AmericanCinematographer 2011 November by gfddgd

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									NOVEMBER 2011

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  M       E      M      B      E      R           P       O       R                                 T         R    A      I    T

                          Frank E. Johnson, ASC

                                                                                                             began reading
                                                                                                             Cinematographer years
                                                                                                        ago, while I was serving in
                                                                                                        the U.S. Air Force as a
                                                                                                        motion-picture cameraman. I
                                                                                                        was assigned to shoot
                                                                                                        government films, newsreels
                                                                                                        and documentaries, but when
                                                                                                        I was not on an assignment, I
                                                                                                        was able to take advantage of
                                                                                                        the availability of cameras,
                                                                                                        film stock, laboratory and
                                                                                                        AC to create and shoot my
                                                                                                        own short films.
                                                                                                             “After this wonderful,
                                                                                                        hands-on opportunity to learn
                                                                                                        the art of cinematography, I
                                                                                                        was able to go to Hollywood
                                                                                                        and begin a career in the
                                                                                                        motion-picture business. To
                                                                                                        this day, I read AC every
                                                                                                        month to keep up with the
                                                                                                        latest technology and
                                                                                                        techniques in the ever-
                                                                                                        evolving world of cinema.”

                                                                                                        — Frank E. Johnson, ASC
                                                                      ©photo by Owen Roizman, ASC

Call (800) 448-0145 (U.S. only)
(323) 969-4333 or visit the ASC website

W       W        W        .     T         H   E       A       S       C                                   .       C      O         M
          We shot the first seven seasons of
          “Desperate Housewives” on film
          but this year I decided to take the
          show HD, with Alexa. After a lot
          of testing, we ended up using the
          same lenses and same Schneider
          Black Frost & True-Pol filters that

          gave us our look on film. The only
          issue we had was IR pollution when
          shooting outdoors on Wisteria Lane.
             Schneider came through for us with

          some of the first sets of their great new
          Platinum IRNDs, and all our color


          matching problems disappeared.

Lowell Peterson ASC received an Emmy                                 his other television work. He is currently
nomination for the series “Six Feet                                  shooting the eighth and final season of
Under”, and three ASC nominations for                                “Desperate Housewives”.

                                                                             B+W • Century      •   Schneider                 •   
          It Starts with the Glass tm
N   O   V   E   M   B   E   R         2    0    1    1        V     O     L    .        9    2        N     O     .     1   1

                                                                               The International Journal of Motion Imaging

                                   On Our Cover: Young lovers (Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried) revolt
                                   against a dystopian society in the sci-fi thriller In Time, shot by Roger Deakins,
                                   ASC, BSC. (Photo by Nino Muñoz, courtesy of 20th Century Fox.)

                        32      Time Bandit
                                Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC opts for digital capture on sci-fi
                                thriller In Time

                        46      All for One
                                Glen MacPherson, ASC, CSC applies modern methods to
                                3-D remake of The Three Musketeers

                        60      3-D on a Budget
                                Tips and tricks for shooting stereo affordably

                        68      Caught on Tape
                                Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC revisits his stylish work on the
                                1981 thriller Blow Out

                        78      Sharp Shooting
                                Spotlighting this year’s Emmy nominees for cinematography

                         8      Editor’s Note
                        10      President’s Desk
                        12      Short Takes: “The Candidate”
                        18      Production Slate: Martha Marcy May Marlene • America in Primetime
                        80      Filmmakers’ Forum: Juan-Ruiz Anchia, ASC
                        86      New Products & Services
                        90      International Marketplace
                        91      Classified Ads
                        92      Ad Index
                        94      Clubhouse News
                        96      ASC Close-Up: Dan Mindel

                          DVD Playback: Scarface • Blood Simple • The Complete Jean Vigo
     N o v e m b e r                      2 0 1 1            V o l .           9 2 ,          N o .          1 1
       The International Journal ofMotion Imaging

                                             Visit us online at
               PUBLISHER Martha Winterhalter
                               EXECUTIVE EDITOR Stephen Pizzello
                                  SENIOR EDITOR Rachael K. Bosley
                                 ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jon D. Witmer
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                              CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
              Stephanie Argy, Benjamin B, Douglas Bankston, Robert S. Birchard,
         John Calhoun, Michael Goldman, Simon Gray, Jim Hemphill, David Heuring,
               Jay Holben, Mark Hope-Jones, Noah Kadner, Jean Oppenheimer,
                   John Pavlus, Chris Pizzello, Jon Silberg, Iain Stasukevich,
                             Kenneth Sweeney, Patricia Thomson
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    American Cinematographer (ISSN 0002-7928), established 1920 and in its 91st year of publication, is published
          monthly in Hollywood by ASC Holding Corp., 1782 N. Orange Dr., Hollywood, CA 90028, U.S.A.,
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      POSTMASTER: Send address change to American Cinematographer, P.O. Box 2230, Hollywood, CA 90078.
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© 2011 Panasonic Corporation of North America
    American Society of Cinematographers
    The ASC is not a labor union or a guild, but
     an educational, cultural and pro fes sion al
    orga ni za tion. Membership is by invitation
        to those who are actively en gaged as
         di rec tors of photography and have
      demon strated out stand ing ability. ASC
     membership has be come one of the highest
        honors that can be bestowed upon a
     profes sional cin e ma tog ra pher — a mark
              of prestige and excellence.

       OFFICERS - 2011/2012
                 Michael Goi
                Richard Crudo
                  Vice President
               Owen Roizman
                  Vice President
              John C. Flinn III
                  Vice President
              Victor J. Kemper
              Frederic Goodich
              Stephen Lighthill
                Sergeant At Arms

                 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

             Michael D. O’Shea
               Rodney Taylor
                Ron Garcia
                Sol Negrin
              Kenneth Zunder

                 Steve Gainer
       Editor’s Note
                                           Few of the movies we’ve covered this year have generated
                                           as many queries as In Time, which marks the first time
                                           Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC has shot a feature with digital
                                           cameras. With nine Academy Award nominations, an
                                           ASC Lifetime Achievement Award and many other honors
                                           decorating his résumé, Deakins has become the E.F.
                                           Hutton of cinematography circles: when he talks, people
                                           listen. He certainly doesn’t mince words in Jay Holben’s
                                           coverage of the sci-fi thriller (“Time Bandit,” page 32),
                                           weighing in on Arri’s Alexa and where he stands in the
                                           deathless “film vs. digital” debate.
                                                   Declaring the Alexa “a game-changer,” he
                                           observes, “This moment has been coming for a long time,
    really, but with the Alexa I believe digital has finally surpassed film in terms of quality.” He
    adds, “Sometimes I really get annoyed with the garbage I hear about film vs. digital. Most of
    it is simply nostalgia and silly thinking…. In my opinion, there are now more advantages than
    disadvantages to digital cinematography.”
             If digital formats have become a prevailing trend, so, too, has 3-D cinematography.
    Continuing our ongoing coverage of this topic, we sought out Glen MacPherson, ASC, CSC,
    who used 3-D to amp up the action in director Paul W.S. Anderson’s energetic remake of         The
    Three Musketeers. MacPherson expresses his enthusiasm for the format emphatically, telling
    New York correspondent Iain Stasukevich (“All for One,” page 46) that he greatly prefers the
    3-D version of Musketeers to the 2-D version that will also be released: “I spent several weeks
    grading the movie in 3-D, then I took a quick run up to the 2-D theater, and it was a huge
    disappointment. It’s amazing how you sort of lose the scope of all those great locations.”
             For those of you planning to shoot 3-D with more modest resources, Paris correspon-
    dent Benjamin B serves up a piece packed with tips and techniques he absorbed during a
    week-long workshop supervised by cinematographer Geoff Boyle, FBKS (“3-D on a Budget,”
    page 60).
             To learn how movies were shot when film was an unrivaled format, look no further
    than Jon Silberg’s piece on Blow Out (1981), a thriller that teamed Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC
    with one of his favorite directors, Brian De Palma (“Caught on Tape,” page 68). Zsigmond
    reveals how he compensated for film’s limitations with some radical strategies. “Brian is a styl-
    ist, and he’s very experimental,” the cinematographer observes. “He sticks his neck out on
    movies that sometimes get bad reviews because the [critics] say he’s concentratingtoo much
    on the visuals.” But, he adds, “Brian always wants to do the kinds of things cinematogra-
    phers love to do!”
             This issue also offers a salute to this year’s Emmy-nominated cinematographers
    (“Sharp Shooting,” page 78), whose ranks include 10 ASC members.
                                                                                                         Photo by Owen Roizman, ASC.

    Stephen Pizzello
    Executive Editor

       ‘The images are the best I've seen from a high-speed camera...’
        Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
                               Tree of Life
             Hidden Beauty: A Love Story
                    That Feeds The Earth
                         Captain America                                   ‘Having the Phantom Flex on
                        The Green Hornet
                             Source Code                                    our production has made
                      Final Destination 5
                                  Honey 2                                   a huge difference. Being
                                                                            able to jump from 24fps
                            TRON: Legacy
                               Iron Man 2                                   to anything from 200 to
              Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
                  Resident Evil: Afterlife                                  800fps and back again
                              Jackass 3D
                              Step Up 3D                                    without a huge re-light has
                         Sherlock Holmes
                                                                            meant we get more great
                             TELEVISION                                     shots in less time.
             Spartacus: Blood and Sand
                                   Mental                                   The images are the best
               Bears of the Last Frontier
                      No Ordinary Family                                    I've seen from a high-speed
                                 Top Shot
                               Time Warp
    The Hard Times of RJ Berger (promo)
                                                                            camera and it cuts great
         BBC One: Nature's Great Events
        SNL Digital Short: ‘Cherry Battle’                                  with our Genesis cameras.’
                  Nurse Jackie (opening)
      SNL Digital Short: ‘On the Ground’
          Dancing with the Stars (idents)                                   Aaron Morton, NZCS
                            Fight Science                                   Director of Photography
               Toughest Cowboy (intros)                                     Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
                              Burn Notice
                          Sports Science
            Dexter (main title sequence)

                     Digisport: ‘Basketball’
                                                                             Feature films, television, sports
Telmex television HD: ‘Una Gota de Sudor’                                    and commercial productions have
   Delux Weathershield: ‘Tough Elements’
    Prince Rackets: ‘Frederico’ and others
                                                                             affirmed Phantom as the leader
         Rogers Sportsnet: ‘Comin' Home’                                     in high-speed imaging.
                      Sun Ich: ‘Purely Fruit’
        Citroën CS3: ‘Anti Retro - Blenders’                                 Phantom Flex, the newest addition
                                 and others
                   Aqua Minirale: ‘Frisbee’                                  to the Phantom family, produces the
               Coke Zero: ‘Bound by Black’
           Sony Bravia: ‘Cricket World Cup’
                                                                             highest quality high-speed images
                Publix: ‘Magical Moments’                                    using the least amount of light.
              Smirnoff: ‘Smirnoff and Cola’
     National Greyhound Championships:
                                                                             High frame rate Phantom images are
                        ‘One Helluva Battle’                                 regularly intercut with normal speed
           McDonalds: ‘Bursting With Fruit’
                          Sony: ‘Eye Candy’                                  digital and film camera images.
    Home Depot: ‘Mexican National Team’
                          Pedigree: ‘Catch’
 Amnesty International: ‘Child - Shell Hell’
                         Dekorall: ‘Fashion’                                 Ask for the Phantom Flex at your
     Google: ‘Google Chrome Speed Tests’
               DR2 station ID: Tennis balls                                  favorite rental houses, worldwide.
    Visa Black Card: ‘Female James Bond’
            Quiksilver: ‘Cypher boardshort’
      Panasonic Viera: ‘Elegance Matters’
            NFL: ‘Play60 Thanksgiving PSA’
                        Speedo: ‘Sculpture’
                     Sprite Zero: ‘Catapult’
         Canon Pixma MP996: ‘Gymnasts’
               Canon EOS 7D: ‘Flying Girls’

         Phantom Flex, HD or v640 cameras
           utilized on recent projects, above
     President’s Desk
                                                  Cinematography is driven by the desire to exercise one’s artistry. This is certainly true of pretty
                                                  much every position on a production, but whereas one might enter into a craft in the business
                                                  driven by the desire to be famous or to get rich, you'd be hard pressed to find a cinematogra-
                                                  pher whose motivation for pursuing this craft was primarily influenced by those desires. A cine-
                                                  matographer whose work is enormously influential might be virtually unknown to most of the
                                                  world. A cinematographer becomes a cinematographer because he or she enjoys telling stories
                                                  with light, color and composition.
                                                          The ASC is composed of cinematographers who are masters of visual expression — every
                                                  one of them. There are those whose names are immediately recognizable, but every member
                                                  achieved the honor of membership by being the best in the field. They have enhanced and
                                                  defined motion pictures for almost 100 years. Allow me to mention a few of them.
                                                          When you watch the amazing mirror-room fight sequence in Bruce Lee’s       Enter the Dragon,
                                                  you are watching the work of Gil Hubbs, ASC. Stephen M. Katz, ASC was the cinematographer
                                                  behind the iconic comedy The Blues Brothers. Isidore Mankofsky, ASC gave life to Kermit the Frog
                                                  for The Muppet Movie. When Revenge of the Nerds took place, King Baggot, ASC was there to
                                                  film it. (King also shot one of my favorite fantasy films, The Last Starfighter.)
                                                          The beautiful, moody images from The Inland Sea were photographed by the same man
                                                  who gave The Rocketeer flight, Hiro Narita, ASC. And when you watch just about any large-scale
            effects movie, you are probably seeing the work of Mat Beck, ASC, whose credits include shots for Titanic, Spider-Man 2 and Into
            the Wild. When Stephen King’sPet Sematary was unleashed on audiences, they were thrilled by the work of Peter Stein, ASC. Gerald
            Feil, ASC was shooting exciting 3-D action years ago for Friday the 13th Part III. And when the Dixie Chicks were told to Shut Up
            and Sing, Joan Churchill, ASC was there to document their message.
                     One of the reasons Frasier ran for 151 episodes was that Ken Lamkin, ASC was behind the camera. George Mooradian, ASC
            made Emmy nominations a regular occurrence for his work on According to Jim. And Wayne Kennan, ASC gave the world some
            of its funniest moments with Seinfeld.
                     Michael Negrin, ASC trained his camera on Billy Joel as he courted Christie Brinkley in the video for Uptown Girl. And what
            do Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, Britney Spears’ Boys and Van Halen’sHot for Teacher have in common? They were all shot by Daniel
            Pearl, ASC.
                     Members of the ASC are generally pretty humble about their accomplishments. When we enter the Clubhouse, we all
            become equals. It’s not about egos or awards; it’s about hanging out and recognizing that we all got into this craft because te lling
            visual stories is what we love to do.
                     One of my prized possessions is an ASC mug that bears the name Carl Berger, ASC. If you believe the databases, Carl is still
            alive, even though his first credit as a cinematographer was in 1932. His last documented film was 1967’s C’mon, Let’s Live A Little,
            a romp that I enjoyed as a youngster. According to the ASC’s records, Carl is well over 105 years old. Some think he might have
            died years ago and we just didn’t receive word, but I like to believe that Carl is still out there, and that he might yet walk through
            the Clubhouse doors again. I think his name will continue to be on the ASC roster for many years to come, because ASC cine-
            matographers truly do live forever.
                                                                                                                                                         Photo by Owen Roizman, ASC.

            Michael Goi, ASC

10   November 2011                                             American Cinematographer
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     Short Takes

                Burton Grunzer (Tom Gulager) retreats to a restroom to vent his frustrations with his job in this frame grab from The Candidate,
                                                     directed by David Karlak and shot by Brandon Cox.

            I   Career Opportunities
                By Iain Stasukevich
                                                                              anamorphic 2.40:1 format with Panavision Primo lenses. “I’ve shot
                                                                              a tremendous amount of anamorphic, and I’m familiar with the
                                                                              Panavision C-, E- and G-Series anamorphic lenses,” says Cox. Those
              Based on a short story by Twilight Zone writer Henry Slesar, series are more compact and lightweight than the Primos, making
     the short film The Candidate unfolds like a tale from Rod Serling’s      them especially well-suited to Steadicam and handheld work, but
     classic series: As Burton Grunzer (Tom Gulager) tensely narrates an      the cinematographer envisioned The Candidate as a “studio mode”
     interoffice rivalry with his seemingly hapless coworker, Whitman         film, with the camera always on sticks or a dolly. “We wanted to be
     Hayes (Thomas F. Duffy), the conflict evolves into an increasingly       kind of old-school about our camera moves,” he says. “It was all
     twisted game of cat-and-mouse.                                           about using the dolly to reflect the way Burton reacts to the space.”
              The script fell into cinematographer Brandon Cox’s lap in              The Candidate was photographed on location inside the
     2009, while he was shooting the feature The Collector in Louisiana. downtown Los Angeles offices of an architectural firm. “It’s a
     That film’s visual-effects supervisor was David Karlak, who had been     gorgeously designed office with concrete, steel and glass, and all
     inspired by Slesar’s story and asked Cox if he’d be interested in shoot- these different colors on plasma screens,” Cox describes.
     ing the short.                                                                  Karlak had been especially inspired by David Fincher’s The
              Karlak had directed a few shorts before undertaking        The Game (shot by Harris Savides, ASC), so Cox prepared for The Candi-         Photos and frame grabs courtesy of the filmmakers.
     Candidate, but this was his first project to originate on film. “Not a   date by watching that film. He also studied Robert Elswit, ASC’s
     lot of shorts are being done on film anymore,” says Cox, who grad-       work in Michael Clayton and Wally Pfister, ASC’s work in The Dark
     uated from AFI’s cinematography program in 2004, and whose cred- Knight. “David Fincher’s films all have a really strong sense of move-
     its include more than 150 music videos. “But David and I are both        ment, and I really love the way Robert Elswit and Wally Pfister cover
     lovers of film, and we really wanted to shoot and finish on film.”       scenes,” he explains.
              The costs of shooting and finishing on film were alleviated by         One of Cox’s favorite moments in The Candidate comes after
     a FotoKem Student Filmmaker Grant, which covered the cost of             the bumbling Hayes accepts all the credit for landing a big client. The
     negative processing, print dailies and answer printing (with a process- film then cuts to the restroom; a tiled wall fills the frame until
     ing limit of 20,000' for 35mm). “We could have shot this project digi- Burton’s head rises in slow motion. He splashes water on his face
     tally, but there’s something exciting about shooting on film, and        and then starts to scream, but no sound comes out. “We made that
     everybody working on the project could feel that,” says Cox.             shot at 120 fps with a Panavised Arri 435,” says Cox, whose camera
              Citing the stock’s contrast and color rendition, Cox elected to package — which also included a Panavision G2 — came from
     shoot The Candidate on Kodak Vision3 500T 5219, working in the           Panavision Hollywood. “There’s something about that scene that I

12   November 2011                                                American Cinematographer
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Top row, left to right: Curtis Clark, ASC; Richard Crudo, ASC; Daryn Okada, ASC; Dennis Dillon, DP; Francis Kenny, ASC
Bottom row, left to right: Cassie Brooksbank, Senior, USC School of Cinematic Arts; Cameron Combe, Student Filmmaker, Cal State Long Beach;
Brian Smith, Award-winning Photographer; Brooke Mailhiot, Cinematographer


© 2011 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony, make.believe and their respective logos are trademarks of Sony.
                                                                                                           love. It’s eerie and beautiful at the same
                                                                                                                    The location’s glassed-in design
                                                                                                           allowed the filmmakers to shoot many
                                                                                                           scenes with the assistance of available light.
                                                                                                           “I had to know where the sun was going to
                                                                                                           be at any given time,” Cox recalls. “Luckily,
                                                                                                           a lot of the windows in that building face
                                                                                                           north, but we had to get to certain sets at a
                                                                                                           specific time.” The cinematographer used
                                                                                                           the Sun Seeker app for the iPhone to track
                                                                                                           the sun’s trajectory over the course of the
                                                                                                                    Cox and gaffer Kyle Bryson used
                                                                                                           daylight-balanced Kino Flo Image 80s to
                                                                                                           augment many of the scenes taking place
                                                                                                           next to windows, diffusing the fixtures with
                                                                                                           Light or 1⁄4 Grid for added softness. The
                                                                                                           strongest light the production brought on
                                                                                                           set was an Arri 1.2K HMI; the rest of the
                                                                                                           lighting package comprised daylight-
                                                                                                           balanced 4x4 Kino Flos, tungsten Dedos
                                                                                                           and a selection of practical lamps with tung-
                                                                                                           sten bulbs.
                                                                                                                    The climax of the film involves a
                                                                                                           suspenseful exchange between Burton and
                                                                                                           the mysterious Carl Tucker (Robert Picardo).
                                                                                                           Nearly five minutes in length — a quarter of
                                                                                                           the short’s running time — and rife with
                                                                                                           detailed exposition, Cox remembers this
                                                                                                           scene as being “a bit of a conundrum.
                                                                                                           Robert’s character has to tell a story. We
                                                                                                           didn’t have the time to shoot a flashback to
                                                                                                           illustrate what he’s talking about, so we
                                                                                                           decided to go the other route, filming him
                                                                                                           as he talked. How would we keep the audi-
                                                                                                           ence interested?”
                                                                                                                    To find a solution, Cox referred back
                                                                                                           to Pfister’s work, studying how the cine-
                                                                                                           matographer would shoot two people
                                                                                                           carrying on an extended conversation. “He
                                                                                                           does very simple coverage, but he moves
                                                                                                           the camera ever so slightly, so you don’t
                                                                                                           notice it,” Cox observes. “You get gripped
                                                                                                           into the conversation with the dolly moves,
                                                                                                           booming up and down, pushing in, going
                                                                                                           back to wide. It’s so simple and effective.”
                                                                                                                    Cox employed those same slow
                                                                                                           pushes on Picardo and Gulager, and even
                                                                                                           used a tracking shot behind Gulager to
                                                                                                           cross the 180-degree line, emphasizing a
                                                                                                           shift in tone between the two characters.
  Grunzer meets with the mysterious Carl Tucker (Robert Picardo), who tells of a secret society that has
 met with great success in wishing people dead. The conversation takes the characters through different    For The Candidate’s final “gotcha”
           areas of the downtown Los Angeles office building where the production filmed.                  moment, Cox pushed in fast and close on
                                                                                                           each of the actors, using a 100mm lens and

14      November 2011                                                 American Cinematographer
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     Top, left and right: Cox lines up a shot with the production’s Panavision G2 camera.
               Below: Grunzer considers his halting rise up the corporate ladder.

