ALSO INSIDE …
#24: CAMERA CREATIVE - SEAMUS McGARVEY #14: SHOOTING THE FUTURE - A GUIDE TO THE
BSC ASC ON THE SOLOIST BSC NEW EQUIPMENT SHOW
#22: ON THE JOB - DAVID HIGGS BSC ON THE #30: LETTER FROM AMERICA: OVERVIEW OF THE
EXPERIENCES OF SHOOTING LESBIAN DIGITAL DILEMMA REPORT ON FILM vs
VAMPIRE KILLERS AND NINETEEN DIGITAL ARCHIVING
#21: MEET THE NEW WAVE –
#10: CLOSE UPS - NINA KELLGREN BSC ON CHRISTOPHER ROSS
TOURISM IRELAND, CATHERINE DERRY ON
ROGER PRATT BSC
AND MARCUS WATERLOO ON THE AND
DORIAN GREY, CATHERINE DERRY
MARCUS LIFE OF CRANES
SOLITARY WATERLOO ON THE SOLITARY LIFE
OF CRANES RRP: £6.00
Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire SL0 0NH, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1753 650101 Fax: +44 (0) 1753 650111
>> C O N T E N T S
Alan Lowne Tel: +44 (0) 1753 650101
Stuart Walters Tel: +44 (0) 121 608 2300 UK
Ron Prince Email: email@example.com
P03 President's Perspective: Sue Gibson BSC on the BSC's latest camera tests
Alan Lowne Tel: +44 (0) 1753 650101
P05 Production / Post & Techno News: the latest news concerning cinematographers
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org P07 Who's Shooting Who?: discover which DPs are working where
Stuart Walters Tel: +44 (0) 121 608 2300
Email: email@example.com P10 Close-Ups: Nina Kellgren BSC, Catherine Derry & Marcus Waterloo
DESIGN P12 To Live & Let DI: find out who's putting out the DI grades right now
Paul Roebuck, Open Box Publishing Ltd, P21 Meet The New Wave: Christopher Ross… enjoys a “tuning-fork moment”
contact: Stuart Walters Tel: +44 (0) 121 608 2300 P26 Syllabus Stories: meet the students being guided by some of the UK's leading cinematographers
THE PUBLICATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE comprises of Board members from P34 GBCT News: the chairman's statement, plus other news from the Guild
the BSC and GBCT as well as the Publishers
BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER covering International Cinematography is part of
Laws Publishing Ltd, Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire
SL0 0NH, UK
The publishers wish to emphasise that the opinions expressed in BRITISH
CINEMATOGRAPHER are not representative of Laws Publishing Ltd but the P28 F-Stop Hollywood: round-up of news from the 2009 awards season
responsibility of the individual contributors.
P30 Letter from America: The Digital Dilemma report on archiving has shocked many in the US, and might
surprise you too
P32 IMAGO News: Nigel Walters BSC, president of IMAGO, reports from the 2009 AGM in Bradford
Cover Photograph: FEATURES
Image of Anthony Dod Mantle
DFF BSC, who won the
2009 Oscar for best P14 Shooting The Future: your guide to the BSC's New Equipment Show 2009
cinematography for P22 On The Job: David Higgs BSC on Lesbian Vampire Killers and Nineteen Eighty Three
Slumdog Millionaire. P24 Camera Creative: Seamus McGarvey BSC ASC on The Soloist
Photo taken by Christian
British Society of Cinematographers – Board Members: President, Sue Gibson. Immediate Past President, Gavin Finney. Vice
Presidents, Joe Dunton MBE, Alec Mills, Chris Seager, Nigel Walters. Governors, Sean Bobitt, John de Borman, John Daly, Harvey Harrison,
Tony Imi, Phil Meheux, Nic Morris, Tony Spratling, Mike Southon, Derek Suter, Robin Vidgeon. Secretary/Treasurer, Frances Russell.
>> Editorial Team Guild of British Camera Technicians – Board Members: Jamie Harcourt (Chairman), Trevor Coop (Immediate Past Chairman),
Caroline Sax (Vice Chairman), John Keedwell, Steve Brooke-Smith, Shirley Schumacher, Jane Jackson, Tim Potter (Vice Chairman), Keith
Mead, Rupert Lloyd Parry, Jason Coop, Sam Goldie, Suzy McGeachan (Honorary Treasurer)
Ron Prince: has many years experience working in the film, TV, CGI and
visual effects industries. He is the editor of British Cinematographer
magazine and runs an international communications company
Bob Fisher has authored 3,000 magazine articles about
cinematographers and filmmakers during the past 35
plus years. He has also moderated many panel
discussions for both the American Society of Students of cinematography would do were undertaken by the BSC. It's a
Cinematographers and the International well to examine and digest what Dod towering achievement in the making,
Cinematographers Guild. Mantle says, as well as watch his work. bringing together 26 cameras, of various
Always eloquent, and like most other film and digital flavours, equipment
great cinematographers, he is truly manufacturers, production and post-
It's been quite a couple of months for mindful of choosing the right tools for the production crew.
Carolyn Giardina: is a freelance journalist based in the cinematography and cinematographers - job, whilst not letting them get in the way
US. She previously served as the technology reporter at at both ends of the spectrum, and in of the narrative. The aim is not to be an exhaustive
Hollywood Reporter, the editor of Film & Video, and as technical test, analysing and detailing the
senior editor of post-production at SHOOT. Her work has between too.
At the other end of the spectrum is the minutiae of grain structures and pixel
also appeared in IBC Daily News, Digital Cinema, Post
and Below The Line. On the upside is the stunning success of allegedly furious outburst of actor behaviour. That's for somebody else to
Slumdog Millionaire, with eight Oscars to Christian Bale towards the tackle.
its name. Especially thrilling for us is the cinematographer Shane Hurlbut on the
success of Anthony Dod Mantle DFF BSC, set of Terminator Salvation. Behaviour like These assessments were originally
Kevin Hilton: is a freelance journalist who writes about who is the first British cinematographer, this would probably be deemed conceived as a practical guide to the
technology and personalities in film and broadcasting, and BSC member, to collect an Oscar intolerable in any other business, apart increasing choices available to producers,
and contributes film reviews and interviews to a variety since Freddie Frances doubled his own perhaps from a Gordon Ramsey kitchen. directors and cinematographers.
of publications Some have wondered whether the whole
tally in 1990 with an Oscar for Glory.
f-ing affair was a PR stunt, others believe However, as Joe Dunton CBE BSC put it,
A hybrid of a production, Slumdog it was the culmination of a difficult period the results will really be for everyone -
Millionaire embraces film and digital for the actor. Whatever your opinion on manufacturers, cinematographers, crew,
technologies. It features classic and the matter, perhaps the most shocking post, trade bodies, studios, anyone in fact
handheld techniques, obtrusive and thing about the incident is that Hurlbut, with an interest in producing
John Keedwell: the GBCT's Eyepiece Editor, is a
candid cameras. It had a doubtful start, the cinematographer, was described as a cinematographic content.
documentary and commercials cameraman who has
worked on many productions around the world. He but went on to be a world-beater. Is there “technician” when the news hit TV and
crosses over in both film and tape productions and has a better example of where Internet around the world. They will truly help to clarify what tools
great knowledge of the new formats and their methods cinematography stands today, and the are available on set, and what the
demands it makes on the And the bit in the middle? The recent ramifications are for the backend
cinematographer? independent camera appraisals, which workflow. Just the ticket.
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 1
UK president’s perspective
The BSC's independent Film and Digital Image in dispatches when the show goes on the road. We are also
Evaluations 2009 have been shot and are now well on documenting the production with stills and a “making-of”
their way in post production. video, so I must thank those involved in that too.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge everyone To those who have offered support, which has not been taken
involved for their support, from the suppliers of premises, up, and those who may feel they have been overlooked I
equipment, film stock, crew, students, we have had such apologise. It was not our intention to exclude anyone but your
tremendous help in putting this all together, not to mention all offers have been so overwhelming we have had to be very
those BSC members who have given so freely of their time and selective regarding which camera systems we decided to test
energy in making this happen. and have limited it to those which are currently being used on
productions. We know that in six months or a year's time
It has been a mammoth task of organisation. When we technology will have moved on but what we hope to provide is
decided to update the tests, which were so successful two
a snapshot of what is available now. That is why we have
years ago, little did I know how much goodwill and appetite
designed and built a set that can be stored and reconstructed
there would be to update them.
for future tests when new cameras, film stocks and digital
workflows come along.
There have been many planning meetings by the BSC Technical
Committee to decide what parameters we would use to test
both film and HD cameras in an unbiased way, and then how Part of the remit for our Skillset bursary is to deliver a product
we could fund the whole operation. Martin Hammond helped which will be shown nationwide to help inform and educate
us to approach Skillset which has been instrumental in the industry as a whole in how to work with the various
providing funding, and the money it have given us has enabled formats available in film and HD production.
us to build a set, which we will be able to reproduce at a later
date when new cameras and film stocks come along. As a result there will be a series of presentations around the
country, in London, Cardiff, Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester, There is great
The results of the tests will give us considerable insight into Glasgow, and the Screen Academies where we will show
the similarities and differences in the growing number of these tests along with case histories, explanation of workflows interest globally
formats available to the cinematographer today, and help to and panel discussions. in understanding
clarify the post production workflows too. The end results will
be presented as a series of roadshows around the country, As a little light relief from the camera tests I visited the AFC how new and
along with case histories from various productions, and Micro Salon at the beginning of February, which was a traditional
hopefully some interesting discussions. delightful experience. I must say it was small but perfectly
formed. Held at La Femis, the Film School, not only were methods of
It seems there is great interest globally in understanding how eminent cinematographers there but students which added to
both new, and traditional methods of image acquisition
the “buzz”, and gave the whole place a feeling of great energy.
compare. The ASC has been shooting camera tests recently in It was arranged over three floors with lighting and grip acquisition
collaboration with the PGA, which they called their “Camera equipment downstairs, cameras and lenses on the first floor
Assessment Project”. Not only did they assess the image
compare… and a
and presentations in the very well-equipped theatre.
quality of each camera, but also assessed the workflow in post Throughout the two days there were different presentations need to pool all
production. It seems we both had the same ideas at the same every twenty minutes, long enough to be informative (even in
time, which is some indication of where we are worldwide. I our information
French), and short enough to whet the appetite. They ranged
know the BvK has just been shooting its tests and the AFC is from digital workflows, the Red camera, 2-perf production and internationally
about to embark on a similar project . There is a need to pool
post , and Fuji's Eterna Vivid 160. This year the Belgian Society
all our information internationally.
of Cinematographers was invited to showcase its members'
work. Next year the BSC has been invited to guests of honour
The BSC must thank the following companies for their
and present the work of the Society, so get your thinking caps
generosity. Not only have they provided monetary help, but
physical and technical support too. Thanks go to: Kodak, Fuji,
Sony, Panasonic, ARRI Media, Panavision, Take 2, VMI. On
Sight, Filmscape Media, Rogue Element, Panalux, Pinewood It was mentioned to me the other week that the BSC was set
Studios, Rosco, Deluxe, Technicolor, Ascent Media, Lee Filters, up to be a 'Gentleman's Club' sixty years ago. To some this may
London College of Communications, Ealing Institute of Media, be a departure from that format, but I believe the BSC has
iLab, The Hat Factory, Concrete, GBCT, Skillset, The Makeup helped to retain its stature in the industry by being conversant
Academy, Kontrol Freax. Thanks also go to the costume and with cutting-edge technology, and helping to educate the next
production designers, construction team, the shooting crew, generation of BSC members. But long may we remain
electricians, riggers, not to mention the BSC Technical “gentlemen” and “women”.
Committee and the production team.
Sue Gibson BSC
I am sure there will be many more people who deserve thanks President
as the tests progress, and will make sure they are mentioned British Society of Cinematographers
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 3
UK production news
Showlight lures BSC
and ASC speakers
Oscar win ends 19 year drought
Show and tell: Sue Gibson BSC speaking about the
ARRI D-20 at Showlight 2005
Showlight, a colloquium organised once every four
years by lighting professionals for lighting
professionals, will take place at BBC Scotland, May
16 to 19, 2009. The event brings together delegates
with complimentary experiences in film, theatre, TV,
event, architectural, manufacturing and training.
Winner: Anthony Dod Mantle backstage at the 2009 Academy Awards with with actress Natalie Portman
Showlight 2009 is being held at the BBC's flagship high-
definition television studio complex at Pacific Quay in
Anthony Dod Mantle DFF BSC's Oscar win for best Anthony on his recent wins - you are an inspiration to us all. Glasgow. Around 25 speakers from all lighting genres will
cinematography at the 2009 Academy Awards brings The BSC is delighted that after 19 years the Academy has present papers, followed by Q&As. Haris Zambarloukos
to end a 19-year drought for British cinematographers given the award for best cinematography to one of our BSC, will be give an insight into the design and application
at the annual awards. Dod Mantle won the award for members.” of the lighting in Mamma Mia! The main focus will be the
his work on Slumdog Millionaire, the independent studio work that made up most of the film's location, the
production which collected eight Oscars in total, Between the wins by Francis and Dod Mantle, BSC members Villa Donna, an exterior location set up inside Pinewood's
including best picture, best director for Danny Boyle, have been nominated 23 times for Academy Awards. This 007 Stage.
best editing for Chris Dickens, and best sound mixing figure includes Roger Deakins BSC ASC who has received
In complete contrast, The Kite Runner and Quantum of
for Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty. The eight nominations, including a double nomination in 2007 for
Solace were filmed on location in remote areas of the
last Oscar win for a British cinematographer was No Country For Old Men and The Assassination of Jess James
world and both were big pictures in terms of cast, action
Freddie Frances BSC at the 62nd Academy Awards in By The Coward Robert Ford, and a shared nomination
and scope. DP Roberto Schaefer ASC will be addressing
1990 for his work on Glory, about the US Civil War's between Deakins and Chris Menges BSC ASC for The Reader,
the challenges and discoveries made in these situations,
first all-black volunteer company. which earned Kate Winslet the Oscar for best actress
as well as taking part in a panel discussing green issues.
His own particular interest is the 'environmental
Dod Mantle also recently collected awards from the American
responsibility of filmmakers and others in the
Society of Cinematographers, BAFTA and Plus Camerimage Dod Mantle shot Slumdog Millionaire on a range of Fujifilm
for Slumdog Millionaire. motion picture stocks and SI-2K digital cameras from P+S
Technik. British involvement included a DI grade a MPC on Other papers at the 2009 event will cover a wide range of
Sue Gibson, president of the BSC, said, “Congratulations to Quantel equipment. lighting projects, from outdoor art and the Grand Mosque
in Abu Dhabi to candle-lit plays and Dr Who, the Beijing
Olympics and the US Presidential debates. Around 30
Costa quits IMAGO manufacturers of luminaires, LEDs and accessories such
as gels and filters are also expected to attend. For more
information visit www.showlight.org.
Tony Costa AIP, the vice president and webmaster of
IMAGO, the European federation of cinematographic
societies, has left the organisation to take up an BSC evaluations
executive production role assisting foreign productions
on location shoots in Portugal and Morocco. He will
continue his work as head of the cinematography
department and lecturer at the University of Lusofona
photo by Richard Blanshard
“Tony is a man of considerable knowledge about European
cinematography, who brings great passion to everything he
does, and the debt the federation owes to him is
immeasurable,” said Nigel Walters BSC, IMAGO president. Passionate: Costa helped to save IMAGO from
The British Society of Cinematographers has completed
What's shooting on Kodak? Costa joined IMAGO as a delegate for the AIP in Portugal ten the capture phase of its "Film and Digital Image
years ago. He contributed to the federation's book Making Evaluations 2009". The shoot took place at Pinewood
Features shooting on Kodak stocks include: The Debt, dir Studios during the week of 23rd February 2008, and
Pictures, and became vice-president in 2004. Along with
John Madden, DP Ben Davis BSC; Halo Boy, dir Stephen brought together manufacturers , crew and post
Andreas Fischer-Hansen and Paul René Roestad, Costa helped
Cookson, DP Oliver Downey; Mr Nice, dir Bernard Rose, production departments. No fewer than 26 cameras were
to save the federation from bankruptcy by encouraging new
DP Bernard Rose, lighting director Ron Forsythe; and put through their paces - film and digital motion picture
sponsors, collaborators and developing the organisation's
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, dir David Yates, cameras, as well as a digital SLR that can shoot 1080P -
website. on a range of indoor and exterior scenarios that producers
DP Eduardo Serra. And on TV, Kodak is on: Ashes To
Ashes, Kudos Film, DPs Simon Archer, Tim Palmer and and directors will typically encounter. The captured
He directed the film Declaration on Working Conditions, which material is now in post production, and the results will be
Fabian Wagner, Midsomer Murders XI, Bentley
is free to download from www.imago.org, and his is the first shown later in the year in London and via roadshows
Productions, DP Colin Munn; New Tricks VI, Wall to Wall,
signature on the Declaration of Cinematographers on Working Pictured here are most of the crew involved in the shoots.
