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					AUGUST 2010

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                       Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC
                                                                                                    y fascination with moving

                                                                                  “M                images began when I was
                                                                                                    4 years old, when my
                                                                                             father took me to see the old
                                                                                             Superman, Flash Gordon and
                                                                                             Rocket Man serials. Years later,
                                                                                             at the beginning of my
                                                                                             professional career, I discovered
                                                                                             American Cinematographer,
                                                                                             which was my first exposure to
                                                                                             the techniques behind the art of
                                                                                                     “AC helped open the
                                                                                             door that brought me to this
                                                                                             country 40 years ago, and it
                                                                                             continues to be my window onto
                                                                                             the work of the cinematographers
                                                                                             I admire and respect.”

                                                                                             — Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC
                                                               ©photo by Owen Roizman, ASC

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

W       W        W       .     T       H   E       A       S                                 C       .       C    O       M
                     It starts with the glass..
                     It starts with the glass....
                                           “Despite improved filtration                                                “I love Schneider One-Stop
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                                           bright sunlight with heavy ND.”                                             deal with lighting.”




                                                                                    “What the Classic Black
“When shooting a multi-camera                                                       Soft™ does in maintaining
series you are consistently cutting back                                            the look in HD is priceless!
and forth between cameras. I never                                                  The subtle pop reminds me
worry about matching because I always                                               of what film does. Schneider
have Schneider filters on each lens.”                                                             oy
                                                                                    is the Rolls Royce of glass.”




                                                                                                                       “I’m a long-time fan of the
                                           “The Schneider ND                                                           Classic Sof t™. It is the best
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“The Century Low Angle Prism                                                        “On day exteriors HD
is the best tool when you’re                                                        cameras are usually set on the
shooting a police drama and                                                         blue side. Drop a Sahara
you have the inevitable dead                                                        Gold in and it gives you the
body on the ground.”                                                                perfect amount of warmth.”





....but it’s nothing without the cinematographers who use it..
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Visit for these & more video interviews

                                                            The International Journal of Motion Imaging

                  On Our Cover: Covert operative Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) must run for her life in Salt, shot
                  by Robert Elswit, ASC. (Photo by François Duhamel, SMPSP, courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

        28     Cat and Mouse
               Robert Elswit, ASC gets ample support from collaborators
               on Salt                                                             42

         42    Girl Trouble
               Bill Pope, ASC creates wild battles for Scott Pilgrim vs.
               the World

         56    A Magical Manhattan
               Bojan Bazelli, ASC conjures wizardly visuals for
               The Sorcerer’s Apprentice                                           56

         68    True Colors
               David Boyd, ASC shoots Get Low for director and fellow
               ASC member Aaron Schneider

           8   Editor’s Note                                              68
          10   President’s Desk
          12   Short Takes: Quiksilver ad campaign
          16   Production Slate: Best-Shot Films of 1998-2008 • The Kids Are All Right
          76   Post Focus: True Blood Workflow
          80   Filmmakers’ Forum: Steven Fierberg, ASC
          82   New Products & Services
          90   International Marketplace
          91   Classified Ads
          92   Ad Index
          94   Clubhouse News
          96   ASC Close-Up: Charles Minsky

             DVD Playback: A Star Is Born • The Only Son/There Was a Father
      A u g u s t                   2 0 1 0               V o l .             9 1 ,           N o .            8
        The International Journal of Motion Imaging

                                             Visit us online at
               PUBLISHER Martha Winterhalter
                               EXECUTIVE EDITOR Stephen Pizzello
                                  SENIOR EDITOR Rachael K. Bosley
                                 ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jon D. Witmer
                              TECHNICAL EDITOR Christopher Probst

                                CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
                Stephanie Argy, Benjamin B, Douglas Bankston, Robert S. Birchard,
              John Calhoun, Bob Fisher, 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
                                        ART DEPARTMENT
                                 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Marion Gore
                      ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Angie Gollmann
                                     323-936-3769 FAX 323-936-9188
                         ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Sanja Pearce
                                     323-952-2114 FAX 323-876-4973
                        ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Scott Burnell
                                     323-936-0672 FAX 323-936-9188
                                     323-952-2124 FAX 323-876-4973
                      CIRCULATION, BOOKS & PRODUCTS
              CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Saul Molina
               CIRCULATION MANAGER Alex Lopez
               SHIPPING MANAGER Miguel Madrigal
             ASC GENERAL MANAGER Brett Grauman
           ASC EVENTS COORDINATOR Patricia Armacost
            ASC PRESIDENT’S ASSISTANT Kim Weston
            ASC ACCOUNTING MANAGER Mila Basely
             ASC ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE Corey Clark
    American Cinematographer (ISSN 0002-7928), established 1920 and in its 90th year of publication, is published
          monthly in Hollywood by ASC Holding Corp., 1782 N. Orange Dr., Hollywood, CA 90028, U.S.A.,
     (800) 448-0145, (323) 969-4333, Fax (323) 876-4973, direct line for subscription inquiries (323) 969-4344.
       Subscriptions: U.S. $50; Canada/Mexico $70; all other foreign countries $95 a year (remit international
      Money Order or other exchange payable in U.S. $). Advertising: Rate card upon request from Hollywood
     office. Article Reprints: Requests for high-quality article reprints (or electronic reprints) should be made to
              Sheridan Reprints at (800) 635-7181 ext. 8065 or by e-mail
         Copyright 2007 ASC Holding Corp. (All rights reserved.) Periodicals postage paid at Los Angeles, CA
                                 and at additional mailing offices. Printed in the USA.
      POSTMASTER: Send address change to American Cinematographer, P.O. Box 2230, Hollywood, CA 90078.
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    S4/ Prime and zoom lenses, go to:                 an educational, cultural and professional                                 organization. Membership is by invitation
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                                                        OFFICERS - 2010/2011
                                                                  Michael Goi
                                                                 Richard Crudo
                                                                   Vice President
                                                                Owen Roizman
                                                                   Vice President
                                                               John C. Flinn III
                                                                   Vice President
                                                               Matthew Leonetti
                                                                 Rodney Taylor
                                                                   Ron Garcia
                                                                 Sergeant At Arms

                                                          MEMBERS OF THE
                                                                  John Bailey
                                                                Stephen Burum
                                                                  Curtis Clark
                                                              George Spiro Dibie
                                                                Richard Edlund
                                                               John C. Flinn III
                                                                  Michael Goi
                                                               Stephen Lighthill
                                                              Isidore Mankofsky
                                                                 Daryn Okada
                                                                 Robert Primes
                                                                Nancy Schreiber
                                                              Kees Van Oostrum
                                                                Haskell Wexler
                                                              Vilmos Zsigmond

                                                                 Fred Elmes
                                                               Rodney Taylor
                                                              Michael D. O’Shea
                                                                 Sol Negrin
                                                              Michael B. Negrin

                                                            MUSEUM CURATOR
                                                                  Steve Gainer
        Editor’s Note
                                          It’s a wise cinematographer who recognizes the contribu-
                                   tions of his crew, and Robert Elswit, ASC was quick to credit his
                                   collaborators on the action film Salt. After agreeing to be inter-
                                   viewed, he asked that we bring other members of his team into
                                   the foreground. “Any large production that involves multiple
                                   units working independently and shooting stunts, effects and
                                   aerials is as big a logistical challenge as it is a creative challenge,”
                                   he tells Iain Stasukevich (“Cat and Mouse,” page 28). “Thank
                                   God I had [1st AC] Baz Idoine to take care of all the camera-
                                   equipment issues, and [gaffer] Andy [Day] and [key grip] Dennis
                                   Gamiello to sort out all the other stuff.” Our coverage also
    details some of the contributions made by 2nd-unit director Simon Crane; 2nd-unit director
    of photography Igor Meglic, ZFS; visual-effects supervisor Mark Breakspear; and visual-effects
    supervisor/3rd-unit director of photography Robert Grasmere.
            Comic-book aesthetics played a large part in Bill Pope, ASC’s approach to Scott Pilgrim
    vs. the World, in which a jobless hipster (Michael Cera) attempts to win the affections of his
    new crush (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by defeating her seven exes in video-game-style battles.
    Pope, director Edgar Wright and their collaborators drew visual cues from the Scott Pilgrim
    comic books, created by Bryan Lee O’Malley. “We took our initial inspiration off the books’
    full-color covers,” Pope tells Noah Kadner (“Girl Trouble,” page 42). “From there, we imag-
    ined what all the black-and-white illustrations [inside] would look like in color. Translating
    O’Malley’s aesthetics to live action was more straightforward than adapting other comics
    might be, because Bryan doesn’t cheat perspective and use ‘cartoon engineering.’”
            Bojan Bazelli, ASC faced equally fantastic plot points on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, in
    which a New York-based conjurer (Nicolas Cage) trains a regular guy (Jay Baruchel) to master
    real magic. Although the film is filled with sophisticated visual effects, Bazelli preferred to
    capture as much of the look as possible on set. “I believe strongly that you cannot create the
    look in post,” he tells David Heuring (“A Magical Manhattan,” page 56). “In post, I finish
    shaping the sculpture. I do use those tools extensively to take the look further, but I like to
    carve the biggest, deepest cut in the wood at the moment of photography.”
            Amid all the summer pyrotechnics, ASC members Aaron Schneider and David Boyd
    teamed as director and cinematographer, respectively, on the atmospheric period drama Get
    Low. The Society chums first met 15 years ago, when Boyd operated camera for Schneider
    on the pilot for the TV show Murder One. “We made it our mission to do feature-quality work
    on a television schedule,” Schneider informs Michael Goldman (“True Colors,” page 68).
    “When it happened that Get Low shaped up as a $7.5-million movie with a 24-day shooting
    schedule [on location], David was the first person I thought of. Our history was invaluable.”
            Speaking of history, this issue also spotlights the top 10 movies from our recent online
    poll regarding the Best-Shot Films of 1998-2008 (Production Slate, page 16). More than
    17,000 people cast votes in the poll, which serves as a follow-up to our 1999 survey of films
                                                                                                              Photo by Owen Roizman, ASC.

    shot between 1894-1997. Everyone has his favorites, and we’re sure this new list will gener-
    ate debate. Complete results from both polls are posted on the ASC’s website

    Stephen Pizzello
8   Executive Editor
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     President’s Desk
                                                  As I begin my second term as president of the ASC, the recent passing of Billy Fraker is very much
                                          on my mind. When I wrote my first column one year ago, I included this statement among the musings
                                          about the things I believe in: “I believe William A. Fraker, ASC, BSC is no mere mortal, but a benevolent
                                          angel sent to earth to remind us that we work in a magical, romantic industry.” As with everything I say,
                                          I said it because I believe it to be true. When that article ran, Billy called to thank me.
                                                  When I talked with Billy about his work on Heaven Can Wait, Bullitt or Looking for Mr. Goodbar,
                                          I’m sure his colorful stories were tinted with the nostalgic glow that we all tend to give our memories. But
                                          watching his face and the twinkle in his eyes, it was clear that he loved the business as much as the creative
                                          process. Just the fact that you were making movies was enough to make you feel good about yourself.
                                                  With Billy’s passing, another link to a crucial era in cinematography and the industry has faded. His
                                          heyday was a time when the heads of studios met personally with cinematographers and directly hired
                                          them for projects. The challenges of balancing the political agendas of the parties involved in getting a
                                          picture into production existed then, as they do now, but it is far less common today for the person ulti-
                                          mately responsible for the success of his particular studio to feel that the choice of cinematographer is
           important enough to warrant a face-to-face meeting.
                      That way of doing business boils down to the respect that was accorded not only to our craft, but also to all the major artis-
           tic contributors to a production. It recalls a time when the pride of “getting it right” in front of the camera was preferable to “fixing
           it in post”; when the true skill of a producer was in assembling the right artistic mix of people for a production rather than hiring
           whomever was willing to work with equipment the producer had already chosen; when making a big-screen movie meant that you
           had to watch your dailies on a big screen to really know the effect of what you’d created. That respect for the talent of a great
           craftsperson translated into work of stunning originality. That originality translated into good box office and movies that are now
           considered classics. And Bill Fraker was in the middle of it.
                      I brought my parents to Los Angeles for the ASC Awards in 2004, when I was nominated for my work on the TV movie
           Judas. It was the first time my dad had ever worn a tuxedo. I had been an ASC member for only one year. As my family and I
           approached the ballroom, we crossed paths with Billy, and I introduced him to my parents. Billy shook my dad’s hand and said, “Mr.
           Goi, we love your son. He’s going to be president of the ASC someday.”
                      I will miss Billy. For me, he represented not only the artistry that was expected of a world-class cinematographer, but also
           the dignity, romance and glamour of the craft. I firmly believe that the generations of cinematographers to come will do extraordi-
           nary things and create memorable images, but I hope they take to heart one quality that Billy possessed in abundance — something
           you cannot learn in film school or with a technical manual, something that is indescribable but understood: Mr. William A. Fraker had

           Michael Goi, ASC
                                                                                                                                                           Top photo by Owen Roizman, ASC.

                                                                                     Goi poses for a snapshot with ASC greats Bill Fraker (left)
                                                                                                        and Laszlo Kovacs.

10   August 2010                                                 American Cinematographer

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 K i      P r o.         B e c a u s e               i t     m a t t e r s .
     Short Takes
          Kelly Slater
      shreds in super-
      slow motion for
     a Quiksilver spot
        captured with
            the Vision
         Phantom HD

            I   Brain Farm Makes Waves with Quiksilver Campaign
                By Noah Kadner
                                                                                  Oaxaca, Mexico, where they met surfers Dane Reynolds, Kelly Slater,
                                                                                  Julian Wilson and Jeremy Flores. “Because of their crazy schedules,
                                                                                  it had been four years since Dane, Kelly, Julian and Jeremy had all
             Wyoming production house Brain Farm, which specializes in            been on a trip together,” notes Tierney. “Having them all surfing
     high-end action-sports cinematography, recently used the Phantom             together was huge, and they really pushed each other. We got a
     HD camera for an ad campaign for surfwear and boardsports manu-              ridiculous amount of footage in two days of surfing.” Brain Farm
     facturer Quiksilver that featured a number of world-famous surfers           brought in Australian cinematographer Chris Bryan to handle oper-
     catching waves in ultra-slow motion.                                         ating responsibilities with the Phantom rig. Morgan recalls, “We
             Brain Farm came to Quiksilver’s attention through That’s It,         were set up to take shots from the beach and right in the water with
     That’s All, a snowboarding feature co-sponsored by Quiksilver and            the surfers. The very first shot we got was even cooler than we
     Red Bull, according to Chad Jackson, Brain Farm’s lead producer.             thought possible. The waves, the water droplets — everything was
     James Tierney, a producer for Quiksilver, calls That’s It, That’s All “the   moving so slowly, and you saw so much detail. We instantly felt like
     best action-sports film ever made.” When Quiksilver was ready to             kids in a candy factory who’d just been cut loose by our parents!”
     launch its Cypher line of high-performance board shorts, he contin-                  “Even on a small monitor, we could tell right away we had
     ues, “we wanted to showcase both [the Cypher shorts] and the top             something special,” adds Tierney. “You can really see the subtleties
     global surfers in a truly groundbreaking way. We wanted to show              of surfing: the way a board flexes when it lands on the wave after
     surfing like it had never been seen before.”                                 an aerial, the way riders weight and un-weight during turns, the
                                                                                                                                                            Photos and frame grab courtesy of Brain Farm.

             As discussions began, director and Brain Farm President Curt         way water drops fly off the rail. It was like seeing our sport with new
     Morgan showed the Quiksilver team what the high-speed Phantom                eyes.”
     could do. “That sparked a lot of interest on their part into how those               To maximize shooting time on the beach and avoid having to
     ultra-slow-motion effects might look in water,” says Morgan.                 frequently re-open the underwater housing to change lenses,
             At that time, the Phantom had not yet been used for exten-           Morgan shot mostly with a single Zeiss Ultra Prime 8R rectilinear
     sive water work, so no compatible underwater camera housing was              lens. “It gives you a wide-angle shot with no barrel distortion,” he
     readily available. “Before the project was even a go, we turned to           explains. “It’s a really funky look that added a lot to the image.”
     Erik Hjermstad at Del Mar Housing Projects in San Marcos, Califor-                   The latest iteration of the Phantom camera, the Gold, can
     nia, to inquire about a custom housing for the Phantom,” says                shoot at speeds exceeding 1,000 fps, depending on the resolution
     Morgan. “The housing took about six weeks to build and was                   that’s selected. As Morgan points out, however, the camera’s frame
     completed maybe a week before the shoot.”                                    rate also affects the aperture. “When you’re shooting at 1,000 fps,
             With the housing in hand, the Brain Farm team was off to             as we were, you’re typically at T2.8, even when you’re outdoors in

12   August 2010                                                  American Cinematographer
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                                                                                                                   When production in Mexico
                                                                                                          wrapped, Brain Farm headed back to the
                                                                                                          Wyoming office to handle post. “Depend-
                                                                                                          ing on the type of final output a particular
                                                                                                          client needs, sometimes we’ll outsource the
                                                                                                          final grading and sound,” says Jackson,
                                                                                                          “but in this case, we did all the editing,
                                                                                                          grading and sound for four complete
                                                                                                          commercials. We also composed, recorded
                                                                                                          and mixed the full sound score with our in-
                                                                                                          house musicians.
                                                                                                                   “Our post facility is based on Final
                                                                                                          Cut Studio,” he continues. “We edit in Final
                                                                                                          Cut Pro and grade in Color. We also have a
                                                                                                          fully equipped sound studio with 36 chan-
                                                                                                          nels of ProTools HD. It’s not a massive studio,
                                                                                                          but it’s more than enough to do some cool
     Above: Chris                                                                                         sound design.”
  Bryan wields a
 custom camera                                                                                                     “We use a RAID-based Ethernet
    housing built                                                                                         array to support seven edit bays,” adds
           for the                                                                                        Morgan. “It’s about 48 terabytes of total
      Phantom as
    Julian Wilson                                                                                         storage running off a Mac shared server. We
   gets airborne.                                                                                         generally do all our post work in Apple’s
      Right: Chad                                                                                         ProRes HQ codec in 1080p HD, but if our
   Jackson (left),
     Brain Farm’s                                                                                         client requires a specific format deliverable,
  lead producer,                                                                                          we can go back and online to any other
         and Curt                                                                                         format, such as uncompressed HDCam-SR.”
 Morgan (right),
     director and                                                                                                  When final color grading was
       Brain Farm                                                                                         complete, Brain Farm delivered the four
 president, flank                                                                                         spots as HD QuickTime files directly to Quik-
  their Phantom
              HD.                                                                                         silver via an FTP connection; the spots were
                                                                                                          then pushed out to Quiksilver’s website, Fuel
         full sunlight,” he explains. “That means you      CineMag’s RAW files takes a while, and we      TV in the U.S. and other broadcasters world-
         have a very shallow depth-of-field, and           knew we couldn’t spare any time with the       wide. “We’re more than happy with the
         when you’re out there in those violent            surfers in the water,” says Morgan. “Having    final product, and the viewers’ reactions
         waves, it’s pretty difficult to rack focus. The   the RAW footage as DPX files is great, but     have been incredibly positive,” says Tierney.
         8mm lens gives you more depth-of-field to         I’ve done side-by-side tests with HDCam-SR,    “It’s been really rewarding to partner with
         work with, and when those shots are done          and there’s not that much of a difference to   Brain Farm.”
         right, they look really cool.”                    the eye. We had a Sony SRW-1 HDCam-SR                   Morgan is thrilled with what the
                 On average, the Brain Farm team           deck at our base camp on the beach, and        Brain Farm team accomplished. “Moving
         was able to capture about 19 takes on the         we decided to transfer the footage by play-    into this project, I was very unsure,” he says.
         Phantom’s CineMag recorder before the             ing out from the camera’s HD-SDI connec-       “I like to show confidence, but we were
         camera needed to be reloaded. “Jamie Alac         tion directly to HDCam-SR tapes; it took       planning to do so much that had never been
         at Abel Cine Tech helped us set up the            about 40 minutes to dump the whole             done before. Plus, surfing is so unplanned to
         camera controls so we could hit record and        CineMag. This method was critical to maxi-     begin with! You roll in and hope the waves
         the camera would shoot the full buffer and        mizing our time.”                              are good, and if they are, you just shoot. It
         save an entire take off to the CineMag,”                  In addition to the surfing footage,    was a lot of work and trial-and-error, but
         explains Morgan. “The camera would then           Morgan notes, “we added a bit of a docu-       after two days of shooting, we were
         reset and go right back to recording mode         mentary-style lifestyle element. For exam-     convinced we were capturing something
         without our having to hit another button.         ple, we placed three or four mirrors upright   that was really new and exciting, and Quik-
         That enabled us to get our shots with the         on the beach and had the surfers run by        silver was extremely happy with what we
         camera in the water housing.”                     them. We tried to keep our approach simple     produced. That’s a good feeling, and it
                 The Phantom’s footage can be trans-       while still making a stylized piece.” (Some    encourages us to keep coming up with new
         ferred as RAW data files or played out of         material was shot with a Panasonic AJ-         ways for people to see the world.”         ●
         the camera’s HD-SDI port. “Dumping the            HPX3700 VariCam.)

14       August 2010                                                American Cinematographer
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        Production Slate
     The French
   Amélie, shot
       by Bruno
       ASC, AFC,
  landed in the
   top spot in a
 recent AC poll
  to determine
    the 10 best-
   shot films of
     More than
 17,000 people
 participated in
      the online

                   I   AC Poll Names 10 Best-Shot Films of 1998-2008
                       By Rachael K. Bosley
                                                                                       explained, “I thought that maybe this [post] process wouldn’t really
                                                                                       work … [and] I always believe in doing as much as possible during
                                                                                       the actual photography, because the result looks better than when
                  Bucking the conventional wisdom that says comedies do not            you do all the manipulation in post.” Reflecting on Amélie today, he
         present cinematographers with as many creative opportunities as               says, “It’s difficult to remember how things started, [but] I had this
         dramas do, the French comedy Amélie, shot by Bruno Delbonnel,                 idea that it would be interesting to depart from the idea of following
         ASC, AFC, was voted the best-shot film of 1998-2008 in a recent               what the script said in terms of effects — day, morning, evening and
         American Cinematographer poll. “Cinematography is a desire, the               so on — and work on a mood rather than an effect, a mood that
         desire to challenge yourself and the desire to give the audience a            could reflect not only the story, but also the mood of the character. I
         visual experience, and this desire is the same whether you’re shooting        think I’m like most cinematographers: we try something on a specific
         a comedy or a drama,” observed Delbonnel, responding to news of               movie that is based on our thoughts at a specific time in our life and
         the poll results via e-mail. “I am very thankful to the readers of AC.        career. Today I see Amélie as a starting point in my way of thinking
         This is a real honor, especially considering the other movies on this list.   about light, and since then I’ve kept developing what is more or less
         These are some of the finest cinematographers, and I’m not sure I             the same theory, pushing it a bit further every time. This was the first
         deserve to be among them, but I am very happy to be. All of these             film I shot where I started to think of the script as a music score. In
         movies are visually stunning, but more importantly, all of these cine-        each movie, there’s a melody I try to find [and] translate into light.
         matographers are consistent. From the first frame to the last, they           Amélie was probably a very light, not-so-fast melody with this single
         stick to the look they’ve chosen. And they are all explorers.”                note, which is the overall yellow-green color in the film.” Delbonnel
                  More than 17,000 people around the world participated in             earned ASC and Oscar nominations for the film, his first feature with
         the online vote, which updates the comprehensive reader poll AC               Jeunet. Super 35mm.
         published in March ’99 in honor of the ASC’s 80th anniversary. (That                  2) Children of Men (2006): Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC,
                                                                                                                                                                  Amélie photo ©2001 Miramax Films.

         vote covered the best-shot films of 1894-1997.) For the new poll,             AMC. For his fifth film with director Alfonso Cuarón, Lubezki boldly
         each voter chose 10 films from a list of 50 nominated by AC                   applied a documentary aesthetic to a science-fiction narrative,
         subscribers. Here’s the Top 10:                                               employing a handheld camera and very few movie lights to tell the
                  1) Amélie (2001): Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC. Jean-Pierre             story of a Londoner (Clive Owen) who is drawn into an underground
         Jeunet’s comedy about a sheltered young woman (Audrey Tatou) with             effort to save mankind in the wake of an ecological disaster. “It’s a
         an overactive imagination is a vivid example of the unusual looks film-       future that reminds you of the present,” Lubezki told AC (Dec. ’06).
         makers could achieve with early digital-intermediate technology.              The filmmakers eschewed traditional coverage, often staging shots
         However, given limited time for preproduction testing, Delbonnel              with complex action to play out in single takes. Of his minimalistic
         actually decided to create as much of the film’s unusual gold-green           approach to lighting, the cinematographer noted, “It took me a long
         hue as possible in-camera. In a Sept. ’01 interview with AC, he               time to go back to basics and say, ‘I don’t want this movie to look

16      August 2010                                                    American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                         conventionally beautiful.’ This is a movie I
                                                                                                                         couldn’t have done when I was younger …
                                                                                                                         the more I learn, the less lighting I want to
                                                                                                                         do.” He won the ASC Award and earned an
                                                                                                                         Oscar nomination for the film. Super 35mm.
                                                                                                                                  3) Saving Private Ryan (1998):
                                                                                                                         Janusz Kaminski. With a depiction of
                                                                                                                         America’s D-Day landing on Omaha Beach
                                                                                                                         that was unprecedented in its detail and
                                                                                                                         ferocity, Steven Spielberg’s World War II
                                                                                                                         combat film immediately set the bar for the
                                                                                                                         genre several notches higher. The goal,
                                                                                                                         Kaminski told AC in Aug. ’98, was “to make
                                                                                                                         this look like it was shot in 16mm by a bunch
                                                                                                                         of combat cameramen,” and to create that
                                                                                                                         sense of chaos, he used techniques that
                                                                                                                         included shooting with mismatched lenses,
                                                                                                                         varying the camera’s shutter angle, and
                                                                                                                         using an Image Shaker to add vibrations to
                                                                                                                         shots. To desaturate the palette, he also
                                                                                                                         flashed the negative and applied Techni-
                                                                                                                         color’s ENR process, his favorite lab treat-
Children of Men photo ©2006 Universal Pictures. Saving Private Ryan photo ©1998 DreamWorks SKG and Paramount Pictures.