                                                                                                             tal master was also assembled at Santa
                                                                                                             Monica-based New Hat with colorist Beau
                                                                                                             Leon, one of Cox’s frequent collaborators,
                                                                                                             at the dials.
                                                                                                                     Cox is part of the last generation of
                                                                                                             filmmakers who learned the craft of cine-
                                                                                                             matography by shooting film stock, just
                                                                                                             before many schools started switching to
                                                                                                             digital-dominated curricula and workflows.
                                                                                                             In the late 1990s, as nonlinear editing and
                                                                                                             high-definition video were gaining traction
                                                                                                             with students, Cox cut his early projects on
                                                                                                             reel-to-reel editing benches and was
      dutching the frame with a Tango swing                       After principal photography wrapped        instructed on how to communicate with a
      head.                                               in September 2009, the film was transferred        film lab. He believes the blend of digital and
               It was a critical moment not only for      to standard-definition DVCam tapes at              analog curriculums has given him a
      the characters, but for Cox, who operated           FotoKem. Karlak pieced together a couple           balanced perspective on the “digital vs.
      the camera while 1st AC Hiro Fukada pulled          of rough cuts. Although he and Cox were            film” argument. “I started out shooting
      focus. “Anamorphic depth of field is so             confident in what they had in the can, both        film, but I also have to keep up with tech-
      shallow,” says Cox. “We were close-focus-           agreed more could be done to flesh out             nology,” he muses. “Every movie has its
      ing on a long lens at T2.8, and Hiro made           some of the scenes, so four months after           format. Some movies should be shot on
      sure we got it.”                                    principal photography, the crew returned to        film, and some should be shot digitally. I
               The crew shot for two days,                the location to shoot additional inserts for       think there’s a place for both in this world.”
      watched film dailies at FotoKem in Burbank,         the film’s opening scene, as well as a new                                                    ●
      returned to the location for two more days          end-credits sequence that amps up the
      of shooting, and then screened those                effect of the twist ending. “It’s very rare that
      dailies. “Most of the features I’ve worked          you come away from a shoot with the feel-
      on can’t afford projected dailies, and there’s      ing you’ve gotten everything you wanted at
      never any time for it,” says Cox. “Normally         the time,” Cox remarks.
      I’ll see my digital dailies on a calibrated HD              The FotoKem grant afforded Cox the
      flatscreen or an iPad. Seeing your work on          opportunity to work closely with color timer
      a 19-inch monitor is one thing, but seeing it       Dan Muscarella on the film print master,
      on a big screen, on film, is something else.        which the cinematographer describes as “a
      You truly see what you’re getting.”                 great experience.” A 4:4:4 HDCam-SR digi-

16     November 2011                                                 American Cinematographer
         Production Slate
 (Elizabeth Olsen)
     falls prey to a
   charismatic cult
      leader in the
       indie drama
     Martha Marcy
     May Marlene,
            shot by
    Jody Lee Lipes.

                  I    Mind Control
                       By Patricia Thomson
                                                                                            For example, Martha looks over at someone during a conver-
                                                                                   sation and suddenly, seamlessly, she’s talking with someone else in
                                                                                   a different time and place. Or she walks down a dark hallway in
                  It isn’t often that brainwashing techniques influence the        Lucy’s house and steps into a room that is revealed to be in the farm-
          visual design of a movie, but they proved to be a fitting inspiration    house. “We didn’t want these transitions to have any sort of visual
          for Martha Marcy May Marlene . Written and directed by Sean              indicator,” says Durkin. “We wanted to make the viewer take a
          Durkin, the film tells the story of Martha (Elizabeth Olsen), a young    second to orient himself.”
          woman who flees a cult in upstate N ew York and attempts to                       Martha is Durkin’s feature-directing debut, but it is not his
          readjust to the outside world with the help of her sister, Lucy (Sarah   first collaboration with Lipes, who was named one of Variety’s “10
          Paulson).                                                                Cinematographers to Watch” earlier this year. Durkin first called on
                  As Martha struggles to process her experiences, the film cuts    Lipes to shoot his senior film at New York University in 2006. Then,
          back and forth between two primary locations: the cult’s farmstead       when Durkin and classmates Josh Mond and Antonio Campos co-
          and Lucy’s lakefront vacation home in Connecticut. On the farm, we       founded Borderline Films, they hired Lipes, a fellow NYU alum, for
          see Martha’s gradual assimilation into the cult’s communal lifestyle,    most of their music videos, commercials and two previous features,
          and her discovery of the domination and violence that lurk beneath       including Campos’ Afterschool. Lipes’ other credits include Tiny
          its bucolic veneer. At Lucy’s house, Martha’s mind frays, and she        Furniture (AC Jan. ’11); NY Export: Opus Jazz, which he also wrote
          becomes increasingly convinced that the cult is coming after her.        and directed (AC March ’10), and episodes of HBO’sGirls. (Lipes shot
                  Durkin and cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes decided that           seven out of 10 episodes and directed two of the other episodes.)           Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Fox Searchlight.
          Martha’s present should not be visually differentiated from her past.             With a budget of less than $1 million, Martha had 2½ weeks
          “In some cults there’s this Buddhist-based philosophy to focus on the    for preproduction and 24 days for production. Ten days each were
          moment — there’s no future, no past, only the present,” explains         devoted to the two main locations: a Catskills farm, which offered
          Durkin. “It’s a common brainwashing technique used by cults to           three barns, a rambling farmhouse and unlimited rusticity; and a
          make people lose track of time. There are no calendars or clocks         lakeside house in Connecticut, whose Ikea-style furnishings,
          around. It made sense that this would be a key component of              recessed lighting and plate-glass windows provided a clear contrast.
          Martha’s psychology: she has no sense of time.”                                   It was the farm that set the photographic look, which Durkin
                  Although the commune and Lucy’s home are very different in       describes as “worn.” “We wanted to shoot on film and have
          terms of their architecture, lighting and palette, the filmmakers did    texture,” he elaborates. “We felt [the image] should accent the dry,
          not strive to emphasize those differences through the cinematogra-       overgrown dirtiness of the farm.”
          phy. “It was important to keep the two locations as indistinguishable             To translate that objective into visual terms, Lipes aimed for a
          as possible because there are times when Martha is confused about        grainy, low-contrast, slightly desaturated look with milky blacks.
          where she is,” says Lipes.                                               Shooting 3-perf Super 35mm with an Arricam Lite, he chose

18        November 2011                                            American Cinematographer
     Right: Cult leader
          Patrick (John
        Hawkes) offers
         comfort to his
           new recruit.
        Below: Martha
      bonds with two
         of the group’s
       other members,
            Zoe (Louisa
      Krause, left) and
            Sarah (Julie
     Garner, right), on
              the farm.

                                                                                                               need a group of factors to materialize. You
                                                                                                               have to understand that the ratio of black in
                                                                                                               the frame is going to directly relate to how
                                                                                                               much you should underexpose. If you’re
                                                                                                               doing a daylight scene that’s in direct sun,
                                                                                                               you can underexpose 21 ⁄ 2 stops and no one
                                                                                                               will know the difference. But if it’s a shot
                                                                                                               where you see just a sliver through a door-
                                                                                                               way and everything else is black, you can
                                                                                                               underexpose 1 or 1 1 ⁄ 2 stops and it will be
                                                                                                               very apparent. So it’s understanding you
                                                                                                               have further to go in one situation than in
                                                                                                               another, or else you’ll have to compensate
            Arri/Zeiss Master Primes and an Angenieux       making the high-quality, sharp images you          for it digitally [in post], which never looks
            Optimo 24-290mm zoom lens. He initially         get from Master Primes a little softer and         the same.”
            considered using anamorphic or older            more degraded through a lack of resolution                 The project’s short prep period
            lenses, “but because we had so little testing   and color. When you get underexposure              meant that Lipes was refining the look on
            time, I decided to use lenses that I knew       just right, there’s a bit of a veil over the       the fly. “It was hard — I was guessing a
            were consistent and could open up a lot         whole image; it’s like flashing, but without       lot,” he admits. But he benefited from
            without any problems,” he says. “So we          flashing.”                                         detailed feedback from colorist Sam Daley
            decided to achieve the ‘worn’ look through              Lipes also used a considerable             at Technicolor N ew York, who was
            exposure and processing.”                       amount of N D filtration. “We were doing           involved from day one. “I think it’s strange
                    Lipes considered pushing the film to    day exteriors and rating 5207 at [ISO]             that dailies colorists and finishing colorist
            achieve the desired look, but after doing       1,000, and sometimes I’d shoot at T1.3, so         are usually different people,” Lipes says. “
            some tests and consulting with Harris           the only way we could do that was with a           I’ve had the luxury of working with Sam as
            Savides, ASC, he decided against it. “I knew    huge amount of ND. There’s one shot early          a dailies colorist and a finishing colorists
            Harris had a lot of experience with under-      in the film that epitomizes what that does. I      on several films, and all of Season 1 on
            exposing,” says Lipes, who screened             was using a 40mm lens to get a pretty wide         Girls, and I think that continuity between
            Margot at the Wedding during prep, along        shot of one of the characters chopping             us goes a long way. Sam knows my work
            with Rosemary’s Baby, Klute, 3 Women and        wood, and the background is totally out of         so well, and is so involved from prepro-
            Images. “Harris said I would do better just     focus. It’s not the depth-of-field you typically   duction on, that he can infer a great deal
            to underexpose and not push, because you        see with that size shot on a day exterior.”        without the need for a lot of communica-
            get too much contrast by pushing. And he                The filmmakers discovered that one         tion during production. He knows how
            was totally right. So I ended up underex-       more factor was needed to “activate the            the film will look in the end, so he can
            posing the film — a lot.”                       look,” says Lipes. “We always tried to put         make more educated decisions about
                    He underexposed Kodak Vision3           something dark in the frame, even if was a         potential issues with dailies as we shoot.
            500T 5219 and 250D 5207 by 2 stops, and         day exterior, because we found that really         Because Sam serves as both dailies and
            Vision2 50D 5201 by 12 ⁄ 3 stops. “It’s about   triggered the worn look in the blacks. I use       finishing colorist, he is much more of a
            the blacks,” says Lipes. “It’s also about       the word ‘activate’ because it really does         creative partner in the various projects we

20          November 2011                                            American Cinematographer
                                                                                                         I opened up by 1 ⁄ 3 when I shouldn’t have, it
                                                                                                         was really hard to match between takes —
                                                                                                         just 1 ⁄ 3 of a difference in stop!
                                                                                                                   “With this degree of underexposure,
                                                                                                         black actually looks more gray than black,
                                                                                                         and it can look like a different film stock
                                                                                                         [from shot to shot], so you have to make
                                                                                                         those shots come together. Sam did that
                                                                                                         really well, which took time.”
                                                                                                                   Lipes and Daley also worked to avoid
                                                                                                         clipping the highlights. “I think having a
                                                                                                         huge latitude accentuates the film look, so I
                                                                                                         try to emphasize that even further in the
                                                                                                         digital realm,” says Lipes.
                                                                                                                   That latitude was particularly impor-
                                                                                                         tant in the lake-house interiors, where the
                                                                                                         object was to create an environment that
                                                                                                         would underscore Martha’s vulnerability
                                                                                                         and paranoia. Balancing interiors and exte-
                                                                                                         riors in the predominantly glass house was a
                                                                                                         priority because the filmmakers wanted the
                                                                                                         outside environment to be visible. Helping
                                                                                                         Lipes in that regard was the need to have
                                                                                                         something dark in the frame. “So if we’re
                                                                                                         doing day interiors and there were
                                                                                                         windows, keeping the foreground subject
                                                                                                         dark was a way to activate the smoky black
                                                                                                         look,” he says. “The Godfather Part II was a
                                                                                                         really important reference for those situa-
                                                                                                         tions. I’ve watched that movie over and over
                                                                                                         for my entire life. Gordon Willis [ASC] is,
                                                                                                         without question, my favorite cinematogra-
                                                                                                         pher, and my approach to a lot of the lake-
                                                                                                         house stuff with the big windows comes
                                                                                                         directly from studying the feeling of his
                                                                                                         work, particularly the Godfather films.”
                                                                                                                   Lipes estimates that he shot more
                                                                                                         than half of the film with no movie lighting
                                                                                                         at all. For the other half, he took pains to
      Top: Martha’s sister, Lucy (Sarah Paulson), and brother-in-law, Ted (Hugh Dancy), provide refuge   contrast the lighting of the farm and the
        after Martha escapes from the cult. Middle: Martha’s fragile emotional state devolves into       lake house. “I wanted the light at the farm
       paranoia as she adapts to her new surroundings. Bottom: Lipes (white shirt) and members of
                      the crew block out a scene with director Sean Durkin (far right).
                                                                                                         to feel like [fixtures that] were rigged and
                                                                                                         improvised by the cult members,” he says,
                                                                                                         “whereas at the lake house, I wanted it to
     work on together. Finishing often gets             glean such information from the ProRes           feel like high-end lighting integrated into
     rushed through on many of the productions          dailies. “When you’re rating 2 stops under,      the home. I think there are two kinds of
     I work on, so it’s great to know that there is     film can get very temperamental and unpre-       ‘rich-people lighting’: the kind that’s classic
                                                                                                                                                           Bottom photo by Drew Innis.

     someone behind the scenes who knows                dictable, so I was often surprised.”             and nice, with a lot of small lamps around,
     where things are going to end up, and that                 In the digital timing, the main          and the kind where the fixtures are recessed
     he has the knowledge and ability to rough          concern was maintaining consistency in the       and bounced, with no visible bulbs or hard
     things in very well before I get to the lab.       blacks. “That was tricky,” says the cine-        light.” Lipes opted for the latter strategy.
             “On Martha, Sam was in close touch         matographer. “When you’re underexposing                    “We didn’t know exactly what we
     the entire time, telling me if I went a little     that much, a slight difference in how much       were shooting at the house,” he continues.
     too far here or not far enough there,” Lipes       you underexpose can really affect the qual-      “We had almost no prep time on the loca-
     adds, noting that he wasn’t always able to         ity of the image. If we were losing light and    tion, so almost none of it was planned

22   November 2011                                               American Cinematographer
     ahead of time — whereas at the farm,
     generally speaking, we had more blocking
     or specific frames worked out. In the
     kitchen of the house, my longtime gaffer,
     Josh Allen, and longtime key grip, Alex
     Engel, rigged the ceiling so it was entirely
     covered with paper lanterns that were cut in
     half; they were half spheres with 100-watt
     bulbs in them. Then Full Grid diffusion was
     stretched across them to produce a very
     indirect, soft, warm, glowing toplight. The
     great thing was that you could just turn on
     any bulb you wanted out of dozens of
             By contrast, Lipes often limited light-
     ing at the farm to one standard bulb, a
     single paper lantern, or, in the sexual-initia-
     tion scenes, actual fire from kerosene lamps.
     “Every once in awhile, we’d bounce an HMI                  Danny DeVito prepares to be interviewed for the PBS documentary America in
     through a window to add a bit of ambience.            Primetime. Directed by Lloyd Kramer and photographed by Logan Schneider, the four-part
                                                                                series traces the history of American television.
     For the most part, it was pretty minimal,” he
     says. ”It’s also important to note that we
     could only use minimal lighting because we
     were shooting as high as ISO 2,000 with
     T1.3 lenses.”
                                                               I   Documentary Television
                                                                   By Jon D. Witmer
                                                                                                            it all worked out.”
                                                                                                                    The series, America in Primetime ,
                                                                                                            examines the history of television by focus-
             Lipes also served as camera operator,              Cinematographer Logan Schneider             ing on four distinct character archetypes,
     but he tips his hat to his longtime first assis-   was a junior at Montana State University-           which also serve as the four episodes’ titles:
     tant, Joe Anderson, who took over on a             Bozeman when he was nominated for an                “Man of the House,” “The Crusader,”
     number of shots. “Joe is indispensable,            ASC Heritage Award in 2004. Following               “Independent Woman” and “The Misfit.”
     especially when we’re working at stops like        graduation, he worked as a camera assis-            In bringing the documentary to the small
     this,” says the cinematographer. “He takes         tant on a short project about presidential-         screen, Kramer and Schneider put more

                                                                                                                                                              America in Primetime photos and frame grabs courtesy of WETA Washington, D.C., and PBS.
     risks that some assistants wouldn’t take.          hopeful Barack Obama directed by Davis              than 100 television professionals — includ-
     He’s also an extremely talented cinematog-         Guggenheim and produced by Lesley                   ing actors, writers and series creators — in
     rapher, so he helps me make a lot of deci-         Chilcott. When Guggenheim and Chilcott              front of their camera, bouncing between
     sions and acts as a second set of eyes on a        set to work on the documentary Waiting              Los Angeles and N ew York to accommo-
     scene.”                                            for “Superman,” shot by Robert Richman              date everyone’s schedules. With the last of
             As for his own contribution, Lipes is      and Erich Roland, Schneider again signed            the interviews in the can, Schneider sat
     content. “I feel I had a bit more control of       on as an AC, and along the way he was               down with AC to discuss the production.
     the craft and more awareness this time             afforded opportunities to operate and even                  American        Cinematographer:
     around,” he says. “Of the five features I’ve       shoot.                                              Were there any particular influences
     shot so far, this is definitely the one that               Following “Superman,” Guggen-               you drew from for America in Prime-
     reflects my visual style the most.”                heim gave Schneider’s name to director              time?
                                                        Lloyd Kramer, who was looking for a cine-                   Logan Schneider: Some of my
              TECHNICAL SPECS                           matographer for a four-part PBS documen-            main influences in the documentary world
                                                        tary series. “I got a call from Lloyd, and we       are Davis Guggenheim and Lesley Chilcott,
     2.40:1                                             had a wonderful conversation about all the          who taught me about finding the story and
     3-perf Super 35mm                                  things we like in documentaries — we just           its emotional heart through the people
     Arricam Lite                                       clicked on the phone,” Schneider recalls.           [being filmed], and all of Errol Morris’ films,
     Arri/Zeiss Master Prime, Angenieux Optimo          “But he was planning to start shooting the          which bring narrative form to the docu-
     Kodak Vision3 500T 5219, 250D 5207;                end of February [2010], when I was already          mentary. Erich Roland, one of the cine-
     Vision2 50D 5201                                   committed to a 10-day shoot in the Repub-           matographers on Waiting for ‘Superman,’ is
     Digital Intermediate                               lic of Georgia for a skiing film. I told him, ‘If   another big influence. He worked on studio
                                                        you push for any reason, please let me              movies for a while and then went back to
                                                        know, because I would love to do it.’ Fortu-        documentaries, and he took all of that
                                                        nately, they did end up pushing a week and          experience from Hollywood with him. I like

24   November 2011                                                 American Cinematographer
                                                                                                          Top left: Larry David takes the hot seat.
                                                                                                          Bottom left: A frame grab from David’s
                                                                                                          interview. Top right: Schneider worked with
                                                                                                          an Arri D-21 for the production.

                                                                                                          gripped and ended up gaffing when Owen
                                                                                                          couldn’t. He wore several hats. It was a
                                                                                                          really good team.
                                                                                                                  The set for the interviews has a
                                                                                                          very distinct look. How did its design
                                                                                                          come about?
                                                                                                                  Schneider: The production designer
                                                                                                          was Max Biscoe. He was the art director on
                                                                                                          Shutter Island, Old School and a number of
                                                                                                          other films. He’s great. Max and I wanted
                                                                                                          the background to be a nice accent, but not
                                                                                                          distracting. We really wanted to make the
                                                                                                          people stand out. Max came in with all
                                                                                                          these corrugated, clear plastic panels, and
                                                                                                          we spent a day and a half arranging them,
     trying to push the production value and            were done with an Angenieux Optimo 24-            moving the lights and looking at all these
     really make the documentary look cine-             290mm zoom. On most of the doc work               reflections, trying to create the look.
     matic. I had a great talk with Lloyd about         I’ve done, I don’t have a focus puller, but I’d           We put the panels at different
     how to do that. We didn’t want this to             never shot a documentary on a big, 35mm-          distances to create layers with different
     become a clip show.                                sized chip, and we were 8 feet away, wide         amounts of sharpness and some depth
             What camera system did you                 open — we were at a T2.8 the entire time. I       between them. Max also had these clear
     shoot with?                                        brought in a camera assistant, Mary               Plexiglas tubes, about four inches in diame-
             Schneider: The producers wanted a          Funsten, for the setup day, to make sure          ter, that we used as out-of-focus fore-
     tape backup, so they actually suggested the        everything was dialed in, but I quickly real-     ground highlights along the edges of the
     Arri D-21. I said, ‘If I thought we could get a    ized we were going to need a focus puller         frame. We chain-gripped them to beaver
     D-21, I’d have asked for it in a second!’ I feel   for the entire shoot. I was so lucky to have      boards on both sides of the mattebox, and
     like digital in general produces plastic skin      Mary and a couple of other assistants who         every time we shifted the camera, it would
     tones, but this camera feels very organic. It’s    were able to work over the course of the          create a new frame. They created even
     gorgeous. It’s big, but we didn’t have to          shoot.                                            more depth and added a lot to the look.
     move it, so it was perfect.                               My gaffer was Owen Hooker. I went                  Finally we got everything set up, and
             In L.A., we got the camera through         to film school with him, and he’s been my         then we found ourselves saying, ‘Oh, crap,
     The Camera House. In New York, we went             gaffer on everything. He really helped us         how are we going to make this again?’ Re-
     through Arri CSC. Between CSC and The              create and re-create the lighting when we         creating the set and lighting it again was
     Camera House, we were well supported.              had to move the set.                              the single hardest thing about the shoot; it
             What did your lens package                        It wasn’t a hard grip job, so I didn’t     took hours to line up every little thing. We
     comprise?                                          have a designated key grip, but Brett             had detailed diagrams, but it was still a
             Schneider: All of the interviews           Carleton was an electrician, and he also          nightmare every time.                      ➣

26   November 2011                                               American Cinematographer

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                                                 Left, top to bottom: Among the more than
                                                  100 interviewees featured in America in
                                                 Primetime are Norman Lear, Alec Baldwin,
                                                 Michael Williams and Eva Longoria. Above:
                                                Schneider catches his breath between setups
                                                      while working on another project.