DP Sean Van Hales; The Street, Granada, DPs Steve As the official media partner, British Cinematographer
Conditions signed at Camerimage in Lodz in 2005. He was
Lawes, Sam McCurdy and Fabian Wagner; and Small magazine will bring you the inside track on the appraisals
president of the AIP from 1998 to 2005, and has been its vice-
Islands, Ruby Films Ltd, DP Tony Miller. and the results.
president since then.
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 5
UK production news
ARRI lighting lunch Direct open night
ARRI hosted its annual lighting
lunch for DPs and gaffers at the
Rucola restaurant close by its
Uxbridge headquarters at the
end of January.
Lighting and camera rental company Direct, held an open
As many as 120 people night for DPs, gaffers and photographers last December
gathered for the event, hosted to showcase its latest addition, the Canon EOS 5D Mk lI,
along with lighting products from Cirro Lite and Direct.
by ARRI Lighting Rental MD
Canon camera shoots 1080P, as well as 21megapizel-
Tommy Moran, ARRI marketing sezed stills, and has potential uses for DPs when
(l-r) Ian Franklin, Jim Wall, Barry Acroyd BSC, manager Judith Petty and shooting references for telecine and continuity.
Harry Wiggins, Steve Anthony, Gary Parnham and Steve Smith Sinead Moran.
“The addition of HD recording opens a new chapter for EOS. It
creates new possibilities for EOS photographers to capture and
share their stories and to stay relevant in a rapidly changing digital
landscape, " said Mogens Jensen, head of Canon Consumer
Direct's event was focussed around a live fashion shoot with
models from Living TV’s recent Britain’s Next Top Model.
New BSC members
The BSC recently announced five new full members: they are
Robbie Ryan, David Higgs, Danny Cohen, Jess Hall and Sam
McCurdy, and we'll be covering them and their work in more
detail in future editions.
(l-r) Alan Grayley, Kevin Day, Paul Cronin, Tony (l-r) Ernie Vincze BSC and Robin Vidgeon BSC, with
Hayes, Kevin Edland, Tommy Moran, Sinead Moran BSC treasurer Frances Russell
and Paul Toomey
What's shooting on Fuji?
Fujifilm stocks are being used on The Philanthropist, DP Joel
Ransom, dir Duane Clark; Waking The Dead - Series VIII, DP
Mike Spragg; Four Seasons, DP Tony Imi BSC; The Debt, DP
Ben Davis BSC, dir John Madden; Come On Eileen, DP
Candida Richardson, dir Finola Geraghty; Wild Target, DP
David Johnson BSC, dir Jonathan Lynn; The Reeds, DP Dennis
Madden, dir Nick Cohen; Kia car commercial, DP John Lynch,
prod co Outsider; Snow Patrol music promo, DP Will Bex,
prod co Warp Films; The Energies music promo, DP Rob
Hardy, prod co Partizan; Take That music promo, DP Tom
Townend, prod co Partizan; Flithy Dukes music promo, DP
Adam Frisch, prod co Colonel Blimp; Alzheimer's Society
commercial, DP Will Bex, prod co Red Bee; Johnson &
Johnson commercial, DP John Lynch, prod co Outsider; and
(l-r) Cinders Forshaw BSC, David Odd BSC and (l-r) Paul Cronin, Mike Eley and Paul Murphy Stella Artois commercial, DP Ray Coates, prod co
Tim Palmer Rattling Stick.
page 6 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
UK who’s shooting who?
What you staring at?: the forensic murder
mystery Bones shot in London last year
Last summer, Gordon Lonsdale ASC came to London to an 18K, and I needed to add a 6K Par for a rim light. We had reducing an hour of work to a couple of seconds on the
shoot and episode of forensic murder mystery Bones, entitled to shoot the coverage where it was - I could not cheat it. My screen. We went from exposing 12 seconds per frame for the
Yanks In The UK. Emily Deschanel plays a forensic gaffer, Pat Sweeney, told me that we just didn't have the crew car light effects, taking more than two hours to shoot that
anthropologist whose scientific approach clashes with that of to fly the 20-by-20 solid, and operate the lights as well. I told layer, to shooting at 1,000fps on the car crash. For the crash,
her partner, an FBI agent played by David Boreanaz. Lonsdale him that we didn't have a choice. We had to make it work. He high-speed layer, we used the Phantom HD camera and it was
has photographed more than 40 episodes of Bones over the shot me a look, then thought for a moment, and said, 'Okay.' quite a challenge to match it with the look of the rest of the
past three seasons. For the double episode that kicked off With a total electric/grip crew of five those guys saved the material shot on 35mm - not only because of the difference in
season three, he and the cast travelled to London, so British day. I think that was the day I realised why my gaffer didn't contrast, but also, because I had to light for an exposure of
Cinematographer magazine asked him for his thoughts…“We carry a meter - he was carrying too many lights! He led one of 1/2000 of a second and a six second exposure, which was the
were shooting as many as ten pages a day. I think we went the hardest-working and most faithful crews I have ever exposure time per frame of the timelapse layer. We had to
over 11 hours only once or twice. It was an incredible worked with. I truly loved them all.” shoot them one after the other to get the position of the
experience. I picked the lighting and grip packages based on crashed cars matching. I lit for the Phantom with a 100K ARRI
crew size, so we were a light, mean shooting machine. It was Natasha Braier also wrote in about a Nationwide ad she SoftSun and six 18Ks, but it was impossible to bring that
the first time in many years my gaffer did not have a meter. I lensed in Cape Town last December. “Technically it was an down with gels or scrims by 13 and a half stops, so I had to
dusted my meter off and kept it close. The majority of camera interesting job, consisting of one long motion control shot light it twice simultaneously, having smaller filtered heads
and grip equipment was provided by Panavision UK, and most repeated many times, building up more than 15 layers of next to the big lights, get it all matching and switch between
lighting gear came from Panalux.” Lonsdale shoots the entire footage different speeds. In the ad, the camera goes over a the two lighting settings
show on Kodak Vision2 HD Color Scan Film 5299. He says he highway and comes down towards an actor who is explaining
adapted easily to the British operator system. “I wanted to about car insurance. He is performing at normal speed while Each layer was shot at a different speed, including a lot of
adjust my thinking to fit the country I was shooting in. We the cars are streams of light. When we get to him, the cars different long exposure layers for the car light beams, motion
found a great working order. I felt very supported by the crew, between him and the camera crash and ramp to the crash in blur effects and the existing location lighting. Also, the fact
and I learned a new way of looking at filmmaking. I remember slow motion at 1,000 frames per second. Then it all speeds up that we shot during four nights, and had to wrap the motion
one day when I needed a 20-by-20 foot solid to keep the sun again (except our actor always remains at 25f/s) and the control each night, made the job more challenging technically.
from the actors' eyes. I then needed to replace the sun with recovery of the vehicles happens as a timelapse sequences, Jay Mallet came with the Milo rig from England and did an
amazing job. I think I made more notes on this job than during
the shoot of my last feature. It's always great fun to work with
Anthony Dickenson because he is always experimenting with
long exposures, pixilation techniques and all kind of fun stuff.
On this job we were also lucky to have his post supervisor
Mike Skrgatic on set. It made everything easier to have him
there brainstorming with us and telling us what he needed
and what he didn't need for post.”
Nationwide: Natasha Braier used MoCo and high-speed techniques Keeping mum: DP Katie Swain filming a commercial
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 7
UK who’s shooting who?
Creation: Jess Hall on the set of his latest film Qatar: Ed Wild on a challenging short film with with OK: Henry Braham on the set of Everybody's Fine
McKinney Macartney Management's… Balazs Bolygo busy with documentary and commercial work for director Nick Films/Channel 4 directed by Marion Milne and Peter
received wide praise for his work on the gritty BBC drama Bye. Ian Howes' work on Irvine Welsh's one off comedy Nicholson, wrote in… “The Queen is a 5 x 1 hour docudrama,
Whitechapel and is set to shoot some 2nd unit on Neil drama for ITV, Good Arrows premiered to cast and crew in examining five 'pivotal years' in the monarch's life and explores
Marshall's feature film Centurion. Ben Butler, Mick Coulter Soho recently. the social history of Britain over the last 50 years. Five
BSC, Denis Crossan BSC, Shane Daly, John Lynch, different actresses portray Her Majesty including Samantha
John Pardue, Tony Pierce-Roberts BSC and Jake Casarotto Marsh's…Remi Adefarasin BSC has just Bond and Lisa Dillon. As a flavour, the first episode deals with
Polonsky have been busy on commercials. John de started shooting Nancy Meyer's 'Untitled' feature in Los the affair of Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend in the 50s,
Borman BSC was the toast of the Sundance Film Festival Angeles and New York, starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin the second deals with the attempted kidnap of Princess Anne
when he was awarded the prize for Best Drama and Alec Baldwin. James Aspinall is soon to start on long in 1974. Locations included Bath, plus mansions in the West
Cinematography for his work on An Education. Gavin Finney running favourite Foyles War with director Stuart Orme for Country - Neston Park, Orchardleigh House and Stourhead
BSC is shooting another Terry Pratchett adaptation for Sky Greenlit. Sean Bobbitt BSC is working again with Steve House doubling for Buckingham Palace. It is the first time a
and The Mob Film Company Going Postal, taking us back to McQueen, this time on an art Installation for the Venice drama crew has been allowed to shoot in Stourhead, owned
the Discworld with director Jon Jones, where a conman is Biennale. For Working Title, Mike Eley is due to work with by the National Trust. The crew had to be extra cautious as
forced into becoming the official postmaster for the city. director Susanna White again on Nanny McPhee II, starring they were working next to valuable artefacts such as
Mark Partridge is continuing on the next series of the Emma Thompson and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Matt Gray is due to Chippendale furniture and priceless oil paintings. The light
massively successful BBC series Lark Rise To Candleford when begin on Enid Blyton, a drama about the author. directed by levels were constantly monitored by Trust staff to ensure that
it returns to shoot later in the year. Congratulations to Katie James Hawes for Carnival Pictures. Seamus McGarvey no permanent damage would occur to the pictures, and gaffer
Swain on the birth of her second daughter, Georgia. She has BSC ASC has just started working with Sam Taylor Wood on Alex Scott came up with many ingenious ways to prevent
also been filming commercials. David Tattersall BSC is her debut feature about the young John Lennon, called continuous high-level film lighting falling onto the paintings
shooting Rob Letterman's updated version of Gulliver's Travels Nowhere Boy. Huge, huge congratulations to Chris Menges and watercolours. Lighting stands had to wear 'tennis ball'
as Jack Black travels to the tiny city of Lilliput. Darran BSC ASC on his BAFTA, Oscar and ASC Award nominations shoes and boards were placed on the floor for the track and
Tiernan is shooting the feature film Outcast for director Colm for his cinematography on The Reader. The finest broth. dolly to prevent marking the floors. Only Trust staff were
McCarthy. Brian Tufano BSC is set for Mat Whitecross' Wojciech Szepel is currently in South Africa shooting Mrs allowed to handle the furniture and all crew had to have inside
feature Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll, about the life and Mandela for Diverse with director Michael Samuels. and outside shoes. But the results look great.” (Nick Dance
death of the influential singer Ian Drury. Fabian Wagner has has shot episodes 1&2, Graham Smith episodes 3&4, with
been working with David Blair on the latest series of the At Sara Putt Associates…the latest arrival is Paul Lang Andrew Muggleton on episode 5). Doug Hartington has
critically-acclaimed The Street, and also recently shot a Horne who recently finished shooting with Cherie Blair on an episode been shooting Who Do You Think You Are? in the US and
& Cordon promo with Sarah O'Gorman through Red Bee. Felix of The History of Christianity for Pioneer/Channel 4. Dave Ireland for BBC, and Will Pugh is in Tanzania shooting
Wiedemann has been finishing the grading for his graduation Marsh has started on Fashion for Carnival Films, Mike Stephen Tompkinson's African Balloon Adventure for Tiger
film as well as shooting a couple of shorts and directing a Brewster is returning to Leavesden as 2nd unit DP on Harry Aspect.
commercial for Malorie Blackman's book Double Cross Potter 7, and Pete Edwards has been on location shooting
Big Top a new comedy series for the BBC. As for operators… Joe Russell is in Cardiff operating on Dr
United's… Eduardo Serra AFC ASC is on the new Harry Who for the BB, Peter Wignall, Rick Woollard, Graham
Potter until April 2010 and Marcel Zyskind is in the US Nick Dance, who continues lighting The Queen for Blast Hall and Julian Morson, all recently operated on Partizan's
shooting Michael Winterbottom's latest movie, A Killer Inside huge T-Mobile dance advert at Liverpool Street Station.
Me. Alan Almond BSC has begun shooting Desperate
Romantics for Diarmuid Lawrence. Andrew Dunn BSC is Meanwhile over at Digital Garage… Andy Martin is
currently in America prepping Tom Vaughan's latest film lighting the long-awaited new series of Red Dwarf at
Crowley. Danny Cohen BSC has been grading Richard Curtis' Shepperton for Grant Naylor Ltd. Both Jeremy Humphries
The Boat That Rocked, due to be released 3 April 2009. Dale and Pete Hayns are currently shooting in Africa on To the
McCready has begun work on the second series of Merlin for Ends of the Earth for BBC. Chris Openshaw has just returned
Shine. David Higgs BSC's work on Lesbian Vampire Killers from South Africa after completing Tigress's programme on
can be seen in cinemas from March at the same time as his Black Mambas for BBC's Natural World. Si Wagen has just
work on Anand Tucker's 1983, part of the Red Riding Trilogy is completed Nick Baker's Weird Creatures in Mexico for Icon
broadcast on Channel Four. And you can read about David's and has gone straight on to How The Earth Is Made for BBC
work on both projects in this fabulous edition! Tim Maurice- shooting in Italy, Turkey, Iran and Israel. Operator Tom Hooker
Jones, Alex Melman, Alex Barber, Stephen Blackman, has been operating on Live At Abbey Road for C4.
Simon Chaudoir, Tat Radcliffe, Steve Keith-Roach, Rain
Li and Philipp Blaubach have all been shooting Wizzo Features… has signed the award-winning DP
commercials. Neus Olle picked up Best Cinematography at Damian Bromley, who was nominated for a BAFTA and who
the Gaudi Awards in Barcelona for Birdsong, pipping DP Javier won a RTS award for his work on Spooks. He has also shot
Aguirresarobe who was up for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. two features for director Nick Love, Football Factory and The
Carlos Catalan's Bollywood film Luck By Chance opened Business. His most recent work was on the drama Hunter,
worldwide to great reviews. Charlotte Bruus Christensen which starred Hugh Bonneville and aired on the BBC. Erik
is still lensing Submarino for Tomas Vinterberg, and will Wilson is set to shoot 2nd unit on the US horror flick The
remain in Copenhagen after wrapping to shoot Magtens Crazies directed by Breck Eisner, with Maxime Alexandre as
Fyrster for Oliver Ussing. David Raedeker (one of the four main unit DP. Duncan Telford is shooting a drama series in
mentees in the Guiding Lights scheme, also in this edition) is Suit you sir: Dan Landin on the set of 44-Inch Chest Egypt, Syria and Paris about three Muslim women living in the
page 8 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
who’s shooting who?
Photo by Blid Alsbirk.
