built-in error checking. the model is straightforward and artist-friendly: Contributing artists upload their content at no cost.photonbeard. easy-to-install. has added Adobe After Effects project templates to its collection. bumpers. Pond5 reviews all submitted work to check quality and technical specifications. and can be easily installed using only a small screwdriver. The Wi-Light system can reduce or even eliminate the need for traditional wired DMX-controlled systems. The Pond5 After Effects collection currently includes more than 140 dynamic templates to choose from. An assignable block of channels are selected from the input stream and wirelessly transmitted. Pond5 Stocks After Effects Templates Pond5. The MSU10 boasts a small form factor with two slots. DVCPro50. including advertisements. “After Effects templates do exactly that. allowing the unit to be a P2 card reader (when connected to a computer) or to host an external drive for copying. wireless Wi-Light system for studio lighting control. but generally works up to 300' and can be extended using repeaters. including PCs and Macs. an online marketplace for stock media. video overlays and more. “Our goal is to provide content creators with a palette of stock media that expands their creative options. It provides P2 thumbnail display for confidence and metadata review and supports master-quality 10-bit AVC-Intra (100/50) and DVCPro HD.” Pond5 is also accepting submissions of professional-quality After Effects templates. the master unit can be configured as a receiver for point-topoint links or as a repeater to cover wider areas. which sends data continuously even when nothing has changed. The small receiver modules fit to the base panel of Photon Beard’s Highlight. the MSU10 also offers Host and Device functions. set the prices themselves and earn 50 percent of the license fee each time their content is purchased. and includes USB 2. more expensive appliances in the field and quickly frees up P2 cards for additional shooting. each receiver can be remotely set to respond to only one transmitter. Users can choose to purchase the storage unit without a drive (MSU10) or preconfigured with a 256GB 2. The bus-powered MSU10 can be easily transported from the field and connected to NLE systems. to expedite the editing process. For additional information. so the user can easily set the receiver address on each light source. visit www. one for a P2 card and one for the AGMBX10 tray. The master unit provides the entry port for the system and takes a conventional DMX512 data stream from a standard control desk. Content is transferred from a P2 card to the drive at four times real time.2" LCD screen and simple one-touch operation. Pond5 cofounder and CEO. and are a great complement to our selection of stock video and audio.5" enterprise-class solid-state drive (MSU10-SSD) or a 500GB 2. Designed primarily as an add-on to the company’s 86 January 2011 DMX-controlled series of Highlight fluorescents. with prices starting at $10. which includes royalty-free stock video footage and a full range of sound effects and American Cinematographer production music. the Wi-Light system can also control a mixture of fluorescent and incandescent lighting systems. All parts of the Wi-Light system are bi-directional. ● . on the outside of the casing.com. The MSU10 features a 3. After Effects users can now save precious production time by tapping into Pond5’s cache of high-quality motion graphics templates and easily customizing them for a unique. For more information.5" solidstate or hard drive for MSU10 backup. The project files cover a wide range of motion-graphics needs. All further setup instructions are either automatic or transmitted wirelessly from the master module.0 and eSATA interfaces for easy connection to NLEs. The MBX10 removable drive tray also includes USB 2. The original address positions of each channel in the block are preserved. credit sequences. All Photon Beard products are handbuilt to the highest standards.com. Photon Beard Offers Wireless Control Photon Beard has introduced the low-cost. purchase and download AE templates instantly and directly from the website.0 and eSATA interfaces.pond5. To close the network and eliminate interference. preview. which supports a 2. DVCPro and DV recording formats.com/broadcast. The MSU10 offers the flexibility of AC or battery operation. In addition to backup from the P2 card to the removable MBX10 tray drive. professional end product. and each Wi-Light unit contains a unique identity that is added to all transmissions. visit www. increases their productivity and saves them time and money. Clip-by-clip copying is also supported. As with video and audio on Pond5.panasonic. The transmitter range can vary. show intros. The AG-MBX10 removable disk tray can be purchased separately.nates the need for larger. the Wi-Light system utilizes a special protocol to transmit only the data that has changed.5" enterprise-class hard-disk drive (MSU10-HDD).” says Tom Bennett. The Pond5 collection allows users to search for. and Panasonic also offers the MBX10-SSD and MBX10-HDD for further flexibility. The WiLight system consists of one master transmitter/receiver module and individual receiver modules that are added to each light source or dimmer. For additional information.