                                                        How did you light for the
                                                        Schneider: This wasn’t a gritty
                                                documentary. These were glamorous
                                                people talking about television, so we
                                                wanted them to look great. The key light
                                                was a Kino Flo Image 80 with five or six
                                                bulbs on through one layer of 1 ⁄ 2 Grid on a
                                                4-by-4 frame, and a layer of 1 ⁄ 2 Soft Frost
                                                on another 4-by-4 frame. We put that right
                                                on the edge of the frame line, and it had a
                                                really beautiful wrapping quality.
                                                        On the other side from the key, to
                                                create contrast, we had a 4-by-4 floppy
                                                providing negative fill, as close to the frame
                                                as we could get it. We also had two 4-foot
                                                four-bank Kinos as backlights and kicks,
                                                vertically oriented, with two or three globes
                                                on and different types of diffusion depend-
                                                ing on the skin tones. Above and below the
                                                                                                 Logan Schneider photo by Chris Patterson.

                                                camera, we also had a 2-foot four-bank
                                                with Grid Cloth that we could turn on if
                                                someone needed them. When we didn’t
                                                need them, we hid them so we wouldn’t be
                                                asked why they weren’t on.
                                                        There was a muslin backdrop in the
                                                background, behind everything. We placed
                                                Tweenies and Source Four Lekos to create
                                                shapes, which produced nice glows
                                                through the layers of corrugated plastic.
                                                The Image 80 created the primary reflection

28   November 2011   American Cinematographer

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   B e c a u s e          i t    m a t t e r s .
                                                                                                                 used to be a screening room; it had gray
                                                                                                                 walls and a gray ceiling, which filled in
                                                                                                                 certain parts of the set. Then Larry Parker
                                                                                                                 was kind enough to let us use the Mole-
                                                                                                                 Richardson stage [in Los Angeles], which
                                                                                                                 was a much different space. In New York,
                                                                                                                 we shot in the conference room of the
                                                                                                                 production company, which was barely big
                                                                                                                 enough for the set. Trying to re-create the
                                                                                                                 tone was almost impossible with the
                                                                                                                 resources we had, so there’s a certain
                                                                                                                 amount of color timing I’ll have to do to
                                                                                                                 match everything. [Ed. Note: At press time,
                                                                                                                 Schneider had not yet begun color-correct-
                                                                                                                 ing the finished series.]
                                                                                                                         Was this strictly a single-camera
     Mike Judge takes a seat in front of the camera, which was fitted with an EyeLiner so the interviewees               Schneider: It was all done with one
     would speak directly to the lens. Also visible are the Plexiglas tubes Schneider utilized as out-of-focus   camera. One of the things Lloyd and I talked
                                              foreground highlights.
                                                                                                                 about was eyeline. We used an EyeLiner, a
                                                                                                                 mirror device that lets the interviewee look
           we manipulated behind people. We just                        Schneider: There were two copies         directly down the lens and see the inter-
           tweaked everything until it all looked right.        of the set, one in L.A. and one in New York.     viewer’s face — the interviewer sits right
                 Did you have to ship the set                   One thing that changed, though, was the          next to the camera. You only lose about half
           pieces back and forth between Los                    tone of the different rooms. In L.A., we         a stop, and it creates a really nice relation-
           Angeles and New York?                                started in a tiny little room at The Lot that    ship with the subject; it feels like they’re

talking directly to the viewer. Since doing    in addition to the interviews?                   various series], we can show those moments
that, I’ve looked at other documentaries               Schneider: We also shot B-roll,          in script form. We raked the paper with a
where the interviewees look off-camera,        which we called ‘visual poetry,’ a term that     Par can and shot with a 100mm Arri Master
and it kind of bugs me.                        comes from when I worked on Waiting for          Macro lens on the Revolution Lens System
        With only one camera, you have to      ‘Superman.’ Davis doesn’t like the term ‘B-      so we could see the texture of the pulp.
create the edits in your frame. Lloyd didn’t   roll,’ because it doesn’t reflect the impor-             Lloyd really cares about the image,
want any camera movement in the shots,         tance of the shots.                              and he supported me through the entire
but unless you want a jumpy feeling, you               For the visual poetry in America in      shoot, helping me get what I needed, letting
can’t leave the camera in one place and cut.   Primetime, we wanted to deconstruct the          me explore different things and working
So while I was operating, I was always         different crafts of filmmaking. We showed        with me to get a very nice image. He knows
listening for any pauses or breaks — any       things like someone moving the focus             what he likes but he’s also open. He’s
chance to reframe. I was creating the cover-   wheel on a remote focus, the number [on          directed movies and he thinks in that world,
age in one shot with little snap-zooms and     the lens barrel] moving and an image snap-       and that’s why we got along so well, I think.
whip-pans, and just trying not to ruin         ping into focus; and someone filling up a        We both love the idea of cinematic docu-
anything by stepping on a line.                vial with fake blood, pumping the syringe,       mentaries, even though this one is for tele-
        You mentioned that the produc-         and then blood spurting onto a shirt. We         vision and about television.
ers wanted a tape backup. What was             did that with a lot of different departments.
your recording workflow?                       We spent a couple of days just exploring                  TECHNICAL SPECS
        Schneider: We shot to [Sony]           and shooting all sorts of stuff.
SRW-1s that recorded HDCam-SR, and we                  We also put old TV sets on a big         1.78:1
shot in 4:2:2 mode because there were so       turntable and turned it really slowly. We lit    Digital Capture
many hours that editorial needed to handle.    that with a 20K aimed through a 12-by            Arri D-21
Every day we’d send a stack of tapes off to    muslin, as close as we could get it, to create   Angenieux Optimo, Arri Master Macro,
be converted to DVD dailies, and then          a soft, wrapping light with lots of contrast.    Revolution Lens System
they’d go to editorial.                        We also shot fingers on typewriters, so as                                          ●
        Did you shoot any other material       people talk about [specific moments from


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      Time Bandit
      Time Bandit
       Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC
        adopts digital capture on
       the sci-fi thriller In Time.
                     By Jay Holben


32   November 2011                    American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                        Opposite page: In
                                                                                                                        a future where
                                                                                                                        nobody ages
                                                                                                                        beyond 25 unless
                                                                                                                        they earn extra
                                                                                                                        time credits, Will
                                                                                                                        Salas (Justin
                                                                                                                        attempts to
                                                                                                                        disrupt the
                                                                                                                        system by
                                                                                                                        stealing credits
                                                                                                                        from wealthy
                                                                                                                        time hoarders.
                                                                                                                        This page, top: In
                                                                                                                        the control room
                                                                                                                        of the
                                                                                                                        Station, large
                                                                                                                        displays monitor
                                                                                                                        activity all over
                                                                                                                        the world.

                                                             n Time presents a dystopian near                           Timekeeper
                                                             future where everyone lives, quite                         Raymond Leon
                                                                                                                        (Cillian Murphy)
                                                             literally, on borrowed time. Science                       becomes Will’s
                                                             has eliminated the aging gene, so no                       arch-nemesis.
                                                          human ages past 25 years old. After                           Bottom:
                                                          25, individuals must stave off death by                       Roger Deakins,
                                                          earning time credits, rather than                             ASC, BSC assesses
                                                          money, for their labor. Since the rich                        a setup.
                                                          can afford all the credits they want,
                                                          they live on and never grow old, while
                                                          the middle class and poor must toil
                                                          every day to earn enough credits to
                                                          survive. Amid these desperate circum-
                                                          stances, working-class Will Salas
                                                          (Justin Timberlake) discovers the true
                                                          value of time after transforming
Photos by Stephen Vaughan, courtesy of 20thCentury Fox.

                                                          himself into a futuristic Robin Hood
                                                          who steals time from the rich and
                                                          gives it to the poor.
                                                                  This scenario paired director
                                                          Andrew Niccol ( Gattaca, S1m0ne)
                                                          with cinematographer Roger Deakins,
                                                          ASC, BSC, who has earned nine
                                                          Academy Award nominations for his
                                                          work on a long list of admired
                                                          pictures, including The Shawshank
                                                          Redemption (AC June ’95), The Man
                                                          Who Wasn’t There (AC Oct. ’01), Fargo
                                                          (AC March ’96), No Country for Old
                                                          Men (AC Oct. ’07) and True Grit.
                                                          “Over the years, Andrew and I had

                                                                                             November 2011       33
◗       Time Bandit
                                                      talked a number of times about
                                                      collaborating on a picture, but our
                                                      schedules never worked out,” Deakins
                                                      reveals. “He first approached me
                                                      about In Time while I was shooting
                                                      True Grit, and I loved the idea.”
                                                              Although the cinematographer
                                                      had never shot a feature with digital
                                                      cameras, he kept close tabs on the
                                                      evolving technology, and after vetting
                                                      the Arri Alexa, he decided he had
                                                      found a digital camera that suited his
                                                      creative and technical needs. “When
                                                      Andrew and I first started talking
                                                      about In Time, he asked me, ‘You still
                                                      shoot film, right?’ And I replied, ‘Yes,
                                                      of course.’ But after doing a pretty
                                                      comprehensive series of tests with the
                                                      Alexa, I thought it was the right tool
                                                      to achieve the look we wanted. I
                                                      called Andrew and said, ‘I’m not pres-
                                                      suring you either way, but I think you
                                                      should see these tests.’ He came out,
        Will, a factory
      worker, shuffles
                                                      saw what I had done with the Alexa,
     through his daily                                and said, ‘Yeah. Why don’t we do it
       grind on street                                that way?’”
      sets futurized in
       Los Angeles by
                                                              Deakins confesses that he was
            production                                initially “a little nervous about work-
        designer Alex                                 ing with a digital camera,” but found
                                                      the Alexa to be “a very intuitive, film-
                                                      based system — it really feels like a
                                                      film camera. The great thing about
                                                      digital is that you can see the results
                                                      on set while you’re shooting, which
                                                      makes it easier to sleep at night. We
                                                      established the base look on set, and
                                                      that tracked through dailies, editing
                                                      and final color timing. It’s great for
                                                      the director to really see what you’re
                                                      shooting, because that makes your
                                                      collaboration and conversations easier
                                                      and more refined; you don’t have to
                                                      try to explain how the image will look
                                                              “The Alexa is a game-changer,”
                                                      Deakins maintains. “This moment
                                                      has been coming for a long time,
                                                      really, but with the Alexa I believe
                                                      digital has finally surpassed film in
                                                      terms of quality. What is quality? It’s
                                                      really in the eye of the viewer, but to
                                                      me, the Alexa’s tonal range, color
                                                      space and latitude exceed the capabil-
                                                      ities of film. This is not to say that I

34         November 2011   American Cinematographer
don’t still love film — I do. I love its
texture and grain, but in terms of
speed, resolution and clarity of
image, there is no question in my
mind that the Alexa produces a
better image. There is a beautiful
roll-off between highlights and shad-
ows [on the Alexa] that I haven’t seen
before. There’s a subtlety in color
rendition that is fantastic. I tested it
in candlelight, and it was beautiful
how the camera picked up variations
in skin tones and texture. If you shot
that same scene with film, you’d get a
very monochromatic feel — just a
color wash — but the Alexa can read
subtleties that film cannot.
        “Sometimes I get annoyed
with the garbage I hear about film vs.
digital,” the cinematographer contin-
ues. “Most of it is simply nostalgia
and silly thinking. I love film, sure,
but this camera has brought us to a
point where digital is simply better.
In my opinion, there are now more
advantages than disadvantages to
digital cinematography.”
        The     Alexa features a
3,392x2,200-pixel, Bayer-pattern
CMOS sensor with an active imag-
ing area of 2,880x1,620 pixels
(23.76mm x 13.37mm). In late 2009
and early 2010, when Deakins began
work on In Time, the camera was in
its nascent stages. It was on Version 2
of its software and not yet capable of
the ArriRaw mode (a “3K” option for
4:4:4 raw image capture), so the cine-
matographer captured in 1920x1080
4:4:4 10-bit uncompressed mode to
Codex recorders.
        The digital footage was further
cropped to 1920x800 to fit within the
desired 2.40:1 aspect ratio. “We shot
widescreen, but not anamorphic,”
Deakins explains. “You shoot on the
width of the sensor and extract the
image, cropping off the top and
bottom, to get 2.40. You’re losing
some of the image, of course, but                 Top: Will’s encounter with depressed aristocrat Henry Hamilton (Matthew Bomer) has fateful
frankly, [with digital capture] you can    consequences for both men. Middle: Director Andrew Niccol (kneeling) sets up a scene in which Hamilton
sometimes have an image that is too          transfers his wealth of credits to the time clock embedded in Will’s arm. Bottom: After waking up and
                                            realizing what Hamilton has done, Will attempts to honor the final request his benefactor has scrawled
sharp.”                                                                     on a windowpane: “Don’t waste my time.”
        Deakins says his switch from

                                                                                                     November 2011        35
◗    Time Bandit
  Top: A waitress
  uses Will’s arm
  clock to charge
  him for a meal.
     Middle: Each
individual’s clock
       serves as a
    reminder that
  time is running
     out. Bottom:
     Deakins used
 bounce lighting
to illuminate the
   interior of the
      Los Angeles
     location that
was transformed
   into the glass-

                                                   film to digital technology did not
                                                   significantly alter his working style. “I
                                                   referred to the waveform monitor quite
                                                   a bit in order to check my image, so
                                                   that was new for me, but I was
                                                   surprised at how quickly I took to it. I
                                                   still used a light meter, of course, but
                                                   mostly I would check the waveform to
                                                   see that my highlights weren’t clipping
                                                   too much. It’s really hard to blow out
                                                   your highlights with the Alexa,
                                                   though. There’s a lot of range.
                                                          “As I was operating, I didn’t
                                                   spend much time at the monitor, so I
                                                   relied on Joshua Gollish, our DIT, to
                                                   make sure everything was falling in
                                                   okay,” he continues. “I’d dive back to
                                                   the monitor and watch the playback of
                                                   a scene, or play with the color of the
                                                   first shot of a scene, but after that I
                                                   wouldn’t obsess about it at all. I just let
                                                   the rest of the scene fall in where it
                                                          With EFilm pre-selected for
                                                   post services, Deakins worked with the
                                                   company’s proprietary Colorstream
                                                   system, which provided him with a
                                                   custom-calibrated LCD screen and
                                                   the ability to color-correct the uncom-
                                                   pressed HD signal on set.

36      November 2011   American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                    An ornate
                                                                                                                    proved to be a
                                                                                                                    because its
                                                                                                                    owners feared
                                                                                                                    could damage
                                                                                                                    the interior. To
                                                                                                                    work around
                                                                                                                    the safety
                                                                                                                    Deakins and his
                                                                                                                    crew employed
                                                                                                                    one of their
                                                                                                                    favorite tactics:
                                                                                                                    lighting rigs
                                                                                                                    mounted in the
                                                                                                                    ceiling, around
                                                                                                                    the existing

       Gollish explains the project’s
workflow: “Each Codex magazine we
shot contained 21 minutes of footage
[in RAID 0]. Once a mag was filled,
we would take it to the camera truck,
where we had a Codex lab in place —
a 12-rack unit with a few different
modules. Our loader, Jessica Ramos,
would copy the magazine to the
Codex lab drives, verify the data and
then pack the drive to send to EFilm
that night. Each day’s drives would be
accompanied by a USB Flash drive
containing the Colorstream metadata.
Once EFilm got the magazine, copied
the files and started their process, they
would inform us that it was safe to
delete that day’s footage from our
Codex lab, and we would get the
magazines back for recycling.”
       In Time had a very fast shooting           Deakins typically shot at 800     “lightweight, compact and fast. When
schedule of just 55 days, all on loca-      ASA, but he also utilized 400 ASA for   you’ve got such a small camera, you
tion in and around Los Angeles, with        day exteriors to avoid the need for     want primes and small lenses to take
many days requiring a company move          excessive ND filters. His lenses were   maximum advantage of the compact
to a second location. Most of Deakins’      Arri/Zeiss Master Primes, and his       size.”
lighting approach sprang from the use       shooting stops were set to T1.4 or             As the movie’s plot unfolds,
of practical lights with a bit of           T2.5 for the majority of production.    Will is gifted with a century of extra
augmentation.                                     He lauds the Master Primes as     time that’s added to the digital “clock”

                                                                                        November 2011        37
◗    Time Bandit

                                                         embedded in his arm. Intent on using
         Moody lighting                                  his extended life for the greater good,
          lends drama to
         Will’s dangerous
                                                         he pledges to disrupt the world’s piti-
            romance with                                 less system so others can also live
         Sylvia (Amanda                                  longer. To that end, Will manages to
             Seyfried), the
            daughter of a
                                                         infiltrate a party thrown by Philippe
          wealthy power                                  Weis (Vincent Kartheiser), a wealthy
         broker. Many of                                 power broker with more than 10,000
     the film’s nighttime
        exteriors were lit
                                                         years on his arm timer and at least a
       with warm, stark,                                 million more “banked.” At the party,
            sodium-vapor                                 Will meets Weis’ daughter, Sylvia
      fixtures, as shown
            in the bottom
                                                         (Amanda Seyfried), who has been
                    photo.                               shielded from the public’s struggle to
                                                                “The party location was a hard
                                                         one,” Deakins says. “It was a very
                                                         expensive mansion on Sunset
                                                         Boulevard, and the owners didn’t want
                                                         us to touch anything. I might have
                                                         used a balloon [to light the interior],
                                                         but the ceilings were very low and
                                                         there was simply no room. Besides,
                                                         balloons are great in certain circum-
                                                         stances, but they’re very broad sources
                                                         that don’t create the kind of soft, selec-
                                                         tive wash I wanted.”
                                                                Chief lighting technician Chris
                                                         Napolitano (who had previously
                                                         worked with Deakins on No Country
                                                         for Old Men and True Grit) helped the
                                                         cinematographer employ one of his

38   November 2011            American Cinematographer
                       THE CAMERA OF CHOICE

          Leading cinematographers, producers and directors are selecting the ALEXA digital camera system
                 for every type of production, from television dramas, commercials and music videos
                          to major international 2D and 3D feature films. To name only a few:

     3D FEATURES                2D FEATURES                 TV PRODUCTIONS                 COMMERCIALS
     47 RONIN                   2 DAYS IN NEW YORK          BORED TO DEATH                 ARMANI
     ASTERIX & OBELIX           ABRAHAM LINCOLN:            BORGIA                         CITROËN
     HUGO CABRET                AMOUR                       GAME OF THRONES                DHL
     LIFE OF PI                 ANONYMOUS                   HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA      DIOR
     SPY KIDS 4                 EXTREMELY LOUD &            IN PLAIN SIGHT                 LACOSTE
     WICKIE & THE TREASURE      IN TIME                     MAFIOSA                        NINTENDO
     OF THE GODS                KILLER JOE                  MORT D’UN PRÉSIDENT            NIKE
                                PROM                        THE JURY II
◗    Time Bandit

        Top: After
  joining Will on
      his mission,
 Sylvia helps him
     break into a
 vault containing
       a valuable
      stockpile of
   time. Bottom:
   The relentless
 catches up with
      the couple.

                                                                                            fixtures and rigging our ring lights
                                                                                            through the holes and into the ceiling
                                                                                            supports. That way, we never had to
                                                                                            drill into the ceiling or alter the struc-
                                                                                            ture at all.”
                                                                                                    Deakins offers, “I knew I
                                                                                            wanted to be able to shoot 360 degrees
                                                                                            in that location. I wanted nothing on
                                                                                            the floor at all — except when I had to
                                                                                            light the occasional close-up — so the
                                                                                            ring lights were the best solution. We
                                                                                            used the same technique for a casino
                                                                                            set that we shot downtown in the
                                                                                            [historic] Los Angeles Theatre. We
                                                                                            put these ring lights of standard bulbs
                                                                                            up around the actual chandeliers to
                                                                                            bring up the overall exposure and give
                                                                                            us flexibility for the shooting.”
                                                                                                    “Flexibility” became Deakins’
                                                                                            mantra on the show, which involved
        favorite lighting solutions for the         chandeliers. The ring lights create a   many nighttime exterior locations
        sequence. “It’s a technique that Roger      very soft pool of light around the      where the filmmakers lit primarily
        likes to incorporate quite often,”          existing fixtures. We often build the   with warm, stark, sodium-vapor
        Napolitano says. “We put clear, 60-         rings ourselves, but this time we had   sources. “We wanted the night exteri-
        watt globes into large ring lights fitted   the art department build them out of    ors to have a very harsh, orange-
        with 40 to 60 standard, medium-base         metal. Our rigging key, Ray Garcia,     sodium look, but we were careful not
        sockets, and then install those units up    found a way to work them into the       to make it feel like a concentration
        in the ceiling, around the existing         ceilings by removing the existing       camp,” Deakins says. “We didn’t want

40       November 2011                                      American Cinematographer
                                         An Eye On The World
                            Mark Irwin,ASC,CSC,reflects on advantages of global resourcing

   “The thing I like the most about cinematography is the ability to use   who can understand my shooting conditions and discover new
an Austrian camera with a French zoom lens on an Italian fluid head        equipment—film or digital—to meet those needs. I can’t get to
with an English tripod and also rely on a set of German prime lenses.      Germany,France,Japan or the UK to find the next best thing so I rely on
The reason I get my gear from Clairmont Camera is very simple. To me,      Denny Clairmont,Alan Albert,Tom Boelens,Andree Martin and Mike
it’s not a rental house—it’s a portal into the World of Cinematography.    Condon to go there and bring it back so I can use it.
   I started out in the business in Canada and managed to travel a            Call me selfish,but I eagerly await the chance to shoot my next
lot while shooting films,so I gained an appreciation for all things        project with the latest and greatest equipment; the Arri235,the Sony F35,
international. At the same time,I found that a “monoculture”point of       the Arri D-21,the Iconix,the Red,whatever—and repeat the same
view could not give me the options I was looking for. What I find in       experience I have had for 16 years and over 38 film and television
Clairmont is a group of people who share my outlook; people who travel     projects:excellent equipment,innovative modifications and quality
to trade seminars and cinematography forums all over the world; people     service...from quality people I’ve come to trust.”