                                                                                                                         ment. Kaminski, who was collaborating with
                                                                                                                         Spielberg for the fourth time, noted, “We’ve
                                                                                                                         all got the ability to do groundbreaking
                                                                                                                         work, and nothing is stopping us from using
                                                                                                                         very experimental techniques in a major
                                                                                                                         Hollywood movie if the subject matter
                                                                                                                         allows it and the director is willing to go
                                                                                                                         there.” He won the Oscar and earned an
                                                                                                                         ASC nomination for the film. Upon hearing
                                                                                                                         of its place in AC’s poll, Kaminski said, “I am
                                                                                                                         thrilled and honored. This is good company
                                                                                                                         to be in!” 35mm.
                                                                                                                                  4) There Will Be Blood (2007):
                                                                                                                         Robert Elswit, ASC. Tapping a creative
                                                                                                                         partnership that both men acknowledge is
                                                                                                                         often as fractious as it is fruitful, Elswit and       The science-fiction drama Children of Men (top), shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC, and
                                                                                                                                                                                 the World War II combat film Saving Private Ryan, shot by Janusz Kaminski, placed second
                                                                                                                         director Paul Thomas Anderson teamed for                                            and third in the poll, respectively.
                                                                                                                         the fifth time on this stark frontier drama
                                                                                                                         about a misanthropic oil prospector (Daniel
                                                                                                                         Day-Lewis) who makes his fortune in the            on its place in AC’s poll, he noted, “Each of    stolen drug money, the hit man (Javier
                                                                                                                         early 20th century. “Cinematographers              the other films on this list is a remarkable     Bardem) who pursues him, and the Texas
                                                                                                                         want to control things as much as we can,          testament to the skills and talents of some      lawman (Tommy Lee Jones) who is always a
                                                                                                                         but what I’ve learned from Paul is how much        very gifted cinematographers, and it’s an        few steps behind them. The film, Deakins’
                                                                                                                         better it can be to let accidents happen,          extraordinary and unexpected honor to have       eighth collaboration with Joel and Ethan
                                                                                                                         rather than try to force everything to be a        my work included with theirs.” Anamorphic        Coen, also serves as a meditation on the
                                                                                                                         certain way,” said Elswit (AC Jan. ’08). The       35mm.                                            changing of the West, and this theme made
                                                                                                                         mostly day-exterior shoot enabled the film-                5) No Country for Old Men                the project especially attractive to the cine-
                                                                                                                         makers to make the most of slow film               (2007): Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC. Deakins         matographer. “I felt this was the nearest a
                                                                                                                         stocks, which Anderson favors, and, in a           landed on AC’s ballot for four films, more       contemporary film might come to a Peckin-
                                                                                                                         notable break from today’s norm, the team          than any other cinematographer, and he           pah Western,” he told AC (Oct. ’07). “Pat
                                                                                                                         screened 35mm dailies and did a photo-             was voted into the Top 10 for this rigorous      Garrett & Billy the Kid, The Wild Bunch and
                                                                                                                         chemical finish. Elswit won the ASC Award          cat-and-mouse tale involving a Vietnam           Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia are …
                                                                                                                         and the Oscar for the picture. Commenting          veteran (Josh Brolin) who absconds with          much more than the sum of their stories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  August 2010         17
                                                  They address many different themes, and so
                                                  does this film.” He earned ASC and Oscar
                                                  nominations for the picture. Super 35mm.
                                                           6) Fight Club (1999): Jeff Cronen-
                                                  weth, ASC. David Fincher’s mostly noctur-
                                                  nal drama about urban alienation and male
                                                  aggression, which focuses on a city dweller
                                                  (Edward Norton) and the charismatic
                                                  stranger (Brad Pitt) who changes his life, was
                                                  Cronenweth’s first feature as a cinematogra-
                                                  pher, but because he had previously worked
                                                  on a number of Fincher’s projects as a
                                                  camera operator, additional cinematogra-
                                                  pher or second-unit cinematographer, he
                                                  was undaunted by the challenge. “I couldn’t

                                                                                                      There Will Be Blood photo ©2007 Paramount Vantage. No Country for Old Men photo ©2007 Miramax Films. Fight Club photo ©1999 20th Century Fox.
                                                  think of a better movie to do as my first
                                                  film,” Cronenweth told AC (Nov. ’99).
                                                  “Although I knew it would be rough, I had
                                                  so much trust in David as a filmmaker that I
                                                  had the confidence [to do it].” Contributing
                                                  to the film’s unique ambience were a desat-
                                                  urated palette, a heavy reliance on existing
 Top to bottom:                                   light at locations, and an unusual approach
   There Will Be
  Blood, shot by                                  to lighting the leads. “We didn’t necessarily
  Robert Elswit,                                  want to be able to see directly into the
     ASC, placed                                  actors’ faces,” said Cronenweth. “It was
      fourth; No
     Country for                                  more interesting and appropriate for the
  Old Men, shot                                   story to force the audience to pay atten-
        by Roger                                  tion.” Delighted to hear of the film’s place in
   Deakins, ASC,
  BSC, fifth; and                                 AC’s poll, he noted, “In a way, Fight Club
      Fight Club,                                 challenged all notions of a big Hollywood
     shot by Jeff                                 movie. Many scenes were lit by only one or
      ASC, sixth.                                 two practical sources, creating a tone that
                                                  was very unique and rarely seen in the indus-
                                                  try at large. I think this was one of those rare
                                                  times when all the creative forces were in
                                                  sync; every element, from wardrobe to visual
                                                  effects, contributed to fulfilling David’s vision
                                                  of this most complicated story. The film
                                                  pushed some people’s buttons, but I think it
                                                  mostly tapped into some common
                                                  thoughts, shared journeys and similar frus-
                                                  trations. It certainly summed up the
                                                  Nineties.” Super 35mm.
                                                           7) The Dark Knight (2008): Wally
                                                  Pfister, ASC. For their second Batman film,
                                                  in which the Caped Crusader (Christian Bale)
                                                  is nearly undone by the criminally insane
                                                  Joker (Heath Ledger), Pfister and director
                                                  Christopher Nolan achieved epic scale by
                                                  capturing about 20 percent of the movie in
                                                  Imax 15-perf 65mm, a first for a studio
                                                  feature. “Many filmmakers are trying out
                                                  digital cameras that actually capture less
                                                  resolution and information, and we’re going

18       August 2010   American Cinematographer
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                                                                                                          Director of photography

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                                                                                                             posed the negative and shot at the bottom
                                                                                                             of the aperture, and the team undertook a
                                                                                                             particularly grueling winter shoot in Illinois
                                                                                                             that also contributed much to the “cold
                                                                                                             period look.” This proved to be Hall’s last
                                                                                                             film; he died in 2003. He was posthumously
 The anamorphic                                                                                              honored with ASC and Academy awards for
   35mm/15-perf                                                                                              the picture. Super 35mm.
    65mm hybrid
 The Dark Knight                                                                                                      9) City of God (2002): César Char-
                                                                                                             lone, ABC. Offering a look at life in Rio de

                                                                                                                                                              The Dark Knight photo ©2008 Warner Bros. Pictures. Road to Perdition photo ©2002 DreamWorks SKG.
    (top), shot by
     Wally Pfister,                                                                                          Janeiro’s most notorious slum in the 1960s,
  ASC, landed in
   seventh place,                                                                                            1970s and 1980s, Fernando Meirelles’
        while the                                                                                            drama presented Charlone with a new
  Depression-era                                                                                             challenge: “I’ve shot eight other features,
  drama Road to
  Perdition, shot                                                                                            and this is the first one in which the main
     by Conrad L.                                                                                            concern was being real, being believable,”
        Hall, ASC,                                                                                           he told AC (Feb. ’03). To tell the story of
   placed eighth.
                                                                                                             an aspiring photographer (Alexandre
                                                                                                             Rodrigues) who watches his friends’ lives go
                                                                                                             in troubling directions, the filmmakers shot
                                                                                                             on location in two favelas that were
                                                                                                             deemed safer than the titular one, working
                                                                                                             with a cast of non-professionals who actu-
                                                                                                             ally lived in the slums. Charlone kept his
         in the opposite direction, upping the ante by            8) Road to Perdition (2002):               lighting to a minimum, in part to facilitate
         capturing images with unparalleled resolu-       Conrad L. Hall, ASC. “Soft noir” was how           the cast’s improvisation. “Our entire
         tion and clarity,” said Pfister (AC July ’08).   Hall described the look he was after on this       approach was dictated by whom we were
         The entire crew was new to large-format          Depression-era drama, his second collabora-        dealing with — most of these kids had
         filmmaking, but, as Pfister noted, “You face     tion with director Sam Mendes. The film            never even seen a camera before,” he
         new technical and creative challenges on         follows a hit man (Tom Hanks) who takes to         noted. He earned an Oscar nomination for
         every film, and eventually you find a way to     the road with his young son (Tyler Hoechlin)       his efforts. Super 35mm and Super 16mm.
         overcome them. We were so determined to          in an attempt to protect the boy from crimi-                10) American Beauty (1999):
         make this a success that we had to keep          nal elements, including his own boss (Paul         Conrad L. Hall, ASC. An affluent but miser-
         reminding ourselves no one had done this         Newman). “I felt a less colorful palette was       able suburban family (Kevin Spacey, Annette
         before on this scale.” He earned ASC and         best suited to the story,” Hall told AC (Aug.      Bening and Thora Birch) is the focus of Hall’s
         Oscar nominations for his efforts. Anamor-       ’02). “It’s a stark story set in the Depression,   first collaboration with Sam Mendes, and
         phic 35mm and 15-perf 65mm.                      and it has a serious message.” He underex-         the cinematographer, who was always most

20       August 2010                                               American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                 I   A Contemporary Comedy
                                                                                                                     By Jean Oppenheimer

                                                                                                                  The definition of the modern Amer-
                                                                                                          ican family has evolved over the past several
                                                                                                          decades as non-traditional domestic
                                                                                                          arrangements have become increasingly
                                                                                                          common. Same-sex couples have gone
                                                                                                          mainstream, a reality reflected in movies
                                                                                                          and television, where the protagonists’
                                                                                                          sexual orientation is incidental to the univer-
                                                                                                          sal themes being explored.
                                                                                                                  One of the latest examples of this is
                                                                                                          Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy The Kids Are All
                                                                                                          Right, which focuses on a lesbian couple,
                                                                                                          Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne
                                                                                                          Moore), whose teenaged children, Joni (Mia
                                                                                                          Wasikowski) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson),
                                                                                                          decide to track down their biological father,
                                                                                                          an act that elicits different reactions from
         Above: The Brazilian film City of God, shot by César Charlone, ABC, placed ninth.                “the Moms,” as the kids refer to them. Nic
          Below: American Beauty, shot by Conrad L. Hall, ASC, rounded out the Top 10.
                                                                                                          feels threatened by Paul (Mark Ruffalo),
                                                                                                          whose sudden immersion in the family
                                                                                                          brings marital tensions to the surface and
                                                                                                          sparks a kind of mid-life crisis for Jules.
                                                                                                                  “The most important thing was to
                                                                                                          tell the story of a conventional suburban
                                                                                                          family,” says director of photography Igor
                                                                                                          Jadue-Lillo, who recently met with AC in Los
                                                                                                          Angeles. “It doesn’t matter if it’s two
                                                                                                          women or two men; they go through the

                                                                                                                                                            City of God photo ©2002 Miramax Films. American Beauty photo ©1999 DreamWorks SKG.
                                                                                                          same things that any other family does. Lisa
                                                                                                          wanted the film to feel very natural; she
                                                                                                          didn’t want the filmmaking to intrude.
                                                                                                          Everything was shot on location, and
                                                                                                          because the palette and textures needed to
                                                                                                          feel ordinary, we never pushed to enhance
                                                                                                          the art direction, lighting or camerawork.
                                                                                                          We didn’t use cranes or any complicated
                                                                                                          moves; everything was shot on a dolly or
                                                                                                          handheld, and we usually stuck with focal
                                                                                                          lengths between 20mm and 50mm. We
     attracted to character-driven stories, recalled    sort of classicism. [This] allows the viewer to   introduced a long lens to shoot Paul’s arrival
     that he was initially concerned by how             just watch things happen in a very graphic        at Nic and Jules’ home.”
     “unlikable” the characters were. “But once         frame.” Hall won ASC and Academy awards                   The camera Jadue-Lillo frequently
     the actors got hold of those wonderful             for the film. Super 35mm. (Ed. Note: AC also      shouldered was an Arricam Lite, which he
     words and started to react to one another,         covered American Beauty in June ’00.)             chose because “it’s small and lightweight,
     that’s where the magic happened,” he told                  A full account of the poll results is     so you can move fast.” Clairmont Camera
     AC (March ’00). His lighting approach was          posted at                         supplied the package, which also included
     “the same sort of strategy I always do: I first            Original coverage of these films was      an Arri BL-4, Zeiss Ultra Primes and no zoom
     light for what I want to see by painting in        written by Benjamin Bergery, David Heuring,       lenses.
     specific areas in values of black-and-white,       Jean Oppenheimer, Stephen Pizzello,                       When production began on the 23-
     and then add room tone, a fill light that          Christopher Probst, Jon Silberg and Ray           day shoot, the filmmakers intended to do a
     brings up the shadows to where I want              Zone.                                             traditional photochemical finish, but with
     them.” The goal with composition was “a                                                              the Sundance Film Festival deadline loom-

22   August 2010                                                 American Cinematographer
        Right: In a
  scene from The
      Kids Are All
 Right, longtime
      partners Nic
  Bening, center)
         and Jules
   Moore, second
 from left) enjoy
      dinner with
    their children,
         Joni (Mia
 right) and Laser
      Below: Joni
   introduces her
 brother to their
       father, Paul
  (Mark Ruffalo).

                                                                                                       pours into the house, which proved both a
                                                                                                       blessing and a curse. “We wanted sunlight
                                                                                                       but not hard light,” says Jadue-Lillo. “We
                                                                                                       didn’t want to blow out the windows.” A
                                                                                                       small practical porch out front provided
                                                                                                       some natural diffusion, allowing light in the
                                                                                                       windows but keeping direct sun out. When-
                                                                                                       ever possible, interior day scenes were
                                                                                                       scheduled for when the light was good, and
                                                                                                       when it wasn’t, a 20'x40' piece of Grid
                                                                                                       Cloth was hung over the windows. When
                                                                                                       interiors had to be shot day-for-night, the

                                                                                                                                                       The Kids Are All Right photos by Suzanne Tenner, courtesy of Focus Features.
                                                                                                       Grid Cloth was replaced by black material
                                                                                                       and side flaps were added, completely seal-
                                                                                                       ing out the natural light.
                                                                                                               Inside the house, Jadue-Lillo relied
                                                                                                       on practicals to create atmosphere and
                                                                                                       depth, and production designer Julie
                                                                                                       Berghoff created built-in bookshelves that
          ing, they had to rethink their strategy. They   Hardware,” recalls Jadue-Lillo. The only     presented an ample number of small hiding
          completed a two-day digital intermediate at     problem was that the perfect location        places. Jadue-Lillo used Dedolights, small
          Technicolor, and after Sundance, they went      proved to be in the hip waterfront enclave   Fresnels, Zip lights and China balls, all
          back to the lab for an additional day of        of Venice, whose narrow canals gave the      diffused with ½ Grid, ¼ Grid, 216, 250 or
          grading, according to Jadue-Lillo.              community its name. There was no room to     Frost. Multiple NDs were usually on the lens,
                  The story takes place in Los Angeles    park crew trucks on the street, and the      and outdoors, Polarizers were often
          over one summer and is set primarily            houses were close together, which made       required.
          indoors. Cholodenko had a specific vision of    positioning lights outside difficult.                The décor in the house is almost
          how Nic and Jules lived and what their                 The ground floor of the house is an   exclusively white or pastel. “You have to be
          house looked like: a middle-class home in       enormous room that is informally divided     careful when lighting that kind of color
          suburban Sherman Oaks with big windows,         into areas — kitchen, dining room, living    scheme if you want to keep the detail of the
          pastel-colored walls, white décor, and          room — that are not separated by walls.      architecture and the furnishings, which we
          furnishings “straight out of Restoration        Windows are everywhere and sunlight          did,” says Jadue-Lillo. “That’s why the prac-

24        August 2010                                             American Cinematographer
                                                                                                             We ended up placing Alpha lights on the
                                                                                                             ground behind the house, at least 10 feet
                                                                                                             below the porch, and leveled them as best
                                                                                                             we could. We aimed the units toward the
                                                                                                             ceiling in Paul’s den, just inside the back
                                                                                                             door, and bounced the light that way. We
                                                                                                             didn’t need bounce cards because the ceil-
                                                                                                             ing was white.”
                                                                                                                       Another key location is the restau-
                                                                                                             rant Paul owns, which has mostly outdoor
                                                                                                             seating. “We wanted to emphasize the
                                                                                                             bohemian feeling of Paul’s character,”
                                                                                                             recounts Berghoff, “so we fabricated string
                                                                                                             lights out of old mason jars and carnival
                                                                                                             lights [and hung them] above the tables.
                                                                                                             [We added a few] chandeliers that Paul
                                                                                                             might have discovered in some funky thrift
                                                                                                                       The last sequence in the film finds
                                                                                                             Nic, Jules and Laser taking Joni up to Berke-
                                                                                                             ley, where she is starting college. Jadue-Lillo
                                                                                                             describes filming the family in the car as “a
Above: Director                                                                                              good challenge,” especially given the time
of photography
 Igor Jadue-Lillo
                                                                                                             pressure. “We only had three hours to film
(at camera) and                                                                                              four people in a car on a process trailer, and
         his crew                                                                                            we shot on a freeway in Los Angeles.
 prepare to film
       a scene in
                                                                                                             Initially, we were told we couldn’t have the
     the family’s                                                                                            wings down on the trailer. How in the world
backyard. Right:                                                                                             were we were going to shoot this? Fortu-
  Paul meets Nic
    and Jules for
                                                                                                             nately, the police relented and allowed us to
   the first time.                                                                                           use the wings.”
                                                                                                                       Jadue-Lillo, who was born in Chile
                                                                                                             and raised in Argentina and Mexico, credits
                                                                                                             high-school friend and future ASC member
                                                                                                             Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki with introduc-
         ticals were so important. In addition, you         restaurateur, Paul lives in a bungalow built     ing him to filmmaking. “Chivo was already
         really need to balance your key lights and         into the side of a hill. The property includes   making short films in high school, and
         be careful with exposure — I was usually           a large back yard that is overgrown with         when he started film school, he dragged me
         around f2.2 in the house.”                         native plants, and Paul hires Jules to land-     into writing, producing, acting and serving
                  The kitchen looks out onto the back       scape it. Once again, the filmmakers found       as a camera assistant,” he says. After catch-
         yard, which is the site of the first meal the      the perfect location, this time in Echo Park,    ing the cinematography bug, Jadue-Lillo
         family shares with Paul. To soften the light       but the road leading to it was winding and       moved to England to attend the London
         and knock out unwanted shadows, the                so narrow that some crew trucks couldn’t         Film School. His credits as director of
         grips erected a 20'x40' muslin overhang. A         make it up the hill.                             photography include The Hitchhiker’s Guide
         couple of 18K Alpha lights were placed on                 Like Nic and Jules’ house, Paul’s         to the Galaxy, Passengers and Disco Pigs.
         the ground or atop scaffolding. “My                place is airy and open. Floor-to-ceiling
         wonderful gaffer, Dayton Nietert, intro-           windows and a sliding glass door look onto                TECHNICAL SPECS
         duced me to the HMI Alphas,” notes Jadue-          the back porch. And, as in Venice, the
         Lillo. Strings of small decorative lights criss-   houses were built close together. “To light      1.85:1
         crossing the porch served as both a decora-        that house, whether night or day, was like       35mm
         tive touch and low-level fill.                     being on the 15th floor of a high-rise,”         Arricam Lite, Arri BL-4
                  Despite the challenges posed by the       declares Jadue-Lillo. “We didn’t have the        Zeiss Ultra Prime lenses
         Venice location, Jadue-Lillo notes that it         budget for Condors or lifts, and there           Kodak Vision2 Expression 500T 5229
         “was actually the good house to shoot —            wasn’t enough room on the sides of the           Digital Intermediate
         Paul’s was the real challenge.” A laid-back        house or on the back porch to set up lights.                                                ●

26       August 2010                                                 American Cinematographer
         Multiple units and
             an arsenal of
          visual effects help
        Robert Elswit, ASC
       realize Phillip Noyce’s
         action thriller Salt.