International Marketplace Optimo Carry Handles TM 88 January 2011 American Cinematographer .
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He retired from filmmaking after Melrose Place came to an end. Hugo graduated in 1951 and quickly found steady work as a camera assistant on numerous French productions. In 1956. and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Hugo joined the ASC in 1972. 1930.” He also shot more than 30 telefilms over the course of his career. ASC. died Oct. pure common sense. . including The Forgotten Man . “I don’t regret it. I never looked behind. following in his father’s footsteps behind the camera. By 1967. the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Hugo continued to juggle theatrical features and MOWs. Hugo is survived by his wife.P.in Paris. where he worked with such directors as Bob Rafelson ( Head). Hugo became a U. “Good lighting. As a teenager. an affiliate assistant professor in the film department at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Stuart Rosenberg (April Fools) and Stanley Kramer (R. Hugo moved to Los Angeles. and he was working on the hit television series Mission: Impossible. Jacques Demy ( Model Shop). he began a new career as a teacher at UNLV. and Bless the Beasts & Children ). “I was overwhelmed by the abundance of equipment. he aided the French Resistance during World War II. he climbed the ranks and began notching professional credits as a director of photography.S. “I just pushed ahead.” his own.” he told AC in January 1990.In Memoriam Emmy-nominated cinematographer Michel Hugo. in my opinion. The Night Stalker and Climb an Angry Mountain. 1930-2010 feature. He frequented his students’ sets and was often heard to say. but in 2000. citizen and was admitted into the camera union. Taking a golf cart to move from stage to stage in a big studio — this was paradise!” In 1960. Hugo enjoyed a long run as cinematographer on the popular series Dynasty. he was once again ranked as a director of photography. ASC. After the war. and he repeated the feat in the following decade on Melrose Place. Witmer ● Photo courtesy of Francisco Menendez. — Jon D. and two grandchildren. “Lighting for television is no different from lighting a 92 Michel Hugo. a daughter. 13. Calif.. where he focused on cinematography. and essentially began again at the bottom of the ladder.M. two sons. Hugo was born on Jan. unique way of encouraging students to take care of the tools of their craft. the size of the stages. Thief. France. Gloria. he attended the Vaugirard film school in Paris. after being recommended by Society fellow Ted Voigtlander. is pure logic. Following Mission: Impossible. Hugo transitioned to features. and he also returned to episodic TV on the series The Streets of San Francisco and Tales of the Unexpected.” he added. In the 1980s. then known as IATSE Local 659. He was 80 years old. Through that decade. Before long. “Always check the camera lens to make sure no one has left a Dagwood sandwich in there. “I always had great admiration for the technology of American movies. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the 1978 miniseries The Awakening Land.” he told AC. 12 after a brief battle with cancer. A Tattered Web . Hugo was also a member of the Directors Guild of America.
Spieler (D ‘09) Director/Writer Marina Stabile (P ‘09) Producer/Writer Samuel Harowitz (C ‘09) Cinematographer Vegard H. Silver (E ’08) Producer/ Additional Editor Robert Konowalow (P ’10) Line Producer Daniel Meersand (S ’08) Writer Kevin Duggin (C ’08) Cinematographer Katy Skjerping (E ‘ 08) Editor Noah Rosenthal (C ’08) Second Unit Director David Lynch (D ‘70) Producer/Director/ Writer/Editor/Production Designer Frederick Elmes (D ’72) Cinematographer Andrew J. go to AFI. Sorby (E ‘09) Editor Harrison Yurkiw (PD ‘09) Production Designer Miguel Bunster (C ’06) Cinematographer Josef Lieck (D ’01) Associate Producer/Line Producer Ed Zwick (D ‘75) Producer/Director/ Co-Writer Marshall Herskovitz (D ‘75) Producer/ Co-Writer Pieter Jan Brugge (P ‘79) Producer Steven Fierberg (D ‘95) Cinematographer Steven Rosenblum (C ‘76) Editor Lisa Wiegand (C ’95) Cinematographer Maggie Kiley (DWW ‘09) Director/Writer Christopher Jones (E ’03) Editor For more information about AFI Fest. .Luke Lynch (E ‘09) Editor Georgia Archer (P ‘98) Producer/Director/ Writer Anthony Dominici (D ‘99) Executive Producer Matt Kregor (E ‘99) Co-Producer/Editor Jose Pulido (E ‘99) Editor Sam Harowitz (C ‘09) Production Manager Darren Aronofsky (D ‘92) Director Jon Avnet (D ’72) Executive Producer Matthew Libatique (C ‘92) Director of Photography Nick Simon (D ‘08) Director/Writer Thomas Mahoney (P ‘08) Producer Chady Eli Mattar (P ‘08) Producer Hayden Roush (P ‘08) Producer Scott C.com. AFI Conservatory and other AFI programs.
