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  • 1. OCTOBER 2011 $5.95Canada $6.95
  • 2. M E M B E R P O R T R A I T Thomas Ackerman, ASC “M y dad worked at the Times Theater in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and I saw every movie that came to town from the projection booth. The smell of machine oil and a carbon arc was part of it, but what really got me was the magic on the screen. “Then I landed a summer job at the Collins Radio photo lab. When things were slow, I plowed through stacks of American Cinematographer. It changed my life. “Technical methods are evolving much faster than they did in the past, but the aesthetics of making pictures remain much the same. AC is far more than a trade journal; it’s the voice of artists around the world. No matter how busy I am, it’s my way of keeping in touch.” — Thomas Ackerman, ASC ©photo by Owen Roizman, ASCTO SUBSCRIBE BY PHONE:Call (800) 448-0145 (U.S. only)(323) 969-4333 or visit the ASC Web siteW W W . T H E A S C . C O M
  • 3. Photographer: John Hayden Busch “I spend most of my working hours onlocation so I need to know that I’m carryingthe most reliable equipment. That’s whyI always travel with Schneider 4x5 and6x6 filters. They give me the highestquality look across all formats. Recently, I did a shoot at 9000’ in thePoudre River Valley of Colorado. I foundthat the ND Soft Grads, combined with theCircular True Pols worked particularlywell. The Grads helped blend the dynamicrange in the sky, allowing our camera’ssensor to see what it needed. The Schneiderfilters helped me create the crisp, contrasty,artsy images that we were going for.”Cinematographer Eric Schmidt was videos for everyone from Bruce Springsteen tonominated for an ASC Award for his work Foo Fighters and shot over 500 commercialson Cold Case and has shot several features, including the distinctive The World’s Mostincluding The Mechanic and I Melt With You. Interesting Man spots for Dos Equis.He has created striking imagery for music B+W • Century Century • Schneider ww •
  • 4. It Starts with the Glass tm
  • 5. O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 V O L . 9 2 N O . 1 0 The International Journal of Motion Imaging On Our Cover: Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a stunt man by day and criminal accomplice by night in Drive, shot by Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC. (Photo by Richard Foreman Jr., SMPSP, courtesy of Film District.) FEATURES 28 Road Warriors Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC envisions a modern noir for Drive 44 Man of Action 44 Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC taps Super 16mm anamorphic for Machine Gun Preacher 52 Home Invasion Alik Sakharov, ASC re-imagines a 1970s classic with Straw Dogs 62 King of New York 52 Filmmakers recall the heyday of General Camera Corp. DEPARTMENTS 8 Editor’s Note 10 President’s Desk 12 Short Takes: Woolite “Torture” 62 16 Production Slate: The Skin I Live In • Margin Call 68 Post Focus: Restoring A Trip to the Moon 74 Filmmakers’ Forum: Karl Walter Lindenlaub, ASC, BVK 78 New Products Services 82 International Marketplace 83 Classified Ads 84 Ad Index 86 In Memoriam: Takuo “Tak” Miyagishima 87 Clubhouse News 88 ASC Close-Up: Xavier Grobet — VISIT WWW.THEASC.COM TO ENJOY THESE WEB EXCLUSIVES — DVD Playback: Party Girl • Cul-de-Sac • Insignificance
  • 6. O c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 V o l . 9 2 , N o . 1 0 The International Journal ofMotion Imaging Visit us online at ———————————————————————————————————— PUBLISHER Martha Winterhalter ———————————————————————————————————— EDITORIAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Stephen Pizzello SENIOR EDITOR Rachael K. Bosley ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jon D. Witmer TECHNICAL EDITOR Christopher Probst CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Stephanie Argy, Benjamin B, Douglas Bankston, Robert S. Birchard, John Calhoun, Michael Goldman, Simon Gray, Jim Hemphill, David Heuring, Jay Holben, Mark Hope-Jones, Noah Kadner, Jean Oppenheimer, John Pavlus, Chris Pizzello, Jon Silberg, Iain Stasukevich, Kenneth Sweeney, Patricia Thomson ———————————————————————————————————— ART DEPARTMENT CREATIVE DIRECTOR Marion Gore ———————————————————————————————————— ADVERTISING ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Angie Gollmann 323-936-3769 FAX 323-936-9188 e-mail: ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Sanja Pearce 323-952-2114 FAX 323-876-4973 e-mail: ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Scott Burnell 323-936-0672 FAX 323-936-9188 e-mail: CLASSIFIEDS/ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Diella Nepomuceno 323-952-2124 FAX 323-876-4973 e-mail: ———————————————————————————————————— CIRCULATION, BOOKS PRODUCTS CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Saul Molina CIRCULATION MANAGER Alex Lopez SHIPPING MANAGER Miguel Madrigal ———————————————————————————————————— ASC GENERAL MANAGER Brett Grauman ASC EVENTS COORDINATOR Patricia Armacost ASC PRESIDENT’S ASSISTANT Kim Weston ASC ACCOUNTING MANAGER Mila Basely ASC ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE Corey Clark ———————————————————————————————————— American Cinematographer (ISSN 0002-7928), established 1920 and in its 91st year of publication, is published monthly in Hollywood by ASC Holding Corp., 1782 N. Orange Dr., Hollywood, CA 90028, U.S.A., (800) 448-0145, (323) 969-4333, Fax (323) 876-4973, direct line for subscription inquiries (323) 969-4344. Subscriptions: U.S. $50; Canada/Mexico $70; all other foreign countries $95 a year (remit international Money Order or other exchange payable in U.S. $). Advertising: Rate card upon request from Hollywood office. Article Reprints: Requests for high-quality article reprints (or electronic reprints) should be made to Sheridan Reprints at (800) 635-7181 ext. 8065 or by e-mail Copyright 2011 ASC Holding Corp. (All rights reserved.) Periodicals postage paid at Los Angeles, CA and at additional mailing offices. Printed in the USA. POSTMASTER: Send address change to American Cinematographer, P.O. Box 2230, Hollywood, CA 90078.4 ————————————————————————————————————
  • 7. © Bill FrakesINTRODUCING THE CHIMERA LED LIGHTBANK.(No wonder lighting professionals are celebrating from coast to coast.)The innovators at Chimera have done it again! We’re introducing our new line of ChimeraLED Lightbanks—the perfect way to get the most out of your LED technology, and still createbeautiful, diffused light. It also turns a harsh LED light environment into a talent-friendlylight source. And the more comfortable your talent is, the more you’ll get out of them!Chimera LED Lightbanks include: • LED Lightbank body • LED Speed Ring • LED standard front screen, made with a unique and revolutionary material that enhances the light source • LED screens also available in a variety of beam angles!The Chimera LED Lightbank is lightweight, collapsible, easy to use and long lasting. And sinceit’s made by Chimera, you know you’re getting the kind of high quality that will last year afteryear, scene after beautiful / 888.444.1812 / Made in the USAlightbanks / birdcages / lanterns / systems / speed rings / essentials / accessories
  • 8. American Society of Cinematographers The ASC is not a labor union or a guild, but an educational, cultural and pro fes sion al orga ni za tion. Membership is by invitation to those who are actively en gaged as di rec tors of photography and have demon strated out stand ing ability. ASC membership has be come one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a profes sional cin e ma tog ra pher — a mark of prestige and excellence. OFFICERS - 2011/2012 Michael Goi President Richard Crudo Vice President Owen Roizman Vice President John C. Flinn III Vice President Victor J. Kemper Treasurer Frederic Goodich Secretary Stephen Lighthill Sergeant At Arms MEMBERS OF THE BOARD John Bailey Stephen H. Burum Richard Crudo George Spiro Dibie Richard Edlund Fred Elmes Michael Goi Victor J. Kemper Francis Kenny Isidore Mankofsky Robert Primes Owen Roizman Kees Van Oostrum Haskell Wexler Vilmos Zsigmond ALTERNATES Michael D. O’Shea Rodney Taylor Ron Garcia Sol Negrin Kenneth Zunder MUSEUM CURATOR Steve Gainer6
  • 9. Editor’s Note A few years ago, I drifted into a screening of Bronson at the Sundance Film Festival and was blown away by its audacious style. Caught off guard by the director’s chops, I did my homework and discovered that I had somehow overlooked the early works of Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, known in Europe for his gritty Pusher tril- ogy, which brings viewers face to face with a rogue’s gallery of Copenhagen drug peddlers. During an interview about Bronson, Refn and I bonded over our fetish for avant-garde cinema, engaging in a truly monastic discussion of filmmakers like Kenneth Anger and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Echoes of their inspira- tion are evident in Refn’s latest film, Drive, for which he won the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director prize this year. Riding shotgun on Drive was Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC, whose early work on Anger’s Lucifer Rising gave him extra cred with Refn. In a fully loaded piece by associate editor Jon Witmer (“Road Warriors,” page 28), Sigel says Refn used his intellect and creativity to create exciting car chases on an indie budget: “[He] wanted the film’s three main driving sequences to each have its own charac- ter and not be a traditional car chase. It wasn’t so much about being loud and noisy as it was about having a defined tonality.” Life-or-death confrontations also amp up the drama in Machine Gun Preacher, shot by Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC, and a remake of Straw Dogs, which Rod Lurie modernized with the help of Alik Sakharov, ASC. Schaefer and director Marc Forster had to balance scenes shot in the States with sequences staged in and around Johannesburg, South Africa (standing in for Sudan and Uganda). Schaefer tells David Heuring (“Man of Action,” page 44) that the project “seemed to want an epic feel, but without gloss. We were after an immediate, down-and-dirty feel that people could relate to, but we also wanted to do justice to the sequences in Africa, which have landscapes and a lot of big action sequences.” As a cinematographer on the HBO series The Sopranos, Rome and Game of Thrones, Sakharov has shot his share of memorable showdowns, but on Straw Dogs he and Lurie were tangling with the ghost of the ultimate tough-guy auteur: Sam Peckinpah. As Michael Goldman reveals (“Home Invasion,” page 52), the filmmakers opted for visual restraint while staging the story’s brutal violence. “We didn’t want the photography to feel like it was call- ing attention to itself,” says Sakharov. “We wanted it to feel like a camera just happened to be there, quiet and subdued, while these events were taking place.” The glory days of Manhattan’s General Camera Corp. are recalled in a piece by New York correspondent Iain Stasukevich (“King of New York,” page 62). The company thrived in the 1960s and ’70s, when it was a second home for current and future ASC members, Photo by Owen Roizman, ASC. including Gordon Willis, Owen Roizman, Victor J. Kemper and Fred Schuler. “General Camera was like a home,” says camera assistant Gary Muller. “There was truly no other place where you could get that kind of knowledge and honesty.” Stephen Pizzello Executive Editor8
  • 10. ACQUIRE www.aja.comAcquire with AJA.From Lens to Post, capture edit-readyApple ProRes 422 footage direct from your camera. Ki Pro Mini. Lens to a Flash. Ki Pro. Unify Cameras and Formats. Portable 10-bit 4:2:2 Flash Disk Recorder 10-bit Recorder with Conversion Designed as a miniature field recorder for Designed to unify the creating ‘ready-to-edit’ professional digital different formats employed video, Ki Pro Mini records Apple ProRes 422 by broadcast cameras, Ki Pro (including HQ, LT and Proxy) direct from any features AJA’s powerful SDI or HDMI camera. Mounted and hardware up/down/cross- connected to your camera, Ki Pro Mini conversion and captures ProRes records the ProRes footage to affordable direct to removable Storage Module media. Compact Flash media, instantly ready to Extensive I/O ensures integration with all edit when connected to a Mac. your other production gear is seamless. Find out about our latest Acquire products at B e c a u s e i t m a t t e r s .
  • 11. President’s Desk Within the ASC there are two basic forms of membership: active and associate. Active members are cinematographers, and everyone knows what we represent to the ASC, but there is some mystery about the role of the associate member. According to the ASC’s constitution, an associate member is a person who is not a direc- tor of photography, but is engaged in work that contributes to cinematography through either technical expertise or the rendering of services or products directly related to cinematography. That captures the gist of it, but in practice associates do much more. They come from all corners of the industry; they include camera manufacturers, post supervisors, color timers, company exec- utives, lighting-equipment designers and many others. The contributions of one legendary East Coast associate, General Camera co-founder Dick DiBona, are detailed in this issue. Regardless of their business affiliations, ASC associates leave those agendas at the door when they enter the Clubhouse. They participate selflessly on committees and contribute a life- time of knowledge and expertise toward the common goal of making our craft the best it can be. They are a vital part of the Society. Associate members understand what motivates us to do what we do, and they support that vision in ways that go beyond mere tech advice or equipment discounts. They are collabo- rators for the ASC the way our crews are on set. They are an integral part of our major functions, such as the ASC Awards, and major contributors to publications such as the American Cine- matographer Manual. They challenge the Technology Committee to forge the way toward new frontiers, and join in the preserva- tion push to guarantee that our work will be seen for generations to come. Three associates, Bob Fisher, Larry Parker and Brian Spruill, have proven so valuable and committed to the ASC that we made them honorary members, a distinction we bestow upon a very select few. The ASC is a small family, so the loss of any member, active or associate, is felt by us all. We recently lost Tak Miyagishima, who epitomized the character and importance of an associate member. The innovations he brought to motion-picture camera tech- nology became an indelible part of our craft. He was present at our events and contributed ideas toward our goals. He used his considerable influence to open doors for our members when it mattered most. And he did all this with the grace and easy famil- iarity of a friend. The ASC would not exist were it not for the dedication and commitment of our associates. You know the names of our active Goi photo by Owen Roizman, ASC. Miyagishima photo by Larry Hezzelwood. members — they’ve shot some of your favorite films. The next time you glance at the membership roster in this magazine or on our website, take note of the names of our associates. They are our unsung heroes. If we are able to reach for the stars, it’s beca use they build the platform that enables us to get there. Michael Goi, ASC President10 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 12. Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is proud to announce that Johnny E. Jensen, ASC (Lost in Yonkers, Rambling Rose), has joined our world-class faculty in our distinguished cinematography department which includes Jürg Walther (Carol King and James Taylor: Live at the Troubador), headed by Bill Dill, ASC (Sidewalk Stories). Jensen, Dill and Walther lead the cinematographers of tomorrow through a curriculum that emphasizes hands-on practical application in our state of the art facilities with industry-standard equipment.L-R: Walther, Jensen, DillJensen’s photograph courtesy of Owen Roizman, ASC Robert Bassett, Dean
  • 13. Short Takes shot it like we would a movie,” says Trost. Zombie says the style he and Trost have worked out is predicated on speed and variety. “When we’re doing coverage of a scene, unless there’s a problem, I don’t like to do multiple takes with the same lenses because then you get into editing, and you have the same setup and the same lens over and over,” says Zombie. The duo managed about 75 setups a day on Halloween II. “Brandon gets the way I like to shoot,” says Zombie. “And we usually don’t have the time to do it any other way.” One way to achieve that kind of quantity and still craft a high-quality image is to shoot with two cameras and minimal lighting. “On ‘Torture,’” Trost explains, “we shot all the spooky stuff in broad A burly sadist puts clothing through its paces in “Torture,” a Woolite commercial shot by daylight. I didn’t use anything except for some Brandon Trost and directed by Rob Zombie. negative fill.” The “fade” sequence in the commercial I On-the-Rack Fashion By Iain Stasukevich employs some practical tungsten fixtures provided by the art depart- ment, and Trost punched them up with a couple of 1K Par cans. “Rob and I tend to use practicals or nothing at all,” he says. Rob Zombie might seem an unlikely choice to direct a Woolite “Torture” was not only Zombie’s first commercial, but also his commercial, but ad agency Euro RSCG Worldwide actually tailored a first experience with a digital-cinema camera; Trost convinced him to spot to him. It’s called “Torture.” experiment with a Red One (upgraded with the Mysterium-X “The concept is that there’s a mysterious figure out in the sensor). “Rob and I both like the texture of film because we can woods called The Torturer, and he’s torturing clothes,” says Zombie. degrade it,” notes Trost. “But you can do that with digital, too, and At first Zombie had to turn the project down because of tour- I wanted to show him those possibilities.” ing commitments, but the agency kept changing the dates and loca- Based on some tests he’d done with the Red for the feature tions to fit his schedule. When they finally locked a date in Vancou- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance , Trost decided to shoot all scenes ver, Zombie called in cinematographer Brandon Trost. involving The Torturer at 3,200 ASA — even though they’re all day The Woolite gig marks the third collaboration between Trost exteriors. “It brings out noise in the image, so it starts to feel like and Zombie, after Halloween II (2009) and music videos for the grain and starts to look a little more analog,” he says. “When you Zombie tracks “Sick Bubblegum” and “Mars Needs Women.” add a little contrast, the digital grain starts to stand out. When Rob “I really like working with Rob, and we work really well saw that, he got really interested.” together,” says Trost. “The key is that we both know what we want, “Cinematography matters to me, but I don’t share this new but we’re not so committed [to those ideas] that it’s at the expense obsession with higher resolution,” notes Zombie. “I think things are of doing what’s best for the project.” becoming so high resolution that they look like shit. People look “Brandon is open-minded,” Zombie remarks. “I’m never at a weird. You can see the makeup in the actors’ pores. I’ve always shied loss for what I want on set, but I’m always hoping that he’ll have an away from that.” In fact, he tends to lean in the opposite direction: idea of how to take things a step further. Sometimes he’ll make for Halloween II, he and Trost chose to originate on Super 16mm, suggestions and I’ll stick to the original plan, but that’s okay because and they pushed the stock so hard that shots sometimes came out there’s no ego between us.” too dark or out of focus. Filming took place over two days in and around Vancouver, Being able to see the image immediately on set is what finally with the first day set on a derelict farmland just south of the city. The convinced Zombie to take the digital plunge. “That’s something that Torturer does his worst — stretching out a cardigan on a medieval I like about it as well,” says Trost. “It makes us a little more comfort- rack, shrinking a pretty top before using it to strangle a mannequin, able and allows us to work a little more quickly. It’s especially good and fading a pair of jeans under the brutal heat of electric lamps. for focus, because we do a lot of handheld work with no marks. If The agency only produced six panels of storyboards, but “we we can see right away that we’re sharp, it makes a big difference in12 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 14. We are Super 35mm.A camera for every price and production.What do film school students, masters of videography, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and honored membersof the ASC all have in common? 35mm cameras from Sony®. From motion pictures to stills, nobody has more ways toshoot 35mm. Award-winning breakthroughs in color palette, exposure latitude, low-light sensitivity and sharpness willupgrade your imagery. While Sony affordability, ergonomics and workflow help make you more productive than ever.So the choice is no longer which 35mm camera. It’s which Sony camera.Top row, left to right: Curtis Clark, ASC; Richard Crudo, ASC; Daryn Okada, ASC; Dennis Dillon, DP; Francis Kenny, ASCBottom row, left to right: Cassie Brooksbank, Senior, USC School of Cinematic Arts; Cameron Combe, Student Filmmaker, Cal State Long Beach;Brian Smith, Award-winning Photographer; Brooke Mailhiot, CinematographerVisit© 2011 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony, make.believe and their respective logos are trademarks of Sony.
