J ULY 2012

$5.95 Canada $6.95
M E M B E R P O R T R A I T
Dean Cundey, ASC
W W W . T H E A S C . C O M
TO SUBSCRIBE BY PHONE:
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’ve been fascinated with
movies since elementary
school, not just the stories,
but particularly the ‘How did
they do that?’ part. In high
school, I wandered into a camera
store and discovered a magazine
that crystallized it all for me:
American Cinematographer.
Every month after that, I would
head to the store for the latest
issue, and I eventually convinced
my parents to subscribe for me.
“AC tells the stories
and reveals the techniques of
filmmaking’s photographic
artists. The magazine opened
up the world of cinematography
and visual storytelling to me,
and it illuminated the skills
and illusions the great
cinematographers used — it
told me ‘how they did it.’
“AC followed me through
UCLA film school and into my
professional career. It’s still with
me every month.”
— Dean Cundey, ASC
“I
©
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The International Journal of Motion Imaging
30 Ancient Aliens
Dariusz Wolski, ASC teams with Ridley Scott on
3-D Prometheus
42 High Anxiety
Dan Mindel, ASC and Oliver Stone blaze a trail with
drug-dealing kidnappers in Savages
54 Hair-Metal Heroes
Bojan Bazelli, ASC breaks down a key concert sequence
from the high-energy musical Rock of Ages
64 Shooting J.R.
Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC and Rob Sweeney return to
Southfork for a reboot of Dallas
DEPARTMENTS
FEATURES
— VISIT WWW.THEASC.COM TO ENJOY THESE WEB EXCLUSIVES —
DVD Playback: Bell, Book and Candle • The Siege of Firebase Gloria • Shame
On Our Cover: Space explorer Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) follows clues to an alien
civilization in a remote corner of the universe in the 3-D sci-fi thriller Prometheus, shot by
Dariusz Wolski, ASC. (Photo by Kerry Brown, courtesy of 20th Century Fox.)
8 Editor’s Note
10 Short Takes: Keane’s “Silenced by the Night”
16 Production Slate: Trishna • Two and a Half Men
72 New Products & Services
82 International Marketplace
83 Classified Ads
84 Ad Index
86 Clubhouse News
88 ASC Close-Up: Peter Lyons Collister
J U L Y 2 0 1 2 V O L . 9 3 N O . 7
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John Calhoun, Michael Goldman, Simon Gray, Jim Hemphill,
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Kenneth Sweeney, Patricia Thomson
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OFFICERS - 2011/2012
Michael Goi
President
Richard Crudo
Vice President
Owen Roizman
Vice President
John C. Flinn III
Vice President
Victor J. Kemper
Treasurer
Frederic Goodich
Secretary
Stephen Lighthill
Sergeant At Arms
MEMBERS OF THE
BOARD
John Bailey
Stephen H. Burum
Richard Crudo
George Spiro Dibie
Richard Edlund
Fred Elmes
Michael Goi
Victor J. Kemper
Francis Kenny
Isidore Mankofsky
Robert Primes
Owen Roizman
Kees Van Oostrum
Haskell Wexler
Vilmos Zsigmond
ALTERNATES
Michael D. O’Shea
Rodney Taylor
Ron Garcia
Sol Negrin
Kenneth Zunder
MUSEUM CURATOR
Steve Gainer
American Society of Cine ma tog ra phers
The ASC is not a labor union or a guild, but
an educational, cultural and pro fes sion al
or ga ni za tion. Membership is by invitation
to those who are actively en gaged as
di rec tors of photography and have
dem on strated out stand ing ability. 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.
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Back in 1979, when I was 12 years old, I was sitting in
front of the TV when a large egg appeared on the screen.
Ominous sounds echoed through our family den, punc-
tuated by the eerie shriek of an unearthly alarm klaxon. A
crack began fracturing the egg, flashing shafts of white
light poured out, and a baritone voice intoned, “Alien.
Rated R.” Seconds later, I ran off to corner my bemused
father and begin a relentless, obsessive campaign to
convince him that he “must accompany” me to my first
R-rated movie.
My dad eventually caved and took me to our local
theater, where I was literally sweating with anticipation. I
didn’t really know what I was in for, but I knew it was
gonna be scary, and that it would involve a weird creature from outer space. The lights went
down and I was not disappointed — Alien kept my heart hammering for two hours, and I
shot about 2 feet out of my chair when H.R. Giger’s horrifying monster sprang from John
Hurt’s chest, spraying bloody viscera all over the Nostromo’s crewmembers and walls.
Needless to say, I’m excited that Ridley Scott is back in the director’s chair for
Prometheus, a film he has coyly refused to refer to as a “prequel.” He concedes that the
movie contains “strands of Alien’s DNA” in its plot, which concerns a group of space explor-
ers who discover an advanced extraterrestrial civilization with close ties to mankind’s origins.
Dariusz Wolski, ASC joined Scott for the journey, and the two filmmakers detailed their
approach in separate interviews with Benjamin Bergery (“Ancient Aliens,” page 30).
Dan Mindel, ASC, BSC embarked on a different kind of odyssey with Oliver Stone on
the dramatic thriller Savages, which concerns a pair of marijuana growers whose shared girl-
friend is kidnapped by a drug cartel. Mindel embraced the chance to work on a project that
allowed him to capture most of the action on location with a variety of film stocks and in-
camera effects: “After being tied to big CGI films for the past few years, Savages was a
totally refreshing experience,” he tells Iain Stasukevich (“High Anxiety,” page 42). “We kept
the digital effects to a minimum and did as much as we could practically. Running around
real locations and really blowing things up was a welcome change!”
If you have fond memories of Eighties rockers with glorious coiffures, Rock of Ages
will allow you to “hold on to the feelin’,” as Journey’s Steve Perry sings in his signature tune
“Don’t Stop Believin’.” Bojan Bazelli, ASC offers Pat Thomson an overview of his approach
while also breaking down a key sequence in which Tom Cruise (as satyr-like rock god Stacee
Jaxx) gyrates his way through Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” (“Hair-Metal Heroes,” page
54).
Eighties nostalgia may have also inspired Dallas, a reboot of the iconic television series
that scored high ratings from 1978-1991. Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC and Rob Sweeney
took Jean Oppenheimer on a verbal tour of Southfork, where scheming tycoon J.R. Ewing
(Larry Hagman) contends with the latest generation of his dysfunctional clan (“Shooting
J.R.,” page 64).
Stephen Pizzello
Executive Editor
Editor’s Note
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10 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Road-Trip Romance
By Iain Stasukevich
The music video for Keane’s “Silenced by the Night” tells the
story of a man and a woman on a journey of discovery across the
American Southwest. “They’re free spirits willing to take chances,”
says cinematographer Alejandro Lalinde. “During their travels they
fall in and out of love, not knowing where their road or their lives will
take them.”
For the improvisational six-day shoot, director Chris Sims and
his small crew took the actors, Meghan Edwards and Julien Borno,
on a road trip from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, where Keane was
scheduled to play the 2012 South by Southwest Music Festival, and
then back again. “Music videos are usually shot in one 14-hour day,
and you’re doing a lot of fast work at an extreme pace,” says Lalinde.
“This was more like shooting six music videos. Whether it was 10 at
night or 11 in the morning, we were rolling the camera.”
In addition to Sims and Lalinde, the crew comprised 1st AC
Robby Hart, a production coordinator and a producer. A chase van
followed the lovers in their ’80s-era Volvo while Lalinde and Sims
traded operator duties in the back seat. To get the camera into such
tight quarters, Panavision Hollywood’s Guy McVicker streamlined the
Panavised Red Epic-M to the stripped-down camera body, a 5"
touch-screen LCD monitor, an anamorphic lens and a battery. The
operator pulled his own focus with a lightweight follow-focus
attachment, leaving Hart to concentrate on maintaining the camera,
lenses and accessories. “It was unconventional for all of us, including
Robby,” says Lalinde. “It was like working with a photo assistant.”
The camera’s reduced size allowed the operator to shoot
more easily from the chest or lap. That suited the documentary
aesthetic Sims had in mind. “When I was putting the Epic together,
I thought, ‘We need to treat this like a 16mm camera: small, self-
contained and mobile,’” says Lalinde.
He and Sims sought out the older C-Series optics for their
softening effect on the digital image and the irregular qualities of
their anti-reflective coatings. They used 30mm, 50mm, 75mm and
100mm lenses in the C-Series line, as well as a 40mm E-Series lens
“that was very close to the look of the C-Series,” says Lalinde.
Depending on the lens, Lalinde could only come as close as
30" to his subjects before needing a diopter to maintain focus. The
longer the lens, the farther out from the film plane its close focus is.
When necessary, he used full or split Tiffen diopters. At Panavision,
McVicker removed the diopters from their 138mm retaining rings to
make them easier for the filmmakers to manipulate by hand in front
of the lens.
The handheld glass elements allowed Lalinde to smear
sunlight across the frame and bend the focus, giving the image an
ethereal quality. “We did anything to distort the foreground,” he
says. “We shot into the sun and other sources to create flares.
Depending on the source and the angle of light coming into the
lens, you can create all sorts of artifacts. It’s just something that
happened while we were shooting, and the effect was different
every time.”
A mattebox was occasionally employed to facilitate Tiffen
IRNDs, which Lalinde used to maintain a shallow-focus T-stop
(between T2.3 and T2.8) at all times. He also utilized a Schneider
Pola for some shots.
McVicker provided Lalinde with a spreadsheet describing the
anamorphic-compatibility issues inherent in various digital cameras.
“You will usually have cropping issues shooting 2:1 anamorphic
with a digital format,” the cinematographer explains. “The Red MX
horizontally crops the image about 49 percent, and the Arri Alexa
[with the 16x9 Alev-III sensor] horizontally crops it about 39 percent,
so your field-of-view is not what it would be with a full-frame
Short Takes
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A man and
woman (Julien
Borno and
Meghan
Edwards)
embark on a
journey of
discovery in
the music
video for
Keane’s
“Silenced by
the Night,”
shot by
Alejandro
Lalinde and
directed by
Chris Sims.
I
35mm-sized sensor, and you lose [horizon-
tal] image resolution. When you capture in
the 5K ANA mode with the Epic, you get
about a 27-percent crop, so whereas
normally a 30mm anamorphic lens would
be the equivalent field-of-view of a spheri-
cal 15mm on 35mm film, it’s more like a
19mm on an Epic. You have to be careful
about picking the right digital camera when
you’re going to shoot anamorphic.”
The footage for “Silenced” was
captured in 5K ANA mode with a 7:1
compression-ratio setting for the Redcode
Raw files. Frame rates varied from 24-96
fps. (25 fps was the intended frame rate for
the video’s U.K. broadcast.) The team
carried four 128GB Redmag cards and shot
as much footage nearly every day.
The pace didn’t leave a lot of time
for precision lighting. Other than some
battery-operated F&V LED panel lights, and
a 4K HMI that was used for Keane’s perfor-
mance in Austin, “everything was pretty
much sunlight and existing street lighting,
anything that could offer us a source or
exposure,” says Lalinde.
He cites Terrence Malick’s The Tree of
Life, shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC
(AC Aug. ’11), as a primary reference for the
music video. “Lubezki’s work communi-
cated such deep human emotions, and
that, to me, is cinema,” observes Lalinde.
Taking a cue from Lubezki’s approach to
Tree of Life, Lalinde says he used “bounce
and natural light. [It was about] finding
what looked great and using it to our
advantage.”
He kept the Epic’s ISO setting at 800
for the duration of the shoot. “I usually
don’t go below ISO 640 on the Epic,
12 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Top: Lalinde says the
shoot was “about
finding what looked
great and using it to
our advantage.”
Middle: Lalinde
handheld diopters in
front of the lens to
bend focus and smear
light across the frame.
Bottom: Lalinde (with
camera), 1st AC Robby
Hart (second from
right) and Sims
capture a shot of
the couple at
an abandoned
gas station.
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because the lower you go, the less highlight
protection the camera offers. I’ll go all the
way to ISO 1,600, and I like the way the digi-
tal noise degrades the image, but in the end
it’s all about [protecting] the highlights.”
ISO 800 was sensitive enough to
capture subtle details in even the dimmest
light, such as a dusk scene in which the
lovers approach an emotional and literal
crossroads that was lit with only the Volvo’s
headlights.
“The shoot was very free form,” says
Lalinde. “Chris showed me reference images
of places along the road, forgotten Ameri-
cana, the America that has started to decay
but still evokes this sense of history and char-
acter. We planned as much as we could, but
we were searching for the story as we went
along.”
From Los Angeles, the filmmakers
headed east on Interstate 10, taking detours
onto dirt roads or wandering into open fields
whenever a location caught their eye. Morn-
ings were typically used for travel, opening
up the late afternoons and evenings to
shooting while the sun was low on the hori-
zon.
Keane’s performance for the video
was shot at night at a limestone quarry
outside Austin. Lalinde describes the setup as
“one light source, with the camera doing
circles around the band.” Local key grip Rich
Bond improvised white and silver bounce
surfaces with insulation panels purchased at
Lowe’s, and local gaffer Janet Jensen hooked
the 4K HMI to a generator in the bed of a
Ford F-150. The truck drove in circles around
the band, which performed almost 30 takes
of the song.
“The HMI was the only source, and it
created these moving shadows and silhou-
ettes,” says Lalinde. “You can’t really see the
entire band, but it was interesting to see how
the light wrapped around them.” He and
Sims took turns handholding the camera,
covering the action on each band member
with wide and close-up angles.
Lalinde was not able to be involved in
the color correction, which Sims and colorist
Brandon Chavez performed at New Hat in
Santa Monica, but he is happy with the result
and proud of what he and his collaborators
accomplished with minimal resources. “In
our case,” he notes, “shooting anamorphic
added a lot of production value.” ●
Above: The
couple stands
atop their Volvo
on the open
road. Right: Sims
keeps an eye on
the action as
Lalinde frames
up the
production’s
Red Epic camera.
14 July 2012 American Cinematographer
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16 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Setting a Classic Tragedy in Modern-Day India
By John Calhoun
Trishna is collaboration number 10 for director Michael
Winterbottom and Danish director of photography Marcel Zyskind,
and so, inevitably, the two covered a bit of familiar ground. It was the
pair’s third time shooting in India, although unlike the earlier films,
Code 46 (AC Sept. ’04) and A Mighty Heart, Trishna is entirely set
there and steeped in the country’s atmosphere and culture. It was
also shot with Winterbottom’s customary tendency towards cine-
matographic improvisation and discovery, but what that means on a
practical level is that each Winterbottom experience is a fresh one for
Zyskind.
“Michael wants to see how the scene evolves, and he wants
the freedom to, say, move in for a close-up at any time,” says
Zyskind. “We tend to cover the scenes a lot — one angle here, one
angle there, a little wider, then tighter. In a sense, it’s conventional
coverage, but it’s done in an unconventional way because we have
no script for how to do it.”
Rehearsals are verboten, and “the shooting ratio is very high.”
This strategy endures whatever format is involved, whether it’s the
Mini DV Sony PD-150 used for In This World (AC Dec. ’03) or the
35mm rig used for The Killer Inside Me (AC July ’10).
But with Trishna, says Zyskind, the filmmakers may have
found a new constant in their working lives: the 2K Arri Alexa.
“Camera-wise Trishna was unusual, in that we finally used a format
I think we’re going to use again!” says the cinematographer. In
general, he adds, digital capture is well suited for shooting on loca-
tion in places like India, where “it isn’t easy taking a big film crew
out. The Alexa is built for this, and in terms of the image quality, it’s
great.”
Freely adapted from Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the
d’Urbervilles, Trishna is set in the Indian state of Rajasthan and in
Mumbai, contrasting environments that embody the conflicts expe-
rienced by the title character (played by Freida Pinto). Trishna is a
traditional village girl who goes to work in a nearby resort and
becomes involved with the owner’s British-educated son, Jay (Riz
Ahmed). Trishna becomes pregnant and has an abortion, a fact she
hides from Jay, and eventually moves with him to Mumbai. But the
differences between the two — and the familial and social expecta-
tions that weigh on them — set the stage for disaster.
Apart from some tweaks in the final color correction, Zyskind
Production Slate
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Trishna (Freida Pinto) and Jay (Riz Ahmed) steal a moment together in Trishna, shot by Marcel Zyskind.
I
18 July 2012 American Cinematographer
and Winterbottom did not create a major
visual separation between country and city.
“What changes mostly is the backdrop
itself, whether it’s Trishna’s village, the hotel
or Mumbai, which is always crazy with traf-
fic and people,” says the cinematographer.
More noticeable distinctions are present
between exteriors, which are frequently
shot with longer lenses and on dolly or
Steadicam, and interiors, which are more
often handheld and close on the actors.
Because Winterbottom likes to
shoot fast and from a number of vantage
points, two cameras were always needed,
though they were never running simultane-
ously. Because only one Alexa was available
when shooting commenced, the filmmak-
ers supplemented with a Red One, which
was later replaced by a Red One MX, and
then finally by another Alexa. Zyskind
recalls, “The main camera was always the
Alexa, but during the first couple of weeks
we used the Red quite a lot; the Alexa
would be on the Steadicam or doing
handheld shots, and the Red would be
prepared to quickly grab a dolly shot.” (A
few shots were captured with a Canon EOS
5D Mark II.)
Because of speed and financial
considerations, the ProRes 4:4:4 images
were recorded to SxS cards rather than a
recording device.
The lenses were Zeiss Ultra Primes
and Angenieux 15-40mm and 24-290mm
Optimo zooms; the latter were used mostly
for quick focal-length changes rather than
zooming within shot. Zyskind kept a
1
⁄ 8
Tiffen White Pro-Mist filter on the lens “just
to soften the image slightly.”
The small-scale production was typi-
cal of Winterbottom’s method. Zyskind’s
crew included Winterbottom veterans 1st
AC Henry Landgrebe and 2nd AC Stefano
Barabino, both of whom “knew what to
expect,” says Zyskind. “When we work
with new people, they’re sometimes a little
surprised at how fast we actually work.
Henry was my second AC on three or four
of Michael’s films, and this was his first film
as focus puller. On a Michael Winterbottom
film, where you have no rehearsals and a lot
of handheld with wide-open lenses, pulling
focus is quite a feat!”
The lighting package on Trishna was
similarly spare, and a local gaffer and light-
ing crew were employed only for larger
setups. The rest of the time, Zyskind set up
the lighting. Transportation of equipment
was also a bit ad-libbed. “We took the seats
out of a local bus that was slightly bigger
than a minibus, and we fit all the [lighting
and] camera gear in the back,” he says.
“What I had with me at all times were a
1.2K HMI, some small Kino Flos, some
Litepanels LED lights and a couple of China
balls.” The bus was inconspicuous enough
that “we could leave it in the background
of certain shots, and it was fine.” ➣
Above: Trishna
spends time
with her family
and others in
their village.
Right: She and
Jay continue
their affair in
secret at his
father’s hotel.
20 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Crowd control was a constant chal-
lenge, especially in Mumbai. “In certain
locations, like a busy train station or bus
station, we’d go in and quickly grab a
couple of shots with the Canon 5D before
we’d start with the Alexa,” Zyskind recalls.
“Then we’d bring in the Alexa and shoot
the scene again. When you’ve got a big
camera, you can suddenly have 50 people
crowding around you. When we had the
Red with us, we’d sometimes send an oper-
ator out with it to shoot somewhere else as