    Hollywood                      Vancouver                       Toronto                    Albuquerque                        Montreal
   818-761-4440                   604-984-4563                   416-467-1700                 505-227-2525                      514-525-6556
◗    Time Bandit
                                                                                                      “We also had a 1,000-watt fixture, but
                                                                                                      it was so bright and covered so much
                                                                                                      area that we never used it.” When
                                                                                                      tungsten fixtures were required, the
                                                                                                      gaffer used a simple gel pack of Lee
                                                                                                      013 Straw Tint and 1⁄4 or 1⁄2 CTO.
                                                                                                             During his adventures, Will
                                                                                                      meets the enigmatic Henry Hamilton
                                                                                                      (Matthew Bomer), a time-wealthy
                                                                                                      aristocrat who is deeply depressed by
                                                                                                      the emotional burden of his unearned
                                                                                                      privilege. Henry decides to make the
                                                                                                      ultimate sacrifice by transferring his
                                                                                                      additional time to Will. Their meeting
                                                                                                      takes place in an old warehouse loca-
                                                                                                      tion that was lit entirely through the
                                                                                                      dirty windows with the sickly sodium-
                                                                                                      vapor look.
                                                                                                             “The characters are lit only by
                                                                                                      the light coming through the big glass
                                                                                                      window on this large factory floor,”
                                                                                                      says Deakins. “I was very surprised by
                                                                                                      the subtleties of the skin tones that the
                                                                                                      Alexa captured in that scene. Even in
                                                                                                      this incredibly monochromatic and
                                                                                                      ugly light, the actors’ faces have
                                                                                                      incredible gradations of color and
                                                                                                      texture that I simply couldn’t have
                                                                                                      gotten with film. The Alexa handled
                                                                                                      that sequence superbly, producing an
                                                                                                      incredibly wonderful color separation.”
                                                                                                             For other settings, the filmmak-
                                                                                                      ers created different looks that provide
                                                                                                      contrast to the sodium-vapor scenes.
                                                                                                      Will’s workplace, a factory in down-
                                                                                                      town Los Angeles, is lit with fluores-
                                                                                                      cents that produce a cooler, industrial
                                                                                                      feel, and some of the road sequences,
                                                                                                      including a major car chase that was
                                                                                                      shot around the 6th Street Bridge,
                                                                                                      feature a cool LED look.
                                                                                                             During the chase sequence, Will
     Top: A car crash puts Amanda at the mercy of Fortis (Alex Pettyfer, far right) and his gang of   and Sylvia tear up the road in a 1970s
     time thieves, known as the Minutemen. Bottom: Deakins and crewmembers ride along while           Jaguar E-Type convertible. Intent on
                                    shooting car-chase footage.
                                                                                                      showing his stars amid the mayhem,
                                                                                                      Niccol wanted to avoid using stunt
      a lot of wire fences or searchlights in             ing with our own sodium vapors. Or, if      performers as much as possible. “We
      the frame, but Andrew definitely                    I needed a little more directionality,      did a lot with the actors for real,”
      wanted the night streets to have a                  we’d use a tungsten fixture gelled to       Deakins confirms, “and we shot the
      harsh glare. We did a lot of shooting at            look like sodium.”                          sequence without any lighting
      night with existing lighting, mainly                       The production carried a             mounted to the car at all, something I
      sodium vapors, which required us to                 complement of standard industrial           couldn’t have done with film unless I
      find locations that suited our needs.               sodium-vapor fixtures in 250- and           really pushed a fast stock to its limit.
      We also augmented the existing light-               400-watt varieties. Napolitano notes,       We picked the 6th Street Bridge as our

42     November 2011                                                 American Cinematographer
location because Andrew and I both           external lighting and the actors behind       “I like the fluidity you get working
liked the look of the LED streetlights       the wheel, you really get a sense of the      with that little jib arm,” he remarks.
in that area.”                               action. I’d never worked with that rig        “It’s a really nice way to move the
       “To my knowledge, the 6th             before, and it was great.”                    camera, and I tend to use that approach
Street Bridge is one of the first loca-             Deakins is known for operating         quite a lot. I’ve shot that way for 10
tions downtown to be converted to            his own camera, and he continued that         years or more, often on a dolly. When
LED streetlamps,” notes Napolitano.          practice on In Time, which was almost         I’m shooting fast action work and the
“We added Litepanels 1x1 fixtures to         completely a one-camera show. The             Aerocrane is mounted on a golf cart or
the existing streetlights to boost their     cinematographer prefers to operate off        an ATV, we use a Libra stabilizing
intensity a bit, and they gave us a nice     of a remote head on a jib arm, typically      head.”
line of extended light into the street.      a Power Pod Classic on an Aerocrane.                 Although he generally prefers to
We shot the whole action sequence
with just those 1x1s on the streetlamps
— that was it.”
       “I didn’t want to light up too                  UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

“Whether I’m shooting
  on film or digital, my
job remains the same:
 to use the camera to
 tell the story the best
        way I can.”

much during that sequence,” Deakins
explains. “There was a good amount of                 • 6,800 sq. ft. sound stage
ambient light, and the situation only                   with 40 ft. x 80 ft. green
                                                        screen cyc
required us to add a little bit more to               • Motion Capture
                                                      • Realtime camera tracking for
get what we needed. I shot the                          on-set visualization with
                                                        Lightcraft Technology
sequence pretty close to wide open at a                 Previzion
T1.8 at 800 ISO, and the Alexa                        • CineSync remote review and
                                                        note capture
handled it amazingly well.”                           • Encoded 24 ft. Technojib
                                                        camera crane
       The production utilized Allen                  • Pre-rigged, motorized lighting
Padelford’s Biscuit Jr. driveable process               grid with iPad dimmer control
                                                      • 2 editing bays with Avid and
trailer to put the actors and the picture               Final Cut Pro
                                                      • 6 station artist suite with Maya
car in the middle of traffic. The Biscuit               3-D, Motionbuilder, Nuke
                                                        Compositing and more
Jr. features a low-profile process trailer            • Conference room with stage
with a detachable driving pod that can                  feed and teleconferencing
                                                      • Physical and content security
attach to the trailer in various posi-                  procedures
                                                      • Aspera encrypted, secure,             818.777.3000 • 800.892.1979
tions. “We used the Biscuit system                      high speed file content
with the Jaguar to really zig-zag                       delivery worldwide

through traffic and put the audience
and the actors right in the middle of
the action,” says Deakins. “With no
     ◗   Time Bandit
                                                                                                  eyepiece. I also can’t really judge light-
                                                                                                  ing or the image through an electronic
                                                                                                  viewfinder like I can through an opti-
                                                                                                  cal one.” (Ed. Note: Since In Time,
                                                                                                  Arri has announced the release of the
                                                                                                  Alexa Studio, a larger version of the
                                                                                                  camera that will feature a rotating
                                                                                                  mirror shutter and an optical
                                                                                                         For Deakins, tracking the image
                                                                                                  through postproduction and final color
                                                                                                  timing proved to be just as satisfying as
                                                                                                  the Alexa’s performance in the field. “It
                                                                                                  took me about half the time to color-
                                                                                                  time this movie as it would have taken
                                                                                                  if we had shot film,” he attests. “The
                                                                                                  Colorstream process is really, really
                                                                                                  precise. Between the on-set calibrated
           The crew uses a Libra head mounted on an Aerocrane to capture shots on the run.        monitor and calibrated dailies, you
                                                                                                  always know the image you’re going to
         operate remotely, for tight shots of           “For an electronic viewfinder, it’s a     get. So several months later, in the
         actors he moves closer and operates            very good one,” Deakins allows, “but      color suite, you don’t have to go back
         from the camera’s eyepiece. While              any electronic viewfinder isn’t as good   to scratch. That saved us a lot of time.”
         doing this, he discovered one flaw in          as [an optical] one. Your eye gets very          Summing up his first digital
         the Alexa: its electronic viewfinder.          tired looking at the screen inside the    production, Deakins describes his

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                                                                                                                           DIGITAL INGENUITY
experience as “much more positive
than I’d imagined it could be. Mostly,
I found shooting digital very freeing. If
I were shooting film, I would always                                                                                Sylvia’s father,
                                                                                                                    wealthy power
try to err on the side of safety when I                                                                             broker Philippe
was doing something risky, to make                                                                                  Weis (Vincent
sure I didn’t lose my blacks or reveal                                                                              Kartheiser,
                                                                                                                    center), is well-
something I didn’t want to see. With                                                                                stocked with
digital, because I could basically see                                                                              time — and
the final image while I was shooting, I                                                                             well-protected
                                                                                                                    by armed
felt I could push myself a lot further                                                                              bodyguards.
       “Some cinematographers are
threatened by digital technology, but
that just doesn’t make sense to me,”
Deakins concludes. “You do need to be       don’t have to! That’s not my strength,
a technician at a certain level; you need   and that’s not why people hire me.                 TECHNICAL SPECS
some knowledge of the hardware and                 “Cinematographers are hired for       2.40:1
how it performs. But when it comes to       their eyes, for their artistic ability as
the really technical stuff, you can         visual storytellers, and for how they        Digital Capture
always find people who know more            can run a set. Whether I’m shooting
about it than you do. Joshua Gollish        on film or digital, my job remains the       Arri Alexa
can blind me with his knowledge — I         same: to use the camera to tell the          Arri/Zeiss Master Primes
could never understand all of what he       story the best way I can.”               ●
was talking about, but fortunately, I

                              All forOne

        Glen MacPherson, ASC, CSC                                    Ray Stevenson, and Luke Evans — teams with aspiring
                                                                     Musketeer d’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) to avert a war by
     helps to retool The Three Musketeers                            recovering the royal jewelry of Queen Anne (Juno Temple)
           as a 3-D adventure with                                   from England’s Lord Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). The
              steampunk styling.                                     filmmakers gild the rollicking tale with steampunk-inspired
                                                                     design flourishes and lend the action an extra dimension with
                                                                     the latest digital stereoscopic tools.
                      By Iain Stasukevich                                   To prepare for the adventure, MacPherson and
                                                                     Anderson pored over 17th-century paintings and scrutinized
                                 •|•                                 other films set in and around that time period, with Anderson
                                                                     citing Ridley Scott’s 1977 feature debut, The Duellists (shot by

           irector Paul W.S. Anderson’s The Three Musketeers is      Frank Tidy, BSC), as a particular inspiration. Their primary
           modeled after the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas,       photographic reference, however, was MTV’s mock-reality
           but in this amped-up version the tale’s swashbuckling     show The Hills. “[That reference] caught me off guard at first,
           rogues are transposed to a parallel 17th century, where   but then I saw how The Hills makes Los Angeles look green
     they function as the French monarchy’s version of the A-        and lush when it’s actually brown and scorched,” MacPherson
     Team. “This is not your father’s Three Musketeers,” cautions    offers. “Paul didn’t want to do a gritty period movie, so in The
     cinematographer Glen MacPherson, ASC, CSC.                      Three Musketeers everybody’s gorgeous and the image is bright
            Old and new plotlines converge as the heroic trio —      and saturated.”
     Athos, Porthos and Aramis, played by Matthew Macfadyen,                Additional inspiration was found on locations that

46   November 2011                                      American Cinematographer
                                                                                          included impressive Bavarian castles,
                                                                                          residences and towns, filling in for vari-
                                                                                          ous sites in England, France and Italy.
                                                                                          “In addition to Munich, Chiemsee and
                                                                                          Bamburg, we must have visited about
                                                                                          eight different towns, all with different
                                                                                          feels and architecture,” says the cine-
                                                                                          matographer, who marvels that many of
                                                                                          the castles and residences seem to exist
                                                                                          in a time capsule, appearing just as they
                                                                                          did 200 years ago.
                                                                                                 The filmmakers felt 3-D would
                                                                                          allow them to fully exploit the locations’
                                                                                          cavernous rooms and fine architectural
                                                                                          details. When MacPherson and
                                                                                          Anderson collaborated on the 2010
                                                                                          horror adventure Resident Evil: Afterlife,
                                                                                          they shot with Sony F35 digital cameras
                                                                                          and Pace/Cameron Fusion 3-D rigs; on
                                                                                          The Three Musketeers, they paired the
                                                                                          Fusion rigs with Arri’s digital Alexa,
                                                                                          using the 3-D format to extend already
                                                                                          deep hallways and baroque parlors to                            Opposite page:
                                                                                          warehouse-sized proportions. “It was                            Athos (Matthew
                                                                                          the perfect format for our locations,”                          Macfadyen),
                                                                                          MacPherson attests. “From the begin-                            (Logan Lerman),
                                                                                          ning, we knew they would really shine in                        Porthos (Ray
                                                                                          3-D.”                                                           Stevenson) and
                                                                                                                                                          Aramis (Luke
                                                                                                 Despite the movie’s whimsical                            Evans) join
Unit photography by Rolf Konow, SMPSP, courtesy of Constantin Film, NEF and New Legacy.

                                                                                          tone, the filmmakers brought serious                            forces in The
                                                                                          intent to their 3-D strategies, attempt-                        Three
                                                                                                                                                          Musketeers. This
                                                                                          ing to avoid what MacPherson calls                              page, top to
                                                                                          “stupid 3-D tricks,” where elements in                          bottom: Milady
                                                                                          the frame poke out at the audience.                             De Winter (Milla
                                                                                                                                                          Jovovich) bows
                                                                                          Anderson remarks, “I try to approach                            before Cardinal
                                                                                          3-D in a holistic way. You have to think                        Richelieu
                                                                                          about 3-D when you choose all of your                           (Christoph
                                                                                                                                                          Waltz); the Duke
                                                                                          locations and design the sets.”                                 of Buckingham
                                                                                                 Working with the Alexa allowed                           (Orlando Bloom)
                                                                                          MacPherson to shoot in these settings                           plays a key role
                                                                                                                                                          in the plot’s
                                                                                          with a minimum of additional lighting.                          twists;
                                                                                          The camera’s base ASA of 800 afforded                           cinematographer
                                                                                          him the extra stop of sensitivity he lost                       Glen
                                                                                          shooting through the Fusion rig’s                               ASC, CSC
                                                                                          mirror. Depending on the scene,                                 prepares to
                                                                                          MacPherson shot as low as 200 ASA for                           shoot a scene
                                                                                                                                                          with a 3-D rig
                                                                                          some exteriors (using custom-cut                                equipped with a
                                                                                          Schneider ND filters attached directly                          pair of Arri
                                                                                          to the lens in low-profile retainers) and                       Alexa cameras.
                                                                                          was comfortable taking the camera as
                                                                                          high as 1,600 ASA.
                                                                                                 Officials in charge of some loca-
                                                                                          tions, such as Herrenchiemsee Palace in
                                                                                          Chiemsee, Bavaria (a replica of

                                                                                                                                November 2011     47
◗    All for One
    The filmmakers
    faced stringent
  restrictions while
shooting a variety
           of ornate
 including the Hall
        of Mirrors in
   Palace (top) and
      the Würzburg
     (bottom). “We
  had to modify all
               of our
    “Everybody on
       the crew had
handlers watching
        them. We all
         moved very

                                                                                            one staged in Herrenchiemsee’s Hall of
                                                                                            Mirrors, MacPherson had to rely on
                                                                                            available daylight and little else to illu-
                                                                                            minate the action. “The Hall of Mirrors
                                                                                            is just insane with detail,” he says,
                                                                                            counting 23 ornate windows and
                                                                                            mirrors standing 20' high and 12' wide.
                                                                                            “It took a bit of planning. I decided we
                                                                                            would have to shoot after 2 p.m., and if
                                                                                            we got a cloudy day, which happens
                                                                                            frequently in Bavaria, we’d just have to
                                                                                            push the scene. Nobody was comfort-
                                                                                            able with that idea, so I sat down with
                                                                                            the gaffer, Ronny Schwarz, and worked
                                                                                            up an alternate plan involving 80 18Ks
                                                                                            with generators and all the support.
                                                                                            Then I got a call from the producer,
                                                                                            who asked if I was insane!”
                                                                                                   MacPherson ultimately got his
                                                                                            wish of working with natural light, and
        Versailles built by King Ludwig II,        avoid laying track, we worked with a     scheduled shooting in the Hall of
        standing in for the real thing), forbade   Steadicam or used a Geo Alpha stabi-     Mirrors around the path of the sun. He
        the production from entering buildings     lized head on the dolly. Even bringing   did persuade the castle’s docents to let
        or even stepping onto their properties     in a C-stand was dangerous. Everybody    him bring in small Jem Balls and Kino
        with large HMI and tungsten units, lest    on the crew had handlers watching        Flo units to model the actors’ faces. “We
        they damage the delicate grounds and       them. We all moved very slowly.”         didn’t have a lot of light, but it still had
        tapestries. “We had to modify all of our   (David Cornelius served as the show’s    to come from the right place,” he notes.
        equipment,” MacPherson explains. “We       Alpha Head operator, while Michael       “This is where the Alexa really shined.
        put big rubber wheels on the dollies and   Praun handled Steadicam duties.)         The shadows and highlights looked
        wrapped felt around the wheels. To                For some sequences, including     great, and we were seeing details in areas

48       November 2011                                     American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                        Clockwise from
                                                                                                                        top: The
                                                                                                                        swordsmen are
                                                                                                                        MacPherson blocks
                                                                                                                        out a portion of
                                                                                                                        the sequence with
                                                                                                                        stunt double Don
                                                                                                                        Lee in the
                                                                                                                        courtyard of the
                                                                                                                        Residenz; the
                                                                                                                        and other
                                                                                                                        attach Red cameras
                                                                                                                        to a Cablecam rig
                                                                                                                        so they can fly the
                                                                                                                        cameras over the

of the frame that we could hardly see        positions hovering outside the room,         third floor. After alleviating the palace
with our own eyes.”                          three stories off the ground. Thick,         docents’ concerns with low-level lux
        Other scenes also required some      white muslin curtains on the windows         and temperature readings, MacPherson
artificial lighting, such as daytime inte-   protected the interior’s priceless decora-   was permitted to enter the chamber
riors in Queen Anne’s bedchamber, also       tions and also served to diffuse the addi-   with Kino Flos and small, low-output
shot at Herrenchiemsee. MacPherson           tional daylight.                             units for the actors. 16K HMI and 7K
keyed from the windows, using a large               Private access to the chamber was     tungsten balloons were also allowed and
Condor crane to boom three remote-           specially built for the crew: elevator-      helped to boost ambient light levels.
operated 18K HMIs horizontally across        equipped exterior scaffolding that trans-    “There was never really a lack of light,
125' of fragile, exterior marble tiling to   ported their equipment directly to the       unless we were shooting at night or

                                                                                               November 2011      49
◗     All for One
    A full-scale mockup of
    Buckingham’s airship,
   which did double duty
       as the war vessel of
   Cardinal Richelieu, was
         constructed on the
           massive Marlene
  Dietrich stage at Studio
        Babelsberg. The set
      piece measured 108'
 long and the rest of the
 vessels were completed
    with CGI. The lighting
    diagram on the facing
          page, provided by
       gaffer Ron Schwarz,
    outlines MacPherson’s
  approach to the airship
      set. The top diagram
   shows the airship with
 a sky backing around it;
    the second shows the
              airship with a
     greenscreen backing.
      “We had to light the
        heck out of the sky
 backing to make it look
 real, and we had all the
  10Ks on a sequencer to
  simulate travel through
            the clouds,” the
   cinematographer says.
     “We dialed down the
           cyc strips for the

                                                                                                 want to make shooting 3-D into a big
                                                                                                 hassle, but it doesn’t have to be,” he
                                                                                                 maintains. “When your scene calls for a
                                                                                                 100mm, you have to remember that this
                                                                                                 isn’t a movie about 3-D — you’re just
                                                                                                 using it to tell the story.” Accordingly,
                                                                                                 the filmmakers sometimes chose to
                                                                                                 reduce the 3-D effect to accommodate
                                                                                                 their handheld, Steadicam, aerial,
                                                                                                 Technocrane and Cablecam shots.
                                                                                                        The cinematographer calls atten-
                                                                                                 tion to the one aspect of        The Three
                                                                                                 Musketeers that was affected by shooting
                                                                                                 3-D: the fight choreography. “In 2-D
                                                                                                 you shoot a lot of long lenses, shake the
                                                                                                 camera, do quick cuts,” he says. “The
                                                                                                 actors don’t really hit or stab each other,
                                                                                                 so you use a lot of tricks to compress the
                                                                                                 action.” Knowing that a wide, steady
         dusk, and then we were just trying to get   down as far as T8 when necessary.           frame and a slower pace in editing help
         the right quality of light coming from              MacPherson didn’t feel pushed to    to alleviate eyestrain when viewing 3-D,
         the right direction,” MacPherson notes.     conform to any generally accepted           the filmmakers worked within these
         Using T1.3 Arri Master Primes on all        notions of how one should photograph        boundaries to create more elaborately
         four of his 3-D Alexa rigs, the cine-       3-D. He even broke some of the typical      choreographed fight scenes. “All of our
         matographer hovered around an aper-         rules, like shooting with long lenses and   actors trained hard for the swordfight-
         ture of T2.8, though he’d stop              a shallow depth of field. “Some people      ing scenes and got really good at it, so

50        November 2011                                       American Cinematographer
            w   November 2011   51
◗     All for One
                                                                                                    we held the shots a lot longer and a lot
                                                                                                    wider than we would if we were shoot-
                                                                                                    ing 2-D,” MacPherson adds. “Onscreen
                                                                                                    you can actually see the actors hitting
                                                                                                    each other.”
                                                                                                            MacPherson’s German camera
                                                                                                    crew, from A-camera operator Klemens
                                                                                                    Becker down, needed some extra train-
                                                                                                    ing as well. Before joining The Three
                                                                                                    Musketeers, many of the operators and
                                                                                                    assistants had minimal experience with
                                                                                                    3-D rigs — and none with the Fusion
                                                                                                    — so it fell to 3-D systems tech John
                                                                                                    Harper (promoted from assisting and
                                                                                                    convergence pulling on Resident Evil:
                                                                                                    Afterlife) to bring them up to speed.
                                                                                                    “The basics involve familiarizing oneself
                                                                                                    with the 3-D system, lining up the two
                                                                                                    cameras, and making the lens changes
                                                                                                    quickly,” Harper remarks. “After Paul
                                                                                                    and Glen choose their lenses, we can’t
                                                                                                    be waiting around. We’d like to move as
                                                                                                    quickly as we would in 2-D.”
                                                                                                            There’s some crossover between
                                                                                                    the responsibilities of the camera assis-
                                                                                                    tant and the 3-D interocular/conver-
                                                                                                    gence puller. For example, on The Three
                                                                                                    Musketeers,the entire IO/convergence-
                                                                                                    pulling process was performed manu-
                                                                                                    ally. “The same muscle memory is there,
                                                                                                    but you have to just reset your mind,”
                                                                                                    says Harper. “As a focus puller you’re
                                                                                                    concentrating on sharpness, and as an
                                                                                                    IO/convergence puller, you’re concen-
                                                                                                    trating on separation.”
                                                                                                            Anderson, MacPherson, 2nd-
                                                                                                    unit director of photography Vern
                                                                                                    Nobles and Harper all share the show’s
                                                                                                    stereographer credit. They used cali-
                                                                                                    brated HD stereo monitors to rough in
                                                                                                    their 3-D shots, calling for the
                                                                                                    IO/convergence pullers to push or pull
                                                                                                    the depth toward or away from the
                                                                                                    screen plane. However, the IO/conver-
                                                                                                    gence pullers judged the stereo image
                                                                                                    without glasses, using an overlay that
                                                                                                    shows the offset between the left- and
                                                                                                    right-eye images. “It’s very difficult to
                                                                                                    judge separation with glasses on. You
                                                                                                    really can’t tell where the actual conver-
                                                                                                    gence is quickly,” Harper explains,
                                                                                                    adding that convergence may be judged
     Another diagram provided by Schwarz details the filmmakers’ approach to the Queen’s Chamber,
                            also shot on location at Herrenchiemsee Palace.                         by looking for the one object in the
                                                                                                    overlaid images that looks like a single