  • 15. how quickly we can work.” With Zombie, Trost prefers to shoot wide open, narrowing his depth-of-field as much as possible. At 3,200 ASA, even stack- ing multiple filters and narrowing the camera’s shutter down to 45 degrees only afforded him a stop of T2.8. (He used Zeiss Ultra Prime T1.9 lenses.) If the first half of the spot is classic Zombie, the second half is a complete shift. “We also did the ‘Look how bright and clean and glossy and gorgeous the world is when you use Woolite’ part of the commercial,” says Trost. This segment features pretty girls walking down a peaceful street, trying on new clothes in a sunny bedroom, and relax- ing in a yoga studio by a lake. The shots in these scenes — captured at 800 ASA in single-camera setups on loca- tion around Vancouver — are smooth and stabilized. Strong, high-key illumination is provided by 6K and 18K HMIs. “It looks like standard commercial fare, which is awesome because it’s Rob Zombie behind the camera,” says Trost. “I was really happy to see him do something totally outside his wheelhouse.” For his part, Zombie shrugs off the suggestion that dabbling in conventionality might pose a challenge. “How hard can it be to light two 20-year-old girls nicely and ask them to pretend that they’re shopping?” The challenge, if there was one, was in the commercial medium itself. There was little time for preparation leading into the production, and once the shoot wrapped, all of the footage was turned over to the post team. (Technicolor Vancouver handled the color correction.) “I don’t know if this is normal, but I’ve never been involved with color correc- tion on a commercial,” says Trost. “But I’ve always been happy with the way they’ve turned out. That’s no surprise, because the agencies usually pump a lot of money into the grade.” On “Torture,” Trost did his best to bake in a look that couldn’t be undone. “I knew my involvement [in post] would be little to zero, and I figured that if I made it look the way we wanted it to on the day we shot it, then everybody would be happy with Top: A woman admires her freshly laundered blouse. Middle: The hooded fiend hunts for unsuspecting it later.” ● apparel in a Gothic landscape. Bottom: Zombie (left) and Trost take a break from the mayhem.14 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 16. Production Slate Plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard, M.D. (Antonio Banderas)proceeds with an unorthodox experiment in a scene from The Skin I Live In,shot by José Luis Alcaine, AEC. The Skin I Live In photos by Lucìa Faraig and José Haro, courtesy of El Deseo and Sony Pictures Classics. I Bad Medicine By Jean Oppenheimer The film was shot entirely at practical locations. Most of the action takes place indoors, with day interiors relying almost exclu- sively on simulated sunshine. Working with a single camera (an The Skin I Live In (La Piel Que Habito), the latest collaboration Arricam Studio), the filmmakers made decisions about blocking, between iconoclastic Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and cine- camera placement and camera moves on set. The only calculations matographer José Luis Alcaine, AEC, resists easy classification. Alcaine worked out beforehand concerned the hue and angle of “From one moment to the next it is a melodrama, a thriller, a horror the simulated sunlight. He recalls, “I asked our script supervisor to film and a love story,” observes Alcaine. In contemplating a visual draw up a shooting schedule for me with the actual times of each design for such a hybrid, Almodóvar initially considered an expres- sequence. Instead of ‘daytime,’ it would say ‘18:00 [6 p.m.].’ That sionistic approach, but he eventually opted for a style that assidu- allowed me to plan the color and angle of the HMIs coming ously avoids any visual clues that might influence viewers’ percep- through the windows.” tion of the characters or hint at where the story is going. Essentially, To light Vera’s room, which was located on the second floor the look “doesn’t emphasize anything,” says Alcaine, who and had trees and a swimming pool directly outside the windows, answered AC’s questions via e-mail with the aid of translator Deidre Alcaine’s crew positioned three 12K HMIs and a mix of Osram fluo- MacCloskey. rescents on scaffolding outside. The cinematographer has relied Based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel Mygale, the film concerns almost exclusively on Osram tubes for the past 25 years. “They are a brilliant plastic surgeon, Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas), who inexpensive and they don’t take up a lot of space,” he told AC in becomes obsessed with creating an artificial human skin after his 2006 while discussing Volver (Dec. ’06). “They have dimmers that wife is horribly disfigured in a fire and takes her own life. Robert can be interconnected, they cause practically no variation in the lives and works in a secluded mansion, where he has two compan- color of the light emission anywhere in the dimming range, and ions: the housekeeper, Marilia (Marisa Paredes), and a beautiful you can shoot at any shutter setting.” patient named Vera (Elena Anaya), who wears a skin-tight body Alcaine’s lighting package, which came from Iluminaciones stocking that covers her from head to toe. Vera has been a captive Cinetel, where owner Rafael Martos helps him design many of the for six years, and cameras in her room allow Robert and Marilia to housings for the Osram tubes, included 10-banks with 20 55-watt track her every move via monitors positioned around the house. Dulux tubes, 20-banks with eight 36-watt Dulux tubes, 15-banks16 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 17. Top: Ledgard’s daughter (Blanca Suárez) escapes his watchful eye at a party to take a fatefulwalk with Vicente (Jan Cornet). Bottom: Director Pedro Almodóvar(right) looks on as Banderas and Elena Anaya run through a sceneinvolving Ledgard and his captive patient, Vera. This largefluorescent source was typical ofAlcaine’s approach to Vera’s room. had to be precisely synchronized. At one point, the video camera (a Panasonic AG- HVX200) pushes in on Vera until her face fills the frame while the Arri pushes in from behind Robert, who is standing in front of the screen. In another scene, Robert watches as Vera sits with her back against the arm of her divan, her legs stretched out in front of her; Robert also has a divan in his room, and the camera remains behind him as he sits down in a position that mirrors hers, except that he is on the opposite side of the frame. The two characters appear to be facing one another. Vera is almost always lit with fluo- rescents placed at the edge of the frame and usually aligned with her eyes. Lighting Robert’s bedroom required ingenuity because of the blue cast emitted by the massive monitor. “To make it work, I had to of four 36-watt Lumilux tubes, 8-banks of knows Robert watches her, and she often make all of the lighting [in the room] that two 36-watt Lumilux tubes, and a variety stares straight into the camera, as if meet- same color,” reports Alcaine. “[I did this] by of 18-watt Lumilux tubes. “We had ing his gaze. “We shot Vera in her room lighting with 5,500°K [tubes] placed behind 3,200°K tubes and 5,500°K tubes, and if and Robert looking at her on the monitor Antonio and at his sides. That way we we needed to get an in-between color at the same time, and the actors were, of didn’t have light all over the room, which temperature, we mixed them on the course, in two separate spaces, so Pedro also helped [eliminate] reflections. The crew banks,” says Alcaine. had to coordinate their performances dressed in black for the filming of these Among the film’s most inspired perfectly,” says Alcaine. For the smaller scenes.” sequences, from both a conceptual and monitors in the kitchen, he adds, “we shot Alcaine notes that The Skin I Live In technical standpoint, are scenes of Robert the video footage first and then played it marks his first digital intermediate with in his bedroom at night, watching Vera on when we were filming the kitchen scenes.” Almodóvar. Their four previous collabora- a giant monitor that covers one wall. Vera The camerawork in each space also tions — Volver, Bad Education, Tie Me Up!18 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 18. A half-century of service, mentorship,friendship, innovation, brilliance and passion. Your legacy will live on. Takuo “Tak” Miyagishima 1928-2011
  • 19. crimson drapes in a couple of settings, a red dress in a shop window, or fresh blood on the floor.” Alcaine remembers a mildly trouble- some night exterior at a location in Galicia, where Robert and his teenaged daughter, Norma (Blanca Suárez), attend a wedding. Norma wanders into the garden with Vicente (Jan Cornet), a young man she has just met. When Robert can’t find his daugh- ter, he goes outside to look for her. “The vegetation was very thick, and light could barely penetrate it,” recalls Alcaine. “My source of inspiration was the great French artist Henri Rousseau, in particular his 1910 painting The Dream. Even though it was night, I tried to make the greens very strong and bright, just as in the painting.” The film’s biggest lighting setup was a nighttime car chase along an isolated, winding road deep in a forest. Robert pursues Vicente, who is on a motorcycle, because he believes Vicente has raped his daughter. The filmmakers had to light almost a full mile of road to capture the action. “We had two 18K HMIs, three 12K HMIs and a crane truck with six 12K HMIs,” says Alcaine. Alcaine praises his crew for their “enormous contributions.” He notes, “My gaffer, Fernando Beltran, works with me a lot, and on this film, as always, he did a superb job. Our camera operator was the excellent Joaquin Manchado, who, though a fine cinematographer himself, offered to serve as operator in order to be part of the production.” Top: Ledgard admires his handiwork after Vera returns from a trip to town. Contemplating the five films he has Bottom: Alcaine (left) and gaffer Fernando Beltran confer on location. made with Almodóvar, Alcaine observes, “It’s strange. Pedro and I understand each other very well, but we hardly ever talk. Our Tie Me Down! and Women on the Verge of anamorphic, but Pedro decided this one intuitions about the images are almost a Nervous Breakdown — were timed should be 1.85:1,” says Alcaine. “I was always the same, and only occasionally do photochemically. “The DI allowed us to grateful because that meant I could use my they need any clarification. This shoot was a suppress the tiny imperfections in Elena’s favorite lenses, [Arri/Zeiss] Master Primes.” real delight for me, and I think for him, too.” skin, befitting Ledgard’s ‘perfect creation,’” The camera package came from EPC in notes the cinematographer. All of the Madrid. TECHNICAL SPECS negative processing, scanning, color correc- Another distinct difference was the tion and filmout was handled by Fotofilm color scheme. Almodóvar’s films are 1.85:1 Deluxe in Madrid. “I found the work of the renowned for their rich, bold colors, with a 35mm and Digital Capture entire laboratory to be of a very high stan- special emphasis on red. “By Pedro’s own Arricam Studio; Panasonic AG-HVX200 dard,” says Alcaine. design, however, this movie looks very Arri/Zeiss Master Prime The Skin I Live In marked a few other neutral,” says Alcaine. “The tones are Kodak Vision3 500T 5219; firsts for the Almodóvar/Alcaine team. beige, white, gray, black and metallic. Only Fujifilm Eterna Vivid 160 “Our previous four films were shot occasionally is there an explosion of red: Digital Intermediate ➣20 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 20. Why am I having so much fun?Bob Primes,ASC reveals his inner child playing with the cooltoys and other kids at Clairmont Camera; a fun place to play.Ive played in some great camera rental houses.The best constantly innovate and create awesomenew tools,toys and widgets to make our work morebeautiful,faster,easier and more fun.Denny Terry Clairmont,Alan Albert,Tom Boelensand crew set fanatically high standards of quality,service,innovation and integrity.But thats old news. Everyone in the biz knows that!I want to talk about how much fun I have at Clairmont.The sign of a well managed team is the morale andhappiness of the players.Clairmont is a busy place,yet somehow,miraculously,everyone seems relaxed,delighted to see you,help youcreate solutions and are just as crazy about the latesttoys and widgets as you are.It is this uncanny ability of everyone you encounter toshare the joy and enthusiasm of our art form that kicksthe Clairmont experience into another dimension. Thoseold-fashioned virtues of integrity,involvement,caring,warmth and joy are really what its all about.Robert Primes,ASC Hollywood Vancouver Toronto Albuquerque Montreal 818-761-4440 604-984-4563 416-467-1700 505-227-2525 514-525-6556
  • 21. Will (Paul Bettany, right) consults with Sam (Kevin Spacey) as a crisis looms at their firm in Margin Call. I Capturing a Financial Freefall By Patricia Thomson phy wrapped, the producers approved an 18th day to shoot real trading floors downtown and some nighttime heli- ment of Bloomberg Trading Systems, which not only loaned and wired up 150 trading stations, but also created a loop “The longer I work in films, the copter shots of the hero high-rise. of screen shots showing financial graphs more I find I need less lighting,” says The story, which takes place over that any Wall Street trader would recog- New York-based cinematographer Frank 36 hours, is a pressure-cooker workplace nize as authentic. “That really helped DeMarco. A pianist since age 6, he offers drama. When one analyst, Eric (Stanley bring things to life,” says Chandor. a musical analogy: “I remember listening Tucci), gets sacked, he passes a jump Those monitors were both motifs to jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter when drive to an entry-level colleague, Peter and practical sources. “From the minute I he was in Weather Report. He was a (Zachary Quinto), warning him to “be wrote the first couple of scenes, I decided virtuoso; he’d be playing a thousand careful” as the elevator door closes. Peter those screens should be a recurring visual notes a second. I saw him again about 15 extrapolates the drive’s financial formula theme,” says the director. Always loom- years later at the Blue Note, and he was to its logical conclusion and sees immi- ing over analysts’ heads and active even an older, mellow guy, and everyone in his nent disaster for the firm. He alerts his during the dead of night, “they’re repre- young, hot group was playing a million boss, who in turn calls his boss, and so on sentative of the outside market pressure Margin Call photos courtesy of Roadside Attractions and the filmmakers. notes a minute. Wayne was just playing up the chain. The movie examines the and the paranoia in these crisis situa- one note, but everybody was listening to response of each character to the firm’s tions,” he says. “The screens let you him, because he was doing something likely meltdown as they race to resolve know that the market never sleeps.” interesting with that note. It’s similar with the situation before “The Street” finds Another motif is Manhattan, a lighting: once you find the one light or out. “It’s not panic if you’re the first one living, pulsating presence outside the the minimum number of lights that work, out the door,” says CEO John Tuld office windows. “We had beautiful floor- you make it work, really bend it. That’s (Jeremy Irons), as he greenlights a fire sale to-ceiling windows, and the breathtaking what people are going to see and feel.” of worthless stocks. view of Manhattan is definitely one of the DeMarco had ample occasion to Most of the movie was shot on the characters,” says DeMarco. “It’s always bend a few notes on Margin Call, an 42nd floor of 1 Penn Plaza. As luck would there, looming and glowing in the back- ensemble drama written and directed by have it, the floor’s previous occupant was ground.” J.C. Chandor, whose characters — a a hedge fund. “That was a gift,” says To ensure that the windows group of Wall Street analysts — are the Chandor. “Everything we might need wouldn’t blow out during day scenes, first to foresee the 2008 financial melt- was there: boardrooms, a 200-person DeMarco had his crew cover the windows down. The cinematographer had 10 days trading floor, corner offices, hallways.” with 4x8 sheets of ND.3, ND.6 and of prep for the 17-day shoot, which took Even the trading-room desks had been ND.9. Upon doing so, they discovered a place mainly in a high-rise office building left in place. problem: though the windows looked in Manhattan. After principal photogra- Another boon was the involve- identical, each had a slightly different22 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 22. (upgraded with Mysterium-X sensors) as his main cameras. However, he found the Top: This shot of daylight-balanced sensor to be closer to cast and crew preparing a scene 400 ASA. “Maybe it’s 800 ASA in HMI in Sam’s office light,” he allows, “but I was shooting shows the mostly in tungsten or mixed light, and I neutral-density panels used for found the sensor wasn’t as sensitive as its day interiors at specs claimed.” the location. Nevertheless, the camera’s sensitiv- Bottom: Seth (Penn Badgley) ity was sufficient to allow DeMarco to receives a make the onscreen monitors work for worrisome call at him. “I balanced the overall lighting on a nightclub. the set so the monitors were always legi- ble,” he says. “Even with overhead light- ing, you could still very much see the width ranging from 50-52. The 48 ND panels cost a little money up front, they content on the monitors. In really dark panels therefore left a gap. DeMarco’s saved a ton of time and aggravation, scenes, the monitors often become the solution was to ask production designer because we didn’t have to add big HMIs light source.” John Paino to make removable pilasters to inside to balance with the outside light,” DeMarco’s minimalist lighting is on act as vertical window dividers. “Once we adds the cinematographer. display in a shot that tracks through the installed the ND panels, we could take Because most of Margin Call takes empty office after the firm’s bigwigs have these pilasters and Velcro them against place at night, DeMarco knew he needed set the wheels of fate in motion. The the window,” says DeMarco. “They not to shoot at around 800 ASA. He explains, camera dollies past trading stations with only hid the gaps, but they also looked “Shooting film wasn’t possible on our glowing monitors, and then continues great. As exterior lighting changed, partic- budget because J.C. wanted to capture into an office belonging to Sam (Kevin ularly at the end of the day, it was a the dialogue-heavy drama with two Spacey). “That was a dead-of-night breeze for [key grip] Caswell Cooke and cameras, so we decided to go digital.” scene,” says DeMarco. “We kept the his crew to quickly change the panels. (Footage of the real trading floors and the other rooms dark, so the monitors are “Our limited budget made it a nighttime aerial work was shot on film, doing a lot of the lighting. We left on tough choice for the producers, but they Kodak Vision3 500T 5219.) some of the small tungsten practicals on recognized that even though the ND DeMarco chose two Red Ones the desks, enhancing them with stronger24 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 23. augmented that with small Rosco LED LitePads that were balanced to match the monitors’ cool hue. Although the movie’s subject is grim, Chandor’s goal was a handsome film. “I didn’t ever want this to have a Cinematographer gritty, down-in-the-pits feel,” he says. Frankie DeMarco “The audience has to spend an hour and takes a break on the roof of the a half in this room, so I wanted it [to look] production’s as beautiful as possible.” DeMarco strove primary location. for smooth dolly moves and used older Zeiss T2.1 Standard Speed primes as his main lenses. (He also used Angenieux Optimo 17-80mm zooms.) “The older lenses have a wonderful way of maintain- ing a handsome image while smoothing out the harsh look of these new large- chip digital cameras without requiring bulbs on dimmers, and we hid some Kino was pretty simple. We used Kino Flo filters,” he observes. Flos on the floor to enhance particular Image 80s on rolling stands for big wide At times, however, the drama pieces of architecture. shots to give everybody a little edge or called for lighting that was intentionally “We changed out the bulbs in the open up an area, and we used Arri brutal. DeMarco notes, “The night exteri- ceiling lights to work with our color Pocket Par 200-watt and 800-watt Jokers ors of Peter wandering the city streets in temperatures,” he continues. “Once to put hot hits here and there for day a pensive daze were lit with a mix of gaffer Radium Cheung and I figured out scenes.” For close-ups, he cranked up the ambient city light and a little fill; the mix our night and day lighting schemes, it computers’ brightness levels and reflects the character’s moral ambiguity.”26