a decoy, and then we’d quickly take the
Alexa handheld and shoot in another part
of the station. We didn’t use any extras;
those are all just people in the background.
We try to catch them in real situations, and
then place our actors in amongst them.”
The main hotel setting was actually
the hotel where the crew stayed in
Rajasthan. “We’d wake up in the morning,
step outside and start shooting,” the cine-
matographer recalls. “At other times we’d
go into Jaipur to film, and it would take us
45 minutes to get there. Because the traffic
is so bad, you can’t get around in big trucks,
so we’d put the actors in smaller cars, come
in with our little equipment bus, and set up
and shoot.”
Jaipur, the Rajasthan capital, was the
location for several motorcycle-riding scenes
with Trishna and Jay. Zyskind shot most of
these from another motorcycle. “I sat
behind the driver, like the Tour de France,”
he says. “We used the Canon 5D for a
couple of shots, just to get angles that
would be quite impossible to get otherwise.
There were times when holding out the
Alexa with one arm wouldn’t have been
wise!”
For night street scenes in both Jaipur
and Mumbai, the workhorse lights were
four battery-powered Litepanels 1x1 LED
fixtures. “What’s very nice about them is
that they’re bi-color, which means I could
turn the knob one way for daylight color,
another way for tungsten, keep it in the
middle for a mix, and slide a little diffusion
in front if I wanted it to be softer,” Zyskind
says. “Going into the streets at night, we
were trying to not attract too much atten-
tion, and those lights were great because
we could put them on rooftops here and
there and in alleys to throw some sidelight
on our actors. Of course, we’d use available
light from the shops as much as possible
and just add a little bit to bring up the
actors’ faces. We shot wide open at night
always, but with a base of 800 ASA, and
with the Ultra Primes, the Alexa is a really
fast camera.”
In one scene, Trishna is pursued
through the streets of Jaipur at night by a
group of young men. “We put up a few
lights, did a Steadicam shot in front of her,
and then I quickly ran a little farther up the
street, put the lights in a couple of other
positions, and did another angle,” says
Zyskind. The sequence continues as Jay zips
in on his motorcycle and rescues Trishna,
and then drives her into the countryside,
where they kiss for the first time. The
“moonlight” ambience required the
production’s largest lighting setup: three
HMIs (a 12K, a 6K and a 1.2K), supple-
mented by the Litepanels.
Litepanels units were also used for
many interiors. They were augmented by a
Kino Flo Diva-Lite during the important
scene in which Trishna reveals to Jay that she
has had an abortion. “It can be quite diffi-
cult filming two people cuddled up in bed
against a flat wall,” says Zyskind, who used
the Diva-Lite with some diffusion to suggest
ambient window light on the actors. “The
scene played out for 10- or 12-minute takes,
and it was quite emotional, so I knew I
wouldn’t be able to change around the
lighting after one take. Because we don’t do
any rehearsals, I’m sort of judging before-
hand what’s going to happen in the scene.
In that sense, working with Michael can be
tricky — sometimes you’d like to scrim the
light or close the flag a little bit! Thankfully,
digital grading enables you to make quite a
lot of changes like that in post.”
The post process on Trishna was
completed at Prime Focus in London, where
the filmmakers worked with colorist Tom
Russell. “It was quite a simple grade,” says
Zyskind. “We added warmth and contrast
to some scenes because the Alexa can look
flat. We kept Mumbai cooler than the coun-
tryside just to give it a less personal, slightly
more modern feeling.”
Since completing Trishna, Zyskind
has mainly stayed close to home in Copen-
hagen, where he recently wrapped the first
two episodes of the latest season of
Denmark’s hit TV series Forbrydelsen (The
Killing). “It’s the first time I’ve shot in my
home country in awhile,” he says. “I can
sleep in my own bed at night, which is a
pleasure!”
TECHNICAL SPECS
2.40:1
Digital Capture
Arri Alexa; Red One, One MX;
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Zeiss Ultra Prime, Angenieux Optimo
Trishna searches for a way out as she becomes increasingly unhappy with Jay.
Sitcoms Are Easy? Sure.
By Steven V. Silver, ASC
When executive producer Chuck
Lorre first called to say he wanted me to
shoot his new multi-camera sitcom, Two and
a Half Men, I was ecstatic. He told me the
show would be set in Malibu and would star
Charlie Sheen as hedonistic, womanizing
jingle writer Charlie Harper and Jon Cryer as
his more sensible, uptight brother and house-
mate, Alan. I’d grown up watching both
actors and had always been a fan. Better still,
I love Malibu and have lived there for most of
my life. I would be leaving it every morning,
driving across town, and attempting to re-
create its beauty on a Warner Bros. sound-
stage.
The show’s main setting is the living
room of Charlie’s spacious beachfront house.
My lighting for the series was originally
inspired by the color palette and texture of a
vintage still photo that shows Hugh Hefner
and some Playboy Bunnies in the den of his
bachelor pad. I’ve always loved that photo,
which looks like it was taken in the early
1960s. The tone is soft and cosmetically
smooth, but the image also has some
cool tones and deep contrast. Warm,
incandescent light emanates from stylish
practicals; turquoise and teal colors accent
the room’s dark corners and serve to highlight
the cabinets and shelves in the background.
Using a similarly sexy approach to Charlie’s
home seemed to work with the Malibu I
knew, and the style also became a point of
development for his womanizing-but-still-
charming character.
My general approach to the show’s
lighting is fairly straightforward: for day
scenes, I allow “sunlight” to stream into the
rooms and around window areas; for night
scenes, I add practical units in the frame and
then augment those with keylights. I allow the
sources to play several stops over, and I create
an acceptable fill level to control the mood
throughout the show. I project soft lighting at
the show’s female characters when the story
calls for that additional cosmetic touch. We’re
still shooting on film (Kodak Vision2 500T
5218), and I light by eye except in very low-
light situations. (I don’t like the key level to
slide below 6 footcandles.)
One of the most unique aspects of the
living-room set is the ocean backdrop. A few
years before I started working on the show, I
was doing some tests with an 8x10 bellows
camera. One of the test shots showed Point
Dume as seen from Paradise Cove, and that
shot has served as our 70' ocean backing for
all these years. During the first season, we did
our best to shoot around this static backdrop.
Chuck asked me to make the water move
for the following season.
I researched several ways to do this,
but it wasn’t until I saw the Gam SX4
(Professional Scenic Projection System with
Loop Tray) that I became truly inspired. By
teaming this with ETC Source Four Revolu-
tion units, we could create an effect that
looked like the vertically dancing flames of a
campfire, and we could project this fire unit
horizontally onto the back of our “water.” It
looked great to the eye, and test footage
helped me sell the effect to the producers.
We now use 19 of those units across our 70'
backing.
One episode, “A Fishbowl Full of
Glass Eyes,” called mostly for swing sets,
built from the ground up for the week.
Although this is usually the case, instead of
having our normal two days to light for a
massive amount of shooting, we were cut
down to one. The other prep day was dedi-
cated to an on-location night shoot at the
beach in Malibu.
To fully tell this story, I have to begin
where all shooting concepts begin: the
script. The first time I read a script, I clear my
mind and try to visualize the final image.
What is the mood of the scene? The tonal
quality? The emotional weight and density
of the image? Going through this mental
22 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Left: In a scene from the Two and a Half Men episode “A Fishbowl Full of Glass Eyes,” Alan (Jon Cryer) returns the expensive wedding ring that his divorced
friend Walden (Ashton Kutcher) has gifted to him in frustration. Right: Cinematographer Steven V. Silver’s sketch depicting his idea for lighting the beach scene,
which required a moonlit-night look.
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t he r t of f i l m opt i c s
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24 July 2012 American Cinematographer
process helps me leave the real world for a
moment and shift my brain toward cinema
fantasy and a “what could be” state of
mind. I read the script again, this time pictur-
ing the blocking of the actors and where I
think they might be in relation to the set. I
then build a shot sequence in my head,
which helps me to quickly begin conversa-
tions with the director and other depart-
ments. By preparing this way, I can have an
intelligent opinion on various topics, such as
where and how I think the sets should be
laid out; what the perimeters of the back-
grounds may be for the art department; the
size and scope of the production, and how
that will affect the hiring of extra crew and
the ordering of specialty equipment, and so
on.
As the show progressed, Sheen’s
character was replaced by a new character,
Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher), who
buys the beach house and befriends Alan.
Walden is going through a divorce and gifts
his valuable wedding ring to Alan, who
thinks about pawning it but eventually
returns it to Walden. Here is the scene I’d like
to discuss:
BEACH LOCATION
EXT. BEACH – CONTINUOUS (NIGHT 2)
(Alan, Walden)
A somber Walden is standing and looking
at the ocean. Alan crosses in and hands
him the ring.
ALAN
Here.
WALDEN
My ring. Thanks.
Walden puts the ring back on his finger,
then:
WALDEN
You know what? I was right the first time.
I don’t need this anymore.
ALAN
Are you sure?
WALDEN
Positive.
Walden takes off his ring and throws it into
the ocean.
WALDEN
I feel better already.
ALAN
(whimpers) Oh, good.
Walden crosses off. Alan watches him for a
beat, then turns and runs into the ocean.
ALAN
My precious! My precious! My precious!
He dives into the waves over and over,
searching for the ring.
In my mind’s eye, this initially seemed
like a straightforward scene. Had I not
already shot the ocean for the show a few
years prior, I’d have simply treated this scene
like any other location, albeit with its inher-
ent challenges. However, I had shot a night
swimming sequence in the ocean years
earlier. I was more fortunate then, because
the scene called for the swimmer to be
revealed by a helicopter searchlight, which
set up a source we could use as our key. For
this scene, though, the audience had to
somehow believe Alan could see into the
night ocean well enough to search for a ring.
The last time I’d shot the ocean, I
pounded the water with 18K HMIs from
both sides of the beach. The foam from the
breaking waves read fine, but beyond the
breakers the water registered as entirely
black. The illusion that Alan could find or
would even bother to search for a ring in
that darkness seemed improbable.
I live out by the beach and grew up
taking night swims during full moons with
friends. On those evenings, there’s enough
ambient light to see your way around on the
beach. The moon’s reflection shimmering off
the water’s surface helps to silhouette the
horizon from the night sky. On summer
nights, if there were waves and the tide was
high enough to cover the rocks, we’d surf all
night. Remembering this inspired my “what
could be” approach and helped develop the
way our beach scene would be shot.
I researched shooting day-for-night
and checked with the producers to see if
Silver’s technical solution to the scene’s requirements involved a Sourcemaker tube light
tethered to a boat to create reflections on the ocean, as well as a large fixture mounted to a
Champion crane to provide background “moonlight” along the beach.
they were open to chroma-key work
onstage for sound-recording considera-
tions. However, we all agreed that the best
visual outcome would be achieved by going
out on a night location. Fortunately, the
producers shared my concern about the
actors seeing into the darkness of the water,
and they remained open to any and all ideas
of lighting techniques. I pursued my vision,
guided by the memory of those full-moon
summer nights and my rough storyboard
ideas.
After reviewing the storyboards with
the director, we decided the scene coverage
would be mastered both from the house
view to the ocean and looking back at the
house — with four cameras rolling on each
direction for the dialogue. There would be a
separate setup that would carry Jon to the
ocean and film him swimming in the moon-
light.
I knew I needed to create the illusion
of the full moon, and that it needed to be
framed low in the sky, directly above the
horizon. I booked a barge from Long Beach
that had been used on Pirates of the
Caribbean and planned to load a Bebee
Night Light on it as our moonlight
source. Because there was a limit as to how
close the barge would be able to anchor
offshore, I also researched the possibility of
tethering Sourcemaker’s 10'x26' tube light
to a ship. I noted that the weather forecast
called for higher winds and a chance of rain.
The rest of my research yielded little
information. I decided to cancel the barge
and Bebee light and book the Sourcemaker
balloon and two boats, one to fly the
balloon and the other to accommodate a
tag line in case the wind wouldn’t allow the
balloon to stay still in the night sky. The idea
was to accept the boat and balloon in the
frame and paint them out later, leaving in
their place the reflection for a digitally
created moon.
In addition, I ordered a 160' Cham-
pion crane so we’d have something rigid to
project from the beach if the wind came up
and the balloon was a bust. The crane was
reportedly able to reach 40' from where it
stood; this would allow us to stretch it out
over the water and shoot lights from the
ocean side back at us.
Leading up to the shoot, I checked
the winds on Windfinder.com several times
a day. At night, after very long days, I would
go down to the beach and test the accuracy
of the Windfinder website. I knew I might
have to pull the plug at any time, cancel
some of the gear I’d ordered and adjust the
plan.
Two days before the Malibu shoot,
the weather took a promising turn. Wind
reports alluded to possible low winds for a
few hours during our shoot. I crossed my
fingers and told production to confirm all of
the equipment.
When I arrived at our location, the
crane was at full extension out over the
ocean, and I immediately saw that the arm
was about 50' too short to do the job as
we’d conceived it. Fortunately, I had a
contingency plan: the crane would act as
our background moonlight source, project-
ing down the beach in both directions. For
the purposes of our setup, it worked
perfectly.
I then turned my attention to the
balloon on the boat. I asked the boat crew
how close they could get to the shore
because at that point, they seemed way out
in the ocean. We got them in as close as
possible and had them anchor up. It was still
light out, and we were waiting for the wind
to drop down. Whether our moonlight was
going to be effective was still a question.
Around 5 p.m., clouds began gather-
ing far out at sea. The winds died down, and
I instructed the techs on the boat to begin
inflating the balloon, which required 13
tanks of helium and about an hour to
become fully filled. I could tell before the
balloon was filled that the effect would be
successful.
The wind cooperated and held still.
Within two hours, the shoot was finished,
and the producers were satisfied and on
their way home. I drove home late and
woke early the next morning. That was one
of the most interesting weeks of my career.
TECHNICAL SPECS
1.78:1
35mm
Panaflex Gold II
Panavision Primo
Kodak Vision2 500T 5218 ●
The crew prepares for the setup as Silver
(right) coordinates logistics.
26 July 2012 American Cinematographer
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The Dark Knight Rises Wally Pfister, ASC
Killer Joe Caleb Deschanel, ASC
The Gangster Squad Dion Bebbe, ASC
The Odd Life Of Timothy Green John Toll, ASC
Lincoln Janusz Kaminski
Moonrise Kingdom Robert D. Yeoman, ASC
47 Ronin John Mathieson, BSC
The Trouble With the Curve Tom Stern, ASC, AFC
Lawless Benoit Delhomme, AFC
Life Of Pi Claudio Miranda, ASC
Stoker Chung-hoon Chung
Inside Llewyn Davis Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC
Captain Philips Barry Ackroyd, BSC
Oblivion Claudio Miranda, ASC
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Caleb Deschanel, ASC
30 July 2012 American Cinematographer
I
n 1979, Ridley Scott helped to give the science-fiction
genre new life with the dark thriller Alien, shot by Derek
Vanlint (AC Aug. ’79). The director may very well have
redefined the genre again with Prometheus, captured in
3-D by Dariusz Wolski, ASC.
Prometheus begins at the end of our century, as scientists
working at an archeological site uncover a map of distant stars
that matches drawings found in primitive cultures across the
globe. This remarkable coincidence inspires a manned mission
to explore the planet to which all the maps point. Upon arriv-
ing on the planet in their spaceship Prometheus, a team of
astronauts discovers mysterious caverns filled with increas-
ingly disturbing evidence of an advanced alien civilization.
Things then go very bad, but we won’t say more, as the film-
makers were keen to avoid spoiling the surprises when they
spoke to AC.
Prometheus was shot primarily on soundstages at
Pinewood Studios, including the 007 Stage, the largest in
Europe. Some exteriors, notably scenes set near the spaceship’s
ground-level hangar, were filmed on Pinewood’s backlot. The
opening scene of an archeological site was shot on the Isle of
Skye in Scotland, and there was a week of principal photogra-
Ancient
Aliens
Dariusz Wolski, ASC and
Ridley Scott discuss their approach
to 3-D digital capture on the sci-fi
thriller Prometheus.
By Benjamin B
•|•
www.theasc.com July 2012 31
phy in Iceland, whose striking land-
scapes stood in for the alien planet.
Wolski is proud of the movie’s very real
landscapes. “Iceland is phenomenal,” he
says. “It had daylight for 20 hours a day
when we were there, and the sun was
always low and beautiful. If it was
cloudy, it was also stunning. It’s an
amazing place to shoot — and I’ve shot
four Pirates of the Caribbean movies in
the tropics, so I know the difference!”
After using the Red One MX for
3-D digital capture on the last Pirates
movie, On Stranger Tides (AC June ’11),
Wolski decided to shoot Prometheus
with the Red Epic, which had just been
released. He chose the Epic for its small
size — “it’s a little bigger than a
Hasselblad” — and 5K capability.
Although he shot Prometheus in 5K at
5:1 compression (occasionally switching
to 3:1 compression for scenes with very
fine detail, like water or foliage), he
notes that the original photography had
to be converted to 2K in post to match
the resolution of the visual-effects work.
“On a movie with this many visual
effects, going to 4K would have quadru-
pled the visual-effects budget,” notes
Wolski. “But, at the same time, we
already have 4K projectors, so things are
moving along. When we can capture in
U
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Opposite page: In
Prometheus, aliens
known as
Engineers have
close ties to
humankind. This
page, top: An
Engineer in battle
armor. Middle:
After traveling to
a far-flung planet,
space explorers
Shaw (Noomi
Rapace), Millburn
(Rafe Spall), Fifield
(Sean Harris) and
Holloway (Logan
Marshall-Green)
explore the
surface. Bottom:
Cinematographer
Dariusz Wolski,
ASC (left) and
director Ridley
Scott frame up
a shot.
32 July 2012 American Cinematographer
5K, do visual effects and other post
work in 4K, and then project in 4K, I
think it will look as good as Imax.”
Prometheus is Scott’s first 3-D
feature, as well as his first foray into
digital capture, and the director says he
loves the “clarity” of the latter. “I really
love the picture quality of the Red. But
when you have that kind of clarity, it’s
very easy for your lighting to become
harsh, so you definitely have to pay
attention to that.”
Scott sums up the capabilities of
the Red Epic with a series of questions
and answers: “Do you have to fill? Yeah.
Can you shoot with no light at all? Yes.
Does it hold up? Absolutely, but you
don’t want the whole film to look like
that. So we moved around in very
different lighting levels and situations. I
think Prometheus is a pretty good show-
case for Red. Dariusz made it look
absolutely beautiful in both 2-D and
3-D.”
“The biggest challenge of this
film was to make it as dark as possible,
and at the same time be able to see the
characters’ faces,” adds Wolski. “The
question was how far we could push it.
Both Ridley and I love the moody stuff,
but you don’t want to go too far.”
As for 3-D, Scott says it “seemed
a good match” for Prometheus. What’s
more, he continues, “If you’re used to