Winnie: DP Wojciech Szepel shooting Mrs Mandela in Africa.
modern Arabic world for Baraka Media Production. Stuart Bentley recently spent a week in
the Scottish Highlands with Vice magazine shooting a documentary about deer hunting,
Atlantic prawn fishing and day-to-day life in one of the most remote areas of the UK.
Congratulations to Magni Agustsson whose comedy series Free Agents, which he
completed shooting late last year, aired on C4 to great reviews.
Over at Independent… Ben Davis BSC is shooting John Madden's new thriller The Debt, in
London, Budapest and Tel Aviv. It's the story of a group of Mossad agents who take the law into
their own hands in order to bring a Nazi war criminal to justice. Hip, hip, hoooooray… Anthony
Dod Mantle BSC DFF won the Oscar for his work on Slumdog Millionaire, along with a BAFTA
and an ASC Award. Jess Hall BSC recently finished on Creation for Jon Amiel, the shot
commercials for Bonkers in Amsterdam, plus ads for Knucklehead and Tempo Media in South
Afria, and then set of to New York to shoot The Baster, a romantic comedy starring Jennifer
Aniston and Jason Bateman. Sam McCurdy BSC was responsible for a block of the third
series of BAFTA award-winning drama The Street. Roman Osin BSC has started on Renny
Harlin's Mannerheim, which focuses on the life of Carl Mannerheim who restored law and order
to Finland after the Bolshevik Revolution. Before heading off to New York for re-shoots on
Everybody's Fine Henry Braham BSC was reunited with Paul Weiland on a Walkers shoot.
Simon Coull has been shooting back-to-back commercials since Christmas for Tempo Media
and Outsider, and Oliver Curtis BSC launched straight back into commercials with Feel Films.
Dan Landin has completed grading Malcolm Venville's 44-Inch Chest. John Mathieson BSC
has been out in LA with Daniel Kleinman of Rattling Stick, South Africa with Howard
Greenhalgh, before heading off on recces for Ridley Scott's Nottingham.
Mattias Montero, Mark Patten, Christopher Ross, Joost Van Gelder, and Ed Wild have
all been jetting around the planet on commercials duty. Fraser Taggart recently joined
Independent, and is currently based in South Africa where he's been busy with both UK and
local production houses.
Dinedor… has lured John Daly BSC to its roster. After finishing on the feature film The
Unloved for Revolution Films, Tom Townend has got off to a busy start, shooting 2nd unit for
feature Harry Brown. Mike Fox BSC has been shooting more Comic Relief sketches with
Lenny Henry, and also shot dailies on Being
Human for BBC3 and Touchpaper TV. Trevor
Forrest is in Cuba shooting feature film 'Una
Noce', produced by Dan Mulloy and Spike
Lee. Steve Buckland has wrapped on The
Bill for Talkback Thames and has gone on to
Casualty, while Peter Butler has completed
on Silent Witness for the BBC. Matt Fox
shot the feature The Shouting Men for Away
Days Productions, while Peter Thornton
did dailies on Skins for Channel 4 and
Company Pictures. Martin Ahlgren has
been on commercials, Steve Annis has just
been shooting for band The Doves and Warp
Films, and Matt Cooke has lit promos for
The Hot Melts and The White Lies, as well
as Talking Heads for the BBC and a Richard
Hawley Documentary for Document UK. Ed
Mash, Peter Field, Andrew Johnson,
Men in skirts: Si Wagen and Nick Baker
Ben Filby, Pete Ellmore and Franklin
on Nick Baker’s Weird Creatures whilst
Dow have variously lensing commercials,
snake hunting in Baja California, Mexico
corporates and music videos.
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 9
Catherine Derry & Marcus Waterloo
The Solitary Life of Cranes
“We had to be clear what the limits were,” says Waterloo,
“and to understand what it would entail being up there for
long periods of time.” On a practical level, this meant taking
just enough to eat and drink, but not too much as paying a
visit to the lavatory was simply not on the cards.
Fortunately, none of the crew suffered motion sickness, which
can be a side effect given by the twist and sway of the crane,
even in the lightest of winds. However, the abiding memories
each has of their time aloft were the views.
“Everything looks so different when you are up there, just
amazing,” says Derry. “It was quite a privilege. Along with the
views, which were spectacular, you could see the weather
changing miles away across the London Basin.”
In terms of the cinematography, Derry says, “Eva wanted a
simple visual style, with no camera moves or lens shifts. The
only movement was supposed to come from the cranes, and
we stuck to that style. We had to create good-looking shots,
Sometimes you have to have a head for heights, as one above the Natural History museum, which topped out at but cranes have become new sculptural items on the horizon
cinematographers Marcus Waterloo and Catherine 73m (240ft) above street level. Lugging a minimal amount of of cities. They're great to shoot, as they give you interesting
Derry discovered when shooing The Solitary Life of gear - which typically consisted of a Sony 750 camera, graphic shapes to work with. And they are great to shoot
Cranes, which picked up the award for best short batteries, tape stock, and long lenses - took a five or six-
from. The views are unique, and the light in the morning and
documentary at the Britdoc Film Festival 2008, and person crew ¬ consisting of the director, cinematographer,
evening can be really dramatic.”
plenty of plaudits from the press. Directed by Eva sound recordist, camera assistant and runners, around an
Weber of Odd Girl Out Productions, the 30-minute hour each way.
production explores the invisible life of a city, its The production was graded by Martin Southworth at Rushes.
patterns and hidden secrets, as seen through the eyes Neither cinematographer was particularly bothered about “We had some issues matching different locations; one
of crane drivers working high above the streets. heights. “I was absolutely fine, as I've done a lot of rock particular shot, when we were filming over the Westfield
climbing,” says Derry of her experience. “However, I felt very Shopping Centre on a hazy day, had a strong blueish tinge and
Within the loose structure of a day - starting with drivers tired after being up crane all day. It's not really the lugging up this needed to be adjusted. But we hugely appreciated
climbing up at dawn and ending with them coming down after and down of the gear, that's fatiguing, it's more that you have Martin's input and how he made the whole process
a nightshift - the film observes the city as it awakens with a been on edge all the time. There are guide railings up there, straightforward and smooth,” said Weber.
bustle of activity, through the lull of midday and the manic but the walkways on the back jibs are perforated, so you are
rush in the evening, until things calm down again deep into living on your nerves a bit.” Derry is now prepping for a martial arts Internet drama in
the night. Malaysia, directed by Tinge Krishnan. Waterloo has been
Waterloo says he was brought up watching buildings grow as
shooting motion control on a Herald Tribune commercial
Throughout the film, which was framed in 16:9, the drivers his father, a foreman, would often take him on to building
share their thoughts and reflections on London and life in sites. “I had shot from the top from the top of a tall mast on
a ship, and knew that I could live with the height,” he says. “I The Solitary Life of Cranes will screen at the London
general. The bulk of their time is spent waiting, looking,
actually couldn't wait to get up one of those cranes.” International Documentary Film Festival, which runs between
observing the wind and the weather, as well as watching the
people down below. From their airy towers, they not only have 28 March and 4 April 2009, and later this year on More4.
the best overview of the construction site and some of the The health and safety of the crew were absolutely paramount, Produced by Samantha Zarzosa at Odd Girl Out Productions,
most impressive panoramic views of the city, but also an and both Waterloo and Derry had to take training sessions the production was made with the support of the Channel 4
unparalleled insight into the buildings surrounding them. before being allowed to ascend a single metal rung. British Documentary Film Foundation.
“The film combines both intimacy and distance, and was an
attempt to understand what becomes of the human spirit in
such extreme working conditions,” says Weber. “What
emerged is a lyrical mediation about connection and
disconnection, about how our existence is shaped through the
environment we inhabit, both for the drivers high up in the sky
and the people they are watching on the ground.”
Waterloo and Derry were responsible for shooting separate
parts of the production, during October 2007 to March 2008,
but have never met one another. They do, however, go back
in time with Weber, both having worked with her on
promotions during her time at BBC Creative Services. Derry
also shot Weber's The Intimacy Of Strangers, another view of
urban life constructed entirely out of real, overheard mobile
phone conversations, shot using a similarly candid camera.
Most cranes were around 40m (130ft) in height, apart from
page 10 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
Nina Kellgren BSC
Cinematography as art. Art in cinematography. These are aspects of the moving
image that we'll be exploring in more detail in British Cinematographer magazine
later this year, with leading exponents such as Nina Kellgren BSC.
The use of cinematography as an artistic medium has suffused and shaped Kellgren's work, and
enabled her to bring tenderness and intimacy to the images she has created for the contrasting
worlds of feature films, art installations, commercials, documentaries and stills.
Her varied credits include Drowning By Bullets, the documentary of the hushed-up 1961
massacre of Algerians in Paris, the tragic love story of the Oscar-nominated Solomon and
Gaenor about a young Jewish young and a Welsh woman, and Al Pacino's rumination of the
significance of Shakespeare Looking For Richard.
Her collaboration with contemporary artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien began in 1989 with the In the ads mermaids are discovered in seashore caves, troops of schoolgirls become fairies,
drama documentary Looking for Langston, before a trilogy of film installations for Julien: True white horses canter along on the beach, and Irish wolfhounds roam around Dublin Castle.
North, Fantôme Afrique and Western Union: Small Boats which explore race and migration. Last
year she worked on Julien's Derek, the biopic about English film director, stage designer, artist Kellgren, who operates, took a minimal lighting package, and shot using Super 16mm Aaton's,
and writer Derek Jarman. as well as a Braun Nizo camera loaded with 50 ASA daylight stock, “which was absolutely fine
as we had lots of sunlight. The great thing is that we could move fast, and were not weighed
Most recently, Kellgren headed off down with technology. As the shoot continued I could see things that were not part of the brief,
around Ireland for three weeks with but I wanted to shoot them as they would make for great images. I could very rapidly pick up
director Kevin Thomas, of Thomas & the camera and lock into those spontaneous moments.”
Thomas, to shoot a set of
commercials for JWT's Tourism Obviously, working this way comes down to having the understanding and trust of your director,
Ireland, campaign. “and that's all about fostering good communication. Kevin is confident and courageous, yet low
key. He lets you do what you do, so that you can bring your skills to the screen.”
“There is a direct relationship
between commercials and the visual “I like it that I went to art school, and didn't come up through a traditional filmmaking route.
artists, in that both deal in the primacy Artists think in a different way, are not locked into a BBC mentality and way of thinking. Which
of the image,” says Kellgren, who means you can bring something different to the screen,” she says.
became hooked on the possibilities for
cinematography whilst studying fine art at The Slade. “The meaning is all in the images, in the
The Tourism Ireland ads, scheduled for a screen near you soon, deliver beauty shots of Irelend,
but that's where similarities to other holidaying adverts begin and end.
A significant creative reference given by Thomas for the production was Gallivant, the 1997
travelogue directed by Andrew Knotting, who journeys around the coast of Britain with his 90
year old grandmother and nine year old daughter Eden, who has cerebral palsy. The production
was shot on Super 16mm and Super 8mm.
“They have adventures together, meet lots of characters, explore fishing villages, get to know
each other,” says Kellgren. “The people in the film just enjoy being together. There's epic
imagery, but emotion, tenderness, mystery and poetry too.”
In a similar vein, the Tourism Ireland production covered the length and breadth of the country,
to uncover what Kellgren calls “magical moments.”
“The point of the ads is that in Ireland you can set off somewhere, but end up on a detour, get
lost in something else that will absorb and engross you just as much,” she explains. “There are
shifts in perception, and you are not quite sure you've seen the image something of not.”
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 11
UK live and let DI
and Let DI
Ascent 142's grader Rob Pizzey worked closely with director
Malcolm Venville and cinematographer Dan Landin on the DI
of 44-Inch Chest. Starring John Hurt, Ray Winstone, Ian
McShane, Tom Wilkinson, Joanne Whalley and Steven Berkoff
the film focuses on a jealous husband and his friends plotting Ascent 142: lots of layers and complex tracking helped create a moody looking 44-Inch Chest
to kidnap his wife's lover. Talking about the 10-day grade
Pizzey said, “Most of the film takes place in the same location,
a boarded-up house at night. Malcolm and Dan had a pretty Company, Complete Video, SVC Television and later Digital complicated by the fact that part of the film was shot on
good idea of what they wanted, and we were on the same Film Lab, working with advertising agencies in London, and Super-16 and the rest on HD Cam, balancing the two stocks
page straight away. We needed a moody feel that would building a client following. In addition to Omoshebi's move, was tricky at times. On top of this it was shot over a long
relate to the story, quite dark. We used a lot of tracking layers Dan Chuter has moved to the Ascent Group as marketing period - October to March - and we had to make it look like it
throughout the film some with very complex moves. I was manager, after five years in a similar role at Pepper. Ascent had all been shot on one day.” Southworth said: “The main
aiming for a rich, moody look with shadows dropping off to 142 also recently splashed out £200,000 on a new HD grading thing I was concerned with achieving was to tie everything
black. Using the da Vinci Resolve colour grading system I suite, based around a Digital Vision Nucoda HD system, at its together and keep the continuity of the film natural and
balanced out the whole film with a base grade giving us a rich Wardour Street site to increase its HD grading capacity and effective. A key part of its success was the ongoing dialogue
and moody feel. I then added various layers to shots to meet growing demand for HD remastering. I had with Eva, who also sat in on the grade.”
emphasise shadow areas, highlight faces or just open up the
eyes a bit more. There were a couple of scenes where I Alex Courtes at Partizan directed the music video for U2's LipSync Post completed the DI and 70 VFX shots for the
smoothed skin and sharpened up eyes.” latest release Get On Your Boots, with grade and conform recently released feature The Secret of Moonacre. Directed by
carried out at Rushes. The promo sees the band in an Gabor Csupo (Bridge to Terabithia), and David Eggby the DP,
Ascent 142 has announced that Jet Omoshebi is joining its intergalactic environment, set against a backdrop of vivid the film tells the story of a 13-year-old's adventure into a
expanding creative team to work on drama and feature changing imagery, referencing surrealist art and political magical world from which she must banish an ancient curse.
output. Omoshebi left Pepper Post where she was a senior imagery. The rushes were graded from 35mm film by Simone The majority of LipSync's work focused on a mystical string of
colourist. Her recent credits include work on the BBC drama Grattarola with technical and beauty passes and then 'moon pearls' that are key to the film's plot. Grader Stuart
Cranford and Life on Mars. Amongst the many awards for her conformed and supplied to Partizan for final completion. Fyvie completed the DI process on the film using Quantel iQ
work a notable highlight was winning the Women in Film and Rushes colourist Martin Southworth worked closely with Pablo. One of the main challenges was to ensure that the
Television craft award in 2007. director Eva Weber on her impressive 30-minute short The many moonlit sequences looked magical rather than dark and
Solitary Life of Cranes (see Close Ups on DPs Catherine Derry scary. In addition the grade balanced seasonal changes to
Omoshebi started as a sound assistant before moving to and Marcus Waterloo in this edition) which explores the create a consistent look despite shooting in a variety of
Rushes (now part of Ascent) as a telecine assistant in 1990, hidden secrets of city life as seen through the eyes crane weather and light conditions.
progressing to colourist after three years. For the next ten cabbies.
years she worked as a senior colourist at the Moving Picture LipSync also did the DI on the Red Riding Trilogy, for which it
“We wanted to get quite a natural and gentle feel on the has a production credit alongside Channel Four Films,
grading,” said Weber. “The process was made more Revolution Films and Screen Yorkshire. The trio of televised
Omoshebi: acclaimed for her versatility with, and
knowledge of, telecines and grading systems Kinky boots: Rushes did the conform and grade on U2's latest music video
page 12 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
UK live and let DI
Grader: Lee Clappison from Lip Sync Post in the grading suite Moon: Cinesite completed over 270 visual effects shots on the sci-fi thriller
stories covers difficult times for British society, and each was made by different directors and Specialist digital film consultancy, Digital Praxis, has changed its name to Light Illusion, and
DPs, using different technologies. Nineteen Seventy Four was directed by Julian Jarrold and has been hired by Chennai (Madras) based film lab Gemini, to provide technological and
shot by Rob Hardy on Super 16mm; James Marsh directed and Igor Martinovic was the DP, creative assistance in building a new DI operation that will be capable of handling multiple
using 35mm 2-perf, 2.4:1 for Nineteen Eighty; and Nineteen Eighty Three was lensed by David simultaneous mainstream DI film projects for the Southern Indian film industry. Gemini aims
Higgs, directed by Anand Tucker using the Red camera. Fyvie graded the first two in the trilogy. work in any resolution from SD and HD to 2K and 4K.