            By Iain Stasukevich


            Cat                              I
                                                 n the new film Salt, American covert operative Evelyn Salt
                                                 (Angelina Jolie) is accused of spying for the Russians and
                                                 must draw upon all her skills to evade capture by her CIA
                                                 colleagues. She is also determined to prove her innocence,
                                              something that becomes increasingly difficult to do as her

                                              flight continues. The movie features a variety of ambitious
                                              action sequences, but according to director of photography
                                              Robert Elswit, ASC, director Phillip Noyce “was not inter-

                                              ested in spectacular scale, which runs counter to the way
                                              action films are usually done. Phil pushed [production
                                              designer] Scott Chambliss to design our sets to be small,
                                              claustrophobic and authentic-looking, and he asked me to
                                              provide a naturalistic lighting scheme.”
                                                     However, he continues, “Phil was also open to the

28   August 2010                  American Cinematographer
                                                                                               world of Salt taking on a somewhat
                                                                                               stylized theatricality — the story, which
                                                                                               is essentially a character-driven drama
                                                                                               with a somewhat unbelievable premise,
                                                                                               seemed to demand a slightly theatrical
                                                                                               approach. This allowed me to try to
                                                                                               find a lighting style that, though some-
                                                                                               what realistic, could also be shamelessly
                                                                                               flattering to the actors, allowing them
                                                                                               to look as attractive as possible even
                                                                                               when bruised, cut and covered in blood.
                                                                                               What that meant in practical terms is
                                                                                               that very often the character lighting
                                                                                               would dictate the set lighting. Luckily
                                                                                               for me, the actor playing Salt was
                                                                                               Angelina Jolie.
                                                                                                       “In modern films, trying to
                                                                                               maintain flattering lighting throughout
                                                                                               a realistic drama can be a tricky road to
                                                                                               go down,” continues Elswit. “At best it
                                                                                               can dictate the entire look of a film and   Opposite: When her CIA colleagues accuse her of being a double agent, covert operative Evelyn
                                                                                               compromise every lighting setup; at         Salt (Angelina Jolie) must go on the run. This page, top: Salt examines subway blueprints as she
                                                                                                                                              wends her way through the service tunnels. Bottom: New York’s finest arrest Salt, but the
                                                                                               worst the actor can appear as if he or           filmmakers took creative liberty by cuffing her hands in front, a breach of normal police
                                                                                               she is in a different movie from every-                              procedure that enables her to make an escape.
                                                                                               one else. For all the actors, we tried to
                                                                                               find a way to blend a kind of movie-star
                                                                                               lighting with a theatrical realism that I
                                                                                               hoped would not contradict or call
                                                                                               attention to itself.”
Unit photography by Andrew Schwartz, SMPSP and David Griesbrecht, courtesy of Sony Pictures.

                                                                                                       Over the course of the film,
                                                                                               Elswit gradually altered the quality of
                                                                                               light he used on Jolie to underscore her
                                                                                               character’s predicament. “I started with
                                                                                               a bright frontal or ¾-frontal light on
                                                                                               her, and then, as the story progresses,
                                                                                               we begin to see her in half-light or
                                                                                               backlight, or she’s keyed by light
                                                                                               bouncing off the floor, creating stronger
                                                                                               shadows and more contrast,” he says.
                                                                                               “We actually found that putting Angie
                                                                                               in half-light with strong contrast made
                                                                                               her look even more striking. We never
                                                                                               had to compromise the way the scenes
                                                                                               looked or felt when we were lighting
                                                                                               her. As long as I stayed away from
                                                                                               toplight, the harsher and more unusual
                                                                                               the angle, the more expressive the
                                                                                                       Elswit acknowledges that a
                                                                                               stunt-heavy thriller such as Salt looks a
                                                                                               bit anomalous among his recent credits,
                                                                                               which include Duplicity, There Will Be
                                                                                               Blood (AC Jan.’08) and Michael Clayton,
                                                                                               and he defers much of the credit for

                                                                                                                                                                                                        August 2010   29
◗       Cat and Mouse

            Right: The
     duality of Salt’s
           situation is
          reflected in
        the two-way
         mirror of an
       room. Below:
     The spy springs
          into action.

                                                                                                  include The Bourne Ultimatum (AC
                                                                                                  Sept. ’07), are well known in their
                                                                                                  respective fields. “Being a second-unit
                                                                                                  cameraman requires a special set of
                                                                                                  skills,” Meglic remarks. “You have to
                                                                                                  have an understanding of how mass
                                                                                                  moves through space, and you have to
                                                                                                  be able to feel what’s going to happen as
                                                                                                  it does.”
                                                                                                          Meglic notes that Salt illustrates
                                                                                                  how the second unit’s responsibilities
                                                                                                  have evolved on films in which action is
                                                                                                  closely fused with character. He and
                                                                                                  Crane often found themselves shooting
                                                                                                  what might normally be considered
                                                                                                  main-unit material, and “that used to
                                                                                                  be unheard of,” says Meglic. “Usually
                                                                                                  the first unit handles the principals
                                                                                                  while the second unit is off shooting all
                                                                                                  the cars and other action. It takes the
           Salt’s visual style to his collaborators,   tor of photography Robert Grasmere,        right kind of director to gain the actors’
           notably 2nd-unit director Simon             who coordinated the work of 10 visual-     trust, and Angelina trusts Simon to
           Crane; 2nd-unit director of photogra-       effects facilities.                        direct her.”
           phy Igor Meglic, ZFS (Slovene                      Crane, who also worked with                 Grasmere’s unit was tasked with
           Association of Cinematographers); and       Jolie on Mr. & Mrs. Smith (AC July ’05),   filming all of the background plates,
           visual-effects supervisor/3rd-unit direc-   and Meglic, whose second-unit credits      some aerial shots and the Russia mate-

30          August 2010                                        American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                        Top: Reflections are
                                                                                                                        also used to artful
                                                                                                                        effect on the other
                                                                                                                        side of the two-
                                                                                                                        way mirror during
                                                                                                                        the interrogation
                                                                                                                        of a Russian
                                                                                                                        defector (Daniel
                                                                                                                        Bottom: Inside
                                                                                                                        the room, director
                                                                                                                        Phillip Noyce
                                                                                                                        (leaning on
                                                                                                                        table) and
                                                                                                                        Robert Elswit, ASC
                                                                                                                        (wearing cap) work
                                                                                                                        through the scene
                                                                                                                        with Olbrychski.

rial. It was also up to Grasmere to
determine what could be achieved
practically without slowing down the
production, and what could be achieved
in post without compromising the
integrity of the other departments’
work. “There were big fixes and small
fixes [in post] — the work was evenly
distributed,” says Grasmere. “We
finaled around 800 shots, which is a lot
when you consider the whole film has
2,500 shots.”
       On the set pieces where the
second or third unit simply had to
match first-unit photography, Elswit,
Meglic and Grasmere, along with
gaffers Andy Day and Greg Addison,
would walk the sets and discuss the best
way to match or re-create the original        working independently and shooting         other stuff.”
lighting setup. At other times, the           stunts, effects and aerials is as big a           In one sequence that features a
secondary units worked autonomously           logistical challenge as it is a creative   complex combination of stunts and
in other locations; if they shot a critical   challenge,” Elswit observes. “Thank        visual effects, Salt is cornered on a free-
dramatic scene featuring principal            God I had [1st AC] Baz Idoine to take      way overpass by two CIA colleagues
actors, the dailies were sent to Noyce        care of all the camera-equipment           (played by Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel
and Elswit for approval. “Any large           issues, and Andy [Day] and [key grip]      Ejiofor) and throws herself over the
production that involves multiple units       Dennis Gamiello to sort out all the        guardrail, landing hard on a container

                                                                                                August 2010        31
◗     Cat and Mouse
      Top: Elswit (far
             right) and
       operator Scott
   Sakamoto follow
 Jolie while filming
         a foot chase.
       Bottom left: A
      Technocrane is
  used to capture a
     character being
   pushed off a pier
       to “sleep with
           the fishes.”
        Bottom right:
   2nd-unit director
 Simon Crane (left)
        and 2nd-unit
            director of
    Igor Meglic, ZFS
            the action.

         truck below. For the location work, Jolie           Visual-effects      artists    at   plate. The final composite is a quick,
         rolled off the overpass of a highway        Framestore in New York, led by visual-      overhead shot of Jolie spinning through
         interchange in Washington, D.C. Then        effects supervisor Ivan Moran and CG        the air toward the truck.
         an amalgam of elements were                 supervisor Theo Jones, used Shake and              When Salt hits the container, it’s
         photographed on location in Albany,         Nuke software to alter the truck plate      a stuntwoman standing on top of the
         N.Y., and on a greenscreen stage            from Albany to sync the timing of           moving truck who completes the fall,
         erected in the former Northrop              Jolie’s fall and to match the lighting      rolling over as Meglic’s camera
         Grumman buildings in Bethpage,              between the elements. (The plate was        (operated by Jason Ellson) pans with
         Long Island. Onstage, Jolie was             scanned at 4K by Deluxe’s New York          her. In the same shot, Salt regains her
         suspended from a 25' track on a stunt       facility.) Jones’ team created a CG         composure, so a transition between two
         wire and filmed at high speed as she        container for the truck, using geometric    handheld shots — one with the stunt-
         was flown laterally into a chroma-key       data from a 3-D LIDAR scan made in          woman, and one with Jolie — was
         crash pad; Meglic’s camera was on a         Albany, and then fine-tuned the light-      hidden in the camera moves done on
         scaffold on precision dolly track.          ing for the container and the rest of the   location atop the moving semi. “The

32        August 2010                                         American Cinematographer
                                                             Soft overhead
                                                             lighting is
                                                             supplemented by
                                                             more direct
                                                             sources for a
                                                             major sequence
                                                             set within St.
                                                             Church in New

two actresses did their best to match
each other’s movements, and after that
it was just a matter of morphing the two
shots together over a few frames,”
Moran explains.
       The rest of the scene sees Salt
jumping from truck to truck before
hijacking a motorcycle and speeding
away. Crane and Meglic, along with
stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood,
used previs animations (by Proof Inc.)
and detailed beat sheets to determine
shots and the kinds of equipment they’d
need. “The Arri 235 is a godsend for
this kind of work,” says Meglic. “It’s
small, lightweight and has a great
viewing system.” His lenses included a
70-210mm (T2.8) zoom lens that
Panavision’s Dan Sasaki custom-built
for him, and a range of Panavision
Primo zooms and primes. Six operators
covered the action and worked hand-
held, employing a Libra-head-
equipped Supertechno 50 crane and a
Mercedes-mounted Russian Arm. To
heighten the sense of excitement,
Meglic employed an in-camera combi-
nation of shutter clipping and speed
ramping. “Depending on the shot, we’d
undercrank film by a couple of frames
to speed up the action just a bit,” he
comments. “If you do it any more than

                                    August 2010    33
◗    Cat and Mouse
                                                   that, it becomes obvious.”
                                                           Jolie enjoys performing many
                                                   stunts herself, and it is actually she in
                                                   several shots of Salt riding atop the
                                                   trucks as they roll down the highway.
                                                   She was always wired to the vehicle,
                                                   and the artists at Framestore were
                                                   tasked with removing all traces of stunt
                                                   wire from each shot. “That’s not always
                                                   the easiest thing to achieve, especially
                                                   when you’ve got a big cable passing in
                                                   front of the actor’s face,” notes Moran.
                                                   The Framestore team and a team at
                                                   Tikibot, which also contributed some
                                                   shots, often had to reconstruct Jolie’s
                                                   face frame by frame, he adds.
                                                           At one point in the film, Salt
                                                   is captured and transported to

                                                      “It’s important to
                                                      keep the camera
                                                       rolling after the

                                                   another location via Manhattan’s
                                                   Queensborough Bridge. The New York
                                                   Police make the mistake of cuffing her
                                                   hands in the front, enabling her to
                                                   wreak havoc in the SUV. She head-
                                                   butts one of her guards in the backseat
      Salt escapes a
 tense situation by                                and then disables another guard and
     clinging to the                               steals his taser. After overpowering the
exterior wall of an                                driver, she uses the SUV to smash her
   building. Special                               way through a police escort, only to
        rigging (top)                              find that the bridge off-ramp is blocked
allows the camera                                  by more police cars. The only way out is
     to move while
            capturing                              to drive over the edge.
   overhead angles                                        The trick was to place Jolie and a
       of Jolie, who                               camera inside the car when it hit the
    often performs
    her own stunts                                 ground. The crash was split into two
            (bottom).                              elements, a background plate of the
                                                   vehicle cab and Jolie’s foreground
                                                          The actual crash was shot on
                                                   location at the Queensborough Bridge.
                                                   The SUV was rigged to jump the off-

34       August 2010    American Cinematographer
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More details on
◗    Cat and Mouse

                                                                                                disable the camera, so Chrimes figured
                                                                                                out a way to slow down the slider in the
                                                                                                last 4" of the move by hooking bungee
   Top: A specially
      built camera                                                                              cords to the back of the camera plat-
   platform allows                                                                              form and layering strips of tape onto the
  camera operator                                                                               slider’s rail. The gradual thickening of
  Jason Ellson and
 stunt coordinator                                                                              the tape slowed the platform enough
  Wade Eastwood                                                                                 that it hit the end of the track with
  to capture shots                                                                              much less force.
    of Jolie atop a
     moving truck.                                                                                      The vehicle-interior plate was
    Bottom: Noyce                                                                               shot on the production’s greenscreen
       blocks out a                                                                             stages in Bethpage, with Jolie inside a
 subway sequence
   with Sakamoto.                                                                               mockup of the vehicle. As she acted out
                                                                                                the moment of impact, Meglic
                                                                                                photographed her at high speed with
                                                                                                the same lens and camera slider used in
                                                                                                the crash. From there, it was up to
        ramp’s concrete barrier and crash into       from a medium shot of Jolie to a close-    Framestore to marry the elements
        the street below. Nine Arri and              up. “It’s important to keep the camera     together, but it wasn’t a simple compos-
        Panavision cameras covered the crash;        rolling after the impact so you see how    ite — the artists filled the car interior
        one was on a Supertechno 50 crane that       it affects the character,” says Meglic.    with all manner of digital debris,
        extended over the side, flying next to       “We built a special cage for the camera    including glass, dust and metal frag-
        the car as it went over.                     with two rods, one on top of the lens      ments. “Without the proper atmos-
                Crane wanted to have a moving        and one on the bottom, to help prevent     phere, it would have looked too clean,”
        camera inside the car, so 2nd-unit key       the lens from being ripped out. The lens   says Moran. The final shot takes only a
        grip Peter Chrimes installed a 5' camera     had to be the lightest we could find,      few seconds of screen time. “It happens
        slider in the cab so that when the car hit   which turned out to be a 24mm              so fast, but it’s not like seeing a push-
        bottom, the camera, an Arri 235, would       Panavision Ultra Speed.” The team also     in,” Meglic says. “It’s one of those little
        slam forward with the impact, going          had to make sure the crash didn’t          things, the imperceptible things, that

36      August 2010                                           American Cinematographer
◗    Cat and Mouse

                                                 Elswit and Sakamoto capture various angles
                                                  for sequences set aboard a dinghy and in
                                                          the hold of a larger vessel.

                                                enhance the action.”
                                                       If an important scene was set in a
                                                location that proved to be unavailable to
                                                the production, CG artists re-created
                                                the environment down to its tiniest
                                                textures. CIS Vancouver visual-effects
                                                supervisor Mark Breakspear oversaw
                                                much of this work. “Some people like
                                                making CG creatures, but I love
                                                making environments,” he says. For
                                                Salt, his team had to create two façades
                                                of the White House, the front and the
                                                back. The front appears in a night scene
                                                that shows characters entering the front
                                                gates and driving up to the building; the
                                                back appears in a dawn scene that
                                                shows Salt being taken away by heli-
                                                copter. “CG shots of famous locations
                                                like the White House are definitely the
                                                hardest to accomplish because if you
                                                don’t get it right, everyone will notice,”
                                                observes Grasmere. Initially, he and

38   August 2010     American Cinematographer
Breakspear attempted to capture back-
ground plates of the White House, but
the Secret Service wouldn’t allow access
to the grounds. Plan B was to photo-
graph the guards driving up to a
mockup of the White House gates in a
parking lot in Long Island, and then                       MARK II

build everything else digitally.
       During his research phase,
Breakspear went so far as to dig up the
original White House landscaping
plans in a public archive. “We also did a
lot of HDRI [high-dynamic-range
imaging], which allows us to record the
volume of light in the area, and we took
a lot of digital photos around the White                                      Available with

“CG shots of famous
  locations like the                         Representative in U.S.:
                                             camadeus Film Technologies
  White House are                            Nor th Hollywood, CA 91605
                                             Tel. +1-818-764-1234 We accept      
definitely the hardest
    to accomplish
because if you don’t
get it right, everyone
     will notice.”

House which, when cleaned up, could
be used for textures on the CG model
of the buildings,” he says.
       When gathering data for CG
lighting references on set, Grasmere
prefers to use a fish-eye lens on a high-
resolution still camera and photograph
the location or set with 360 degrees of
overlapping coverage, shooting at a
depth of 5 to 6 stops (3 stops over and
3 stops under) to capture the full
dynamic range of anything touched by
light. “I might not slavishly adhere to
that, but it’s a starting point,” he says.
“For the night exterior on the White
House back lawn, we lit the foreground
beautifully and backlit the actors, but
◗   Cat and Mouse

                                       Salt’s cloak-and-dagger adventures are enhanced by Elswit’s eye for intriguing compositions.

                                   when we added the building and the                  taken away in a helicopter. Grasmere
                                   lawn, we had to add a CG light source               shot a moving aerial foreground
                                   to justify the foreground illumination.”            element of the Blackhawk taking off
                                          Artists at CIS had to create a               from a Long Island park, and CIS was
                                   sizeable section of Washington, D.C.,               asked to comp a 2-D skyline into the
                                   for the sequence that shows Salt being              background. “But we were trying to sell

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   this environment, and [using 2-D                                           Breakspear explains, “When you’re                  look to his collaborators, Elswit sums
   instead of 3-D] was a corner we didn’t                                     tracking a shot, you have to negate the            up his DI work in an equally humble
   want to cut, so we found a simple 3-D                                      distortion the lens gives you. Before              fashion: “There are many cinematogra-
   model of D.C. online that was available                                    production starts, we shoot lens grids,            phers who do wonderfully creative
   for download — the data set was                                            which are big white boards with a black            work in the DI, but I spend most of my
   provided by the U.S. government,”                                          grid. The lens we use to shoot the grid            time fixing things I screwed up in prin-
   recalls Breakspear. CIS used the data to                                   takes the square geometry and distorts             cipal photography.”                  ●
   create corresponding 3-D blocks within                                     those lines. We scan the test shots,
   their software (Maya and Houdini),                                         using the lens grids to show us how to
   and then skinned them with textures                                        undistort the original photographic
   and twinkling lights. “We went to                                          elements. When we’ve added our [CG]
   Washington and studied 30 or 40                                            elements to the shot, we then use a                           TECHNICAL SPECS
   buildings, shot textures, and fed those                                    secondary piece of software to re-                 2.40:1
   elements into a computer,” explains                                        distort the final composite so it
   Breakspear. “We added air-conditioner                                      matches the original.”                             4-perf Super 35mm
   units, antennae and water tanks to the                                            Principal photography on Salt
   rooftops, and with the camera move-                                        wrapped in June 2009, and as the                   Panaflex Millennium XL;
                                                                                                                                 Arri 435ES, 235
   ment and the parallax, it looks                                            visual-effects team finalized shots, they
   absolutely stunning.”                                                      referenced Elswit’s dailies, which had             Panavision lenses
          Optical performance is a critical                                   been timed by Nolan Murdock at
   element of all visual-effects work, and                                    Deluxe’s New York facility. Elswit                 Kodak Vision3 500T 5219,
   CIS matched a set of CG lenses into its                                    supervised the film’s final digital grade          Vision2 200T 5217
   Maya and Houdini software based on                                         at Sony Colorworks, where he worked                Digital Intermediate
   the lenses Elswit and his collaborators                                    with colorist Steve Bowen. After again
   used for principal photography.                                            passing most of the credit for the film’s          Printed on Kodak Vision 2383

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             An unlikely hero
          fights for his woman
            in Scott Pilgrim vs.
           the World, directed
             by Edgar Wright
                and shot by
              Bill Pope, ASC.

                    By Noah Kadner


     Girl Trouble
          dapted from an irreverent comic-book series, Scott Pilgrim     illustrations [inside] would look like in color. Translating [Scott
          vs. the World chronicles the attempts of its titular charac-   Pilgrim creator] Bryan Lee O’Malley’s aesthetics to live action
          ter (Michael Cera) to woo a young woman (Mary                  was more straightforward than adapting other comics might
          Elizabeth Winstead) by defeating her seven evil ex-            be, because Bryan doesn’t cheat perspective and use ‘cartoon
     boyfriends in video-game-style fights. The film is directed by      engineering.’ Also, he drew a lot of the comic [referencing]
     Edgar Wright, who decided to team with Bill Pope, ASC after         actual photos of Toronto, where the story is set.”
     the cinematographer, a comic-book aficionado, made a                        “Edgar wanted to stay true to the linear lines of the
     convincing pitch for the job. “Bill really impressed me because     books while taking things a step further,” notes production
     he wanted to talk about the script rather than the look,” recalls   designer Marcus Rowland. “The comic pages have no texture
     Wright. “He’d already read the books and was really into them.”     or color, but you get a real sense of geography. Edgar, Bill and
            When the pair began discussing the film’s look, says         I extrapolated a look that would start with mundane browns
     Pope, “we took our initial inspiration off the books’ full-color    and muted tones and evolve into a progressively more colorful
     covers. From there, we imagined what all the black-and-white        palette.”

42    August 2010                                           American Cinematographer
                                                                                                         The filmmakers began principal
                                                                                                 photography in Toronto in July 2008,
                                                                                                 working on location and onstage at
                                                                                                 Cinespace Film Studios. A chief
                                                                                                 element of the style they envisioned was
                                                                                                 extreme changes to aspect ratios and
                                                                                                 framing in order to approximate both
                                                                                                 the multi-panel graphic manga comic
                                                                                                 aesthetics and video-game styles used
                                                                                                 throughout the source material. The
                                                                                                 movie is structured around the seven
Unit photography by Kerry Hayes, SMPSP. Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Universal Pictures.

                                                                                                 fights Pilgrim must win — each being
                                                                                                 more intense than the last — and inter-
                                                                                                 mingles naturalistic dialogue and transi-
                                                                                                 tional scenes. “We generally shot the
                                                                                                 realistic scenes with spherical lenses and
                                                                                                 the fight scenes with anamorphic
                                                                                                 lenses,” explains Pope. “Anamorphic
                                                                                                 established a more heightened reality
                                                                                                 with incredible contrast, shortened
                                                                                                 depth-of-field and often a wider aspect
                                                                                                 ratio. We broke the rules a lot and some-
                                                                                                 times had 1.85 shots with anamorphic
                                                                                                 lenses [using a custom 1.85 anamorphic
                                                                                                 ground glass supplied by Panavision],
                                                                                                 and we also framed [2.40:1] shots with
                                                                                                 spherical lenses. Often the aspect ratio
                                                                                                 changes within a shot in order to
                                                                                                 emphasize the action or a particular
                                                                                                 detail. The final print is in 1.85, with
                                                                                                 the anamorphic footage digitally
                                                                                                 unsqueezed and presented both as fill-
                                                                                                 ing the frame and with a hard 2.40:1         Opposite: Lovestruck hipster Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) attempts to chat up his dream girl, Ramona V.
                                                                                                 matte.” (The spherical material was shot      Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). This page, top: To win Ramona’s affection, Scott must battle and
                                                                                                 in 4-perf Super 35mm.)                              defeat her seven evil exes. Middle: Scott is held in the grip of an ornery enemy. Bottom:
                                                                                                                                              Cinematographer Bill Pope, ASC (left) and director Edgar Wright position themselves for the next take.
                                                                                                         Pope’s principal crew included 1st

                                                                                                                                                                                                          August 2010       43
◗    Girl Trouble
                                                  AC Russel Bowie, camera operator
                                                  Angelo Colavecchia, chief lighting
                                                  technician Jean Courteau and chief
                                                  rigging gaffer Stephen Spurrell. Many
                                                  of the crew had worked together before
                                                  but were collaborating with Pope for the
                                                  first time. Lighting gear was sourced
                                                  from William F. White Equipment in
                                                  Toronto, and Panavision Toronto
                                                  supplied the camera package. Panaflex
                                                  XL2s were the main cameras, and an
                                                  Arri 435ES was used for additional
                                                  coverage and some high-speed work. To
                                                  capture higher frame rates, Pope used a
                                                  Phantom HD digital camera
                                                  customized with a Panavision mount.
                                                  To get higher resolution for certain
                                                  visual-effects shots, the production
                                                  utilized a Beaucam VistaVision camera.
                                                          The filmmakers carried a large
                                                  array of lenses in order to capture the
                                                  film’s varied visuals. Spherical optics
                                                  included Panavision Primo primes
                                                  ranging from 10mm to 150mm,
                                                  complemented by Primo 4:1 and 11:1
                                                  zooms. (Pope’s favorite close-up lens
                                                  was the Primo 50mm.) The anamorphic
                                                  lenses included a set of Panavision’s G-
                                                  Series primes and E-series 135mm and
                                                  180mm lenses. For anamorphic zooms,
                                                  Pope utilized Panavision’s 40-80mm
                                                  and 70-200mm lenses, nicknamed the

  graphics, visual
      effects and a
         good, old-
   fashioned wall
of lights enhance
        Scott’s epic
        battle with
   Gideon Graves
     on the Chaos
     nightclub set.