Ancient Aliens
Top: The mission’s
android, David
(Michael Fassbender,
center), accompanies
Holloway and Shaw
as they investigate a
temple dominated
by a giant, sculpted
head and filled with
mysterious ampules.
Middle: Toplight for
the temple set was
created by a 40'
cluster of space
lights suspended
from the ceiling and
aimed down
through a
hexagonal piece of
Grid Cloth. Bottom:
Fifield and Spall
stumble across an
unfamiliar life form:
the serpent-like
Hammerpede.
www.theasc.com July 2012 33
shooting, there is no goddamn differ-
ence between 2-D and 3-D — you’ve
either got an eye, or you haven’t. And if
you’re a director who hasn’t got an eye,
you’d better make sure your cameraman
does!”
Asked if he believes the editing
rhythm should be slower in 3-D than in
2-D, Scott responds, “No, that’s
rubbish. That’s only when you don’t
know what you’re doing. We all knew
what we were doing, so it was pretty
straightforward.”
Though Alien is a memorable
example of anamorphic cinematogra-
phy, Scott decided to capture
Prometheus’ widescreen images with
spherical lenses. “I do like anamorphic,
but spherical is a much better enabler —
I like the sharpness,” says the director. “I
have a great preference for spherical
now, unless I’m really going to go for
that shallow-focus look.”
Working with 3ality Technica
Atom 3-D rigs, which were designed
for the Epic, Wolski shot most of
Prometheus with Angenieux Optimo
zooms. He explains, “In 3-D, lens
changes are complex, and re-aligning
the cameras is time-consuming. Ridley
likes to move fast, and he likes to use
multiple cameras, so I decided on four
main rigs: two with 15-40mm
Optimos, and two with 28-76mm
Top to bottom:
As the spacecraft
Prometheus
approaches its
destination,
David prepares
to awaken Shaw
from hypersleep;
the android
examines a
strange
substance within
one of the
ampules
discovered in the
alien temple;
crewmember
Ford (Kate Dickie)
observes as
David removes
the armor from
a petrified
Engineer’s head.
34 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Optimos. We also used a Steadicam rig
with Zeiss Ultra Primes, which shaved
the weight as much as possible.
“Those Angenieux zooms are
phenomenal,” he adds. “I think the short
Optimo zoom is the most revolutionary
lens in the industry right now. You can
shoot a whole movie with two zoom
lenses!” (The camera package was
provided by Panavision London.)
Scott notes that he has enjoyed
using multiple cameras simultaneously
since Gladiator (AC May ’00). “If I’m
doing some dialogue, I’ll shoot A and B,
probably in opposition to each other —
we’ll get in there somehow,” he says. “So
if something drifts, or something good
happens by accident, you’ve got it both
ways.” The multiple-camera technique,
he continues, is “not a problem if you
know what you’re doing. Whenever I
can, I will try to keep the actors’ fresh-
ness alive. That’s of total importance.
And because I’m not cutting and setting
up again, I’m saving an enormous
amount of time. This is why we shot
Prometheus in 82 days.”
Wolski details the multi-camera
mise-en-scène: “We were using three or
four cameras at any given time. First you
do two wide shots, and then you shoot
tighter. Then you go to close-ups with
two longer lenses; they’re easier to hide,
and you can still find a place for the

Ancient Aliens
Top and middle:
An Engineer
settles into his
pilot seat.
Bottom: A
vicious creature
examines its
surroundings
near a fallen
Engineer.
third camera. With Ridley it’s like a
puzzle: you look at the scene, put
cameras all over the place, and then see
which ones work. You move one a little
to the right, another a little to the left,
dolly one out. You roll the scene, and
when one camera doesn’t work
anymore, another dollies in and picks
up the scene, and you get this incredible
fluidity. You can do a three-page scene
with three camera setups, and then you
do another version and you’re done. It’s
extremely efficient.”
Wolski notes that sometimes
multiple viewpoints just won’t work
“because the lighting would be too flat,
and Ridley’s the first one to understand
that. But with a clever design, you can
get away with a lot, and Ridley loves a
challenge. It’s almost as if we’re looking
at each other and saying, ‘How far can
we push it?’ Of course, it becomes crazy
at some point, and then we back off and
agree to do the close-ups separately. But
I believe you get more interesting
images because of the challenge —
because you have to hide the camera,
because you have to drop the camera
lower or higher, because your overs are
not perfectly matched and because your
eyelines aren’t, either. I think of
Prometheus as an extremely stylized and
controlled documentary.”
Wolski’s elegant lighting
approach for the spaceship in
Prometheus was to integrate most of the
sources into the set in close collabora-
tion with production designer Arthur
Max. Many sources either appear as
practicals or were strips hidden in nooks
in the walls or troughs in the floors and
ceilings. In fact, the set was lit almost
entirely with LEDs, along with some
fluorescents. “This film lent itself to
using modern lighting,” says Wolski,
“and we designed the spaceship with a
lot of LEDs controlled by very complex
dimmer boards.” When he did add an
eyelight or fill light on a stand, he would
use “the same lights I had on the set.
Tungsten light was the biggest no-no;
everything is blue-green, warm green or
just blue.”
Asked about his color scheme,
Scott replies, “Funnily enough, I went
for a lot of white. Then it became, ‘How
white is white?’”
Wolski notes, “I would define
Ridley’s white as a little on the cool
side.”
The LEDs and fluorescents had
variations in color. Wolski states that
both daylight sources had green spikes,
but rather than try to correct the color
temperature, he chose to, within limits,
use the greenish and bluish tints as real-
istic industrial lighting. “We decided to
play the lights for what they were. Some
of the cool white LEDs are greener,
while some are bluer. We just let them
play as the sources on the ship.” Indeed,
the ship’s interior is distinguished by a
rich variety of blues, greens and yellows
that were heightened by Wolski’s choice
of a consistent 4,000°K setting on the
Epic, which also yielded slightly cool
exteriors.
Panalux in London provided the
production’s lighting package, and
gaffer Perry Evans credits Steve
Howard for his technical assistance.
Panalux provided hundreds of daylight
LED units, including 2' square panels,
as well as smaller custom sizes, along
with LED controllers. There were also
hundreds of RGB LED sources that
could be programmed for different
colors, including daytime, night and red
(for “emergency” scenes). The filmmak-
ers also used 200 “off the shelf ” indus-
trial fluorescents, which were outfitted
with dimming electronics.
The art department left slots
open in the set for square LED panel
lights, and also created troughs in the
floors and walls for LEDs and fluores-
cents. Evans recalls that the team also
put light fixtures behind grating, creat-
ing ad-hoc vents. He notes that a stan-
dard LED panel was roughly equivalent
to a 500-watt tungsten light, with
considerably less power consumption.
Rigging all the LEDs and fluo-
rescents into the set was a major chal-
lenge for the electricians, because they
had to wait for the set builders to finish
before installing the fixtures. “We were
always a day behind them, and that was
tough,” says Evans. A complex web of
cables was then wired to a Panalux
Vizilink dimming-board system. Some
soundstages had literally thousands of
channels. “Every light was dimmable,”
says Evans, adding that the dimming
board could be remotely controlled with
an iPad on the set.
Scott asked that the spaceship’s
lighting be dynamic so it could react to
the actors. Evans recalls, “Once Ridley
saw that we could play with the lights,
he pushed it to the limit. He’d say,
‘When he walks in the room, bring
www.theasc.com July 2012 35
Vickers (Charlize Theron) takes refuge in an escape pod.
36 July 2012 American Cinematographer
those lights up, and when he touches
this desk, switch those things on.’ I
don’t recall doing a single shot on the
spaceship without a light change. I must
admit, Ridley put us through our paces.
There was never a dull moment!”
Evans adds with some pride that
his uncle, Ray Evans, was the gaffer on
Alien. “When I got this job, I couldn’t
wait to tell him, and he couldn’t wait to
see the set. Ridley invited him down,
and when he saw the spaceships, he was
gobsmacked how we were doing it all
with LEDs!”
“Alien was incredibly avant-garde
for its time,” notes Wolski. “Ridley
insisted on having practicals in the
frame, and at that time, everything was
much more cumbersome, so he had to
use projections. The soft lights on the
set were maybe 2Ks with gels. On this
film, we expanded on that approach
using better technology.”
Wolski used a mix of colored
sources in the large hangar on the
ground floor of the Prometheus, which
had a giant door that opened on a tall
greenscreen in the backlot of Pinewood.
The interior of the hangar featured a
mix of daylight fluorescents and tung-
sten Par cans built into the set, vehicles
with powerful LED headlights,
daylight streaming in, and a cluster of
six HMI 4K Pars suspended from a
crane that simulated work lights on the
bottom of the ship.
Wolski laughs and notes that
there was “a traffic jam” above the
hangar, with different cranes lifting the
hangar door, suspending the HMIs,
and flying two 40'x40' silks to keep
sunlight off the actors and the green-
screen. “It was the usual problem with
shooting greenscreen, which is that you
spend more time lighting a screen that
won’t exist than lighting the people who
do!” he observes.
In one scene, a dangerous ice
storm sweeps in on the hangar. Wolski
shot this as a day exterior, with a single
patch of sunlight on lead actress Noomi
Rapace (at Scott’s suggestion), before
switching to night-for-day when the
storm arrives, leaving only two

Ancient Aliens
Top: Large
fixtures
illuminate the
Prometheus
ship’s hangar, a
set built at
Pinewood
Studios; an
infected
crewmember
turns on his
team; Theron
blasts away
with a
flamethrower.
38 July 2012 American Cinematographer
suspended boxes of HMI Pars and the
mixed-temperature work lights on the
Prometheus to illuminate the swirl of
particles generated by wind machines.
As they go through the caves on
the planet, the astronauts come upon a
vast cavern with a giant, sculpted head,
which marks the beginning of their
troubles. Wolski lit the area with a 40'
cluster of space lights diffused through
Grid Cloth and CTB gel that was
suspended high above the set. The
edges of this rectangular source were
taped off to create a hexagon that would
provide a smaller reflection on the astro-
nauts’ helmets. The crew also positioned
HMI helium balloons to provide some
sidelight on the actors. The other prin-
cipal sources in the scene were warm
LED practicals at the base of the neck
of the astronauts’ spacesuits, and power-
ful LED flashlights whose beams were
defined by a bit of smoke on set. Wolski
would occasionally add some fluores-
cents or LEDs on a stand to help illu-
minate the actors’ faces during dialogue
sequences.
Stereographer James Goldman,
who also worked with Wolski on the
3-D Pirates, explains that Prometheus
was shot parallel, meaning that the
convergence of the left and right images
was accomplished in post. He adds that

Ancient Aliens
Top to bottom:
On location in
Iceland, a
SuperTechno
crane angles in
on Rapace; a car-
mounted Pursuit
Crane tracks
actors traveling
over Iceland’s
terrain in ATVs;
crewmembers
capture a shot of
performers
suspended from
wires during the
staging of a
storm sequence.
shooting parallel facilitates visual-effects
work because those artists don’t have to
compensate for keystoning of toed-in,
converging cameras.
Goldman notes that the Optimo
zooms were quickly aligned after focal-
length changes. “We could snap in from
24mm to 60mm, and the rig techs did a
little adjustment.” He says Dan Sasaki
and Jim Budd at Panavision were
instrumental in helping to tweak the
optics, and modifying them to facilitate
tracking adjustments. Goldman moni-
tored the stereo image with a 3ality
Technica Stereo Image Processor, and
Brainstorm’s Qtake was used to create a
converged 3-D image for the filmmak-
ers to view on set.
Goldman supervised the changes
in IO (interocular distance) in coordina-
tion with Scott and Wolski. He notes
that Scott favored a big IO with more
depth, but that he saved extreme 3-D
effects, like jutting foregrounds, “for the
big moments when he wanted people to
jump out of their chairs.” In general, he
continues, Scott “adjusted his style to
3-D and tended to put less in the fore-
ground than he usually does.”
On the set, images were moni-
tored by digital-imaging technician
Ryan Nguyen at a station next to
Wolski, who set the color “in camera.”
The files were then prepared for editor-
ial at an off-set station run by camera-

Ancient Aliens
40
Theron is surrounded by Red Epics mounted on 3ality Technica’s 3-D rigs.
data supervisor Jeroen Hendriks. “We
did everything in-house,” Wolski
explains. “Downloads from camera
went to Jeroen’s station, and then the
image went straight to editorial and
stayed there all the way to the final color
correction, which was actually mini-
mal.” (The filmmakers carried out the
final grade at Company 3 with Stephen
Nakamura.)
Wolski chose a 24" Sony monitor
as the absolute image reference on the
set. Hendriks explains that each take’s
settings were saved in a Red MetaData
file that accompanied the footage
through the workflow. “Ridley loved
what we saw on the monitor,” notes
Wolski. “He said, ‘This is it. Don’t mess
with it.’”
Hendriks explains that visual-
effects supervisor Richard Stammers
defined a window of 4,800x2,000 pixels
in the 5K image to create the 2.39:1
widescreen frame, leaving 100 pixels on
either side to allow for convergence
adjustments and some vertical room for
reframing. After Hendriks and his crew
cloned the 5K originals, they used
RedCine-X software to verify the
RMD file, and then defined a conver-
gence setting for each take (as provided
by Goldman). This metadata was then
sent via Skype to the off-set station,
where color-corrected and converged
3-D dailies were created for the editors.
The final 3-D convergence was accom-
plished toward the end of post during a
convergence run, in tandem with the
final grade.
Wolski concludes by recalling
that Alien was a key influence on him
early in his career. “I feel very lucky to
have had a chance to work with Ridley,”
he says. “I was very influenced by his
films when I started out, and I know I
was subconsciously repeating certain
shots that had impressed me.” While
shooting Prometheus, he thought a lot
about Alien, as well as Stanley Kubrick’s
2001: A Space Odyssey (AC June ’68). “It’s
hard not to be influenced by those films
— they’re the reason so many of us
became filmmakers, and they stay with
you.”
Looking back, Scott offers his
final thoughts about Prometheus:
“Working with Dariusz was absolutely
marvelous. It was fun to revisit science
fiction, an old genre, and he and his
crew made the whole thing a great ride!”