ASC was born in Reykjavik. Witmer is nominated for his May ’10 article about Iron Man 2 . Crazy as Hell and The Circle.” Following the exhibition. Ádám Fillenz. ● Society Welcomes Egilsson. AC Editors Notch Folio Nominations All three AC editors have earned nominations for Folio Eddie Awards for Best Single Article. His credits include the telefilms Sweet Temptation . Born in Atlanta. Alexander Calzatti. He has earned Emmy nominations four years in a row for his work on the series According to Jim. Below: George Mooradian. ASCrecently joined Michael Pogorzelski. ASC. Paul Babin. Petra Korner and Tommy Maddox-Upshaw for American Cinematographer “The Cinematography Program at AFI. ASC. for Winter’s Beginning . he spent two years filming his travels across the globe and 94 January 2011 Photo of Clubhouse by Isidore Mankofsky. and he won an ASC award in 2009 for the “Venice Kings” episode of Dark Blue. Chris Tufty and Dave Frederick for the panel “How Did They Get That Shot?” Curtis Clark. noted. ASC received the Golden Camera 300 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 31st Manaki Brothers International Cinematographers’ Film Festival in Bitola. ASC joined Sony’s Peter Crithary and Dhanendra Patel for a Sony-intensive discussion.. “We have the privilege of working and mingling with some of the smartest. Gold.” ASC associate Kristin Petrovich Kennedy. ASC. During the festival. George Mooradian. Giora Bejach. Jack Messitt. Mooradian Eagle Egilsson and George Mooradian have joined the Society as active members. Iceland. Following graduation. lighting by Donald M. Morgan. Stan McClain. and David Stump. and Daniël Bouquet. Thierry Godefroy.” Additionally. 13 in New York. Wexler Rides Wild River Haskell Wexler. The screening was part of “A 20th Anniversary Tribute to The Film Foundation. Executive editor Stephen Pizzello is nominated for his Oct. From his father. “The Evolution of the HDCam-SR Format. anywhere.. AFC. . forEnter the Void (AC Oct. Calif. as well as the series Red Shoe Diaries. Zsigmond led a cinematography master class and also headed the festival’s awards jury. Business for Pleasure and Sirens. which was recently restored by the Academy Film Archive. Determined to work behind the camera. director of the Academy Film Archive. and actor Bruce Dern for a panel discussion about Elia Kazan’s Wild River (1960) at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.” a multivenue series organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Film Department. ’09 article about Mad Men. He was twice nominated by the ASC for his work on the series CSI: Miami. Darren Genet. ASC added insight to the “Camera to Post” roundtable. Nobody. ASC sat down with American Film Institute graduates Uta Briesewitz. senior editor Rachael K. president of Createasphere. silver and bronze prizes will be awarded Jan. Awards were also presented to Benoît Debie. Ga. for Lebanon (AC April ’10). he acquired a deep interest in still photography that evolved into a love for motion pictures. Stephen Lighthill. Mitch Dubin. Republic of Macedonia. AFC. A Face to Die For . he attended Columbia College Hollywood and focused on cinematography. ’10).Clubhouse News Right: Eagle Egilsson. ASC members Daniel Pearl and Steven Poster joined camera operators Robert Reed Altman. featuring two days of panels and events in addition to an exhibitors’ hall and gear alley. for Nothing Personal. every single day. Mooradian notched his first credit as a director of photography on the feature Prisoner of Rio. Manaki Brothers Honor Zsigmond Vilmos Zsigmond. Createasphere also hosted a two-day Postproduction Master Class. Bosley is nominated for her Oct. most interesting people in any business. Christoph Beaucarne. ASC. for Pál Adrienn. and has since photographed such features as Retroactive. ASC briefly studied economics at the University of Georgia before changing tacks to focus on film studies at Ohio University. Schawn Belston. ASC associate Joshua Pines participated in the class’ keynote kickoff. for Mr. and associate editor Jon D. ASC Busy at Createasphere Createasphere recently held an Entertainment Technology Exposition in Burbank. which presented the Golden Camera 300 award to Martin Gschlacht for the film Women Without Men. Eleventh Hour and Miami Medical. ’09 article about Bronson. Our show grows because the expos shine a spotlight on the broad spectrum of content creators and the companies working with them as they push the envelope of technology and creativity. Eagle Egilsson. The Wire. Wexler served as an additional photographer on the 20th Century Fox film. senior vice president of library and technical services for Fox Filmed Entertainment. honing his eye for light and composition before returning to the United States and attending the Maine Photographic Workshop.