52       November 2011                                            American Cinematographer
image. “Anything in the foreground or
background will be separated, and
your convergence can be either static
or dynamic depending on the action
within the frame.”
        More than half of The Three
Musketeers was shot on location, with
the rest of the production staged at
Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam. The
show occupied almost 270,000 square
feet at the facility, including the enor-
mous Marlene Dietrich Halle and the
satellite facilities Neue Film 1 and 2.
        MacPherson and Schwarz
prepared much of their stage lighting
remotely from location, conferring
via Skype with production designer
Paul Austerberry in Babelsberg.
Austerberry’s 3-dimensional CAD
designs included the dimensions of
MacPherson’s 3-D rigs and camera
support, ensuring that the sets would
accommodate the cinematographer’s
blocking and lighting. The studio sets
largely comprised fictitious extensions
of the real-life locales, from the canals
of Venice to the rooftops of Notre
        The first of these fantasy/reality
mashups can be seen in the film’s            ALEXA On-Board
opening sequence. Accompanied by
the assassin Milady De Winter
                                               Mains Power
(Milla Jovovich), the Musketeers raid
the Venice Antiquarium (in reality the
                                              Supply System
Antiquarium of the Munich                    Oppenheimer Camera Products’ new
Residenz), an ornately decorated             ALEXA OB Mains Power Supply is simply
Renaissance hallway lined with marble        the most advanced and complete AC power
busts of ancient European emperors.          solution available for your ALEXA camera.
        MacPherson shot the scene at
night, deploying 16 12K HMIs
(reduced to 6K using ND.6 and1⁄4 and
1⁄2 White diffusion) outside windows

lining one side of the long hallway.
Eight 4K HMIs bounced light off
four 12'x12' muslin bounces through
the windows on the other side. Inside,
the production was permitted to place
a dozen smokeless, odorless flame
        The Musketeers locate a secret
door in the floor (a visual effect
achieved by laying out a greenscreen
patch on the floor of the hallway), and
descend a set of stairs leading to a vault   seattle 206-467-8666            toll free 877-467-8666
                                             w w w. o p p e n h e i m e r c a m e r a p r o d u c t s. c o m
◗     All for One
        Top: The crew
          captures an
 action close-up of
        notes that he
 took extra care in
    his lead actress:
   “We had a ‘Milla
 kit’ whenever we
  shot her because
         her makeup,
           which was
   designed to give
 her a period look,
       made her skin
    pearl-white and
       flawless. Milla
          called them
     ‘glamour balls.’
  extendable poles
    with a 150-watt
   or 400-watt Jem
 Ball at the end on
    each side of the
 camera.” Bottom:
    Jovovich makes
  her way through
  the subterranean
        chamber that
 leads to DaVinci’s

                                                                                                CTB to create a low-key separation. “If
                                                                                                everything is orange, it doesn’t look
                                                                                                right,” he notes.
                                                                                                       Austerberry designed the vault
                                                                                                set as a long corridor with repeating
                                                                                                arches, mirroring the architectural
                                                                                                rhythm of the Antiquarium. Within the
                                                                                                vault, the marble busts are more
                                                                                                grotesque and conceal deadly traps. In
                                                                                                the script, the vault is described as a
                                                                                                dungeon beneath the streets of Venice,
                                                                                                but the filmmakers opted to give it a less
                                                                                                traditional, stone-dungeon-like appear-
                                                                                                ance, adopting the striped, green-white
                                                                                                marble detailing of a cathedral
                                                                                                Austerberry found in the Tuscan city of
                                                                                                Siena. “The stripes helped make our set
                                                                                                look longer than it is,” says the produc-
                                                                                                tion designer. “We were trying to be
         containing the secret works of Leonardo   Alexa’s increased sensitivity to light the   very graphic with the colors and style.”
         da Vinci. As the Musketeers progress      set mostly with torches, candles and                By far, the biggest set was the full-
         into the pitch darkness of the vault,     flame bars, even when overcranking to        scale airship constructed on the massive
         torches — recalling the smokeless flame   200 fps. He also applied a small amount      Marlene Dietrich stage. Bristling with
         bowls in the Antiquarium — spring to      of blue ambience from the top of the set,    fearsome artillery, the ship doubled as
         life. MacPherson took advantage of the    deploying rows of 2K Chimeras with 1⁄2       the respective war vessels of Lord

54        November 2011                                     American Cinematographer
A   M   E   R   I   C   A   N     F   I   L   M      I   N   S   T   I   T   U   T   E

                                                  This year, AFI FEST is celebrating
                                                  its 25th edition and Pedro Almodóvar

                                                  as Guest Artistic Director.
            NOVEMBER 3–10, 2011

                                                   ree tickets will be available for

                                                  all films, but priority access, reserved

                                                  gala seating and other benefits

                                                  can be secured by purchasing a

                                                  tax-deductible AFI FEST Patron Package.

                                                  A limited number of Patron Packages

                                                  are on sale now!

                                                  Visit for information about
                                                  AFI’s mission and membership and

                                                  AFI FEST’s programming and ticket

                                                  packages. You can also connect with

                                                  us on Twitter and Facebook.
◗    All for One
           To light the
          interior of a
    vaulted chamber
 within the Munich
        Residenz (the
         former royal
 palace of Bavaria’s
       monarchs), the
       crew lined one
    row of windows
  with 12K fixtures,
         with bounce
    lighting through
     the windows on
   the opposite side
      of the exterior.
  Interior ambience
   was created with
       1K Nuke lights
            and 1.8Ks
 positioned at both
           ends of the
  chamber, Kino Flo
      4x4 units and a
    Jem Ball “beauty
             light” for

                                                                                                original wood ceiling from excessive
                                                                                                heat, they lit from overhead using more
                                                                                                than 100 banks of Image 80s skinned
                                                                                                with 1⁄2 White diffusion. “It looked a
                                                                                                little bit like the ceiling of Home Depot
                                                                                                in there,” says MacPherson. Cyc lights
                                                                                                illuminated the enormous greenscreen
                                                                                                curtains that surrounded the stage.
                                                                                                        For daytime shots, a white fabric
                                                                                                curtain was pulled across the green-
                                                                                                screen to cheat the sky. “I had to light
                                                                                                the bejesus out of that white cyc to make
                                                                                                it look like sky,” MacPherson recalls.
                                                                                                Five 12'x20' frames of white muslin
                                                                                                hung at angles around the upper reaches
                                                                                                of the stage, concealing the 16 elec-
                                                                                                tronic, dimmer-controlled 10K Fresnels
                                                                                                that encircled the set. “Everything was
                                                                                                on a chase sequence to make it look like
                                                                                                the ship was moving through the
         Buckingham and the villainous             the stage’s 46' wood roof. “Paul wanted      clouds,” the cinematographer adds.
         Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz).     to look up at the ship. If we’d built the    Artificial smoke was pumped in and
         Anderson conceived Richelieu’s ship as    set any lower it would have eliminated       blown through the set to create the
         a kind of 17th-century Death Star,        his shots, so either the stage was too       impression of additional depth.
         measuring 280' from the bowsprit with     small or I built the ship too big!”                  The cameras themselves were
         a 35' beam width; the studio set piece    Austerberry quips.                           always moving. Between the first and
         measured 108' and the rest was                   MacPherson and Schwarz rigged         second units, the production had three
         completed with CGI. The tip of the        the stage for daylight and nighttime         3-D rigs in studio mode and one built
         main set piece reached to within 12' of   effects. Mindful of protecting the stage’s   for use with a Steadicam. No matter

56        November 2011                                     American Cinematographer
     ◗   All for One
                                                                                                           wherever we want really fast. The way
                                                                                                           Glen and I work, if we don’t get 30-plus
                                                                                                           setups in a day we feel like we haven’t
                                                                                                           done our job.”
                                                                                                                  Robert Hottarek served as the
                                                                                                           show’s Technocrane operator. The crane
                                                                                                           was employed extensively on the airship
                                                                                                           set, booming the 3-D rigs up to the 17'
                                                                                                           deck with ease. When the cameras
                                                                                                           needed to go higher, the crane was fork-
                                                                                                           lifted up to a 22' platform on a rolling
                                                                                                           base that could be pushed around the
                                                                                                           stage with the help of about a dozen
                                                                                                           grips. Occasionally MacPherson posi-
                                                                                                           tioned a Chapman dolly with a studio
                                                                                                           rig on the platform next to the crane.
                                                                                                                  No matter where the cameras
                                                                                                           went, they were always tethered to one
         Donning 3-D glasses to experience the extra dimension are (from left) 1st AD Jamie Christopher,
           Jovovich, stunt coordinator and 2nd-unit director Nick Powell, director Paul W.S. Anderson      of three HDCam-SR recording towers
                                      and script supervisor Doug Rotstein.                                 operated by video engineer Michael
                                                                                                           Taylor. Footage was laid to tape at 10-
            what, there was always one mounted on             beginning of production and leave it         bit 4:4:4 in 1080p/23.98fps. The stereo
            a Geo Alpha stabilized head at the end            there for the entire shoot,” says            image was checked for left/right eye
            of a 30' Technocrane. “We’ll put the              Anderson. “It’s an incredibly useful tool    lineup, color offsets, or disparity in the
            camera on the Technocrane at the                  for us because we can get the camera         exposure, then delivered to Arri

Munich, where MacPherson and               Xpand active-shutter 3-D system.) By         Anderson lends any credence to the
colorist Traudl Nicholson spent the        comparison, most 2-D films are               notion that 3-D is just a fad, at least as
eight months following production          projected at approximately 16 foot-          far as international audiences are
applying finishing touches to the 2K       lamberts. MacPherson explains, “Right        concerned. The cinematographer
master.                                    now, most commercial theaters can’t          concludes, “The technology is getting
       MacPherson and Nicholson            afford to spend the money on two digi-       better with every movie I shoot, and it
dialed in the movie’s bright, saturated    tal projectors, so they use a single-lens    will continue to do so as long as the
colors with Autodesk’s Lustre grading      projector with a stereo polarizer in front   audiences continue to show up [for
software, using the built-in Flame suite   of the lens, which knocks down light.        3-D presentations]. I hope they do.” ●
to make a number of small adjustments      Then you’re wearing the glasses, which
to the stereo image, correcting align-     knocks the light down even more. It’s
ment and keystoning. “A lot of the work    not ideal, but in the last year facilities
we did involved making the depth of        have really started to figure out how to
the shots more uniform from cut to cut     get the best-looking 3-D up on the
so your eyes aren’t converging and         screen.”                                             TECHNICAL SPECS
diverging too much within the scene,”             There is a 2-D version of The
says MacPherson.                           Three Musketeers, but for MacPherson         2.40:1
       The suite was built to accommo-     there’s only one way to watch the film. “I
date 3-D postproduction. A Barco 2K        spent several weeks grading the movie in     3-D Digital Capture
digital projector was calibrated through   3-D, then I took a quick run up to the
RealD polarized glasses to reflect         2-D theater, and it was a huge disap-        Arri Alexa, Red One
approximately 41⁄2 foot-lamberts of        pointment,” he laments. “It’s amazing
light off the screen, the level at which   how you sort of lose the scope of all        Arri/Zeiss Master Primes
most 3-D films are viewed in a theater.    those great locations.”
(The suite is also equipped with the              Neither       MacPherson nor          Digital Intermediate

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                                                                                           One source. Unlimited resources.
             AC ’s Paris
      correspondent shares
          affordable 3-D
        strategies gleaned
         from a hands-on
       seminar in Sweden.
              By Benjamin B


     3-D on a Budget
        n the Swedish town of Gothenburg, AC has joined a dozen         movies: Dark Country (shot in 2007 and released in 2009). He
        filmmakers in front of a 42" video monitor displaying polar-    has led several 3-D courses for the Santa Fe Workshops,
        ized 3-D images. Having donned polarized glasses, the           including the one AC attended at Gothenburg Film Studios,
        group watches dailies of the footage shot earlier that day      and his latest venture is a partnership in a new 3-D camera
     with the guidance of cinematographer Geoff Boyle, FBKS.            rental company called Electric Picture Company-3D.
            Post specialist Thomas Harbers is sitting at an Iridas              Gothenburg Film Studios is a growing group of
     Speedgrade station, preparing the footage. Suddenly a still        production-related companies clustered around soundstages.
     image comes onscreen and everyone’s glasses come off with a        Upon entering, visitors immediately notice a wall adorned with
     collective groan, the result of a sudden bout of eyestrain. The    a motto touting the shipyard city’s evolution: “First we built
     left and right views have been swapped, and the monitor image      ships, then we built cars, now we make films.” The 3-D
     is physically painful to watch as it forces our eyes to try to     workshop is the brainchild of Michael Petersen, who organized
     “diverge” — the technical term for going wall-eyed when lines      professional courses about 3-D and lighting to accompany the
     of sight veer outwards rather than inwards. Like a good doctor,    city’s annual Gokinema Film Festival. Petersen explains that his
     a stereographer must remember the golden rule: “first, do no       goal was “to share knowledge about new technologies among
     harm” to the audience’s eyes.                                      filmmakers.” He developed the workshops with the support of
            This “ouch moment” is one of the important lessons of       Region Västra Götaland and the North Sea Screen Partners
     a four-day 3-D workshop supervised by Boyle, known as the          (NSSP).
     founder of CML, the Cinematography Mailing List. CML is                    Boyle enlisted Harbers to provide 3-D post for the
     a lively online forum where professional cinematographers          workshop. Harbers is based in Munich, where he offers DI and
     discuss their craft and the latest camera technologies. Boyle is   “depth grade” services. He also designs and builds external 3-D
     also an accomplished director of photography whose credits         recording devices under the brand name DasRekorder. For the
     include many commercials and one of the first digital 3-D          Gothenburg workshop, he provided a prototype that recorded

60    November 2011                                        American Cinematographer
                                            the dual streams from Silicon Imaging
                                            SI-2K cameras onto removable Solid
                                            State Drives. Harbers unveiled the first
                                            line of DasRekorder products in
                                            September during the IBC trade show
                                            in Amsterdam.
                                                    The workshop is hands-on,
                                            reflecting Boyle’s practical, no-nonsense
                                            approach to production. He offers a
                                            minimum of theory before encouraging
                                            us to jump in and try techniques
                                            designed for lower-budget television
                                            and independent-film projects.
                                                    Boyle begins by explaining, “It’s
                                            not really 3-D, it’s stereo.” He frequently
                                            uses the phrase “lizard brain,” referring
                                            to the primitive part of the human mind
                                            that reacts to movement and senses
                                            danger. He notes, “The brain knows 2-
                                            D isn’t real, so our lizard brain switches
                                            off and doesn’t look for threats.” Boyle
                                            then emphasizes that this is not the case
                                            with 3-D: “All kinds of automatic
                                            reactions come in to play with 3-D,
                                            things that will disturb you. If I throw
                                            something at the cameras, you can’t
                                            avoid blinking or ducking.”
                                                    At the same time, the brain is
                                            smart enough to accommodate many
                                            3-D anomalies. “Your brain often
                                            corrects what it sees as wrong,” Boyle
                                            notes. As examples, he cites
                                            miniaturization (when the cameras are
                                            too far apart) and gigantism (when they
                                            are too close together). “You can get
                                            away with a few shots like that,” he
                                            notes, “but not too many.”
                                                    One of Boyle’s oft-repeated             Opposite page: Two of the participants in the 3-D seminar carefully carry an Element Technica Quasar rig
                                            workshop mantras is, “You cannot                over icy ground. This page, top: A pair of Red One cameras mounted on a Stereotec rig. Bottom: As part
                                            change the IA in post.” IA is shorthand              of the learning process, participants were encouraged to study the 3-D image without glasses.
                                            for the interaxial distance between the
                                            two cameras during shooting. The IA            requirements of the specific scenes they          is why the angle of convergence defines
                                            defines the depth of the image: more IA        are shooting.                                     which objects will appear to be in the
Photos by Benjamin B and Christian Holst.

                                            means more depth, whereas an IA of                    Another key workshop concept is            screen plane. The intersection of the left
                                            zero means that the left eye and right         convergence — the angle between the               and right images on the screen plane has
                                            eye image are identical, and the image is      lines of sight of the two images. Our eyes        no offset, so the images of objects
                                            in 2-D. The “normal” IA is 6.5cm (2.5"),       are parallel when looking at distant              positioned at screen distance are
                                            which is the average distance between a        objects, but angle in toward our nose as          identical. You can easily see this effect
                                            person’s eyes. As stated above, when the       we look at closer objects. Similarly, the         onscreen by removing a pair of 3-D
                                            IA is too big, there is a risk of seeing the   left and right cameras in a 3-D rig can be        glasses: though objects in the foreground
                                            world through the eyes of an elephant;         positioned with parallel lines of sight, or       and background appear as double
                                            when it is too small, we see the world as      angled in to converge on an object.               images, objects at the screen plane are
                                            a mouse would. Boyle explains that 3-D                When we are watching a movie,              sharp, single images.
                                            filmmakers vary the IA to suit the             our eyelines converge on the screen; this                Boyle stresses that one of the key

                                                                                                                                                       November 2011        61
◗      3-D on a Budget

     Left: Cinematographer Geoff Boyle, FBKS, who supervised the 3-D workshop, shows off a rig that combines two Arri Alexa cameras with a P+S Technik Freestyle
                                   Rig. Right: Thomas Harbers, a Munich-based post specialist, provided 3-D post for the workshop.

          decisions in 3-D prep is the choice of            parallel shooting involves a HIT in post,        discuss convergence on set, [where costs
          convergence: which angle to adopt                 the composite 3-D image will have black          can run to] $25,000 per hour, or in post,
          between the two cameras’ lines of sight.          bands on the edges. Harbers explains,            at $500 per hour? The answer is quite
          During the workshop we will try four              “With parallel shooting you have to do           clear to me!”
          different approaches to shooting 3-D:             the HIT in post, so you get black borders               “Theoretically, you have less work
          Parallel, Normal Converged, Derobe                on the sides, and you often have to zoom         to do with converged footage in post,”
          Converged and French Converged.                   into the image. This means recalculating         Harbers says. “When you shoot
                 When the two cameras’ lines of             the whole image, and the image becomes           converged I can take the image as it is,
          sight are parallel, the 3-D convergence is        less sharp.” Boyle adds, “If you finish in       without scaling or interpolation.”
          arranged in post by introducing a                 HD, you need to shoot at 2K or 4K,               However, he cautions that if you shoot
          Horizontal Image Transformation. A                because you will need slop on the edges.”        footage converged, it’s difficult to make a
          HIT is simply shifting one of the images                 When the two cameras are angled           major change of the screen position in
          slightly to the left or right. HITs are           for Normal Converged shooting, their             post. “It won’t look right if you change
          measured in pixels, and will typically not        lines of sight will intersect at what will       the screen plane a lot. The relative offsets
          exceed 40 pixels for a 2K image. On a set         become the screen plane. Boyle says              in the foregrounds and backgrounds
          with parallel cameras, filmmakers can             converged shooting requires more time            won’t match anymore.”
          preview the HIT by using external                 on the set, if only because of the                      A third approach is the method
          boxes, like the StereoBrain Processor we          inevitable discussions about where to            defined by French 3-D pioneer Alain
          used, to create a horizontal offset that          converge. One advantage of converging            Derobe. In Derobe Converged shooting,
          can be fed into a stereo-capable monitor.         on the set is that the director and              the cameras are angled so that the lines
          (The StereoBrain is a 3-D HD video-               cinematographer can preview the 3-D              of sight to the farthest object in the
          processing unit developed for use in              with glasses, without the need for an            frame are offset by the interocular
          stereoscopic 3-D production, post and             intermediary box.                                distance of 2.5". This fixed-convergence
          broadcast.)                                              Boyle adds, “The reason I stress          angle is typically small, between 0.5 and
                 Boyle notes that “if you’re doing          IA in the workshop is that, along with           1 degrees. The IA is then varied during
          visual-effects work, it’s better to shoot         pitch or tilt, it is the only thing that         the shot to follow the point of interest
          parallel” because of the possible keystone        cannot be changed in post. Convergence           (for example, an important character in
          effect in converged images, an artifact           is less important, because it can be             the film). The Derobe Converged
          that is especially evident with buildings         changed later. I’m teaching low-budget           method was used on Wim Wenders’
          and other rectilinear shapes. Because             3-D, which has to be fast. Should I              documentary Pina (AC Sept. ’10). This

62         November 2011                                              American Cinematographer
method also allows for preview on set
without external boxes, using Transvideo
or other stereo-capable monitors.
        Although initially skeptical of the
Derobe Converged method, Boyle has
gradually come to accept a variation that
he refers to as French Converged.
Rather than converging on a distant
object, Boyle simply sets the
convergence at 2 percent, the maximum
background divergence allowed by
Britain’s Sky Television, or 1 percent for
productions that will be shown in
theaters. He explains, “You line up the
two cameras at 0 degrees. Then you
wind in 2 percent convergence if it’s
television, 1 percent if it’s film, and just
adjust the IA for the shot. And the IA
will never, ever go outside tolerance!
        “For a low-budget feature or a TV
series, I recommend the French
Converged method, because you’re
getting very acceptable results that are
safe and very quick. You don’t have to
ask yourself, ‘Is this going to work?’ or
‘Am I going to be out of limits?”
        Boyle refers to Sky Television’s
limit of 3 percent total divergence of
3-D images as a practical rule for his
work. On a 3-D monitor, this means
that the total horizontal offset between
the left- and right-eye images cannot
exceed 3 percent of the image width.
Accordingly, this maximum distance
varies depending on the screen size: 3
centimeters for a 1-meter television
screen, for example, or 15 centimeters
for a 5-meter cinema screen.
        Boyle notes that the 3-percent
total divergence “budget” is divided
between the spaces in front of and
behind the screen plane. For television
work, he will put up to 2 percent behind
and 1 percent in front. For a cinema
release, he will do the inverse: 1 percent
behind and 2 percent in front.
        When shooting a production that
will be shown on both cinema and
television screens, Boyle moves the
screen position backwards or forwards
in post for the different releases.
                                               Top: Yke Erkens of Cam-a-lot, a video-rental company based in Amsterdam, shows off the Quasar rig
(Harbers notes that this strategy is           equipped with a stereo-capable Transvideo monitor. Middle: Derek Bateman and Luiz Perez-Bayas try
sometimes difficult when shooting                   out the Freestyle rig in handheld configuration. Bottom: Another view of the Freestyle rig.
Normal Converged.)                        ➣

                                                                                                     November 2011          63
◗    3-D on a Budget
                                                             The equipment for the
                                                     Gothenburg workshop is on loan from
                                                     various manufacturers and rental houses.
                                                     The gear includes Arri Alexa, Red One
                                                     (upgraded with Mysterium-X sensors),
                                                     and SI-2K cameras (with 2⁄3" sensors); a
                                                     Cinedeck and DasRekorder external
                                                     SSD recorders; and the following 3-D
                                                     rigs: Quasar and DC from Element
                                                     Technica, P+S Technik’s Freestyle rig
                                                     (designed with Philippe Bordelais), and
                                                     a Stereotek side-by-side rig. Ancillary
                                                     equipment includes a Transvideo 3-D
                                                     monitor and an Inition Stereo Brain.
                                                             The Red One MX material is
                                                     recorded onto Compact Flash memory
                                                     cards at 4K resolution using Red’s
                                                     Redcode wavelet-compressed raw
                                                     format. The SI-2K is recorded externally
                                                     in 2K in the proprietary SIV
                                                     uncompressed format. The Alexa
                                                     footage is recorded in 2K with ProRes
                                                     444 compression onto SxS cards. The
                                                     workshop footage is ingested by Harbers
                                                     into an Iridas Speedgrade station, which
                                                     is used to perform depth grading and to
                                                     play back dailies.
                                                             The workshop includes a series of
                                                     exercises to test different approaches,
                                                     with participants sharing operating and
    Top: Chiel van                                   assisting roles. One exercise involves
     Dongen tries
  out a Stereotec
                                                     shooting handheld with a P+S Technik
 rig supporting a                                    Freestyle rig outfitted with SI-2K
    pair of Silicon                                  cameras, a rig so light it is easily handled
    Imaging SI-2K
   cameras set up
                                                     by everyone in the workshop.
        in parallel.                                         Boyle feels that cameras with the
     Bottom: Luca                                    smaller 2⁄3" sensor are better-suited for
  Cluti tries some
                                                     lower-budget 3-D productions. He
   operating with                                    explains that they are cheaper, lighter,
           a DC rig                                  and will yield more depth of field than
  supporting two
      SI-2Ks and a
                                                     equivalent large-sensor cameras. “I shot
        Transvideo                                   Dark Country with an 8mm lens on a
          monitor.                                   2⁄3-inch sensor,” he notes.