  • 24. In another example, Sam and an assistant Rosco LED LitePad so you could simulta- TECHNICAL SPECSwait to conduct colleagues to a bigwig neously see the actors in the car andmeeting. “They’re standing right under a Manhattan reflected in the curve of the 1.85:1recessed ceiling light, and it gives them limo window,” says DeMarco. Digital Capture and 35mmboth hideous raccoon eyes. It’s a severe Fortunately, the technical needs Red One, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Arri 435moment, but the look is appropriate for and the emotional dynamics of Margin Zeiss Standard Speed, Angenieux Optimothe story and the emotion of the scene.” Call neatly converged. “Using minimal Kodak Vision3 500T 5219 For the toplit conference-room lighting allowed us to move quickly, Digital Intermediate ●scenes, DeMarco’s crew hung skirted which was extremely important on aChina balls on a “suicide arm,” which he movie with such a short shooting sched-describes as “a hefty stand with a long ule,” says DeMarco. “Using minimalpole. Then, to brighten someone’s face or lighting also means you’re not going toput a little glint in his or her eyes, I used have a lot of f-stop; a 40mm lens at a T2an altered-snoot Mole Baby Soft. It’s gives you about 8 inches of depth-of-called a Néstor, after Néstor Almendros field, so you essentially hold the face.[ASC]. You can shoot soft, concentrated Thus, while Manhattan shimmers out-of-light 6 to 8 feet out without it spilling all focus in the background, the charactersover everything. Apart from that, we just are visually isolated in their own respec-had a few practicals in the background.” tive spaces, which perfectly reflects their DeMarco used a Canon EOS 5D mental and emotional states.”Mark II in tandem with the Red cameras “People like this pride themselves ERRATUMfor a couple of driving scenes. In one, two on being able to stay calm on their worstjunior analysts scour the city for Eric, their day, so at key moments in the drama, In last month’s print edition, Dantefired boss. The Canon was suction- these characters just pull back,” says Spinotti’s first name was misspelled in thecupped to the limo’s untinted windows. Chandor. “Frankie’s cinematography ASC Close-Up (page 104).“Inside the vehicle, we positioned a does a beautiful job of [conveying] that.” ® The Cooke Look One Look. All CookeOpticsLimited T: +44 (0)116 264 0700 British Optical Innovation and Canada, South America, USA: Quality Since 1893. T: +1-973-335-4460 27
  • 25. Road Warriors Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC and director Nicolas Winding Refn revolves around the unnamed Driver (Ryan Gosling), who spends his days as a Hollywood stunt driver and his nights behind the wheel of getaway cars for members of the Los craft a violent fairytale on the Angeles underworld. In order to protect his neighbor, Irene streets of Los Angeles. (Carey Mulligan), he agrees to help her ex-con husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), pull off an easy heist. But when the job goes horribly wrong, Driver has to cut a bloody swath to By Jon D. Witmer guide Irene to safety. “It’s almost a mythological story, not a story about •|• today or yesterday or tomorrow, so it was important that the movie have an almost indefinable time period,” says director of photography Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC. After Drive I t’sday 11 on the shooting schedule for Drive, the first was in the can, Sigel spoke with AC by phone from the U.K., Hollywood movie from Danish director Nicolas Winding where he was shooting Jack the Giant Killer for Bryan Singer. Refn, who made his name on the international stage with Drive marks Sigel’s first collaboration with Refn, and such projects as the Pusher trilogy, Bronson (AC Oct. ’09) the cinematographer recalls that when he was approached and Valhalla Rising. Refn has invited AC to the set, built on about the project, “I took a look at Bronson and was really the fourth floor of Los Angeles’ Park Plaza Hotel. With a impressed. It was clearly a film with a limited budget and blanket wrapped snugly around his waist, the director leads limited resources, but it had a very strong vision from the the way down a faux-brick hallway that opens into a room director.” featuring four mirrored walls outlined with vanity bulbs — “I met with a lot of wonderful cinematographers — the dressing room of a strip club. It’s time, Refn says, “to that’s the good thing about Hollywood, they’re all out here,” place the girls.” says Refn. “But when I met Tom, I really dug his energy, and Based on the crime novel by James Sallis, Drive his background as a documentary filmmaker made me confi-28 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 26. dent we could make our seven-weekUnit photography by Richard Foreman Jr., SMPSP. Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Film District. shooting schedule work. Plus, his first film as a cameraman was Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising!” Refn often cites avant-garde filmmaker Anger as an influence. “The first visual reference I showed Ryan in regards to Drive was [Anger’s] Scorpio Rising,” he says. “Ryan asked, ‘Why are you showing me a movie with a lot of guys working on motorcycles?’ And I said, ‘It’s how it’s shot — the sensual, sexual nature of it, the fetish, the objec- tification. That’s what we should try to go for.’” In addition to Anger’s oeuvre, Refn and Sigel were inspired by the look of location-scout photos Sigel snapped using the Hipstamatic app on his iPhone. “There are some color palettes in that program that reference retro photographic looks, like Koda- chrome or Ektrachrome,” says Sigel. “I showed Nicolas some of the photos, Opposite: The unnamed Driver (Ryan Gosling) takes the wheel in Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and photographed by Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC. This page, top: Driver and he wasn’t certain of the strange becomes a thorn in the side of mob boss Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks). Bottom: Sigel plans a tonalities, but he really responded to shot of Driver and Irene (Carey Mulligan). the vibrancy of the colors. We designed w October 2011 29
  • 27. ◗ Road Warriors a lot of sets and costumes to make use of that kind of vibrant palette.” Early in his month-long prep, Sigel decided to shoot with Arri’s Alexa digital camera. “We had a tight budget and very little time, and I was intrigued by the look I could get shooting available light downtown,” he explains. “I did some driving tests with the Alexa, and it blew me away in terms of what it could do with existing light. “I rated the camera at 800 [ASA],” he continues. “I think the myth of digital is that you underexpose because it can’t hold the highlights like film. I find that when you underexpose digital more than a little bit, very often you increase your noise level signifi- cantly. What’s extraordinary about the Alexa is that even if I pushed the sensor to 1,600 [ASA] there was very little noise, and I could actually under- expose quite a bit without introducing noise in the blacks. The dynamic range was mind-boggling.” Top: Driver and The cinematographer adds that Shannon (Bryan he typically shot nights and interiors Cranston) talk inside Shannon’s around T2.8, and day exteriors around garage. The T8. location is Clairmont Camera in North actually a Hollywood Hollywood provided the camera pack- picture-car age. Sigel shot most of the picture garage; the warm using the 15-40mm Angenieux backlight was provided by a 5K Optimo zoom lens. “I also used Cooke gelled with Rosco S4 primes for the daytime car interiors, Urban Color. and Zeiss Master Primes for the night- Middle: Refn (left) talks time car interiors.” Gosling and He kept filtration to a mini- Cranston through mum, although he occasionally a scene that shows Driver in employed a Tiffen Soft/FX filter (in his day job as a either 1⁄2 or 1 density) for diffusion. Hollywood stunt “Nicolas really loves wide lenses, driver. Bottom: Driver flips a like the 18mm and 21mm,” says Sigel. police car for the “That’s a challenge when you’re trying movie within the to get a lot of work done in a short movie. period of time. You tend to want to set up multiple cameras and have the tele- photo lens pick off close-ups while you’re getting a two-shot, but we limited that approach as much as we could. “Whenever there was a fight or an act of violence, we’d get two30 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 28. cameras on it so we didn’t have torepeat that action over and over,” adds Irene and Driver’sthe cinematographer. apartments were Sigel operated the A camera, built inside theand Greg Lundsgaard served as B- Park Plaza Hotel, and they werecamera/Steadicam operator. “I’d designed toworked with Greg before,” says Sigel. function like a“He’s got a good eye, and I’m very practical location. Theconfident in what he does.” common corridor By the time Sigel joined the (top andproduction, it was a given that the bottom) was lit with 250-wattentire shoot would happen in and Photofloodsaround L.A. The Park Plaza Hotel fitted inside wallbecame one of the production’s hubs. sconces.The location provided ample space tobuild the strip club’s dressing room, thedesign of which grew out of Sigel’spreproduction discussions with Refnand production designer Beth Mickle.Sigel recalls, “I mentioned that onFrankie Alice,we created a dressingroom that had tables at differentangles, so when we shot we got layersand layers of detail in the mirrors.Nicolas took that idea one step furtherand said, ‘Let’s make it all mirrors.’ Sowe basically made a mirror box — itreminded me of a Lucas Samarassculpture — and it was just lit withpractical light. “We had one shot where we hadto do a 360-degree camera move,” w October 2011 31
  • 29. •|• “Pretty in Pink With a Head Smash” •|• I ’d come down with the flu and had taken some anti-flu drugs before meeting with Ryan Gosling about Drive, and I was high as a kite through dinner. Halfway through the meal, I asked if he could take me home, because I needed to lie down. It was like a blind date gone bad. In the car, Ryan turned on the radio, and REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” started to play. I was so out of it I started crying, turned the radio up and began singing. Then I turned to Ryan and screamed, “I know what Drive is! It’s about a man who drives around at night listening to pop music because that’s his emotional release!” Ryan said, “Okay,” and that’s how the film was born. explained to him that I don’t do a lot of but as another canvas. I loved James Sallis’ book. It’s an coverage, and I like wide-angle lenses I stipulated in my contract that existential story about a stuntman who’s because I want depth. I wanted to go my editor, Matt Newman, would edit also a getaway driver. He lives in with a classical style, which I felt would the film with me. When we make the Hollywood, he can’t quite deal with give the film its own identity. Also, I’m first cut, we make the movie incoherent reality, and he goes a bit psychotic at the colorblind, so I told Tom and Beth just to see what it is not. By doing that, end. Driver is two people: by day he Mickle, the production designer, “I you can see if there might be other ways works in Hollywood, and at night he need contrasting colors, and I like a lot of putting the movie together. Then we drives in an almost armored suit. I of red.” It was a wonderful collabora- start cutting it more as planned. It’s a wanted him to be like a superhero in tion. constant discovery process, which I like. the making. There are so many movies where Showing Drive at Cannes was I wanted to make Drive an L.A. you see cars spin and fly. With our very joyful because I’d been able to make fairytale, which is what Sallis’ book is. budget, we couldn’t even get close to the movie I wanted to make, which in To make the violence feel extreme, I that kind of action, so I wanted to see if itself is always a battle. I’d been nervous had to make the first half of the movie I could define each driving scene specif- that working in Hollywood would very pure and sentimental, almost like a ically. I did something similar on mean I might not have the control I John Hughes movie. Then it goes really Bronson, in which each of the three usually have. But Ryan had director violent. It’s like Pretty in Pink with a fight scenes had a different feel. I don’t approval, and he protected me — it was head smash. have a driver’s license, but I’ve always a similar situation to when Lee Marvin I spent a lot of time redesigning been fascinated by speed, and I also insisted on John Boorman directing the script with Hoss Amini, who have a fetish for curves, so I wanted to Point Blank — and producers Adam adapted the book, and Ryan. We had shoot the cars how I would see them Siegel and Marc Platt were also very the whole movie on index cards, and sexually. I’m very much a fetish film- respectful. There are a lot of smart we’d move things around on the living- maker; I make films out of what I people in Hollywood. I was in good room table. Then, at night, Ryan drove would like to see. hands. me around and showed me Los Visually and technically, I try to Coming from Europe to make Angeles. We were almost living the make every film different. We shot a lot films in Hollywood, it’s almost like movie as we were writing it. of Drive in slow motion because I love you’re living the dreams of all the I felt I would benefit from work- that language. European filmmakers who came to ing with a Hollywood cinematogra- Shooting with the Alexa was a Hollywood from the very beginning. pher. While talking with Tom Sigel blessing. I don’t see it as a replacement You can make your film within the [ASC], it quickly became clear that we for 35mm negative, which is a unique system. There’s still hope. had similar tastes and understandings. I thing we’ll never find a substitute for, — Nicolas Winding Refn32 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 30. Sigel continues. To avoid seeing the camera’s reflection in the mirrors, “key grip Alex Klabukov created a rig from the ceiling that was almost like a heli- copter blade — the camera sat on it and spun around above the actors, just barely out of shot.” As the crew prepares to shoot in the dressing room, Refn places the extras playing the strippers and gives them directions. In the scene, Driver enters the dressing room and takes a hammer to the hand of Cook (James Biberi), the club’s proprietor, and then throws him to the ground, demanding information about the heist that went bad. As the violence erupts, some of the strippers make a speedy exit, while others stay seated around the perime- ter, waiting for the outburst to subside. For much of the scene, Sigel and Lundsgaard sit tucked in a corner of the set, rolling two cameras. Lundsgaard keeps his camera trained on Cook, Sigel follows Driver, and as the actors move through the frame, the bare bulbs positioned around the mirrored walls occasionally flare the lenses. “The globes were 40 or 60 watts, and they had a sort of mauve color,” says gaffer Anthony “Nako” Nakonechnyj, one of Sigel’s longtime collaborators. “We would turn off globes we didn’t see to increase the Top: In this frame contrast, and we could dim them down grab, Driver if they were too bright or were flaring navigates Los the lens.” Angeles nighttime streets. The Park Plaza also housed Middle: Sigel Driver’s and Irene’s apartments, which checks the lights were designed to function like practi- rigged to Drivers car for the cal locations. A common corridor was nighttime driving constructed, and doors along the corri- sequences. dor opened into the actual apartment Bottom: An Arri Alexa was rigged sets. Additionally, the set’s windowsBottom photo by Newton Thomas Sigel. off the front of a lined up with the Park Plaza’s real stock car to windows, providing a view of down- capture action around a town L.A. racetrack. Sigel Sigel recalls that the floor used took this photo for the apartments was “way up, using the Hipstamatic app, beyond where you can reach with and he notes that Condors for exterior lighting. The Refn responded challenge was balancing the light to the vibrancy of the colors. inside in a quick and efficient way, and that’s where the Alexa was great. We w October 2011 33
  • 31. ◗ Road Warriors Right: Driver demands information from Blanche (Christina Hendricks) after a heist goes awry. In the background, Refn and Sigel discuss the frame while 1st AC Nino Neuboeck stands at the ready. Below: When armed thugs storm the motel, Driver responds with a shocking burst of violence. He surveys the resulting carnage in this frame grab; the light coming through the window behind him was provided by an Arrimax 18K. Los Angeles Center Studios. There, Nako explains, “we changed out all the globes and replaced them with 4-foot Kino Flo 3200s. We also added kicks and sheens with some 10Ks, and we did some raking with Mole Baby 2Ks with Small Quartz Plus Chimeras; the Chimeras usually wore a Quarter Grid Front and a 40-degree Lighttools LCD [light- control device].” had a lot of plans about how to gel the and “dimmed down as needed,” says The elevator is the setting for a windows, but once we got in there, I Nako. Sigel adds, “We always go crucial scene in which Driver and didn’t need to use all of those tricks through a dimmer system. It’s faster Irene find themselves sharing a ride because the camera had more dynamic and gives you more control.” with a hit man (Christian Cage) who’s range than I expected.” At one end of the corridor, the been sent to kill them. Glimpsing the To supplement the practicals crew also constructed an elevator set. killer’s holstered gun, Driver gently inside the apartments, the crew regu- To sell the impression that the elevator pushes Irene toward the back corner; larly employed Kino Flo 4 two-bank was moving from one floor to another, the lights dim, and, in slow motion, fixtures fitted with K32 3,200°K tubes, the art department would redress the Driver turns and kisses Irene. Nako as well as several varieties of small, hallway just outside the elevator to explains, “The units in the elevator homemade instruments that housed appear as different floors. For shots in were recessed can lights with 75-watt dimmable Photofloods. The common which the doors open to reveal the JDR Spot Globes. We also added what corridor was lit primarily with 250- parking garage, the crew actually I call a ‘Mini Space Light,’ a variation watt Photofloods fitted inside sconces rebuilt the elevator set in a garage at on the covered wagon. All the lights in34 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 32. CUT. SHAPE. FOCUS. TUNE. ARRI introduces the first LED-based lights to truly match the versatility and homogeneityof conventional tungsten Fresnels: a new generation of focusable, tuneable lights that offers complete control, combining breakthrough performance with incredible efficiency.