44       August 2010   American Cinematographer
“Short Bailey Zoom” and “Long Bailey
Zoom,” after John Bailey, ASC, who
actively campaigned for their develop-
       Pope shot most of the picture on
Kodak Vision3 500T 5219, which he
rated at ISO 400. For a handful of
snowy day exteriors, he switched to
Kodak Vision 200T 5217. Dailies were
processed normally at Deluxe Toronto.
Lens filtration was limited to 81EF and
85 filters, with a very occasional use of
1⁄8 Schneider Classic Soft.

       “Our typical stop was a T4 for
most of the film-based work,” says
Bowie. “On anamorphic lenses, the
exposure curve looks much nicer at T4
than wide open. We tried to keep to that
stop on day exteriors as well; for night
exteriors, we’d sometimes go down to
T2.8. For high-speed work of up to 500
fps, we’d drop down to a T2 on location.
When we got back into the studio, Bill
was able to light some high-speed shots
all the way up to a T5.6, depending on
how tight we got and how critical the
focus became. One second out of focus
at 500 fps becomes an eternity!”
       Pope and Wright chose to work
with a single camera as much as possi-
ble. “Of the 4,000 or so setups we did
during principal photography, about 800
featured more than one camera,” says
Pope. “I think we used more than two
cameras just two or three times. Edgar
and I favor a tight eyeline for the actors,
and that’s hard to pull off once you go
into multiple cameras.”
       The filmmakers set a fast pace for
the production, which comprised 104
principal shoot days. “We went through
more than 200 setups the first week,
which is faster than music videos I’ve
done,” remarks Pope. “The Matrix [AC
April ’99] had a lot of visual-effects
work, but the camera moves were rela-
tively simple, and the same was true of
Spider-Man 2 and 3. But Scott Pilgrim
was a lot more in-camera and complex,
like swish pans on specific lines of
dialogue and intricate choreography.
There were lighting cues and dolly            Scott takes evasive action while running down the side of a three-story pyramid in the club. A
                                               Technocrane (bottom photo) was used to capture tricky angles and moves on the set, which
moves on almost every shot.”                                  required complex rigging supervised by key grip Rico Emerson.
       To facilitate the brisk pace, Pope’s

                                                                                                          August 2010   45
◗    Girl Trouble

                                                                                                         crew prelit every set and often devised
                                                                                                         360-degree-lighting plots to enable
                                                                                                         shots to be taken in all directions with-
                                                                                                         out a major relight. “Edgar told me he
                                                                                                         wanted to avoid cutting back to the
                                                                                                         same shot twice,” says Pope. “There
                                                                                                         were also lots of split-screen and multi-
                                                                                                         ple-panel shots. We brought in the
                                                                                                         second unit where we could, but Edgar
                                                                                                         wanted the main unit to shoot the key
                                                                                                         parts because each fight has a story and
                                                                                                         a character arc. It’s not just a guy hitting
                                                                                                         another guy; there’s always a line of
                                                                                                         dialogue or some bit of action in the
                                                                                                                 The movie opens at a dining-
                                                                                                         room table in the apartment of Stephen
                                                                                                         Stills (Mark Webber), as Pilgrim and
                                                                                                         his bandmates discuss his aimless
                                                                                                         lifestyle and flawed romantic aspira-
                                                                                                         tions. “We tried to shoot in continuity,
                                                                                                         so that first scene was shot on day one,”
                                                                                                         reveals Pope. “The set was a stage
                                                                                                         version of Stephen’s apartment, which
                                                                                                         we cluttered up as much as possible. We
                                                                                                         made it look like it was lit arbitrarily by
                                                                                                         bare bulbs and whatever else you’d find
                                                                                                         in the average bachelor pad. After the
                                                                                                         kids are introduced to Knives Chau
                                                                                                         [Ellen Wong], they all get up to
  Some 1,200 visual-effects shots were contributed by London’s Double Negative, including comic-book
 text, cartoonish weapons and video-game icons. Pope (upper right) strove to create live-action images   rehearse, and when they start to play, we
                       that would integrate smoothly with the extensive effects.                         do our first big shift from realism to
                                                                                                         magical realism.”                        ➣
46     August 2010                                                  American Cinematographer
◗    Girl Trouble

     Lighting and
     visual effects
  were combined
 to turn a concert
  sequence into a
       rock ’n’ roll

                                                         The band’s music is visualized
                                                  with notes flying out of their guitars as
                                                  the camera pulls back far beyond the
                                                  apparent physical confines of the room.
                                                  “If Edgar can build it in the camera, he
                                                  will, so Marcus built the set with a
                                                  removable wall and multiplied the
                                                  rectangular length of the room by about
                                                  4,” says Pope. “We pulled back on the
                                                  Technocrane to what seemed like a
                                                  football field’s distance from the band,
                                                  and then Young Neil [ Johnny
                                                  Simmons] and Knives pop up in an
                                                  over-the-shoulder shot on the couch, as
                                                  if they’re still in the same room — the
                                                  couch was on its own track that traveled
                                                  under the camera and slid up into the
                                                  shot at the end of the pullback. We
                                                  pulled out the ceiling to accommodate
                                                  the Technocrane, so a CG ceiling was
                                                  added later. It was a lot of fun. We go
                                                  from that shot directly into the credit
                                                         From the credits onward, Scott
                                                  Pilgrim alternates between magical real-
                                                  ism shot on stages and more conven-
                                                  tional-looking location work. “Bill, Jean,
                                                  [key grip] Rico [Emerson] and I would
                                                  survey each location as early as possible,”
                                                  recalls Spurrell. “Some of the sets were
                                                  on busy streets at the cusp of rush hour.
                                                  We’d literally have an army of people
                                                  swoop down a couple of hours before
                                                  shooting to set up cables, rig Condors,
                                                  and swap out the mercury-vapor street-

48       August 2010   American Cinematographer
lamp bulbs for 2K tungsten mockups.           not sure you’ve got the shot till the                                     Bowie notes, “[Beaucam creator] Greg
We’d place 12-light Maxi-Brutes and           dailies show up. The Phantom gives you                                    Beaumont also supplied a set of Leica
20Ks in the Condors up to 80 feet up for      perfect hi-def playback immediately.”                                     lenses beautifully re-housed with repli-
fill and backlight, and then Bill would              A Beaucam VistaVision camera                                       cated Panavision movie-lens markings.
march in big bounces and direct trans-        was used “for shots where we nested a                                     We shot 8-perf 35mm with 400-foot
missions with 12- and Nine-light              close-up inside a wide shot and wanted                                    mags, which gave us about two minutes
Maxis.”                                       to optically zoom in while maintaining                                    per load. The camera requires a lot of
       The filmmakers switched from           sharp resolution,” continues Pope.                                        maintenance — you have to check the
film cameras to the Phantom HD in             “Edgar wanted perfect continuity                                          gate every couple of takes and oil it after
order to capture extreme-slow-motion          between those shots, and the only way                                     every three mags — but the results are
shots during fight scenes. “There’s no        to make that work was VistaVision.”                                       worth it.”                             ➣
blood in this movie, so the only way we
could suggest a blow’s impact on a
person was in their face or the way their
hair reacted,” notes Wright. “The

  “The only way we
   could suggest a
 blow’s impact on a
 person was in their                                                                           Without OSRAM HMI lamps, it

   face or the way                                                                             would just be a shot in the dark.
  their hair reacted.
  The Phantom was
 perfect for this ‘hair
     porn’ effect.”

Phantom was perfect for this ‘hair porn’
effect, and we embellished it with wind
machines and air cannons. We also used
it for the big, power-move sort of shots
styled after Japanese animation. In a lot
of those films, they didn’t have big
budgets, so they’d resort to things like
slow motion and freeze frames for
effect.” Pope adds, “We kept going back                                        In 1967 we made the first HMI lamp. Today we still make the only HMI lamps.
                                                                               For more information, please go to or call toll-free in the U.S. 888-677-2627.
to certain favorite Phantom frame rates,
like 388 fps. The latest iteration of the
camera is great because the memory is
fast, and there’s no waiting for footage to
download. With the older high-speed
                                                    © 2010 OSRAM SYLVANIA

film cameras, you’re looking at a video
approximation of each take, and you’re
◗    Girl Trouble
 The Phantom HD
 camera was used
     to capture the
      movie’s ultra-
  fight sequences.
         “There’s no
       blood in this
      movie, so the
      only way we
   could suggest a
 blow’s impact on
   a person was in
  their face or the
     way their hair
    reacted,” notes

                                                         The movie’s climactic battle,
                                                  between Pilgrim and Gideon Graves
                                                  ( Jason Schwartzman), takes place at the
                                                  Chaos nightclub, a set that features
                                                  three-story decorative pyramids. “We
                                                  tried to work in continuity, not only
                                                  because these are fight scenes, which
                                                  can evolve on the set, but also because
                                                  Edgar’s blocking and shot design is so
                                                  intricate and specific that shooting out
                                                  of continuity is dangerous — every time
                                                  we tried to shoot out a direction, we
                                                  regretted it later because of continuity,”
                                                  says Pope. “On the pyramid set, this
                                                  meant shooting on the top deck, the
                                                  middle deck, the bottom deck and back
                                                  every day as was needed in the story.
                                                  Our life became all about scaffold
                                                  management, and Rico Emerson
                                                  performed this Herculean labor. He
                                                  told me the other day he still has night-
                                                  mares about it. Each level of the pyra-
                                                  mid grew smaller and smaller toward
                                                  the top until the whole crew was work-
                                                  ing around a 12-by-12-foot area. We
                                                  built up side platforms and scaffolding
                                                  in order to accommodate dollies, crew
                                                  and equipment. The lighting was incor-
                                                  porated into the set as much as possible,
                                                  but it was a major logistical challenge
                                                  for the crew.”
                                                         Wright wanted in-camera light-
                                                  ing effects whenever an impact

50       August 2010   American Cinematographer
occurred. “For the long shots, we used        snow dragons versus sound yetis,” says                                                                                                                                  but we scanned the VistaVision mater-
Lightning Strikes 25K and 75K                 Churchill. “We used digital stems of the                                                                                                                                ial at 6K,” says Churchill. “For the
strobes,” says Spurrell. “In the close-ups,   actual music tracks to drive the anima-                                                                                                                                 Phantom footage, we shot the camera’s
we’d switch to Paparazzi data flash           tion, and we added digital snow as a                                                                                                                                    raw Cine file format, which we
units, which are easier on the actors’        fluid simulation. We shot the band                                                                                                                                      converted to 16-bit linear DPX files
eyes. For the rest of the set, we lit 360     sequences with live playback because                                                                                                                                    using Glue Tools. Then we went DPX
degrees with [3'x6'] Midnite Hour             Edgar is very specific about choreogra-                                                                                                                                 to EXR floating-point linear color for
LED panels up to about 16 feet, all           phy, down to the millisecond.”                                                                                                                                          all the compositing and CG work.
interactively timed with the band and                 Double Negative also had a hand                                                                                                                                 Finally, we converted back to 16-bit
the fighting. That was augmented with         in facilitating the movie’s aspect-ratio                                                                                                                                DPX log color for the digital intermedi-
about 1,600 conventional movie lights         shifts. “We did most of our work at 2K,                                                                                                                                 ate with a neutral grade to leave Bill
running through a Grand MH dimmer
board. We had 140 bars of six in-the-air
Par can rigs that we could raise and
lower with chain motors and also play as                                                                                                                             
practical lights. We also set up 48 6K
overhead space lights for the base illu-
mination. For backlight, we used
Dwight Scorpion pan-and-tilt heads
fitted with 36 650-watt DWE bulbs.”
       For camera moves, Pope
deployed dollies, tripods and cranes.
“We only did about three handheld
                                                    © 2010 OSRAM SYLVANIA OSRAM and KREIOS are registered trademarks of OSRAM GmbH Photo Credit: Image Source / Getty Images

shots in the whole show,” notes Bowie.
“Everything else was in studio mode
with a good number of 15-foot, 30-foot
and 50-foot Technocrane days. Since
you can get that floating sensation with
too much crane action, a lot of our shots
were done on a dolly. Bill likes to do fast
dolly moves with his eye on the
       Double Negative in London
contributed about 1,200 visual-effects
shots to the movie. “Most of our efforts
were devoted to translating the comic-
book aesthetic,” explains Frazer
Churchill, Double Negative’s visual-
effects supervisor. “It was tricky using
CG to make comic-book text and
graphics occupy space in the frame as                                                                                                                                               KREIOS LED lighting shows true color.

stylized photographic objects. We used                                                                                                                                              OSRAM KREIOS lighting solutions render true color and skin tones on
Shake for compositing, Maya for 3-D,                                                                                                                                                film and video—exactly how the eye sees them. And with precise color
Houdini for effects animation and
                                                                                                                                                                                    temperature matching, OSRAM KREIOS LEDs seamlessly integrate with
RenderMan for rendering. We also
have proprietary tools for fluid simula-                                                                                                                                            existing traditional lighting. The fact that you can’t tell them apart is
tions, audio-driven animation and crea-                                                                                                                                             what sets them apart. For more information on OSRAM KREIOS LED
ture effects.”                                                                                                                                                                      lighting system solutions, please email
       In one sequence, Pilgrim’s band                                                                                                                                              or call 1-888-677-2627.
squares off against the twin Katayanagi
brothers at a club, and their musical riffs
transform into floating notes and fight-
ing creatures. “We did Maya creature
shots of the bands’ music fighting as
◗    Girl Trouble
                                                                                                           room to work.
                                                                                                                  “We developed various methods
                                                                                                           of digitally reformatting the anamor-
                                                                                                           phic footage to fit within the spherical
                                                                                                           frame,” continues Churchill. “For
                                                                                                           example, there’s a shot that’s presented
                                                                                                           as letterboxed 2.40:1, and then a char-
                                                                                                           acter’s fist breaks through the masked-
                                                                                                           off area into 1.85. We did a lot of nested
                                                                                                           zooms or morph zooms, where we digi-
                                                                                                           tally zoom into a plate and then transi-
                                                                                                           tion to a different plate [of the same
                                                                                                           action] shot with a longer lens or from
                                                                                                           a closer camera position to create an

                                                                                                            “This was my first
                                                                                                            experience doing
                                                                                                             nearly everything
                                                                                                           with HD dailies, and
                                                                                                            I missed the finer
                                                                                                              detail you get
                                                                                                                with film.”

                                                                                                           impossibly long zoom in. We did this in
                                                                                                           a number of the fight sequences to
                                                                                                           create anime-style effects. For a lot of
                                                                                                           our work, we generated mattes for the
                                                                                                           separate elements in case Bill wanted to
                                                                                                           grade, for example, just a face within a
                                                                                                                  The filmmakers were able to
                                                                                                           screen their first day’s dailies on 35mm,
                                                                                                           but then had to transition to HD dailies
                                                                                                           for the rest of the shoot. “On my next
                                                                                                           production, I’d like to print more film
                                                                                                           dailies,” says Pope. “This was my first
                                                                                                           experience doing nearly everything
   A realistic approach was taken to early scenes staged on an apartment set, but when Pilgrim’s band
                                                                                                           with HD dailies, and I missed the finer
 kicks out the jams, a surreal pullback move extends well past the physical confines of the room, which    detail you get with film.”
    production designer Marcus Rowland lengthened to comical proportions. “We pulled back on the                  Pope carried out the final digital
Technocrane to what seemed like a football field’s distance to the band,” notes Pope. “We pulled out the
      ceiling to accommodate the Technocrane, so a CG ceiling was added later. It was a lot of fun.”
                                                                                                           grade at Company 3 in Santa Monica,
                                                                                                           working with colorist Stephen

52      August 2010                                                 American Cinematographer
     ◗   Girl Trouble
                                                                                                    shoot, but if it’s going to take two
                                                                                                    minutes, do it,” he emphasizes. “When
                                                                                                    a shot escapes your grasp during
                                                                                                    production, it passes through a lot of
                                                                                                    hands down the chain and becomes the
                                                                                                    bible for additional post work. A good
                                                                                                    double net is much better than a power
                                                                                                    window, if you can do it.”
                                                                                                           Asked about achieving consis-
                                                                                                    tency across Scott Pilgrim’s variety of
                                                                                                    formats, Pope says, “About the only
                                                                                                    grading challenge was the Phantom
                                                                                                    footage, which tends to be a little low in
                                                                                                    color out of the camera. It’s easily
                                                                                                    addressed by pumping in some chroma
                                                                                                    during the grade.”
                                                                                                           After completing their work,
                                                                                                    Wright and Pope expressed great satis-
                                                                                                    faction with the results. “It’s a rush to
                         The crew illuminates an elaborate exterior shot.                           watch it because the action kicks in and
                                                                                                    the magical realism never lets up,” says
         Nakamura. “Edgar and I liked what we          make any radical shifts.” Pope advocates     Wright. “I see a lot of big-budget films
         saw as we shot, so most of our work in        getting images right in-camera as much       and occasionally wonder where the
         the DI was about evening things out,”         as possible. “If something’s going to take   budget went, so my main concern was
         says the cinematographer. “We didn’t          an hour to flag off, you may just have to    putting all our money on the screen. I

                                                                                           different tiers that don’t have much real
                                                                                           interaction, but Edgar made sure every
                                                                                           single person in this cast and crew was
                                                                                           included. I love the crew, love the movie,
                                                                                           love the characters and love the actors,
                                                                                           and I think it shows in the final film.”

                                                                                                   TECHNICAL SPECS

                                                                                           35mm and High-Definition

                                                                                           Panaflex XL2; Arri 435ES;
                                                                                           Phantom HD; Beaucam

                                                                                           Panavision and Leica lenses
        With each succeeding battle, Scott comes closer to winning Ramona’s heart.
                                                                                           Kodak Vision2 500T 5219 and
hope everyone can see how much TLC             entire movie,” observes Pope. “It started   200T 5217
went into this movie.”                         with simple things, like coming in and      Digital Intermediate
      “Edgar created this warmth in            exercising with the cast every morning.
and around the set that suffuses the           Some film sets are usually divided into     Printed on Kodak Vision 2383


                         A Magical
                                                        he Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the latest retelling of an ancient
        Bojan Bazelli, ASC conjures up                  tale in which supernatural powers threaten to overwhelm
                                                        the young would-be wizard who summons them.
        dueling wizards in the Big Apple                Perhaps the best-known antecedent is the synonymous
          for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.          segment of Disney’s animated classic Fantasia, in which
                                                  Mickey Mouse filled the title role. The new film reimagines
                                                  the story as a live-action adventure-comedy set in modern-day
                   By David Heuring               New York, where fresh-faced Dave Stutler ( Jay Baruchel)
                                                  finds himself unwittingly cast as the apprentice to sorcerer
                                                  Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage).
                         •|•                             To bring this vision to the screen, director Jon
                                                  Turteltaub teamed with Bojan Bazelli, ASC, whose previous
                                                  credits include Hairspray (AC Aug. ’07), Mr. & Mrs. Smith

56   August 2010                      American Cinematographer
Photos by Robert Zuckerman and Abbot Genser. Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc., and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc.

                                                                                                                                        (AC July ’05) and The Ring (AC Nov.
                                                                                                                                        ’02). Bazelli was recommended to
                                                                                                                                        Turteltaub by producer Jerry
                                                                                                                                        Bruckheimer, who had recently worked
                                                                                                                                        with the cinematographer on G-Force.
                                                                                                                                        With a story steeped in magic, Sorcerer’s
                                                                                                                                        Apprentice required Bazelli to focus on
                                                                                                                                        “the magical feeling you perceive
                                                                                                                                        subconsciously as an audience,” the
                                                                                                                                        cinematographer offers. “The goal was
                                                                                                                                        to engage viewers through characters
                                                                                                                                        they can identify with and a story that
                                                                                                                                        sweeps them along. If we fail at that,
                                                                                                                                        nothing else matters.”
                                                                                                                                               Along the way, Bazelli adds, the
                                                                                                                                        filmmakers also wanted “to create a
                                                                                                                                        version of New York City that’s never
                                                                                                                                        been seen before.” Perhaps their most
                                                                                                                                        significant decision in this regard was
                                                                                                                                        choosing to shoot most of the picture
                                                                                                                                        with wide-angle lenses, typically a
                                                                                                                                        12mm, 14mm, 16mm, 18mm or 21mm                Opposite: The sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) lends his magical touch to one of the
                                                                                                                                                                                      iconic eagles atop Manhattan’s Chrysler Building — actually a stagebound set lined with a
                                                                                                                                        Cooke S4 prime. “That gives the movie       custom TransLite — in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This page: Blake generates rings of fire while
                                                                                                                                        a certain vibe — the perspective is more                          training his apprentice, Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel).
                                                                                                                                        dynamic,” says Bazelli. “We wanted to

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                August 2010   57
◗    A Magical Manhattan

      Right: Stutler
  tinkers in Blake’s
     practice room.
         Below and
      Bojan Bazelli,
 ASC’s lighting for
 the practice-room
    set included an
   array of fixtures
  mounted to two
  concentric circles
    of custom-bent
     truss centered
   around a cluster
       of five space

                                                                                                   been one of the new stock’s earliest
                                                                                                   testers and had given Kodak feedback
                                                                                                   about how it could be fine-tuned, and
                                                                                                   Kodak gave the production 250,000' of
                                                                                                   the final product before it even hit the
                                                                                                   market. “I didn’t treat it like a daylight
                                                                                                   stock in terms of lighting,” says Bazelli,
                                                                                                   “and that approach was only possible
                                                                                                   because we knew we would be finishing
                                                                                                   with a digital intermediate. In the DI
                                                                                                   suite, we could easily time out the
                                                                                                   warmth associated with using a daylight
                                                                                                   film stock with tungsten lighting, and
                                                                                                   that would have been pretty much
                                                                                                   impossible in photochemical timing.
                                                                                                          “I wanted the images in this
                                                                                                   movie to travel from the mid-tones to
                                                                                                   black in as many tones and shades as
                                                                                                   possible, and 5207 allowed me to create
        capture [production designer] Naomi          faces the way older short lenses can. Jon     blacks that are deep in a three-dimen-
        Shohan’s sets, the backgrounds and the       had never shot a movie in this style, so it   sional way,” he continues. “You’re always
        city on a grand scale, and if you want to    was a new experience for him, but he          looking for natural ways of softening
        emphasize the environment and really         really embraced it.”                          the image without heavy diffusion, and
        situate your actors in it, wide lenses are          Equally influential on the film’s      because the 85 filter is incorporated into
        the right choice. We shot most of our        look was Bazelli’s decision to shoot the      5207, the image appears to be softer. It
        close-ups in the 25mm-to-27mm                entire picture on a daylight-balanced         also holds a great deal of detail in the
        range, which is fairly unusual, but the      stock, Kodak Vision3 250D 5207, and           highlights, which was crucial for main-
        modern rectilinear lenses don’t distort      light it with tungsten sources. He had        taining information and variegation in