TECHNICAL SPECS
2.40:1
3-D Digital Capture
Red Epic
Angenieux Optimo,
Zeiss Ultra Prime
41
42 July 2012 American Cinematographer
I
n Oliver Stone’s Savages, friends Ben and Chon (Aaron
Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) are living the high life in more
ways than one. They operate a successful marijuana grow
house and dispensary, live in a Southern California beach-
front property, and share a sexual relationship with the beau-
tiful Ophelia (Blake Lively). When a Mexican crime cartel
controlled by Elena (Salma Hayek) and her enforcer, Lado
(Benicio Del Toro), makes a play for their territory, Ben and
Chon find themselves running from both criminals and a
corrupt DEA agent (played by John Travolta).
Shot by Dan Mindel, ASC, BSC, Savages recalls two
of Stone’s expressionistic collaborations with Robert
Richardson, ASC, Natural Born Killers (AC Nov. ’94) and U-
Turn (AC Oct. ’97). Like both of those pictures, Savages was
shot completely on location with a variety of film stocks,
optics and in-camera effects.
Mindel was keen to shoot with anamorphic lenses, but
using the widescreen format almost wasn’t an option. “When
I first spoke to Oliver and producer Eric Kopeloff, they
weren’t really planning to shoot a ’Scope movie,” recalls
Mindel, whose only spherically shot feature is Domino (AC
Nov. ’05). “But one of the very first things I said to Oliver was,
Dan Mindel, ASC, BSC teams
with Oliver Stone on Savages, which
pits a pair of marijuana growers
against a drug cartel.
By Iain Stasukevich
•|•
High
Anxiety
www.theasc.com July 2012 43
‘We have to shoot anamorphic. If you
want to shoot Super 35 or digitally, then
I’m really not your guy.’
“I think Oliver was caught
unawares because he hadn’t made a
’Scope film in a long time, and I think
he sort of forgot what a powerful
medium it is,” Mindel continues. “He
began to consider the anamorphic films
he’d done and reflected on what the
issues were. Eventually he came around
and fully embraced the idea.”
Working with Panavision in
Woodland Hills, Calif., Mindel chose
his favorite set of Primo and C-Series
anamorphic lenses, as well as some
Primo anamorphic zooms (3:1 ALZ3,
11:1 ALZ11, ATZ 70-200mm and
AWZ2 40-80mm), to go with Panaflex
Millennium XLs. “Since Skeleton Key
[2005], we’ve had a numbered set of
Primo and C-Series lenses that we try
to use on every picture,” he reveals.
“They’re hand-picked, and each has
different characteristics in terms of color
and sharpness. My crew and I know
these lenses intimately, and I take a lot
of pleasure in acquainting others with
them. After a couple of weeks of shoot-
ing, Oliver was able to see the subtle
differences in each one.”
“Occasionally some new
[anamorphic lenses] will come in on a
show, and we’ll run them up against our
set,” notes 1st AC Serge Nofield, who
works with Panavision to track Mindel’s
favored set. “We’ll shoot a ton of live
tests with charts and also scenes with
actors, because a focus chart really
doesn’t tell a story like we’re eventually
going to tell it.”
The production’s locations
included sites in and around Los
Angeles, as well as sites in Malibu, the
San Fernando Valley, Orange County,
Simi Valley and Santa Clarita. Second-
unit work was also shot (by Matthew J.
Lloyd, CSC) in Mexico and Indonesia.
Shooting entirely on location
meant a company move more or less
every day, so Mindel’s approach was to
keep things “natural and simple, to let
the film and the lenses do what they do.
That meant when we got to a location,
P
h
o
t
o
s

b
y

F
r
a
n
c
̧o
i
s

D
u
h
a
m
e
l
,

S
M
P
S
P
,

c
o
u
r
t
e
s
y

o
f

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
a
l

P
i
c
t
u
r
e
s
.
Opposite page:
Ruthless drug-
cartel enforcer
Lado (Benicio Del
Toro) shotguns
smoke into the
mouth of kidnap
victim Ophelia
(Blake Lively).
This page, top to
bottom: Before
she is
kidnapped,
Ophelia chills
with her two
boyfriends,
marijuana
growers Chon
(Taylor Kitsch,
left) and Ben
(Aaron Johnson);
the business
partners consult
with their
associate, Spin
(Emile Hirsch,
seated);
cinematographer
Dan Mindel,
ASC, BSC meters
Lively while she
and director
Oliver Stone
rehearse a scene
with Kitsch and
Johnson.
44 July 2012 American Cinematographer
we didn’t try to change what was there.
We enhanced it or left it alone.”
“One of the biggest challenges
on this job was just getting the gear to
some of the locations,” says gaffer Chris
Prampin. “We shot on the beach and in
the hills above Malibu, for example.
Luckily, we had a great rigging crew to
help us get our equipment up there.”
Prampin and Mindel worked out
of a 48' truck full of HMIs and tung-
sten lamps, while rigging gaffer John
Manocchia supervised a second 48'
truck filled with cables, which he and
his crew would run on location while
rigging key grip Kevin Fahey installed
frames and grids. When the situation
called for it, Manocchia would also take
drop-loads of additional lamps and
rough in the lamp positions ahead of
time.
A four-story house perched on a
cliff in Malibu served as Ben and
Chon’s Laguna Beach home. The
setting offered natural beauty but was

High Anxiety
Top: Hot toplight illuminates a dinner scene. Bottom: The enforcer uses his gun to emphasize a point.
“Lado is incredibly scary and violent, but initially I tried to photograph him in a way that wasn’t
classically scary,” Mindel says. “We wanted him to look as pedestrian as possible when he first appears
onscreen, and once the violence kicks in, we begin using unsettling colors to manipulate the viewer into
feeling a certain way about him.”
bring out the background, and then
light the set locally.”
The filmmakers wanted to use
color expressionistically as the story
evolved. Ben and Chon’s home is
also relatively inaccessible, and shooting
inside required some special considera-
tions. “Because it overlooked the
Pacific, the house was filled with an
incredible amount of bright light on its
west side,” says Mindel. “It was difficult
to shoot with backlight in the after-
noons, so in the mornings we’d shoot
out toward the sea, and in the evening
we’d look the other way.”
Mindel balanced the indoor light
levels by gelling the windows with ND
and surrounding the house with 18K
HMIs gelled with
1
⁄2 and
1
⁄4 CTO.
The crew had to work within the prop-
erty’s limits, utilizing every inch of patio
and deck space. Scaffolding helped
them reach windows on the upper
floors. Whenever possible, 10K and
20K tungsten Molebeams gelled with
1
⁄2 and
1
⁄4 CTB were used to punch
strong shafts of sunlight into the house
to help give the daylight a more direc-
tional feel.
Shooting at night on a large-
scale production usually means setting
up Condors, 18Ks and lighting
balloons, but that wasn’t possible in the
Malibu house and other settings in the
area. “We ended up using smaller lights,
2K Blondes and 1K Redheads,” Mindel
explains. “We’d hang them in trees to
Top: Surgical fixtures and implements contribute to the intimidating ambience as Lado confronts
his captive. Bottom: The bound and shackled Ophelia languishes in her cage.
www.theasc.com July 2012 45
46 July 2012 American Cinematographer
initially portrayed as a Mediterranean-
style paradise; the ocean is blue and
crystal clear, the foliage is emerald
green, and the inhabitants dress in kalei-
doscopic hues. After Elena and Lado
kidnap Ophelia, the colors become less
saturated and harsher as the violence
escalates, progressing to the bleached-
out, sun-blasted extremes of the climax
at the Mexican border.
“Just as some movies reflect the
auras of their characters with soothing
colors, I tried to create an acidic, Day-
Glo feel for some of the heavier charac-
ters in Savages,” says Mindel. “These are
colors much like what you’d find in
signage and décor in places like Tijuana
— blue, yellow, pink and green. It was an
idiosyncratic approach to photograph-
ing our idiosyncratic characters.”
He cites the brutal henchman
Lado as an example. “Lado is incredibly
scary and violent, but initially I tried to
photograph him in a way that wasn’t
classically scary. We wanted him to look
as pedestrian as possible when he first
appears onscreen, and once the violence
kicks in, we begin using unsettling
colors to manipulate the viewer into
feeling a certain way about him.”
In a scene that shows Lado
torturing one of his cartel associates
(Demían Bichir) in a basement, Lado’s
single-minded brutality is expressed by
a single shaft of greenish daylight.
Outside the location, Mindel’s crew
positioned a Bebee boom truck with 15
6K HMIs tinted
1
⁄2 Plus Green, focus-
ing all of the light through the room’s
only window. The bounce from the
floor was redirected around the room
with white cards and beadboard.
Prampin describes the resultant look as
“low light from the side that under-
scores Lado’s evil nature.”
Though she is equally evil, Lado’s
boss, Elena, always looks glamorous.
Mindel lit Hayek with covered wagons,
batten strips of four 500-watt ECT
Photofloods softened with Lee 250
Half White, and a 2K Blonde bounced
into a book of unbleached muslin and
Lee 129 Heavy Frost.
Throughout the shoot, the film-
makers looked for any excuse to experi-
ment with color. “We’d get to a scene
and just go through the rolls to see what

High Anxiety
Top: Cartel boss
Elena (Salma
Hayek) is as evil
as her
henchmen, but
Mindel used
glamorous
lighting to
emphasize her
beauty. Bottom:
Elena dialogues
with corrupt
DEA agent
Dennis (John
Travolta).
www.theasc.com July 2012 47
worked,” recalls Prampin. “We used a
lot of Lee Chrome Orange, 219
Fluorescent Green,
1
⁄4 to Full Plus
Green and Urban Sodium. When we
could use a Condor at night, we’d put
Urban Sodium on our HMIs to warm
them to look like streetlights.”
Savages includes several driving
scenes, day as well as night, and for the
latter Mindel opted to light only the
cars. Instead of using a process trailer, he
had key grip Charley Gilleran hard-
mount the camera to the picture cars. A
small tow trailer was fitted with a
soundproof wood housing for two
Honda EU2000 generators. The trailer
was then hitched to the bumper of the
picture cars, which Fahey’s crew covered
with speed rail to facilitate the hanging
of several Kino Flos and 500-watt Par
cans. “The rigs were drivable enough
that we actually had the actors doing the
driving,” Prampin remarks. “We even
drove them on the Century Freeway.”
Because they weren’t lighting the
streets, the filmmakers tried to shoot in
areas that were already bright enough to
be visible in the background. “Selfishly,
perhaps, I wanted to use as little light as
possible to demonstrate that you don’t
have to shoot digitally to shoot at
night,” says Mindel. “Film really does
just see what the eye sees, but if you
mistreat it, the results can be volatile.”
He shot interiors and night
scenes on Kodak Vision3 500T 5219,
Top to bottom: The crew deploys white bounce cards and large blacks for negative fill; Steadicam
operator Chris Haarhoff captures a shot of Lado taking aim; a low-angle dolly shot amps up the ensuing
gun battle.
“Film really does
just see what the
eye sees, but if
you mistreat it,
the results can
be volatile.”
48 July 2012 American Cinematographer
and day exteriors on Vision3 200T 5213
and Vision2 100T 5212. (He prefers to
shoot day exteriors without an 85 filter
and then correct the image later in post.)
A few scenes were filmed on Eastman
black-and-white Double-X 5222, and
Ektachrome 100D 5285 color-reversal
stock was cross-processed to give a few
scenes an extreme look. The produc-
tion’s negative was processed at
FotoKem, which also created a combi-
nation of digital and film dailies under
the supervision of ASC associate Mark
Van Horne.
The movie’s black-and-white
prologue in California and epilogue in
Indonesia were shot by Lloyd’s second
unit. After conducting extensive tests at
FotoKem, Mindel decided to push-
process these scenes 2 stops with no
exposure compensation, then bring the
image down 2 stops. “The black-and-
white shots weren’t as over-the-top as
some of the other looks we tested,” says
Lloyd. “We ended up with a blooming,
luminous image, and we were easily able
to get our detail back by printing down.”
To create a flashback to Chon’s
childhood, Mindel combined an Arri
2-C hand-cranked camera with cross-
processed color-reversal stock. The
result was pleasing enough that he took
the same approach to a scene in which
Chon, an ex-Navy SEAL, and Ben, a
Buddhist, hijack a cartel vehicle filled
with cash. “Ben is forced to transform
from passive to aggressive,” notes
Mindel, “so we shot part of the sequence
handheld on color reversal, just to give
Oliver some mad frames to cut into the
sequence. Cross-processing the film
made the colors go completely nuts.”
Much of the responsibility
for framing and camera moves was
placed in the hands of A-camera
operator Philippe Carr-Forster and
B-camera/Steadicam operator Chris
Haarhoff. “I’ve been an operator since
1986, and I was given more freedom on
this film by Dan and Oliver than I’ve
ever previously experienced,” says

High Anxiety
Top: Ben dons a
Mexican “Day of
the Dead” mask
when force
becomes
necessary. Bottom:
Lado enlightens
Ben with a flare.
50 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Carr-Forster. “They left lens choices
and camera moves up to us. Oliver
would have to approve everything, but
he was primarily focused on the actors.
“It was like going back to the
old English system, when the camera
operator would set up the shot and the
cinematographer would light it,” Carr-
Forster continues. “We tended to move
very quickly. This made the focus
puller’s job extremely demanding, and
Serge did a stellar job.”
Although the shoot often felt like
a large-scale guerrilla production, the
crew notes that shots were executed
with almost tactical precision. “It was a
hectic shoot, but Oliver knew exactly
what shots he needed, and once we had
them we’d move on to the next scene,”
says Nofield.
Carr-Forster recalls a night on
location in a sketchy neighborhood in
East L.A.: “We didn’t know what Oliver
had planned. We did a company move
from a rooftop downtown to a very dark
street in East L.A. We arrived at a house
and found out that Chon was going to
drive up to the property, knock on the
front door, demand repayment of some
money, and then break the door down
and go inside.” The scene, which was
shot handheld, was quickly rehearsed.
“When the thug refuses to let Chon in,
Chon breaks down the door and pushes
him aside,” recalls Carr-Foster. “The
thug, not a stunt man, went flying across
the room, and by take three he had four
broken ribs! It’s weird to be there with a
camera in the middle of chaos, not
knowing what will happen next.”
Nofield kept action in focus by
laying marks whenever possible.
“Whether I used them or not is another

High Anxiety
Top: The grim
figure of Death
hovers over Chon’s
shoulder. Bottom:
The partners make
a macabre
impression as they
fight back. Mindel
notes, “The Día de
los Muertos thread
that runs through
the film was
something that I
developed with
production
designer Tomas
Voth. He’d brought
in some art
examples, and
they reminded me
of my travels
through South
America. You see it
in the streets:
candles burning at
crossroads with
offerings of
flowers. I was very
interested in
bringing those
little things into
the film.”
lBO F|fth F|oor lnternat|ona| Press Oentre 76 Shoe |ane |ondon EO4A 3JB ÜK
; +44 (0} 20 7832 4100 - +44 (0} 20 7832 4130 , PUMV'PIJVYN
^^^PIJVYN
RAI Amsterdam
Conference 6-11 September : Exhibition 7-11 September
IBC2012
Discover More
IBC is at the cutting-edge of new technology in the
rapidly evolving electronic media industry. It couples
a comprehensive exhibition covering all facets of
today’s industry with a highly respected peer reviewed
conference that helps shape the way the industry
will develop in the future.
Future Zone
showcasing the latest developments
in broadcast technology
IBC Connected World
including demonstration area
in Hall 14
IBC Big Screen
providing the perfect platform
for manufacturer demonstrations
and the Saturday Night Movie



Take advantage of a variety of extra special features including:
IBC Production Village
presenting the latest camera
technology in a purpose built
environment
IBC Awards Ceremony
acknowledges those who have made
a real contribution to the industry
hosted on Sunday 9 September


R
e
g
i
s
t
e
r

n
o
w

a
t
w
w
w
.
i
b
c
.
o
r
g
/
r
e
g
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r
story,” he jokes. “But I am a marks guy.
Laser pointers, verbal and visual
communication with second assistants,
Cine Tape — I do all those things.
“Phil [Carr-Forster] likes to
shoot in a freestyle kind of way,” he
adds. “He always has a slider on the
dolly. Sometimes he has two sliders, if
you can imagine one slider mounted on
top of another, so the camera is sliding
all over the place; it’s almost like a
Steadicam on a dolly. When you’re
dealing with that, there aren’t any marks
to get!”
Savages’ 60-day shoot ended with
the explosive finale at the Mexican
border, which was shot at Pyramid Lake
in Santa Clarita. Ben and Chon have set
up a prisoner exchange — Ophelia for
Elena’s daughter — but they don’t real-
ize they’re walking into an ambush.
Mindel worked closely with 1st
AD Donald Murphy to organize the
work at Pyramid Lake to take the best
advantage of natural light. Mornings
were used to stage vehicle approaches
and main action beats in the center of
the canyon, afternoons were dedicated
to aerial stunts, and magic hour was
reserved for the sequence’s closing
moments.
“The finale was kind of like our
grip expo,” Gilleran jokes. 30'x30'
frames of UltraBounce or Silent Light
Grid were tabled and hung from heavy-

High Anxiety
52
Mindel totes a reflector in the desert.
duty Gradall hydraulic booms, which
were used to diffuse or bounce bright
sunlight, or to create negative fill in
overcast conditions. When necessary,
fill was provided by 18Ks aimed
through bleached or unbleached
muslin.
MovieBird 35 and 45 cranes and
a 50' SuperTechnocrane were rolled out
each day, though Carr-Forster often
went handheld, even while shooting
from a helicopter, while Haarhoff oper-
ated a Steadicam. For the finale, Carr-
Forster covered the fight involving Ben,
while Haarhoff covered Chon’s fight.
“We had two cameras covering the
same scene in separate masters,” says
Carr-Forster. “It was a very different
way of doing things, but we hope it
captured the intensity of the scene.”
Stone carried out the final color
timing with colorist and ASC associate
member Stefan Sonnenfeld at
Company 3, which handled the 2K DI.
Mindel knew in advance that he
wouldn’t be able to participate because
of a prior commitment, so he gave
Stone a booklet of stills he’d taken on
set with his iPhone and tweaked in
iPhoto. “They were more portraits than
snapshots of the scene,” says the cine-
matographer. “Sometimes I’d just
photograph pieces of art direction. The
idea was just to give Oliver a taste of
what the scene was about.” Ultimately,
however, the director “toned down the
color I used on set for his own reasons.
“After being tied to big CGI
films [including John Carter and Star
Trek] for the past few years, Savages was
a totally refreshing experience,” Mindel
concludes. “We kept the digital effects
to a minimum and did as much as we
could practically. Running around real
locations and really blowing things up
was a welcome change!” ●
53
TECHNICAL SPECS
2.40:1
Anamorphic 35mm
Panaflex Millennium XL,
Arri 2-C
Panavision Primo,
C-Series
Kodak Vision3 500T 5219,
200T 5213;
Vision2 100T 5212;
Ektachrome 100D 5285;
Double-X 5222
Cross Processing by FotoKem
Digital Intermediate
54 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Bojan Bazelli, ASC and his
collaborators break down their
approach to a key sequence in
the big-screen adaptation of
Rock of Ages.
By Patricia Thomson
•|•
D
avid Lee Roth was once asked why Van Halen’s stage
show was so big, and he replied, “What we’re doing is
just like high school: it’s all about who has the loudest
stereo and the biggest back tires.” This over-the-top
world is celebrated in Rock of Ages, a love story set on the
Sunset Strip in 1987. Adapted from the Broadway musical,
which showcases such hits as David Lee Roth’s “Just Like
Paradise,” Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,” Journey’s “Any
Way You Want It” and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive,”
the movie reunites director Adam Shankman and cinematog-
rapher Bojan Bazelli, ASC, who first teamed on another
period musical, Hairspray (AC Aug. ’07).
During their 12 weeks of prep together, Shankman and
Hair-Metal
Heroes
www.theasc.com July 2012 55
U
n
i
t

p
h
o
t
o
g
r
a
p
h
y

b
y

D
a
v
i
d

J
a
m
e
s
,

S
M
P
S
P
,
c
o
u
r
t
e
s
y

o
f

W
a
r
n
e
r

B
r
o
s
.