Nineteen Seventy Four used a theatrical / cinema grade, and said, “The theme of the film is
crime at its darkest and the style of the film was “Yorkshire Noir”. The film was graded in a Light Illusion also provides a range of software tools for digital cinematography and DI
style to capture the dark mood and narrative of the story. The grading style used - let's call it operations, with its Sony CineAlta gamma curves well known by those shooting digitally. The
smoky, nicotine-stained set.” Nineteen Eighty was shot in the style of a documentary. The film latest addition to its tools is 3D LUT Builder, aimed at simplifying the building of 3D Cube LUTs
grade looks like it has not been treated, to convey a natural feel, but there are treatments to for use in calibrated image viewing via digital monitoring, including CRT and LCD monitors and
the flashbacks in the film which have been given dark blues and blacks to give the film a digital projection. The 3D LUT Builder is in use with post-production facilities around the world,
menacing feel. as well as being used for calibration of on-set viewing. It can generate 3D LUTs for many post-
production systems including those from Assimilate, Autodesk, Cine-tal, da Vinci,
Under the auspices of grader Lee Clappison everything on Nineteen Eighty Three was treated Nucoda/Digital Vision, Panavision, Pandora, Quantel and Thomson.
like a traditional film project, albeit using LipSync's custom Red pipeline which uses Truelights,
and was and graded for film. As well as taking the period into account, certain scenes also had
a slight film noir look to them, with a Vantage filter used to mimic anamorphic lens flares.
Bucking the trend for all things gloom-and-doom in the current economic climate (which saw
Deluxe close its DI operation in London) Technicolor Creative Services completed two
substantial, multi-million pound relocations. The company's digital post-production facilities
relocated from West Drayton in Middlesex to Soho, to the heart of the UK digital post-
production community. The company's well-known film laboratory moved too, from West
Drayton to Pinewood Studios, to the heart of the UK filmmaking industry.
Technicolor's lab was on the West Drayton site for almost 75 years and had outgrown the
space. “In essence, the moves are a direct response to our clients' wishes,” said MD Simon
Wilkinson. “At Pinewood we're obviously on the doorstep of all the productions shooting there
and similarly the Soho facility puts us at the heart of the post-production community. This is a
serious investment in the future of our business. It's both a bold move and a very positive
statement to the industry.”
The digital facility is located in Lexington Street and offers full DI post production for features,
trailers and TV broadcast plus video mastering, restoration and digital cinema mastering.
Through fibre optic connectivity, the site is linked with Pinewood and connects to other
Technicolor sites around the world including New York, Rome, Madrid, Bangkok, Burbank,
Culver City, Montreal and Toronto. The new Pinewood facility will offer comprehensive film
processing, video dailies, filming out of digital negatives and digital cinema replication services.
The Pinewood facility will also include a Cinevator film recorder, the first of its type in the UK,
offering real-time film-outs to negative and also direct to print. Recent production to get the DI
treatment include, Scott Free Productions' Churchill At War, directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan,
with DP Michel Amathieu, and Hippie Hippie Shake, a Universal/Working Title, directed by
Beeban Kidron, with Michael Seresin BSC at the cinematographic helm.
Cinesite completed over 270 visual effects shots on sci-fi thriller Moon, directed by Duncan
Jones, with Gary Shaw the DP. Its work included Gerty, a fully-CG service robot and one of the
film principal characters, large scale digital lunarscape matte paintings, and extensive MoCo
composite work. Cinesite is currently working on The Prisoner for ITV / AMC, Harry Potter and
the Half Blood Prince for Warner Bros., as well as Disney's Prince of Persia, Churchill At War for
HBO, Blacklight Films/Disney Nature's Naked Beauty and Clash of the Titans for Warner Bros.
The company also received two nominations in the 7th annual Visual Effects Society Awards
for its VFX and matte painting work on Generation Kill, Episode 2.
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 13
FEATURE shooting the future
BSC Show Preview
Here are just some of the new products and service
companies you'll find at the BSC New Equipment
Show 2009, at Elstree Studios on March 13 - 14,
reflecting the ever-evolving world of film and digital
Ballon lighting specialists Airstar will showcase its latest
designs in lighting balloons for the first time in the UK at this
year's show. The patented shape Diamond gives a frameless
2.2m square face, which is ideal for colour filters or custom
gels, such as those from Rosco. The helium filling provides
sufficient lift for reflectors and skirts, and it can be used as a
primary or fill light source. The technology used in the
Diamond produces nearly twice the light output of its source.
The Gaffair 400w ia a pole mounted, flicker-free daylight key
source for that crucial piece to camera, whose soft light
makes the Gaffair 400 a must-have piece of kit for the HD
future. Mini-Cloud is fast to depoy, with no rigging or
scaffolding needed, and is well suited for architecturally
sensitive buildings. Also on show will be the company's Solarc
8,4K Hybrid - HMI & Tungsten lighting in one balloon.
A number of new
products from Kino Flo,
Dedo and Gekko are on
show this year, clearly
reflecting the changes in
fluorescent and LED
technologies. From Kino
Flo, Cirrolite will be By george: Gekko will be showing lots of new products
showing the new Vista
Single, plus the complete
Vista range, employing showing full remote control options that cover the complete Fuji
the new 96w bulb that is range of on-board ring lights, including a cost-effective Fuji says that new stocks will be launched at the Cannes Film
more than double the manual cable remote, a radio remote and a DMX remote. Festival, so it will be focusing on celebrating 75 years in the
output of the classic bulbs www.cirrolite.com business at this year's show.
creating the new family of www.motion.fuji.co.uk
Vista Single Vista lighting fixtures. Also Daylight Grip & Textiles
from Kino Flo are the new Manufactures performance products for the film, television Gekko
Batwings, a “gaffer-inspired” light control accessory for and photographic lighting industry. Daylight continues to The company's lightweight and high-output, beauty ringlight
classic fixtures, as well as the new Barfly 400. From expand its range of services and products, with competitive system, designed for drama and commercial shooting, is now
Dedolight, there are a pricing of stock held in its Manchester factory. Overheads and available with significant revisions. Working closely with a key
number of new long-throw butterfly textiles, flags and open-end scrims, lighting technology partner, Gekko has secured a source of LEDs with
lenses for the 400 range of softbanks, bags and holdalls, all standard products stocked greatly improved colour quality and output, closer to the black
fixtures as well as a small body line and featuring higher colour rendering. Another
are stocked and the company also welcomes custom work.
and very clever LED for the significant innovation on kisslite II is the inclusion of Gekko's
camera. Gekko is magnet mounting system, introduced with george. This
introducing its first panel of provides rapid attachment and removal of accessories such
LEDs, around 2' x 1', which
as lens frames and diffusion gratings. Other improvements
offer both good colour Direct Lighting is exhibiting some new LED toys including
include a larger diameter clamp ring, to accommodate the
rendition and light output. Rosco's Litepad, Litepanels Ring Lite mini and the Gekko
new generation of larger barrel film and TV lenses, an
The units come in both Kisslite. Joining Direct Lighting at its stand will be Canon UK
extended range of matte box configurations featuring fixed
tungsten and daylight and exhibiting the new Canon 5D MKII camera that offers full- and rotating filter trays, and the option of DMX to control
are fully-dimmable, both frame 1080p HD shooting capabilities, along with 21.1 dimming remotely. To keep the existing community of kisslite
manually and via DMX, megapixel stills for around the £2,000-mark (body only, of users at the cutting edge, Gekko is also offering an upgrade
without colour shift. The course). package, which retro-fits some of the above enhancements.
company will also be Barlfy 400 www.directlighting.co.uk www.gekkotechnology.com
page 14 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
shooting the future
Colours: lighting designer Peter Fisker created new shades for Lee Filters
Kodak is set to unveil the next steps in “the evolution of motion picture film”, teasing visitors
with details of the very latest additions to its Vision3 family of films and the opportunity to
register for the stock's official launch on March 24 at BAFTA in London.
“Kodak Vision3 is everything cinematographers love about Kodak Vision 2 films - the overall
look, the image structure -but with a host of added improvements", said the David Webb,
general manager of Kodak Entertainment Imaging, UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa
Offering the highest image-capture resolution available, Vision3 films continue to raise the bar,
offering exceptional highlight latitude and reduced grain in shadows, and giving
cinematographers greater flexibility on set as well as control in post. “Combine that with film's
proven archival capabilities, and you have the state-of-the-art image capture medium that
others can only aspire to. Why try to emulate film when you can have the real thing? Film. No
compromise,” said Webb.
Elstree Studios, which again hosts the BSC Show, is one of the most famous film and television
studios in the world, where some of the most famous films and TV shows in the world have
“We are honoured to host the British Society of Cinematographers' annual show. It's a very
special event for the studios, which brings many of the top DPs and lighting directors to
Elstree,” said MD Roger Morris.
In its 85-year history, Elstree has been the studio-of-choice for many legendary producers and
directors - from Alfred Hitchcock to George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick. Major
feature films produced at Elstree include the Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies, Superman,
The Dam Busters, Ice cold in Alex. The list is impressive. Most recently Elstree has been the
studio for top producer and director Matthew Vaughn with his productions Kick Ass, staring
Nicholas Cage and Harry Brown staring Michael Caine.
Elstree is also well-known for its TV production. Three of the top UK television shows are made
there - Dancing on Ice for ITV, Big Brother for Endemol/Channel 4 and one of the worlds most
successful TV shows Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Elstree Studios has a range of film stages and TV studios from 3,000sq ft to 16,000sq ft with
the George Lucas stage being the highest in Europe. Elstree also offers workshops, a back lot,
water tank and extensive production offices, dressing rooms, wardrobe and make up rooms
plus various onsite support services.
The full range of lighting filters will be on show.
These include the popular 700 series, a range of
colours unique to Lee, created by some of the top
lighting designers working in stage, screen,
television, cinema and architectural lighting today.
Lighting designers Peter Fisker and Paule Constable
were the two latest lighting designers to be invited
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 15
FEATURE shooting the future
to the Lee Filters factory to create their own unique range of The location truck offers full grading and dailies playback in a
colours. Working alongside the LEE research and calibrated suite, offline digitising to FCP and Avid, plus
development team, each designer created four new colours archiving to LTO data tape. “It has designed to provide much
which have now been added to the 700 series. New colours more control over your digital film shoots by allowing all your
from Peter Fisker recording requirements to be fully-installed and ready to
work at the flick of a switch,” he adds.
Include the 700 Perfect Lavender, 703 Cold Lavender, 727
QFD Blue and 780 AS Golden Amber, whilst Paule Also included are full tapeless recording units that record
Constable's include 768 Egg Yolk Yellow, 742 Bram Brown, fully uncompressed DPX image data, plus two HDCAM-SR
733 Damp Squib and 731 Dirty Ice. Also available will be the decks for those wishing to record to tape. A 55" LCD screen
ever-popular Lee Filter swatch books. provides 2K image playback, with Iridas Speedgrade
www.leefilters.com installed for LUT applications.
Phantom HD: blink and you won't miss it
Responding to the increased interest in fluorescent Take Two Films
luminaries, Panalux had introduced the HighLight and In the last decade Take 2 Films has grown into the largest
FloBank, energy-efficient lamps that offer a range of independent rental facility in the UK. It predominantly
versatile, general-purpose heads to deliver an even, specialises in 16mm and 35mm equipment hire, and is the
balanced light source. After a period of consolidation largest independent purchaser of ARRI products within
following the merger of AFM Lighting and LEE Lighting, Europe supplying equipment to the music video, commercial,
Panalux has rebuilt its premises at Pinewood Studios, which TV drama and feature markets. It also has a full grip facility.
now features a dedicated equipment engineering and Take 2 has also purchased the new Hawk V Plus and Hawk V
refurbishment facility. The company has also invested in new Lite anamorphic lenses.
equipment, particularly up-to-the-minute technologies,
With HD acquisition becoming more aand more popular, it
"green" systems and innovations in LED and low-wattage
now has no fewer that 21 Sony HDW F900R's, and will be
highlighting the virtues of its ew Sony F35 cameras, currently
being used on Harry Brown and The Day of the Triffids. Watch
out too for the Phantom HD high speed camera, which the
Rogue Element Films commercials market has lapped up, and which has also been
Launched for 2009 is a brand new concept in location deployed on features such as Sherlock Holmes. On show too
facilities for digital film productions. With Rogue Element's will be P+S Technik's SI-2K digital cinema camera, and you
new truck you can conduct the tasks normally required of a can check out the many different viewfinder solutions,
full post facility, but on location, which the company's Dan battery mounts and a shoulder set options it provides you all
Mulligan says “saves valuable time and money and makes kinds of sets or locations, such as Slumdog Millionaire.
Airstar: diamonds are a DPs best friend your production quick and efficient into the bargain.” www.take2films.co.uk
page 16 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
BSC Show Guide 2009
And the business of production is ever-changing.
You can see how at this year's show, meet
colleagues and renew acquaintances.
Abakus ARRI GB Ltd Cirro Lite (Europe) Ltd Daylight Grip & Textiles Ltd K5600 Lighting
Ken Pollitt SiobahnDaly David Morphy Patrick McGuane Marc Galerne
Grange Farm 2 Highbridge 3 Barretts Green Road Unit 4, Agecroft Network Centre 475 Rue de Flins
Bourne Road Oxford Road London NW10 7AE Lamplight Way 78410 Bouafle
Carlby Uxbridge T: 020 8955 6700 Swinton France
Stamford PE9 4LU Middx UB8 1LX F: 020 8961 9343 Manchester M27 8UG T: 00 33 1 3095 3607
T: 01778 590117 T: 01895 457000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0161 351 6720 F: 00 33 1 3095 3607
F: 01778 590118 F: 01895 457001 F: 0161 351 6721 E: email@example.com
E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com Cmotion GmbH E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbizon Europe Ltd Marion Chloupek
Direct - Metro Imaging KGS Development
Aimimage Camera Co. John Parker Schanzstrasse 41/1
Chris Fairchild Juan Garcia
Atif Ghani Unit 5, Saracen Ind. Area A-1140 Wien, Austria
200-203 Hercules Road 28 rue de Noechamps
Unit 5, Mark Road T: 0043 1 789 10 9600
London SE1 7LD 5640 Mettet
63 Pratt Street Hemel Hempstead, F: 43 1 789 109619
T: 020 7014 5200 Belgium
London Herts HP2 7BJ E: email@example.com
F: 020 7014 5001 T: + 32 487 290564
NW1 OBV T: 01442 260600
E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com
T: 020 7916 3734 F: 01442 261611 Cooke Optics Ltd
F: 020 7267 3972 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Geoffrey Chappel Elstree Studios, one of
E: email@example.com Cooke Close the most famous film Kodak Limited
Cine Power International Ltd and television studios Maryse Goater
in the world, where
Airstar (UK) Ltd Diane Nyiry Leicester LE4 8PT some of the most
Hemel One, Boundary Way
Ian Griffin Magnolia Lake T: 0116 2640700 famous film and Hemel Hempstead
13 Meadow View Mamhead F: 0116 2640707 television shows in the Herts HP2 7YU
Crendon Industrial Park Nr Exeter E: firstname.lastname@example.org world have been T: 01442 846970
Long Crendon Devon EX6 8HG produced.