58       August 2010                                          American Cinematographer
                 Lighting photo (opposite) courtesy of Bojan Bazelli. Diagram courtesy of Bazelli and Tony Nakonechnyj.
August 2010
◗     A Magical Manhattan
                                                   our many shots of explosions and fire.
                                                   Once fire overexposes, it loses its color,
                                                   and that’s very difficult to repair or
                                                   restore in post.”
                                                          During prep, Bazelli found inspi-
                                                   ration in Orpheus Descending, a book of
                                                   color stills taken by Clayton Burkhart
                                                   that depict modern New York City, and
                                                   Fantasy Art Now, a book of contempo-
                                                   rary illustrations. “I’m a little obsessed
                                                   with what these fantasy illustrators do in
                                                   their pictures,” says Bazelli. “They’re
                                                   very filmic. The photographs in
                                                   Burkhart’s book make use of the city’s
                                                   many lights and colors, and often play
                                                   off of reflections and wet streets. The
                                                   colors are strong, and the blacks are
                                                   really pure. That fit with our desire to set
                                                   this story in contemporary times.”
                                                          Most of Sorcerer’s Apprentice was
                                                   shot on stages in the New York area,
                                                   including Steiner Studios. The remain-
                                                   der was filmed on location throughout
                                                   the city. More than 1,200 visual-effects
                                                   shots round out the magic with flying
     Top: The crew
           readies a                               balls of plasma, a fire-breathing dragon,
  flashback scene                                  shape-shifting vehicles and many other
      in the Arcana                                illusions.
        Cabana set.
      Middle: Cage                                        The filmmakers chose to frame
     demonstrates                                  the story in 2.40:1, which they achieved
   an LED system                                   by shooting 4-perf Super 35mm. “In
 used to emulate
 the light from a                                  New York City, you need [a more verti-
        plasma ball.                               cal frame] to capture the tall buildings,
       Bottom: The                                 but because a majority of our film would
    finished visual
              effect.                              be done in interior situations, we
                                                   decided on 2.40:1, which gives you a
                                                   grander scale,” says Bazelli. The film-
                                                   makers shot most of the material with
                                                   four cameras; Arri CSC provided
                                                   Arricam Lites and Studios and Arri
                                                   435s, two sets of Cooke S4 primes, and
                                                   a complement of Arri Master Primes
                                                   for low-light night situations, for which
                                                   they were usually kept wide open. As
                                                   many as 16 cameras were used on days
                                                   when the first and second units both
                                                   had extensive scenes to cover.
                                                          Shooting on location in New
                                                   York posed a number of challenges. The
                                                   filmmakers spent 16 nights filming a
                                                   climactic battle sequence in lower
                                                   Manhattan, where all of their gear had
                                                   to be set up at 7 p.m. and torn down
                                                   every morning at dawn. Further compli-

60        August 2010   American Cinematographer
cating matters, the city experienced 43         relieved to find that the silk held up well   controlled to suggest warning lights
consecutive nights of rain during the           in the wet weather.                           atop various buildings and shimmering
summertime shoot. The showers                           In one major night scene at the       city lights in the deep background.) No
usually lasted no more than an hour,            Chrysler Building, the structure’s            existing TransLite captured the correct
but it was enough to make the short             famous Art Deco eagles come to life           view from the Chrysler Building, so the
nights even shorter, recalls Bazelli.           and take wing. To film the action, the        production ordered a new 160'x35'
Nevertheless, the project was finished          production built the relevant section of      backdrop, and Bazelli enjoyed the
on schedule in 96 days.                         the building onstage at Steiner Studios,      opportunity to participate in its
       In the story, a series of evil sorcer-   surrounding the set with a huge               creation. In January 2009, on a day
ers are locked in a Russian-doll-like           TransLite that was lit from behind with       immediately following a blizzard, the
series of containers. Each sorcerer must        200 Skypans. (A few dozen LED lights          production captured a 270-degree view
be unlocked by the right code and               were sprinkled across the material and        around the Chrysler Building with a
destroyed before the subsequent
sorcerer can emerge. In the final battle,
filmed in Bowling Green Park in lower
Manhattan, the final sorcerer must be
vanquished. The park itself takes the
shape of a circle, symbolizing the circu-
lar code that Dave must crack. The
scene was lit with six 120' Condors
surrounding the center of the park.
Each Condor carried two or three
Nine-light Maxi-Brutes. A fire burned
at the middle of the circle that was
enhanced later using CG techniques. “I
like Maxi-Brutes because they are
controllable, cheap to rent and power-
ful,” says Bazelli. “You can change the
globe or dim them, and with the narrow
globe they throw light over quite a
       “In elaborate scenes like this,
where many important visual elements
will be added later, it’s important to
keep your lighting as simple as possible
so you can get things done,” he adds. “It
doesn’t always work, but it works more
often than not.”
       The production also spent six
nights filming in Chinatown, where a
dragon springs to life during a parade
and pursues Dave up a fire escape to a
rooftop. Balthazar intercedes, creating a
curtain of confetti to hide his actions.
Five tons of confetti was blown into the
scenes from rooftop Ritter fans. A 50'
Technocrane on the street, a 30'
Technocrane on the roof, and a 17'
Technocrane on the opposing roof
allowed Bazelli to get any angle in a few
minutes. The scene was lit with 300 red
silk Chinese lanterns; Bazelli chose silk
over paper because he thought the glow
was more interesting, and he was
◗    A Magical Manhattan
                                                                                                      digital Hasselblad large-format camera,
                                                                                                      with each exposure creating a 60-
                                                                                                      megabyte file. The hi-rez photos were
                                                                                                      then stitched together into a panorama,
                                                                                                      which Bazelli corrected to match the
                                                                                                      look of the movie.
                                                                                                             “When we used the TransLite,
                                                                                                      we put a net in front of it to soften the
                                                                                                      view a bit more,” he adds. “It looked
                                                                                                      quite realistic.” The crew found the
                                                                                                      TransLite’s proper distance from the set
                                                                                                      via a decidedly simple technique.
                                                                                                      Bazelli explains, “On the Chrysler
                                                                                                      Building, I had taken a stick and
                                                                                                      marked the apparent size of the Empire
                                                                                                      State Building. Onstage, I held up the
                                                                                                      stick and asked the grips to move the
                                                                                                      TransLite back until the size [of the
                                                                                                      Empire State Building] matched.”
                                                                                                             Interactive lighting was a major
                                                                                                      concern throughout the shoot, particu-
                                                                                                      larly in scenes requiring visual effects.
                                                                                                      “It’s key to making an effect credible,”
                                                                                                      observes Bazelli. “I like to create as
                                                                                                      much of the effect as possible in-camera
                                                                                                      and then have the visual-effects team
                                                                                                      build on that.” This approach came to
                                                                                                      the fore in a number of scenes wherein
                                                                                                      characters hurl glowing spheres of light
                                                                                                      called plasma balls. Bazelli and his chief
                                                                                                      lighting technician, Tony Nakonechnyj,
                                                                                                      devised a cluster of LED fixtures that
                                                                                                      the actors could cradle in their hands.
                                                                                                      Rubber bands supported the LEDs and
                                                                                                      gave the source a floating appearance.
                                                                                                      The light was powered by a battery
                                                                                                      pack hidden in the actor’s costume, and
                                                                                                      the source could be remotely switched
                                                                                                      on and off and dimmed up and down.
                                                                                                             “We built them from scratch,”
                                                                                                      says Nakonechnyj. “They were basically
                                                                                                      tiny, high-output LEDs mounted on
                                                                                                      wafers — I think there were 18 LEDs
                                                                                                      on each wafer. These circular wafers
                                                                                                      were fashioned into a pyramid shape
                                                                                                      about the size of a golf ball. In that
                                                                                                      configuration, the actors could suspend
                                                                                                      them between their palms and spread
                                                                                                      their fingers. In another configuration,
                                                                                                      they could lay wafers flat in the palms of
                                                                                                      their hands, each light illuminating the
                                                                                                      opposite hand. And we also had a wafer
 On location in Manhattan, 2nd-unit cinematographer Patrick Loungway (top, holding camera) prepares
       to shoot part of a visual-effects-heavy scene featuring Blake’s shape-shifting automobile.     sphere on a rod that could be moved
                                                                                                      through space to depict a thrown

62     August 2010                                                American Cinematographer
◗    A Magical Manhattan
                                                   plasma ball.” Bazelli adds, “Almost 90
                                                   percent of the effect was captured on
                                                   set. At its center, the light is overex-
                                                   posed, so you don’t really see [the
                                                           In one key scene, Balthazar
                                                   generates six circles of fire inscribed in
                                                   a stone floor and circumscribed by a
                                                   larger circle 35' in diameter. Each circle
                                                   has its own color of flame, created by
                                                   the special-effects department and
                                                   captured in-camera. “You really needed
                                                   to see the whole circle because of the
                                                   story point,” says Bazelli, “so we
                                                   decided to use an overhead shot look-
                                                   ing straight down.” A 50' Technocrane
                                                   was required to get the camera, fitted
                                                   with a 12mm Cooke S4, high enough
                                                   to fit the circle within the 2.40 frame.
                                                   The camera was almost touching the
                                                   65'-high ceiling.
                                                           This scene plays out in the “prac-
                                                   tice room,” an underground lair where a
                                                   number of other scenes occur, includ-
                                                   ing a romantic interlude in which Dave
                                                   impresses his date by creating an
                                                   impromptu lighting show that is timed
                                                   with the girl’s favorite song. The light
                                                   show, which unfolds as the couple
                                                   stands inside a protective metal cage,
                                                   includes Tesla coils and strobe lights.
                                                   Actual Tesla coils and live bolts of elec-
                                                   tricity were deemed too dangerous, so
                                                   these elements were created later using
                                                   CGI. But again, Bazelli sold the illu-
                                                   sion with interactive lighting in-
         Top: Bazelli                              camera.
      employed 300
  Chinese lanterns                                         The underground lair was a set
     to illuminate a                               with a domed ceiling, and the center
           nighttime                               piece of the dome was left out so that
   sequence filmed
      on location in                               Bazelli could light from above. (A CG
        Chinatown.                                 center piece was used in wide shots that
      Middle: In the                               showed the section.) The lighting rig
        sequence, a
  dragon comes to                                  consisted of two concentric rings of
       life amidst a                               truss custom-bent to fit the hole. Each
   parade. Bottom:                                 circle could be individually raised or
      Blake worries
     over a magical                                lowered. In the center was a large,
 container housing                                 coop-type fixture comprising five 6K
     a series of evil                              space lights covered with theatrical
                                                   canvas rather than muslin. “Theatrical
                                                   canvas is much thicker than muslin,
                                                   and it gives no shadows,” notes Bazelli.
                                                   The concentric circles held roughly 120
                                                   fixtures, including Source Four Pars

64       August 2010    American Cinematographer
◗    A Magical Manhattan
                                                                                                    the test screenings and studio screenings
                                                                                                    are based on those dailies, so there’s
                                                                                                    good reason for you to make them as
                                                                                                    tidy as possible. People become used to
                                                                                                    that look.
                                                                                                           “I believe strongly that you
                                                                                                    cannot create the look in post,” the cine-
                                                                                                    matographer continues. “In post, I
                                                                                                    finish shaping the sculpture. I do use
                                                                                                    those tools extensively to take the look
                                                                                                    further, but I like to carve the biggest,
                                                                                                    deepest cut in the wood at the moment
                                                                                                    of photography.”
                                                                                                           For the final grade, Company 3
                                                                                                    scanned the negative at 4K and did the
                                                                                                    rest of the work at 2K. Bazelli calls
                                                                                                    Company 3 colorist and ASC associate
                                                                                                    member Stefan Sonnenfeld “the first
                                                                                                    eye on the images as they are coming
                                                                                                    together. I have great faith in him, and
      Above: Bazelli                                                                                he deserves great credit, along with the
  checks the frame                                                                                  other people who do this work for me.
   for a shot in the
     subway. Right:                                                                                 The quality of the shot depends on
         Gaffer Tony                                                                                them as much as it depends on me and
       Nakonechnyj                                                                                  my crew.”
     (holding light)
              and B-                                                                                       At press time, the team was plan-
camera/Steadicam                                                                                    ning to film out to Kodak’s new inter-
 operator Stephen                                                                                   mediate stock, Vision3 5254, and then
    follow Baruchel                                                                                 strike release prints on Kodak Vision
and Teresa Palmer                                                                                   2383. “5254 was designed to work with
  into the subway.                                                                                  the latest film recorders, and it’s Estar-
                                                                                                    based, which means that each negative
                                                                                                    created can be used to make up to 800
                                                                                                    prints,” says Bazelli. “We plan to make
        with scrollers, RGB LED Blazes,               mount so we could use Master Prime            about seven digital negatives on this
        Atomic 3000 strobes and 5K Fresnels.          lenses and get the extra stop. Hans got       new stock, and because of that, we
               Bazelli adds that the unusual love     amazing, beautiful shots of New York at       expect the prints to look great every-
        scene was shot with a Zeiss Ultra Prime       night; these were shot on [Kodak              where, not just at the premiere and in a
        8R (T2.8) lens as the camera circled the      Vision3 500T] 5219 because we needed          few major cities.”                      ●
        couple. “With the rectilinear lens, the       the speed.”
        angle of view is that of a fisheye lens but          The production’s negative was
        the lines are straight,” he notes. “The       processed at Deluxe New York, and the
                                                                                                            TECHNICAL SPECS
        approach was so unconventional that we        dailies, timed by Sean Dunckley, were         2.40:1
        also filmed the scene with a more             created nearby at Company 3. Bazelli is
        ‘normal’ lens. But the 8R shot is the one     a firm believer in establishing a film’s      4-perf Super 35mm
        in the movie, and it allows you to see the    look in the dailies. “Sitting with the
                                                                                                    Arricam Lite, Studio; Arri 435
        full scale of that great set.”                dailies timer means getting less sleep
               Footage captured by aerial cine-       during the shoot, but it takes my             Cooke, Arri and Zeiss lenses
        matographer Hans Bjerno helps place           worries away,” he says. “Every morning
        the magical story in modern-day New           before I went to the set, I’d stop by         Kodak Vision3 250D 5207,
        York. Spacecam provided the gyrostabi-        [Company 3] and sit with Sean for as          500T 5219
        lized helicopter mounts, and Bazelli          long as I could. After a while, the           Digital Intermediate
        notes that the company “reconfigured its      colorist gets to know you and your style,
        system to accept an Arri with a PL            and it gets easier. All the editing and all   Printed on Kodak Vision 2383

66       August 2010                                            American Cinematographer
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       David Boyd, ASC
     reteams with director
        and fellow ASC
        member Aaron
       Schneider on the
     nuanced period piece
           Get Low.

         By Michael Goldman


          y design, strong connective tissue links Get Low’s plot        entirely around Duvall’s performance, supported by players of
          with the story of how the independent feature got made.        similar caliber, including Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Lucas
          Set in Tennessee in 1934, the tale has a vintage feel that     Black.
          directly influenced the filmmakers and their methods.                 Schneider notes that Get Low represents the pinnacle of
     Five-plus years of development went into the character study        an unusual “cinematic relationship,” in his words, between two
     of an old, mysterious hermit who decides to reveal a shocking,      like-minded cinematographers. He and Boyd met when the
     long-held secret by inviting everyone in town to his funeral        latter began operating for Schneider on the pilot for Murder
     party — which he plans to stage while he is still alive. The        One almost 15 years ago. “We hit it off from the start, and
     nature of the story, combined with the project’s resources and      within days, we were speaking the same visual language,”
     the aesthetic preferences of director and ASC member Aaron          Schneider recalls. “We made it our mission to do feature-qual-
     Schneider and his cinematographer, David Boyd, ASC, took            ity work on a television schedule, so when it happened that Get
     Get Low down a very traditional production path. Schneider,         Low shaped up as a $7.5-million movie with a 24-day shoot-
     who made the transition from shooting to directing with the         ing schedule [on location in Georgia], David was the first
     Academy Award-winning short film Two Soldiers, also shot            person I thought of. Our history was invaluable.”
     by Boyd (AC Feb. ’04), says he is overwhelmingly happy with                By placing his creative bond with Boyd at the film’s
     the result of his labors: a charmingly quixotic tale built almost   foundation, Schneider was able to pull off a quick but complex

68   August 2010                                            American Cinematographer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Opposite: Felix
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Robert Duvall)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and Mattie (Sissy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Spacek), friends
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        history, take a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        stroll on Felix’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        property. This
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        page: In a scene
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        set earlier in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        story, Buddy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Lucas Black), a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        employee, stops
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        in at Felix’s home
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        to discuss the old
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        man’s unusual
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        funeral plans.

                                                                                              shoot in Georgia, where the produc-          C-Series and E-Series prime lenses,        in Hollywood to achieve a “weathered,
                                                                                              tion’s locations included a Civil War        which Boyd describes as “old, beautiful    parched look,” says Boyd. He and
                                                                                              battlefield deep in a wooded national        lenses, not too technologically advanced   Schneider had applied a full bleach
                                                                                              park. That approach led them to under-       by today’s standards. These lenses were    bypass to Two Soldiers, a period piece
                                                                                              take some of the most complicated            the workhorses for the great anamor-       also set in the South, but they decided
                                                                                              work of their respective careers, such as    phic films of the Sixties and Seventies.   they wanted Get Low’s look to be less
Unit photography by Sam Emerson. Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

                                                                                              shooting an entire feature entirely on       My first assistant, Lee ‘The Blaster’      extreme. “We dedicated ourselves to the
                                                                                              location, with no sets; burning down a                                                  idea that the color palette in Get Low
                                                                                              house at twilight and filming it; and                                                   would be established mainly by what we
                                                                                              operating on land that had strict restric-                                              put in front of the camera, and then we
                                                                                              tions about its use.                                                                    would decide what to do with that color
                                                                                                     To accomplish these objectives,                                                  in the photography,” says Schneider.
                                                                                              the filmmakers eschewed most of the           “Visually, it needed                      “We talked about keeping primary and
                                                                                              digital luxuries feature films routinely
                                                                                              incorporate these days, relying instead
                                                                                                                                             to be accessible,                        satured colors out of the film, and
                                                                                                                                                                                      [costume designer] Julie Weiss and
                                                                                              on in-camera methods and just six
                                                                                              significant visual-effects shots (created
                                                                                                                                            but it also needed                        [production         designer]    Geoffrey
                                                                                                                                                                                      Kirkland, both world-class artists, made
                                                                                              by Furious FX). “Aaron and I really           to feel mythic, like                      our jobs so much easier.
                                                                                              wanted this to be a classical, tradition-                                                       “The movie has the feel of a folk
                                                                                              ally mounted film, as masterful as we               a fable.”                           tale, so visually, it needed to be accessi-
                                                                                              could make it,” Boyd explains. “But at                                                  ble, but it also needed to feel mythic, like
                                                                                              the same time, we did not want to call                                                  a fable,” the director continues. “We also
                                                                                              attention to the photography. We                                                        wanted to create a kind of veil between
                                                                                              wanted it to have the shades and tones                                                  the audience and the period without
                                                                                              of old still photos from that era — I        Blasingame, secured particular serial      being too heavy-handed.” In consulta-
                                                                                              would describe them as dry colors. We        numbers of the C and E lenses for us.”     tion with Beverly Wood, an ASC asso-
                                                                                              started shooting tests in January 2009 to          Schneider and Boyd also decided      ciate member and Deluxe’s executive
                                                                                              figure out how we’d achieve that.”           to shoot with two Kodak Vision2            vice president of technical services, the
                                                                                                     Through testing, the filmmakers       stocks, 500T 5218 and 50D 5205, and        filmmakers decided a partial bleach
                                                                                              determined that they would shoot             do a degree of bleach-bypass processing    bypass would do the trick. “By depriving
                                                                                              anamorphic 2.40:1 using Panavision’s         on the negative at Deluxe Laboratories     the negative of some of the bleach baths,

                                                                                                                                                                                              August 2010       69
◗    True Colors
                                                        we shortened the latitude slightly, dried
                                                        out the colors and added a hint of
                                                        grain,” says Boyd. “That gave us the
                                                        aged quality we knew the image had to
                                                        have without stepping out in front of
                                                        the story.” Schneider adds, “We finished
                                                        the picture with a digital intermediate at
                                                        EFilm, but we knew electronic control
                                                        over saturation couldn’t compare to
                                                        photochemical desaturation. Bleach
                                                        bypass changes the film physically and
                                                        randomly; it’s an analog effect that, at
                                                        best, can only be simulated with zeroes
                                                        and ones. We worked very closely with
                                                        EFilm to use the DI as a means to an
                                                        analog end.”
                                                                The production secured permis-
                                                        sion to shoot in the Pickett’s Mill
                                                        Battlefield State Park, a location that
    Top: Director Aaron                                 included a fully restored Civil War-era
Schneider, ASC frames                                   cabin that the filmmakers could trans-
up the scene for (from                                  form into Bush’s home. The nature of
        left) 1st AD Eric
                  Tignini,                              the cabin, inside and out, and other
      cinematographer                                   scenes in and around the woods, as well
 David Boyd, ASC, and                                   as other interior locations, posed major
              1st AC Lee
     Blasingame. Right:                                 lighting challenges for Boyd and his
  Felix and Buddy visit                                 team, particularly because some scenes
       one of Felix’s old                               appear to be lit almost entirely by fire-
   friends, Rev. Charlie
   Jackson (Bill Cobbs).                                light, lamplight and even moonlight. In
 Below: Schneider and                                   fact, one key encounter in the film,
 Boyd’s reflections are                                 between Bush and onetime girlfriend
captured as Boyd films
  a scene featuring Bill                                Mattie Darrow (Spacek), begins as the
 Murray, who portrays                                   fire dies in Bush’s fireplace. “The char-
  funeral-home owner                                    acters come back from a long walk
           Frank Quinn.
                                                        through the woods, and the fire,
                                                        set earlier in the day, is dying — only
                                                        the embers are glowing,” explains
                                                        Schneider. “Then Felix adds a log, and
                                                        the fire starts to come back to life over
                                                        30 or 40 seconds. It’s romantic and inti-
                                                        mate, and it even mirrors [the charac-
                                                        ters’] rekindled relationship. David did a
                                                        wonderful job capturing the realistic feel
                                                        of that on film; he had to cue the light
                                                        levels up consistently over multiple
                                                        takes. We rehearsed that scene by the
                                                        gas-powered flame bar, and from there,
                                                        he built exposure with motion-picture
                                                        lights, and it all blended seamlessly.”
                                                                “Felix lights an oil lantern after he
                                                        adds a log to the fire, and over the
                                                        course of this very important scene, the
                                                        firelight grows slowly in intensity and
                                                        the lantern light provides a rustic, toppy