P
i
c
t
u
r
e
s
.
Bazelli researched concert performances
and music videos of the era, watching
hundreds of the latter. “The common
denominators were heavy backlight,
with the singers’ long hair burning in
the light, and primary colors, and Adam
and I decided to integrate both of these
elements into our film,” Bazelli reports.
“We decided to give the shows a satu-
rated look with very vivid yellows,
greens, blues and reds, and we decided
to never put more than two primary
colors together at the same time. We
also planned to make camera angles and
camera moves a big part of the stage
drama — you see a lot of sweeping
crane moves.”
The storyline, which follows
aspiring performers Drew (Diego
Boneta) and Sherrie ( Julianne Hough)
as they meet, fall in love, and try to
break into the business at a Sunset Strip
nightclub called the Bourbon Room,
called for a lot of dark club interiors and
night exteriors, and this was a key
reason why the filmmakers chose to
shoot digitally with the Arri Alexa.
“We knew we’d be shooting very fast,
very complicated moves in places that
would offer limited space to hide lights,
a scenario where film would struggle,”
says Bazelli. “Our ability to shoot at a
very low exposure with the Alexa gave
us a rich, textured look that suited the
world of rock ’n’ roll, which is mostly
nocturnal. And Adam was excited about
employing modern digital tools to
capture that world; he felt we could be
more creative if we went digital.”
The production had time for one
round of camera tests, which involved a
side-by-side comparison of the Alexa
(capturing in ArriRaw) and a 35mm
film camera that was carried all the way
through to a filmout at Deluxe in New
Opposite: Stacee
Jaxx (Tom Cruise)
delivers a show-
stopping rendition of
Bon Jovi’s “Wanted
Dead or Alive.” This
page, top: As Drew
(Diego Boneta,
background) looks
on, Sherrie (Julianne
Hough) makes her
case to Bourbon
Room owner Dennis
Dupree (Alec
Baldwin, right) and
his cohort Lonny
(Russell Brand). Left:
Bojan Bazelli, ASC
(left) and director
Adam Shankman
discuss the scene.
56 July 2012 American Cinematographer

Hair-Metal Heroes
York. “I was pleasantly surprised by the
quality of the Alexa image, which looked
truly great,” says Bazelli. “Until the abil-
ity to capture in ArriRaw became avail-
able, I didn’t think any digital camera
could start putting nails in the coffin of
film, but this is a digital image that really
does offer a film-like feel.
“However,” he adds, “I still love
the look of film, which is why I’m
currently shooting The Lone Ranger on
film.”
Rock of Ages is the first digitally
captured motion-picture musical, and
Bazelli acknowledges that the format
poses at least one clear advantage for the
genre: “When you’re shooting a musical,
which involves so many people and
tricky logistics, the possibility of seeing
the image immediately on set is defi-
nitely helpful. We could tell right away
when any changes were necessary.”
One drawback to digital capture,
he continues, is cost, especially for a
multi-camera project like Rock of Ages,
which had five Alexas rolling on every
musical performance. “People like to say
digital is less expensive than film, but I’d
say it’s twice as expensive on a show like
this,” he observes, noting that in addi-
tion to the costs of renting cameras and
Codex recorders, the production had to
keep more than 100 digital mags on
hand to facilitate the data-verification
process. “The data on each mag had to
be cloned on set, checked and then
cloned again and checked by the lab.
Then the lab had to generate LTO-5
tapes for the studio for QC and archiv-
ing before that mag could be erased and
returned to the set. This process took
three to four days.
“If you’re shooting five cameras
and averaging four magazines per
camera, you need 20 mags for one day’s
work. And since you can’t get them back
for three days, you have to have another
20 in reserve for the next day, 60 for
three days, and so on.”
Bazelli is quick to note that Otto
Nemenz in Hollywood gave the
production a good deal on its camera
package, which included Cooke S4
prime lenses, Angenieux Optimo 12:1
Right: Lonny and
Dennis improvise a
number in Dennis’
office. Below: The
A and B camera
teams work
handheld to
capture the pair’s
performance.
(24-290mm) and 3:1 (15-40mm and
28-76mm) zooms, and a set of new
Leica Summilux lenses. “The Leicas
are great, and I wanted to use them for
the whole picture, but they were in the
test stage at the time, so we could only
get them for two weeks,” he says. “I shot
our night exteriors on the Sunset Strip
and at the Hollywood sign with them.
They’re high speed, T1.4, and high
resolution, and they proved to be
perfect for such scenes. They’re less
contrasty than Arri Master Primes.”
Rock of Ages’ 70-day shoot took
place in Miami, where the production
cordoned off four blocks to serve as a
section of the Sunset Strip. At the
nearby Ice Palace Film Studios, they
utilized three stages: one for construc-
tion, one for dancers and rehearsals, and
one for sets. In addition, two practical
locations were required for stage perfor-
mances. The Fort Lauderdale music
venue Revolution served as the
Bourbon Room, and Miami’s Seminole
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino stood in
for Dodger Stadium, where rock god
Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) performs
with his band, Arsenal.
More than half of the movie is
set in the Bourbon Room, which is run
by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin). In
dressing the location, production
designer Jon Hutman worked with
Bazelli and his lighting team, led by
gaffer Tony “Nako” Nakonechnyj and
theatrical-lighting designer Mike
Baldassari, to create fixtures that could
function as period-accurate practicals
onstage and throughout the club.
“During our research in prep, we
noticed that Par cans were key to the
period look,” says Bazelli, “so we worked
with Jon to have a lot of them in shot,
whether we were backstage or onstage.”
Baldassari rigged silver Par cans
on six-lamp bars onstage, where they are
visible in shot, but hanging overhead
were modern Pars with scrollers that
enabled Bazelli to change the color
wash and brightness instantly from the
lighting console. “We put period-accu-
rate silver octagonal gel frames in front
of the scrollers, so if you looked at the
www.theasc.com July 2012 57
Realizing their
dreams at long last,
Drew (top) and
Sherrie (bottom)
get their respective
moments in the
spotlight onstage
at the Bourbon
Room.
58 July 2012 American Cinematographer
stage from the front, they looked like
those old Pars, but actually they were
modern Pars in costume,” says
Baldassari.
Rock of Ages takes two approaches
to musical numbers: some are
performed onstage, while others occur
when characters break into song in
everyday settings. Typically, those light-
ing styles are separate and distinct, but
on some occasions one song combines
both. Such is the case with “Wanted
Dead or Alive,” Jaxx’s first performance.
“We called that ‘a journey through the
life of a rock ’n’ roll star,’” says Bazelli.
Ambitious in theme, choreography,
design and logistics, the sequence illus-
trates the complexity of meshing a “real
world” scene with a musical number.
The song begins in the Bourbon
Room greenroom, where a Rolling Stone
reporter (played by Malin Ackerman) is
interviewing Jaxx. “What’s it like to be
the Stacee Jaxx?” she asks. He replies,
“I’m a cowboy,” and then launches into
the Bon Jovi song. Singing all the while,
he walks out of the dressing room into a
backstage loading area, where he is
joined by a host of groupies, and then
proceeds to the stage in the Bourbon
Room, where roadies are setting up for
his show. Boxes are piled next to the
stage, and Jaxx climbs them like a stair-
case.
“As Jaxx tells his tale, I wanted to
suggest the darker, moodier side of his

Hair-Metal Heroes
D
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.
Performances in the Bourbon Room required a mix of film lighting and theatrical lighting. The diagram above shows the color key for the
theatrical-lighting setup created by Mike Baldassari. Diagrammed on the opposite page is the setup itself.
FOH 2 TRUSS
L
C
Smoke/Fans
Haze= 901
Fan = 902
Mac 2k Perform.
Mac 600 Wash
Mac 700 Spot
KEY TO SYMBOLS
Mac 250 Entour
Mac 250 Plus
#1T #6T
FRAME COLOR NAME
SPOTS: 1, 2, 3
1
2
3
4
5
6
R-3407
R-3313
R-3408
R-3314
L-210 .6 NEUTRAL DENSITY
HALF CTO
1/2 MINUS GREEN
FULL CTO
1/4 MINUS GREEN
L-211 .9 NEUTRAL DENSITY
FOH R FOH C FOH L
FOH 1 TRUSS
DS TRUSS
US TRUSS
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 DEG
18 17
42
43 41
2
3 1
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44 20 19
53 54 52 51
59 60 56 55
18 DEG
15
77
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74
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68
69
67
71
72
70
12
65
66
64
11
62
63
61
58 57
#2T #5T
#3T #4T
26 21
25 22
24 23
Strobes
81 Truss
83 Tower
82
84
88 Floor 89 87 90
Truss Warmers
93 95 91 97 99
94 96 92 98 100
Tower Warmers
106
105
104
101
102
103
Truss Par ACLs
142
141
144
143
146
145
148
147
149 150 151 152
158
157
160
159
154
153
156
155
Tower Par ACLs
163
164
161
162
167
168
165
166
171
172
169
170
183
184
181
182
179
180
177
178
175
176
173
174
Floor Pars
135 136 137 138 139 140
209
210
Drums
6-Lamp Sides
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
Blinders
204
203
203
204
Ctr
206
205
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SL
202
201
201
202
SR
226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 224 223 221 222 220 219 218 216 217 215 214 213 211 212
GROUNDROW
225
Sign
Bourbon Room Sign
31 32
33 34
35 36
BACKLINE
79 80
109 110
301>312
321>328
341>352
331>338
Backline / Floor
LIGHTING BY:
MIKE BALDASSARI
© 2010 MIKE-O-MATIC Industries LLC
Updated: May 22, 2011
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www.theasc.com July 2012 59
60 July 2012 American Cinematographer
character,” says Bazelli. “We did that by
transitioning from the warmth of the
greenroom to the harsh, specular
crosslight of the nightclub. We lit the
greenroom set with low-angle Arri
750HPLs with XS Video Pro
Chimeras and 40-Degree LCDs, and
Arri 650s with XXS Chimeras and 40-
Degree LCDs, and we then used open-
faced Arri 2Ks and 5Ks on Tom as he
meandered into the club location.
When he exits the greenroom, he enters
a world of toplight that evolves as he
travels into the low-angle Fresnel light-
ing backstage, and then into the 5K
open-face crosslight of the club’s mosh
pit.
“As Jaxx climbs onstage, we tran-
sition from film lighting to theatrical
lighting, which we accomplished by
having Mike Baldassari create and illu-
minate a pathway onto the stage,”
continues Bazelli. “Then, once Jaxx is
onstage, we use an in-camera transition
— a 360-degree move coupled with a
lens flare — to cut from his nightclub
performance to his performance at
Dodger Stadium, suggesting his rise to
the top of his profession.
“The camera begins the 360
around Jaxx when he steps onstage, and
the song was choreographed so that
halfway through the move, Tom would
bend down, allowing a Mac 700 to flare
the lens,” he continues. “We then cut to
an identical flare when he pops back up,
and the camera move continues to
reveal that he’s performing in a different
venue, a huge stadium packed with
thousands of fans. His band is at the
peak of its fame, with pyrotechnics blaz-
ing, a wall of light and spotlights galore.
The song concludes with a simple tran-
sition: we cut back to his close-up on
the Bourbon Room stage, using the
same color and tone of the arena shot.
The circle is complete.”
The sequence called for five
cameras and three locations, but it all
had to feel like one continuous shot.

Hair-Metal Heroes
Top: Drew
enjoys another
triumphant
moment onstage
at the Bourbon
Room. Bottom:
The filmmakers
prepare to
shoot the
performance.
Key grip Ross Jones coordinated the
camera moves, which needed to be as
dynamic and sweeping as the music was
loud. Meshing the film lighting with the
theatrical lighting was key. “I loved
mixing the two lighting systems on this
movie, and Mike and Nako worked
closely to make it look seamless,” says
Bazelli. “One of the more interesting
parts of our job was creating transitions
where we could fold Nako’s stage light-
ing into Mike’s concert lighting, and
vice versa.”
The greenroom portion of Jaxx’s
musical number was shot on a set built
at Ice Palace, and thus was the most
straightforward to capture. In addition
to creating warm ambience with the
Chimeras, Nako worked with Hutman
to create practicals that combined LED
and incandescent fixtures and allowed
for color adjustments. Meanwhile,
camera moves during the interview were
done handheld and on dolly tracks, and
then a Steadicam move accompanied
Jaxx out of the room.
The Revolution nightclub wasn’t
an easy location. It featured a deep,
horseshoe-shaped balcony that reduced
ceiling space, and its passageways
couldn’t always accommodate the vari-
ety of cranes the filmmakers wanted to
use. Also, the floor comprised many
levels. Jones explains, “The mosh pit was
about 4 feet lower than the dance floor.
Everywhere you went, you never had a
long run on the same floor. We wanted
to do dynamic, sweeping camera moves,
so we had to build Technocranes in
varying sizes to deal with the small hall-
ways and doorways. Thank goodness
our Technocrane provider, Cinemoves,
was able to offer us many different
options to build, because we were
constantly changing for that location.”
What’s more, the filmmakers often had
to vacate the space for the club’s own
shows or rehearsals.
All of the camerawork and light-
ing elements flowed from the choreog-
raphy, which continued to evolve until
the cameras rolled. Shankman, Bazelli
and Cruise rehearsed the number exten-
sively onstage at Ice Palace, and, fortu-
nately, key crewmembers could watch
some of those weekend rehearsals.
“That made all the difference in the
world,” says Jones. “We knew exactly
what Tom’s timing would be, how fast
he’d move from Point A to Point B, and
so on. It was critical that we knew those
details ahead of time, because when Tom
came in ready to shoot, he was ready to
go! We didn’t want him to have to wait
on us.”
During Cruise’s final rehearsal on
location, Bazelli brought in an Alexa.
“That was a great help because then we
could see how it would look on camera,”
says the cinematographer. “On the day
of shooting, there were only a few final
lighting adjustments based on Tom’s
performance and aesthetic needs. I
would turn to Mike and say, ‘Let’s add
more color to the backlight,’ or ‘Let’s
turn off the side spot.’”
The filmmakers started pre-
rigging the Bourbon Room a month
before the scene was shot — and well
before Cruise’s choreography was set —
so units were placed in nearly every nook
and cranny, and enough dimmer chan-
nels were established to cover every
contingency. “The goal was that Tom
would look chiseled no matter where he
moved on the stage,” says Bazelli.
Background lighting in the club
came from Arri 750HPLs and 3K
Barger Lites softened with XS Video
Pro Chimeras and 40-Degree LCDs.
A-camera/
Steadicam
operator
Stephen
Consentino
gets close to
the action
onstage,
assisted by
1st AC John
Holmes.
www.theasc.com July 2012 61
“We like to create sheens behind things
with big, soft sources and then use set
pieces to create silhouettes,” says Nako.
Kino Flos and JDR Mini Par Cans were
also rigged overhead. “The JDRs are
incandescent halogen-projector-type
globes in a Mini Par Can configura-
tion,” says Nako. “We used a lot of those
for Tom’s walk up the ramp and into the
backstage area. Tom is being hit with a
bit of toppy backlight from real Par cans
— the theatrical lighting — while a
soundboard guy in the shot is being lit
with the Mini Par Cans.”
“The sharp overhead light created
a very interesting play of light and
shadow on Tom’s torso — he’s shirtless
for most of the movie,” adds Bazelli.
The filmmakers considered a
number of ways to achieve the in-
camera transition, but the simplest solu-
tion proved to be a Steadicam move,
which was accomplished by A-
camera/Steadicam operator Stephen
Consentino. “We called it ‘human
motion control,’” says Bazelli.
The move starts very close to
Cruise and cuts on the moment when
he bends down and allows a Mac 700 to
flare the lens. “When we shot the rest of
the move in the arena three or four
weeks later, Stephen repeated the move,
matching the speed and angle, but

