Best Wrestlers

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					                                                                                                                                                                    focus on film


Film stocks                                                                                                       Camera
KODAK VISION3 500T 7219 and KODAK VISION2 200T 7217                                                               ARRI 416 Super 16 camera

The Wrestler
   The Wrestler takes the audience behind the scenes into Randy
                                                                                                                 behind the scenes of The Ram’s world
                                                                                                                  in a way that makes an intimate connection with the audience, as
“The Ram” Robinson’s world. The Ram, portrayed by Mickey                                                          though they are moving through spaces with them. There were no
Rourke, is a former professional wrestler whose best days are                                                     storyboards. During the very few rehearsals, Alberti planned ways
behind him. But, he isn’t ready to retire from the sport, and is                                                  to give Aronofsky as much room as possible to shoot 360 degrees.
determined to get one more shot at defeating a former rival. The                                                     There was a seven-week production schedule. Alberti observes
independent feature is directed by Darren Aronofsky, and was                                                      that Aronofsky and the producers never tried to save money by
produced at practical locations mainly in New Jersey with one                                                     trimming the schedule or compromising production values. They
foray to Pennsylvania. It was shot by Maryse Alberti.                                                             cut costs by only using the tools needed to get the story on film
  An early decision was made to frame The Wrestler in                                                             and by working efficiently.
widescreen 2.4:1 aspect ratio, while shooting with a handheld                                                        She primarily had the new 7219 film on her palette, and chose
camera and giving the actors creative freedom to be spontaneous.                                                  to record daylight scenes on VISION2 200T 7217 film. Alberti
   “We briefly considered HD format but Darren and I agreed that                                                   rated the 7219 negative at E.I. 400, except for night scenes where
film was the right medium for this story,” Alberti remarks. “It’s a                                                she opted to underexpose the negative by as much as three stops.
different look that feels right for the emotional tone. The decision                                              Front-end lab work was done at PostWorks in New York.
to shoot in Super 16mm format was partially based on a modest                                                        The wrestling scenes were filmed in front of real audiences
budget, but mainly it’s a bit of an edgier look that we felt was                                                  at venues where professional wrestlers fought. One match was
right. The producers agreed upfront that we would do DI (digital                                                  filmed in “a box-like, little place” where they give tango lessons.
intermediate) timing.”                                                                                            “We covered the ceiling with fluorescent tubes and left in the
  Alberti shot side-by-side tests comparing KODAK VISION3                                                         frame two old chandeliers that were at the location, so the
500T 7219 and KODAK VISION2 500T 7218 films. The new                                                               audience gets a sense of it being a place where old and aching
film’s fine grain and enhanced exposure latitude allowed her to                                                     wrestlers end up,” Alberti says.
probe around two stops deeper into shadows and highlights, while                                                    Aronofsky gave the actors freedom to spontaneously improvise,
rendering lush colors that accurately reflect reality.                                                             and Alberti credits the great work by camera operator Peter Nolan,
  She never put a camera on a tripod. Alberti generally covered                                                   gaffer David Skutch and grip Chris Skutch.
scenes with an ARRI 416, handheld, mounted with an Ultra Prime                                                      She concludes, “Darren is a very talented, collaborative director,
12mm lens. The exceptions were staged wrestling matches when                                                      who brought out the best in everyone.”
she chose to use a second camera in the ring.
                                                                                                                      To read more on the making of The Wrestler, go to
   Alberti estimates that she used the 12mm lens 95 percent of the
time, often moving with an actor while looking over their shoulder
1 (L-R) Director Darren Aronofsky and cinematographer Maryse Alberti discuss scenes on the set of The Wrestler. Photo courtesy of NikoTavernise/Protozoa Pictures                            13

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