70       August 2010         American Cinematographer
ambience,” says Boyd. “For ‘firelight,’ we
used two units designed and built by
[gaffer] Brian Gunter, each of which
had four individually dimmable globes.
Their shallow design was perfect for our
very small practical location. Handheld
solids and nets extended the range of
these lights to suit the needs of the
scene. I echoed the lantern light with a
Blonde on a dimmer and flickerbox
bounced up into beadboard overhead. It
took nine or 10 hands on switches and
knobs to make it happen each take, but
it works beautifully for the scene. Bobby
and Sissy could easily feel and respond
to the growing light in their own work.
       “I mixed colors readily on this
film,” continues the cinematographer.
“In the tungsten realm, I liked Maxi-
Brutes with Firestarter globes, 1,200-
watt narrow globes, to make great
daylight of all kinds. In the HMI world,
I loved 12K and 4K Pars and Joker Pars                                                                                       Above: The
for hot, spotty sources. I tended to like                                                                                    crew prepares
pinny sources for this film more than                                                                                        to film one of
                                                                                                                             Felix and
softer light for locations, and that’s why                                                                                   Mattie’s
I didn’t use Fresnels very often. I                                                                                          encounters in
preferred hot, open-faced lights for the                                                                                     town. Left:
                                                                                                                             During a cozy
feel, and then softer units to file off the                                                                                  scene in Felix’s
edges a little. This movie required a                                                                                        cabin, the pair
beautifully rough, unrefined look.”                                                                                          becomes
       For certain interiors where
rigging possibilities were limited, Boyd
relied on a lightweight overhead grid
designed and built by key grip Billy
Sherrill. This rig was utilized extensively
in the funeral home owned by Frank            scene early in the film that shows Bush       “We also wanted to shoot in a down-
Quinn (Murray), where Bush comes to           wrapped in a blanket and stumbling into       pour, which meant a low-voltage DC
arrange his funeral party, and other loca-    the night, carrying a lantern in the pour-    globe of some sort. We found what we
tions. “It was gridwork constructed out       ing rain. Although the scene looks fairly     needed at an auto-parts store and rigged
of lightweight 5⁄8-inch copper pipe that      straightforward, Schneider calls it “the      it up, hiding a small peanut bulb on the
could easily support nine to 12 China         most challenging photography in the           lantern side that wasn’t facing the
balls and could be safely and easily          film.” That’s because the team had to         camera and making a small battery pack
installed in a ceiling,” Boyd explains. “It   design a way for the lantern to flicker       that Bobby could carry. We localized the
was designed to install and break down        realistically in a driving rain and also      rain towers, and I let the background fall
fast; we usually used it in a 4-by-8-foot     play off Duvall’s face in a way that would    off so that there would only be the warm
configuration. The China balls were on        be both photographically pleasing and         glow around his cabin, motivated by the
dimmers, and we skirted off the source        naturalistic. Boyd built a rig using an old   lighting inside. Bobby wore the battery
with black Grid Cloth to control spill.       oil lantern, and hidden from view was a       in a small satchel on his shoulder
Billy rigged it to various ceilings, many     small bulb activated by a battery hidden      covered by wardrobe.”
times using small pulleys so we could         in Duvall’s wardrobe. “We wanted to see               However, the flickering lamplight
adjust it quickly.”                           the flame in the lantern, which meant         was one of the few practical effects in
       Several lighting challenges            we’d have to augment its light from a         the movie that required digital augmen-
cropped up in the woods, including a          logical place,” says the cinematographer.     tation. “Because of the wind and rain,

                                                                                                   August 2010          71
◗      True Colors
                                                                                                              there was a lot of movement in the prac-
                                                                                                              tical flame, but the light and exposure on
                                                                                                              Bobby’s face were static,” says Schneider.
                                                                                                              “So we asked Furious FX to put a trav-
                                                                                                              eling matte on his face, similar to what
                                                                                                              cinematographers do [in the DI] when
                                                                                                              programming power windows to track
                                                                                                              brightness on an actor’s face. Instead of
                                                                                                              programming a constant color correc-
                                                                                                              tion inside the window, we programmed
                                                                                                              changes in exposure that were in sync
                                                                                                              with the movement of the flame. That
                                                                                                              allowed us to simulate the intensity and
                                                                                                              flicker of the candlelight digitally. Our
                                                                                                              colorist at EFilm, Natasha Leonnet, put
                                                                                                              the finishing touches on the composite,
                                                                                                              and it turned out great.”
                                                                                                                      A more outlandish sequence to
                                                                                                              film practically and piece together digi-
                                                                                                              tally was the burning of an old house, a
                                                                                                              scene that opens the film and plays an
                                                                                                              important role in the story. The initial
                                                                                                              challenge, of course, was finding a real
                                                                                                              house the production could burn. “The
                                                                                                              scene was in danger of getting cut from
                                                                                                              the schedule for weeks, but we sent loca-
                                                                                                              tion scouts far and wide looking for a
                                                                                                              place that would work,” Boyd recalls.
                                                                                                              “We came across a long-abandoned
                                                                                                              house halfway through production; it
                                                                                                              was out along a two-lane highway that
                                                                                                              we could control at night. We put five or
                                                                                                              six cameras out there, including a couple
                                                                                                              of Eyemos, and one on a dolly track in
                                                                                                              the woods that I operated myself.
                                                                                                              Basically, we had one crack at it. We
                                                                                                              timed it at magic hour, with a small
                                                                                                              amount of skylight left when the house
                                                                                                              went up, and it was over in about 30
                                                                                                                      To complete the illusion, the film-
                                                                                                              makers had to show a man bursting out
                                                                                                              of a second-story window, running
                                                                                                              across the roof, leaping to the ground
                                                                                                              and running into the woods. That
                                                                                                              requirement led the team to film the
                                                                                                              burning house in two rapid takes.
                                                                                                              Schneider explains, “We first had a
                                                                                                              controlled burn around the edges of the
                                                                                                              windows for when [the stuntman] bursts
     Frames from the opening scene show (top to bottom): the controlled-burn plate; the downstairs and        out and jumps off the roof. Then, we
     windows tiled in and illumination on the foreground tree comped in; the upstairs raging fire tiled in;   quickly reset before the sky went dark
      and the final comp. “By the time he runs by the camera, the background is 100-percent live action,”     and hid a stuntman in a little heat shel-
                                               notes Schneider.
                                                                                                              ter where he had left off in the previous

72         August 2010                                                   American Cinematographer
take. We set the house fully ablaze, and
when the fire reached the right level, we
cued the stuntman to run across the field
toward and past the camera. The intent
was to blend the first shot of the
controlled burn and stunt with the
second shot of the man running away
from a raging fire to make it look like
one seamless shot. As a visual effect, the
shot was composited by tiling different
portions of the controlled-burn element
with other tiles from the raging-fire
element to create a mosaic of blended
elements. For example, if a chunk of roof
falls off four minutes into the burn, you
can blend that with another piece of
action from the first minute, such as the
moment when a neighboring tree
catches fire, and create your own custom
inferno. Since the shot was locked off, it
was almost like compositing a live-
action shot with itself.”
        Despite the complexity of these
kinds of sequences, however, the biggest
overall challenge was the climactic
funeral-party sequence, where Bush, at
long last, bares his soul to the world.
There is no final confrontation, no big
action sequence, no device to tie it all
together — just a long, impassioned
speech. According to Schneider, Duvall
pulled off his soliloquy on the first take.
But covering the sequence to make it
work correctly in the film required
extensive planning. Because of their
limited time and budget, Schneider,
Boyd and 1st AD Eric Tignini story-
boarded the sequence and broke it down
according to the number of extras that
would be required for each shot. The
funeral party was shot over three days,
beginning with wide shots featuring a
large number of extras. Gradually, the
number of extras was whittled down,
and on the third day, the filmmakers
were able to focus on Bush’s speech and
tighter coverage.
        The filmmakers were not allowed
to bring heavy equipment into the area
where they were shooting because the
location was a Civil War memorial. But
Bush and other characters had to stand
on an elevated platform, so Boyd needed
some way to get proper coverage of the
◗     True Colors

                                                                                                          matographer, I always tried to be there
                                                                                                          for directors when I knew they needed
                                                                                                          convincing, and David was there for me
                                                                                                          on this one.”
                                                                                                                  Both Schneider and Boyd take
                                                                                                          great pains to credit their cast and crew
                                                                                                          for helping to make Get Low a reality. If
                                                                                                          they credit themselves with anything,
                                                                                                          it’s with maintaining the authenticity of
                                                                                                          the era and the story. “Cinematography
                                                                                                          has to be authentic, especially on a
                                                                                                          period piece,” says Boyd. “You have to
                                                                                                          really control what gets into the frame,
                                                                                                          whether those details are large or small,
                                                                                                          and we did that ruthlessly. We filmmak-
                                                                                                          ers were the ones who saw this story
                                                                                                          first, before anyone else, and our mission
                                                                                                          from the outset was to tell it correctly.
                                                                                                          I’m happy we did.”                     ●
           Top left: With Blasingame assisting, Boyd films Rev. Jackson’s arrival at Felix’s big event.
     Top right: A Technocrane comes into play for the “funeral party.” Above: The filmmakers prepare to
                      capture another angle of the stage as Quinn welcomes the crowd.

         proceedings. He arranged to have a                 reverse angle had been shot previously,”
         small Technocrane brought in on a                  Schneider explains. “Sissy’s big moment               TECHNICAL SPECS
         stake-bed truck that could maneuver                had arrived, and it was already pretty
         quickly over the dirt roads. “During the           late in the day. I knew she was about to      2.40:1
         day, time was of the essence, and we               give the most emotional performance of        Anamorphic 35mm
         were not permitted to use a Chapman                the shoot, and I wanted to make sure
         crane because of its weight,” he recalls.          she had the time to do what she wanted        Panaflex Gold II
         “We needed a movable and easy-to-                  to do. I wanted to shoot with about an
         place camera, so we rigged the                     hour to go in the day, but David              Panavision lenses
         Technocrane on the back of the stake-              resisted. He kept saying, ‘No, let’s wait.’   Kodak Vision2 500T 5218, 50D
         bed truck.”                                        By the time we lined three cameras up         5205
                Later, the filmmakers had to                on her, the sun was starting to tickle the
         cover Spacek reacting to the speech, a             treetops. But Sissy nailed it and gave us     Bleach Bypass by Deluxe
         critical scene shot on an extremely busy           a beautiful performance, and, like            Laboratories
         day. “We needed to shoot Sissy’s perfor-           Bobby, she did it in one take. The tears      Digital Intermediate
         mance when the sunlight was over the               rolling down her face caught the low,
         trees because of the time of day that the          warm light, and it was magic. As a cine-      Printed on Kodak Vision 2383

74        August 2010                                                 American Cinematographer
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          Post Focus

                                                                                                                                                                    True Blood photos by John P. Johnson, courtesy of HBO. Technicolor photos by Robert Hoffman, courtesy of Technicolor.
     The werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello) joins Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin, above right)
      and vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer, right) for True Blood’s third season, which has
                   transitioned to an all-data-based online/mastering workflow.

                  I   True Blood Workflow Becomes File-Based
                      By Michael Goldman
                                                                                        lab, Technicolor handles True Blood’s negative processing, dailies,
                                                                                        assembly, color correction, titling, audio mixing, layback and final
                                                                                        mastering. By entering the file-based universe, the team is now able
                   When the producers of HBO’s True Blood told Technicolor              to have pieces of as many as nine episodes in various stages of
           Hollywood they were interested in transitioning to an all-data-based         production at Technicolor simultaneously. Currently, only the dailies
           online/mastering workflow, the Technicolor team suggested that the           process and the delivery of a final master continue to involve tape or
           hit series could become, in the words of co-producer Bruce Dunn, “a          other physical media.
           major test case” for an all-file-based workflow for an episodic TV                   Cinematographers Matthew Jensen, Romeo Tirone and
           series originating on film. HBO decided to take Technicolor up on the        Steven St. John typically shoot True Blood on Kodak Vision3 250D
           offer for the current season, the show’s third. The challenge, as Tech-      5207 and Vision3 500T 5219. (Most of the show is shot in 3-perf
           nicolor colorist Scott Klein puts it, was “how to convert a workflow         Super 35mm.) The post pipeline’s engine revs up when the film
           and stay creative.”                                                          comes from stages on the Warner Bros. lot or from locations in
                   Well into production when they spoke with AC, those                  Louisiana; Technicolor develops the film and telecines it on a Spirit 2K
           involved say the conversion went off smoothly and has enabled                system to HDCam-SR at 4:2:2. Dailies colorist Peter Ritter distributes
           greater creativity. They suggest that True Blood’s overall production        two passes of that material: a basic color pass for dailies viewing and
           methodology seamlessly weaves a traditional film-acquisition                 editorial, and a flat pass, which is digitized to Technicolor’s SAN for
           approach with the latest all-data post techniques. Dunn enthuses             final assembly and final color.
           that True Blood can now “spread out many fingers from one hand”                      As each episode is cut together, a pull list of shots is created,
           in the form of easily accessible data once its imagery enters Techni-        and those shots are digitized from the flat pass and assembled by
           color’s SAN, allowing all post units to simultaneously work off the          online editor Ray Miller in an Avid HD Symphony (v. 4.05). From that
           same core files safely. “It gives us incredible flexibility to multitask,”   point on, everything lives on Technicolor’s SAN. After an episode is
           says Dunn. “We can do dirt-fixing while we’re doing assembly, color          conformed, colored and approved, an air master is created from
           correction and visual effects. By going to a tapeless, nonlinear post        1080p/23.98 fps files and delivered to HBO at 1080i/59.94 on
           workflow, there are huge benefits for picture conforms. Now we can           HDCam-SR tape.
           often make picture changes after we lock the edit.”                                  Of course, the transition to the file-based approach did pose
                   Using its data-based infrastructure in partnership with its film     some challenges. For instance, a new approach to dubbing tapes

76        August 2010                                                    American Cinematographer
Online editor Ray Miller assembles each episode in an Avid HD Symphony, after which point the
                            files live on Technicolor Hollywood’s SAN.

and DVDs for executives to view had to be        real-world difference of a slower-speed
implemented, but Dunn notes that Techni-         non-hardware system,” he says. However,
color resolved the issue of exporting files to   the learning curve was only temporary, and
lower-resolution physical media by incorpo-      Klein insists the new workflow has allowed
rating the DVC Clipster system into its          him to take full advantage of Lustre’s
pipeline. The production also had to insti-      strengths. “There are some really great,
tute new asset-management procedures             easy tools in Lustre for quickly breaking
and personnel to ensure strict control.          away sections of the grayscale, isolations,
Miller refers to project manager Ashley          tracking and shape creation to achieve
Barrett, who heads True Blood’s project-         great results for the mood of the show,” he
management effort, as “a data traffic cop        says.
who ensures each version is right before                “Because the show’s vampires have
we start dubs. She makes sure everyone           existed for hundreds of years, there are
understands the [file-naming] nomencla-          flashbacks that have extremely customized
ture and the protocols for knowing who is        looks,” Klein continues. “Lustre allows me
working on what.”                                to highlight the grain for flashbacks and
        On Miller’s end, the show is assem-      amplify certain parts of the contrast, or
bled entirely in the Avid world, making the      build the signal in such a way as to show
transfer of assets more straightforward.         more grain.”
From the editorial department at the                    According to Jensen, the new work-
production’s headquarters at The Lot in          flow is also benefitting the cinematography
Hollywood, “we don’t have to go through          team. “In a linear system, you typically deal
any translation process,” says Miller.           with your highlights, mid-tones and shad-
“Effects, resizes, time warps, speed             ows and adjust those values to change the
changes — they all come across as we see         contrast of your image or the saturation
them in the offline. The actual Avid bin         levels,” he explains. “But in this new
with the Avid sequence comes over from           system, within the highlights, for example,
editorial, and once we ingest all of that, the   we now have access to the complete gray
entire show lives on our SAN from that           scale, meaning we can do much subtler
point forward, which is a huge plus. We          contrast changes and color combinations.
start in Avid, stay in Avid and use the actual          “We have so many effects [about
Avid sequence, so all metadata is built in       40-80 shots per episode], and so many of
and no longer has to be translated.”             those shots are delivered long after I am
        In another change, Klein now uses        deep into color correction,” Jensen contin-
Autodesk’s Lustre 2010, a software-based         ues. “Now, those shots can just be plugged
color-correction tool, which initially           in, and I don’t have to go back to the lab
required the colorist to “acclimate to the       to work out the color — the system

                                                                                                                    The investment is part of an overall
                                                                                                            strategy by the company to double in size by
                                                                                                            late 2011; the strategy was devised follow-
                                                                                                            ing the commission of such projects as Harry
    As part of the                                                                                          Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, John
 new True Blood
                                                                                                            Carter of Mars, The Chronicles of Narnia:
     colorist Scott                                                                                         The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Battle:
        Klein uses                                                                                          Los Angeles. “As a result of the high
                                                                                                            demand for our services, we evaluated the
   Lustre 2010 for                                                                                          number of licenses for all the software tools
 color correction.                                                                                          we use,” says Antony Hunt, managing
                                                                                                            director of Cinesite. “Nuke is a powerful
                                                                                                            compositing tool and we’ve been using it in
                                                                                                            our pipeline for over 6 years. By expanding
                                                                                                            our seats, we’re able to work faster and
                                                                                                            more efficiently turn around our clients’
         remembers the color values I set. That’s a       flow tools, but thanks to its enhanced meta-      projects.”
         huge advantage.”                                 data controls, it allows for an extended level            Bill Collis, CEO of The Foundry, adds,
                 Klein suggests that there is a far-      of automation.” ContentAgent incorporates         “We’re delighted that Cinesite has invested
         reaching advantage for True Blood in             expansive metadata organizational tools,          in a site license and has chosen Nuke as its
         making the post switch now, at a time            enabling metadata to play a key role in           primary compositing tool. The company
         when much of the industry is more directly       defining and directing workflows. With            works on extremely creative projects and
         focused on switching front ends from film        budgets constantly shrinking, MTI views           their talented artists showcase to the fullest
         to digital acquisition. “This is the workflow    automation as the only way to manage any          what our tools can do.”
         of the future,” he says. “As resolution          volume of file-based deliverables. John                   For additional information, visit
         requirements increase, the way we’re             Stevens, CTO of MTI, notes, “ContentAgent and www.thefoun
         making this show will allow us to work on        gives us all the deliverables within one box
         [episodes] in 2K resolution later on. We’ll be   with a fantastic user interface.”
         ready for it when the call comes.”                      Chernoff adds, “MTI Film seeks to                  Pro8mm Adds 4:4:4 Workflows
                 Although the dailies and delivery        become a unique company that embraces all                 Burbank, Calif.-based Pro8mm has
         processes still involve tape, Dunn believes      sides of the postproduction customer spec-        introduced two popular 4:4:4 workflows,
         they will see an all-data conversion in the      trum. Through our services facility and           allowing customers who originate on Super
         very near future. “I imagine that by next        continued research and development for            8mm, 8mm, 16mm or Super 16mm film to
         year, we’ll be fully tapeless, outputting        film restoration and workflows for digital        post their projects in 444 RGB 10-bit
         [dailies] to whatever media is preferred [for    acquisition, we will be uniquely positioned to    uncompressed and 4444 ProRes.
         viewing],” he says. “I’d say we are just         improve industry standards, which we will                 The original film is scanned with
         months away from saying goodbye to               share with both our service and technology        Pro8mm’s 4K Millennium II scanner and
         tape.”                                           customers. … We endeavor to partner with          encoded directly to the facility’s 8TB SAN
                                                          other technology companies like Root6 who         system; customers can walk out of a
                 Post News                                share similar values of cooperation that result   telecine session with the files in hand and
                                                          in improving our industry at a time when          ready for editing. Pro8mm’s SAN also
                  MTI Film Automates Hollywood            change is rampant and postproduction              supports the playback of various data file
                  Facility with ContentAgent              requires new standards of workflow.”              formats to tape for clients who need to
                  MTI Film, a provider of high-quality           For additional information, visit          migrate from file to tape.
         image-processing tools to the broadcast and www.root6technol                      Since implementing the SAN system
         and postproduction markets, is expanding                                          and file-based workflow, Pro8mm has expe-
         both its business and its physical footprint.                                                      rienced such an increase in efficiency that
         The company recently moved into a new                   Cinesite Expands with Nuke                 the company has lowered the prices of
         facility in Hollywood, through which it now             Visual-effects company Cinesite has        certain workflows and eliminated docking
         offers television post services.                 heavily expanded its compositing depart-          charges. For pricing and additional informa-
                  MTI selected Root6 Technology’s         ment by investing in a site license of The        tion, visit              ●
         ContentAgent software to streamline the          Foundry’s Nuke compositing software,
         digital-deliverables workflow at the new         allowing the facility to host a significant
         facility. MTI CEO Larry Chernoff enthuses,       number of additional seats for its visual-
         “ContentAgent not only gives us the work-        effects artists.

78       August 2010                                                American Cinematographer
New NYC Studio
Fall Season Hands-On Workshops

1123 Broadway #307, New York, New York, 10010

• 3D • Digital Filmmaking • Documentary • HDSLR Cameras
• 16mm • 35mm • HD • RED One Filmmaking • Film Production
• Screenwriting • Directing • Acting for Film • Digital Editing
• Music Video • Broadcast Journalism • Photography
• Cinematography • Image Control • Film Business
• Producing • Distribution • And More

                                                                             Call for Workshop Instructors
                                                                    We invite filmmakers, cinematographers, directors,
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     Filmmakers’ Forum
           I   Consider “Red” Another Paint in Your Palette
               By Steven Fierberg, ASC
                                                                                         We also collaborated with an excellent makeup team to foil
                                                                               the Red’s proclivity to reveal every blemish and flaw on an actress’
                                                                               face, even nascent blackheads lurking just below the skin. It’s impor-
             I recently found myself in a situation that says a lot about      tant to use full base makeup with extremely soft light. In order to
     cinematography today. Over the course of a few weeks, I was doing         avoid a harsh, “crispy” look, we bounced off 12'x12' muslins or
     postproduction on two features at three different facilities, working     projected through Full Grid Cloth. We used only subtle diffusion
     with a mix of digital and film technologies. I color-corrected Twelve,    filters (1⁄8 or ¼ Schneider Classic Soft) because the Red image is not
     which I captured on the Red One, in Technicolor’s DI suite in New         that sharp when enlarged to cinema size. (I test this by looking at
     York, and then flew to Los Angeles to adjust the answer print at          an actor in a “cowboy” shot or a head-to-toe to see how much of
     Technicolor Hollywood; then, while in L.A., I went to EFilm to color-     their eyes I see; all cameras look sharp in a close-up.) The on-set
     correct the digital P3 preview master of Love and Other Drugs,            monitor can be misleading; it’s only 720p, and although it’s useful
     which I shot on 35mm. It was a blur of color spaces and formats,          for previewing contrast (using rec 709) and might keep you from
     and the collective experience taught me a few things about the Red        adding that last, unnecessary fill light, using it to make guesses
     that could serve as an interesting postscript to Chris Probst’s excel-    about ultimate sharpness and filter strength is treacherous. You
     lent recent article (“Working with the Red,”                                                      have to see tests at full cinema resolution and
     AC Feb. ’10). Specifically, I learned some                                                        scale and remember how they looked.
     things that might be helpful to you if you’re                                                          I kept my light meter set to 200 ISO. As
     shooting with the Red with a goal of cinema                                                       the astute AC reader may know, shooting
     projection.                                            “You have to                               200 ISO at f4 with bounce light or through
             Twelve was actually my second feature                                                     Full Grid takes a lot of light. Because we were
     with the Red. My first, Alex Cox’s Repo Chick,       see tests at full                            on a stage, this was quite doable with Nine-
     was shot entirely against greenscreen on a
     single soundstage, and I was very happy with
                                                         cinema resolution                             lights or 20Ks, but it would have been harder
                                                                                                       to accomplish with smaller lights on location.
     how it turned out. I was able to choose our
     camera — a rare opportunity — and I chose
                                                           and scale and                                    The next film I did with the Red would be
                                                                                                       a different challenge altogether. I was very
     the Red because I’d seen tests and knew it           remember how                                 excited to work with Joel Schumacher on the
     was exceptionally well suited to greenscreen                                                      dark drama Twelve, which follows ultra-
     work. It did not disappoint; I liked the color,       they looked.”                               wealthy youths from Manhattan’s Upper East
     and the fact that the image felt more film-like                                                   Side who are making that uneasy transition
     than other digital imagery. But I did encounter                                                   from high school to college or, for some, to
     some of the issues that Mr. Probst and other                                                      the cold night streets. Joel had directed many
     film-trained people have found frustrating. Minor irritants, or           studio films, but this one was on a tight budget and had to be shot
     “teething problems,” included the somewhat naïve placement of             in 23 days. I knew I could save time by using my beloved Angenieux
     buttons that could be too easily pushed by mistake, and a battery-        Optimos, the 15-40mm, the 28-76mm, and the magnificent 24-
     attachment system that frequently failed, causing surprise power-         280mm. For when we really needed the f-stop, we carried a few
     downs that required a two-minute reboot of the camera. (We ulti-          Zeiss Superspeeds, which were not only cheap to rent, but also
     mately worked around this by using traditional batteries and a            tested extremely well with the Red. Like most digital cameras, the
     cable.)                                                                   Red craves contrast more than absolute resolution (read about
             A more innate issue, which the Red shares with other “full        Nyquist sampling if you want to know why), so Superspeeds are, in
     frame” digital cameras, was the surprising lack of depth of field,        some ways, a better match for the camera than Cooke S4s. (This did
     which made focus harder than with 35mm. Subjects popped                   not turn out to be true with the Red’s new chip, the Mysterium-X,
     sharply in and out of focus, with no smooth transition. Because digi-     which I used on the romantic comedy The Oranges. More on that
     tal sensors have a fixed array of uniform pixels, the circle of confu-    later.)
     sion “jumps” from one row of pixels to the next; film, on the other                On Twelve, as with many projects today, the Red was
     hand, has randomly placed, variably sized microscopic grains, result-     presented to me as a fait accompli. Why not? It was advertised as
     ing in a smooth, gradual focus transition. To mitigate the focus diffi-   lightweight, small and sensitive to light, so shooting night exteriors
     culty, we increased the light level; if I shot masters at f2.8, I some-   on Manhattan streets should be easier than with film. Of course, I
     times shot tight close-ups at f4.                                         knew that with the same lenses and accessories, the Red was no