Hair-Metal Heroes
62
Bazelli and 1st AD Chris Carreras discuss a setup.
because of the greater distance between
Tom and the source we used a more
powerful light, a Martin Mac 2K Profile
Spot,” explains Bazelli. “We simply
overlapped [the shot]. In the arena, we
lit for a cool palette at first, matching
the cool tones of the Bourbon Room
performance, so the transition isn’t
immediately obvious.”
Once Jaxx is revealed to be in a
crowded stadium, the cool palette
changes to a warm one, and the fire-
works begin. Showers of sparks erupt
from the floor, spotlights flick across the
arena, and hundreds of stage lights
provide material expression of Arsenal’s
power. “I was amazed by the Alexa’s
dynamic range on this scene,” notes
Bazelli. “It held bright fire and sparks
with no problem, retaining all the color
in the highlights.”
Shankman wanted to create a
wall of light behind the band that
spelled out “Jaxx,” and the team accom-
plished this by using four giant pods
that each contained 36 Pars with
scrollers dressed in octagonal gel frames.
1K Pars were mounted on tall towers
lining the stage and on trusses overhead
to form an “XX” that hangs over the
stage (a reference to the singer’s
surname). “The sign was so bright I had
to stop down the lens in order to
preserve detail in the highlights,” says
Bazelli.
Visible on amplifiers and on the
stage floor are vintage Vari-Lite VL2C
spot luminaires. “Those are some of the
last still working in North America,”
says Baldassari, who spent two months
tracking them down. “That was the
popular moving light in 1987, but
nobody has them anymore. I was able to
find somebody in Nashville who had
about a dozen of them.”
Bazelli says he and Shankman are
very pleased with the finished scene: “I
think the transition is great; it looks
seamless, and it doesn’t feel like technol-
ogy is superseding emotion. The trick
was to create the same color tempera-
ture, the same brightness in the back-
light, so that there would be no visible
change between the two shots.” Bazelli
and colorist Kostas Theodosiou finessed
the transition in the final color correc-
tion at FotoKem, where a Kodak film-
emulation look-up table was applied to
the entire picture.
“Overall, we had an incredible
team on this movie,” says Bazelli.
“Everyone worked together to bring
Adam’s vision to life.” ●
TECHNICAL SPECS
2.40:1
Digital Capture
Arri Alexa
Cooke S4, Angenieux Optimo,
Leica Summilux
63
T
he nighttime soap opera Dallas ran for 14 seasons on
CBS, from 1978 to 1991, and was one of the most popu-
lar TV series of all time. The famous 1980 episode
“Who Done It?” — which revealed the identity of the
family member who had gunned down J.R. Ewing (Larry
Hagman) — was, at the time, the highest-rated TV episode
in history. Last month, 21 years after the final episode aired,
the Ewing family returned to the small screen.
The new Dallas, produced by TNT, focuses on the next
generation of the oil and cattle dynasty and, perhaps not
surprisingly, finds J.R.’s son, John Ross ( Josh Henderson),
and Bobby’s son, Christopher ( Jesse Metcalfe), engaged in
the same bitter power struggle that divided their fathers. In an
inspired bit of continuity, some of the actors from the original
64 July 2012 American Cinematographer
Shooting J.R.
Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC and
Rob Sweeney explain their
approach to Dallas, which reunites
the scheming J.R. Ewing with his
dysfunctional clan.
By Jean Oppenheimer
•|•
www.theasc.com July 2012 65
series are reprising their roles, including
Hagman, Patrick Duffy (who plays
Bobby) and Linda Gray (who plays
J.R.’s ex-wife, Sue Ellen).
Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC,
best known to television audiences as
the director of photography on 24 (AC
Feb. ’04), shot the pilot for Dallas and
the majority of its nine episodes. He was
under contract to another show
(Shameless) when the pilot was picked
up, so the first two episodes were shot
by Rob Sweeney, and the third was
co-shot by Sweeney and Brown Cooper,
the second-unit cinematographer/
B-camera operator on the other
episodes.
The series was shot in and around
Dallas and uses the same sprawling
ranch house as the location for
Southfork, the Ewing family home.
“Sprawling,” however, is actually a rela-
tive term. Charters laughs as he notes,
“We went out of our way to dwell on
certain angles of the house because it’s
not what is considered ‘big’ today. But
we couldn’t not show it because it’s such U
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Opposite page:
Elena Ramos
(Jordana Brewster,
far left) and
Rebecca Sutter
(Julie Gonzolo, far
right) flank the
Ewings — (left to
right) John Ross
(Josh Henderson),
Sue Ellen (Linda
Gray), J.R. (Larry
Hagman), Bobby
(Patrick Duffy),
Ann (Brenda
Strong) and
Christopher (Jesse
Metcalfe) — who
rekindle their
longstanding
family feud in the
series Dallas. This
page, top to
bottom: J.R.
schemes with his
son, John Ross;
cinematographer
Rodney Charters,
ASC, CSC;
cinematographer
Rob Sweeney.
66 July 2012 American Cinematographer
an iconic image.”
Sets for the interior of the home
were constructed in a former industrial
building south of Dallas and were
considerably larger than the original
series’ sets, with background plates shot
out the windows of the Southfork loca-
tion. “The building is concrete and had
really bad acoustics,” relates Charters.
“We had to drop proper sound baffles
above the set and off to the sides.”
The two-camera show was shot
with Arri Alexas recording to SxS cards
in ProRes 4:4:4. “I love ProRes 4:4:4,”
notes Charters. “At the higher ISOs
[above 2,000], the noise that results is
very organic in structure. Arri went out
of its way to design a chip that doesn’t
create fixed-pattern noise. When the
Alexa gets noisy, it still has a random
quality to it, like the grain in film.”
Charters first used the Alexa on
the TV reboot of Charlie’s Angels, and he
immediately recognized it as “a game
changer because it eliminated the need
to carry large HMIs. By the time I got
to the Dallas pilot, we no longer carried
18Ks; we had downsized to an Arri
1.8K, an HMI that plugs into a stan-
dard wall socket.”
To accommodate the tight sched-
ule of a weekly series, Dallas was shot
mainly with zoom lenses: 15-40mm,
28-76mm and 24-290mm Angenieux
Optimos, and a 135-420mm Primo.
The production also carried a few Primo
primes and several Ultra Speed Z-Series
MKII primes. (Panavision Dallas
supplied most of the camera equip-
ment.)
Another concession to the tight
schedule was that Charters worked
“British style,” which he defines as
follows: “I gave the operators much
more autonomy to work with the direc-
tor, which freed me up to concentrate on
lighting. Sometimes my gaffer, Danny
Eccleston, and I would move onto
another set and pre-light while the
operators were finessing their moves
with the dolly grips and getting sharps
[focus marks].
“My collaboration with the digi-
tal-imaging technician happened after

Shooting J.R.
Top: The enterprising John Ross hires a crew to drill for oil. Middle: Elena and John Ross
celebrate when the well erupts. Bottom: Sodium-vapor units were used for the night exterior at
the well, when John Ross’ operation is shut down.
www.theasc.com July 2012 67
we recorded a take with the second
team,” he continues. “I’d take the SxS
card to the DIT, where I’d create a look-
up table for the scene using Gamma &
Density software so I could lock in the
look for subsequent processing down-
stream. I didn’t tie the camera into a
waveform monitor on the DIT cart. I lit
using the video-village monitors, where
I’d occasionally use the built-in digital
waveform display and sometimes even
an exposure meter!”
The look of the show reflects the
perception that many people have of
Texas as a place that is always hot and
dusty. It’s an image that has been
molded, to great extent, by motion
pictures. Charters knows from experi-
ence how cold the city of Dallas can be.
“We shot the pilot in the spring, and it
was so chilly I was wearing a down
jacket. But we wanted to keep [the
popular impression] of a hot, dusty envi-
ronment, and that’s the look and feel the
series maintains.”
To keep the actresses looking
their best, Eccleston suggested using
Airstar’s Gaffair 400 and 1200 HMI
lighting balloons, which he had intro-
duced to Charters on the Charlie’s Angels
pilot. “You don’t have to use helium with
them,” notes the gaffer. “You inflate
them with a hair dryer, put in a plug,
and then this tiny air pump goes into the
back and continually pumps air into it.
They’re like normal lights in that you
just put them on stands. We used them
any time we had a close-up of the ladies,
and they loved them.” (Charters also
added a Tiffen Glimmer Glass 1 filter to
the lens for those shots.)
Kino Flos, LEDs and SoftSuns
(3.5K Pars and 10Ks) were used exten-
sively on the show. “The 10K SoftSun is
a modest light,” submits Charters, “but
it has the ability to spread light over a
broad distance because it’s 4 feet long. It
perfectly replicates sunshine coming
through a window, and the lamp is fully
dimmable.” Because the lights were so
soft, he didn’t use any diffusion with
them.
Charters notes that the series was
staged fairly traditionally. “We weren’t
Top: Bobby
advises his
nephew to steer
clear of further
drilling. Middle:
John Ross and
Christopher
carry on their
fathers’ rivalry.
Bottom: A Grip
Cloud, designed
by Anthony
Vietro, diffuses
the sunlight at
the Southfork
Ranch location.
68 July 2012 American Cinematographer
chasing people around like we did on
24. Dallas is more formal than that.”
The camera was usually on a dolly, but
so many directors wanted to use the
Steadicam that, in the end, about 30
percent of the season was shot with it.
Charters considers the Steadicam “more
of an observer’s position. It can [seem]
too fluid, too floaty, and it can take you
out of the moment.” When the
Steadicam was used, he tended to incor-
porate it into walk-and-talks or tight
interior locations. Robert Gorelick,
SOC, the show’s A-camera/Steadicam
operator, observes, “We never used it as
a stylistic approach, as it was used on
ER and The West Wing.”
Perhaps the biggest kick Charters
got on Dallas was shooting the eruption
of an oil well. “It has always been my
desire to shoot a gusher!” he confesses
with a laugh. He explains that his father,
a professional photographer, spent 20
years shooting offshore oil rigs after oil
was discovered off the coast of New
Zealand. The senior Charters ran his
own photography shop, and Rodney
grew up carrying camera bags and
working in darkrooms. “There is noth-
ing quite as magical as seeing an image
come up in a tray,” he says.
For the oil well in Dallas, “we
wanted a rig that could be hidden in a
grove of trees, where we could find it in
a helicopter shot, and we needed it to go
down 3,000 feet or so,” says Charters.
“Well, oil rigs are $20 million apiece,
and they don’t move easily. A rig for
drilling water wells turned out to be
perfect for our needs.” The “oil” in the
scene was actually soy sauce, which was
just sticky enough to cling to faces and
clothes.
When the well erupts for the first
time, it’s a day scene. It was a one-off
shot, although it was run again for
close-ups. To get extra angles, Charters
added a couple of Canon EOS 5D and
60D DSLR cameras to the mix. “The
Canons can get all sorts of awkward
shots that bigger cameras can’t,” he
reflects. “They fit in refrigerators and
other unusual spaces.”
An 85' Strada crane towered over

Shooting J.R.
Southfork’s
interior sets
were constructed
inside a former
industrial
building south
of Dallas.
the well, providing high-angle views.
The crane was used throughout the
series, but usually at half that height.
“The motor broke one day, and we had
to push it,” Charters recalls with a laugh.
“It took about 20 of us!”
The second big scene at the well
takes place at night. Bobby discovers
that John Ross has been drilling without
permission, and he drives out to the well
to shut it down. “We felt that in a night-
time situation like that, a sodium-vapor
industrial light would be sitting halfway
up the rig,” says Charters. “I always carry
two or three of them because when
you’re shooting an industrial complex,
they’re a perfect match for what’s
already there.”
A 400-watt industrial sodium-
vapor fixture was tied near the top of the
rig and served as the keylight. A couple
of Kino Flos were placed on the ground,
about 100' back, suggesting the light
emanating from nearby tents where the
workers slept. “Bobby is going to the oil
well for a confrontation, so we decided
to approach the scene from inside the
cab of his truck,” explains Charters. “As
he drives up, the camera is looking over
his shoulder out the windshield, and
suddenly the oil well emerges out of the
darkness. It’s this blaze of light.” Small
LED lights were attached to surfaces in
the cab to provide a little ambience.
After Bobby orders the men to
stop working, John Ross and
Christopher get into a fistfight. “For
that scene, we worked 24-style — the A
cam was handheld with the 15-40mm
Optimo at about 20mm, and the B cam
was on the dolly with the 3:1 Primo all
the way out to 420mm, and the mater-
ial was intercut,” recalls Charters. “I
think that approach helps tremendously
when you’re following close-ups and
there’s a lot of action. The A cam was
right in the characters’ faces as oil was
coming down. We had a spinner on the
lens, and the operator was completely
covered in plastic bags and still got terri-
Left: A-camera/
Steadicam operator
Robert Gorelick,
SOC trains one of
the production’s Arri
Alexa cameras on
Duffy and Strong.
Below: An overhead
frame diffuses the
sunlight on Duffy
and flags provide
negative fill as
B-camera operator
Brown Cooper
frames the action.
www.theasc.com July 2012 69
70 July 2012 American Cinematographer
bly drenched. But the camera was okay.”
Charters is excited that the Alexa
allows him to work at such low light
levels. “With the Alexa, lights you take
for granted become significant players.
Somebody hitting the brake lights in
the car in front of you can light your
whole scene. I love it!”
The ability to use small lights
enabled the production to rely on house
power rather than running generators in
some situations. Sweeney recalls a scene
set in Sue Ellen’s office on the 20th floor
of a Dallas skyscraper: “We didn’t have
to drop cable 20 floors down a stairwell.
We could light the scene with panel
lights, Kino Flos and Jokers. The
biggest light I used was an Arri 1.8K.”
Sweeney hardly needed any
movie lights for the Cattlemen’s Ball, a
huge night exterior that was shot at the
American Airlines Center in Dallas.
“That’s where the [NBA] Mavericks
play,” he notes. “It was a huge set piece
for us.”
The scene shows gleaming
limousines driving up and dropping
elegantly clad guests off at the plaza in
front of the building. “We used the
Strada crane, which added great scale
to the scene, and the Steadicam with a
14mm lens,” Sweeney recalls. “We did
low-angle shots that brought people
out of their vehicles and wrapped
around the fenders of the cars. You see
their boots as they step out, but you also
see all the way to the sky with that wide
lens. We also did side-angle tracking
shots on a dolly.”
Providing primary lighting for
the scene were three huge monitors that
are permanent fixtures outside the
arena. They ran continuous footage of
different images, and although just one
screen is visible on camera, the light
emanating from all three screens proved
so strong that it was actually too much
light for the scene. “We put a dark-
brown graphic on each screen, and the
light immediately dropped 2 stops,” says
Sweeney. “I walked onto the set and
thought, ‘I don’t know if I want it that
dark,’ but there was no time to change it,
and, luckily, everything turned out to be
fine. We also used Lightning Strikes
Paparazzi Lights to create flashbulb
effects.”
With the exception of Gorelick,
Eccleston and Sweeney’s gaffer, Skip
McCraw, the show’s crew was local, and
they earned high marks from the out-
of-towners. Key grip Kerry Rike actu-
ally worked on the original series.
“There were two stars on this show:
Larry Hagman and Kerry Rike!” laughs
Eccleston.
Charters notes that everywhere
he goes, even in his native New
Zealand, people seem excited by the
prospect of a new Dallas. “People are
galvanized by the idea of the Ewings’
return, especially when they hear that
actors from the original series are
coming back!” ●

Shooting J.R.
Above: An
Airstar Gaffair
400 and an
overhead Kino
Flo illuminate
Duffy and Mitch
Pileggi in the
Ryland
Transportation
offices. Right:
Charters and
gaffer Danny
Eccleston confer
between takes.
TECHNICAL SPECS
1.78:1
Digital Capture
Arri Alexa;
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 60D
Angenieux Optimo;
Panavision Primo,
Ultra Speed Z-Series MKII B
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Warner Bros. Opens London Studio
By Mark Hope-Jones
The new Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden is the first Holly-
wood-owned studio to exist in England for more than half a
century, and one of the largest film-production facilities in the
United Kingdom.
When Warner Bros. acquired the studio in 2010, it had most
recently been home to all eight Harry Potter films. It has since under-
gone a $160 million refurbishment, and now offers clients a highly
functional environment to meet any and all production needs.
Located near Watford, just north of London, the site offers a special
public tour, “The Making of Harry Potter.”
The property began as RAF Leavesden when the Air Ministry
requisitioned the land in 1940 for an aircraft factory. After the war,
the De Havilland Aircraft Co. continued to manufacture aero
engines at the facility until Rolls Royce took over, changing produc-
tion to helicopter engines. The factory closed in 1992.
Leavesden Studios was created when Eon Productions
tapped the property’s massive hangars, runway and backlot for the
James Bond movie GoldenEye (AC Dec. ’95) after it proved impos-
sible to book space at Pinewood Studios, Bond’s traditional home.
The alterations made at Leavesden were specific to the Bond
production, but they sowed the seed of an idea for an independent
studio. A consortium purchased the property with that goal in mind
and worked on redeveloping the property while servicing such
productions as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (AC Sep. ’99) and
Sleepy Hollow(AC Dec. ’99), as well as commercials and TV produc-
tions.
Dan Dark (pictured), the facility’s senior vice president and
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managing director, notes, “Those original development plans didn’t
come to fruition, and the studio went through various different
owners until Roy Button, the head of production for Warner Bros.,
decided to find a facility Warners could fully control for the Harry
Potter films. Warner Bros. initially leased the facility for the first two
Potter productions, and during that time, Roy and I were telling
senior management what a great asset the site would be. Eventu-
ally Warner Bros. agreed to purchase the property.”
The recent renovations involved stripping the original build-
ings back to their steel frames to allow for a completely new infra-
structure of utilities and services. “We’ve reformatted the original
layout to improve the efficiency of the space,” says Dark. “We had
the opportunity to take a big step back and start with an almost
clean canvas, so we were able to consider what today’s filmmakers
require. The scale of the studio has always been very much at the
forefront of our minds, because it’s the scale that makes it work so
72 July 2012 American Cinematographer
well. With a quarter of a million square feet
of stage space and 100 acres of secure
backlot, productions have a lot of room to
maneuver. That level of flexibility is some-
thing we’ve worked hard to offer.”
WBSL offers four of the biggest
soundstages in the U.K., each at more than
30,000 square feet; another four stages
measuring around 20,000 square feet; and
a multi-use stage that contains one of the
largest filtered and heated water tanks in
Europe. The stages are connected by
115,000 square feet of covered space,
which can be partitioned into different areas
and used for costume, props, camera, grip
and other support-services requirements.
Other facilities include an extensive
hard standing area, carpentry and mill
machine shops, dry hire edit rooms, offices,
workshop spaces and a stills studio. The
100-acre backlot incorporates level areas,
the runway, open fields, hills and clear hori-
zons. A range of en-suite dressing rooms
and hair and makeup rooms are located
within the central complex, adjacent to
the stages. In addition, the studio offers a
café that can feed 1,200 people in less than
an hour, a 50-seat theater, and a Cisco
TelePresence meeting room.
WBSL has also established its own
on-site production-rentals division, with an
inventory that covers an extensive range of
lighting equipment, scaffolding and other
production supplies for stage and location
work. The rental division has already begun
servicing a number of Warner and non-
Warner clients in the U.K. and beyond.
“Security is a big consideration for
productions today, and we were able to
design that into the whole ethos of the
studio from day one,” notes Dark. “The
design allows for totally separate and secure
hubs with independent swipe-card entry,
even when multiple productions are on the
studio at once.”
Warner Bros. implemented an array
of green policies throughout the design and
build. The studio assigns sustainability coor-
dinators to all of its U.K. productions,
promoting energy conservation, recycling,
composting, responsible waste disposal,
and carbon-footprint management.
For additional information, visit
www.wbsl.com.
73