F: 01442 846594
Bucks HP18 9EQ T: 01626 888433 Located 20 minutes E: email@example.com
T: 01844 203640 F: 01626 888435 from the heart of
F: 01844 203649 E: firstname.lastname@example.org London, Elstree Lee Filters Ltd
E: email@example.com Studios is without Adrian Marsh
doubt London's Central Way
number one studio for
any film or television
Walworth Ind. Estate
Daylight Grip & Textiles Ltd, manufactures of
performance products for the Film, Television production, tour Andover, Hants SP10 5AN
and Photographic lighting industry. Daylight
continue to expand their range of services and
rehearsal, promo or T: 01264 366245
products offered, competitive pricing with stock corporate event. F: 01264 355058
held in our Manchester factory. Overhead's and
butterfly textiles, Flag's and open end scrims, www.elstreestudios.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lighting softbanks, bag's and holdall's, all
standard products stocked, custom work t: +44 (0)20 8953 1600
welcomed. Mark Roberts Motion Control
Further details available Fujifilm UK Ryan Fear
www.daylightgriptex.com or call the office. Unit 4, Birches Ind Estate
Contacts; Mr Philip Leonard Fuji Film House Imberhorne Lane
Daylight Grip & Textiles Ltd 125 Finchley Road East Grinstead
Unit 4, Agecroft Network Centre, West Sussex RH19 1XZ
Lamplight Way, Swinton,
London NW3 6HY
Manchester, M27 8UG T: 0203 040 0400 T: 01342 334730
P: + 44 161 351 6720
F: + 44 161 351 6721
F: 0207 753 0601 F: 01342 334701
E: email@example.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com
page 18 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
BSC Show Guide 2009
Movietech Camera Rentals Ltd Solid Grip Systems
Andrew Cooper Onno Perdjik
Pinewood Studios Veemarkt 212
Pinewood Road 1019DG
Iver Heath Amsterdam
Bucks SLO ONH Netherlands
T: 01753 650007 T: 00 312 042 82155
F: 01753 650006 F: 00 312 042 82164
E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com
Take 2 Films Transvideo VFX Solutions
Tracey Pryor Jacques Delecoux Mark Chapman
Unit 10, West Point Trading Est Zone Industrielle Unit 3, Sutherland Court
Alliance Road F-27135 Verneuil Sur Avre Tolpits Lane, Watford
London France WD18 9SP
W3 ORA T: +33 2 3232 2761 T: 01923 779333
T: 020 8992 2224 F: +33 6 3260 1479 F: 01923 779666
F: 020 8992 2204 E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com
Vantage Film Gmbh Videosys Broadcast Ltd
Technocrane Sylvia Gobner Colin Tomlin
Photon Beard Ltd Gabriela Homolova Altstrasse 9 188 Chaldon Way
Peter Daffarn Podni Katelska 19 92637 Coulsdon
Unit K3, Cherry Court Way 30100 Plzen Weiden Surrey
Stanbridge Road Czech Republic Germany CR5 1DH
T: +420 377 889 111 T: +49 961 634 9650 T: 01737 551716
F: 00 420 377 8891 F: +49 961 634 96549 F: 07963 856649
LU7 4UH E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com
T: 01525 850911
On Sight - Axis Films Pirate
Tom Higham Michael Ganss
14 Berners Street St. Leonards Road
W1T 3LJ NW10 6ST
T: 020 7637 0888 T: 020 8930 5000
F: 0207 637 0444 F: 020 8930 5001
E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com
P & S Technik Gmbh Rogue Element Films
Silvia Malter Dan Mulligan
Siemensstr. 12 Pinewood Studios
85521 Ottobrunn Pinewood Road
Germany Iver Heath
T: 49 89 4509 8230 Bucks SLO ONH Tiffen Europe Ltd
F: 49 89 4509 82458 T: 01753 656898 +44 1869 343835
E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com www.tiffen.com
Panavision London Ronford Baker Tiffen Europe Ltd
Tony Samuels Jeff Lawrence Robin Thwaites
The Metropolitan Centre Braziers, Enterprise House
Oxhey Lane, Weston Business Park
Watford, Weston on the Green
Herts WD1 4RJ Oxford OX25 3SX
T: 0208 428 5941 T: 01869 343835
T: 0208 839 7333
F: 0208 839 7310 F: 0208 428 4743 F: 01859 343836
E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 19
UK meet the new wave
We've identified a new wave of cinematographers who…
have a decent slew of films under their belts… are not
upstarts, but not quite of “a certain age” either… are not yet Away from work, what are your greatest passions?
My family. When I am working they get so little of my time,
members of the BSC… but who have the potential to and when I'm not I like to catch up on everything I've missed.
become the next Chris, Anthony or Roger.
What one piece of kit could you not live without?
My Spectra IV light meter. I have used the same one since
London To Brighton (though I have many spares), and now I'm
superstitious enough to not shoot without it.
Which films are you most proud of to date?
We all have a soft spot for our first, so it's London To Brighton,
made for peanuts, but full of heart.
What's the hardest shot/thing you've had to
On Eden Lake we had a stunt sequence where we were
setting a stuntman's head on fire. We could only do this once.
I operated the shot which had the lead character, played by
Kelly Reilly, running up to camera and collapsing in the
foreground. We then had to rack focus to the background
image of the guy on fire over her shoulder. It wasn't a
particularly hard shot to operate, but there were a number of
things that could go wrong. It was in overtime, the light was
dropping and there was a performance element, which all
added to the stress. It was a tricky shot to operate, and an
even harder one to get sharp, but it all went off without a
In the entire history of filmmaking, which film would
you love to have shot?
The first one. That would have been true genius, the rest of us
stand on the shoulders of giants. Maybe Eadweard
Muybridge's photographs of the horse Sallie Gardner would be
a close second.
What are your current top albums?
At the moment I'm addicted to The Age Of The
Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets for it's swirling
Scott Walker-esque anthems. My iPod also frequently
hammers out albums by James Morrison, The Fleet Foxes and
the slightly eccentric but quite brilliant Made Of Bricks by Kate
What's your greatest extravagance?
I recently upgraded to a large plasma television with a Blu-ray
Filmography (so far): Who are your DP/industry heroes? player. Now I get to watch Peppa Pig and Lazytown in all their
Malice In Wonderland (2008), Eden Lake (2007), Cass (2007), Roger Deakins and Seamus McGarvey for continually surround sound, Technicolor glory!
The Cottage (2007), London To Brighton (2006) producing beautiful work, changing their style from project to
project, yet allowing their personalities to permeate their What three adjectives best describe you and your
When did you discover you wanted to be a films. approach to cinematography?
cinematographer? Have you received any nominations or awards? Natural, Dramatic. Honest.
I'd shot a lot of short films on video at University before I really The Kodak Short Film Showcase Best Cinematography Award
knew what a cinematographer was. I was 22 years old and I 2008 for the short film Soft (2006) If you weren't a DP, what job would you be doing now?
felt that I had a lot to catch up on. I would be sitting at a bench fixing cameras and lenses trying
to work out a way of borrowing them for the weekend.
Where did you train? What's you proudest moment?
The school of hard knocks I suppose. When I first started I Watching the show print of London To Brighton (my first
would shoot all sorts of stuff just to be exposing film and feature) in a viewing theatre at Deluxe. It was a tough feature
making images. I was so happy just to have a camera in my in many senses and to see the work of a great crew finally on
hands. It's very important for me to hold on to the feeling of the big screen was simply mind-blowing. We had no idea how
that first rush. I was also a camera technician at Panavision audiences would react, but we knew we'd made something a
during my twenties, so I guess that was my film school of bit special.
What are you favourite films? What's been your best/worst moment on set?
My favourites differ from year to year, and moment to There are good and bad times on every project, but there is
moment, but there are a few that endure. I first saw one thing that keeps me going. As I tend to operate myself I
Goodfellas when I was 15 and it captivated me immediately - have an addiction to the “tuning-fork moment”, when the
the perfect combination of style and story. I saw The camera and actor are in sync and have an emotional
Shawshank Redemption when I was 19 and only later realised resonance. Those goosebump-inducing moments are the
how naturally dramatic its photography was. reason I'm a DP.
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 21
FEATURE on the job
Virgin: Lesbian Vampire Killers is thought to be the first British feature shot with Red cameras
Out of the box
two different forests, a graveyard, interiors and exteriors of
the cottage, a bathroom and a crypt, at 3 Mills Studios. "It
was a difficult stage to light, but our hands were tied,"
Lesbian Vampire Killers reunites Gavin & Stacey actors
Matthew Horne and James Corden as two unwitting lads
David Higgs BSC, Lesbian Vampire Killers sent as a sacrifice to appease the Sapphic bloodsuckers of the
title. Working out how to shoot the required number of pages
a day with two cameras around a small space took a lot of
Pigeon-holing is a characteristic of the British psyche. has cinematic sensibilities and in the last couple years more
hard thinking, Higgs observes: "The lights didn't give us the
Someone does something in a particular way once or features have come his way.
twice and, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, deepest information possible but they worked well. When
that establishes a pattern for the rest of a career, In quick succession Higgs made Guy Ritchie's East End you're in a situation like that you move around as if you're
writes Kevin Hilton. It's something David Higgs, gangster-as-rock star flick RocknRolla, and the soon-to-be trying to film the light itself."
recently ushered into the membership of the British released horror-spoof Lesbian Vampire Killers. This is the
Society of Cinematographers, is aware of and keen to lighter side of the dark side, but Higgs is making a return to Despite the lower budget and confined sets Lesbian Vampire
avoid. There are some common threads in his list of the murkier regions of the human spirit, and television, with an Killers, by its nature as a horror film, albeit a send-up, still has
credits, including his track record in television, instalment of C4's eagerly-anticipated Red Riding trilogy. a lot of visual effects. "The lower light levels meant that we
but there is enough diversity in style and subject did our own DPX extractions for the CGI," Higgs explains. "We
to confound and defy even the most ardent pigeon- Film and digital man recorded an open gate for CG, which meant there was a lot of
hole fancier. These otherwise unconnected pieces form a loose trilogy for information above and below the frame lines and we didn't
Higgs himself as they were all shot using digital cinema have to work to the frame line."
Higgs' TV work spans from the challenging films of Peter cameras and while he has gained valuable experience in using
Kosminsky, such as Britz, to the classy drama Cambridge the technology he has no desire to be labelled as a digits-only The main difference between Lesbian Vampire Killers and
Spies, through episodes of perennially popular primetime cinematographer. RocknRolla was the gangster film's day exteriors and what
series like Poirot and Dalziel and Pascoe. Much of this work Higgs describes as a "very hectic schedule". RocknRolla was
"It's a tool like any other other tool," he says of the Red also the first film to be shot using the log curve options, unlike
camera, which he used for both Lesbian Vampire Killers and The Bank Job, which was made using the D20's linear
the Nineteen Eighty-Three part of the Red Riding Trilogy. response mode. "With log you can capture as much
information as you can and it gives a film-like image," Higgs
Higgs shot exclusively on film up to RocknRolla, which was his
first working encounter with a digital cinema camera - in that
Either way, this approximation of a film negative gave
case an ARRI D20. "I'd known about the Red and the D20 for
RocknRolla its own look, moving Joe Leydon of Variety to
a while but hadn't worked in digital before," he explains. "I'd
highlight the "gritty-glossy high-def lensing by David Higgs".
always shot on film until then and had avoided high definition
Lesbian Vampire Killers's budget couldn't run to the same kind
because I never liked the idea of working with the Pro 35 lens
of camera set-up as the Ritchie epic but the Red's ability to
adaptor. It just seemed like too much ironmongery. But when handle low lighting helped with the number of night shoots
the adaptors are on the Red or D20 they work in a filmic way." crammed into the five and half week schedule. Although the
lighting arrangements on Lesbian Vampire Killers were tighter
Although both were shot digitally, Lesbian Vampire Killers and than those for RocknRolla, Higgs says he worked in the same
RocknRolla were made in very different ways. And the kind of way.
decision to go with the Red on Lesbian Vampire Killers, making
it the first British feature to be shot on the camera (following "What I like about the Red is that it doesn't have a raw image
Red's UK TV debut with Wallander, two episodes of which but a compressed one," he says. "And you can get the look of
were shot by Anthony Dod Mantle), was due to an old reason film before the lens, not after."
in filmmaking: "It came down, like anything, to money,”
he says. Higgs acknowledges that the Red, and other digital cinema
cameras, do require additional work from the camera
Higgs worked with two operators – Philip Sindall for A department, so producer Steve Clark-Hall built three weeks
camera, with Derek Walker running B camera and a testing time into the schedules for both RocknRolla and
New boy: David Higgs recently joined the BSC
Steadicam - on a single stage that held all the sets, including Lesbian Vampire Killers.
page 22 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
FEATURE on the job
David Higgs BSC
Nineteen Eighty; while Nineteen Eighty Three brought
together David Higgs, director Anand Tucker and the Red Credits
camera. Tony (2009)
Nineteen Eighty-Three (2009) (TV)
"Anand wanted a 235 anamorphic feel to this film," Higgs Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009)
says, "but the budget was very tight in terms of what we Lost in Austen (2008) (TV)
could shoot on. So we worked with Anita Overland [producer] RocknRolla (2008)
to try to get something that would give us what we wanted Britz (2007) (TV)
and also make the budget work." The Stronger (2007)
I Shouldn't Be Alive TV (2006) (TV)
Among the techniques used was the Vantage filter, which The Best Man (2006) (TV)
produced the anamorphic lens aberrations associated with Agatha Christie: Poirot (2005) (TV)
Nimble: working out how to shoot the required daily films of the 1980s. "I didn't want to make it self-consciously Derailed (2005) (TV)
number of pages took dextrous thinking feel like the '70s or the '80s because we've moved on from Beneath the Skin (2005) (TV)
that," Higgs says. "We already had the northern lighting, but The Government Inspector (2005) (TV)
"We used that time to test the system and workflow runs, not the Vantage filter and the Red worked well together and gave Island at War (2004) (TV)
just the lighting," Higgs says, "which everyone found useful." that look to the picture, as in John Carpenter's Christine.” The Heat of the Story (2004)
The only problems of note he had through the shoot were the Too Good to Be True (2003) (TV)
Red over-heating slightly and trouble with the hard stop on a Another notable fact about Nineteen Eighty Three is that Cambridge Spies (2003) (TV)
disk drive. Ascent 142 worked closely with Higgs on the Higgs both lit the scenes and operated the camera, although The Project (2002) (TV)
production's backend workflow, and was also responsible for this is not unusual for him: "I've operated for Peter Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2002) (TV)
the DI grade and deliverables. [Kosminsky] because 99 percent of his work is hand-held and Night Flight (2002) (TV)
he wants to work with only one person. Whether I operate or The Russian Bride (2001) (TV)
Higgs' experience with the Red proved fortunate for his next I work with an operator depends on the film." A Christmas Carol (2000) (TV)
project, the final instalment of the Red Riding trilogy, based on Nature Boy (2000) (TV)
David Peace's quartet of novels Nineteen Seventy Four, The nature of his next couple of projects means Higgs is back Summer in the Suburbs (2000) (TV)
Nineteen Seventy Seven, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty working with film again, so he can break the trend and ensure Innocents (2000) (TV)
Three. The individual stories span brutal and difficult times in he's not pigeon-holed as purely a digital cinematographer. But, Dalziel and Pascoe (1999) (TV)
British society, and each of the films in the new televised he says, the way the business is going requires the director of In the Red (1998) (TV)
trilogy was made by different directors and directors of photography to be involved in more technologies and different The Broker's Man (1997) (TV)
photography, using different technologies, to create individual parts of the production chain. The Canterville Ghost (1997) (TV)
looks and styles. The Merchant of Venice (1996) (TV)
"We're seeing new technology being used more and more, The Treasure Seekers (1996) (TV)
Red Riding like Quick Time films, and nobody is overseeing the whole The Tomorrow People§ (1992-4) (TV)
Nineteen Seventy Four was directed by Julian Jarrold and architecture of the production," he concludes. "That sort of James Herriot's Yorkshire: The Film (1993)
shot by Rob Hardy on Super 16mm; the team of James Marsh responsibility is coming down to the DP more than ever Painted Faces (1992) (TV)
and Igor Martinovic, using two-perf 35mm, took over for before, so we need to do a lot of homework to keep up." Dunkirk: A Human Endeavour (1990) (TV)
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 23
FEATURE camera creative
first feature film co-venture. It was a hit at the 2007 box
office, earned rave reviews, an Oscar nomination for
McGarvey and British Academy of Film and Television Award
nominations for both of them.