  • 33. ◗ Road Warriors This strip-club set was also constructed inside the Park Plaza Hotel. The hallway (top left) was lit primarily with 75-watt quartz-halogen globes inside the wall sconces, while the dressing room (top right) was lit with the practical vanity bulbs visible in frame. To capture a 360-degree camera move without seeing the camera in the mirrored walls, the crew suspended a circular rig above the set (bottom left). You don’t know if it’s his fantasy or his reality, and he doesn’t quite know himself.” The head smash “was very much inspired by Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible [AC April ’03],” adds Refn. “Gaspar talked me through how he did it.” For Drive, visual-effects supervi- sor Jerry Spivack oversaw the digital compositing of the actor’s body with a prosthetic head. Similar work was also done for an earlier scene in which Bottom photo by Newton Thomas Sigel. the elevator were controlled by a one good moment of love,” Sigel Driver and Blanche (Christina dimmer board.” muses. “When Irene walks out of the Hendricks), an accomplice in the ill- The lights come back up to their elevator and looks back at Driver, this fated heist, hole up in a tiny motel normal level, and then, with the camera wild animal, you realize it’s over room. When armed thugs break into again rolling at 24 fps, Driver spins and between them.” the room, one shoots Blanche in the smashes the man’s face into the eleva- “There’s a scene in every one of head. Sigel explains that the special- tor’s controls. A brief struggle ensues, my films that is the heart of the movie, effects department “built a prosthetic ending when Driver literally kicks in and in Drive it’s the elevator scene,” head and blew it up, and we the man’s face. “It’s the ultimate irony, says Refn. “It was a way to tip the photographed it at high speed [using a going into this act of violence from his viewer to Driver’s essential dilemma. Weisscam HS-2 recording at 250 fps].36 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 34. ◗ Road Warriors We also photographed Christina at high speed, and then the visual-effects team combined the heads to create the effect of her head being blown off. “Trying to light someone in a practical bathroom not big enough to fit two people was a challenge,” SigelTop: Driver and continues. “Fortunately, there was a Irene find window we could light from, but we themselves in needed to add 2 1⁄2 more stops to an elevator with a hit man accommodate the high speed. To make (Christian matters worse, there was a tree right Gage) sent to outside the window. Nonetheless, the kill them. Middle: Sigel judicious use of an 18K Arrimax did frames the the trick. action while “Nicolas wanted the moments of Refn confabs with the violence to be incredibly visceral,” theactors. “There’s cinematographer continues. “He a scene in wanted to go for the gore. The bulk of every one of my films that the film is not violent, but when it does is the heart of turn to violence, it really is horrific.”the movie, and Refn says his approach to thein Drive it’s the elevator film’s violence was in keeping with the scene,” says fairytale elements he saw in the story, Refn. Bottom: with Gosling playing “the knight, and Sigel preps ashot that looks Carey as the innocent girl whose purity outside the needs to be protected. When violence elevator. comes in a fairytale, it’s always very brutal, in very short sentences, and characters die very violently.” “Nicolas talks metaphorically about character,” notes Sigel. “Even when he was describing the tone of the car sequences, it was as if the car was an extension of Driver, like he was part man, part machine.” Finding the character within the driving sequences was crucial for Refn, who doesn’t have a driver’s license. “I have no interest in driving and no inter- est in cars,” says the director. “But this is a movie about a man who happens to drive a car, not a movie about cars.” Sigel says Refn “wanted the film’s three main driving sequences to each have its own character and not be a traditional car chase. It wasn’t so much about being loud and noisy as it was about having a defined tonality.” Those three sequences were all shot during the final two weeks of production. In the first sequence, Driver navigates a silver Chevy Impala through downtown L.A. at night, evad-38 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 35. ◗ Road Warriors ing the police and delivering two thieves to the parking lot of the Staples Center, where they and Driver disap- pear into the crowd. “That first chase is meant to be very subjective,” says Sigel. “For the bulk of it, [we] don’t even leave the car — the whole sequence is from Driver’s point of view.” To position cameras in and around the car, Klabukov and his crew rigged high hats inside and speed-rail rigs along the outside. “As part of my test, I took Ryan out in a car, and Tony and I rigged the car with a rack overhead with all differ- ent kinds of tiny lights, such as LEDs and 150-watt [Arri Fresnels],” says Sigel. “We wired them all into dimmers in the trunk that could be wirelessly controlled, so we could turn lights off and on or dim them up and down. The lights were all so small and unobtrusive that they were never in shot, so Ryan could just drive around while Tony played the roof rack like a musical instrument. There were also times when we’d kill all of our lights — we’d pull up to a stoplight, and you could see the light on Ryan’s face go from red to green.” For the shoot, the filmmakers refined the system they had utilized for Driver hunts Nino (Ron Perlman, in frame grab above) at night in the film’s final the test and continued to light primar- chase sequence, which culminates in a crash that sends Nino’s car hurtling onto the beach. The sequence was filmed at Malibu’s Point Mugu, where the production set up ily from the roof-mounted speed-rail the sodium-vapor streetlamps shown here. rig, which sat like a halo atop the car. Off of the rig, the crew positioned Arri40 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 36. 150-watt tungsten units, some gelled North by Northwest. The plane comes,with Rosco Urban Color #3152 or Lee and you don’t really know why it’sFluorescent 5,700°K #241, to supple- there; it’s a dreamlike situation.” Thement the output of sodium-vapor and director was equally inspired by Claudemercury-vapor practicals. Nako also Lelouch’s short film Rendezvous, inemployed what he calls “D-Lights. Josh which a car tears through the streets ofStern, my best boy, and I designed these Paris while the revving engine fills thehousings that look like an iPhone and soundtrack. Refn recalls, “I said, ‘What[fitted them with] LiteRibbon LEDs if I did a chase that’s all about thefrom LiteGear.” Some of the D-Lights sound of the cars?’”contained hybrid LiteRibbons, which In terms of coverage, says Sigel,allowed Nako to switch between tung- “the second car chase is meant to be thesten and daylight color temperatures, most traditional. The twist at the end isand others contained RGB strips, which that Driver’s ability to overcome the carallowed for a wider array of colors. that’s chasing him is done by a bit of Nako and his crew also placed D- trickery: spinning his car around andLights inside the car, along with what driving backwards. It’s almost like athe gaffer calls “LED Sticks,” strips of tongue-in-cheek play on the climacticHybrid or RGB LiteRibbon fitted moment of a traditional car chase.”inside 3, 6 or 12 lengths of aluminum The sequence was shot over twochannel. “We used the 12-inch on the days around the Templin Highway exitwindshield [to supplement] the red- off of Interstate 5. AC visited the loca-light/green-light effect, and we used a tion on the second day and found the3-inch LED Stick in the instrument- crew busy prepping the climax of thepanel area to provide some glow,” says chase, when Driver puts his MustangNako. through a 270-degree spin to separate To power all the lights in and himself from the Chrysler, which thenaround the car, the crew placed a 12- caroms off a guardrail. The Chrysler’svolt 150AH MF Truck battery in the crash is seen through the rear wind-Impala’s trunk. “They put a bigger alter- shield of the Mustang as Hendricksnator in the motor, so the battery was “freaks out in the foreground,” saysbeing charged by the engine of the car Sigel; the shot was captured with anas we drove,” explains Nako. “The Alexa locked down where the frontbattery pushed 32 channels of 12-volt. passenger seat would normally be, nextEach D-Light was either two or to the precision driver who took thethree channels — the RGB had three wheel for the stunt.channels and the hybrids had two chan- Despite the heat, Refn was againnels. I also had two 6-by-1.2K wearing a blanket around his waist asLightronics dimmer packs on top of the he oversaw the proceedings on loca-car for the Arri 150s, and the whole tion. In addition to the Alexa in thesystem was being controlled by wireless Mustang, the crew was prepping aDMX, so we could chase the car with number of other cameras to ensure thethe follow van, where I had the ETC crash would not require more than oneSmart Fade ML dimmer board.” take; the other cameras included an The second car chase takes place Alexa on a remote head positionedduring the day and begins with the heist along the side of the road, another on agone wrong, which leaves Standard Mercedes SUV-mounted Ultimatedead at the scene. As Driver and Arm, and an Iconix HD-RH1 on theBlanche speed away in a black Ford Mustang’s dashboard.Mustang, a Chrysler 300 sedan with Sigel notes that he also “set uptinted windows begins its pursuit. “I my [Canon EOS] 5D in a fixed-loved the idea of this strange extra car,” camera position to get more coverage.says Refn. “My reference was when Every time I pulled out my 5D, itCary Grant runs in the crop field in ended up being used, just because you 41
  • 37. ◗ Road Warriors hunts Nino at night and runs the gang- Driver ster’s car off the road. Driver then drives approaches his ride along one straight into the side of Nino’s car with of Los Angeles’ enough force to send it toppling over a seedier cliff. backstreets. Sigel says that The sequence was filmed at Drive is “almost Malibu’s Point Mugu, where the a mythological production occupied a parking lot that story, not a story about overlooked the stretch of beach where today or Nino’s car lands. To backlight the crash, yesterday or Sigel and Nako employed a 16-head tomorrow, so it was important and a 9-head Bebee Night Light, and that the movie for fill they utilized 4 tungsten spheres have an almost rented from Skylight Lighting indefinable time period.” Balloons. Additionally, the crew brought in “cobra head” sodium-vapor streetlamps, which play in frame behind can put that camera where you would- far, we kept them to an absolute mini- Driver as he walks onto the beach and n’t dare put an Alexa.” However, the mum.” chases Nino into the crashing surf. The cinematographer adds, “in prep, focus Sigel describes Drive’s third and streetlamps’ warm backlight was further puller Nino Neuboeck and I tested the final chase sequence as “the most supplemented by “what I call Light 5D, 7D and Iconix cameras, thinking predatory.” Having traced his problems Grenades, bare sodium-vapor globes they would come in handy for the car since the heist back to crime boss that we could easily move around and work, but the quality of the Alexa Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and his flag off, depending on what effect was outdistanced the other cameras by so associate, Nino (Ron Perlman), Driver needed,” says Nako.42
  • 38. “Another big effect we had on for many years, was kind enough to sit films, I find a blanket in the costumethe beach was a searchlight, which was in during the transfer. Mark knew the department, and I wrap it around myactually a 7K Xenon bounced into a look I was going for, and if he saw stomach to keep the energy within me.spinning 4-by-4 mirror,” the gaffer something going in the wrong direc- I only take it off if I’m very, very angrycontinues. “Then, when the camera tion, he’d make some corrections and or very, very hot. It keeps my stomachlooks at the ocean, we turned the 16- give me a call. It was a very simple and warm, which centers me and giveshead Bebee toward the water and lit the easy system. me peace. Filmmaking is a stressfulatmosphere above it, so we could actu- “Because of all the work we did experience.” ●ally see the ocean.” with the Trulight, the DI was pretty Throughout the shoot, the film- simple,” continues Sigel. The finalmakers recorded out from the Alexa to digital grade was carried out atHDCam-SR tape. The camera was Company 3’s New York facility withalso monitored through a FilmLight colorist Tom Poole; Sigel also did some TECHNICAL SPECSTrulight On-Set system, which was preliminary work with colorist Stephenoverseen by digital-imaging technician Nakamura. 2.40:1Ryan Nguyen. Sigel explains that the Drive had its premiere at thisTrulight system allowed the filmmak- year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Digital Captureers to do “real-time color correction on Refn received the award for Bestthe set. We didn’t do anything radical, Director. In a conversation with the Arri Alexa,but we’d add some contrast and a little director a few months later, AC at last Weisscam HS-2 MK2,bit of saturation. All of the [metadata] asked the pressing question: What’s Canon EOS 5D Mark II,would be recorded on a Flash drive the deal with that blanket he wears Iconix HD-RH1that would go to FotoKem, where on set?[colorist/ASC associate member] “It’s a ritual I’ve had since my Angenieux Optimo, Cooke S4,Mark Van Horne, whom I’ve known first movie,” says Refn. “On all my Arri/Zeiss Master Prime WORLD CLASS HMICOME SEE THE LIGHT BRILLIANT HMI LIGHTING SOLUTIONS AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL AT THESE PREFERRED LOCATIONS: ADORAMA RENTAL CO distributed by (800) 456-0203 43
  • 39. Man of Action Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC takes with longtime collaborator Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC, they agreed that the story, whose locations encompass urban aim at Machine Gun Preacher, his and suburban Pittsburgh and various sites in Africa, presented ninth feature collaboration with a stylistic conundrum. “It seemed to want an epic feel, but director Marc Forster. without gloss,” says Schaefer. “We were after an immediate, down-and-dirty feel that people could relate to, but we also wanted to do justice to the sequences in Africa, which have By David Heuring landscapes and a lot of big action sequences.” They decided to shoot Super 16mm with the new •|• Hawk 1.3x anamorphic lenses from Vantage Film in Germany. “We felt that would make the most of the horizon- tal landscapes and also deliver the intimacy that anamorphic T he new drama Machine Gun Preacher is loosely based on can bring,” says Schaefer. “We chose the format for aesthetic the life of Sam Childers (played by Gerard Butler), a reasons, but we also knew we’d be able to move a lot faster biker and ex-con in Pittsburgh who experienced a reli- because the cameras are small. Marc wanted to shoot a lot of gious conversion and subsequently dedicated himself to material handheld with two cameras, and I think handheld helping war orphans in Sudan. He and his wife, Lynn, oper- has a more natural feel with Super 16. We also felt the smaller ate Angels of East Africa, the Children’s Village Orphanage cameras would be less intimidating for the many children in in Nimule, Sudan. our cast. When director Marc Forster began discussing the film “Shooting film helped in difficult circumstances —44 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 40. bright daylight, high-contrast situations and dark nights,” he adds. “As for the grain, we embraced it!” The 52-day schedule involved locations in Detroit, standing in for Pittsburgh, and the area around Johannesburg, South Africa, standing in for Sudan and Uganda. After Schaefer tested Hawk V- Series anamorphic lenses and experi- mented with Arri Relativity, a software package that facilitates grain manage- ment, he and Forster decided to shoot a few large-scale wide shots in Africa and Michigan on 35mm. “When you shoot very-wide-angle shots in Super 16, shots with a lot of distance and depth and small objects deep in the frame, you sometimes lose a bit of the detail because the resolution isn’t the same as with 35mm film,” explains the cinematogra- pher. “So we shot some of the very big wide shots on 35mm, and we went spherical because I knew I wouldn’t use the full negative. I knew I could cut into those images and use Relativity to fine- tune the grain so it would match theUnit photography by Phil Bray and Ilze Kitshoff, courtesy of Relativity Media and MGP Productions, LLC. 16mm material.” Schaefer’s prep also included test- ing every 16mm negative available. “I took everything into account — look, grain structure, color rendition,” he says. “We decided to use Kodak [Vision3 250D] 7207 for day exteriors and most day interiors, and [Vision3 500T] 7219 for night scenes and some darker day interiors.” Over the course of their collabo- rations, which have included Quantum of Solace (AC Nov. ’08), The Kite Runner (AC Nov. ’07) and Monster’s Ball, Schaefer and Forster have refined their planning method. “We come up with a plan book that includes every location or set drawing,” says Schaefer, “and we spend weeks going over it. Marc tells me where he wants the actors and how the action should happen. I’ll take notes and make diagrams with arrows that indicate movement based on how I feel the scene Opposite page: Sam Childers (Gerard Butler) prepares to confront the Lord’s Resistance should be represented and shot. I’ll make Army in Sudan. This page, top: After robbing a crack house, Childers and a friend (Michael Shannon, right) make a fateful decision to give a stranger a ride. Middle: Childers camera positions and lens notations, and embarks on a new path by choosing to be baptized. Bottom: Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC (left) say when there should be a crane, a confers with director Marc Forster. Steadicam, dolly or handheld. The w October 2011 45
  • 41. ◗ ManofActionTop: Children who have taken refuge at Childers’ orphanage welcome their hero back to Sudan. Bottom: Burning trees illuminate the action as the Lord’s Resistance Army attacks a village. and execute the shot.” One early scene shot in Michigan shows Childers and a friend (played by Michael Shannon) robbing a crack house and then partying in their car. The production found a real crack house in downtown Detroit that was so convincing the art department actually had to clean it up a bit for the shoot. “We used two cameras for most of that scene,” Schaefer recalls. “We tried to light it very craftily with practicalsso it would feel real.” His collaborations with Forster have made him well versed in how to light and shoot in tiny locations, he notes. The Detroit crack house had a 7- high ceiling, and the main room measured about 8x6. “We had to bring in some light from outside, mostly results look like football-play diagrams. look really cool here,’ when that idea mercury-vapor streetlight through the “We don’t hold to it 100 percent won’t work in the cut or the arc of the windows,” he says. “We were trying to because we want to be creative when we story. fit all the actors and two cameras in are out there on set,” he continues. “If “I liken it to a story I heard about there while keeping our angles and something better or more exciting Minor White, the nature photogra- maintaining a dramatic look. I don’t like comes up, great. But our prep moves us pher,” he adds. “He did what he called overly shaky handheld, especially on the a lot closer to a feeling and a look, and Zen photography, where he would walk big screen — I think it alienates the the plan book helps us stay true to the through nature without a camera, just audience. So we had to plan our shots story points. It keeps us from jumping seeing things. Then he would plan very well.” all over the place and saying, ‘This will everything in his head and then go back Schaefer usually operated the B46 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 42. Top: Childers takes the pulpit to welcome congregates to his own church. Bottom: The preacher’s wife (Michelle Monaghan) and daughter (Madeline Carroll) see him off at the, working with A-camera/Steadicam operator Jim McConkey.The A and B cameras were Arri 416s,and if additional cameras were neededthe team turned to Arri 16SR-2s. The416s were equipped with 1.3x “de-squeeze” viewfinders provided byVantage Film. Other cameras had regu-lar finders, meaning that the image inthe finder was squeezed. “Honestly, the1.3x squeeze is not all that difficult towork with,” says Schaefer. “We had nocomplaints. “The biggest challenge presentedby the format, as is often the case withanamorphic, was close focus,” hecontinues. “You can’t really get anycloser than about 3 feet. Sometimes youwant to get in the actor’s face, but youjust can’t do it. Vantage has a beautifulrectangular diopter that slides right intothe matte box, and we used it on abouthalf a dozen close-up detail shots, but ors and exteriors, requiring 12K HMIs At the beginning of the film,you’re still limited in how much you can through windows to create balance. One Childers is released from prison, and itmove. Otherwise, shooting anamorphic house location had extensive greenery isn’t long before he gets into troubledid not slow us down at all in either that the crew covered with muslin to again. Out of desperation, he agrees toMichigan or South Africa.” prevent a green cast from reflecting into attend church with his wife, Lynn Most of the scenes shot in interior scenes. For night exteriors in (Michelle Monaghan), a former strip-Michigan didn’t require a big lighting Detroit, Schaefer mostly went with per who changed her ways while he waspackage. Some day scenes mixed interi- existing streetlight. incarcerated. After his religious conver- w October 2011 47