offer training and education across Sony’s
range of Super 35mm digital systems,
including the PMW-F3. Sony also plans to
make the DMPC available to local rental
companies and resellers to conduct training
for their customers, and to third-party
workflow partners such as Assimilate, Avid,
Blackmagic Design, Codex, ColorFront,
FilmLight, MTI Film and YoYotta.
The center’s advisory board includes
Clark, fellow ASC members Michael Goi
and Steven Poster, and ASC associate
members Ray Feeney and Leon Silverman.
For additional information, contact
SonyDMPC@am.sony.com.
EUE/Screen Gems Builds Stage 6
EUE/Screen Gems has opened Stage
6 at the company’s 32-acre studio complex
in Atlanta, Ga. Stage 6 is a 30,000-square-
foot soundstage that offers a clear-span
space with 40' to the grid, allowing for
two-story sets and providing extensive
floor-to-ceiling clearance.
In April 2011, EUE/Screen Gems
opened Stage 5 at the Atlanta lot, and the
37,500-square-foot space was booked
before construction was finished.
EUE/Screen Gems chose to locate in Atlanta
because of the urban setting, proximity to
the Atlanta airport, and Georgia’s 30-
percent film tax credit.
“We’re so close to the airport and
downtown,” says Kris Bagwell, executive
vice president of EUE/Screen Gems’ Atlanta
studios. “With multiple soundstages and
many productions working at once, we are
offering top tier service to the best in the
business. There’s nothing else like
EUE/Screen Gems in Atlanta. Studio execu-
tives from Los Angeles feel comfortable
here, and the talent does, too.”
For additional information, visit
www.euescreengems.com.
Hollywood Center Studios
Upgrades Cyc Stages
Hollywood Center Studios, one of
the largest independent production lots in
Hollywood, has upgraded its Stage 1 with a
permanent, three-wall, hard-cove white cyc.
The facility has also added a new special-
effects stage, Stage 2a, which features a
smaller permanent greenscreen cyc. The lot
now has six stages with permanent cycs.
“Our hard-cyc stages are very popu-
lar shooting spaces because of their size,
configurations and quality,” says Tim
Mahoney, vice president of Hollywood
Center Studios. “They are especially popular
among our commercial clients, as [the
stages] can accommodate car shoots and
other large productions. They also include
amenities — such as wardrobe, dressing
rooms and on-site parking — that produc-
tions need.”
Measuring 63' along the back wall,
38' and 49' along the two side walls, and
22' high, the cyc on Stage 1 is ideal
for complex visual-effects shoots
that require large casts, sets or
production equipment; the stage
itself encompasses more than 6,500
square feet. Stage 2a covers more
than 3,000 square feet, and its two-
wall greenscreen cyc measures 33'
wide, 35' long and 19' high. Both
cycs feature seamless coves made
from poured concrete.
Hollywood Center Studios has
Sony Promotes F65 at
New Center
Sony’s Professional Solutions of
America group has unveiled its Digital
Motion Picture Center on Stage 7 at Sony
Pictures Studios. The facility offers hands-on
training for directors, cinematographers and
other industry professionals on the use of
Sony’s F65 CineAlta digital-motion-picture
camera system and its workflows.
“This will be a place for the Holly-
wood production community to share expe-
riences with their peers and help make the
transition to digital production as seamless
as possible,” says Alec Shapiro, PSA senior
vice president and president of the DMPC.
“Here, on one stage, filmmakers and other
content creators can shoot 4K pictures,
process them through a 4K workflow on
site at ColorWorks, and view the results via
a 4K projector.”
Curtis Clark, ASC, chairman of the
ASC Technology Committee, will help direct
the educational and training activities
provided by the center. “The F65 is a sea
change for our industry,” says Clark. “We
can shoot with this camera as we do with
film. Since cinematographers and directors
have decades of experience shooting film,
they know its capabilities and what they can
expect from post finishing. With its 16-bit
color and 4K spatial resolution, the F65
expands on these capabilities. This center
will help everyone become familiar with the
potential of this new system and the work-
flow that supports it.”
In addition to the F65, the DMPC will
74 July 2012 American Cinematographer
also completed construction of a new dress-
ing-room complex for television produc-
tions.
For additional information, visit
www.hollywoodcenter.com.
Quixote Offers Pre-Lit Cyc
Quixote Studios has unveiled a pre-lit
cyc at its Quixote Griffith Park Stage 10.
The plug-and-play cyc set can
accommodate the most up-to-date lighting
equipment available and requires only mini-
mal time for rigging and de-rigging. The
two-wall cyc measures 43' long (along each
wall) and 17' high; Stage 10 measures
58'x94'. Productions are charged a flat price
for the stage rental, and Quixote also offers
high-quality grip services, set lighting, and
camera and art department expendables, as
well as production offices, Wi-Fi and a client
lounge.
With facilities in Los Angeles, Boston
and New Orleans, Quixote Studios’ stages
have gained a reputation for offering
cutting-edge production capabilities to a
wide range of feature, advertising and digi-
tal-content production teams.
For additional information, visit
www.quixote.com.
M3 Studios Renovates Wing
Miami’s M3 Studios has added a
newly renovated wing that boasts a full
production hall with conference rooms,
offices, makeup rooms, dressing rooms,
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kitchen, talent waiting area and green
room.
“The plan is to have everything in-
house, even a set of executive suites for our
clients to stay a week, a month, a year —
however long they need to complete their
project,” says Raul Rodriguez, founder of
M3 Studios. “I want to bring the film and
TV industry back to Miami. I want to keep
production here because it is an end desti-
nation where people can work and play
within minutes of each other. There is a
need for the industry in Miami and plenty of
room for growth.”
For additional information, visit
www.m3studiosmiami.com.
Sim Rebrands
International equipment and
production-service provider Sim Video is
now operating under the name Sim Digital.
The change comes as the company cele-
brates its 30th year in business.
The company cites its current growth
trends and plans to enter new markets as
the key reasons for the updated name. Sim
Video merged with Bling Digital in 2009
with the intention to create a company that
could provide the most comprehensive
equipment and file-based workflow solu-
tions in the industry. Today, the company
lists the series Falling Skies and The Vampire
Diaries and the feature Pacific Rim among
its clients in Vancouver, Atlanta and Toronto,
respectively. Sim is looking to expand its
Bling workflow service offerings — includ-
ing on-set data management, video assist,
digital dailies, LTO tape archiving and post-
production-equipment provision — in the
Los Angeles market this year.
“Sim is a company that has worked
hard to be at the forefront of our industry,
and that means we are always evolving,”
says founder and CEO Rob Sim (pictured).
“We have one of the most impressive
inventories of digital cinema tools and
cutting-edge services available, and yet our
name didn’t imply it. After exploring some
options, we ultimately focused on choosing
a name that simply reflected how the indus-
try and our clients refer to our services
today, and Sim Digital was born.”
Jim Martin, Sim Digital’s CSO, adds,
“Productions see no boundaries on where
or how they shoot today. Our clients need
to have access to our equipment and
services in any city or country they decide to
shoot in, so we’ve made it a priority to be
more accessible…. We’re eager to intro-
duce our services to these markets under
our new design, and we believe that our
revamped identity will serve us well in this
digital age.”
For additional information, visit
simdigital.com.
Adorama Adds Digital
Cinema Department
New York City’s Adorama Rental
Co., a division of photo and video retailer
Adorama, has opened its Digital Cinema
Dept., which offers a complete line of high-
end digital video gear, including products
from such companies as Arri, Canon, Red
and Sony.
The department was officially
launched with a recent gala at Manhattan’s
Tribeca Skyline Studio. Cinematographers
and other production professionals were in
attendance as some of the department’s
cameras were demonstrated in live-action
sets, with plasma screens displaying the
different cameras’ outputs.
As Adorama Rental Co. expands its
inventory into the film and video world, it
remains committed to providing concierge-
style customer service, including individual
consultation with equipment experts and
after-hours tech support, whether the
customer requires a complete feature-film
package or only a DSLR camera body.
For additional information, visit
www.adorama.com.
Hollywood Rentals Carries
Olesen SSL Reel Lite
Hollywood Rentals is now carrying
the Olesen SSL Reel Lite, which incorporates
the latest in LED technology to create a true
replacement for a 6K space light without
sacrificing quality of light, color temperature
or CRI.
Mimicking the spread of a traditional
space light, the Reel Lite puts out 238 foot
candles at 10' — and 60 foot candles at 20'
— while drawing only 4 amps. The fixture
features passive cooling to avoid frequency
noise, and it works with existing space-light
skirts, targets and accessories.
Reel Lite units can be daisy-chained
together for quick installation, and each unit
features DMX dimming control for exact
lighting output. Reel Lites are also stackable
76 July 2012 American Cinematographer
for easy storage, and their versatile Power-
con connections can adapt to any existing
cabling, such as Bates or Socapex.
The Reel Lite has gone through
extensive testing for light quality, including
tests with the Arri Alexa, Red Epic and
35mm film cameras, to ensure that the
quality of light meets the strict standards of
industry professionals. The 6K Reel Lite is
currently available, and a 2K version will be
available soon.
For additional information, visit
www.hollywoodrentals.com and
www.olesenssl.com.
Rosco Puts LitePad in Loop
Rosco has introduced the LitePad
Loop. Providing soft, diffused lighting, the
ring light is the latest addition to Rosco’s
popular LitePad line of LED lighting fixtures.
The light engine within the Loop is a
daylight-balanced (approximately 5,800°K)
LitePad, which has LEDs on both the inside
and outside perimeters, allowing for maxi-
mum brightness. The Loop can be dimmed
using either the Rosco Single Fader Dimmer
or the Rosco 2 CH/DMX Dimmer.
The LitePad Loop measures approxi-
mately 9" in diameter with a 4.4" center
hole. It boasts a slim profile of only 1.3" and
weighs only 2.4 pounds. Its housing is
manufactured from a durable, shatter-resis-
tant plastic.
The mounting assembly — which
allows the Loop to travel backwards,
forwards and vertically in order to position
the camera lens in the center of the ring
light — is based on the industry-standard
15mm rod support system, and it attaches
to the camera using a ¼-20 bolt. The Loop
attaches quickly and easily to the mounting
assembly via a set of high-powered
magnets located on the back of the fixture.
Rosco offers a LitePad Loop AA
Battery Kit that allows users to power the
Loop for hours with eight AA batteries.
Rosco has also developed two cheese-plate
adapters for use with Anton Bauer and V-
Mount professional batteries.
The LitePad Loop is available as an
individual unit or in a Pro Kit that offers
several additional accessories. For more
information, visit www.rosco.com and
www.litepadloop.com.
Petrol Transports Liteporter
Petrol Bags, part of Vitec Videocom,
a Vitec Group company, has introduced the
Liteporter, a professional carrying case
designed to transport and protect a Litepan-
els 1x1 LED fixture or similarly sized light,
with room to hold the detachable mount-
ing yoke, AC power supply with cord,
power cable and Anton/Bauer battery.
Constructed of water-resistant black
900D polyester and nylon, this lightweight,
semi-hard carrier features an internal one-
piece ABS honeycomb frame for extra
strength and equipment protection. The
interior is lined with layers of padded,
orange, brushed polyester to cushion
contents. Twin straps of hook-and-loop
material on either side of the Liteporter
anchor the lid open for easy access. A
zippered flat compartment on the under-
side of the lid is ideal for storing the 1x1’s
color and diffusion gels. A soft-grip carrying
handle and padded, adjustable shoulder
strap make the Liteporter easy to carry.
For additional information, visit
www.petrolbags.com.
Band Pro Introduces NewFinder
Band Pro has introduced the
NewFinder, a professional electronic
viewfinder with a true 1920x1080 LCOS
display.
The NewFinder is a custom product
conceived by Band Pro and manufactured
in partnership with Astrodesign to meet the
needs of camera operators who have
watched the resolution of digital cameras
increase without a comparable increase in
viewfinder resolution. The base model uses
an analog connection to keep delay to one
frame or less; a model that includes analog
77
and HD-SDI inputs is planned for the near
future.
The NewFinder features manual
control of brightness, contrast and peaking
(all adjustable with dedicated knobs) as well
as peaking color options, markers and a
smooth mode that uses double sampling to
avoid jitter. These parameters can all be
saved in one of five user profiles, and the
profile can then be assigned to one of three
assignable buttons.
The NewFinder compensates for
different sensor aspect ratios and can be
switched from 1.78:1 to 1.88:1. Markers
include 1.78:1, 1.85:1 and 2.35:1. Future
software upgrades will enable additional
markers for 4:3 as well as 1.33x and 2x
anamorphic.
For additional information, visit
www.bandpro.com.
Optefex Launches Filter Business
ASC associate member Ira Tiffen has
returned to the filter-making business by
launching a new company, Optefex. Initial
product offerings include an anamorphic-
style Blue Streak Filter.
“We embed thin cylindrical lenses in
glass [to] produce cleaner, stronger star and
streak lines than with surface-etched
filters,” says Tiffen. “Plus, we can make
them in colors besides blue and clear.”
Optefex’s Streak Filters are also avail-
able in red, orange, yellow, green, violet
and pink. The company also offers Star
Filters that create four-point bursts of light.
Other pattern configurations are also avail-
able. Like the Streak Filters, Star Filters are
available in Optefex’s full range of colors.
Both Star and Streak Filters are offered in
four standard strengths: 1mm (broadest),
2mm, 3mm and 4mm (finest). The
strengths refer to the spacing between the
lines on the filter; the closer together they
are, the more pronounced the effect.
Optefex’s initial range of standard
sizes includes 3"x3", 4"x4", 4"x5.65",
5"x5", 5.65"x5.65" and 6.6"x6.6", with
other square or rectangular sizes available
upon request. The company plans to intro-
duce round sizes soon.
“As long as cameramen continue to
approach me with their imaging problems,
I’ll keep creating new tools to solve them,”
says Tiffen.
For additional information, visit
www.optefex.com.
Schneider Optics Plays
with Focus
Schneider Optics has introduced the
S2000 Century/Canon 17mm T4 Tilt-Focus
Lens in PL mount. Ideal for use on cameras
with up to a Super 35 sensor, the converted
lens offers 360-degrees of rotation and 8
degrees of tilt in any direction for remark-
able control of the subject focus plane.
The lens’ tilt and rotation adjust-
ments can be made before or during a shot
for a wide variety of effects. The desired
degree of rotation is fixed via a lever while
a locking knob secures the selected tilt
angle. The S2000 features a linear iris and
integral .8 module metric iris and focus
gears.
Other existing lenses in the Tilt-Shift
family include 24mm T4, 45mm T2.8 and
90mm T2.8. The list price for the
Century/Canon 17mm T4 is $7,500.
Schneider has
also added a 17mm T4
Lens to go with the
Century Clairmont
Swing/Shift System,
which employs bellows,
wings, tilts, rises, falls
and shift for a variety of effects. This 17mm
lens allows for a wider angle of view than
previously available; existing lenses include
24mm f3.5, 45mm f2.8, 90mm f2.8 and
150mm f3.5.
The Swing/Shift system lets users
distort the shape of a subject, remove
unwanted objects from the frame or shoot
straight into a mirror without catching the
camera’s reflection. Access to shifts and
swings also provides nearly total control
over the focus plane for extremely deep or
shallow depth of field. Distant objects and
extremely close ones can both be sharp in
the same frame, or users can limit focus to
a particular object, isolating it even from
objects the same distance from the lens.
Tilting or swinging the lens can alter
both apparent depth of field and an object’s
shape. Shifting allows repositioning of
objects within the frame without changing
the angle between the object and the film
plane. Combining these movements facili-
tates control over perspective distortion that
affects the shape of objects. Additionally,
the Swing/Shift System uses bellows with a
built-in rack and pinion mechanism, which
extends for close focusing.
The Clairmont Swing/Shift and its
lenses may be purchased individually. The
17mm lens has a list price of $4,900.
For additional information, visit
www.schneideroptics.com.
Tiffen Expands Filter Line
The Tiffen Co. has introduced the
MPTV line of integrated and enhanced
Tiffen professional photography and
motion-picture optical filters.
The MPTV line combines Tiffen’s
innovative IRND technology with the
premium Tiffen Ultra Pol filter, giving users
a single-filter solution providing maximum
light control and unparalleled IR protection
in challenging environments. The filters
have been designed for use with CMOS
and CCD cameras that demonstrate a
heightened response to the red channel;
78 July 2012 American Cinematographer
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the filters absorb pollution from the far-red
(visible) and near-infrared wavelengths. The
IR absorbing component of the filters is
proportionate to the ND value; the filters
are available in ND values up to 1.2, plus the
added 2-stop value of the Ultra Pol.
Made from Water White glass, the
MPTV filters boast no color vignetting on
wide-angle lenses. They extract the maxi-