80   August 2010                                                American Cinematographer
smaller than an Arricam LT, and at ASA             the shot would allow this without blurring        ware, but Alpha, and it was changing every
200, with less dynamic range than film, it         people’s heads into a creepy zombie effect,       week. So I played it safe with the speeds I
was actually far less suited for street film-      but the technique came in handy again             chose. However, I’m certain the Mysterium-X
ing. But it was too late now!                      and again. By using the shutter, working          is significantly faster and has more latitude
        How did I know the Red was really          with Superspeeds (and my excellent 1st            than the old chip. Its greater sharpness
only 200 ISO rather than the “official” 320        AC, Rob Koch), picking locations with             requires less contrast, and this led me to
ISO? In my careful preproduction testing, I        enough available light, and occasionally          choose Cooke S4s for The Oranges,
lit three stand-ins — an Asian, an African-        ganging up 4x4 Kino Flos, I achieved very         because we wanted a silky and flattering
American and a Caucasian blonde — with             satisfying results in the answer print, check     look.
direct frontlight at ASA 160 at f2.8. I then       print, video master and DCP.                              I wanted a similar look for the
opened up the lens 2 stops, to f1.4, to see                On Julian Farino’s The Oranges, I         romantic comedy I shot just prior to The
the result at 2 stops overexposed, and then        used the Red One with the new                     Oranges, Ed Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs.
stopped down to f5.6 to see how they               Mysterium-X chip, which lived up to its           Ed and I chose to shoot on film, and having
looked 2 stops down. I wasn’t planning to          name — even now, after finishing the film,        just finished the DI, I can say that Kodak
light everyone to key, and wanted to see           I don’t know what the chip’s speed is. I          Vision3 200T 5217 put a lot of rich color in
how people would look if they walked into          played it safe by exposing at 320 for day         Anne Hathaway’s skin that I doubt would
shadow areas or, say, close to a bright            scenes, 400 for night interiors, and 500 for      be there in a Red file. The Red, especially
window. (In my mind, the true ISO of a             night exteriors. It’s possible the chip is much   with the original chip, tends toward more
camera or film stock is in the middle of the       faster than that, but I couldn’t be sure, and     contrast and less differentiated skin tones
linear part of the gamma curve.) I then set        I didn’t want to come up short six months         that look yellower in tungsten light. (I don’t
the camera and lighting to ASA 200 and             down the line when finishing the film.            believe an in-camera filter changes this, and
repeated the sequence, and so on up to                     Why don’t I know? Because in the          besides, who can afford the stop loss?) Of
ASA 500.                                           post workflow recommended by Red, you             course, that can be exactly what you want
        Then I reviewed the results. One           color-correct the native Red files using          for certain films.
thing to be careful of with the Red is that        either Scratch or Red Cine, and after you’ve              Is the Red “better” than film? Of
most experts, including DITs, only see tests       set the look, you convert the file to DPX for     course not. Is acrylic “better” than oil
or dailies projected at HD resolution, and         output to an Arrilaser for film printing.         paint? No, it’s just different. On a film
they make conclusions about the camera’s           Thus, the entire color space, resolution and      project, we typically spend time testing
capabilities based on that limited evidence.       film format are changed after you’ve timed        emulsions, filters, processing, contrast ratios
If you are going out to film, it is essential to   it. When correcting my tests in a Red DI          and so on, so how can we say that a digital
do a filmout test or see the tests/dailies in a    suite, it seemed the camera had enormous          camera looks “like film”? Which film stock?
tested DI suite, in a DPX file, at 2K resolu-      latitude and speed — even 2,000 ISO               With what lenses? For that matter, why try
tion or higher. When I viewed my test              looked okay — but when we looked at a             to make it look like film? If you want the
footage projected at 1080p HD, the                 filmout at 800 ISO, the print was unusable:       taste of an apple, don’t try to make an
camera appeared to have excellent speed,           no contrast, milky blacks, and so on. This        orange taste like one. Just eat the apple.
perhaps even exceeding 320 ISO, and if I           problem might have been “teething                         You may find that the Red image has
were aiming for an HD finish, I could rate it      issues” in the new DI suite, and it might         a lot of what you like about film, and
at that speed. But when I saw the results at       not have arisen if we weren’t making film         maybe something of its own, too. And the
full film resolution, all kinds of noise           prints, but we were, and I couldn’t trust         Red Epic may well be a leap forward. If you
showed up in the shadows where there               what I was seeing in the digital projection.      choose the Red, I hope it’s for the same
had previously been detail. At 400 ISO, the                I went back to Tim Stipan, my excel-      reason that Hockney and countless other
Asian and African-American stand-ins               lent colorist at Technicolor New York, to         painters have chosen acrylic or house paint
virtually disappeared when they were 2             use the traditional DI workflow: first            rather than oil: because it helps you achieve
stops underexposed. A professional-look-           converting the file to DPX and then timing        the look you want for your particular
ing result at 320 ISO would have required          it, so that the file sent to the Arrilaser was    project. Think of the Red as another
crushing the shadows, thereby adding               the same one we’d been color correcting.          “paint” in your palette. Just don’t pretend
contrast. But Twelve wasn’t the stark world        This is the workflow we used on Twelve,           it looks the same as the one next to it.
of District 9 — I wanted our film to have a        and there had been no significant differ-                                                    ●
smooth, lush look. Thus, I settled on 200 as       ence between the digital file and the
the fastest usable speed.                          answer print. (That’s a tribute to both the
        To get a fighting chance for decent        state of the art and the fine workmanship
exposure, we took advantage of a feature           at Technicolor.) However, The Oranges was
that film cameras don’t have, opening the          one of the first projects to shoot with the
shutter to 270 or even 360 degrees. I had          Mysterium-X, and the software to convert
to carefully evaluate when the motion in           the Red file to DPX wasn’t even Beta soft-

                                                                                                                 August 2010   81
New Products & Services
                                                                                                               • SUBMISSION INFORMATION •
                                                                                                         Please e-mail New Products/Services releases to:
                                                                                               and include full contact
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              Universal Studios Reopens                                                                      people. The new Courthouse Square
              New York Street                                                                                has a fire station large enough to
              Universal Studios has opened                                                                   hold a full-sized fire truck, and next
     four acres of newly rebuilt New York                                                                    door to the fire station is a modular
     Street backlot locations. A fixture in                                                                  gas station that can be dismantled
     Hollywood for decades, New York                                                                         and stored according to a produc-
     Street (which comprises 13 city blocks                                                                  tion’s needs. As an added touch of
     of buildings) has been the setting of                                                                   realism, the manhole covers can emit
     countless commercials, television                                                                       special-effects steam, and London
     shows and feature films, including To                                                                   Square has chimneys rigged for
     Kill A Mockingbird, The Sting, The                                                                      special-effects smoke.
     Blues Brothers and Back to the Future.                                                                         Universal Studios partnered
     The shooting location burned in an                                                                      with the Los Angeles County Fire and
     accidental fire on June 1, 2008; the                                                                    Building & Safety departments to
     rebuilt site offers a wealth of creative                                                                create new guidelines for fire safety
     opportunities for film and television                                                                   in the innovative façades, which now
     production and an exciting behind-                                                                      incorporate fully automatic sprinkler
     the-scenes look at Hollywood                                                                            systems, a central fire-alarm system,
     moviemaking for Universal Studios                                                                       built-in fire separation areas and a
     Hollywood theme-park guests.                                                                            separate water supply infrastructure
              Immediately following the fire,                                                                for the hydrants and sprinkler
     Jim Watters, president and general                                                                      systems.
     manager of NBC Universal Operations Group, and Dave Beanes,                       “This is a proud day for Universal Studios,” enthuses Ron
     senior vice-president of NBC Universal Production Services, began         Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios. “The opening of
     assembling a creative team to design the new street. Steven Spiel-        New York Street shows the company’s commitment to film and
     berg offered his support, and he contacted production designer Rick       television production in Los Angeles and to supporting filmmakers
     Carter to be a part of the process. Carter collaborated with art direc-   worldwide.”
     tor Beala Neel on the initial design concepts and scope of the rebuild,           For additional information, visit www.filmmakersdestina
     and Neel headed the team of production designers and graphic    
     artists, which eventually expanded to a staff of 25.
              Based on his own production experience and feedback from                 EUE/Screen Gems Unveils Atlanta Studio
     filmmakers, Beanes helped guide the core design team. They decided                Complementing its facilities in New York and North Carolina,
     to keep the original east-west main street and add new locations,         EUE/Screen Gems has opened a studio complex with multiple
     including a modern New York block with a glass-and-steel look, Paris      stages and support services minutes away from the Atlanta, Ga.,
     Square, London Square and Central Park. The overall design concen-        airport.
     trated on detail work that would cater to modern filmmaking needs.                EUE/Screen Gems is undertaking a $6 million renovation of
     The façade heights have been increased 10' to 25' for an average          the property, located in the former Lakewood Fairgrounds site. The
     height of 40' to 50', providing a realistic urban downtown feel. The      city of Atlanta agreed to the lease agreement in May, and one of
     new façades also feature unobstructed interior shooting spaces that       four stages was already fully functional and in use by June. At press
     can be built out, allowing productions to shoot interiors without         time, EUE Screen Gems planned to have four other buildings on the
     returning to a soundstage. The width of the main street was               property completely updated by August. The existing buildings offer
     narrowed so the camera could capture both sides of the street in the      four stages ranging from 10,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet,
     same shot, and long vista shots through archways are now possible,        plus more than 50,000 square feet for lighting and grip, mill shops
     giving added depth to scenes.                                             and support services.
              For chase sequences, cameras can be positioned on the rein-              In addition to updating the existing structures, EUE/Screen
     forced façade roofs or mounted on a crane to follow the action. The       Gems plans to construct a new 37,500-square-foot soundstage to
     fire escapes are practical and built for use with actors and stunt        be ready in March 2011. Current plans for the stage include a

82   August 2010                                                American Cinematographer
mobile, soundproofed wall that can also            the entertainment community for a day of
split the space into two smaller stages if         conversation and collaboration, with a
necessary.                                         focus on how to thrive in a rapidly changing
        “Producers, directors and studios          global economic and technological enter-
came to us and asked us to go into                 tainment environment.
Atlanta,” says Chris Cooney, chief operat-                 “Our inaugural summit, held last
ing officer and co-owner of EUE/Screen             October, proved to be an amazing success
Gems. “We chose this site so that produc-          by offering a great opportunity to bring
ers and directors can book with us immedi-         together leading creatives for a wide-rang-
ately. The need is here, and we’re here.           ing discussion covering the gamut from
        “Through our properties in New             previs to building worldwide pipelines,”
York City, Wilmington and now Atlanta, we          says Eric Roth, executive director of the VES.
provide coastal, rural and urban settings to       “Because industry changes come so rapidly
our clients, as well as size and infrastructure    and will likely continue to do so, we decided
needed to handle intensive special effects         that bringing key industry stakeholders
for film, commercial and gaming,” Cooney           together annually would be beneficial to
continues. “This urban location expands            everyone.”
our portfolio in a powerful way.” The                      This year’s summit will include direc-
company was also drawn to Georgia’s 30-            tors, producers, cinematographers, editors,
percent tax incentive for qualified produc-        technologists and visual-effects artists inter-
tion and postproduction expenditures. The          nationally acknowledged for their innova-
credit is available not only to traditional        tive thinking and responsibility for moving
motion-picture projects such as features,          the industry into the next decade. Atten-
series, commercials and music videos, but          dees will be encouraged to not only think
also to industries such as game develop-           outside the box, but also to reinvent the
ment and animation.                                business models of tomorrow that will
        For additional information, visit          guide the future of the entertainment                      and     industry as its technologies, financial chal-                         lenges, shrinking schedules, globalization
                                                   and proliferating distribution platforms
        VES Announces Production                   continue to evolve.
        Summit 2010                                        “It is of the utmost importance that
        The Visual Effects Society will hold its   we focus the entire industry on our collec-
second annual Production Summit for the            tive future,” says VES Board Chair Jeffrey A.
greater entertainment industry on Oct. 23          Okun. “It is time to work together to ensure
at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey,       that we, as a community, will be here to
Calif. “Production Summit 2010: Navigat-           inform, create and operate within this new
ing Tomorrow’s Business Models” will bring         future. Now is the time to understand
together professionals from all sectors of         where it is going, to stop thinking of what
     we used to do, and to look forward and            can be used with third-party motors or with
     explore how to do it now, well and prof-          Redrock Torque motors. The MicroRemote
     itably.”                                          also boasts modular functionality, allowing
              For additional information, visit        additional components to extend the          system for multiple motors, multiple
     summit-2010.                                      cameras and more.                                    also shows depth-of-field information
                                                               The handheld controller features             based on the lens and settings, plus an
            Sharp Focus from Redrock Micro             2.4ghz production-quality wireless radio,            “auto focus” setting enabling the Micro-
            Redrock Micro has introduced the           with the option for a tethered connection            Tape to directly control focus.
     MicroRemote Focus System, an affordable,          via an integrated connection port. The                       The MicroTape real-time range
     high-performance, wireless/wired focus-           controller also boasts an integrated                 finder offers accurate distance-to-subject
     control system designed for use with any          rechargeable battery that concurrently               display with a 25' range. The metric or
     camera.                                           powers an attached iPhone/iPod Touch,                imperial distance scale appears on both
                                                       plus a D-tap power connection. The                   sides of the MicroTape in high-contrast
                                                       ergonomic design fits comfortably in the             blue. The MicroTape can be used on its own
                                                       user’s hand, and the controller accommo-             or in conjunction with the wireless remote,
                                                       dates both left- and right-hand orienta-             and it is configurable for use off-camera.
                                                       tions. The system can be used to control                     Supporting both wireless and wired
                                                       focus, zoom and iris settings, and the               control of the motors, the MicroRemote
                                                       controller also offers users camera                  base station enables both automatic and
             Designed for professionals and            start/stop functionality.                            manual lens calibration and incorporates a
     amateurs alike, the system includes a wire-               The MicroRemote iPhone/iPod                  universal power port. Additionally, a wired
     less/wired controller, a base station/receiver,   Touch software, which requires an iPhone             finger controller offers precision single-
     motors and a range finder. The controller         or iPod Touch running OS 3.0 or later, offers        finger focus adjustment with smooth rotary
     features an iPhone/iPod Touch interface for       real-time graphic and numeric display of             operation, and it easily attaches to a hand-
     graphic display of focus information to aid       focus distance and focus scale as well as            grip for ENG-style operation.
     precise focusing. The system is compatible        real-time display of the MicroTape sonar                     For additional information, visit
     with both still photo and cine lenses, and it     range finder distance. The visual display  

             Kodak Expands Vision3 Line                Mullen, ASC, who also tested the stock,                     5254/2254 is designed for use with
             Kodak has added two films to its          adds, “This new film has an even finer grain         contemporary film recorders. The imaging
     Vision3 family of motion-picture products:        structure with deeper black tones and richer         characteristics of this new intermediate film
     Vision3 200T 5213/7213, a medium-speed            color saturation, especially in the reds and         enhance the speed and efficiency of DI post-
     color-negative camera film, and Vision3           flesh tones. The images were slightly sharper        production while rendering noticeably
     Color Digital Intermediate Film 5254/2254.        … and more consistent in overexposed                 sharper images that more faithfully repre-
             5213/7213 features extended lati-         areas. The white tones were cleaner after            sent the intentions of filmmakers. The film
     tude, enabling cinematographers                                                                                 provides an improved bridge
     to record more details in highlights,                                                                           between Kodak negative films and
     and delivers finer grain for natural-                                                                           Kodak print films.
     looking images in the darkest                                                                                          “These new Vision3 films are
     areas. The emulsion is designed for                                                                             the tangible results of our ongoing
     shooting in both controlled interi-                                                                             commitment to filmmakers,” says
     ors and challenging high-contrast                                                                               Kim Snyder, vice president of the
     exteriors, and is available in all                                                                              Eastman Kodak Company and
     formats (65mm, 35mm, Super                                                                                      president of the Entertainment
     16mm and Super 8mm).                                                                                            Imaging Division. “They were
             ASC President Michael Goi,                                                                              designed based on our customers’
     who had the opportunity to test                                                                                 suggestions and with the goal of
     5213, notes that the stock “is a                                                                                increasing creative freedom and
     significant improvement over the                                                                                efficiencies in production and post-
     already excellent Vision2 5217. Reds in skin      the film was scanned and converted to digi-          production.”
     tones have a noticeably more natural              tal files. There is also a tighter grain structure          For additional information, visit
     balance, and I felt I could almost touch the      … especially when it is used for daylight  
     high-resolution results in texture.” M. David     exterior scenes.”

84   August 2010                                                  American Cinematographer
        Tyler Offers MiniGyro                                                longer:     8,26 m / 22 ft
        After three years of design, develop-                                lighter:   79 kg / 174 lbs
ment and testing, Tyler Camera Systems has                                   faster:     1,5 m/s / 5 ft/s
unveiled the MiniGyro camera-stabilizing                                     camera max.: 13 kg / 30lbs
mount. The handheld MiniGyro supports
and stabilizes cameras weighing up to 30
        Weighing 21 pounds, the Tyler Mini-
Gyro can be assembled or disassembled in
under a minute. The stabilizer boasts vari-                buy at:
able-position handles, a quick-release 
                                                    starting from 78.000 €
mounting plate and an adjustable tilt head
for shooting up or down. Additionally, a
uniquely designed progressive shock tube
eliminates vibration while supporting the
MiniGyro and camera.
        Designed to work in cramped quar-
ters, the MiniGyro is ideal for shooting in
helicopters, planes, cars, trucks, motorcycles
and boats. A standard 28 to 30 VDC
camera battery powers four brute gyro
wheels and the electronics. The MiniGyro
system fits into one custom 22-pound carry-
ing case measuring 19"x23"x12" with a
total shipping weight of 43 pounds.
        For additional information, visit

       AJA Upgrades Ki Pro Firmware
       AJA Video Systems has announced
the availability of version 2.0 firmware for
the Ki Pro portable digital-video recording
device. Ki Pro 2.0 includes RS-422 device
control, support for eight-channel embed-
ded audio and support for gang recording
with multiple Ki Pro units via the Web inter-
       The Ki Pro is a portable, rugged,
tapeless video-recording device that records
high-quality Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime
                                                        digital intermediates to dense print for          machine control protocols.”
                                                        restoration projects.” Simon Clark, Cintel’s             Ki Pro version 2.0 firmware is avail-
                                                        business development manager, adds,               able as a free software download to all Ki
                                                        “Ditto Evolution offers solutions to all film-    Pro customers. For more information, visit
                                                        scanning needs. It can evolve from a simple-
                                                        to-use calibrated pin-registration scanner for
                                                        digital-intermediate use with superb image                Lightcraft, Mo-Sys Forge
                                                        quality to a multi-format, non-pin-registra-              Agreement
                                                        tion machine for shrunken and damaged                     Lightcraft Technology and Mo-Sys,
                                                        film incorporating a full set of image-restora-   who have independently developed afford-
                                                        tion tools.”                                      able solutions to simplify the tracking and
                                                                 The ImageMill2 image-processing          visualization of complex visual-effects shots,
                                                        platform adds network capabilities and data       have announced they will combine their
             Ditto Scanner Evolves                      file management to the existing ImageMill         product offerings in order to provide a full
             Cintel International has introduced        feature set. Carter notes, “ImageMill2 will       range of virtual-production tools for the
     the Ditto Evolution 2K/4K film scanner and                                                           entertainment industry. The companies
     ImageMill2 image-processing platform.                                                                have entered into a joint distribution agree-
             Building on the successful elements                                                          ment to sell each other’s products as well as
     of the Ditto scanner — including excellent                                                           their own in their respective regions,
     image performance, an easy-to-use inter-                                                             thereby supplying their customers with a
     face and the D/SCOP Dust/Scratch Conceal-                                                            single source for complete optical and
     ment Option — the Ditto Evolution offers a                                                           encoded tracking and on-set visualization
     modular and upgradeable solution to film           address the industry’s need for a fast yet        systems.
     scanning. The Ditto Evolution provides fast        simple-to-use noise and grain management                  Lightcraft Technology builds the
     shuttle capability, a non-pin registration         tool for both data-centric digital-intermedi-     Previzion virtual studio system, which
     mode for archive scanning, ImageMill2              ate applications and restoration projects         combines real-time photorealistic 3-D
     processing tools and 3.2D density range.           within one product. With speeds in excess of      rendering, keying, lens tracking, composit-
             “Ditto Evolution is the first film scan-   25 fps for 2K and HD files, the performance       ing, metadata recording and camera track-
     ner to be instantly switchable from pin regis-     of ImageMill2 is unequalled. We are               ing; the camera tracking works with either
     tration to non-pin registration and also the       currently processing 4K files at 10 fps and       the inertial/optical combination of Light-
     first film scanner to include film grain           can also deal with SD files at twice real time.   craft’s Airtrack precision gyro and Inter-
     management and image stabilization tools,”         With ImageMill2 you can truly ‘eliminate the      sense’s IS1200, or with Mo-Sys encoded
     says Simon Carter, sales director for Cintel.      wait.’”                                           camera supports. Among Mo-Sys’ offerings
     “It is the ideal film scanner for all applica-             For additional information, visit         is the 3D Inserter, offering fast and flexible
     tions and stock types, from OCN ingest for                                 live previsualization and data logging of
                                                                                                          camera moves on a virtual set. In addition
                                                                                                          to its own products, Mo-Sys will now
     files onto computer-friendly media. Featur-        Ethernet or wireless connection. Addition-        distribute Lightcraft’s Previzion system in
     ing SD/HD-SDI, HDMI and analog inputs,             ally, AJA has collaborated with Avid to           Europe, while Lightcraft will distribute Mo-
     the Ki Pro enables users to interface with         ensure that, via Avid Media Access (AMA)          Sys’ 3D Inserter, Motion Logger and full
     virtually any type of camera or video source       plug-in architecture, the Ki Pro’s ProRes         range of encoded camera heads and cranes
     they may own or rent. Intuitive to operate,        QuickTime files are directly compatible with      in the Americas.
     the Ki Pro’s familiar VTR-like buttons provide     Avid Media Composer and Symphony                          Eliot Mack, CEO of Lightcraft Tech-
     immediate controls for basic operation, and        systems, allowing users to view, edit and         nology, notes, “It is rare to find a company
     from a distance, users can control the Ki Pro      play back the files with access to all clip       to work with that has Mo-Sys’ combination
     with a laptop or iPhone Web browser via            metadata.                                         of technical expertise, vision and innova-
                                                                “Since Ki Pro delivers pristine 10-bit    tion. We are excited about the potential
                                                        4:2:2 image quality, many of our customers        that this relationship will provide us and our
                                                        have been turning to it as a practical, cost      customers as we expand the use of virtual
                                                        effective alternative to a VTR on set, in the     production tools worldwide.” Michael
                                                        studio and in mobile production environ-          Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys, adds, “We are
                                                        ments,” says Nick Rashby, president of AJA        impressed with the competence and innov-
                                                        Video Systems. “Now with RS-422 device            ative spirit at Lightcraft. The collaboration
                                                        control, Ki Pro can interface to even more        brings together a unique and powerful
                                                        devices and workflows via industry standard       complimentary chain of tools for next-