                                                             The initial setup of the 3-D rig is
                                                     a laborious process that involves aligning
                                                     the images from the two lenses. A
                                                     similar, briefer setup is needed when
                                                     changing lenses. Boyle recommends
                                                     shooting low-budget projects with a
                                                     single pair of wide-angle lenses. “The
                                                     3-D will be better,” he asserts, “and you
                                                     will save time.”
                                                             Boyle confesses that he sometimes
                                                     lets certain kinds of registration errors go

64        November 2011   American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                     The president of
                                                                                                                     the Swedish
                                                                                                                     Society of
                                                                                                                     Håkan Holmberg,
                                                                                                                     FSF, shows off his
                                                                                                                     amateur 3-D
                                                                                                                     setup, comprising
                                                                                                                     two small cameras
                                                                                                                     held together.

unremarked-upon during shooting for             monitor like the Transvideo, which           crude, but it works!”
practical reasons, while others require an      offers different ways of visualizing 3-D,            Time and again, Boyle
immediate fix. “I know we can fix               including a variety of helpful displays to   emphasizes the need for speed on a low-
vertical or horizontal misalignment             quickly match the images on a rig and        budget film. “You have to move fast, so
easily in post, so I won’t say anything. If     check that they are properly registered.     directors and producers start to worry if
I see a rotation error, I will ask to fix it,   The monitor also features helpful grids      they always see you with a calculator in
because fixing it in post takes time and        to measure the offsets in percentages or     your hands. I don’t want people to be
means a loss in resolution.”                    pixels.                                      aware of me doing my job. I want it all
        Another workshop exercise                       Anaglyph (the process involving      to work seemingly by magic.”
involves shooting exteriors by the icy          bi-colored glasses) is the cheapest way to           As we prepare to set up shots,
waters near the Gothenburg ferry. Boyle         monitor 3-D on the set because the blue      Boyle reminds us that we must decide
has us shoot parallel using a big IA with       and red signals can be displayed on any      where the screen position will be, and
a Stereotec rig. The shot frames the            ordinary video monitor. Watching             which IA to use. He notes that screen
nearby water and a bridge along a stretch       anaglyph is tiring for the eyes, however;    position can vary in post, but IA cannot:
of coastline, from a distance of a mile or      polarized glasses afford a far more          “It’s safest and quickest to position most
so away. We try several big IAs,                comfortable view but require special         objects behind the screen, and then
including 90cm, 50 percent longer than          monitors.                                    adjust that if needed in post.”
the 65cm norm. In dailies, the resulting                According to Boyle, if a crew                Boyle raises the issue of what he
footage of the harbor does not look as if       includes experienced stereographers, the     calls “Medical IA,” stating that it is
it was shot through the eyes of a giant,        filmmakers can sometimes work                sometimes important to reduce the IA
but the distant objects resemble flattened      without any 3-D monitoring on-set to         in order to avoid eyestrain when
cutouts. The most convincing 3-D                save time and eyestrain. He feels there is   shooting objects close to camera. “As
results are obtained with the continuous        a danger of filmmakers growing so            objects move closer to camera, the
shoreline receding in the frame. “The           accustomed to 3-D that they may              convergence angle on the foreground
bridge and the buildings in the distance        become desensitized to the eyestrain         increases, but so does the divergence in
look flattened,” Boyle comments, “but           involved with extreme 3-D shooting.          the background. In those cases, it’s
that’s how our eyes see. Our 3-D vision                 Another simple technique             important to reduce the IA. This will
falls off with distance.”                       employed during the workshop involves        reduce the overall depth and therefore
        When watching the monitors on-          using a piece of tape as a maximum           reduce both the foreground convergence
set, Boyle recommends taking off the            divergence reference. “Our JVC monitor       and background divergence, and you
3-D glasses and getting into the habit of       is about 1 meter across,” says Boyle.        won’t hurt anyone.”
evaluating depth by looking at the              “Stick a 2cm red tape on the screen.                 Boyle proposes a rule of thumb to
horizontal fringes in the image. One            That’s your 2 percent! If you’re shooting    calculate the Medical IA of a shot: the
option is to use a special 3-D-capable          for cinema, use a piece of 1cm tape. It’s    “50 Rule,” which he uses for projects

                                                                                                  November 2011    65
     ◗   3-D on a Budget
                                                                                                     can divide by 100.
                                                                                                            The 50 Rule is used throughout
                                                                                                     the workshop, starting with a scene of a
                                                                                                     Ping-Pong game, in which the distance
                                                                                                     to the nearest table corner is divided by
          AC’s Paris                                                                                 50 to get the IA. We then adjust the
     correspondent,                                                                                  convergence to position the corner at the
        Benjamin B,
        admires the
                                                                                                     screen plane, with the table behind it.
      Quasar/Alexa                                                                                          As the workshop evolves, we
                rig.                                                                                 jokingly refer to the nearest object in
                                                                                                     frame as “the G-spot,” in Boyle’s honor.
                                                                                                     While the 50 Rule assumes that the G-
                                                                                                     spot is at the screen plane, we sometimes
                                                                                                     opt for a convergence on a slightly
                                                                                                     farther object, placing the closest object
                                                                                                     in front of the screen for dramatic effect.
          that may end up both in theaters and on       shooting convergence, set the                This tends to work best with moving
          television. “This rule assumes that you       convergence for that object; if you’re       objects, like the Ping-Pong ball or the
          have decided to put the screen plane at       shooting parallel, you’ll do it with a HIT   front paddle.
          the nearest object to camera. An              in post. Then, as you move backwards                In another exercise, we try match-
          approximate IA is really useful, because it   and forwards, change focus.” He points       cutting two people at a table with
          means you can judge very quickly and          out that 50 is simply a compromise           different shots from different angles and
          shoot very quickly. The rule is simple:       number; for projects destined only for       distances. Although setting screen at the
          measure the distance of the nearest object    television, you can divide by 30, and for    G-spot works well, we can see that it also
          in frame and divide by 50. If you are         those headed exclusive to cinemas, you       works well when we decide to

consistently position the same character     3-D. When the action got fast, the             shouldn’t be at the same depth. You
in the same position in depth relative to    movie went almost 2-D, and as soon as          change cinematography [techniques] on
the screen plane: “the C-spot.”              it slowed down again, whoomph — the            a normal, 2-D film, and in 3-D the IA
       Boyle comments that setting           depth came back. This stopped people           also needs to change with the story.”
convergence and focus for the C-spot, or     from hurting their eyes.”                             Harbers adds his own postscript
putting the important character at the               Boyle concludes with typically         for posting low-budget 3-D: “Planning
screen plane, “is by far the most            practical advice: “You shouldn’t establish     the workflow is essential. Whether
comfortable way to do 3-D. It’s the          the definitive amount of depth on set;         you shoot parallel or converged depends
approach recommended by James                you have to give the director flexibility. A   on the stereographer, but you can
Cameron and Vince Pace. The problem          large IA fixes objects outside the screen      manipulate more things in parallel.
is that as someone walks towards you,        in relation to the background, giving the      Let the stereographer make a
they’re getting bigger but they don’t        director little leeway for adjustment in       storyboard with IA values for each
move toward you, and that’s just wrong.      post — and, as we know, directors never        scene, so he can work quickly on set. If
If they walk toward you and stay in the      ever change their minds! If your IA gives      you really want to save money, get
same place, it’s a zoom.”                    100 percent of the depth you want, you         experienced postproduction people
       Boyle stresses that the IA should     will be able to move the depth forward         involved during preproduction to
be varied in a project, and he urges us to   in post, but you won’t be able to move it      guarantee a smooth workflow!”
be conservative with fast movement. To       backwards. If you use a larger IA, you                To see 3-D video examples from
amplify this point, he compliments the       can’t move it at all; if you use smaller IA,   the workshop, visit
work in a recent big-budget film. “If        you can move it both ways.                     asc_blog/thefilmbook.                 ●
you’re doing an action sequence, go for a            “So be conservative. For example,
smaller IA. I loved Transformers: Dark of    if I’m working with actors and I want to
the Moon — the use of 3-D was                set the screen for 4 feet, I’ll probably set
wonderful. During the setup stages they      it at 3 feet to give the actor some room
gave you not deep 3-D, but reasonable        to move. Get a feel for it. An entire film

 Caught                                           W
                                                           hen Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC first collaborated with
                                                           director Brian De Palma in 1978 on the New
                                                           Orleans-based thriller Obsession, he immediately
                                                           recognized De Palma’s strong sense of filmmaking
                                                  style and his appreciation for visual storytelling. Zsigmond

  n ae
 o Tp
                                                  had already shot many important films of the American New
                                                  Wave, including McCabe & Mrs. Miller , Deliverance (AC,
                                                  Aug. ’71)and The Deer Hunter (AC, Oct. ’78), all of which
                                                  advanced cinema aesthetics in new and sometimes radical
                                                  ways. In De Palma, however, he found a director who was
                                                  unapologetically excited about making the kinds of straight-
                                                  forward genre pictures favored in earlier eras. De Palma wasn’t
                                                  as gung-ho as many of his contemporaries about trying to
                                                  stand convention on its head, but he still made bold choices
                                                  while paying loving homage to earlier films crafted by studio
         Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC looks               filmmakers, especially Alfred Hitchcock.
         back at his collaboration with                   Zsigmond and De Palma reteamed in 1981 for Blow
         Brian De Palma on the stylish            Out, one of the director’s most successful films and a picture
                                                  that showcased his fascination with the processof filmmaking
            1981 thriller Blow Out.               itself. (The two would continue their collaboration on Bonfire
                                                  of the Vanities, in 1989, and TheBlack Dahlia , in 2006.)
                     By Jon Silberg                       Blow Out’s story concerns Jack Terry (John Travolta), a
                                                  sound recordist capturing nighttime ambience for the sound-
                                                  track of a low-budget horror quickie titled Coed Crazy. Jack is
                          •|•                     suddenly thrust into a dark world of conspiracy when his mic

68   November 2011                    American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                       picks up the sound of a gunshot an
                                                                                                                       instant before the car of a promising
                                                                                                                       senator drives off a bridge, sending the
                                                                                                                       politician and a call girl, Sally (Nancy
                                                                                                                       Allen), plunging into the river below.
                                                                                                                       Jack manages to save Sally, but when he
                                                                                                                       tries to inform the police and media
                                                                                                                       about the crucial gunshot sound, he
                                                                                                                       draws the attention of a murderous
                                                                                                                       conspirator, Burke (John Lithgow),
                                                                                                                       who targets him and the girl.
                                                                                                                              “Brian is really a stylist, and he’s
                                                                                                                       very experimental,” Zsigmond says. “He
                                                                                                                       sticks his neck out on movies that some-
                                                                                                                       times get bad reviews because the
                                                                                                                       people who write the reviews say he’s
                                                                                                                       concentrating too much on the visuals.
                                                                                                                       But that’s what I like so much about
                                                                                                                       him: he knows about images. There are
                                                                                                                       so many films that just consist of talking
                                                                                                                       heads, and they feel more like what you
                                                                                                                       think of as ‘TV coverage.’ Brian always
Photos by Louis Goldman, from the collections of the Margaret Herrick Library. Frame grabs © MGM Home Entertainment.

                                                                                                                       wants to do something that has style.”
                                                                                                                              Blow Out’s opening scene sets the
                                                                                                                       tone for the rest of the film with an                             Opposite page:
                                                                                                                       extended Steadicam POV shot, placing                              Sound recordist
                                                                                                                                                                                         Jack Terry (John
                                                                                                                       the audience in the shoes of a murderer                           Travolta) listens
                                                                                                                       stalking a group of sorority girls.                               intently to an
                                                                                                                       Operated by Steadicam inventor                                    audiotape that
                                                                                                                                                                                         may contain
                                                                                                                       Garrett Brown, the long take is eventu-                           evidence of a
                                                                                                                       ally revealed to be a scene from Coed                             politician’s
                                                                                                                       Crazy, the film-within-the-film. In this                          murder. This
                                                                                                                                                                                         page, top: A
                                                                                                                       sequence and others, De Palma reminds                             dangerous
                                                                                                                       viewers that they are watching a movie                            conspirator,
                                                                                                                       and are subject to the medium’s manip-                            Burke (John
                                                                                                                                                                                         Lithgow), seeks
                                                                                                                       ulative techniques. Jack’s job as a sound                         to bury the
                                                                                                                       recordist also reveals another facet of                           evidence by
                                                                                                                       filmmaking’s artifice, illustrating how                           eliminating Sally
                                                                                                                                                                                         (Nancy Allen), a
                                                                                                                       most of a movie’s soundtrack is pieced                            call girl who
                                                                                                                       together from disparate sounds long                               survived the
                                                                                                                       after the actual shooting is over. We first                       assassination.
                                                                                                                       meet Jack on a dubbing stage, where                               clockwise from
                                                                                                                       he’s looping the footage from          Coed                       left: Lithgow, 1st
                                                                                                                       Crazy and working with the film’s                                 AD Joe
                                                                                                                       manic director to replace the scream of                           director Brian
                                                                                                                       the onscreen actress with the voice of a                          De Palma and
                                                                                                                       better screamer.                                                  cinematographer
                                                                                                                              Later that evening, tasked with                            Zsigmond, ASC
                                                                                                                       finding night ambience for the track,                             block out a
                                                                                                                       Jack takes his Nagra tape recorder and                            shot in
                                                                                                                       shotgun mic to a spot near                                        30th Street
                                                                                                                       Philadelphia’s Wissahickon River,                                 Station.
                                                                                                                       located by the park and bridge of the
                                                                                                                       same name. Zsigmond’s camera

                                                                                                                                                              November 2011       69
◗    Caught on Tape
                                                                                                             captures Jack as he isolates individual
                                                                                                             sounds — the croak of a frog, the hoot
                                                                                                             of an owl — that will be used in the
                                                                                                             slasher film’s sound mix. In striking
                                                                                                             shots that keep foreground and back-
                                                                                                             ground in perfect focus, we see details of
                                                                                                             Jack’s face, his mic and the environment.
                                                                                                             “That night scene was difficult,”
                                                                                                             Zsigmond recalls. “The area we shot in
                                                                                                             was immense, and we had to use a lot of
                                                                                                             lights and still work with the lens wide
                                                                                                             open.” Compared to shooting methods
                                                                                                             the cinematographer would employ
                                                                                                             today, the challenge was significantly
                                                                                                             greater because Zsigmond was working
                                                                                                             with Kodak stock that had a “fast” ISO
                                                                                                             of just 100. “Today, we can shoot at 500,
                                                                                                             800 or more,” Zsigmond notes, “but
                                                                                                             back then we had a lot more limita-
                                                                                                                      He continues, “We brought in
                                                                                                             the biggest lights we could get — 5Ks,
                                                                                                             10Ks. We had a crane with lights
                                                                                                             mounted on it. We had planned ahead
                                                                                                             so we wouldn’t have to light while
                                                                                                             people were standing around; you work
                                                                                                             out most of those logistics in preproduc-
                                                                                                             tion. Many times we’d go and [fine-
                                                                                                             tune] the lights the night before
                                                                                                             shooting, because you can’t really light
                                                                                                             for night during the daytime. If I were
                                                                                                             shooting that same scene today, I would
                                                                                                             still light it with big units, but nowadays
                                                                                                             we have better, more efficient lights.
                                                                                                             These days I could get the scene up to a
                                                                                                             stop of T2.8, T4 or even [deeper stops]
                                                                                                             because I’d be working at a faster ISO.”
                                                                                                                      A great deal of Blow Out is set at
                                                                                                             night, but it was shot in widescreen
                                                                                                             anamorphic with Panavision lenses.
                                                                                                             Zsigmond’s camera truck on Blow Out
                                                                                                             was generally equipped with two
                                                                                                             Panavision zooms, but their maximum
                                                                                                             apertures — T4.5 and T5.6 — meant
                                                                                                             they weren’t much use on a night shoot
                                                                                                             at ISO 100. Instead, Zsigmond says,
                                                                                                             “we shot a lot of our night footage with
                                                                                                             prime lenses,” and he often found
                                                                                                             himself at a stop of T2 for night exteri-
                                                                                                             ors, despite the tight depth-of-field. “It
 Top: In a signature split-diopter shot from the movie, Jack records nighttime sounds, including an owl’s    took quite a bit of lighting just to get to
  hoots. Middle: The politician’s car plunges off a nearby bridge and into the icy river. Bottom: Travolta   that stop,” he adds.
 (left), Zsigmond (raising arms) and crewmembers prepare to capture underwater shots of Jack rescuing
                                                    Sally.                                                            In order to accomplish a number
                                                                                                             of shots that called for foreground and

70      November 2011                                                  American Cinematographer
background elements to be kept in
sharp focus, Zsigmond utilized split
diopters — accessory lens elements
placed in front of the taking lens that
allow the cinematographer to divide the
frame and keep separate objects in focus
even if they are at different distances.
The use of split diopters requires preci-
sion during setup, as well as some care-
ful camouflage to hide the inevitable
seam in the frame. “You have to plan
these shots ahead of time and find a way
to hide the vertical line,” the cinematog-
rapher says. “That’s the most important
thing. The actors cannot cross that line,

    “I flashed certain
  things to get more
    speed out of the                                                                                                   An overhead
                                                                                                                       angle and

  film, more shadow                                                                                                    several 360-
                                                                                                                       degree camera
                                                                                                                       moves capture
           detail.”                                                                                                    Jack’s dismay as
                                                                                                                       he discovers
                                                                                                                       that someone
                                                                                                                       has broken into
                                                                                                                       his studio and
                                                                                                                       erased his entire
                                                                                                                       library of
because it would look terrible.                                                                                        audiotapes. The
                                                                                                                       camera makes
       “Today,” he muses, “we might be                                                                                 five full
able to stop down to a T8 and get a                                                                                    revolutions
similar look. Or we could use a tilt/shift                                                                             during the
lens to keep the foreground and back-                                                                                  choreographed
ground in focus. You could also simply                                                                                 sequence.
add a foreground element into the scene
as a visual effect. But those options
weren’t available to us.”
       To overcome the constraints of
the era’s slower film stocks, Zsigmond
also exploited a technique he’d used on a
number of prior projects: flashing the
film. The lab would use a printer to add
a tiny bit of exposure to the original
camera negative, which would primarily
affect the least-dense portions of the
image (the shadow areas on the nega-         essence, allowing Zsigmond to treat his    subjected to the process. Applied in
tive). This had the effect of slightly       negative as though it had a somewhat       small amounts, the technique can open
reducing the contrast in those portions      higher ISO.                                up the shadows a bit and subtly enhance
of the frame, yielding more shadow                 The effects of flashing depend       the exposure index; in greater amounts,
detail and less overall contrast — in        upon the degree to which the negative is   it can lend scenes an almost foggy feel,

                                                                                           November 2011        71
◗    Caught on Tape
                                                    an effect Zsigmond sought for some of
                                                    his films with Robert Altman. “I flashed
                                                    certain things to get more speed out of
                                                    the film, more shadow detail,” he says.
                                                    “If we had a big scene — like the fire-
                                                    works at the end of Blow Out, where we
                                                    had to show a whole city block at the
                                                    port — I would flash the film at least 10
                                                    percent to get a good exposure and detail
                                                    in the shadows.”
                                                           Today, a colorist in a DI suite can
                                                    exert a great deal of control over specific
                                                    portions of the negative, but in 1981, the
                                                    only way to alter these specific properties
                                                    was to manipulate the film’s response to
                                                    light. To provide some context for those