mum amount of unwanted glare from the
scene, render white clouds in stark contrast
against a dramatically dark blue sky and
make reflections from water and windows
invisible. They also ensure rich, true colors
despite glare’s whitewashing effect.
Tiffen has also introduced a
1
⁄16
grade for its popular Pro-Mist, Black Pro-
Mist and Glimmerglass filters. Pro-Mist
filters reduce contrast by moderately light-
ening shadow areas without detracting
from the overall image; Black Pro-Mist
offers the same benefits but in a subtler
form; and Glimmerglass softens fine detail,
adds mild glow to highlights, and has a
distinct silver sparkle.
The new filters and grades are avail-
able in popular motion-picture sizes. All
Tiffen filters are backed by a 10-year
warranty and are made in the U.S.A.
For additional information, visit
www.tiffen.com.
HFC Accessorizes Industry,
Distributes Fujifilm
Equipment manufacturer Hollywood
Film Co. has introduced an array of prod-
ucts for motion-picture professionals.
The versatile, fully adjustable HFC
Tripod Spreader (model TS-7) has been
designed for use on any and all surfaces
without the need for any shims or other
leveling equipment. The durable Spreader
boasts a clear anodized aluminum
construction and easy-to-
adjust large-diameter
locking hand wheels.
Additionally, the Spreader
utilizes sturdy, long-last-
ing expansion collars and
folds quickly for easy
carrying.
HFC’s durable 12", 18" and 24"
Base Plates are made of high-quality
aluminum and are compatible with most
popular fluid heads. The Base Plates include
precision, 24"-long and 19mm-wide Iris
Rods made of tempered stainless steel.
An Arri-type tempered aluminum
Sliding Bridge Plate System (model BPS-3)
utilizes a 19mm or 15mm studio support
system with both front and rear sliding
adjustments for precise camera balance. The
BPS-3 system includes a 12" dovetail base
plate and two 17"-long, 19mm-wide stain-
less rods.
HFC has also developed a precisely
ground, tempered aluminum Quick Release
Plate (model QRP-9).
Additionally, Hollywood Film Co. has
joined forces with Fujifilm’s Motion Picture
Division to offer distribution of Fujifilm’s
negative motion-picture products. When
Fujifilm’s motion-picture products were first
introduced into the North American market
in 1967, HFC served as their exclusive
distributor. The renewed agreement reflects
the commitment of both companies to the
negative film business and reaffirms that film
is still a vital part of the motion-picture
industry.
“HFC has many years of expertise in
the lab and production world,” says Alan
Fraser, vice president, Fujifilm North America
Corp., Motion Picture Division. “They under-
stand the challenging dynamics of servicing
the camera negative film business. Great
quality and outstanding service are always a
winning combination, and we look forward
to working together with them.”
“Fujifilm offers a wide selection of
quality products, and enjoys a reputation for
manufacturing superb film for today’s film-
maker,” says Vince Carabello Jr., vice presi-
dent of HFC. “We are proud to once again
provide premium Fujifilm negative stocks to
our broad customer base.”
For additional information, visit
www.hollywoodfilmco.com and www.fuji
film.com.
K-Tek Supports Small Cameras
K-Tek has responded to the
ergonomic challenges of tiny-form-factor
cameras such as the GoPro and iPhone with
a wide range of production tools, including
the Tadpole and Tripod Mount Case.
K-Tek Tadpoles feature a tilting ball-
and-socket head for precise positioning and
creative shooting. Extendable Tadpoles
allow the camera to get closer to the action
and above crowds while being operated
one-handed and with steadier movement.
Made from the same quality materials as K-
Tek’s award-winning boom poles, they pack
small and are available in three models that
can extend up to 2', 3' and 6'7". Addition-
ally, the compact, fixed-length (7.5") Mini-
Tadpole features a mini-ball head and a ¼-
20 female thread on the base.
Designed specifically for the iPhone
4/4S, the Tripod Mount Case allows the
smart phone to accept a range of video
accessories and mount to professional
tripods. Machined from a solid block of
aluminum, the rugged case features two
threaded aluminum ¼-20 mounting points
that allow for horizontal and vertical
mounting.
K-Tek has also introduced a Camera
Handgrip that features a fixed ¼-20 thread
on top of a foam-covered graphite tube,
offering a practical and inexpensive way to
hold a small camera.
K-Tek products are made in the
U.S.A. For additional information, visit
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80 July 2012 American Cinematographer
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www.theasc.com July 2012 83
CLASSIFIED AD RATES
All classifications are $4.50 per word. Words set in
bold face or all capitals are $5.00 per word. First
word of ad and advertiser’s name can be set in capi-
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876-4973. Dead line for payment and copy must be
in the office by 15th of second month preceding
pub li ca tion. Sub ject mat ter is lim it ed to items and
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Advertiser’s Index
16x9, Inc. 82
AC 1, 77
Adorama 9, 39
Aja Video Systems, Inc. 13
Alan Gordon Enterprises 82
AZGrip 83
Backstage Equipment, Inc.
75
Barger-Lite 83
Birns & Sawyer 82
Blackmagic Design, Inc. 15
Cavision Enterprises 25
Chapman/Leonard Studio
Equipment Inc. C3
Chemical Wedding 85
Cinematography
Electronics 6
Cinekinetic 82
Codex Digital Ltd. 27
Congo Films S.A. 63
Convergent Design 21
Cooke Optics 7
Deluxe C2
DV Expo 79
Eastman Kodak C4
EFD USA, Inc 19
Film Gear 73
Filmtools 6
Friends of the ASC 40
Glidecam Industries 17
IBC 51
Kino Flo 41
Lights! Action! Co. 83
Maccam 83
Maine Media 6
Manios Optical 82
M. M. Mukhi & Sons 82
Movie Tech AG 82, 83
NBC/Universal 37
New York Film Academy 49
Nila Inc. 53
Oppenheimer Camera Prod.
82
Panther Gmbh 77
Pille Film Gmbh 82
Polecam Ltd 75
Pro8mm 82
Schneider Optics 2
Siggraph 71
Sony Electronics Inc. 5
Super16 Inc. 82
Technicolor Content &
Theatrical Services
28-29
Thales Angenieux 23
Tiffen 11
VF Gadgets, Inc. 82
Willy’s Widgets 82
www.theasc.com 4, 52,
62, 73, 75, 83, 84
84
Society Welcomes Aguirresarobe
New active member Javier Aguirre-
sarobe, ASC, AEC was born in Eibar,
Guipuzoa Province, Spain. He began shoot-
ing stills and experimenting with photo-
graphic processes as a teenager, and he
moved to Madrid and began studying optics
and journalism when he was 16.
Four years later, Aguirresarobe was
accepted to the Madrid Film School, where
he studied cinematography and gained
experience with 16mm and 35mm motion-
picture production. Following graduation,
he worked a number of jobs related to
photography before shooting his first
feature, ¿Qué hace una chica como tu en
sitio como éste?, directed by Fernando
Colomo. Shortly thereafter, he moved to San
Sebastian, where he helped found an audio-
visual cooperative for film professionals.
Aguirresarobe has won Goya Awards
(Spain’s equivalent to Academy Awards) for
the features Beltenebros, Antartida, El Perro
del Hortelano, The Others, Soldados de
Salamina and The Sea Inside, and he
received Spain’s National Film Award in
2006. His credits also include Talk to Her,
Goya’s Ghosts, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The
Road, Twilight: New Moon and Eclipse,
Fright Night (2011) and The Five-Year
Engagement.
Kennel Named
Associate Member
New associate member Glenn
Kennel has worked in the motion-picture
industry for more than 30 years. He started
his career at Kodak, where he helped
develop color negative films and tools such
as the Spirit Datacine and Cineon digital film
scanners and recorders. He later joined Cine-
site, where he participated in the introduc-
tion of the digital-intermediate process. At
Texas Instruments, he contributed to the
standardization and deployment of DLP
Cinema projection systems. He then went
on to manage the feature-film-services
group at Laser Pacific.
Kennel joined Arri, Inc., in 2009 as
the company’s CTO, and he was promoted
to president and CEO in April 2010. He over-
sees marketing, sales and service of Arri
cameras, lighting and postproduction equip-
ment in North and South America.
Kennel is also a SMPTE Fellow, a
member of the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts & Sciences, and author of the book
Color and Mastering for Digital Cinema,
which was published in 2006.
Spinotti Named UCLA
Cinematographer-in-Residence
Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC was
named this year’s Kodak Cinematographer-
in-Residence for the spring quarter at UCLA’s
School of Theater, Film and Television. The
mentorship program began with a screening
of The Last of the Mohicans, which was
followed by a Q&A with Spinotti moderated
by Prof. William McDonald, an ASC asso-
ciate member.
With the support of Kodak, McDon-
ald inaugurated the Cinematographer-in-
Residence program in 2000. The program
comprises screenings, workshops and one-
on-one sessions over the course of 10
weeks.
“It is an honor to have Dante as this
year’s Cinematographer-in-Residence,” says
McDonald. “His experience, unique cine-
matic eye and dedication to his craft make
him an invaluable mentor for our students.”
Society Hosts Film Students
Students from Montana State
University and Compass College of Cine-
matic Arts recently visited the Clubhouse
and participated in a lively discussion with
ASC members Russ Alsobrook, Dion
Beebe, Dean Cundey, George Spiro
Dibie, Michael Goi, Karl Walter Linden-
laub and Daniel Pearl.
Members Busy at NAB, BEA
The National Association of Broad-
casters and the Broadcast Education Associ-
Clubhouse News
86 July 2012 American Cinematographer
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From top: Javier Aguirresarobe, ASC, AEC;
associate member Glenn Kennel;
Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC.
ation recently held their annual conferences
alongside one another in Las Vegas, and the
ASC had an active presence on both fronts.
During the BEA conference, the Soci-
ety presented a two-part cinematography
workshop. Richard Crudo, ASC kicked off
the event, introducing Julio Macat, ASC,
who led a show-and-tell session that also
included an audience Q&A. Macat then
joined Society fellows Daryn Okada and
David Darby for a panel discussion about
camera systems that was moderated by ASC
associate Timothy E. Smith.
A number of ASC cinematographers
and associate members also participated in
panel discussions and in-booth talks and
demonstrations during NAB, including active
members Curtis Clark, Crudo, Caleb
Deschanel, Scott Farrar, Shane Hurlbut,
Glen MacPherson, Sam Nicholson, Vince
Pace and Dave Perkal, and associate
members Mark Chiolis, Gary Demos and
Leon Silverman. Additionally, Society
members Oliver Bokelberg, Stephen
Goldblatt, Fred Goodich, Gil Hubbs,
Levie Isaacks and M. David Mullen were
spotted at the AC booth on the show floor.
Cinémathèque Française
Spotlights Rousselot
Philippe Rousselot, ASC, AFC was
recently the subject of a career-spanning
retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française
in Paris. Comprising 30 films, the series
showcased Rousselot’s collaborations with
such directors as Stephen Frears (Dangerous
Liaisons, Mary Reilly), Tim Burton (Planet of
the Apes, Big Fish), Neil Jordan (The Miracle,
Interview with the Vampire) and John Boor-
man (Hope and Glory, The Emerald Forest).
The Cinémathèque also screened The
Serpent’s Kiss, directed by Rousselot and
photographed by Jean-François Robin.
Kuras Visits Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Film Group’s Cine-
matheque recently hosted Ellen Kuras,
ASC for a two-day event. The program
began with a master class, and Kuras later
introduced screenings of three features she
shot: The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), which she
co-directed with Thavisouk Phrasavath (AC
April ’08); Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Mind (AC April ‘04); and Blow (AC March
‘01).
McGarvey Shares
“Cinematographer’s Choice”
at Panavision
Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC
recently visited Panavision’s Woodland Hills
facility to present Powell and Pressburger’s
A Matter of Life and Death as a part of
Panavision’s “Cinematographer’s Choice”
screening series. Photographed by Jack
Cardiff, BSC, the 1946 feature mixes black-
and-white and color cinematography.
Following the screening, McGarvey detailed
the film’s impact on his development as a
cinematographer, and he took questions
from the capacity crowd, which included
both students and professionals.
Logan Oversees
Zacuto’s “Revenge”
Camera-accessories manufacturer
Zacuto recently put together “Revenge of
the Great Camera Shootout,” a sequel to
the company’s previous camera-comparison
test, “The Great Camera Shootout 2012.”
The side-by-side comparison test of digital-
camera systems from Sony, Arri, Red,
Canon and Panasonic was overseen by
Bruce Logan, ASC, with further support
from Ryan Walters, Den Lennie, Mick Jones,
Polly Morgan, Johnny Zeller, Colt Seman,
and Society members Rodney Charters,
Michael Negrin and Nancy Schreiber.
“Revenge of the Great Camera
Shootout” can be viewed online at
www.zacuto.com.
CSC Honors Clairmont
The Canadian Society of Cinematog-
raphers recently presented ASC associate
Denny Clairmont with the 2012 Bill Hilson
Award in recognition of Clairmont
Camera’s years of support of Canadian film-
makers. The award, which recognizes
“outstanding service contributing to the
development of the motion-picture industry
in Canada,” was presented during the 55th
Annual CSC Awards. ●
From top: Society members (from left) Karl Walter
Lindenlaub, Russ Alsobrook, Dean Cundey, George Spiro
Dibie, Dion Beebe, Daniel Pearl and Michael Goi address
students from Montana State University and Compass
College of Cinematic Arts; associate member Timothy E.
Smith (far left) moderates a panel discussion with Society
members (left to right) Julio Macat, Daryn Okada and
David Darby at the BEA conference; James Cameron (left)
and Vince Pace, ASC speak at the NAB Show.
www.theasc.com July 2012 87
88 July 2012 American Cinematographer
When you were a child, what film made the strongest
impression on you?
When I was 12, I saw David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter (1970), shot by
Freddie Young, BSC, and Eric Rohmer’s Le Genou de Claire (1970),
shot by my late friend Nestor Almendros, ASC. Young’s beautiful
65mm work inspired me in my photography. Rohmer’s film is beau-
tiful in such a natural way, and it totally holds your
interest even though it’s simply about one man’s
obsession with touching a girl’s knee.
Which cinematographers, past or present, do
you most admire?
I worked for Nestor Almendros, and I was always
hoping I could see light as he did. As a student, I
was a huge fan of Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, and
wrote a thesis on his work. And, of course, Connie
Hall, ASC. Today I love the experimentation of [ASC
members] Bob Richardson and Matty Libatique.
What sparked your interest in photography?
When I was 7, my grandfather gave me an old
twin-lens Rolleiflex. I carried that around for a year without film, just
pretending. I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer,
and I got my first SLR when I was 13. I built darkrooms in every house
we moved into.
Where did you train and/or study?
The USC School of Cinema.
Who were your early teachers or mentors?
I was a teaching assistant for Peter Gibbons, who had been a tech-
nical adviser on many of the Cinerama films. He was not a famous
cinematographer, but he had such great energy.
What are some of your key artistic influences?
My mother was a docent at the Cleveland Art Museum and also an
architect. She introduced me to all forms of art, and she bought me
my first Nikon F. Nestor Almendros encouraged me to study light.
How did you get your first break in the business?
While I was at USC, one of the professors got me a PA job with direc-
tor Randal Kleiser on an ABC Afterschool Special for $75 a week.
Randal got me an internship with Bill Butler, ASC on Grease, and I
went on to shoot second unit on Randal’s next three features. I owe
him a lot.
What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?
One night after work on The Replacement Killers, we were watching
a scene in dailies that we had bathed in green light, having decided
that green was the color of Mira Sorvino’s character. [Director]
Antoine Fuqua turned to me and our talented production designer,
Naomi Shohan, and simply said, ‘Cool.’
Have you made any memorable blunders?
I’ve shot a fluorescent-lit office bullpen off-speed at 36 fps and had
the whole thing flicker in dailies. On one of my first
jobs, I was shooting time-lapse of a rotating time
machine for a Disney MOW — long exposures,
shooting all night long. I didn’t understand reciproc-
ity, and the dailies were black.
What is the best professional advice you’ve
ever received?
Treat everyone on a set as a human being. Learn
everyone’s name, and don’t abuse any perceived
power. I’ve witnessed such bad behavior by mega-
lomaniacal producers, directors, actors and, yes,
cinematographers. Even in the stress of your 18-
hour day, remember that the PA has worked 23
hours already.
What recent books, films or artwork have inspired you?
I collect photography, and I look at it every day, especially work by
Irving Penn, Phil Borges and Appalachian photographer Shelby Lee
Adams. I saw a recent show of James Nachtwey’s work that
captured so much of the human spirit. Also, I live in Paris part time,
close to the Rodin Museum, and I love sitting in the garden and
studying his powerful studies of the human form.
Do you have any favorite genres, or genres you would like
to try?
I’d love to photograph a period film.
If you weren’t a cinematographer, what might you be doing
instead?
I’d be Jacques Cousteau, swimming with the dolphins.
Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for
membership?
Steven Poster, John Schwartzman and Russell Carpenter.
How has ASC membership impacted your life and career?
When I started subscribing to American Cinematographer in high
school, I dreamed of becoming an ASC member. Being a member
gives me instant access to such a wealth of brilliant men and women
with whom I can trade ideas and questions. I remember going to the
Clubhouse once when I was a student and talking to Connie Hall all
night. I mean, how lucky am I? ●
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