On Skid Row
“Normally, during early preproduction, I talk with the director
about his vision and things like the colour palette, textures and
aspect ratio,” McGarvey says. “Joe and I didn't start planning
The Soloist with any of those things in mind. We met and
spoke with people on Skid Row to get a clear idea of who they
were and what their lives were like. We also attended group
therapy sessions and other meetings with them, where I
heard things that I had never heard before.”
Those experiences put the script into perspective for both of
them. “We met people whose stories altered our
preconceptions about the homeless,” McGarvey emphasises.
“It was a humbling experience, because we realised that
anyone can become homeless in the blink of an eye. We
couldn't believe how these people were living and how the
photo by Thomas Napper
government ignored their plight. That got us started on the
They scouted locations in Los Angeles and also in Cleveland,
where flashback scenes were filmed, and met with
production designer Sarah Greenwood. She designed sets for
On the street: McGarvey and director Joe Wright did the pre-prep for The Soloist on Skid Row Ayers' boyhood home, a Los Angeles apartment where he
found shelter, and a stainless steel room where a flashback
scene of him receiving electroshock treatment was filmed.
You’re not alone They considered shooting night exteriors in digital format.
McGarvey shot side-by-side tests with minimal artificial light
in the foreground, comparing Genesis, ARRI D20 and DALSA
4K digital cameras and two 35mm film cameras mounted
Seamus McGarvey BSC ASC, The Soloist with anamorphic and spherical lenses.
The Soloist takes the audience on a journey through Skid Row. His newspaper articles and book (The Soloist: A “We projected the tests side by side and compared depth-of-
the streets of downtown Los Angeles where homeless Lost Dream And The Redemptive Power of Music) were the field, textures and details in the darkest shadows and
people live on Skid Row, writes Bob Fisher. The film basis for The Soloist screenplay that Susannah Grant wrote brightest highlights,” McGarvey says. “The digital images
was inspired by a series of newspaper articles and a for DreamWorks. were clear and vivid, but they didn't handle details in extreme
book that was written by Los Angeles Times journalist highlights or at very low light levels nearly as well as film.
Steve Lopez. Fair questions: Why did the producers ask Joe Wright to Headlights and streetlights also had strange magenta
direct The Soloist, and why did he invite Seamus McGarvey artifacts. The anamorphic approach looked and felt more
Flashback to 2005: Lopez hears “beautiful music” while he is BSC ASC to fly across the ocean and collaborate with him? organic than anything else, even at the lowest light levels.”
walking to his office in downtown Los Angeles. The music
leads him to a homeless man who is playing a two-string “Joe was an ideal director for The Soloist,” McGarvey replies. Consequently, Wright and McGarvey decided to produce The
violin. The reporter initiates a conversation with the man “The story resonated with him when he read the script, Soloist in anamorphic format coupled with digital intermediate
whose name is Nathaniel Ayers. because he is interested in mental health issues and is a keen (DI) postproduction. After comparing DIs of tests shot with
music lover. Joe told me the story, and asked if I was different stocks, McGarvey decided to limit his palette to
Ayers was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where he interested in working with him.” Kodak Vision 3 5219 (500T) film with the exception of a few,
nurtured a boyhood interest in playing the violin. He earned a bright daylight scenes.
scholarship to Juilliard, the nation's premier school of music. That was the equivalent of asking a fish if it wanted to go for
During his sophomore year, Ayes showed the first signs of a swim. McGarvey and Wright met during the early 1990s He explains, “It has an amazing range of latitude, and is very
schizophrenia, which put him on the path to Skid Row. His when they collaborated on filming music videos and a short malleable, particularly in the highlight and shadow areas.
story inspired Lopez to interview other homeless people on film during the dawn of their careers. Atonement was their There was minimal build up of grain when I pushed the
page 24 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
FEATURE camera creative
Front-end lab work was done at Deluxe, in Los Angeles. McGarvey selected shots for film
dailies, including scenes where he “tortured” the negative to get more expressive looks. He put
finishing touches on the look during DI timing sessions with colorist Yvan Lucas at EFilm, in Los
”I hadn't worked with Yvan before, but we hit it off right away,” McGarvey says. “He understood
that I wanted to retain a naturalistic look. We were doing dynamic grading including darkening
shadows on faces. I had experimented with using ProMist filters on the camera lenses while
shooting flashback scenes. We reduced some contrast and added touches of a blue magenta
tone to those scenes. Joe (Wright) would drop in from time to see what we were doing, but
he and I were on the same track from day one of preproduction.”
McGarvey recently joined the small but distinguished band of BSC members who have gone on
to also join the American Society of Cinematographers (Gabriel Beristain, Roger Deakins,
Stephen Goldblatt, Chris Menges, Doug Milsome, Tony Richmond and Peter Suschitzky). He
was nominated for membership of the ASC by Roger Deakins BSC ASC, Amy Vincent ASC, Dion
Beebe ACS ASC, and Rodney Taylor ASC. He was interviewed by a membership committee
that included Owen Roizman ASC, Guillermo Navarro AMC ASC and Vincent while he was in
Los Angeles to time the DI on The Soloist. McGarvey recalls that it was a friendly environment
in the company of people he admired as both filmmakers and human beings. He showed them
clips from four or five of his films, and discussed why he rendered those images the way that
he did rather than how.
“It was a bit daunting, because I was explaining why I deserved to be a member of an
organisation that would put me in the company of so many of my past and present heroes,” he
admits. “Becoming a member of the ASC was like a dream come true. I hope that being a
member of both the BSC and the ASC will allow me to help collaboration and communication
Togetherness: Seamus McGarvey and operator Mitch Dubin discuss a shot on between the two societies.”
The American Society of Cinematographers traces its roots to a December 1918 meeting of 15
negative by a half to a full stop. The only exceptions were a few brighter daylight scenes where cinematographers at William C. Foster's home in Los Angeles. They were among the first
I decided to use (Kodak Vision 2 200T) 5217.” generation of cinematographers who were in the process of inventing a new language for
telling stories with silent, black and white moving images that were handcranked through
Panavision provided the camera package, including Panaflex Millennium XL2 and Panaflex cameras at 16 frames per second. ASC was chartered in California in January 1919.
Platinum bodies, anamorphic C Series and E-series prime lenses, and AWZ2 T2 40-80 and ATZ
T 3.5 70 to 200mm zoom lenses. The relatively new ATZ zoom lens weighs 12.75 pounds and The Soloist releases in the US on 24th April, and in the UK on 11th September 2009.
is 15-inches long. It can hold crisp focus from within 5-1/2 feet of the subject.
McGarvey shot makeup and hair tests with Robert Downey, Jr., who portrays Lopez, and with
Jamie Foxx, who plays Ayers, both as a young man in flashback scenes and as an older man
who has grey hair and a rougher complexion.
While reading the script, McGarvey envisioned scenes where the eyes and expressions on
faces would tell the story. He shot tests with the actors at different contrast ratios and exposed
the negative in various ways to check the reflectivity of their skin tones.
“We covered most scenes with two cameras because Joe wanted to give the actors freedom
to react to each other and to situations,” McGarvey says. “When we got into more intimate
environments, including a couple of scenes with Robert Downey, Jr. and Catherine Keener, who
plays the journalist's ex-wife, we usually chose to use a single camera. Some locations and
smaller sets also didn't allow for positioning two cameras.”
McGarvey cites the scene where Lopez follows the music until he finds Ayers playing his violin
in a tunnel, where they have their first conversation.
“Joe quickly decided that he wanted overlapping coverage with one camera on each character,”
McGarvey reminisces. “It was fascinating watching the actors become the characters they
were portraying. We were able to use both sides of their conversation without any retakes.”
Street people were extras, and a few played small roles, including Leane, a woman who found
ways to feed stray cats. There is scene where she shares her theory of life with Lopez.
“One camera was on her and the other on Robert Downey, Jr., who had wonderful expressions
on his face,” McGarvey says. “He wasn't acting. He was genuinely moved.”
There is a memorable, emotionally charged scene that was filmed during a rehearsal for an
actual performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The camera was on a Libra head mounted on
a rig suspended from the ceiling. That set up allowed McGarvey to track past the conductor
and orchestra towards Ayers and Lopez who were sitting in the auditorium together. It ends
with a close-up shot of them watching and listening as music fills the air.
“The meaning of this film plays on the actors' faces,” McGarvey observes.
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 25
UK syllabus stories
Shine a light… get a shadow
Run by Brighton-based Lighthouse, Guiding illustrious filmmaker mentors, have been Over the year each 'mentee' is developing a
Lights is a flagship industry mentoring brought together to support the scheme. one-on-one relationship with their mentor
scheme established as part of A Bigger and taking part in networking and training
Future, the UK film skills strategy, a joint This is the first year that cinematographers events with the other participants. Success
project set up by Skillset and the UK Film have been included in the scheme and stories are already springing from the
Council. matches and at the end of their year the
Oliver Stapleton BSC, Remi Adefarasin
mentees will be celebrated at an industry
Prestigious members of the UK film BSC, Barry Ackroyd BSC and Seamus event held at BAFTA. For a full list of
industry, including Guiding Lights sponsor McGarvey BSC ASC, have all been matched mentors and mentees please go to
Optimum Releasing, and a range of with emerging talent. www.guiding-lights.org.uk
David Raedeker Faye
mentored by Barry Ackroyd BSC mentored by Remi Adefarasin BSC
David Raedeker began his career as a stills photographer, shooting editorials for various clients
including Vogue and Elle. After helping out on a film production he developed a taste for moving
images and started working as a freelance camera assistant.
Faye developed a passion for images at an young age and recollects memories of early lessons
Since studying film under Ken McMullen at the London College of Communication he has shot with a pinhole camera and the school's darkroom as formative beginnings in her life as a
campaigns for Nike, RAF, Marks & Spencer and Nokia and filmed bands such as the Magic cinematographer. When she was 17 she shot footage for a local news station and was inspired
Numbers, David Gray and Babyshambles. He has shot numerous award-winning shorts, to study cinematography at Bournemouth Film School where she lit and operated numerous
television dramas, artists projects and four features including the Berlin 2007 nominated film S16mm projects.
Elvis Pelvis, Love Streams 2007 flagship production, directed by Kevin Aduaka and exec
produced by Agnès B. On leaving film school she pursued two parallel careers; on bigger films she worked her way up
through the camera department and on smaller projects she built up the scale of projects she
Raedeker has collaborated with Guiding Lights mentees both during and previous to his time on was lighting and operating. These two strands came together and she now works consistently
the scheme. He recently shot Molly And Plum with Guiding Lights writer Rupert Raby and as a DP and/or operator.
producer Yaw Basoah. Before the gaining a place on the scheme he also shot the short Top Girl
for Guiding Lights director Rebecca Johnson, which was selected for this year's Clermont Faye has worked underwater, around the world and through the night on commercials, features,
Ferrand, Berlin and Rotterdam Film Festivals. Raedeker's next feature project will be Dinner promos, corporates and documentaries. She has operated on a broad spectrum of projects
With My Sisters, starting principal photography in June for five weeks in Cyprus, co-produced from the televisation of King Lear starring Sir Ian McKellan to working for clients such as Hugo
by Joe Dunton BSC CBE Boss, PC World, Top Shop and Bloomsbury Publishing. She also teaches at the Met Film School
at Ealing Studios.
Ackroyd's style (working in an unrestricted way with the actors and allowing the director
flexibility on the set) is something Raedeker aspires to, as it contributes a very 'real' atmosphere Faye believes the Guiding Lights scheme has provided her with a step up to the next level:
to the films. Raedeker has shadowed Barry Ackroyd on the set of Greenzone, directed by Paul “Teaming me with the talented, charming and diverse Remi Adefarasin BSC who offers his
Greengrass. He was recently signed for representation at United Agents. time, support and extensive technical and creative wisdom is a money-can't-buy experience
which is educational, encouraging and inspiring.”
Raedeker's advice to anyone starting out in cinematography : “You have to love it and live it and
if you are stubborn enough you'll get there. I started with a manual stills camera with negative For aspiring cinematographers Faye has the following advice: "Be passionate about what you
stock and took pictures of everything I found interesting. That taught me the most important do and enjoy it. Work for the script. Don't be scared to be different, or even the same if need
principles and gave me a taste of what it's like to be behind the camera.” be. Believe in yourself and look after the team you build around you - they are everything.
page 26 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
UK syllabus stories
Stephanie Hardt Ula Pontikos
mentored by Oliver Stapleton BSC mentored by Seamus McGarvey BSC ASC
Originally from Poland, Pontikos
made London her home and
began her professional career as
a camera assistant and clapper
loader on a variety of films
including Steven Frears' Dirty
Pretty Things and Richard Eyre's
Notes on a Scandal (both lensed
by Chris Menges BSC ASC). She
recently graduated from the
NFTS and has worked on
numerous shorts and music
videos. While also developing as
a stills photographer Pontikos moved into work as a 2nd Unit DP and camera op on award-
Stephanie Hardt is a German-born cinematographer working both in the UK and on the winning features Vampire Diary and Outlanders.
continent. She trained at Westminster University, following this with an MA in cinematography
at the Northern Film School. Here she shot Keepsake, which won Best Dramatic Short at the Last year Pontikos shot and directed her own visual documentary short China's Wild West
New York Independent Film Festival and Wolf In An Arran Sweater for which she won the which was selected for Sundance this year, and is stirring festival attention in the US and
Arriflex Award for Best Camera and Lighting as part of The Fuji Film Scholarship Awards. Europe, building on the multiple festival successes of three of the shorts she shot last year. She
has also created quite a buzz and was selected as new Talent in Cinematography in Fuji's
Since graduating she has worked on a variety of projects from promos, virals, commercials and Exposure.
independent features to documentaries and reality TV shows. The Coke virals she shot last year
have won seven British TV Advertising Awards. Also released last year was Heavy Load - an When asked why she chose Seamus McGarvey as her mentor she responded: “Apart from
award-winning feature documentary which the LA Times said, “benefits at every turn from creating beautiful work and being very successful and knowledgeable, he came from the film
Stephanie Hardt's gorgeous cinematography.” school background like me and I knew I could learn a lot from him. Also, his style of filming is
very varied, and that's what I like in his work.”
Hardt says: “The one thing missing when working as a DP is learning from other more
experienced DPs at work. Whether this is observing them at work, (during pre-production, on Pontikos is looking forward to shadowing McGarvey later in the year. Her advice to aspiring
set and during post production) seeing how they make their decisions, or being able to ask cinematographers: “Try and get on set as a camera trainee. Time on set is the best training you
them for their advice about a specific problem. Passionate about storytelling and the subtle arts can get. And film your own projects as much as you can in your free time. Take photographs,
of lighting and composition, I am honoured to be mentored by Oliver Stapleton as part of the then look at them to find out what made you decide to take them like you did. Although they're
Guiding Lights scheme. He has already been very helpful to consult and I'm really looking not moving pictures, through stills you can learn and understand your work and keep developing
forward to shadowing him on a feature later in the year.” you own personal style.”
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 27
INTERNATIONAL f-stop hollywood
“The slums were obviously extraordinary because we're
encroaching on people's lives,” Dod Mantle said. “At the same
time we had carte blanche and the green light to go in there
and basically destroy their daily lives. You open a cupboard
and a family of 15 fall out. And that's not something you can
Mantle also addressed film budgets, saying: “It's very difficult
these days with films, because the production value is such
that things get harder and harder and wear on the budget. I
think things get more and more pressured, but I try to keep a
certain mental and physical extra space available for me and
my directors to think twice or three times on set.”
Also backstage, editor Dickens said the film “always had
magic, right from the beginning.”
“This is history being handed over to me,” said Pookutty,
adding that he was the first from India to be nominated in a
Meanwhile, Kate's Winslett's sixth Oscar nomination finally
landed her a gold statuette. Winslett said she felt “like a little
girl from Reading. … My mum won a pickled onion
competition in the local pub just before Christmas, and you
know, that was a big deal. And the Reading Evening Post sent
me a picture of her holding up her jar. Well, Reading Evening
Post, there's your next Winslet picture.”
Also that evening, the Oscar for the best documentary feature
went to British doc Man On Wire, which tells the story of
Phillippe Petit's wire-walk between New York's twin towers in
1974. Brit Michael O'Connor, earned a trophy in costume
design for his work on The Duchess.