                                                        “Brian always
                                                      wants to do the
                                                       kinds of things
    Top: De Palma
   and Zsigmond
 pose in front of                                        love to do!”
     a Liberty Bell
        prop while
    setting up the
 film’s ambitious
        climax, set
     Philadelphia’s                                 not familiar with shooting and finishing
     “Liberty Day”                                  in the photochemical realm, ASC asso-
Bottom: To cover
                                                    ciate member Rob Hummel addresses
   the action, the                                  the risks associated with the process:
  crew exploited                                    “Under normal circumstances, before it
      the Little Big
  Crane, a clever
                                                    was processed, exposed film would be
           piece of                                 inspected in a totally dark room. Gloved
        equipment                                   technicians would look for physical
   engineered by
 key grip Richard
                                                    tears, breaks or abrasions that could
   “Dicky” Deats,                                   cause a problem when the roll was
whose invention                                     subsequently put through the develop-
     earned him a
   1982 Academy
                                                    ing solutions and then loaded onto a
          Technical                                 printer to strike dailies.
     Achievement                                           “If the film was going to be
                                                    flashed, you would thread the exposed,
                                                    unprocessed neg onto a printer,”
                                                    Hummel continues. “The printer would
                                                    then run the unexposed film through at
                                                    300 feet per minute, before it had even
                                                    been inspected! If there was any prob-
                                                    lem with that negative, or any mistake in

72       November 2011   American Cinematographer
the flashing, you could lose an enormous
amount of work. But somehow, it never
happened! God always smiled on people
flashing their negative.”
       Cinematographer Jan Kiesser,
ASC, CSC, who served as Zsigmond’s
operator on Blow Out, recalls that he
used a combination of the Panaflex
camera and a Panaflex X — a smaller,
lighter body — on the film. Though the
eyepiece on the X was fixed, Kiesser felt
it had better optics. “I was better able to
judge the focus with the X,” he says. “It
was nice to have the Panaflex as a fall-
back for handheld work or if we required
some eyepiece adjustment, but other-
wise, I preferred working with the X.”
       Zsigmond and De Palma both
liked Panavision’s 30mm anamorphic
prime lens — a significantly wide-angle
focal length for anamorphic work. “I
shot a lot of Blow Out with that lens,”
Zsigmond recalls. “I love that lens for
shooting locations and real interiors, or
even a set sometimes, because you can
get everything into the shot. I love the
distortion. I never want to just shoot a
talking head, and Brian was always the
same way. He liked the wide-angle
lenses and the way they place you in the
middle of the action. He always wants to
do the kinds of things cinematographers           Jack uses sophisticated audio equipment to monitor Sally’s meeting with Burke. After his frenzied
love to do!”                                     pursuit of the pair leads him to crash his jeep through a department-store window, Jack awakens to
       Along with their preference for                           discover Sally is in great danger, and he frantically tries to reach her.
packing more information into the
frame (instead of relying more heavily        rewarding: “The fewer cuts you have in            sions, like eyelines and framing, but
upon editing to determine what gets           a film, the more interesting it is to watch       nobody else was going to see the shot
seen and when), De Palma and                  the scene. It’s like watching real life —         until dailies! We were also shooting
Zsigmond enjoy shooting action in a           you get up close to people and to the             wide open, so we needed to be very crit-
single take, often with virtuoso camera       action and let the scene play out. Lately         ical about focus.”
movement. “We would sometimes do              I’ve enjoyed working with Woody                          Michael Gershman was the first
shots that lasted four or five minutes,”      Allen, because he really is aiming for            AC on Blow Out and worked frequently
the cinematographer recalls. “Brian is        one shot with no coverage. No close-              with Kiesser. “Michael and I started our
very good at that — he knows exactly          ups, no over-the-shoulders. He wants to           careers together in animation,” says
what he wants. It’s very easy for me to       move the camera, and he does it in one            Kiesser, “and we were on many crews
light those kinds of shots on his movies,     continuous shot.”                                 together. Like all great focus pullers,
because I know exactly where he wants                For Kiesser, shots like this meant         Michael had an uncanny knack for
the camera to go. And I know he’s going       a significant amount of responsibility.           focus — it was like a sixth sense. On
to use it all because he loves using those    “When we were making Blow Out,” he                Blow Out, he really had to multi-task,
shots — and there’s no way to cut away.       says, “we didn’t have video playback. It          because some of those shots required
Sometimes he’d go five, six, eight or even    was really on your shoulders as an oper-          zooming, focus-pulling and stop
10 takes, knowing that the scene would        ator to critically judge composition              changes all at once.”
play out as one shot on the screen.”          throughout the shot. You had the best                    Many of De Palma’s films
       Zsigmond finds this approach           seat in the house for all the critical deci-      contain at least one setup that spins the

                                                                                                        November 2011          73
◗     Caught on Tape
 A massive fireworks
   display adds visual
     excitement to the
  movie’s climax, but
             for logistical
 reasons, portions of
the sequence had to
            be shot on a
         soundstage. To
              capture the
dramatic close-up of
    Travolta and Allen
  framed against the
          sky, Zsigmond
 placed the actors on
  a turntable in front
 of a bluescreen. The
   camera was placed
    in a static position
    on one side of the
turntable, facing the
     bluescreen, as the
      actors were spun
            360 degrees.
            “Because the
lighting was moving
     with the actors, it
        looked as if the
  camera was circling
      them,” Zsigmond
          explains. “The
         fireworks were
        added in post.”

                                                                                               audio evidence to a TV reporter. A drop
                                                                                               is planned in a public place, with Sally
                                                                                               wired for sound and Jack stationed
                                                                                               nearby so he can monitor the exchange.
                                                                                               Neither of them realizes, however, that
                                                                                               the reporter is actually Burke, who lures
                                                                                               Sally beyond audio range as Jack
                                                                                               desperately tries to catch up to the pair.
                                                                                                      Jack’s pursuit leads him into the
                                                                                               heart of Philadelphia’s enormous
                                                                                               “Liberty Day” celebration, which
                                                                                               includes a parade. The chase begins in
         camera 360 degrees. In Blow Out, an        complete revolutions before settling on    the daytime with Jack driving through
         example of this signature piece of         a receptionist who enters the studio.      the parade marchers. To cover the
         camerawork occurs when Jack realizes       “The space wasn’t big enough to lay        action, the crew made use of a Little Big
         someone has broken into his studio and     down tracks,” Keisser recalls. “We had     Crane, designed by key grip Richard
         erased all of his tapes in an attempt to   the camera in the middle of the room,      “Dicky” Deats, who later earned an
         delete the incriminating piece of audio.   and we kept panning around and             Academy Technical Achievement
         As the shot spins around the room, the     zooming to keep up with the action. In     Award for his invention. “The Little
         camera shows Travolta opening cans,        those days, the camera didn’t have a       Big Crane let us get into places we
         then whooshes past him at an increasing    battery; it was powered from an external   might not have been able to access with
         speed, picks up a few details of the       source, so we had to twist the power       a larger crane,” says Kiesser. “We had
         studio here and there, catches up to him   cable around the tripod and then           also used it a lot with Vilmos on
         playing a tape machine, and moves past     untwist it during the shot.”               Heaven’s Gate. This was before remote
         him again. The bravura move continues             Jack and Sally’s troubles come to   heads, so I would ride the crane and
         around the room this way for five          a head when they arrange to give their     time the camera movement to the

74        November 2011                                      American Cinematographer
     ◗   Caught on Tape
                                                                                                        wasn’t involved in timing it, but Brian
                                                                                                        must have been, or somebody who
                                                                                                        understood what we were going for,
                                                                                                        because the colors are more intense
                                                                                                        than we could get them [photochemi-
                                                                                                        cally]. Today, we would finish with a
                                                                                                        DI, and we would have more control.”
                                                                                                               At the end of the chase, Jack
                                                                                                        cradles Sally in his arms as the camera
                                                                                                        spins 360 degrees and reveals the fire-
                                                                                                        works above them. The shot was one of
                                                                                                        the film’s few optical effects. “The
                                                                                                        production couldn’t possibly create real
                                                                                                        fireworks in the sky as we spun the
           Another split-diopter shot shows Burke plotting his next murder in the train station.        camera,” Zsigmond explains. “We put
                                                                                                        the actors and their lighting on a
                                                                                                        turntable in front of a bluescreen, and
         crane’s position. My strongest memory             “I brought in as many big lights as I        we positioned the camera on one side
         of [shooting Blow Out] is sitting up              could to bring up the darker areas,”         of the turntable facing the bluescreen,
         there in the cold and wind.”                      Zsigmond says, noting that he still had      where it remained static as we turned
                For close-ups of Travolta running          to shoot wide open, which left the fire-     the actors around 360 degrees. Because
         through the crowd, Zsigmond                       works more blown out than he would           the lighting was moving with the
         suggested the fireworks’ effect with              have preferred. “I never liked the look of   actors, it looked as if the camera was
         interactive lighting. For wider shots, the        some of those shots as much as I did in      circling them. The fireworks were
         production made use of real fireworks.            the Blu-ray that came out recently. I        added in post.”

           Adding a bizarre twist to the
    production of Blow Out — and
    expanding the list of challenges the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Zsigmond and
    film posed its makers — the parade-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1st AC Michael
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gershman line
    sequence footage went missing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      up a shot with
    Hummel recalls, “All the negative for                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Allen, who later
    the parade shoot — the B negative,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  scribbled an
    circled takes, everything — was in a                                                                                                                                                                                                                                note on this
    van on its way to JFK to be flown to an                                                                                                                                                                                                                             photo that
    edit suite in L.A, where it would be cut.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           captures the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        moment: “To
    The driver stopped at a Dunkin’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Vilmos — a
    Donuts on his way to the airport and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                great artist and
    left the van unattended, and while he                                                                                                                                                                                                                               a truly gentle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        man. With love
    was in there somebody stole the van. It                                                                                                                                                                                                                             and respect,
    was unbelievable!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nancy.”
           The van was eventually located,
    but one crucial reel of film was missing,
    so Blow Out’s climactic sequence had
    to be painstakingly reshot by                                                                 doing the work originally.                                                                     Brian,” he says. “But in a movie by Brian
    Zsigmond’s friend and colleague,                                                                    Zsigmond expresses a particular                                                          De Palma — or Hitchcock — it isn’t
    Laszlo Kovacs, ASC. “Laszlo had to                                                            fondness for the unabashedly stylish                                                           important that what we’re watching is
    copy every shot exactly the way it had                                                        films he shot with De Palma. “I’ve                                                             ‘real.’ We’re telling a story, and the most
    been done,” says Zsigmond admiringly,                                                         worked on so many films where we                                                               important thing is that the audience has
    noting that this can sometimes be even                                                        aimed to be ‘real,’ and we would never                                                         fun watching it.”                       ●
    more difficult and frustrating than                                                           have done some of the shots I did with

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          Kodak salutes this
      year’s Emmy-nominated
       cinematographers with
       a reception at the ASC

       Front row (left to right): Kramer Morgenthau,
         ASC; Kodak president and general manager
      Kim Snyder; David Moxness, CSC; Ed Lachman,
      ASC; Fred Murphy, ASC; Paul Sarossy, CSC, BSC;
           Kodak marketing director Judith Doherty.
          Second row: Christian La Fountaine; Kodak
            executive Michael Zakula; Kodak account
       manager Aaron Saffa; Attila Szalay, CSC, HSC;
               Kodak account manager Bruce Burke;
       Kodak account manager Michael Houser; and
                              Donald A. Morgan, ASC.

                 o honor this year’s group of Emmy-nominated         Here is a list of all the nominees (*denotes winner):
                 cinematographers, the Eastman Kodak Co. hosted
                 an evening reception at the ASC Clubhouse in
                 Hollywood on Sept. 9.                               Outstanding Cinematography, Miniseries or Movie
            Guests were feted with cocktails and a catered buffet in
     an atmosphere of congenial fraternity that encouraged them        David Katznelson, BSC, DFF*
     to compare notes and talk shop. Kim Snyder, president and           Downton Abbey, “Part 1”
     general manager of Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging business,          (BBC/PBS)
     summed up the festivities by noting, “For 30 years, Kodak has
     hosted a celebration honoring cinematographers whose work         Ed Lachman, ASC
     and amazing images were recognized by the TV Academy                Mildred Pierce, “Part Five”
     with Emmy nominations. For the first time, this year’s dinner       (HBO)
     was hosted at the ASC Clubhouse, making it an even more
     [meaningful] evening for all the honorees and guests.”            Kramer Morgenthau, ASC
            This year’s Emmy winners included David Katznelson,          Too Big to Fail
     BSC, DFF for the BBC miniseries Downton Abbey; Steven V.            (HBO)
     Silver, ASC for the CBS multi-camera series Two and a Half
     Men; Jonathan Freeman, ASC for the HBO single-camera              David Moxness, CSC
     series Boardwalk Empire; Zach Zamboni and Todd Liebler for          The Kennedys, “Life Sentences”
                                                                                                                             Photos by Matt Turve.

     the Travel Channel nonfiction series Anthony Bourdain: No           (ReelzChannel)
     Reservations; and the cinematography team for the Discovery
     Channel reality series Deadliest Catch.                           Attila Szalay, CSC, HSC
            ASC members earned a total of 11 nominations, and of         The Pillars of the Earth, “Legacy”
     those, Kramer Morgenthau notched two: for           Boardwalk       (Starz)
     Empire and Too Big to Fail, also an HBO production.

78   November 2011                                       American Cinematographer
                                                                                                            Top: George La
Outstanding Cinematography,                                                                                 Fountaine, ASC
Multi-Camera Series                                                                                         enjoys the evening
                                                                                                            with his daughter-in-
  Rick F. Gunter, ASC                                                                                       law, Shelley La
                                                                                                            Fountaine; his son,
    Wizards of Waverly Place,                                                                               nominee Christian La
    “Dancing with Angels”                                                                                   Fountaine; and
    (Disney Channel)                                                                                        Donald A. Morgan,
                                                                                                            ASC. Bottom: Kramer
                                                                                                            Morgenthau, ASC
  Wayne Kennan, ASC                                                                                         celebrates his double
   Rules of Engagement, “Uh Oh It’s                                                                         nomination with his
   Magic”                                                                                                   fiancée, Tracy
   (CBS)                                                                                                    Fleischman (left),
                                                                                                            and Snyder.

  Christian La Fountaine
   How I Met Your Mother,
   “Hopeless”                                Paul Sarossy, CSC, BSC
   (CBS)                                       The Borgias, “The
                                               Poisoned Chalice/The
  Donald A. Morgan, ASC                        Assassin”
   Retired at 35, “Rocket Man”                 (Showtime)
   (TV Land)

  Steven V. Silver, ASC*                   Outstanding Cinematography,
    Two and a Half Men, “Hookers,          Nonfiction Programming
    Hookers, Hookers”
    (CBS)                                    Cinematography Team
                                              Whale Wars, “To the
  John Simmons, ASC                           Ends of the Earth”               Outstanding Cinematography,
    Pair of Kings, “Return of the Kings”      (Animal Planet)                  Reality Programming
    (Disney XD)
                                             Cliff Charles                       Cinematography Team
                                              If God Is Willing and da Creek      The Amazing Race, “You Don’t
Outstanding Cinematography,                   Don’t Rise                          Get Paid Unless You Win”
Single-Camera Series                          (HBO)                               (CBS)

  Stuart Dryburgh, ASC                       Josh Fox (camera)                   Cinematography Team*
    Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk               GasLand                            Deadliest Catch, “Redemption
    Empire (Pilot)”                            (HBO)                              Day”
    (HBO)                                                                         (Discovery Channel)
                                             Nicola Marsh, Arlene Nelson
  Jonathan Freeman, ASC*                      American Masters, “Troubadors:     Cinematography Team
    Boardwalk Empire, “Home”                  Carol King, James Taylor & the      Survivor, “Rice Wars”
    (HBO)                                     Rise of the Singer-Songwriter”      (CBS)
  Kramer Morgenthau, ASC                                                         Joia Speciale
   Boardwalk Empire, “A Return To            Michael Snyman                        Intervention, “Rachel”
   Normalcy”                                  Gettysburg                           (A&E)
   (HBO)                                      (History)
                                                                                 Tim Spellman
  Fred Murphy, ASC                           Zach Zamboni, Todd Liebler*           Top Chef, “Give Me Your
    The Good Wife, “Double                    Anthony Bourdain: No                 Huddled Masses”
    Jeopardy”                                 Reservations, “Haiti”                (Bravo)
    (CBS)                                     (Travel Channel)                                                        ●

                                                                                 November 2011          79
         Filmmakers’ Forum
                                                                                    comment on the action, act out a morality tale. Guy spent years
                                                                                    building a story around the concept — a stylized plot about a myste-
                                                                                    rious stranger engaged in a blood feud with a crime lord. The result-
                                                                                    ing tale blends themes, characters, colors and designs from Japan-
                                                                                    ese Samurai legends, the Old West, classic movies, cartoons, theater,
                                                                                    classical art and the circus, among other references. It’s an indepen-
                                                                                    dently made film that, logistically and creatively, could only be made
                                                                                    as a hybrid of live action and CGI.
                                                                                            Building this world entirely on stages would have been far
                                                                                    too expensive, so visual effects played an important part in creating
                                                                                    the illusion. Guy therefore assembled a creative team that also
                                                                                    included visual-effects supervisor Oliver Hotz; co-producer Alex
                                                                                    McDowell, an acclaimed production designer who designed the
                                                                                    movie’s settings with fellow production designer Chris Farmer; and
                                                                                    other talented people with visual-effects experience. Alex introduced
                                                                                    us to innovative previsualization techniques that Guy used exten-
                                                                                    sively to design Bunraku’s surreal world — a radical, mystical
     Top: An assassin (Kevin McKidd, center) and a gang of thugs defend a crime
      lord in a scene from Bunraku, shot by Juan-Ruiz Anchia, ASC. Directed by      universe that can fold and unfold itself, much like the structure of
      Guy Moshe, the movie is inspired by an ancient Japanese form of puppet        paper, and go on endlessly. The martial-arts sequences would be
     theater. Bottom: A panoramic photo shows one of the production’s 30-plus       filmed like dance performances on stages, and the omniscient

                                                                                                                                                             Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Arc Entertainment and the filmmakers.
             sets, built on stages at MediaPro Studios in Buftea, Romania.
                                                                                    camera would roam freely through 360 degrees most of the time,
                                                                                    with transitions created in-frame rather than through a more stan-

                  I   The Bunraku Experience
                      By Juan Ruiz-Anchia, ASC
                                                                                    dard series of cuts. We added a unique palette of colors to this
                                                                                    world, as well as different skies that constantly change and evolve.
                                                                                            It was a tall order on a modest budget, and I found myself at
                  When director Guy Moshe contacted me a few years ago and          the center of the whole enterprise, since camera movement and
          invited me to serve as cinematographer on the featureBunraku, I was       color were so crucial to the direction of the story. We ended up
          surprised and pleased to discover he had great knowledge of the           shooting with two units, seemingly around the clock, on more than
          movies I’d previously photographed. He was also glad that I’d already     30 sets at MediaPro Studios in Buftea, Romania. During the post-
          worked with one of his lead actors, Josh Hartnett, but most impor-        production phase, we collaborated with Oliver Hotz and his team at
          tantly, he was complimentary about my lighting skills, since lighting     Origami Digital, in Los Angeles, to create the environments and
          would be a major element of Bunraku. I was intrigued and eager to         make sure they matched up with the imagery we’d captured on
          work on the project, a very ambitious and experimental movie that         stage.
          aimed to combine real-world photography, sets and actors with an                  Despite the movie’s virtual nature, we decided to shoot the
          ornately stylized virtual world and a color palette that was about as     live-action components on film, in Super 35mm, using Kodak
          far from routine as you can get.                                          Vision2 500T 5218, utilizing Cooke S4 lenses and Angenieux
                  Bunraku is an action-fantasy based on an ancient form of          Optimo zooms with our Arriflex cameras. After tests, we selected
          Japanese puppet theater known as Bunraku, in which puppets,               the Vision2 stock because, for our purposes, we felt it demonstrated
          manipulated by onstage puppeteers who sometimes narrate or                a superior ability to reproduce shadows compared to Vision3.