I’ve felt the same urge ever since. and the buyer financed a series. and I stalked birds. He hoped to walk in the footsteps of his father. past or present. Just for kicks. and at the same time sad not to have contributed more. He was the next most important person in the work that would become my lifetime world. I learned from New York cameraman Larry Madison about the inherent value of these often stunning ‘mistakes. I was given my first still camera at the age of 11. formed a company. We sat in on one lecture by Slavko Vorkapich and were seriously hooked. Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for membership? Conrad Hall and Haskell Wexler. Well-trained animals are very good at hitting their marks. when mist-shrouded scenes. The idea of a career in the movie business wasn’t even a spark in my head. Where did you train and/or study? I went to the University of Southern California on the GI Bill intending a serious study of biology. what might you be doing instead? I would have been a stuffy biology teacher in some second-rate high school in an out-of-the-way place. How has ASC membership impacted your life and career? I am proud to be a member of such a respected group. ● When you were a child. We know all the famous names. My only excuse is that I’ve been based outside the country. watercolorists of the 1930s and early 1950s — Rex Brandt. too embarrassing and too costly to mention. ASC because they are so often mentioned as inspirational. ASC and Haskell Wexler. or genres you would like to try? The niche I have happily occupied has been predominantly films with humans interacting with animals. hiding under a mossy stone. Who were your early teachers or mentors? Aside from Vorkapich. I loved their use of color and composition. What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received? From editor Irving Lerner: ‘Cut out all the comin’s and goin’s. Canyon Films. We bought a used Bolex and some outdated film from Bob Gottschalk. Have you made any memorable blunders? Too many. for most of my career. and then we set sail for Catalina during the summer break to make a film we’d call Sea Theme — no dialogue or color. ASC. How couldn’t I? What are some of your key artistic influences? I looked to the representational painters of the so-called California School. If you weren’t a cinematographer. In those days. What sparked your interest in photography? I have a built-in fascination with animals. And I was an assistant for Karl Freund. do you most admire.Close-up Which cinematographers. Both of them were truly fine influences on my life both personally and creatively. squirrels and rabbits in the hills and felt great if I got close enough with my wide-angle lens to see that I’d captured a recognizable creature. for mentors I’ve got to go way back in time to Floyd Crosby. Tom Craig. but there are a lot of folks out there with equal talent who just haven’t garnered the praise.’ 96 January 2011 American Cinematographer Photo by Mike Couffer.’ What recent books. Thank you. We thought we had the world by the tail. Slavko Vorkapich. ASC. Jack Couffer. What has been your most satisfying moment on a project? Falling in love with the actress. Con suggested that we audit a class in the new Department of Cinema Arts. . ASC How did you get your first break in the business? I was living aboard my boat while attending USC. just a beautiful schooner. Thank God for the Arriflex. and Conrad Hall and another student and I decided we’d put the ideas we’d learned in class into a film. You can read all about it in my new memoir. sails and seas and a score of classical music. films or artworks have inspired you? Winged Migration made me jealous — all the new technology I’ve missed out on! Do you have any favorite genres. The Lion and the Giraffe. I found myself next to a student named Conrad Hall in a make-up English class. a well-known writer. and why? It’s almost cliché to say Conrad Hall. and became entrepreneurs while still in film school. Vernon Nye and Emil Kosa. a great gentleman from whom I learned a lot. nor in Conrad’s. focused subjects seen through fuzzy foregrounds. It won an American Cinematographer Award (in 1951) and was sold to TV. who ran a hole-in-the-wall camera store. and sun flares all went automatically into the trash. what film made the strongest impression on you? Wow! I’m 85 years old and you’re asking for childhood memories? I don’t recall any film experiences from my early years. but they hardly qualify as gurus in my case because we were good friends and grew up together in the business. I’ve admired the work of so many excellent cameramen that it’s a bit unsettling to single out any individual.
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