  • 43. ◗ ManofAction Childers happily returns to Africa to check on progress at the orphanage. sion, Childers is inspired by a visiting says. “We wanted it to feel like a ‘major mended to me by Daniel Craig,” preacher who describes his experiences motion picture,’ if you will, with almost Schaefer says. “Guy is unbelievably in Africa, and he decides to go there to classic Western imaging at times, heroic resourceful; he could devise any gag or help out. Soon he is carrying an AK-47 stances. It’s not super smooth, but it gimmick to mount the camera at a and trying to rescue children who have feels like something very big and excit- moment’s notice, including motor been rounded up to serve as soldiers. He ing is happening.” mounts that allowed the operator to decides to raise money to build an One night scene that challenged wobble or shake the camera in a orphanage in the middle of the war Schaefer called for three pages of controlled way. He has developed a lot zone. dialogue and near-total darkness. of stuff of his own, including these great Night action in Africa was essen- Childers and some of his African 20-foot-long, single-piece dolly-track tially lit by a pale moonlight source, a friends are driving on a remote road at sections called Dragon Precision Tracks. 100K SoftSun that was usually 400 night when a vehicle approaches them They stay perfectly aligned and level away on a construction crane, and prac- and suddenly explodes. A shootout very quickly, and actors or operators can tical sources such as gas lamps, camp- ensues. “You have to make your choices run right down the middle.” fires and, in one instance, burning huts. for a scene like that,” says Schaefer. “At Micheletti says he designed the “The SoftSun was 1 1⁄2 to 2 stops first, in close shots in Sam’s jeep, there’s Dragon Precision Tracks out of frustra- under,” says Schaefer. “I was happy a little bit of dashboard light on their tion. “I was seeking a design that would because material we shot in very dark faces. The truck exploding gives us make laying track easier,” he says. “I conditions came out brilliantly, so tight something to use — it gives us a glimpse wanted a smooth ride and a more imag- and beautiful. I pushed 7219 by 1 stop, of their surroundings. Once Sam and inative, versatile configuration. There and it actually came out less grainy than the others get out of the jeep, they’re lit are no cross joiners. You can lay them in I wanted it to be. The stock held up so by their own headlights. Then they start any width that works. They accept most well that if I ever do another 16mm shooting at the guys running away and cranes and dollies. On a number of anamorphic film, I might shoot regular are only lit by their gunfire bursts. Our occasions, we set up an 8-foot-wide 16mm with a 2x anamorphic lens, lighting was that minimalistic for much steel deck with skate wheels, creating which would give me more of that of the shoot.” the ability to put two dollies on the track anamorphic feel.” If the lighting aspect of the shoot at the same time.” Although the lighting was often was relatively small, the grip logistics Micheletti says the prevailing minimal, Schaefer emphasizes that the were major. “I was amazed by the South weather conditions in and around Cape coverage style was cinematic. “We didn’t African crew, especially our key grip, Town, where he is based, have want this to feel like a documentary,” he Guy Micheletti, who was recom- prompted him to develop a variety of48 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 44. ◗ ManofAction night sets to minimize extraneous sound. In walk-and-talk situations, two 15x20 frames were held by grips in a V shape and carried along, thus reducing the wind’s impact on Steadicam opera- tor McConkey while improving sound conditions. During the shoot, Schaefer used Gamma Density’s 3cP System to send color-corrected stills to the production’s dailies timers. “For the most part, we had very good dailies,” he says. “I pretty much shot the negative for where I wanted it to sit, the sweet spot. In the final digital grade, which we did at Company 3 with Stephen Nakamura, we crushed a few scenes slightly or opened it up a bit here and Gaffer Scott Spencer joins Schaefer behind the camera. there. We also did some reframing of the 35mm shots and some aerial shots. strategies and equipment for controlling wind but allows 50 percent of the light Stephen is a brilliant colorist who wind. Some of these were used on to pass through. The screens were knows what I need and want.” Machine Gun Preacher, including screens staked and allowed to fly without a Visual-effects house Buf, which as large as 60x20 constructed of shade frame, like a sail. The same material was created the visual effects for the show, cloth, which stops 80 percent of the used to reduce wind around day-for- also did the final scanning of the 16mm50
  • 45. and 35mm negatives. The Super 16 that this work was not extensive. “In Childers was in. Grain creates a visceralfootage was scanned at 2K, and the general, we felt the grain was right response; it’s difficult to say exactly how“unsqueeze” was done digitally. Schaefer where it should be on much of the film. it works or what it does. Making thosefound Buf’s willingness to work with The producers agreed from the begin- aesthetic choices is what makes thethe unusual format was refreshing. “In ning to use Estar-based Kodak [Vision3 cinematographer’s job so interesting.”the past, I’ve encountered resistance 2254] intermediate film, which can be ●from visual-effects companies about used to make close to 2,000 directshooting Super 16 anamorphic,” he prints. That eliminates three generationssays. “In some instances, I wasn’t able to in the post path, which is where most ofshoot anamorphic because they said the grain gets introduced.”they didn’t have the time or money to Schaefer has given a lot of TECHNICAL SPECSachieve the desired quality, because each thought to the way grain impacts an 2.40:1lens would have to be tracked separately, audience. “If there’s no grain or no noisemaking it a much more difficult process. in the image, I think it can feel too real Super 16mm andWith the advent of auto-tracking, I to people, and that takes away some of 4-perf Super 35mmbelieve that has changed. Still, there the magic of being in a cinema,” hewere some concerns about shooting observes. “On the other hand, if you Arri 416, 16SR-2, 435Super 16 — some [effects facilities] said have a whole lot of grain bobbling all Hawk V-Series, Angenieux,it would be too grainy, and that there over the place, it can feel like bad late- Zeiss Distagonwould be weave. Fortunately, Buf said, night TV or extreme documentary stuff‘No problem,’ and we forged straight shot undercover. For this film, we Kodak Vision3 500T 7219,ahead.” wanted just enough grain to have a cine- 250D 7207/5207 Once the digital grade was matic quality, and to provoke a kind of Digital Intermediatecompleted, FotoKem took care of the nostalgia in the viewer. We wanted thegrain management, but Schaefer notes image to have a touch of the dirt that Panther Panther D olly Dolly n e w d o l l y g e n e rat i o n The new dolly generation • Lowest column dolly due to 3-stage column Lowest column to column • Equipped with the new High-Low Turnstile Equipped High-Low Turnstile 3-stage colu column • New Limit programming programming • New combined high-low-platform concept combined high-low-platform concept • Crab, Front and Rear steering Crab, Front Rear steering 3 steering modes steering To get flexibility and speed on set, a low camera position on dolly is the crucial factor. To flexibility set, low camera factor. The Tristar in comparison to other dollies: The Tristar comparison to Magnum PeeWee 4 Classic PeeWee Tristar Tristar Primo The comparison is the height of bowl/mitchell mount in center position at lowest column/arm position. The comparison height bowl/mitchell mount center at lowest column/arm PANTHER GmbH PANTHER GmbH Camadeus Film Technologies Camadeus Film Technologies Raiffeisenallee 3 | | 82041 Munich | |GGermany R aiffeisenallee 3 82041 Munich ermany 7358 Radford Ave. | Nor th Holly wood, CA 91605 7358 R adford Ave. North Hollywood, CA 91605 T +49.89.613 900–01 | F +49.89.61 31 00 0 +49.89.613 900–01 +49.89.61 31 00 T +818-764-1234 contac +818-764-1234 | w w contac w w 51
  • 46. Home Invasion W Alik Sakharov, ASC helps Rod Lurie remake the 1970s classic Straw Dogs. hen director Rod Lurie phoned Alik Sakharov, ASC a couple of years ago and asked if he wanted to shoot a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s violent drama Straw Dogs (1971), the cinematographer told him, “Rob, you got some balls. That’s not something everyone would take on.” But Sakharov had worked with Lurie before (on By Michael Goldman Nothing But the Truth) and had dealt with lots of controversial subject matter in his own work, which has included The Sopranos (AC Sept. ’07, March ’01) , Rome (AC Sept. ’05)and •|• Game of Thrones. He agreed with Lurie’s intent to follow the52 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 47. Opposite page: Amy (Kate Bosworth) and David (James Marsden) discover their property is under attack. This page, top: Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård) introduces himself to the couple in a bid to land a job. Middle: The actors stand by as director Rod Lurie (center) discusses a setup with Alik Sakharov, ASC. Bottom: With a large diffusion frame at the ready, cast and crew prepare a scene depicting Charlie’s first day on the job. overall path of the original story but give the remake a different visual style. So he signed on to shoot the movie in 2009 inUnit photography by Steve Dietl. Additional photos by Alik Sakharov. Photos and frame grabs courtesy of Screen Gems. Shreveport, La. Among the first decisions he and Lurie tackled was whether to accede to the studio’s suggestion that they shoot digitally using Panavision’s Genesis. Sakharov felt the camera would not provide the latitude he and Lurie would need, so he insisted on shooting film instead. The producers agreed, but mandated that he shoot 2-perf (Super 35mm) to help keep costs down. Three weeks into the shoot, after gate-hair issues arose in several shots that had to be cleaned up in post, the production switched to 3-perf. The filmmakers used a Panavision package comprising a Panaflex Millennium XL2 (A camera), a Platinum (B camera) and a Lightweight (Steadicam work); Primo prime lenses; Primo 4:1 17.5-75mm and 11:1 24- 275mm zoomlenses, and Angenieux Optimo 15-40mm and 28-76mm zooms. Sakharov shot the picture on two Kodak Vision3 stocks, 500T 5219 (which he used for all interior locations, stage work and night exteriors) and 250D 5207 (all day exteriors). Sakharov maintains that his biggest challenge revolved around how to light the movie. Teaming with w October 2011 53
  • 48. ◗ Home Invasion Shreveport-based gaffer Bob Bates, he ended up making some choices about both the “what” and the “how” of the lighting scheme in order to make the movie stand on its own visually, rather than walk in the photographic footsteps of its predecessor (shot by John Coquillon). Like Peckinpah’s film, however, the new Straw Dogs features extensive brutality. The protagonist, David (James Marsden), is driven to the brink of great violence, and eventually beyond, by local thugs who harass and eventually assault him and his wife, Amy (Kate Bosworth). The film contains a disturbing rape scene, as the original film did, and a major pyro sequence that marks a depar- ture from the original. In general, says Sakharov, his goal was a contemporary aesthetic, but a Top: The filmmakers capture a scene in which David and Amy chat with a member of Charlie’s crew. subtle one. “We didn’t want the photog- Bottom: Lighting in another room in the couple’s house included Whities (angled overhead at left and at raphy to feel like it was calling attention right), fixtures that Sakharov created with gaffer Kevin Janicelli years ago. Louisiana gaffer Bob Bates embraced and helped to evolve the lights on Straw Dogs. to itself,” he says. “We wanted it to feel like a camera just happened to be there,54 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 49. Top: This diagram shows Whities in play for a nighttime car interior depicting David and Amy’s reaction to a strange sight in the road. Bottom: Sakharov’s photo of the setup with the actors’ lighting stand-ins. quiet and subdued, while these events recalls Bates. “For all the big scenes, he horse lights on a dimmer system that are were taking place.” had printouts with notes about what we easy and fast to erect and move aroundDiagram and photo courtesy of Alik Sakharov. Bates, who was working with needed where. He broke down the horizontally or vertically on a set without Sakharov for the first time, says he was script, as many cinematographers do, but having to place them on the ground. amazed by the cinematographer’s metic- he went a lot further than that. Those The goal, says Sakharov, was to speed up ulous planning of camera and light aerial pictures, which had details about the batten-strip concept so he could placement. That effort included layering where the camera would be, what lights light fairly sizable areas more efficiently. lighting and camera information on top were needed where and much more, “Batten strips almost touch each other, of aerial photos Sakharov had created of were pretty impressive!” and they generate a single shadow when key locations, giving Bates a detailed The foundation of Sakharov’s you turn them on,” says Sakharov. “If reference template. “Alik almost always lighting plan was an instrument he calls you put two or three of them together, knew exactly where he wanted the Whities, which he and gaffer Kevin you suddenly can light a good 12-to-14- camera to be and how he wanted to light Janicelli created for The Sopranos years foot area quickly and be really flexible, [a location] before we started shooting,” ago. They’re essentially simple work- providing a long throw that actors can w October 2011 55
  • 50. ◗ Home Invasion Top: David and Amy encounter Charlie at the church in town. Bottom: Sakharov directs his crew as the filmmakers prep a scene at a high-school football game. 1x4 boxes measuring 1 deep and hous- ing strips of 100-watt bulbs that could be mounted quickly above a set flap or a grid, or vertically on an apple box or stand. Sakharov says they allowed him to light perimeters on set, and because they are dimmer controlled, he could easily choose which side of the set would be lit at a given moment. The units also accept gel frames and egg crates. They became the primary lighting instrument for most of the interior work on Straw Dogs. Bates acknowledges that the Whities initially presented him with a bit of a learning curve, but he eventually became very impressed with the tool and, in fact, helped Sakharov evolve it further. “Alik is devoted to the concept, and he even told me at the start what walk through. What I wanted was to eventually put them in metal boxes. bulbs to buy for the sockets,” says the control them better, and after talking to “We built more than 200 of them gaffer. “He asked me to use them all the Kevin, we decided to encase them in for The Sopranos, and I still carry two time, but I realized that because of the some sort of box. His team built a box dozen with me on every show,” he way some of our sets were laid out, we that was a prototype for what Whities continues. “I use them on everything. It’s would need smaller versions that were would become later on — a box built just a great way to work fast and get my basically 2 feet long instead of 4 feet around a batten strip, and then an egg lights off the floor and up in a grid long. So we made up some 2-foot crate to control the spill. It became a quickly.” versions, ‘Little Whities,’ and we ended transportable and repeatedly usable unit, By the time he began prepping up using them extensively. but after seeing it take some bangs, we Straw Dogs, Whities had evolved into “I came to really like using them,”56 October 2011 American Cinematographer
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  • 52. ◗ Home Invasion Bates continues. “Each fixture can and to be honest, I’ve used them on and his home from assault. In that situa- receive up to three gel frames. We ended every show since Straw Dogs!” tion, says Sakharov, he was able to use up having several more gel frames made Sakharov says Whities gave him Whities for a subtle backlight effect. to keep them pre-gelled for quick access, not only more flexibility in his lighting “The story calls for the lighting in the and we also skinned them with Opal options, but also a certain “realistic house to be out, because David doesn’t and 250 diffusion in addition to 1⁄4 or imperfection” and mix of color tempera- want to be seen from the outside,” 1⁄2 CTB frames, depending on the setup. tures that suited the subtle approach he explains the cinematographer. “He’s Alik always knew exactly what kind of was pursuing. For example, during the attempting to move around in the house light he would get out of them. I now film’s climax, all hell breaks loose as without being detected. In those shots, own a couple of Little Whities myself, David finds himself defending his wife we basically used Whities to outline the figures in the shot, and then used a mini- mal amount of fill light from the camera side. That was our only lighting.” Eventually, a fire is set in a nearby barn, and Sakharov had to determine how to create this lighting effect through David and Amy’s windows. The bedroom from which they see flames was a set built onstage, so extensive light was required. Bates’ crew bounced six 12-light Maxi-Brutes with either 1⁄2 or Full CTO gels into muslin or UltraBounce through the bedroom windows. “That was the keylight coming through the windows, and it gave the sense of fire flickering nicely,” says Bates. “We couldn’t use flame bars because we needed control over the whole thing. It’s Top: David joins Charlie and his crew for a hunting expedition. Bottom: The filmmakers prepare to augment natural light at the location with Sourcemaker HMI LightingBalloons and two bounced 18Ks. “The grips also flew 12-by silksfrom the trees to help diffuse thesun,” adds Bates.58 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 53. ◗ Home Invasion The film’s grim finale plays out in the couple’s home in almost total darkness. meant to be extremely dramatic, because 18Ks to mimic it. We usually had the 20Ks behind them on dimmers to through that light you see silhouettes of 18Ks on a 60-foot crane, so we could provide either sidelight or three-quarter the men attacking the house.” adjust or extract the arm to cover the backlight. Then I’d have a hard light — Exterior lighting was typically the area where [the sun] needed to be. It was like a 20K and a Dino or Super Dino “big lighting” part of the job, notes an efficient way to do it, but we had to — on the direct opposite lens, raised up Sakharov, and his approach was to go for plan carefully where to shoot and how to on a 100-foot or 120-foot lift. That gave “large, broad, soft sources.” He adds, position all the equipment around the me a backlight to isolate figures against “Sunlight is prominent in this movie, set so it would be out of frame. the blackness of night. On the camera and we had a range of big frames, such “For night exteriors, we joined 12- side, I’d have minimal fill light to open as 20-by-20s and 12-by-20s, and by-20 frames to create a 24-foot or 40- blacks and shadows, which was very flyswatters to control it, and an array of foot run of light. We had an array of important on this film.”60