86   August 2010                                                   American Cinematographer
generation filmmaking and ensures both stay
at the forefront of developments to come.”
        For additional information, visit and

        3cP Guides Images on Set, in Post
        Gamma & Density has announced
that its 3cP on-set color-correction system for
cinematographers has been extended for use
during the pre-post and post phases of a                                                              repair, service,
                                                                                                                rv                 a
                                                                                                 Lens repair, service, evaluation, and sales.
production. The enhanced 3cP Set + Post                                                            Factor y                         service
                                                                                                   Factory authorized Angenieux service
system allows for even more creative freedom                                                                 Optimo specialists
for contemporary image makers while main-
                                                                                                         NEW LENSES FOR SALE
taining the predictable, consistent results 3cP
                                                                                                       ZF.2,                 Prime CP.2
                                                                                                 Zeiss ZF.2, ZE, and Compact Prime CP.2
has become known for.
        3cP Set + Post includes a variety of      quality way to independently work with and
                                                                                                         USED LENSES FOR SALE
new and improved tools for data manage-           view AVC-Intra files. The software speeds
                                                                                                        Cooke S4, set of 12 primes
ment, color correction and previsualization.      sharing, distribution and review of AVC-          Nikkor 200 & 300mm PL telephoto
When used in conjunction with Blackmagic          Intra files by allowing users to skip time-             Primes,      Primes
                                                                                                    Zeiss Primes, Digi Primes & Speeds
Design’s HDLinkPro, the software-based            consuming conversion steps and tailor view-
system allows cinematographers and digital-       ing immediately and specifically to their                              Av
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corrected dailies created by 3cP Set + Post can           AVC-Intra is an advanced 10-bit                  fax: (818) 346-9506
be targeted for viewing on such devices as        video compression technology developed        
iPads and iPhones and can be produced in          by Panasonic for cameras in the company’s
Apple ProRes and Avid formats.                    professional P2 product line. Calibrated{Q}
        3cP Set + Post also adds the ability to   AVC-Intra Decode streamlines the use of
work with Red’s Mysterium-X sensor, access-       AVC-Intra material by letting users share,
ing and decoding the data directly from its       view and work with AVC-Intra MOV files in
raw format to ensure the highest quality          QuickTime Player and other applications
imagery. To further aid this task, Gamma &        that support QuickTime directly on their
Density has added Red Mysterium-X tung-           Mac or PC systems with up to full 10-bit
sten and daylight color charts to its chart       color depth and without requiring addi-
family, which already included Rec 709 and        tional software, such as Final Cut Pro. AVC-
film charts.                                      Intra Decode also enables cross-platform,
        Additional features of 3cP Set + Post     standalone playback and use of P2 AVC-
include expanded support for the                  Intra MXF files in QuickTime Player or
DaVinci/Blackmagic Design Resolve color           Square Box Systems’ CatDV asset-manage-
corrector, an ability to previsualize lighting,   ment software when used in tandem with
support for generating Nucoda-style 3-D           Calibrated{Q} MXF Import.
LUTs, enhanced P2 file handling, support for              “We are excited by the development
anamorphic and 3-D imagery, and more.             of products like Calibrated{Q} AVC-Intra
        For additional information, visit         Decode that extend the quality, flexibility                             and efficiency of AVC-Intra media into the
                                                  postproduction process and provide
       Calibrated Software Decodes                customers with a comprehensive range of
       AVC-Intra                                  options for working with AVC-Intra files,”
       Calibrated Software has expanded its       says Michael Bergeron of Media & Produc-
Calibrated{Q} family of QuickTime compo-          tion Services, Panasonic Solutions Company.
nents with the introduction of Calibrated{Q}      “Calibrated Software is an important
AVC-Intra Decode, a QuickTime decode              provider of workflow tools for the broadcast
codec that expands AVC-Intra-based post-          and film industry and we are pleased to be
production by providing an easy and high-         welcoming the company as an official new
      member in the Panasonic P2 Partner                video-capable Canon DSLRs, with additional         range of tools and capabilities that go far
      Alliance.”                                        format support coming soon. The software           further than simple LUT building, with
               Greg Booth, president of Calibrated      tool converts to ProRes, Standard, ProRes          options that provide for full underlying color
      Software, adds, “As advancements in               Proxy and PhotoJPEG formats, complete              management, display profiling, profile
      image formats continue to evolve, Cali-           with a time-code track. The batch-process-         matching (auto-LUT generation), direct
      brated Software is committed to delivering        ing feature supports multi-threaded systems        profile and LUT transformation, calibration
      accessible tools that map today’s changing        to ensure fast, glitch-free operation; users       visualization and display comparison, color-
      workflows and can be easily installed onto a      working with eight cores can convert eight         space conversion, and even batch image
      user’s Mac or PC to help them see and work        files at once. Magic Bullet Grinder also adds      processing with multiple image parameter
      with their material as directly and immedi-       file-name and time-code information                controls. LightSpace CMS enables customers
      ately as possible. Many broadcasters and          directly to proxies and converts 30p and           to accurately measure all displays to fully
      postproduction facilities are adopting a          60p media for quick 24p slow-motion                manage the color pipeline, regardless of the
      Panasonic AVC-Intra workflow, and Cali-           effects.                                           technology being used. A wide and growing
      brated{Q} AVC-Intra Decode was created to                  Magic Bullet Grinder is available for     range of measuring probes can be used,
      facilitate rapid viewing and review of AVC-       $49. For additional information, visit             including X-Rite Hubble, Klein K-10, i1 Pro,
      Intra material at up to full 10-bit quality and                          i1 Display 2, i1 Display 1, i1 Display LT and
      according to the end user’s specific plat-                                                           ColorMunki.
      forms and needs.”                                         LightSpace Manages Color                           LightSpace CMS can be purchased as
               Version 1.0 of Calibrated{Q} AVC-                Light Illusion has released LightSpace     a fully configured package, or via option
      Intra Decode for Macintosh OS X 10.5/10.6         CMS, a fully featured color-management             components allowing customers to build
      (Intel only) and Windows 7/Vista/XP is now        system. The system is a continued develop-         their color-management tools as their
      available. For more information, visit            ment of Light Illusion’s widely adopted LUT        requirements grow. For more information,                       Manager display and calibration software.          visit
                                                        LightSpace CMS brings major calibration
             Magic Bullet Grinds DSLR Video             enhancements to users, with full display                   Avid Takes Editing Line to
             Red Giant Software has introduced          and film-profiling capabilities, as well as the            Next Level
      Magic Bullet Grinder for converting DSLR          automatic generation of calibration LUTs                   Raising the bar on format flexibility,
      video to edit-friendly formats, enabling          from the various profiles generated.               openness and speed, Avid has introduced
      smooth playback and faster rendering.                     Improving on Light Illusion’s 3D LUT       the Media Composer v5, NewsCutter v9 and
             With Magic Bullet Grinder, Final Cut       Manager, LightSpace CMS makes it much              Symphony v5 editing systems. New features
      Pro users now have a fast way to get DSLR         easier to implement total color manage-            include native support for popular formats
      footage from video-capable Canon DSLR             ment facility wide for DI, visual effects, grad-   such as Red, QuickTime and Canon XF;
      cameras into their timeline for editing, add      ing, animation, games or exhibition using          support for Matrox MX02 Mini monitoring
      time code and generate proxies all in a           any direct display or projection-monitoring        hardware, a low-cost external monitoring
      single time-saving pass. Batch processing         system. LightSpace CMS is not only suitable        solution enabling field editing and simplified
      and multi-threading make for fast and pain-       for visualizing film images on digital             client screening sessions; HD-RGB finishing
      less conversion, allowing editing to begin        displays, but also for directly matching           capabilities, allowing customers to keep
      even on location.                                 different displays, allowing operators,            high-end finishing in-house; multi-channel
             Magic Bullet Grinder supports all          colorists, supervisors, cinematographers and       audio support; and an array of interface
                                                        directors to see a matched final look at           enhancements.
                                                        every point in the digital post chain.                     Avid Media Access enhances produc-
                                                                “LightSpace CMS makes accurate             tivity by supporting the most popular file-
                                                        color management available to all industry         based formats and eliminating the need for
                                                        operations, and its new tools and capabili-
                                                        ties really help to enhance facilities’ calibra-
                                                        tion capabilities and accuracy,” says Steve
                                                        Shaw, CEO of Light Illusion. “While Light-
                                                        Space CMS will be welcome in all facilities
                                                        looking for high quality color management,
                                                        its affordable price makes it easy for studios,
                                                        post and broadcast facilities to establish
                                                        company-wide color calibration, regardless
                                                        of the specific display or creative hardware
                                                        being used.”
                                                                LightSpace CMS brings together a

88   August 2010                                                  American Cinematographer
customers to transcode, re-wrap, log and
transfer media. In addition to supporting
Red .R3D, QuickTime and Canon XF files,
the updated editing systems also support
the AVCHD format as well as XDCam prox-
ies, the latter offering access to proxy video
and high-quality audio files, enabling
customers to make more informed creative
decisions in the offline edit and easily link
back to full-resolution XDCam clips to
complete projects.
        The enhanced user interface in
Media Composer, NewsCutter and
Symphony offers a new timeline Smart Tool,
featuring drag-and-drop audio and video
elements as well as editing and trimming
features for direct manipulation of clips in
the timeline, providing customers with more
choices in the way they work.
        For additional information, visit

        Media 100 Upgrades Suite
        Media 100, a provider of advanced
editing systems for the corporate, broad-
cast, postproduction and new-media indus-
tries, has announced the availability of
Media 100 Suite Version 1.6. Version 1.6
supports Calibrated Software’s Cali-
brated{Q} MXF Import, AVC-Intra Decode
and DVCProHD Decode products, allowing
Media 100 Suite editors to directly open
MXF files, import and play back AVC-Intra
media, and play back media created in the
DVCProHD codec. Version 1.6 also includes
Boris XML Transfer Version 2 for Media 100
Suite, giving users the ability to export
Media 100 Suite timelines to Adobe After
Effects CS5.
        Additional features of Version 1.6
include a new intelligent folder import
option, which recognizes certain file and
folder patterns (such as the Panasonic P2
folder pattern that commonly holds AVC-
Intra media) and selectively imports files
from those folders, and faster rendering of
multi-layer Boris Red filters.
        Media 100 Suite Version 1.6 is avail-
able through the Media 100 worldwide
reseller channel and direct from the Media
100 website for a recommended price of
$1,295. For more information, including
how to upgrade from a previous version of
Media 100 Suite, visit
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                                                                                                                 August 2010    91
     Advertiser’s Index
     16x9, Inc. 90                Dell 9                       Panther Gmbh 41
     Abel Cine Tech 15            Deluxe 37                    PED Denz 39, 91
     AC 1, 4, 93                  Denecke 91                   Photon Beard 90
     Aja Video Systems, Inc. 11   Duclos Lenses 87             Pille Film Gmbh 91
     Alan Gordon Enterprises 90   DV Expo 95                   Postworks 73
     Arri 35                      Eastman Kodak 13, C4         Pro8mm 90
     ASC 89                       EFD USA, Inc. 53             Production Resource Group
     AZGrip 90                                                      67
                                  Film Gear 6
     Backstage Equipment, Inc.    Filmlight 65                 Schneider Optics 2
         73                       Filmtools 6                  Shelton Communications 91
     Band Pro Film & Digital 91   Fujji Motion Picture         Soundscapers 90
     Burrell Enterprises 90            16a-d, 47               Stanton Video Services 85
                                                               Super16 Inc. 90
     Camera Essentials 91         Glidecam Industries C3       Sylvania 49, 51
     Canon USA 5                  International Supplies 83
     Cavision Enterprises 25                                   Technocrane 85
     Chapman/Leonard Studio       JMR Electronics, Inc. 19     VF Gadgets, Inc. 90
         Equipment Inc. 23        K5600 7                      Visual Products 39
     Cinematography               Kino Flo 55                  Welch Integrated 79
         Electronics 85                                        Willy’s Widgets 90
     Cinekinetic 90               Laffoux Solutions, Inc. 90
                         83  54, 87, 92
     Cinematographer Style 54
     Cinerover 90                 Lite Panels C2               Zacuto Films 91
     Cinevate 21                  Maine Media Workshops 73
     Convergent Design 40         Movcam Tech. Co., Ltd. 63
     Cooke Optics 6               Movie Tech AG 91
     Creativesphere 75            MP&E Mayo Productions 91
                                  Nalpak Inc. 91
                                  Nevada Film Office 61
                                  New York Film Academy 27
                                  Oasis Imagery 77
                                  Oppenheimer Camera Prod.

                           Clubhouse News
                                                              “Being elected to serve a second          workshop. The questions were searching,
                                                      term as ASC president is a great honor and        and each session ran overtime. It was time
                                                      a privilege,” says Goi. “At a time when so        well spent.”
                                                      much is going on in the industry, this is a
                                                      tremendous vote of confidence that this                   Prieto Speaks at LAFF
                                                      body of incredible artists believes in my                 Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC recently
                                                      vision of where the ASC is going in the           participated in a Kodak Focus seminar
                                                      future.”                                          during the 16th annual Los Angeles Film
                                                                                                        Festival. He showed clips from his work and
                                                              5 ASC Members Invited to                  discussed his collaborations with an array of
                                                              Join Academy                              directors.
                                                              The Academy of Motion Picture Arts
                                                      and Sciences recently invited 135 members                 ASC Participates in

                                                                                                                                                        Papamichael photo courtesy of Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. Prieto photo by Alexandra Wyman/WireImage, courtesy of Film Independent.
                                                      of the film industry to join its ranks, includ-           Cine Gear Expo
                                                      ing ASC members Shane Hurlbut, Tom                        Cine Gear Expo, an annual show-
                                                      Hurwitz, Dan Mindel, Tobias Schliessler           case of cutting-edge motion-picture tech-
                                                      and Robert Yeoman. Those who accept               nology, unfolded over four days in June at
                                                      the invitation will be the only additions to      Paramount Studios in Hollywood, and ASC
                                                      the Academy’s roster of voting members            members were involved in a number of
                                                      this year.                                        events. Peter Anderson, ASC delivered
                                                                                                        the keynote to kick off a daylong 3-D
                                                             Papamichael Honored for                    symposium, after which began a series of
                                                             Career Achievement                         Premiere Seminars. Seminar participants
                                                             Phedon Papamichael, ASC was                included ASC members John Leonetti
                                                      honored with the Orpheus Award for                (discussing Piranha 3-D); Wally Pfister
                                                      Career Achievement at this year’s Los Ange-       (discussing Inception); Richard Edlund
                                                      les Greek Film Festival. The award recog-         (moderating a panel for the Visual Effects
                                                      nizes Papamichael’s professional achieve-         Society); and John Bailey, Daniel Pearl,
       Top: Phedon Papamichael, ASC.                  ments in cinematography and directing, as         James Chressanthis and Rodney Taylor
      Bottom: Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC.               well as his continued support of the arts.        (panelists for the Kodak-sponsored “Truth
                                                      Director Alexander Payne, who collabo-            About Film and Digital Production”).
              2010-2011 Board, Officers               rated with Papamichael on Sideways,               George Spiro Dibie, ASC moderated an
              Elected                                 presented the cinematographer with the            ASC panel comprising Society members
              Michael Goi, ASC has been elected       award. In a separate event, Arcadia Lost, a       Russ Alsobrook, Stephen H. Burum,
     to a second term as president of the Society.    new feature that Papamichael directed and         James L. Carter, Allen Daviau, Michael
     His fellow officers for 2010-11 are Vice Pres-   shot, was screened, and he participated in a      Goi, Johnny E. Jensen, M. David
     idents Richard Crudo, Owen Roizman               Q&A.                                              Mullen, Sol Negrin, Nancy Schreiber
     and John C. Flinn III; Treasurer Matthew                                                           and Christian Sebaldt; Joe Dunton, BSC
     Leonetti; Secretary Rodney Taylor; and                  McAlpine Journeys to India                 also joined the panelists, and Donald M.
     Sergeant-at-Arms Ron Garcia. Other                      Don McAlpine, ASC, ACS                     Morgan, ASC participated from the audi-
     members elected to the Board of Governors        presented three sessions during the recent        ence.
     are John Bailey, Stephen Burum, Curtis           Cinema India Expo in Mumbai, India: a                     Rounding out the weekend, Society
     Clark, George Spiro Dibie, Richard               Kodak-sponsored master class, and two             members Amy Vincent, Bill Bennett,
     Edlund, Stephen Lighthill, Isidore               conversation sessions arranged by Createa-        Gabriel Beristain, Ron Dexter and
     Mankofsky, Daryn Okada, Robert                   sphere, Cinema India’s international sales        Stephen Lighthill participated in master
     Primes, Nancy Schreiber, Kees Van Oost-          and programming partner. “The workshops           classes at Mole Richardson, and associate
     rum, Haskell Wexler and Vilmos Zsig-             in Mumbai were truly rewarding for all of         member Volker Bahnemann received the
     mond. Alternates are Fred Elmes, Rodney          us,” notes McAlpine. “The local film people       Cine Gear Expo Lifetime Achievement
     Taylor, Michael D. O’Shea, Sol Negrin            seemed to be very interested in what I had        Award.                                 ●
     and Michael B. Negrin.                           to say, and attendance grew during each

94   August 2010                                                American Cinematographer


                                                      Give Us Three Days and We’ll Give You:
                                                        40+ Production|Post conference sessions
                                                        An Intensive Look at 3D Technology
                                                        Apple Final Cut Pro Training & Certification
        3D                                              An Exhibit Hall Showcasing the Latest New Technology

SEPTEMBER 28-30, 2010 | Conference Sept. 28-30 | Exhibits Sept. 29-30 | Pasadena Convention Center: Pasadena, CA
                           Close-up                            Charles Minsky, ASC
     When you were a child, what film made the strongest impres-                    study psychology. Out of boredom, I got a job on a low-budget project
     sion on you?                                                                   in San Diego — my father knew someone who knew someone who
     Lawrence of Arabia (1962). At 16, I worked as an usher at the Beverly          wanted to make a movie. I was hired as a gofer. I never looked back.
     Hills theater where it played in 70mm for nine months, and I was
     reminded every day of the power and scope of movies. I knew every              What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?
     image and all the music cues, and I could recite every line. More impor-       Finding the center of the scene I am shooting and making sense of it.
     tantly, it changed the way I regarded film, because I never tired of           Cinematographers are storytellers, and we are always searching to
     watching it. That had never happened before.                                                            make an idea into an image.

     Which cinematographers, past or present,                                                                 Have you made any memorable blun-
     do you most admire, and why?                                                                             ders?
     Freddie Young, ASC, BSC, who turned me                                                                   On the first job I got as a union assistant, I
     around and made me see how images could                                                                  white-lighted 1000' of film on the first day of
     transport you to a completely different world.                                                           prep. I thought it was the end of the world.
     John Alonzo, ASC, for his work on Chinatown
     — his handheld work and the polished gloss of                                                            What is the best professional advice
     L.A. Conrad Hall, ASC, for his brilliant and inno-                                                       you’ve ever received?
     vative vision on Searching for Bobby Fischer; his                                                        I’m not sure it’s the best advice, but when I first
     use of light, long lenses and color made the                                                             began working as a camera assistant, Joe
     world of chess appear utterly magical.                                                                   Ruttenberg, ASC lived next door. He took me
                                                                                    into his house one day and showed me his two Academy Awards and
     What sparked your interest in photography?                                     told me to become an editor, because they had more control of his art
     Blind luck. On my first job in the business, I was told to carry camera        than he did. It didn’t deter me, but it made me aware that I wasn’t in
     cases and help the camera assistant. I spent three months doing every-         complete control of the finished product. It’s a lesson I’m still learning.
     thing that was asked of me, and before I finished, I fell in love with the
     camera. I hadn’t taken so much as a Polaroid before, but suddenly I was        What recent books, films or artworks have inspired you?
     fascinated by cinematography. My life changed in a matter of months.           I read a lot of mysteries and enjoy Ken Bruen, Robert Crais, Michael
     I got a Nikon F2 and took as many pictures as I could afford.                  Connelly, Robert Parker and Richard Russo. I just finished reading all of
                                                                                    Ken Haruf’s books, including Plainsong. Movies: I just watched The
     Where did you train and/or study?                                              Lookout and (500) Days of Summer.
     All of my film education was on the job. I graduated from the Univer-
     sity of California-Los Angeles with a degree in political science but didn’t   Do you have any favorite genres, or genres you would like to
     pay attention to film until that first job, three years after I graduated. I   try?
     took two film classes, but they weren’t very interesting.                      I love all kinds of detective stories and would love to shoot more of
                                                                                    them. I’m also a huge fan of children’s stories.
     Who were your early teachers or mentors?
     As a camera assistant, I worked steadily for five years with a commercial      If you weren’t a cinematographer, what might you be doing
     director/cameraman named Melvin Sokolsky. I watched him and                    instead?
     learned how to conceptualize a project. I also watched and learned             Teaching. I love working with students and sharing some of the knowl-
     about lighting. I also worked for years as an assistant in the camera          edge I’ve retained over the years.
     departments at Universal and Warner Bros. I worked with [ASC
     members] Matt Leonetti, Joe Biroc and John Alonzo, and with Ray                Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for member-
     Villalobos.                                                                    ship?
                                                                                    John Toll, Robert Primes and Bing Sokolsky.
     What are some of your key artistic influences?
     I love photojournalism, especially Robert Capa, Sebastiao Salgado, and         How has ASC membership impacted your life and career?
     Tyler Hicks of the New York Times. I also love paintings and prints by         I consider myself lucky to be in the ASC. It’s a very inclusive group of
     Charles Sheeler, Ralston Crawford, Georgia O’Keeffe and Paul Strand.           professionals. It’s a safe place to exchange ideas and thoughts, and we
                                                                                    share problems and solutions. People want to be members, and, once
     How did you get your first break in the business?                              admitted, we are open and trusting of each other. It makes me proud
     After working as a social worker and a waiter, I went back to school to        to be in the ASC.                                                   ●

96      August 2010                                                  American Cinematographer

                         “I don’t know a cinematographer – certainly not
                          myself – who has contributed to a meaningful
                          movie who wasn’t collaborating with a highly
                          visual director. Part of it is luck, getting to work
                          with the right director, actors and script, and
                          then it takes an incredible amount of hard
                          work. The inspiration comes from the words
                          and inside the characters. All you have to do
                          is bring your soul and great energy. But it goes
                          beyond collaborating with directors. You are
                          also working with the production and costume
                          designers, makeup artists, gaffers and everyone
                          on your crew to get the right composition,
                          camera movement and focus to capture
                          magic moments on film. Film is collaboration;
                          you cannot dream on your own, but more
                          importantly you have to trust your instincts.”

                         Chris Menges, ASC, BSC won Academy Awards®
                         for The Killing Fields and The Mission, and
                         earned additional nominations for Michael
                         Collins and The Reader. He is the 2010 recipient
                         of the American Society of Cinematographers
                         International Award. His body of work includes
                         Kes, Angel, Local Hero, The Boxer, A World
                         Apart, The Pledge, The Good Thief, Dirty
                         Pretty Things, The Three Burials of Melquiades
                         Estrada, Notes on a Scandal, and other
                         memorable documentary and narrative films.

                          For an extended interview with Chris Menges,

                         To order Kodak motion picture film,
                         call (800) 621-film.
                         © Eastman Kodak Company, 2010.
                         Photography: © 2010 Douglas Kirkland

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