A week before the Oscars, Dod Mantle's lensing of Slumdog
Millionaire was honored at the 23rd annual American Society
of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards.
The category also included Roger Deakins, who was double-
nominated for Revolutionary Road and The Reader; Chris
Menges, also for The Reader: Claudio Miranda for The Curious
Bless: Dod Mantle dedicated his award to everyone he'd work with in the last 20 years Case of Benjamin Button; and Wally Pfister for The Dark
During the evening, The Dark Knight director Chris Nolan
Slumdog triumphs received the ASC Board of Governors Award in recognition of
his contributions to the art of filmmaking. Nolan and Pfister
famously broke new ground by lensing several sequences of
the latest Batman film in the 65 mm Imax film format.
“If I have done anything to be worthy of this, it is working with
Anthony Dod Mantle BSC DFF and an international British/Indian sound mixing team of Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke people who share my love for the high technical standards
team of collaborators received Academy Awards for and Resul Pookutty. The film also won Oscars for best score that have always been the backbone of the filmmaking
the rags-to-riches British drama Slumdog Millionaire, and best song. process,” Nolan said. “I'm often these days asked to defend
writes Carolyn Giardina, prompting helmer Danny my love for film - the medium. That's like a stone mason being
Boyle to point out that “the world is shrinking a bit, in On stage, Dod Mantle acknowledged, “All the people that asked to defend marble. I defend my position using facts and
a wonderful way.” have worked on all the films I've done for the last 20 years - figures about resolution and bit-depth. What you do as
they're with me tonight.” cinematographers is not quantifiable, logical or rational. It's
Backstage at the 81st Academy Awards, following wins for hard to explain why it has the affect on us that it does. It is
best director and best picture, Boyle said: “It's just magic, and you are magicians.”
In the interview room following his win, Dod Mantle held the
extraordinary what has grown and culminated tonight of these trophy that was presented by actress Natalie Portman, and
extraordinary communities: Bollywood, who gave us virtually Jack Green ASC - who shot numerous Clint Eastwood films
described to a crowd of journalists how he captured the
all our cast and crew; Hollywood, which has been responsible including Unforgiven, was presented the ASC Lifetime
energy of Mubai.
for the elevation of the film, culminating tonight, and we were Achievement Award. The ASC International Achievement
Brits really trapped in the middle. It's a lovely trapped thing, Award was given to Donald McAlpine, ASC ACS; the Career
it's not a bad trapped thing. You can see it's going to happen “My main brief was to learn how to run with the boys,” he Achievement in Television Award was presented to Robert
more and more.” said. “Learn how to run with them at a certain height, at a “Bobby” Liu ASC; and the President's Award was bestowed
certain pace, in a certain, intimate way, and that was a pretty on Isidore Mankofsky ASC.
Among the Brits who received Oscars for Slumdog were difficult thing, actually, in the slums of Mumbai. That's where
Simon Beaufoy, for the screenplay adaptation of the novel Q & I spent most of my time in shooting.” The film was lensed with ASC president Daryn Okada noted that the ASC's 90th
A by Vikas Swarup; Chris Dickens, for film editing; and the a combination of SI 2K digital camera - handheld - and film. anniversary, which is being celebrated this year, made the
page 28 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
INTERNATIONAL f-stop hollywood
awards “especially meaningful. “Our cinematographers,
through their profound passion and commitment, continue to
deliver amazing artistry.”
Prior to the awards ceremony, plaques were presented to all
nominees during an ASC nominees dinner, hosted by Kodak.
Menges was unable to attend. Accepting a nomination
plaque, Deakins noted that Menges shot the “major portion of
The Reader. He was the first person I approached when I left
film school and he has been an inspiration to me ever since.
It's an honour to be sharing a credit with a man such as Chris.”
ASC VP Michael Goi, who handed out the plaques with fellow
VP Owen Roizman, quipped: “We were considering a new
category for best cinematography in a film shot by Roger
AMPAS' Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony was held
three weeks before the Academy Awards. Popular with the
Sci-Tech community, the open bar reception, sit down dinner
and ceremony tends to have a very personal feel as the group
honours its own. International: cinematographer Don McAlpine with his ASC award
This year, the evening's highlight was the presentation of the
Gordon E. Sawyer Award to computer scientist Ed Catmull, Computer scientist and motion picture technologist Mark honour was ARRI's fifteenth Sci-Tech Award, although it was
who co-founded Pixar Animation Studios, and serves as Kimball was bestowed the John A. Bonner Medal of its first for a lighting development.
president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. He Commendation to for his service and dedication to the
received two enthusiastic standing ovations as he was Academy. Kimball spent nearly two decades at Walt Disney Scientific and Engineering Awards were also handed out to
presented the Oscar statuette, recognising his lifetime of Feature Animation, with roles including CAPS (Computer Jacques Delacoux and Alexandre Leuchter for the Transvideo
technical contributions to the industry. Animation Production System) logistics system lead and video-assist monitors; and to Bruno Coumert, Jacques
Among his accomplishments, Catmull founded three leading finally as chief technologist. Debize, Dominique Chervin and Christophe Reboulet for the
computer graphics research centers - Pixar, the computer Angenieux 15-40 and 28-76 zoom lenses for handheld
division of Lucasfilm, and the computer graphics laboratory at Scientific and Engineering Awards were presented to Erwin cinematography. A Technical Achievement Award went to
the New York Institute of Technology - and is widely known as Melzner, Volker Schumacher and Timo Müller for the Arrimax Steve Hylén for the Hylén Lens System for motion picture
one of the architects of Pixar's Renderman software. 18/12 lighting fixture with innovative cooling system. The effects photography.
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 29
INTERNATIONAL letter from america
Preservation in a pickle
Bob Fisher highlights AMPAS's 70-page The Digital Dilemma
report which looks into digital media versus film for archiving
purposes, and found some nasty surprises waiting.
The research project was launched during the Spring of 2005
when the Academy organized a conference, which included
film archivists and their counterparts at US government
agencies and universities.
“The purpose of the conference was to ask the experts what
questions needed to be asked and answered about the
archivability of motion pictures produced or post produced in
digital format,” says Academy Science and Technology
council director Andy Maltz. “Some 70 individuals from
various sectors, such as health care, super-computing, earth
science and government were subsequently interviewed. The
Digital Dilemma report is a summary of our findings. The
report isn't advocating practices for archiving. We are
providing reliable information, so people can draw their own
costs for archiving
film and 4K digital
master files for a
motion picture are
$1,059 and $12,514
The 75-page report was co-authored by Maltz and Shefter. A
Imagine a newspaper reporter demanding to know also implemented a strategy for preserving the studio's film line in the second paragraph of the forward states the mission
why Sarah Bernhardt was wasting her talent by assets. Shefter subsequently ushered several other studios precisely: “Even some of the artists who are most evangelistic
appearing in films that were only seen by “low brow” through the same process. about the new world of digital motion pictures sometimes
audiences. It sounds like a script for a biography-based seem not to have thoroughly explored the question of what
drama, but it actually happened in 1913. Today, each of the seven Hollywood studios has asset happens to a digital production once it leaves theatres and
protection managers who are dedicated to restoring and begins its life (if all goes well) as a long-term studio asset.”
The legendary stage actress reportedly replied that she did it archiving films in their libraries for future audiences.
so future audiences could see her perform. It was a prescient The report compares practices and costs for film and digital
response. Clips of her performances, beginning with The Duel Journalist Michael Cieply put this issue into perspective in archiving. It documents a general agreement that because of
of Hamlet in 1900, are weaved into the fabrics of at least ten New York Times article that was published on December 23, the degradation of signals and obsolescence of formats and
documentaries about Bernhardt and the dawn of the age of 2007. He cited a report stating that about one-third of the standards, digital media is much more volatile than film.
silent movies. annual $36 billion earned by the US studios comes from their
libraries. In addition to television, the demand was sparked by The report says the respective average annual costs for
The long-term financial and cultural value of films came into cinemas in homes, which have evolved from VCRs to laser archiving film and 4K digital master files for a motion picture
focus during the 1960s when the burgeoning television discs, DVDs and now high definition DVDs and flat plasma are $1,059 dollars and $12,514.
industry developed an insatiable appetite for programming old screens.
movies and popular episodic series for a new generation of “All Hollywood studios have been archiving their films in
fans. Cieply's article was inspired by the release of The Digital proper humidity and temperature-controlled environments for
Dilemma report issued by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts at least 40 years,” Shefter says. “All of the negative,
Los Angeles-based film preservationist Milt Shefter and Sciences in November 2007. The subtitle is “Strategic intermediate film and black and white separations, scripts and
supervised the design and construction of a 40,000 square Issues in Archiving and Accessing Digital Motion Picture notes for an average feature film can be archived in about 300
foot archival vault on the Paramount Pictures lot in 1987. He Materials”. boxes.”
page 30 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
INTERNATIONAL letter from america
About one-third of the annual
$36 billion earned by the US
studios comes from their
Maltz observes, “The Digital Dilemma report seems to have struck a nerve. It has sparked a lot
of interest and raised many questions. Our goal was to make people both inside and outside of
the industry aware of this important issue.”
The alternative to finding a solution was raised in Cieply's New York Times article. He cautioned
that future fans might have a better chance of watching movies from the 1920s, '30s or '40s
than today's motion pictures archived in digital format.
The Academy recently began the next phase of the Digital Dilemma research project in
conjunction with the Library of Congress. The second phase of the study is focussing on the
state of the art of archiving independent films and documentaries.
For more information about the work being done by the Academy Science and Technology
Council visit their website at http://www.oscars.org/council.
The Academy report cites case studies which indicate that it requires more than two petabytes
(2,000 terabytes) to store all the files generated for a movie produced in digital format. A single
terabyte is equal to a trillion bytes of computer data.
The report states that the current cost for archiving all relevant elements of a motion picture
produced in digital format is $208,569 dollars a year. It also cautions that a digital media hard
drive can “freeze up” in as little as two years, and recordable DVD media will eventually
degrade. About half are not expected to last longer than 15 years. Technology vendors
recommend migrating DI master files every four to five years.
Shefter points out that I Love Lucy and other television programmes produced by Desilu Studios
some 50 years ago are still in syndication, because they were properly archived at CFI labs, in
Los Angeles, where he worked at the beginning of his career.
“The original programmes were produced on black and white film, and later on colour
negative,” Shefter recalls. “I don't think anyone realised how valuable they would become as a
record of early television and as assets that continue earning revenues.”
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 31
Award: Andreas Fisher-Hansen DFF, former president of Talent spotter: Remy Chevrin AFC president visiting the Three's company: (l-r) Jan Betke BvK, Michel van Lear
Imago and its second honorary member film museum SBC president, and Louis-Philippe Capelle SBC Imago
My family in Bradford
As we travel back from Bradford on our way to Kings But back on the train my esteemed friend Tudor, had managed They are far more aware in Europe of the work done in the UK
Cross, my Romanian friend Tudor Lucaciu was to attract the interest of our fellow passengers with his that we give them credit for, unlike us as 'European' cinema is
explaining the reasoning for the style behind the enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of films. This was for me not widely shown in the UK
commercial we were viewing on his laptop. I was the continuation of three days of intense gratification in the
surprised that as we thunder down the line at 125 company of truly great European filmmakers. This had led to Sitting at the conference hall and looking at all the different
miles/hr, the free internet service provided by the me feeling a sense of belonging to an international community nationalities present with their wonderful accents, hand
Eastern Rail company actually worked. We are in the that stretches around the world, without frontiers regardless expressions and the different ways they have of explaining
21st century. Wireless communication speed of race and religion, in truth a family. themselves, it was just like being on a film set working with
contributes to a smaller world. fellow filmmaker's laughing at some joke, or trying to
I remember someone asked me once, as we were moaning collectively take a decision, whilst going around in circles but
The reason for my journey to Bradford had been to help the the state of affairs and the possibility of having to do in the end arriving at a conclusion that satisfied everyone.
BSC as host country, in the running of the IMAGO General something else to make ends meet, “What would you miss if
Assembly (IAGA) held in Bradford on the 13th, 14th, and 15th you would leave this industry?”. The first thought that came The work for just over 16 years that IMAGO (at present under
February 2009. into my mind was the people. the presidency of Nigel Walters BSC and before him many
others including Harvey Harrison BSC) has done over this
IMAGO, to keep things clear, is the European umbrella For all the amazing places and things that I have been part of, period has given the association a well-respected name, not
organisation that unites all cinematographers' associations it would not have been as enjoyable as it was, if any of those just in Europe but all over the world.
across Europe and, with an associate membership from wonderful characters that shared those moments had not
countries outside Europe, forms almost a worldwide been there with me. As the conference finished, and we all said our goodbyes, we
organisation with 37 members uniting the cinematographers' kissed, we hugged, and we shook hands we promise to keep
concerns and ideals around the world. We forget that we belong to a bigger community of in touch until the next time.
filmmakers, we relate to the USA forgetting that really
To quote from their website: “The main purpose of the Hollywood is in another continent that although we think that Back on the train with Tudor (now approaching London), we
federation is to champion and uphold the high standards our career's highlight is to work on the biggest American felt the presence of all those great Italian, French, Spanish,
achieved by the cinematography profession and, via a production visiting these shores. In reality we are much closer Scandinavian, Eastern Europeans and English masters that I
constant exchange of experience, to promote the spread of to Europe that what we think, that their concerns are our have much admired all my life. Suddenly I realised that
that highly-specialised culture on which the long-standing concerns and that they also share our love for films. We now although Tudor lives in Bucharest, we are now in the 21st
technical and artistic quality of the european cinema industry suffer from the same lack of work, and we are all struggling in century, and that really the English Channel has ceased to
is firmly based.” this changing world. Although we can say I worked with him exist, and that our industry is now totally interconnected like
referring, to some famous British DP that now works almost never before, with the rest of the world.
The extensive work that this organisation conducts can be exclusively in the USA, so can they and probably far more
seen if you log onto www.IMAGO.org. times than us. Long live the revolution! By Rodrigo Gutierrez.
Digital Cinema Conference in Oslo
Following the success of the previous conference in 2006 IMAGO, in co- films, exploring the choice of equipment, 35mm, 16mm or Hi-Definition as well as the
operation with the Norwegian Society of Cinematographers, EDCF ( The challenges and experiences of the shooting and post-production process.
European Digital Cinema Forum) and the Norwegian Film Institute, has arranged
a further Digital Cinema Conference which will take place in Oslo on May 8, 9and The need for standardization of a new file format for camera originals will be discussed and
10. It will host 200 cinematographers from all over Europe. an update given on the development in distribution technology in the implementation of
digital cinemas throughout the world .
The conference will begin with in-depth, hands-on demonstrations and lectures on new
digital camera equipment, tools and software, and discuss manufacturers plans for the On Sunday the conference will focus on 3D , the theory and its impact on the industry,
future. There will also be discussions with IMAGO and EDCF technical committees with production and post-production. Hands-on 3D camera solutions will be demonstrated .
experts. There will be lectures on the cinematographer's opportunities for quality control of the
image during the complete digital process including cinema, DVD and TV distribution. The
Saturday will begin with the focus on pre-production, production and post production in the final item will be a lecture on the challenge and cost of archiving digital production in the
digital film world. This will be followed by case studies of three recently made international future.
page 32 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
Thank you Bradford, Italian tax incentives
Present day Italy is not renowned for its socialist principles, despite the fact that Berlusconi and
City of Film Blair are allegedly best mates. It came therefore as a surprise to learn in Bradford at a
presentation given by Maurizio Sperandini, deputy general manager of Rome's Cinecitta
Studios, one of IMAGO's latest and most generous sponsors, that qualification for tax
incentives to attract productions to Italy include the condition that they have to be
commissioned by a foreign production company, filmed on Italian territory, using Italian
manpower, spending money in Italy.
These are tax incentives aimed at American productions. British tax incentives are also aimed
at American p[roductions as a recent article for the British Cinematographer by Colin Brown
chairman of the UK Film Council indicates. In it there was no mention of Europe, despite more
films being shot here than in America .Certainly no conditions that “British” manpower should
be used to qualify for incentives from overseas. The Italians have authorisation with the EU to
restrict their tax concessions to the employment of workers from Italy. No mention of the EU.