80        November 2011                                                American Cinematographer
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 landscapes but in having new eyes.”
 —marcel proust, author
 When you change the way you look at things,
 the things you look at change.
 Register for tickets at

                                                 JA NUA RY 19–29 , 2012 PA RK C IT Y, U TA H
                                                                                                        on all the greenscreen footage we shot. In
                                                                                                        particular, we had to make sure the post
                                                                                                        team could match or complement the
                                                                                                        colors I had used on set as they built the CG
                                                                                                        elements and color-corrected the frames. In
                                                                                                        other words, if I used a specific mix of pink
                                                                                                        and blue in the foreground, then the back-
                                                                                                        ground would have to match. It was
                                                                                                        complicated work, but Oliver’s group at
                                                                                                        Origami did a great job with it.
                                                                                                                Guy and I decided to abandon the
                                                                                                        logic of light directionality that you find in
                                                                                                        the real world, since our story was not set in
                                                                                                        reality and we were making no pretenses
                                                                                                        that it was. We both felt this strategy would
                                                                                                        be the best way to achieve a theatrical look
                                                                                                        befitting Guy’s design for the movie.
                                                                                                                Overall, the lighting in this film was a
                                                                                                        unique attempt to create graphical aesthet-
                                                                                                        ics with lighting. “I find our film to be lean-
                                                                                                        ing more on classical artworks, varying from
                                                                                                        Lyonel Feininger paintings to Robert
                                                                                                        Wilson’s avant-garde theater,” Guy added
         Top right: Ruiz-Anchia searches for a frame. Left: The circus was one of the many
      influences for Bunraku, evidenced in these before-and-after frame grabs that highlight            when he sent me his thoughts. “But in
                                  the importance of visual effects.                                     mixing all these influences with lighting
                                                                                                        schemes and in-camera light changes that
      However, during some post filming we did         sought were a wide range of gels, repre-         echo the theater and the circus, we actually
      in California, we incorporated Vision3 500T      senting the many colors we chose during          ended up with the cinematic equivalent of
      5219 because of its superior grain structure     our extensive research phase — colors that       graphics, rather than a cinematic interpreta-
      for visual-effects work.Bear in mind that        change and evolve from the beginning of          tion of graphics. I find that the combination
      we launched into production three years          the movie to the end. The film’s unusual         of near-film-noir shadow and painting
      ago, and we did not want to risk latitude        look was based on Alex’s designs, which          images with two or three colors in every
      problems with the lower ASA capabilities of      were influenced by the paintings of Lyonel       scene created the kind of beautiful experi-
      the digital cameras available at the time. If    Feininger. Guy, Chris and I shared this          ence that one does not find so often in the
      we were making this movie today, we              palette with Oliver and his team, and they       new days of the DI, where cinematogra-
      might well have considered using a digital       used the color scheme I developed on set to      phers often leave the risk-taking to post.”
      camera system, but at that time, the best        build the story’s virtual world. This strategy           The most experimental aspect of the
      available solution was to shoot film.            allowed us to achieve, in-camera, much of        whole venture was probably our camera
              Lighting was a massive job, given        the color you see on the big screen.             moves. As I mentioned above, the perspec-
      the amount of greenscreen and visual-                    As we experimented with different        tive was “omniscient” — the camera roams
      effects work we had to do. But the tools         colors, we had to keep in mind the post-         through space and travels from one scene
      that most helped me achieve the look we          production work that would be performed          to another, switching perspectives and

82   November 2011                                                American Cinematographer
                                                                                                              scopic shadows over the action of the fight.
                                                                                                              For another sequence set at a beach training
                                                                                                              camp for fighters, we cabled the camera so
                                                                                                              it could fly across the large set toward the
                                                                                                              main actors, who were watching the action
                                                                                                              over a hill. That kind of work was routine on
                                                                                                              this production, and the execution of these
                                                                                                              techniques — by gaffer Florin Nicolae, key
                                                                                                              grip Ian Bird, A-camera/Steadicam operator
                                                                                                              Bogdan Stanciu and 1st AC José Ramón
                                                                                                              Delgado — was crucial to our success.
                                                                                                                      Making Bunraku was a particularly
                                                                                                              fun and interesting challenge for all of us.
                                                                                                              The dichotomy involved in our work was
                                                                                                              extreme: we were shooting film on an old-
                                                                                                              fashioned stage in Romania, with a limited
                                                                                                              budget, while also attempting to pull off
                                                                                                              some truly state-of-the-art techniques.
                                                                                                              Indeed, there were no catwalks on the
                                                                                                              stages; lights were hung the old-fashioned
                                                                                                              way by Romanian crewmembers climbing
                                                                                                              walls and ladders. The greenscreens were
                                                                                                              often as large as 60' by 60', and everything
                                                                                                              had tracking markers on it. The same guys
                                                                                                              who climbed the screens to hang lights also
                                                                                                              adjusted the markers for us.
                                                                                                                      We constantly had our two units
                                                                                                              rotating around on the various stages we set
                                                                                                              up at MediaPro, working long hours to
                                                                                                              maintain our schedule, but all the effort
                                                                                                              paid off. It was a true team effort. 2nd-unit
                                                                                                              director of photography Guy Livneh did an
                                                                                                              excellent job, along with crewmembers
                                                                                                              from the U.S., Romania, England, Spain and
                                                                                                              other countries. Arri Munich kept us well
                                                                                                              supplied, and Kodak Bucharest developed
                                                                                                              our negative and dailies.
                                                                                                                      In Los Angeles, Modern VideoFilm’s
                                                                                                              fine colorist, Joe Finley, helped us finish the
                                                                                                              look; producer Keith Calder was also a great
                                                                                                              help during the post process. Our prints
                                                                                                              were struck at Deluxe, where ASC associate
                                                                                                              member Beverly Wood, the company’s
     Top: Gelled space lights support Ruiz-Anchia’s colorful approach to the film’s lighting. Bottom: Moshe
                              (holding finder) finds an angle on Woody Harrelson.
                                                                                                              executive vice president of technical
                                                                                                              services, took very good care of us.          ●

           reorienting geography. When the camera             elaborate lighting schemes, combined with
           breaks the horizon, speeding along at a            unique lighting instruments and camera
           certain distance from the ground, it essen-        rigging, so that the camera could travel 360
           tially transforms the story’s universe. We         degrees. For example, for a crucial fight
           were able to figure out such movement —            scene that takes place outside a bar in the
           and the lighting schemes necessary to              rain, we had to create the effect of a train
           accommodate it — during the 3-D previsu-           passing by. To accomplish this, we rigged a
           alization process.                                 powerful tungsten 12K Fresnel to move
                    At times, we needed particularly          quickly across the set, producing strobo-

84        November 2011                                                  American Cinematographer
New Products & Services
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                                                                                                            Please e-mail New Products/Services releases to:
                                                                                                 and include full contact
                                                                                                           information and product images. Photos must be
                                                                                                                  TIFF or JPEG files of at least 300dpi.

            OConnor Offers Ultimate Control                                     distinctive red footpads with retractable spikes.
            OConnor, a Vitec Group brand, has introduced the Ultimate                   The lightweight tripod weighs only 5.1 pounds and offers a
     1030 D and 1030 Ds fluid heads, which are designed especially for          height range from 10.6" to 67.3". The tripod is also available in a
     use with lightweight, large-format-sensor cameras such as the Red          system with a Sachtler FSB 4, Cine DSLR, FSB 6 or FSB 8 fluid head
     Epic and Sony F3.                                                          plus the convenient DV 75 L padded carrier.
            Updating and replacing OConnor’s popular Ultimate                           For additional information, visit
     1030HD and HDs heads, the new line offers a sporty industrial
                                        design and a range of features                  3ality Digital Acquires Element Technica
                                        borrowed from larger OConnor                    3ality Digital has acquired Element Technica. The combined
                                        fluid heads. Features include the       company, which has been rebranded 3ality Technica, provides all of
                                        step-less, ultra-smooth pan-and-        the control, accuracy, breadth, automation, modularity, accessories
                                        tilt fluid drag specifically enhanced   and design of both existing product lines.
                                        to provide ultimate control and                 In acquiring Element Technica, 3ality Digital gains an in-house
                                        stability for digital cinematogra-      manufacturing and design capability, as well as the opportunity to
                                        phy shooting; the patented              further expand its already sizable R&D infrastructure. The companies
                                        OConnor Sinusoidal Counterbal-          will combine in an expansion to the 3ality Digital headquarters in
                                        ance system, which provides             Burbank, Calif.
                                        accurate balance at any point in                “We have always had great respect for Element Technica and
                                        the tilt range; and the ability to      their achievements,” says ASC associate member Steve Schklair,
                                        counterbalance down to zero.            CEO of 3ality Technica. “The complete compatibility and lack of
            The 1030 D series also features a new ergonomic crank-style         redundancy between the companies has made this an ideal acquisi-
     counterbalance control that pulls out of the rear of the head, action      tion, strengthening the company’s position to provide the most
     brakes for pan-and-tilt unlock via a single-handed squeeze, and the        advanced and dependable [3-D] solutions to the market. Perhaps the
     OConnor drag system for constant control.                                  greatest benefit of this acquisition will be to the motion picture and
            The 1030 D supports a payload of up to 30 pounds at a 6"            broadcast producers who will now have an unprecedented amount
     center of gravity with a +/-90-degree tilt range. The 1030 Ds              of tools and technology tailored to meet their specific needs.”
     supports up to 41 pounds at a 6" center of gravity with a +/-60-                   The combined expertise of 3ality Technica includes work for
     degree tilt range.                                                         Hollywood feature films and television, live-broadcast sports events
            Like the rest of the OConnor Ultimate heads, the 1030 D and         and concert performances, and NASA. “We have already integrated
     Ds have interchangeable bases, accept the same front-box mount as          some of the best aspects of both companies’ product offerings, so
     larger heads and offer full compatibility with other OConnor 1030          the market will see an immediate improvement in tool sets, compo-
     accessories.                                                               nent integration and customer service,” says Schklair.
            For additional information, visit                             Element Technica is also well known for its line of both 2-D
                                                                                and 3-D accessories, and 3ality Technica plans to continue this prod-
                                     Sachtler Steadies                          uct line under the existing Element Technica banner.
                                     Lightweight Tripod                                 For additional information, visit
                                     Sachtler, a Vitec Group brand, has
                             introduced the TT 75/2 CF, a lightweight,
                             two-stage carbon-fiber tripod ideally suited              Alan Gordon Cages DSLRs
                             to lightweight digital cameras, including                 Alan Gordon Enterprises, Inc. has
                             video-enabled DSLRs. The tripod features a         introduced the Hollywood HDSLR Cage.
                             75mm bowl and three-section single                        Designed for Canon EOS 5D
                             carbon-fiber tubes.                                Mark II and 7D DSLR cameras, the Holly-
                                     The TT 75/2 CF offers Sachtler’s hall-     wood HDSLR Cage features an HDMI
                             mark stability and easy setup. Varying leg         cable protector and multiple ¼"-20 and
                             angles can be quickly deployed and                 3⁄8"-16 threaded holes for mounting

                             adjusted. The tripod comes with Sachtler’s         accessories. The hard-anodized cage is

86   November 2011                                               American Cinematographer
precision-machined and boasts lightweight
construction. Alan Gordon offers a number
of accessories for the cage, including a
battery mount and a mini rod adapter.
        The Hollywood HDSLR Cage is avail-
able through Alan Gordon for a recom-
mended price of $489. For more informa-
tion, visit

                                                          Come visit our showroom or call for our latest Magliner product catalog
                                                We are the largest retailer specializing in Magliner customized products and accessories for the Film and Television Industry in the world

       Zacuto Upgrades
       Z-Finder Firmware
       Zacuto has released the free
firmware upgrade number 1.01.00 for the
company’s popular Z-Finder EVF electronic
       “With these frequent firmware
upgrades, we can constantly make improve-
ments to our Z-Finder EVF,” says Patrick Fee,
product designer for Zacuto. “Anytime we
find something that people want or a prob-
lem that we can fix, we can just upgrade the
firmware and our clients can download it
from the website.”
       This firmware upgrade boasts new
audio meters and a battery meter that can
be positioned in any of the four corners of
the EVF screen, an audio loop-through
feature, implemented underscan, and Red
One and Sony FS100 scaling presets. As
suggested by customers, the firmware
upgrade also allows users to save and recall
chroma, contrast and brightness settings as
presets; changes to color, brightness and
contrast will now save when the EVF is
powered down, and return when it is next
powered up.
       For additional information, and to
download the free upgrade, visit

      Chrosziel’s Aladin Offers
      Lens Control
      Chrosziel has introduced the versatile
Aladin MK II remote lens control, which
     comprises a modular handset and a small
     receiver that can control up to eight motors.
             The easy-to-use Aladin MK II cali-
     brates motors automatically, allowing users
     to simply plug in and start shooting. For
     more advanced setups, the receiver features
     a built-in display with a straightforward
     operating menu, so settings can be adjusted
     quickly and easily. Furthermore, the Aladin
     MK II allows users to control and power the
     internal zoom, focus and iris motors of digi-
     tal Canon and Fujinon lenses. Communica-
     tion and power run through the serial auxil-
     iary port of the Aladin’s control box.
             The Aladin MK II’s eight channels of
     control make the system 3-D compatible,
     allowing simultaneous control over focus,
     zoom and aperture on two lenses while also
     controlling the angles and distance between
     the cameras.
             The Aladin’s handheld modules are
     equipped with military-grade connectors for
     maximum reliability. An RF spectrum
     analyzer can help identify sources of wireless
     interference and pick the best transmission
     channel at any particular location. The
     Aladin also allows users to cable to the
     camera via the BNC connector.
             At press time, Chrosziel was also in
     the process of integrating an option to
     record time code and metadata.
             For additional information, visit

             Vocas Expands Accessory Line
             Vocas Systems has introduced the
     Flexible Gear Ring, the Pro Rail Support, the
     E-to-PL-Mount Adapter and the Shoulder
             The Flexible Gear Ring can be
     attached directly to a lens, making the lens
     compatible with a follow-focus system. The
     Pro Rail Support allows 15mm rods to be
     mounted beneath an array of cameras from
     a host of manufacturers. Attaching the Pro

                                                       LevelJib Completes LevelCam Kit
                                                       The LevelCam camera stabilizer is
                                              now available in a LevelCam Complete kit,
                                              which connects to a tripod and turns the
                                              system into a jib. Each component is
                                              detachable via a quick-release lock, making
                                              the system extremely versatile and portable.
                                              LevelCam works with most palm-sized
                                              cameras and DSLRs weighing up to 9
                                                       “LevelCam started as a personal
                                              solution for moving from a tripod directly to
Rail Support further enables users to         handheld shooting without interruption,”
employ such accessories as the E-to-PL-       says Tim Nixon, owner of Baughan Produc-
Mount Adapter; the Adapter allows PL-         tions, Inc. and the inventor of the LevelCam.   hold than most camcorders. These cameras
mount lenses to be mounted on cameras         “LevelCam evolved into LevelCam                 also need extra equipment, like and audio
with an E-mount. Finally, the Shoulder        Complete, with a counter-weighted mono-         recorder and microphone, to be truly useful
Support distributes the camera’s weight       pod called LevelPod. Connecting LevelPod        for a one-person crew. LevelCam’s design
and enables comfortable operating. The        to most any medium-sized tripod now turns       allows for plenty of space for these acces-
Support works with commonly used 15mm         it into LevelJib.                               sories.”
rails, and it can be quickly attached to or            “Producing video content is my day             LevelCam is sold on its own for
removed from the rails without the need to    job, and LevelCam evolved out of my need        $79.95, or in the LevelCam Complete kit,
disassemble the entire system.                to minimize handheld twitch in small video      which includes the LevelPod and LevelJib
        For additional information, visit     cameras,” N ixon continues. “The DSLR           adapter, for $399.95. For more informa-                                revolution has made my job even more chal-      tion, visit and
                                              lenging, as the camera is harder to hand-                         ●
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90     November 2011                     American Cinematographer
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      Advertiser’s Index
     16x9, Inc. 90                 Deluxe C2                    P+S Technik 91
     Abel Cine Tech 9              Digital Vision 58            Panasonic Broadcast 5
     AC 1, 88                      Eastman Kodak C4             PED Denz 90, 91
     AFI 55                        EFD USA, Inc 19              Pille Film Gmbh 90
     Aja Video Systems, Inc. 29                                 Pro8mm 90
                                   Film Gear 53                 Production Resource Group
     Alan Gordon Enterprises 91    Filmotechnic 90
     Arri 39                                                         59
                                   Filmtools 6
     Assimilate 44                 Friends of the ASC 57        Regent University 77
     AZGrip 91                                                  Rosco 30
                                   Glidecam Industries 23
     Backstage Equipment, Inc.     Government Technology Expo   Schneider Optics 2
         87                            93                       Sony Electronics 13
     Barger-Lite 6, 90             Grip Factory Munich 6        Super16 Inc. 91
     Blackmagic Design 11                                       Sundance Film Festival
     Burrell Enterprises 90        Hive Lighting 87                81
     Cameraimage 85                Innovision 91                SXSW Film Festival 89
     Cavision Enterprises 21       J.L. Fisher 45               Tessive 87
     Chapman/Leonard Studio                                     Thales Angenieux 15
         Equipment Inc. 17         Kino Flo 67                  Tiffen 7, C3
     Chemical Wedding 83           Lights! Action! Co. 90       VF Gadgets, Inc. 90
     Cinematography                Lowel 7
         Electronics 88                                         Willy’s Widgets 90
                                   Matthews Studio Equipment 4, 75, 95
     Cinekinetic 90
     Clairmont Film & Digital 41                                Zacuto Films 91
                                   Movie Tech AG 91
     Codex Digital Ltd., 25
     Convergent Design 27          NBC Universal 43
     Cooke Optics 31               Nevada Film Commission 76
                                   New York Film Academy 66
                                   Oppenheimer Camera Prod.
                                      53, 90

                           Clubhouse News
                                                     and photography at San Jose State Univer-        Forces, and then joined the research-and-
                                                     sity. After graduating, he began a three-        development department of lighting manu-
                                                     year apprenticeship shooting documen-            facturer LTM. He moved into sales manage-
                                                     taries, industrials and commercials for Lock-    ment at LTM and was then transferred to a
                                                     heed Missiles and Space Co.’s film division.     U.S. subsidiary, where he assumed the title
                                                     Weaver moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and          of president in 1980. In 1992, he founded
                                                     found work shooting local commercials and        K 5600, where he continues to serve as
                                                     low-budget features. To further hone his         president.
                                                     craft, he transitioned to chief lighting tech-           Joshua Haynie currently serves as
                                                     nician, and by the end of the 1990s he was       the vice president of operations at EFilm,
                                                     working as both a gaffer and second-unit         where he oversees more than 100 team
                                                     cinematographer. He was promoted to              members and has supervised more than
                                                     director of photography on the series            300 digital intermediates for theatrical
                                                     Malcolm in the Middle , and he has since         release. Haynie’s career began as a produc-
                                                     photographed a number of series, including       tion assistant and editor, and he spent most
                                                     Notes from the Underbelly, Pushing Daisies       of the ‘90s as a director of operations for
                                                     (for which he earned an ASC nomination),         three Los Angeles-area post houses:
                                                     Californication (for which he won an Emmy)       Composite Image Systems, The Post Group
                                                     and Parenthood. A member of the Directors        and Sunset Post. In 1999, he joined
                                                     Guild of America, Weaver has also directed       Octane/Lightning Dubs as an executive
                                                     episodes of Californication and Parenthood.      producer, and in 2001 he moved on to
                                                                                                      Sunset Digital as a producer and project
         Top to bottom: Dave Perkal, ASC and                 New Associate Members                    manager. He has been with EFilm since
                Michael Weaver, ASC.                         Join Ranks                               2003.
                                                             The Society has welcomed David                   Karen McHugh was born in Palo
             Perkal, Weaver JoinSociety              Cole, Gilles Galerne, Joshua Haynie, Karen       Alto, Calif., and studied photography and

                                                                                                                                                     Photo of Clubhouse by Isidore Mankofsky, ASC; lighting by Donald M. Morgan, ASC.
             N ew active member Dave Perkal,         McHugh and Ahmad Ouri to its ranks of            dance at San Francisco State University.
     ASC was born in Los Angeles. His father         associate members.                               Following graduation, she brought her
     helped spark his passion for visual story-              David Cole began his career in           passion for photography to Los Angeles,
     telling by takinghim to see Akira Kuro-         Melbourne, Australia, in the telecine            where she accepted a position with Samy’s
     sawa’s Seven Samurai, and he honed his          department of AAV Digital Pictures. In his       Camera. She continues to work at Samy’s
     understanding of moving images by study-        five years with the company, his role            as the head of Pro Digital and Cinema Sales,
     ing at San Diego State University and the       expanded to technical director of digital        and she also serves as the store’s personal
     American Film Institute. Perkal began his       film. In 2001, Cole joined The Post House        shopper for professional photographers
     professional career as a camera assistant       Ltd. in Wellington, New Zealand,where he         and cinematographers.
     and climbed the ladder to operator while        worked as lead digital colorist on The Lord              Ahmad Ouri currently serves as
     notching cinematography creditsalong the        of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring .       Technicolor’s chief marketing officer. He
     way. He was promoted to full-time director      From there, he joined Weta Digital as super-     was born in Lebanon and earned masters
     of photography on the series Entourage.         vising and lead digital colorist, setting up     degrees in engineering and business from
     Since then he has shotepisodes of Saman-        and leading the company’s DI division for        the University of Utah. He joined Techni-
     tha Who?, Chuck, Scrubs and The Vampire         King Kong. In 2006, he moved to Los Ange-        color in 2002 and has held a number of
     Diaries, as well as a variety of features and   les to join LaserPacific, where he continues     roles within the company, including presi-
     telefilms, including Happy Campers,             to serve as senior digital colorist.             dent of Technicolor Digital Cinema, chief
     Preacher’s Kid and Teen Spirit. Perkal has              Gilles Galerne was born in               technology officer and president of Content
     also shot numerous music videos and             Vincennes, France, and attended the              Services. Before joining Technicolor, he was
     commercials.                                    University of Sciences in Paris. He served for   CEO of Philips Electronics’ digital video
             Michael Weaver, ASC was born in         one year as a lighting technician in the         server division.                          ●
     Kansas City, Mo., and studied filmmaking        Cinematography Services of the Armed

94   November 2011                                             American Cinematographer
                       Close-up                           Dan Mindel, ASC

     When you were a child, what film made the strongest impres-              What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?
     sion on you?                                                             Finishing the DI for Star Trek (2009) at Company 3.
     Bullitt (1968). I was 10 years old, and it opened my eyes to Ameri-
     can action/thriller movies. We did not have television in South Africa   Have you made any memorable blunders?
     when I was a child, so all the movies we saw were in the cinema.         Sorry, none to speak of.

     Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most                     What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
     admire?                                                                                                    When I was a focus puller on
     There are too many to list                                                                                 a movie with Adrian Biddle,
     here, but those who matter to                                                                              BSC, I told him I did not have
     me most are the ones that are                                                                              focus marks, and he said,
     changing and bringing new                                                                                  ‘Feel the Force.’ I use that
     style to the art form: ASC                                                                                 advice all the time.
     members Emmanuel Lubezki,
     Bob Richardson and Roger                                                                                      What recent books, films
     Deakins, to name a few.                                                                                       or artworks have inspired
     What sparked your interest                                                                                    I just saw Frida whilst doing
     in photography?                                                                                               research, and the color
     My father had an 8mm Bell &                                                                                   palette is a great inspiration
     Howell with which he docu-                                                                                    for me at the moment.
     mented our lives.                                                                                             Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC did
                                                                                                                   a lovely job.
     Where did you train and/or
     study?                                                                                                        Do you have any favorite
     I got a job at BFCS, a commercial-production company in London,          genres, or genres you would like to try?
     after I finished college. I began as a trainee in the camera depart-     As long as I am using film as a medium, I am inspired. Any genre
     ment.                                                                    would be good.

     Who were your early teachers or mentors?                                 If you weren’t a cinematographer, what might you be doing
     Michael Seresin, BSC; Hugh Johnson, and Tony and Ridley Scott.           instead?
                                                                              I might be a pizza chef.
     What are some of your key artistic influences?
     The classic film-noir movies I watched as a teenager in London, and      Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for
     the work of Vermeer, Picasso, Helmut Newton, John Boorman, and           membership?
     Tony and Ridley Scott.                                                   Stephen Goldblatt, Allen Daviau and David B. Nowell.

     How did you get your first break in the business?                        How has ASC membership impacted your life and career?
     Hugh Johnson invited me to assist on the reshoots of Tony Scott’s        I’ve wanted the ASC credential ever since I started in the movie
     The Hunger.                                                              industry as a student. Becoming a member is a huge accomplish-
                                                                              ment that I will always be proud of.                             ●
                                                                                                                                                    Photo by John Carter.

96   November 2011                                             American Cinematographer
                                      © Kodak, 2011. KODAK is a trademark.

               Film. No Compromise.

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