  • 54. “We often used the 12-by-20s Lurie asked him to use three in order to visual storytelling, so I was not easy onalong with the fabric grids from get adequate coverage more quickly. “I them, but I had glowing discussionsLighttools, and we’d use anywhere from didn’t want to do three cameras at first, with them after the project, so I thinkone to three 18Ks through it [for day but once I understood how rough the they appreciated the input. I think Strawscenes],” adds Bates. “Sometimes we’d scene was for Kate, I said, ‘Of course, Dogs gave all of us a chance to grow.”even go to three 18Ks and two 12K Pars. we’ll figure it out,’” recalls the cine- ●There’s one scene in particular — a band matographer. “I lit more broadly tois playing outside, and several characters accommodate all three cameras, and, asare interacting — where we lined up two is always the case when you light for12-by-20s next to each other to create a multiple cameras, some angles suffer.12-by-40, and we pushed three 18Ks But it was necessary, and Rod had aand two 12Ks through them. We were good plan to edit it all together.” TECHNICAL SPECStrying hard to push light in because the Sakharov credits A-camera/ 2.40:1actors are under a canopy in the scene, Steadicam operator Henry Tirl and B-and the background is raw sun.” camera operator Bob Foster for their 3-perf and 2-perf Super One of the most delicate aspects sensitivity during that scene. Tirl had 35mmof Sakharov’s job was filming the rape worked on Nothing But the Truth and Panaflex Millennium XL2,sequence. He and Lurie wanted to avoid was requested by Lurie, and Foster was a Platinum, Lightweightbreaking into handheld mode to empha- local operator new to the filmmakers.size the chaos of the moment. Instead, Sakharov calls himself “a frame Panavision Primo,they adhered to their philosophy for the fanatic,” and says he was particularly Angenieux Optimomovie as a whole and kept the cameras demanding of his cameramen during Kodak Vision3 500T 5219,stationary and unobtrusive. production. “I work very closely with my 250D 5207 Sakharov had planned to shoot operators,” he says. “Building the framethe scene with his usual two cameras, but is one of the most important elements in Digital Intermediate A discovery. An apology. To forgive… or not? 126 Please visit us at: LDI Booth No. 1220 Think LEE 61
  • 55. King of NewYork Richard DiBona and others recall As the smiling face of General Camera Corp., DiBona became a benevolent father figure to nearly every cameraman the glory days of General Camera, working in New York between 1962 and 1992. During those which helped a number of great three decades, General Camera supplied equipment and support to almost 90 percent of productions filmed on the cinematographers make their names. Eastern seaboard. Those familiar with the company say the secret of its success was DiBona’s business acumen, but they By Iain Stasukevich are also quick to emphasize his deep knowledge of camera technology and his unwavering dedication to filmmakers of every level. •|• “Cameras are my love,” says DiBona. “I was a film- maker, a camera designer. I was born with the movies inside me.” ASC associate member Richard DiBona’s living Born in Brooklyn in 1922, DiBona exhibited talents for room on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is filled photography, machinery and music in his youth. In 1941, with dozens of photos depicting friends, family shortly after the United States joined World War II, he and collaborators. For DiBona, there’s practi- enlisted in the army, entering the Signal Corps as a non- cally no distinguishing among them. commissioned officer at its Photographic Center in Queens.62 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 56. He was selected to staff the machine shop, where he spent the next four years converting 35mm wind-up Eyemos and 16mm Filmos and Auricons for hand- held use on the battlefield. The Signal Corps station served as a school whose faculty included some of the most prestigious names in cinema. “Stanley Cortez [ASC] prided himself on teaching those soldiers the craft,” DiBona recalls. “He finally made it to PFC, and a lot of the guys who worked with him were officers. He was always yelling at them, telling them what to do with the camera. They listened, of course!” During his time at the Photographic Center, DiBona also met fellow soldier and future ASC cine- matographer Gerald Hirschfeld. After Opposite: General Camera co-founder Richard DiBona (second from left) poses with the war, DiBona and Hirschfeld Panavision executives (from left) Egon Stephan Sr., founder of CineVideoTech Inc., which represented Panavision in Florida; Sydney Samuelson, founder of England’s Samuelson Film Service, accepted civilian positions in the Signal which represented Panavision in Europe and Australia; Robert Gottschalk, who co-founded Corps. When the U.S. ramped up its Panavision in 1953; and Mel Hoppenheim, founder of Panavision Canada. Following General Camera’s atomic-bomb program, DiBona was success in the 1960s, Panavision offered the company exclusive distribution of Panaflex cameras on the East Coast. Above: DiBona (fourth from left) is surrounded by a group of Signal Corps enlisted one of the cameramen present in men at the U.S. Army’s Photographic Center in Queens. Nevada for the first tests. He and others photographed the explosions from his father, Sol, who was a cinematogra- give them whatever they wanted for the “News Knob,” a mesa about 7 miles pher for Fox Movietone News, and year. We took their camera, and they from ground zero. “I went out there DiBona. “Dick has such a dynamic took our money and immediately twice,” DiBona recalls. “We didn’t get personality, and he’s fantastic with bought another Mitchell.” too close, although we were close cameras,” Roizman says. “Whenever General Camera’s first office was enough to get knocked off our feet.” there was a tough technical question at the corner of 7th Avenue and 48th DiBona left the Signal Corps in about cameras, even the pros turned to Street, above the legendary Cafe 1955 to take a position as a camera tech- him.” Metropolé. In 1962, the company’s staff nician with Camera Equipment Co. CECO founder Frank Zucker comprised DiBona and Keslow, along (known as CECO) in Manhattan. “It left the company to his son, Burt, who with DiBona’s wife, Anne Marie, whoPhotos courtesy of Owen Roizman, Richard DiBona and Craig DiBona. was the biggest camera company in died in a plane crash in 1961. This handled the books, and Joe Malavenda, New York,” he says. CECO introduced prompted the sale of CECO’s assets to a young machinist. One year later, DiBona to the world of Hollywood another New York camera house, DiBona hired a young German engi- filmmaking. Commercials were also Florman Babb, which renamed itself neer named Fred Schuler (future ASC). making money in New York, and FB CECO. Without the Zuckers in Schuler had started out working CECO did big business with the charge, DiBona decided it was time to for Arri in Munich, and he was 24 when companies producing content for the ad strike out on his own, and at the invita- he joined General Camera. One of his agencies on Madison Avenue. One of tion of CECO salesman Milton first tasks was to build a noiseless these companies was MPO, a commer- Keslow, he helped start up General mirror-reflex viewing system. Some cial production house that had a staff of Camera. 35mm cameras used a prism to direct cinematographers and its own cameras, “In the beginning,” says Keslow, the image through a viewfinder, but the mainly 35mm Mitchell NCs and “all we had was a name and a dream.” glass would absorb and refract precious BNCs. The company’s first customer was light before it reached the film plane. Future ASC member Owen Hirschfeld. “Dick and Milton bought a The Arri 35IIC, an old camera by that Roizman worked at CECO as a techni- Mitchell NC and were trying to rent it time, used a reflex viewing system, but cian for two summers, in 1955-56, and out,” he recalls. “I was then the vice pres- the gear-driven rotating shutter was too then later assisted Hirschfeld at MPO. ident at MPO, and I told them I’d rent loud for sync-sound production. He recalls sitting in on breakfasts with the camera, leave it at the studio and Most of the 35mm motion- w October 2011 63
  • 57. ◗ King of New York through the eyepiece they weren’t seeing what was going on the film, because it was a reflection off the shutter.” About nine months later, Schuler left General Camera to become a camera assistant. On one of his first jobs, he assisted Haskell Wexler, ASC on The Thomas Crown Affair (AC Oct. ’68). “When I got hired, I had no idea they were shooting with my reflex BNC,” Schuler recalls. “The operator complained all the time because he had a stiff neck. He said it was a pain in the ass. I wasn’t about to tell him I was the one who’d converted it!” By the mid-1960s, New York’s film and television industry had started to change. Filmmakers began taking advantage of smaller cameras, shooting on locations all over the city with mini- mal crew and minimal gear. “The DiBona (left) greets an associate at a nuclear-test site in Nevada. DiBona was among the cameras we’d used during the war really cameramen who photographed the first atomic-bomb explosions from “News Knob,” a mesa changed the industry — equipment about 7 miles from ground zero. became very portable,” says DiBona. 16mm cameras were particularly picture cameras in use were Mitchell first reflex-mirror camera produced in popular with news cameramen, who NCs and BNCs, which had a rack-over the States.” favored the lightweight Bach-Auricon design. The camera box housed the The design called for the modi- sound-on-film cameras, but 16mm movement, motor, magazine, controls fied BNC’s single-blade focal-plane camera bodies and magazines were part and viewing system. There were two shutter to rotate at a 2:1 ratio with the of a single, solid cast and could only viewing positions for the cameraman: butterfly reflex mirror. This meant that accept 100 loads. DiBona reflexed a focusing and framing. To focus, the for every exposure taken, the mirror batch of Auricons and chopped off the cameraman would “rack over” the made half a revolution. DiBona had the fused magazines, replacing them with camera box laterally on its base so the idea to use beveled-spiral gears, which Mitchell magazine mounts, which focusing tube was directly behind the were relatively quiet compared to their allowed the cameras to run loads rang- taking lens (mounted on a turret straight-toothed counterparts. “I used a ing from 400-1,200. The cameras were attached to the base), then rack back to lot of Arriflex parts to make that a hit with the networks, but the align the aperture with the lens. An camera, particularly the mirror,” says Auricon’s motors and gears weren’t offset viewfinder allowed the camera- Schuler. “Because the mirror in the strong enough to pull the larger loads at man to frame the shot while the camera 35IIC is also the shutter, we had to proper sync speeds, so DiBona designed was rolling. grind it down. We only needed it to an entirely new camera based on the There was nothing inherently reflect an image to the viewfinder.” Auricon movement: the SS3 (Single lacking in the rack-over design, but The first feature to use General System, third design). DiBona wanted to improve it so the Camera’s reflexed BNC was The As General Camera’s reputation cameraman only had to look through Swimmer (1968), shot by David L. and customer base grew, the company one viewfinder to operate the camera. Quaid, ASC, whom DiBona describes expanded to include lighting and grip He asked Schuler to modify a BNC. “I as “a very adventurous cameraman.” Not rentals, as well as three soundstages on didn’t want to do it because I wasn’t surprisingly, the new technology was 19th Street. In the late 1960s the even sure I could do it,” says Schuler. met with some skepticism. “Some company moved to 321 West 44th St., “Plus, I thought it was a great camera cameramen wouldn’t look through the which became Technicolor’s headquar- just the way it was. But about six eyepiece,” says DiBona. “They didn’t ters when General Camera moved months later, one of our BNCs was want to keep their eye there, so they’d again, this time to 38th Street and 11th dropped and damaged. That gave us a put the finder on the side and use that. Avenue. “It was like a supermarket — camera to convert, and it became the They thought when they looked we supplied everything,” says DiBona’s64 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 58. son, Craig, now an ASC member. “Wehad two camera floors complete withour own machine shop, a stock floor,and lighting and grip on the bottom twofloors.” General Camera’s position wasbolstered further when Panavisionoffered DiBona exclusive distribution ofPanaflex cameras on the East Coast.“After that, we handled almost all thefilms that were shot in the East,” saysDiBona, who also held the exclusivelicense for Chapman dollies and cranesfor a time. What Panavision got in returnwas DiBona. Hirschfeld remembersrenting a Panavision package fromGeneral Camera for a job in Chicago: “I wouldn’t go to any other rental company in New York.”“Our zoom lens wasn’t calibrated, so wesent it back to Dick in New York forrecalibration. After that, I wrote a letterto Robert Gottschalk, the president ofPanavision, and said Dick could cali-brate a Panavision lens better than theguys at Panavision. I went to seeGottschalk in Hollywood some yearslater, and he had the letter posted on aboard in the office. He wanted all of hisemployees to see it.” In addition to knowledge andequipment, DiBona stockpiled loyalty.“I wouldn’t go to any other rentalcompany in New York,” says Victor J.Kemper, ASC, whose East Coastfeatures included The Friends of EddieCoyle (1973)and Dog Day Afternoon(1975). “Dick went out of his way tomake cinematographers comfortable
  • 59. ◗ King of New York and make whatever idea we had work. If there was a problem you couldn’t solve, he’d come to the set in the middle of the night.” Like many camera houses, General Camera bred cameramen from its rosters of technicians and clients. Veteran camera assistant Gary Muller spent a couple of summers on the General Camera prep floor in the mid- 1960s. He recalls, “I was a young kid amongst all these adults, but Dick took me under his wing and showed me the importance of having a good technical foundation. His knowledge was our guiding light.” Some of the best-known films in the American New Wave were shot in New York during General Camera’s reign, among them Klute (1971), The French Connection (1971),The Godfather (1972), Taxi Driver (1976) and Annie DiBona (left) and a colleague service equipment in the camera shop at Camera Hall (1977). DiBona might be too Equipment Co. (known as CECO) in Manhattan. “It was the biggest camera company humble to admit it, but if it wasn’t for in New York,” DiBona notes. General Camera, many of these classics66
  • 60. might not even exist as we know them. him involves a picture I’d rather not grip departments to Panavision. Roizman appreciates this better name. I was working with one of his Although General Camera is gone, thethan anyone. In 1970, he was working at Panaflex cameras, and one day we company’s name and legacy remainMPO as a commercial cinematographer tipped the camera down on the gear- sharp in the memories of the camera-and looking for a way to break into head and it started making noise. We men who called it home.features. One day a young director had to stop shooting, take the A camera “General Camera was like anamed Billy Friedkin was at General off and put the B camera on. This took home,” emphasizes Muller. “When youCamera having lunch with DiBona, and 20 or 30 minutes, and by that time the were there, you were part of the DiBonahe mentioned he’d just fired the cine- cast was breaking down and the crew family. There was truly no other placematographer slated to shoot his next started going for coffee. where you could get that kind of knowl-feature, The French Connection. DiBona “I sent the camera back to Dick. edge and honesty.”recommended Roizman for the job, He turned it around and brought it “Dick is bigger than life,” sayseven though the young cinematogra- back, but it started making the same Roizman. “I love the man so much.”pher had just one (unreleased) feature noise. We lost another hour. The third “Like a brother,” adds Kemper.under his belt. time the camera came back, the same “It’s very hard to be all things to “The rest is history,” Roizman thing happened. I was livid that this all men,” Willis observes, “but Dicksays. “Dick’s always been a great cham- thing was taking up all of our time. DiBona comes very close.” ●pion of cinematographers. He pushed Without saying a word, I pulled thefor Gordy, too.” camera off the head and threw it into “Gordy” is, of course, Gordon the middle of the street. Dick never saidWillis, ASC, who also worked at MPO a word to me about it. He just sent overas an assistant before moving up the a camera that was so quiet I kept it forranks. “Dick made working in New the rest of my career.”York great,” says Willis. “One of the DiBona retired in 1992 and soldmore outstanding stories I have about General Camera’s camera, lighting and 67
  • 61. Post Focus Frame grabs and photos courtesy of Lobster Films, Groupama-Gan and Technicolor. An iconic frame from George Méliès Le voyage dans la lune, recently restored to its original hand-colored glory at Technicolor. The restoration premiered at Cannes and made its U.S. debut at the Telluride Film Festival. I Restoring Méliès’ Marvel By Robert S. Birchard a unique treasure will be lost forever. It was just such a nightmare that confronted Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange of Paris-based Lobster Films when they acquired a Anyone who edited films in the days before Avid and Final hand-colored print of the century-old fantasy-film milestone by Cut Pro will remember the nightmare: There’s a screening in 10 Georges Méliès, Levoyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) , in a minutes for the head of the studio, and all the changes have been swap with Anton Gimenez, who was then director of the Filmoteca made except for extending that one crucial shot, the “beauty shot” de Catalunya in Spain. This was the sort of bargain a slick horse with the moving camera and fluid motion. You find the trim hang- trader might make. The Spanish archive received a previously lost ing in the bin and splice it into the work picture, only to discover a film by Segundo de Chomón, and the French got a unique color jump cut. A frame is missing. You can slug it with black leader for the print of an otherwise common French film, only the print was negative cutter, but the “suits” at the screening will demand to shrunken, brittle and fused together into a rigid mass that made it know what that black frame was, and the carefully spun mood will resemble a hockey puck. It certainly couldn’t be projected, nor was be broken. So you pull all the film hanging on hooks and search the it in any kind of shape to be fed into an optical printer for copying. bottom of the bin for that elusive frame, and the clock is ticking. More than one film lab told Bromberg and Lang their print Now imagine a whole film made up of one- and two-frame was a total loss. There was, however, a bit of a silver lining: for the trims, and some of those frames are in pieces, exponentially most part, the film was fused only along the perforated edges of the compounding the challenge. And that clock you hear ticking is the film, and with infinite patience and a small, flexible card it was possi- doomsday clock — if you can’t put these pieces back together again, ble to peel the film apart from itself. Then Haghefilm Conservation68 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 62. ered the ‘scan’ of the original source.” In October 2002, to celebrate the movie’s centennial (and the 10th anniver- sary of Lobster’s famous Retour de Flamme shows), Lobster publicly screened a Beta SP tape of the available color images — unsta- bilized and unrestored — with about half the film in color and the rest in black-and- white from a fine-grain master positive. At the time, much of the original hand-colored print was still in the chemical vapors. It would be nearly a decade before anything more could be done with these digital snapshots. “Reconstructing the entire film was our Holy Grail,” says Bromberg, “but we never thought we could do it when we started photographing the color frames. We only realized it might be possible when 2K and 4K digital technologies emerged, but even then it seemed like a dream, because the puzzle we were starting with was in so many pieces.” First released in France on Sept. 1, 1902, Le voyage dans la lune was a world- wide event movie in its day. Méliès had a background in theater, and he was never able to shake his reliance on stage tech- nique — he shot his films from a front-row- center perspective against painted trompe l’oeil backdrops. But he was also one of the first to utilize jump cuts, stop-motion anima- tion, reverse action and other camera tricks that made his films breathtaking in their time. Ever the showman, Méliès often presented his films with live narration that would flesh out character and story for audiences, and he offered his films for sale in both black-and-white and color. A 1905 American catalogue for Méliès’ Star Films (in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art) lists the pictureat 845 in length with a sale price of $126.75, or 15 cents per foot, for a black-and-white Here is an example of a damaged frame from the hand-colored print. Color, which was hand-painted on print and the same frame fully restored. each of the 13,375 frames, was consider- ably more expensive, and it was therefore B.V. in Amsterdam was able to rejuvenate with the best digital still camera available at far less common for exhibitors who were the film by placing it under a bell jar and the time,” recalls Bromberg, adding that interested in turning a fast buck to pony up giving it the gas — suspending it in a chem- Lange supervised this work. “Every time a the extra money for a color print. ical vapor originally formulated by Archives few images were recovered, we’d photo- Probably because of its subject Française du Film. graph them before they turned to dust, matter, Le voyage dans la lune never “The film was put in the chemicals at which is a consequence of using the chem- completely disappeared from public the end of 2001, and it took about two icals. Basically, there were only a few days to consciousness and continued to elicit curios- years to have all the images photographed photograph the stills, which can be consid- ity as Man began to dream of venturing into70 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 63. space for real. It was even seen in theprologue to Mike Todd’s adaptation of JulesVerne’s Around the World in 80 Days(1956)as a pale, small-screen, monochromecomparison by which to judge the modernwonders of 70mm Todd-AO and EastmanColor. Was it possible to fully resurrect thehand-colored marvel of 1902? “It became clear that there wasa possibility when Gilles Duval of theGroupama-Gan Foundation and SeverineWemaere of the Technicolor Foundation forFilm Heritage decided to be part of theventure,” says Bromberg. “They were realpartners, not only financial backers. Thefinal restoration work was made at Techni-color in Hollywood.” It may be only a coincidence, butwith his curled mustache, pointed beardand cheerful demeanor, Tom Burton, Tech-nicolor’s executive director of restorationservices, bears a striking resemblance toMéliès. Burton oversaw the restoration ofthe picture, supervising a team that includedlead restoration artist Danny Albano;producer Karen Krause; restoration artistsTrey Freeman, Joe Zarceno and John Healy;and colorist Mike Underwood. “What we received from LobsterFilms were digital files in various formatsand in several different resolutions,” Burtonrecalls. “Some frames were captured viadigital camera, frame by frame, and somewere captured on a digital scanner fromshort sections of the 1902 original thatcould be copied on Haghefilm’s step printerin Holland. Because the initial digitizationtook place over a period of years in differentlocations and with different equipment, thematerial was not organized in any sort ofsequence; each digitization session gener-ated its own naming convention and frame-numbering protocol. So, for example, therewere numerous ‘Frame Ones’ from differentparts of the film. “Much of the image data repre-sented broken frames and shattered piecesof frames, and there were even severalversions of some shots, with the files differ-ing greatly in color, density, size, sharpnessand position,” he continues. “It was notpossible to play back a continuous imagestream.” Using an HDCam telecine of a black-
  • 64. Vision Phoenix/DVO, MTI and After Effects. Our restoration team rebuilt shattered frames into new, full-frame re-creations of their original state. The black-and-white material was then digitally painted to repli- cate the original color frames where the original colors had not survived.” Today such colorization can be done with such precision that it can look like the footage was originally shot in color, but this would not match the look of Méliès’ hand- painted original. In an effort to replicate the workspace the hand-painters worked with more than a century ago, Technicolor’s digi- tal painters experimented with small-screen images approximating the size of a 35mm frame as they applied their electronic brushes. This helped them establish, for the final painting process, the look of the hand- painted colors sometimes overflowing and sometimes not quite filling the image. “The black-and-white replacement These photos sequences did not match the color material reveal the sorry state of the in size, position, grain structure or density original print, because of the differing conditions of the which was source elements,” says Burton. “Each indi- shrunken, brittle and fused vidual frame was carefully resized and repo- together when sitioned as necessary. The grain structure it was first was also tweaked to match the original turned over to Lobster Films. source in order for it to intercut more seam- lessly with the original. Once the recon- struction was complete, another stabiliza- tion and de-flicker pass was applied to further integrate the disparate sources. A and-white version transferred from a 1929 into reasonable proximity with one final color-timing pass balanced the overall nitrate dupe negative, which also contained another.” color integrity of the various elements, and the final three seconds that were missing The archival dupe neg provided the then separate color-space grades were from the hand-tinted print, “we eye- scaffolding on which the color elements completed for 35mm, DCP and HD release matched individual color frames and short were built, but to replace most of the mate- formats.” frame sequences, which we’d reformatted rial missing in the color footage, the team “When Technicolor showed me a as DPX files, to the dupe neg in a digital turned to a black-and-white nitrate print side-by-side comparison of the black-and- editing environment,” says Burton. “In this owned by Madeleine Malthete-Méliès, white material and the original surviving editorial conform we were able to see for granddaughter of the pioneering film- color frames in January of this year, only the first time exactly what original color maker. This print was scanned at the French then were we certain the restoration would material existed, what condition it was in Film Archives of the Centre National du be possible,” says Bromberg. “But we had and which material was missing entirely. Cinema on a Sasha scanner, which outputs no idea how long it would take — three “The next step was a stabilization frames as vertically oriented TIFF files. This months, a year? As it turned out, the work pass, adjusting the relative position relation- scan was reformatted to match horizontally was completed on May 2, and the film, in ships of all individual frames. Then de-flicker oriented DPX files, and then the scenes its original colors, opened the Cannes Film processing was used to balance frame-to- were digitally graded to approximate the Festival.” ● frame and intra-frame density variations. tinted look of the color print. Following these steps, we used Resolve’s “Then the serious image reconstruc- color-correction platform to do a ‘pre- tion began,” says Burton. “We used a timing’ to bring the widely diverse colors palette of restoration and visual-effects- and densities of the various capture sources specific digital platforms, including Digital72 October 2011 American Cinematographer
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  • 66. Filmmakers’ Forum system. I was concerned about the Red’s reliability and ergonomics, and at that time it still had a lot of trouble A young boy in low-light tungsten situations — I felt the skin tones (Nathan Gamble) never looked real. On the plus side, Max had some very bonds with a nice Zeiss Master Primes and short Angenieux zoom rudderless sea lenses that I knew would help. creature in Dolphin Tale, Camera weight was another concern. The shot by Karl Paradise rig weighed almost 100 pounds in studio Walter mode, and we also needed an underwater housing. Lindenlaub, ASC, BVK. I was able to hire several of my longtime Los Angeles crewmembers, including 1st AC Tommy Klines, 2nd AC Miki Janicin and key grip Loren Corl. The gaffer, Pat Murray, had just moved to our location in Clearwa- ter, Fla., and came highly recommended by Russell I Shooting Dolphin Tale in 3-D By Karl Walter Lindenlaub, ASC, BVK Boyd, ASC. I wanted to operate one camera myself, and for the second camera we were lucky to get Michael St. Hilaire, who had also recently Last summer I had packed for a six-month, once-in-a-lifetime moved to Florida. The underwater photography would be operated by adventure in India — shooting a movie about the life of Buddha — Pete Zuccarini, one of the most experienced underwater cameramen when the producer called with the bad news that the financing had in the country. collapsed. Since the plane tickets had already been purchased, I took Paradise offered an underwater rig that used Silicon Imaging’s my family for a short trip to Germany, but I still really needed a job! SI-2K cameras, but I wasn’t happy about the prospect of shooting the Luckily, when I got back to Los Angeles, my agent arranged for very important underwater sequences at a lower resolution than the me to interview for a movie about a boy and a dolphin without a tail. above-water scenes. In prep Pete suggested he could build a new The director, Charles Martin Smith, had helmed some nice indepen- housing for the 4K Red 3-D rig, and he and his engineer designed a dent films and had also starred in Carroll Ballard’s Never Cry Wolf, a shiny, silver housing that we called the Volkswagen. It could work as fabulous picture about men and nature. I felt that if we could an underwater housing and as a splash box at water level. approach that movie’s quality on Dolphin Tale, we would be just fine. I decided not to use the Steadicam, which I usually like to use, Then Charles said, “We’ll be shooting in 3-D.” I was a little and instead shoot everything from cranes and dollies. The 3-D camera shocked. The project involved child actors, a dolphin who had no rig was so big it reminded me of my early days in film school, when double, a location-based shoot in Florida during hurricane season and the only way for us students to shoot sound was to use an old Arri lots of underwater work. Capturing in 3-D would add to an already blimp that had to be carried by two people. This was progress? tall order. The production had also struck a deal with Scott Howell at However, I also felt Dolphin Tale might be a great opportunity Cinemoves, which provided various Technocranes with image-stabi- to use 3-D differently. The technology was being used mostly for big, lized heads for the entire shoot. These gave us great freedom to move action-packed blockbusters, and our story was a family-oriented the camera a lot, which helps bring the 3-D space to life. We were able Photos by Jon Farmer, courtesy of Warner Bros. drama. to reach almost everywhere over the dolphin pools, and for the final I would have liked to compare various 3-D systems, but the scene in the lagoon we used a 50 Technocrane on a pontoon boat. production worked out a deal with Paradise FX before I was hired. So My biggest concern was how to deal with all of the day-exte- I began learning what I could about the format. After a great intro- rior shots. Going digital means less highlight retention, and the expo- ductory 3-D seminar conducted by Sony and arranged through our sure curves just don’t roll off as nicely as film does, especially when union, Local 600, I asked for a camera test. The Paradise system, scenes involve harsh contrast and bright skies in backlight situations. designed by Max Penner, uses Preston motors for all of the focus, lens- Most of the story takes place at a marine hospital and aquarium that conversion and interaxial adjustments. Max also works as the stereo- serves as home to our dolphin, Winter, but the main location wasn’t grapher on his movies, and he brings with him a lot of knowledge and exactly pretty. It was a former sewage plant that had been converted, confidence. so everything was built out of concrete and painted toilet blue! Arri’s Alexa was not available at the time, and I wasn’t too The production designer, Michael Corenblith, had designed an happy about shooting on the Red One, which came with the Paradise additional outdoor pool area, but there was no sun cover for the74 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 67. actors. The typical solution — flying a big silkover the set for every scene — didn’t seemvery promising because the location was closeto the sea, and we had to anticipate strongwinds and heavy weather. I knew nobody would want to wait forthe light, given that we had a six-hour on-setschedule with child actors and a dolphin whowas making her first movie. Inspired by thearchitecture of Frei-Otto, who designedMunich’s Olympic Stadium, I thought abouthanging sails over the outdoor set. I worriedthat I’d be stepping on Michael’s toes if Isuggested this to him, but fortunately, he wasincredibly supportive. He came up with greatdesigns for sails and masts that would help usdeal with the harsh Florida sun and addanother layer to the 3-D photography. Ourvery supportive producers (Alcon Entertain-ment) agreed to cover the extra costs, so aftera tough process of static engineering, local sailmakers helped us add 10 masts and lots ofdifferent sails in various colors and translucen-cies to the set. Because a lot of the show’s gear had tobe specially built, our test period was short.Once principal photography began, welearned pretty quickly how to deal with fourdifferent video-playback stations and all of theextra cable! To keep things moving quicklywhile we were capturing shots of the kids andour dolphin, I decided to use the Angenieuxshort zooms for all of the day-exterior work,and the Master Primes for all the interiors andnight shoots. One rig was designated forwider lenses, one for longer lenses (this onehad a smaller mirror), and one for primes orthe underwater housing. Every lens change took time andbecame a bit of an adventure, and the processof reloading the cameras with the small SDcards looked like a miniature science project.Placing two cameras next to each other toshoot A/B coverage was almost impossiblebecause of the size of the mirrors and thenecessary lens shades, which my assistant,Tommy, had to make himself. I was fortunate that our director wasvery patient with the technical limitations andhiccups we experienced. We were also luckyto have a great first assistant director, PhilPatterson, who had weathered many stormson Terry Gilliam’s movies. With his help, I couldplan our shooting directions for each day,keeping the sun mostly where I wanted it. ➣
  • 68. Top: Lindenlaub surveys a Our two child actors, Nathan Gamble location while working and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, were extremely gifted with a 4K Red 3-D rig. and professional. Harry Connick Jr., who Middle: To create sun cover for the actors on an plays the marine doctor and father, and outdoor pool set, Morgan Freeman, who plays the inventor of Lindenlaub drew the dolphin’s prosthetic tail, kept things light inspiration from the design of Munich’s on the set. Winter was always happy to Olympic Stadium and perform a trick as long as she received some asked production food as an incentive, and the weather stayed designer Michael Corenblith to add masts pretty consistent throughout the entire and sails to the structure. shoot. I only had a hard time when we shot Bottom: Underwater a hurricane sequence during the only three cameraman Pete Zuccarini designed an underwater hours of bad weather we encountered. housing for the cameras Some sky replacement and DI work will help that the crew dubbed that sequence. the Volkswagen. Pete finished his Volkswagen just in time for principal photography. Once lowered into the water with a crane arm, the 600-pound rig enabled him to capture great footage of the boy and the dolphin. We wanted to keep rolling once Pete was under- water, so we recorded those sequences to a hard drive inside the housing. My main lighting instruments were 18K ArriSuns, which gave me a great sun effect underwater and helped soften the contrast in almost every daylight situation where we bounced them or extended the sunlight. Together with the new Arri 1.8K M18s, they almost eliminate the need for any other HMIs. One major set built inside a ware- house was a big aquarium exhibition space with six large, square windows looking into the tanks and lots of round windows on the second floor. I was told the objects in the tanks would have to be all CG because we were shooting 3-D. This required me to devise lighting that would accommodate several large bluescreens, interactive lighting for the underwater world, and a lighting scheme for the visitors’ space — lots of fun stuff. Best boy/rigging gaffer Marc Wostak helped us come up with a nice solution: bouncing our whole daylight package into Mylar to create water reflections, and accomplishing the rest with lots of tungsten lights (gelled with various levels of CTB) on dimmers. We finished Dolphin Tale almost on schedule, and I really enjoyed the experi- ence. I hope the movie will help the audi- ence feel that they can actually change things and move forward, just as the pros- thetic tail helps our dolphin to survive. ●76 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 69. New Products Services • SUBMISSION INFORMATION • Please e-mail New Products/Services releases to: and include full contact information and product images. Photos must be TIFF or JPEG files of at least 300dpi. Arri Unveils L-Series Superspot boasts an output of 3,650 foot candles at 3, 1,300 foot LED Fresnels candles at 6, 550 foot candles at 9, 345 foot candles at 12, 225 Arri has introduced the L- foot candles at 15, 110 foot candles at 21, 68 foot candles at 27, Series of LED Fresnel 45 foot candles at 33, and 29 foot candles at 39. fixtures. The L7-T, L7-D and The Superspot features an all-aluminum housing and yoke L7-C fixtures incorporate system with a junior mounting pin. It has a slim profile and produces Fresnel characteristics of no sound and minimal heat. The fixture also incorporates two built- continuous focusing from in dimmers, which allow for 0-100-percent output control with mini- spot to flood and a mal color shifting. smooth, homogenous The Superspot comes complete with a switchable power light field. supply unit (110-volt to 240-volt AC) and an extension cable with The “L” in L-Series on/off switch. Additional accessories are available, including the stands for LED, and the “7” correlates to the 7 Fresnel-like lens LEDZ speed frame, filter frame, DMX capabilities and 12-volt battery shared by all three models. The L7-T is tungsten balanced at options for mobile applications. 3,200°K, the L7-D is daylight balanced at 5,600°K, and the L7-C is For additional information, visit color-controllable. All three can be operated in identical manner. As with a conventional Fresnel, precise light-field control can be achieved with barn doors and flags, permitting the same cutting and shaping of the beam that lighting designers depend on. All three L-Series fixtures draw 220 watts of power, and the L7-T and L7-D both produce a light output comparable to a conventional 1K tungsten Fresnel. The white light of the L7-C can be adjusted for different skin tones, camera sensors and mixed-light environments, and specific color shades can be matched through full-gamut color mixing without compromising the quality of the light field; the L- Gekko Expands Karess Range Series combines uniform light and single-shadow rendition with Gekko Technology has expanded its Karesslite LED soft-light absolute control of color temperature. range with the Karess 6012 Blendable and Karesslite 6012 FX. In addition to RDM-enabled DMX, L-Series fixtures can be Whereas the standard Karesslite is switchable between supplied with on-board manual controls. For the color-tunable L7-C, daylight and tungsten color temperatures, the Karess 6012 Blend- this enables rapid and precise adjustment of intensity, color temper- able can be adjusted to any intermediate color temperature between ature, green/magenta point, hue and saturation. 3,200°K and 5,600°K. “Lighting-system designers, lighting directors The L-Series also offers a completely passive cooling system and cinematographers appreciate the precise control this new option in a high-intensity LED fixture, resulting in truly silent operation. Like provides,” says Ian Muir, Gekko Technology’s business-development all Arri products, the L-Series Fresnels utilize durable components manager. “They now have the ability to select the color temperature designed for high-impact handling. They feature IP54 weather resis- they require by adjustment on the back of the unit, or remotely via tance and are built to withstand the rigors of modern production. DMX. Like all Karesslites, the blendable version delivers consistent For additional information, visit color temperature throughout its full range of intensity variation. It delivers an output color quality that is consistent LEDZ Fires Up Superspot with more traditional technologies, as well as LEDZ has introduced the LEDZ Superspot, a providing the many benefits that LEDs offer.” robust LED luminaire. Similar in style to the Designed for visual effects and chroma-key company’s Brute products, the Superspot produces work, the Karesslite 6012 FX is switchable a sharp, powerful, circular beam. Boasting 5,500°K between blue and green outputs for both blue- color temperature and a throw in excess of 40, the screen and greenscreen applications. The unit Superspot is comparable to a 575-watt HMI fixture features on-board dimming and switching in and draws only a single amp. addition to integrated DMX. According to LEDZ’s photometrics, the Both the Karess 6012 Blendable and the78 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 70. dard fixtures. Employing a 3 proprietary Fresnel lens, the Sola ENG draws just 30 watts but produces light levels equivalent to a 250-watt tungsten unit. Sola Fresnels feature instant dimming from 0-100 percent with no noticeable color shift. The Sola ENG provides ergonomic manual focus and dimming via lens-style rotating control.Karesslite 6012 FX incorporate a 6x12 emit- Output is flicker free and remains consistentter format in a 23.6x11.8 panel with a even as the battery voltage goes down.front-to-back depth of 6.5 and a weight of The Sola ENG fixture measures15.4 pounds. Power consumption is 85 4x4x5 and weighs 10 ounces. The Solawatts, allowing more than 90 minutes of ENG Kit comes with the fixture, two-leafcontinuous operation from two rear-mount- barn doors, three gels ( 1⁄4 correction, fullable V-lock batteries. Power can also be correction and diffusion), an AC powersupplied from a 12-40-volt DC feed via an supply with power cord, a Stand AdapterXLR 4 connector, or from a mains supply. Bracket, a detachable D-Tap DC power Each Karesslite comes complete with cable, and a shoe-ball mount and integral diffusion grating, providing a For additional information, visitsingle-source output with minimal light loss. options can also be deployed tomake the source more directional. Otheravailable accessories include the Gekkoswivel mount, yoke, encapsulated color-correction gel sets, removable barn doors,honeycomb louvers, remote dimmer andsoft transit case. For additional information, 3-Point Lighting With Ikan iLEDs Litepanels Upgrades Sola ENG Ikan has introduced the iLED 312 Litepanels, a Vitec Group brand, has Three-Point Light Kit, which includes aadded more versatility to its on-camera Sola durable carrying case, three iLED 312 LEDENG LED Fresnel light. The upgraded Sola fixtures, three light stands, three lightENG operates on battery or AC power diffusers, three AC power adapters, sixthanks to a new AC/DC adapter, and the Sony L-series DV batteries, three dual-Sola ENG Kit includes a detachable D-Tap battery chargers and three iLED 312 softpower cable and Stand Adapter Bracket, carrying cases.making the fixture easy to mount on either The iLED 312 boasts a bright (6,580a camera or light stand. lux at 50cm) wide-angle beam pattern, Litepanels’ daylight-balanced Sola tungsten-to-daylight (3,200°K-6,500°K)fixtures provide great controllability and blending, dimming, on-board battery-lifelight-shaping properties, including variable indicator, and dual battery-life capabilities.beam control from 10-70 degrees while The kit’s suggested retail price isutilizing just a fraction of the power of stan- $1,799. For more information, visit Elation Professional Zooms With Platinum Wash Elation Professional has introduced the Platinum Wash LED Zoom, a compact, energy-efficient LED color wash with a built-in zoom and integrated DMX. Featur- ing a 300-watt Quad Color LED system and
  • 71. DMX signals from up to 3,000 away. The lighter provides light output from four 1- fixture also features an electronic dimmer watt indigo LEDs, thus increasing the layer- and strobe and can pan 540 degrees and tilt ing abilities of the large-aperture fixture. 265 degrees. It can be run in three DMX Other features include mechanical modes (12, 14, or 15 channels) with a strobe, a fast mechanical iris, a color LCD three- or five-pin DMX input. A convenient menu with battery operation, low ambient touch-screen display on the rear of the base noise, RDM and DMX compatibility via makes it easy to scroll through DMX three- and five-pin XLR connectors, and an settings. The unit also offers multi-voltage included road case. The Technospot also operation. boasts high-resolution micro-stepping For additional information, visit motor control for smooth motion at all speeds; fast, smooth and quiet yoke move- ment; an exterior design that prevents stray built on Elation’s space-saving Platinum High End Systems Breaks light scatter; a low-noise, high-efficiency base, the Platinum Wash LED Zoom offers out Technospot electronic cooling system; and pan and tilt brilliant RGBW colors in a trimmed-down High End Systems, a Barco company, locks for easy transportation. fixture. has introduced the Technospot, a compact, For additional information, visit Powered by 30 10-watt RGBW CREE hard-edged fixture designed for a wide vari- and LEDs, the fixture produces an output ety of applications. comparable to a 575-watt discharge The Technospot features smooth moving head but draws only 360 watts at CMY color mixing and a fixed color wheel maximum use. The LED source produces with eight replaceable positions plus open. 155 foot candles at 16. Two rotating Lithopattern wheels, each Measuring 14 long, 13.2 wide with six patterns plus open, provide a large and 19 high, the Platinum Wash LED number of output patterns and images. The Zoom is ideal for tight spaces. Weighing output can be further enhanced with a 35.5 pounds, the fixture is also easy to rotating four-facet prism and an animation handle and transport. wheel. The fixture’s built-in, motorized, 11- The Technospot also features a 50-degree zooming capability gives design- prominent 5.3 lens, 11-34-degree zoom ers fast beam control, allowing them to and more than 12,000 lumens of output produce a smaller wash with a longer throw from its 575-watt mini-fast-fit lamp. With its Hive Lighting Illuminates or wider coverage with a shorter throw. incredibly efficient optics, the Technospot Plasma Line Additionally, the unit’s built-in EWDMX projects clean, crisp images that cut through Hive Lighting has announced plans receiver allows the fixture to receive wireless any wash. Additionally, an indigo high- for a line of plasma luminaires for the enter- tainment industry. Incorporating Luxim light-emitting-plasma technology, the Prism Projection Reveals LED Profile fixtures boast flicker-free, silent operation Prism Projection has unveiled the Reveal Profile, a high-CRI LED profile spot with high while generating little heat and producing lumen output. The fixture’s debut follows the successful launch of Prism’s Reveal Color Wash full-spectrum daylight-balanced light. and Reveal Studio units. The Hive Lighting plasma range was The 16,000-lumen Reveal Profile features a variable color-temperature range from the brainchild of cinematographer Jon 2,800°K to 6,500°K, adjustable focus from hard to soft edge, changeable lenses for beam Edward Miller and energy consultant Robert angles from 14 to 70 degrees, and a flat field. The fixture also offers four shutters on a tri- Rutherford. “These beautiful, daylight- plane; an M-size gobo; DMX, Artnet and local balanced lights are high output, have great control; and universal AC input. color quality, and are ready for the rigors of Reveal products from Prism Projection production,” says Miller. “I started building are professional-grade solutions that offer these lights for my own use and quickly real- exceptional color rendering, palette, repeata- ized that their amazing color and power bility and beam quality. Reveal-series products were something I needed to share with the incorporate energy-efficient, long-lasting industry.” solid-state light sources applied with propri- Hive’s Hornet180 Fresnel is the first in etary control algorithms and projection optics. the product line. Using a 180-watt lamp and For additional information, visit pulling just 275 total system watts, a Hornet180 Fresnel puts out more light than80 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 72. 400-watt HMIs and 1K tungsten Fresnels.Additionally, Hive’s lamps last 10,000 hours. Hive’s lights are compatible with allstandard lighting accessories. No newscrims, barn doors or Fresnel lenses areneeded. The lights are also controllablethrough DMX, laptops and a wirelessiPhone app. Hive also plans to release theBumbleBee540 SpaceLight and Honey-Bee180 Softlight by the end of this year. For additional information, Photon Beard Goes Nova Photon Beard has introduced theNova 270 flicker-free, low-heat, energy-effi-cient lighting fixture. “Nova is a completely new conceptin location lighting,” says Peter Daffarn,Photon Beard’s managing director. “Thefixture’s exceptionally low power consump-tion and ultra-cool beam provides a lightoutput equivalent to a 2,000-watt tungstenFresnel. Users will have all the light theyneed without breaking a sweat.” The Nova 270 utilizes what PhotonBeard describes as a new type of lightsource. The unit runs cool, so no fans arerequired. Additionally, the daylight-balanced fixture is focusable from 12 to 15degrees. For additional information, ●
  • 73. International Marketplace OppCam Grip Systems DENECKE, INC... Celebrating 35 Years of Precision! DENECKE, INC. 25030 Avenue Stanford, Suite 240 Valencia, CA 91355 Phone (661) 607-0206 Fax (661) 257-2236 Email: info@denecke.82 October 2011 American Cinematographer
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  • 77. In Memoriam Takuo “Tak” Miyagishima,1928-2011 Technology Committee and the Interna- tional Standards Organization. At the ASC Awards in 1999, in recog- nition of their exceptional contributions to the art of filmmaking, Miyagishima and Panavision colleague Albert Mayer Sr. received the Presidents Award. Miyag- ishima’s other honors included a Fuji Gold Medal, for his contributions to anamorphic lens design; the Academy’s John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, for his service to the Academy; and the Academy’s Gordon E. Sawyer Award, for his overall technical contributions to the motion-picture industry. During Miyagishima’s tenure at Panavision, the company was honored with Associate member Takuo “Tak” its push into digital capture. In 2004, reflect- more than 20 Academy Sci-Tech Awards. Miyagishima died Aug. 4 following an ing on his 50 years with Panavision, Miyag- “He was a pioneer,” says Stephen H. extended fight with pneumonia. He was 83. ishima told AC, “If a director of photography Burum, ASC. “He was there at the very first. Miyagishima was born on March 15, wanted a certain focal-length lens, we would He was the living spirit of Panavision, and he 1928, in Gardena, Calif. He served in the U.S. look into it. For Lawrence of Arabia, all the reflected Panavision’s ethic of being a Army during the Korean War, and during his mechanical parts of those lenses came off my forward-looking, progressive company. service he occasionally worked as a projec- table. George Kraemer and I actually cali- Besides that, he was a great guy.” tionist of training films. brated the ‘mirage lens’ in the alleyway right “Tak was that rare person in our Miyagishima attended East Los Ange- outside Panavision!” industry who made you feel like family,” says les Junior College and the University of Cali- Miyagishima also designed the Daryn Okada, ASC. “I’ll always remember fornia-Los Angeles with the hope of design- company’s “three-format” logo. the gleam in his eyes when he saw how to ing bridges. In 1954, he joined a small manu- Miyagishima became an ASC associ- make an idea reality and help all of us create facturing company as an engineer/designer. ate in April 1995, after being proposed by images in the demanding framework of Among the company’s clients was Panavi- Society members Woody Omens and Kees production. And as much as I will miss him, sion, which had been founded that year by Van Oostrum. I feel he’ll be right there every time I look in Robert Gottschalk and future ASC member “Tak was the most terrific engineer,” the eyepiece and roll the camera.” Richard Moore. Gottschalk quickly recog- says Van Oostrum. “I could go to him and Miyagishima retired in 2009, but he nized Miyagishima’s talents, and by the end say, ‘This doesn’t feel right. Somehow it does- remained active in the industry. Early this of the year Miyagishima was one of Panavi- n’t merge with what we do every day.’ And year, the Academy named him one of the sion’s first full-time employees. he would listen, nod and come back with a first three Academy Science Fellows. Among Miyagishima’s early projects solution. As cinematographers, we deal with “My dream of building bridges never were the Super Panatar projection lens and feelings and ideas that don’t necessarily materialized, but my luck at being in the the Micro Panatar printing lens. As Panavision translate into engineering, but Tak had the right place at the right time certainly proved turned its focus toward camera systems and ability to translate those ideas so eloquently, right,” Miyagishima reflected in 1994. taking lenses, Miyagishima contributed to beautifully and effectively. It’s a trait I’ve never “Images being an international language such advancements as the 65mm Ultra and really found in another engineer.” without boundaries assisted me in achieving Super Panavision camera systems, the Panav- “There was a synergy effect when Tak my goals of being able to build bridges of Photo courtesy of AMPAS. ision Silent Reflex Camera, and several series and Panavision came together,” notes understanding. I would not have had the of 35mm spherical and anamorphic lenses. Omens. “It was a relationship made in opportunities to achieve my dreams had it Over his decades of service at Panavi- heaven. He was a friend to the industry and not been for Panavision.” sion, Miyagishima moved up from draftsman to the people in it.” Miyagishima is survived by his wife, to senior vice president of engineering, and Miyagishima was also active in such three sons and three grandsons. he remained a constant force behind the organizations as the Academy’s Science — Jon D. Witmer company’s technological advances, including Technology Council, the SMPTE Projection ●86 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 78. Clubhouse News Dod Mantle, Geddes, Silver, nia’s San Fernando Valley. He began WalkerJoin Society shooting with his father’s Super 8 cameras The Society has welcomed when he was 8 years old. At age 19, he Anthony Dod Mantle, David Geddes, set the cameras aside to hitchhike across Steven V. Silver and Mandy Walker to its Asia. Upon returning to the States, he ranks of active members. rekindled his passion for cinematography Anthony Dod Mantle, ASC, during his studies at San Fernando Valley BSC, DFF grew up in Oxford, England. In College. Silvergot his start in the industry 1985, he moved to Denmark and enrolled with jobs at Hill Production Service and in the National Film School.His first the Howard A. Anderson Co. He joined feature as a cinematographer was the the union and climbed the ranks, starting German film Terrorists, which went on to as an assistant. His cinematography cred- achieve cult status after being banned in its include themulti-camera series Still Germany. His credits since then have Standing, Dharma Greg, The Big Bang included The Celebration, Julien Donkey- Theory and Two and a Half Men . For his Boy, Dear Wendy (AC Oct. ’05) and The work on the latter, he earned six Emmy Last King of Scotland . Hehas enjoyed nominations, taking home the award in multiple collaborations with Lars von Trier 2007. on such films as Dogville (AC May ’04), Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS was Manderlay and Antichrist (AC Nov. ’09), born in Melbourne, Australia, where she and with Danny Boyle on such features as developed an early love for art in general 28 Days Later… (AC July ’03), Millions, and film in particular. When she was 12, Slumdog Millionaire (AC Dec. ’08)and she began developing her own photos in 127 Hours (AC Dec. ’10). Dod Mantle a darkroom her father set up in the won ASC, Academy and BAFTA awards family’s shed, and in high school she and the Camerimage Golden Frog for began studyingfilm history. While study- Slumdog Millionaire. ing film at the university level, Walker metPhoto of Clubhouse by Isidore Mankofsky, ASC; lighting by Donald M. Morgan, ASC. David Geddes, ASC, CSC was a producer who hired her as a production born in Vancouver, and he developed a assistant on the feature Dusty. She then love of storytelling while working in British made her way up through the camera Columbia’s lumber mills and logging department, notching her first cinematog- camps, where spoken yarns provided the raphy credits on music videos and student only entertainment. Geddes studied films. Her first feature credit was Return photography at the Banff Centre School Home. Since thenshe has photographed of Fine Arts and the Northern Alberta such features as Lantana (AC Feb. ’02), Institute of Technology, and then partici- Australia (AC Nov. ’08)and Red Riding pated in the Simon Fraser University Film Hood (AC April ’11). Her commercial cred- Workshop. He earned his first cinematog- its include spots for Chanel, American raphy credits on documentaries, shorts, Express, Mercedes, Nike and Gatorade. corporate films and investigative journal- ● ism pieces before moving into 35mm tele-Silver photo by Douglas Kirkland. vision production with the series 21 Jump Street. He has since shot more than 70 projects, including the series Beverly Hills, 90210, Dark Angel, Sanctuary (AC Nov. ’08) and Lie to Me , and the features From Top: Anthony Dod Mantle, ASC, BSC, Here’s to Life! and Tucker Dale vs. Evil. DFF; David Geddes, ASC, CSC; Steven V. Steven V. Silver, ASCwas born in Silver, ASC; Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS. Illinois and grew up in Southern Califor- w October 2011 87
  • 79. Close-up Xavier Grobet, ASC, AMC When you were a child, what film made the strongest impres- Have you made any memorable blunders? sion on you? Many. I once tried to play the piano in front of Sir Anthony Hopkins, The Czech movie Jumping Over Puddles (1972), which I now know and he kindly asked, ‘Can you play Far Away?’ was directed by Karel Kachyna. I haven’t seen it since. Also, I’ve always loved Miracle in Milan (1951)by Vittorio De Sica. What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received? Life is like an airplane: you either get onboard, or you don’t. It’s up Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most to you. admire? Sven Nykvist, ASC, for his What recent books, films or understanding of simplicity; artworks have inspired Gabriel Figueroa, for his ability you? to create strong, meaningful Julius Shulman’s photographs, images; and Vittorio Storaro, Richard Neutra’s architecture ASC, AIC, for being the and F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise, Renaissance Man of cine- one of the most beautiful matography. movies of all time. What sparked your interest Do you have any favorite in photography? genres, or genres you My mother was a photogra- would like to try? pher, and that planted the Science fiction and Westerns. I seed in me. I grew up in the had the chance to shoot darkroom (in more ways than science fiction on Gil Kenan’s one). City of Ember , and I loved doing it. I also enjoyed shoot- Where did you train and/or ing Deadwood. study? I studied at Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico City. If you weren’t a cinematographer, what might you be doing instead? Who were your early teachers or mentors? I’m not sure. Maybe I’d have a taco stand on Broadway in down- Eduardo Maldonado, a documentarian who was the director of our town L.A. film school; Santiago Navarrete, who put me on the right track in my early days; and David Watkin, BSC. Fortunately, I was able to tell Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for David he had been my teacher before he died. membership? Emmanuel Lubezki, Henner Hofmann and Gabriel Beristain — in What are some of your key artistic influences? other words, the Mexican Mafia! Motion, rhythm, light, shadows, volume, space, shapes and humans. How has ASC membership impacted your life and career? It feels great to be part of the community. Being able to exchange How did you get your first break in the business? ideas and share our work with each other helps make us better cine- I shot La Mujer de Benjamin , produced by our film school, and it matographers. ● earned a bunch of awards worldwide. And working with Julian Schnabel on Before Night Falls definitely put me on the map. Photo by Tiger Munson. What has been your most satisfying moment on a project? Having fun with my crews, creating an environment where we all want to go to work. Also, watching a film I shot and being proud of it is always satisfying.88 October 2011 American Cinematographer
  • 80. ONFILMDAN MINDEL, ASC, BSC “What first drew me to photography was the ability to freeze time. Once you had the image, you discovered things that the naked eye never saw. Now, telling stories with motion pictures is what really interests me. We cinematographers live and breathe it. The idea of having a 35 mm frame with chemicals that react to a focused beam of light, and turning that into a picture – that is one of the most incredible things I can imagine. I try to excite and stimulate the film with light so that it does something that it’s not supposed to do. Those imperfections can give the images an unquantifiable magic. They put another layer of illusion onto something that is already artificial, tricking the audience into thinking it’s real. Film is a handmade art form that comes with a set of emotional tools. I like to use these subtleties and variations as part of the emotional landscape of the story. To me, the film medium is irreplaceable.” Dan Mindel was born in South Africa and educated in London, where he began his career as a loader at a commercial production house. He moved up to director of photography and segued into the feature film world, eventually shooting Enemy of the State with Tony Scott. Since then, his credits include Shanghai Noon, Skeleton Key, Spy Game, Mission: Impossible III, Domino, and Star Trek. He is currently filming the feature film Savages with Oliver Stone, using a wide variety of film formats. All these productions were photographed on Kodak motion picture film. For an extended interview with Dan Mindel, visit To order Kodak motion picture film, call (800) 621-film. © Eastman Kodak Company, 2011. Photography: © 2011 Douglas Kirkland