The Italian tax concessions continue to stipulate that their tax credit benefit is not directly given
Presentation: (l-r) Diana Apostol general manager of Panalight Romania, Maurizio to foreign productions, but to Italian production service companies
Sperandini deputy general manager Cinecitta Studios in Rome, Louis-Philippe Capelle
It is obvious to cinematographers and film workers that the British government is doing little to
general secretary of Imago and Roberto Jarratt CEO of Panalight Group – all viewing
protect British film workers. If the Italians can stipulate that tax concessions only apply to
the details of a Cinecitta powerpoint at the BSC dinner
companies using Italian manpower in their country why does the British Government not offer
The rhythm of the wheels, iron against such happy memories and for the success of similar protection to its workers? Such a principle may be protectionism by another name, but
iron, encourages reflection on rail the Conference: Duncan the projectionist, who cares with such an erosion of our craft base taking place? Can it be their government
journeys, and although this will be Emma, Rebecca, Mark and the friendly advice is primarily sought from employers' organisations who have little care if our industrial
remembered as the conference of re- efficient staff of the Great Victoria Hotel, Bill skills vanish as long as profits can be maximized? This is what will happen if present trends
unification of our societies the real star Richardson from Screen Yorkshire who put us continue. It has taken the Italians to point to the British the obvious and sensible wording in
has to have been the City of Bradford. in touch with Nigel Rice from Bradford Council. their tax concessions in protecting their craft base. Our craft skills need protection from the
The catering staff at the Museum reacting to government.
In former times, crossing the points would act the unpredictable demands of wine and coffee
IMAGO is grateful for the generous offer given in Bradford by Cinecitta Studios and Panalight to
as a check on getting carried away in thought, from the Italians and French so efficiently. You
host their 2010 Annual General Conference in Rome. We look forward to meeting next year in
but as they have all but disappeared from the all played your part. Thank you.
Rome. The offer has come as a bolt of Italian light, reflecting their confidence in the future of
high-speed track whistling South I am allowed
IMAGO at a time when financial restrictions were threatening our plans for the future It has
to contemplate without interruption. Bradford None of this would have been possible
been an Italian year for IMAGO, with our first ever tribute being awarded to Guiseppe Rotunno
had been an inspired choice resulting from an without the support of the BSC, represented
AIC at the Frankfurt Festival last September.
invitation a year ago to visit one of the four film by Sue Gibson, Joe Dunton and Rodrigo
festivals held there each year. The occasion Guteirrez, Martin Hammond, the conference
then had been the International Festival where organiser and the generosity of our sponsors.
my friend of twenty years, Michael Palin, was Some of those sponsors who have stood by
being honoured. It was only by a chance IMAGO in better days are suffering in this
reading of a pamphlet in my hotel room that I economic downturn and we need to stand by
learnt that Bradford was bidding to be a them now and be grateful for their past
UNESCO City of Film. support. Panavision, Kodak and ARRI are our
largest historical benefactors, and to make
The City has everything for a conference of Bradford affordable for the hosting BSC were
cinematographers, especially the National joined by generous donations from Fuji,
Media Museum where I am particularly Panalight, Lee Filters, Cinecitta Studios,
indebted to the curator of cinematography Rosco, Deluxe, The Bradford City of Film,
Michael Harvey and the events organiser, Jan National Media Museum and Screen Yorkshire
Metcalfe, for their encouragement and for
suggesting and making possible such a unique The surprise act of generosity for Imago came
series of events around the actual Conference when Maurizio Sperandini, the deputy
day. manager of Cinecitta Studios in Rome in
conjunction with Panalight, whose general
The finale was the showing of This is manager Roberto Jarratt was present,
Cinerama, a cocktail of pictures and sound, announced the offer of hosting the next
tailor-made for the viewing of the European IMAGO Annual General Meeting (IAGA) of
delegates. It was followed by a remarkable Imago in Rome. They have promised transport
demonstration of the same century- old and hotel assistance plus the excellent
Kinemacolor projector on which coloured film facilities of their legendary Cinecitta Studios as
was first shown to the world in London exactly a base. What generosity!
a century before. No one present will forget
the charming demonstration of English The weekend had begun with the presentation
eccentricity we witnessed from David of honorary membership of IMAGO to my
Cleveland, Brian Pritchard and Nigel Lister. predecessor, the man who for many years
Entertainment and education at its best, but selflessly steered the Federation away from
an example of a few enthusiasts saving and the abyss of financial disaster and who was
restoring and devoting their time and energy my own inspiration for my convictions in the
forfilm heritage. We owe them a great debt. principles of Imago, Andreas Fisher-Hansen
DFF, a remarkable gentleman. We saluted you
Everyone who assisted us in Bradford was as we arrived and as we departed . We meet
responsible for the delegates departing with in Rome next year.
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 33
GBCT - The chairman speaks
Sean Bobbitt, HD
I suppose, when you learn from the BBC's Money
Programme that commercial television
advertising has declined by £100 million over the
past eight years, you begin to understand a few
things. You learn that foreign television imports
are allowed to show blatant product placement
when broadcasting in Britain, but British
productions are not allowed to include it in their
programmes; that the internet now soaks up
approximately 25% of all advertising budgets;
and it is becoming increasingly difficult for
producers to secure the funds for programme
making - not helped by the massive amount of
counterfeit programmes available worldwide.
So, times are tough out there in television land,
and it is affecting us all. British television is still
highly regarded worldwide though, and
apparently 53% of television 'formats' originate in
By Rupert Lloyd Parry. GBCT
We believe we do our bit to uphold the high
standards of television drama, and even though
Language seems to have changed recently. I joined a often awkward to rig, but on the whole fairly predictable in
things are pretty slow at the moment, let's hope business fifteen years ago that had jargon that was their size, shape and functionality. Almost overnight I was
that the quality of what we do shines through and fun; redheads and blondes, dollies, Honka Bonkas, the dealing with a whole array of HD cameras that differed
helps keep British television dramas, and the list goes on. Now it seems to be; pipelines, data, dramatically. I realised that I needed, very fast, to get my act
crews that make them, at the very forefront of workflows and backend delivery, they don't sound like together and learn as much about these new machines as
worldwide broadcasting. fun at all. I was never really interested in the glitz of possible. Why would a grip need to do that? Well, for
the film industry. I always fascinated by the craft example, putting an Arricam inside a car differs from putting
involved in making a movie; the rest of it in my view, a Genesis attached to a recording deck in the same position
As they say in the RAF - per ardua ad astra. was just a necessary evil to get bums on seats. - similar rig, but with new problems to resolve.
Things are changing and where I had once heard HD
Jamie Harcourt GBCT and film 'was like comparing plastic to leather', 'adapt I have always thought that anyone working around a camera
Chairman or die' now sounds like compelling advice. is obliged, out of professional courtesy, to understand how
GBCT new technology is affecting their fellow crew members. We
Over the last couple of years I have noticed a distinct work as a team and need to embrace new technology.
change. Perhaps I have been lucky, but all my work was Recently these changes have accelerated beyond measure
predominantly with 35mm. That involves heavy cameras, and we all need to stay on top of things, or it would be very
page 34 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
camera ever made and stocks are infinitely superior to that produced as little as ten years ago.
and Film So why is the industry being driven down the HD route regardless of what and where we are
shooting? It appears 'pipelines' are predominantly to blame.
Grain movement is pivotal to the debate, pipelines don't like it. With an ever increasing number
of channels being stuffed into the same bandwidth, capacity is becoming a deciding factor,
especially for which format is being used. Pictures with grain movement require greater
bandwidth, broadcast next to other pictures like football that also have a great deal of
movement and the pipeline starts to not be big enough. This in turn means broadcasters are
worried about overloading the system.
Sean went on to point out that 'we have been told digital is better, it's not'. UK analogue is the
best TV signal in the world, apart from possibly the Japanese who broadcast super HD through
fibre optic cables. The country now has an inferior image purely because of the number of
channels being broadcast. The largest casualty in all of this appears to be 16mm, which is
where the Image Forum is trying to fight its corner. Many will be aware that the BBC decreed
16mm should be replaced by HD. In most eyes this is at best short sighted, and at worst stifling
the DP in their ability to maintain unimpeded artistic choice. I mentioned this to Andrew Dunn
BSC who summed things up brilliantly. 'It's about storytelling' he told me, 'telling a story around
a campfire is as much about the smell of the wood smoke as it is the story itself'.
HD is very relevant and superb at many things, but in Sean's opinion we should be using the
medium that is the best quality for the project. It would be a great shame 'to throw away 16mm
just because of grain movement'. There is also the matter of economics to consider; on the face
of it HD seems cheaper, again it's not. Backend delivery is being asked for in specific formats,
this is being decided by budgets and not content. With the perception that HD is cheaper, and
instead of knowing the true cost of post, huge amounts of contingency money is often held
back, just in case. Some inexperienced producers have found themselves in the unenviable
position of discovering their chosen format impossible to post produce.
Shooting is a relatively predictable thing to budget, but new workflows in post production can
carry hidden costs. Making equipment and format choices because of the backend cost can
drastically effect production; especially if those decisions are made without the involvement of
the DP. With HD and at least fifteen different formats, storage and processes differ; these aren't
always fully appreciated by the director and producer. This again can have a huge impact on
production, often compounded by new systems that are not ready to go online but get used
Back to grain, Sean is quite specific about this, 'I love grain'. Grain is for many of us the essence
of photography. ARRI are promoting an extremely clever system for grain reduction which they
demonstrated in Poland. But is this what the DP, director and producer had in mind when they
chose film over HD? And is loss of grain contrary to that decision? Grain movement may take
up more information than a compressed HD signal, but for HD to work fully as a medium it
requires a large bandwidth. Broadcasters are still keen on this compressed signal since they
consider the quality of that image to still be viable. Saying that, apparently when Lord Grade
first watched his beloved football in High Definition he thought there was a fault and called an
engineer in to fix it.
One last key point, film is robust, digits are easy to damage. Everyone is still finding their feet
on how to handle data, and I am hoping to gather differing opinions on this for a future article.
Data needs to be handled by someone who knows what they are doing. Sean describes this
extra crew member as a 'data wrangler', others will refer to them as DITs, and while still others
will tell you an additional person is not necessary. I recently worked with Ben Smithard, we shot
with a combination of recording deck and Flashmags. This tied up two technicians on set and
a further technician operating as a DIT and handling data transfer as well as troubleshooting the
easy to be left behind. This is starting to hint at changing 'workflows', everyone on the set is
feeling it, but some changes are more obvious than others. Flashmags are also expensive; working with three is comparable to hiring film equipment. This
equipment is complicated. Productions are extremely reluctant to pay for any prep. The
After a year of concentrated effort to get myself familiar with the huge diversity of HD products assumption with HD is that it is plug and play, just like a Handycam fresh out of the box. Sean
available, I found myself at the Image Forum, hosted by Plus Camerimage in Poland last described battling to get even one days prep for his crew, something everyone knows is again
December. Sean Bobbitt was one of the speakers. As the IF discussion progressed I realised very short sighted and just storing up problems for the set, which is much more costly.
why there is so much confusion over HD; it's because people are confused, or more accurately,
being boxed into a corner by other people who are confused. It seems sometimes decisions are I don't want to paint too bad a picture of HD, the industry has to recognise that it is here to stay
led by economics and not common sense, now who would have thought that? After the and it does produce some wonderful images. The comparison test show fascinating results and
presentation I managed to track Sean down and ask him a few questions, the first being, what while the Image Forum will fight for 16mm to keep its head above water, the results of these
on earth is a 'pipeline' other than something governments argue over in the Ukraine. tests are worth seeing. I love film; it carries a certain gravitas and discipline that makes for
wonderful work. Or in Ben Smithard's words 'it's just better isn't it'. Meanwhile I will keep
With regard to HD versus film, Sean was at pains to point out that you need to understand both. bolting cameras to rigs and hope that there aren't so many cables in the future. I'm also
There is absolutely no doubt that everyone loves film. Stocks are constantly evolving, we have extremely glad I can leave all this politics to the 'grown ups'.
tried and tested methods of working with the equipment and it's a more rugged platform, Rupert Lloyd Parry. GBCT
especially working in an inhospitable environment. In his opinion, the 416 is the best 16mm www.rupertlloydparry.com
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER page 35
Gekko: LEDs are well-known for their minimal weight and reduced power consumption
Gekko appoints North American distributor
Gekko Technology, a developer and manufacturer of LED luminaires has announced ability to understand the future market for LED-driven sources. Television, film and
it has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Production Resource Group, entertainment lighting integrators require the highest colour quality, in a particular colour space,
LLC, (PRG), headquartered in New Windsor, New York. The agreement will include and we look forward to continuing our growth with a respected distribution partner,” said David
Gekko's current product portfolio of film and TV white light products, as well as Amphlett, MD of Gekko Technology.
access to the newly developed kleer colour range of colour products, including the
kedo 12-100, which will debut at NAB 2009. Gekko's products, which are well-known for their minimal weight and reduced power
consumption include kisslite, lenslite, kicklite and george, and have been used on Casino Royale
“We have been extremely impressed with PRG's approach to its relationships with (Bond 21), Death Defying Acts, Mamma Mia!, Golden Compass (Nicole Kidman) and television
manufacturing principals, the strength of infrastructure, the specialist knowledge of its staff and dramas including Waking The Dead, New Tricks and The Commander.
January 2009 saw Chapman UK demonstrate its new 32' Hydrascope to
GBCT members. This clever system is completely waterproof but still
has all the functionality of a traditional telescopic crane.
Shown here mounted on their Raptor it can pretty much go anywhere. Power can
often be an issue, especially working in a remote location, so as an added bonus
the unit is totally battery operated.
Chapman UK demonstrated the crane with a G3 stabilized head, and very soon
they will have the 'Amphibian' arriving, and that is a totally submersible remote
I have used the Raptor several times in inaccessible locations and combined with
a telescopic arm it opens up a whole wealth of possibilities, especially if the job
doesn't have a large construction crew for a traditional build.
Rupert Lloyd Parry GBCT
The GBCT section is written and compiled by John Keedwell GBCT
page 36 ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
To advertise in this section,
please contact Stuart Walters on
Tel: +44 (0) 121 608 2300
830 Palm Avenue,
Literary Agency West Hollywood,
Representing CA 90069
Cinematographers Tele (310) 855-2411
around the globe www.lenhoff.com
>> Subscribe to BRITISHCINEMATOGRAPHER
WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE YOU WILL RECEIVE AN UNRIVALLED INSIGHT INTO INTERNATIONAL FILM PRODUCTION
• Each issue will carry HEADLINE INTERVIEWS with key industry players. The film business is a people • THE GREAT DEBATE. Read the opinions of the industry’s movers and shakers as we tackle the key issues
business – meet them here. and most contentious subjects head on.
• COMPREHENSIVE ROUND-UPS of INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTION NEWS and informed comment from • CAMERA CREATIVE. The UK boasts some of the top creative talent in the world. Readers get a unique
industry bodies. chance to learn from them and examine exactly what makes them tick.
• SPECIAL FEATURES will review key areas of the production industry. We will examine post-production • POST and TECHNO NEWS. Equipment, skills, stock and film technology.
and visual effects, H/D shooting, studios and locations, distribution and exhibitions, production • NEWS, NEWS and NEWS. From around the regions, from Europe and F Stop Hollywood. We will bring
companies, film lawyers and finance. you up to speed with all the relevant news that affects your business.
YES! I would like to subscribe to British Cinematographer for: 6 editions for just £36.00
PLEASE RETURN TO:
Name ......................................................................................................................... Title ................................................................................... (Cheques made payable to Laws Publishing Ltd)
Company ............................................................................................................................................................................................................... BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER
Open Box Publishing
32-35 Hall Street
.......................................................................................................................... Post code ..................................................................................
Telephone ................................................................................................................ Email ..................................................................................
Cheque enclosed for £ ................................ made payable to Laws Publishing Ltd
Published 6 times a year, you can receive the magazine posted to your home or office for just – UK: £36.00 • Europe: €58 • USA: $69 – all prices include post and packaging
ISSUE 32 BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER