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LETTER APRIL 2018 2018••vol. VOL.89 89no. NO.03 03
Steven Poster, ASC National President International Cinematographers Guild IATSE Local 600
#TIME ISChaoS, Surfing NOW Part 1 Emerging technology is a wave perpetually rolling across the entire spectrum of the media entertainment ecosystem. In this two-part series, I’m exploring the shifts in that ecosystem with Howard Lukk, a top technologist who is now the Standards Director for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) after being the VP of Production Systems for Walt Disney Studios and Director of Media Systems for Pixar Animation Studios. Steven Poster: Our industry relies on a huge umbrella of technologies glued together to make media entertainment. You and I first met during the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) around 2002 or 2003. What’s coming at us may be a tsunami by comparison, but the DCI is a great historical lens on the dynamics of technical change. Howard Lukk: In the early days, the studios came together over technology at the Motion Picture Academy. There wasn’t another home for it. I’m a film history buff and I’m not aware of any other effort like the DCI, where the studios came together independently to do something technologically. Steven Poster: What happened with the DCI was the studios coming together to create the environment and platform for the rollout of high definition. Right? Howard Lukk: The DCI was about projection, but to get there we had to come to terms with HD. A lot of people were trying digital projection and suddenly, it was like, “Wow, this could look all right”. But, there were all these different versions of technology to accomplish the same thing. You can take 35mm film anywhere in the world and put it up on any projector in a heartbeat. We couldn’t do that with digital cinema and the studios didn’t want to make 20 or 30 different deliverables. It was a nightmare. They knew SMPTE was working on this, but SMPTE was a bunch of volunteer engineers who couldn’t make business decisions. And the SMPTE folks had a history of working separately from the creative community—the cinematographers, directors and
APRIL 2018 april
producers. We knew making technical decisions apart from the creative community would be a disaster. Steven Poster: And that’s how we met, at the ASC, putting together the first set of StEM materials (Standard Test and Evaluation Materials). It was a seminal moment when the industry began to realize that digital production is a continuum from acquisition through exhibition. That realization connected the mandate for digital exhibition to the capture side. Howard Lukk: There were a few studios eager to go with something like 1280 X 720, the lower end of HD standard from 1995. Then there was the rest of the community saying, “No, no, no… hold the farm. We have answer prints that are better quality than that.” People with densitometers and resolution charts got into all kinds of specifications, but we said, “Let’s really put the eyeballs to this and see what it means to have answer print quality”. So, the DCI set answer print quality as the goalpost. That’s where cinematographers came in. We found out it was going to be much above 1280 X 720 HD. Was it 4K, 16K or 8K? We still debate some of that stuff. We found out that 4K is a pretty good match, but what about color and dynamic range? Steven Poster: That’s when some people began thinking I was something of a curmudgeon who hated HD. I kept saying, “it’s not good enough”, when what I was really trying to do was push forward the idea that the scientists, engineers and manufacturers can get there, but we weren’t there yet. We re-mastered the original 35mm and 65mm StEM footage a couple years ago and now have High Dynamic Range, HDR versions. But, my feeling is that we really need to do a new set of StEM materials made with digital cameras. Howard Lukk: I agree. We need new digitally originated benchmark material for use across many different systems to verify that we really do have High Dynamic Range and wide color gamut. I found a diagram of HDR specifications on Twitter and it looks like we’re back to where we were with projection before DCI. Steven Poster: With the introduction of full frame and large format digital cameras, quality may be even beyond where we need it to be. But, it’s not just the question of where we go with the quality, it’s the introduction of technology like computational cinematography that requires the skills of the Directors of Photography, Camera Operators, First Assistants and DITs in post. We’ve never been through a change like that. And that’s where we’ll pick-up in the second part of the discussion.
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April 2018 vol. 89 no. 03
Publisher Teresa Muñoz Executive Editor David Geffner Art Director Wes Driver ACCOUNTING Glenn Berger Dominique Ibarra COPY EDITORS Peter Bonilla Maureen Kingsley EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Tyler Bourdeau STAFF WRITER Pauline Rogers CONTRIBUTORS Michael Chambliss David Geffner Patrick Harbron Matt Hurwitz Debra Kaufman Kevin H. Martin Sara Terry
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INTERNATIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHERS GUILD Local 600 IATSE NATIONAL PRESIDENT Steven Poster, ASC NATIONAL VICE-PRESIDENT Heather Norton 1ST NATIONAL VICE-PRESIDENT Paul Varrieur 2ND NATIONAL VICE-PRESIDENT John Lindley, ASC NATIONAL SECRETARY-TREASURER Eddie Avila NATIONAL ASSISTANT SECRETARY-TREASURER Douglas C. Hart NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS Christy Fiers NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Rebecca Rhine ADVERTISING POLICY: Readers should not assume that any products or services advertised in International Cinematographers Guild Magazine are endorsed by the International Cinematographers Guild. Although the Editorial staff adheres to standard industry practices in requiring advertisers to be “truthful and forthright,” there has been no extensive screening process by either International Cinematographers Guild Magazine or the International Cinematographers Guild. EDITORIAL POLICY: The International Cinematographers Guild neither implicitly nor explicitly endorses opinions or political statements expressed in International Cinematographers Guild Magazine. ICG Magazine considers unsolicited material via email only, provided all submissions are within current Contributor Guideline standards. All published material is subject to editing for length, style and content, with inclusion at the discretion of the Executive Editor and Art Director. Local 600, International Cinematographers Guild, retains all ancillary and expressed rights of content and photos published in ICG Magazine and icgmagazine.com, subject to any negotiated prior arrangement. ICG Magazine regrets that it cannot publish letters to the editor. ICG (ISSN 1527-6007) Published Monthly by The International Cinematographers Guild 7755 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA, 90046, U.S.A. Periodical postage paid at Los Angeles, California. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ICG 7755 Sunset Boulevard Hollywood, California 90046 Copyright 2018, by Local 600, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States and Canada. Entered as Periodical matter, September 30, 1930, at the Post Office at Los Angeles, California, under the act of March 3, 1879. Subscriptions: $92.00 of each International Cinematographers Guild member’s annual dues is allocated for an annual subscription to International Cinematographers Guild Magazine. Non-members may purchase an annual subscription for $48.00 (U.S.), $82.00 (Foreign and Canada) surface mail and $117.00 air mail per year. Single Copy: $4.95 The International Cinematographers Guild Magazine has been published monthly since 1929. International Cinematographers Guild Magazine is a registered trademark.
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WIDE ANGLE NEW TECHNOLOGY ISSUE
rogramming our April issue every year is always an exercise in reconciling dual passions. It’s called the New Technology issue, so naturally that means a surfeit of stories with leading-edge gear and workflows. But it’s also the month we run our super-sized section on the Sundance Film Festival, where the ICG staff wades knee-deep into the very best independent moviemaking has to offer (not to mention a lot of snow). While these two worlds may appear mutually exclusive, of late they have begun a meaningful intersection. The proof of concept is this month’s web feature, Into The Wild (www.icgmagazine. com). ICG technology expert Michael Chambliss brought back a report from Park City that highlights the maturation of VR and projects like The Sun Ladies (from ICG member Céline Tricart), a documentary about an all-woman regiment in the Iraqi army who take up arms to get their female peers back from the hands of ISIS, and Wolves in the Walls (based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book), a one-of-a-kind VR experience in which the viewer becomes the lead character’s interactive and invisible friend. In Walls, you can walk around the room with “Lucy” as she maintains appropriate eye contact and body position: you frame and take photos with a Polaroid SX-70 camera, and then you hand them to Lucy to help her reveal the titular creatures. Ferociously daring filmmaking – achieved through new technology – also describes the core of my interview with Sundance DP Steve Holleran (page 84). Holleran, who shot writer/director Qasim Basir’s feature, A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night, talks about creating a oneof-a-kind camera rig that combined the tiny and mirrorless Sony a7SII and Panavision C-series anamorphic 35mm lens with a MōVI Pro and rig from L.A.-based Antigravity Cam. The film tracks the courtship of two strangers who happen to meet on the night of the 2016 Presidential election, and hold on here – the 90-minute feature was shot in a single take. Dreamy and evocative, the camera seems to float free of human hands – but, actually, nothing 12
is further from the truth. Holleran and his rig went in and out of a club, a house in the Hollywood hills, a Sunset Blvd. diner, and a ride-sharing van that drove the two lead actors around Los Angeles! “The image had to be stabilized, mobile, and adaptive in dark and constantly changing environments,” Holleran told me after the Sundance premiere. “It was unnerving knowing we could never reframe, reset a light, or even change a lens. When we went to Panavision [to test the rig out], people were actually taking photos. I thought: ‘Wow, I’m totally off the grid here. I hope this works out.’” High risk/reward workflows are also on display in a more traditional setting, via the two Guild DP’s who alternate on the new CW series Black Lightning (page 58). Scott Peck and Eduardo Mayen (both past Emerging Cinematographer Award honorees) have harnessed the power of LED technology to help make Black Lightning an electrically charged hit. Set lights (courtesy of Gaffer Joshua Stern) consist of LED units from a host of forward-thinking vendors – ARRI, Digital Sputnik, GroundedLED, Litegear and Quasar Science among them. Intelligent theatrical lights, all controlled wirelessly, are at the foundation of Peck and Mayen’s inventive approach to series television. Erik Messerschmidt and Chris Probst, ASC, also have made “smart” use of LED technology, as detailed in our cover story on Mindhunter (page 36). David Fincher, who first started using LED’s for process work on Zodiac, 11 years ago, not only customized a high-resolution RED camera for the show (dubbed the “Xenomorph”), but also devised one of the most ingenious LEDdriven plate projection/interactive lighting processes for driving shots TV has ever seen. Messerschmidt’s description of Fincher’s commitment to innovation mirrors those Sundancers bending technology in the service of new ways to tell a story: “For David, the frame is sacred; what we choose to include is intrinsic to what the audience thinks is important. They are one and the same.” David Geffner Executive Editor Twitter: @DGeffner Email: email@example.com
Michael Chambliss (Far and Away)
“Sundance is proof that 70,000 people will brave snow, slop, and ubiquitous waiting lines to celebrate the pure joy of independent filmmaking. ICG members had a record number of titles in this year’s festival, and I was able to talk to some of our cinematographers who took on foreign locations with unfamiliar crews; it was inspiring how they pushed budgets and aggressive shooting schedules to deliver the goods.”
(The End of Green Screen? Exposure)
“Speaking with Kim Libreri was déjà vu all over again. I followed the earliest days of digital visual effects when Kim was one of the players. It’s both fascinating and exciting that game engines are being integrated with entertainment beyond gaming. The potential is rich, and I look forward to seeing what creative minds do with it.”
“I always love shooting ICG’s Snow Dance party; there’s a little room off to the side (where I shoot portraits) that’s flooded with gorgeous ambient light (my typical way of working as a documentary photographer). The room also has these crazy-painted walls, which inspire a whole series of setups; after three years, it’s become a personal challenge not to use the same section of wall twice. This year that was put to the test as I shot more portraits than ever before, including a group image of 11 female DP’s!”
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BLOODY FUN OLD TRICKS, NEW TREATS FROM THE GUILD CAMERA TEAM BEHIND THE MICK’S “HAUNTED HOUSE” EPISODE. BY PAULINE ROGERS / PHOTOS BY PATRICK MCELHENNEY
Combine an irresponsible young woman, who becomes the parental guardian for her niece and nephews, with Halloween, and the sum is uncontrolled chaos – which is what cinematographer Alan Caudillo and his Guild team were tasked with visualizing when John and Dave Chernin, creators of the FOX series The Mick, their writers and one of the stars, Scott MacArthur, decided to go allout for “The Haunted House” episode. Caudillo says his team wanted to make it “the biggest episode ever. Lots of action, stunts, explosions and gallons of blood.” This meant the DP had to work closely with production designer Bruce Hill to turn the film’s standing mansion set (now a burnt-out shell from a fire the previous season) into a wild childhood dream of a haunted house. “We took our initial direction in terms of tone from director Matt Sohn,” Hill recalls. “The first thing that Alan and I discussed was what we would see in his frame so that we could focus our décor and sets to be both visually stunning and cost effective.” Caudillo says it was important to the Cherins “that the set design be insanely over the top. Bruce and I talked about textures, and using plastic tarps to accent blood splatter, as well as creating reflective highlights of lights. We also had the art department ‘art up’ some of our ARRI Skypanels, which we used as on-camera practical lights.” Hill says they had to be extra careful with the set dressing and Halloween decorations, “as we did not want them to hinder any of the physical-effect gags, lighting or blocking of actors. The burnt-out shell made lighting somewhat challenging. In addition to the set decoration, we had a high volume of extras, creating a need to pay close attention to safety.” The art department filled the mansion floor to ceiling with over-the-top horror and comic-themed Halloween decorations. “And, most importantly for the cinematography, they added a lot of party lights, from LED rainbow movers, twinkly lights, and every kind of novelty
fixture imaginable,” says A-camera operator Joel Schwartz. Set decoration was near eye level, “which allowed actors’ close-ups to be filled with visuals that moved the story forward,” he adds. “And, because we shot 180 degrees in every setup, they gave us enough décor to fill the frame with eye candy that supported the plot.” Coordination of make-up and camera was intricate for the sequence, as well. Head Make-up Thea Samuels says they had five make-up artists working, “using everything from fake mustaches to face paints, eggs (both real and created), lots of blood, stunt doubles and all out of sequence.” During preproduction, Caudillo and Samuels spent time testing and comparing multiple pigments of blood to find the color that photographed best for each of the different-skin-toned performers. “The real magic always happens when we get to the set,” Samuels adds. “Of course the make-up department is at the mercy of the cinematographer and his or her team. I liken it to partner dancing: if the lead is bad, then it doesn’t matter how skilled the follow is at following; but, if the lead is good, then the follow can have any skill level and will always look good. Alan makes our department look like Ginger Rogers. He always put up with me standing over his shoulder to understand what he is doing and why.” In the climax, make-up, special effects, and lighting added to the excitement. “One of our stars gets covered in gallons of blood, while blood cannons and debris explode in a room filled with dozens of dancing kids,” Caudillo explains. “We amended the practical lights brought in by the art department with dozens of carefully placed four-foot and twofoot bi-color LED Quasar light tubes. Some we wrapped in blood-red gels to accentuate the blood effects, and others we kept blue to act as a highlight on skin and as way to accentuate the blood and debris explosions.” The DP keyed using two Cineo Quantum 120 LED 4-foot-by-4-foot through 8-foot light-grid diffusion frames
LOCAL 600 CREW Director of Photography Alan Caudillo A-Camera Operator Joel Schwartz A-Camera 1st AC Chad Rivetti A-Camera 2nd AC Matt Gaumer B-Camera Operator April Kelley, SOC B-Camera 1st AC Chris Flurry B-Camera 2nd AC Winona Wacker C-Camera Operator Kris Krosskove C-Camera 1st AC Marc Marguiles C-Camera 2nd AC Chris de la Riva Utility Nathan Mielke Loader Amanda Darouie Still Photographer Patrick McElhenney
to maximize and create a soft broad source. “These lights can shift from warm to cool on demand,” he explains. “We played the key at a warmer 3000-degree Kelvin to accent the blood and differentiate it from the blue [5000-degree Kelvin] back-edge lights from Quasars. We also hung two Velvet 2 LED Studio lights dialed to 5000-degree Kelvin to fill in the background and to separate our principal actor.” Schwartz says lighting the sets for cross shooting was challenging, in particular getting light under the bill of Kaitlin Olson’s baseball hat. “She wore the hat very low on her forehead, in the authentic Randy Johnson style,” Schwartz explains, “which meant her key light had to be quite low on her to reach her eyes. That’s very hard to do when you have an additional camera pointed at her costar, shooting over her shoulder at the same time. Asking her to adjust the hat was not an option, as ‘keeping it real’ was high on the list of priorities.” When it came time for the blood and gore, the camera team held nothing back. “We did multiple tests with the specialeffects department to make sure the texture and color of the blood would maximize
our ability to sell the bloody redness of their effects,” Caudillo recalls. “I asked the operators to make sure there was always some ‘blood’ or blood-red elements in every frame leading up to the big explosion. Later, in color correction, we went through and keyed the blood and pushed even more red into all of the red we photographed.” Operating the camera handheld during the sequence took coordination and cooperation between operators. “We use minimal marks for the actors, and we adjust ‘on the fly’ in every set-up, so clear communication was necessary between all of us about matching frame-sizes and clearing paths for the actors to enter and leave the scene,” Schwartz describes. “The intricacies of the set design, the lighting, the large number of extras, and the special effects involved in the scenes were all a bit daunting,” remarks B-camera operator April Kelley, SOC. “Running three cameras for almost every setup meant that Joel [Schwartz], Kris [Krosskove] and I had to be in each other’s back pockets, constantly collaborating to achieve the angles and actions that needed to be covered without getting our matte boxes or ourselves into someone else’s shot.”
Kelley says every department contributed mightily to the success of the Haunted House episode, “from grip and electric, led by Tasso Bravos and Greg Banta, who worked with all three cameras to achieve the desired lighting effects, while keeping equipment just out of our frames, to the set decorators, art department, make-up, hair and costume departments for giving us delightfully Halloweeny things to photograph from each angle,” she adds. “The special-effects department, led by Jeff Miller, was great. Their blood cannons, debris/air cannons and all the other gooey, messy splendor they provided was great – and they made sure we knew where the cameras could safely be to avoid being showered by a bucket of blood!” Caudillo says that because of the limited shooting time with the cast’s minors, “we were up against even more pressure to pull off a stunt that we really had one take to nail. I’m happy to say that the final result was amazing and outrageous – even cinematic. It took great coordination from every department and was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a network half-hour comedy.”
The Cooke Look
Photo by Aeric Adams
One Look. All Speeds
"Since the Alexa Mini went 4:3 I had shot with nothing but 2:1 squeezed lenses in either 16:9 crop mode or full screen 2:40 totally humbled by the extraordinary and daring magical imagery. Then, I was sharing cinematography on Dynasty with Michael Karasick and Starr Barry when it abruptly became a Netflix show and were obliged to shoot 4K. I suggested that we use the Canon C700 coupled with the new Cooke Panchro/i Classics because The Crown was shot so exquisitely by Adriano Goldman using vintage Cooke Speed Panchros (rehoused by TLS). I loved that dreamy forgiving and painterly palette. By Spring 2017, Cooke had recreated the look of the old lenses using modern glass and barreling. Our timing was perfect. We took delivery of the first two partial sets of the new Panchro/i Classics supplementing them with the vintage Panchros. The new lenses still bloom lovingly until 3.5/4 and have the curved focus field of the originals. The 9 linear iris blades allow for a glorious bokeh. It gives you the quality and feel of anamorphic, especially when shooting wide open.
We are sure that the look of the show photographed by these lenses was a big contributor to the pick-up of the back 9 episodes."
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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY / COURTESY OF ILM
THE END OF GREEN SCREEN? WILL IMMERSIVE LEDâ€™S AND AR PORTEND A NEW ERA FOR IN-CAMERA CAPTURE AND VFX? BY DEBRA KAUFMAN
ACCORDING TO HOLLYWOOD LORE, SPECIAL-EFFECTS ARTIST LAWRENCE BUTLER CREATED THE FIRST BLUE SCREEN TO PULL A GENIE OUT OF A BOTTLE IN RKO’S 1940 THE THIEF OF BAGDAD. BUTLER WON AN ACADEMY AWARD FOR HIS INNOVATION, AND SINCE THEN BLUE SCREEN AND, LATER, GREEN SCREEN BECAME THE GO-TO TECHNIQUES FOR PLACING ACTORS IN FAR-FLUNG OR FANTASTIC ENVIRONMENTS. Now, Hollywood technologists have pulled another genie out of the bottle – immersive large-screen LED displays and augmented reality – that may well replace (or at least alter) the use of green screen and similar longstanding processes. Industrial Light & Magic, 24Frame Studio, Production Resource Group and ARwall are just four of the companies finding such alternatives. If you’ve been to a sporting event or concert recently, you’ve seen immersive LED screens, which are now beginning to find a home in the entertainment industry. For years, LED screen resolution – measured by so-called dot pitch, which is the distance between sub-pixels – has been too low and its cost too high to use in lieu of green screens. But that’s beginning to change. ILM VFX supervisor John Knoll reports that his first experience with LED screens was the car-driving sequences in Mission Impossible 4. Robert Elswit, ASC, shot background plates with a camera car in Prague, and video transfers of them were used as lighting elements, providing “a higher degree of lighting realism.” MI4 still used a blue screen for the visuals. Knoll says there were two reasons the production limited the use of LED’s in this film. “The dot pitch of the screen was too coarse to give us the resolution we needed, and, at the time, they didn’t have a good way of synching cameras with the refresh of the screen, so we couldn’t control synch.” As LED technology has improved (and come down in cost), ILM’s use of the technology, in partnership with ARRI and equipment rental/services company VER, has evolved. “LED screens had really good use on
Rogue One,” says Knoll, who says they used 9-mm dot pitch screens. One such example was the Death Star Control Room, where the big monitor was originally going to be blue screen. According to Knoll, director Gareth Edwards and cinematographer Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS, decided to use a large LED screen instead. Fraser liked the light of the LED screen reflected on the actors so much that he dimmed the lights in the room. “That wouldn’t have happened if we just put a blue screen in there,” Knoll adds. “The final result is much more realistic because you’re photographing the phenomenon, not faking interactive light effects.” The actors could also relate immediately to what was on screen. “We didn’t have to explain what would happen in the shot. And the actors’ eyelines were right and they were more in character,” Knoll states. Knoll says using LED screens is a good solution to an otherwise difficult problem. “More and more cases where you’d normally put up a blue screen,” he continues, “you can use an LED screen for an in-camera composite or better lighting. And not just big sci-fi films – it offers a dynamic lighting environment for people talking in a car.” 24Frame Studio owner Robert Chartier designed a method for projecting backplates using his own specially designed vehicles (first used on Pushing Tin  with Gale Tattersall, ASC). Chartier knew the technology wasn’t quite ready; not until 18,000-lumen projectors came out would he find a viable way of showing what was outside the vehicle. Chartier continued to build a variety of camera vehicles, and now shoots 360
[first look] degrees with the Sony S5 4K camera, using his own electronics for remote control of the camera. The company’s projectors work with all cameras. Staff cinematographer Aashish Gandhi says Chartier’s systems’ primary recording for playback on set is recorded separately. “That way we don’t have to process the footage and can play it back immediately,” Gandhi shares. “It’s completely interactive on the day we shoot.” Gandhi says the system provides better control on how it will look in the final, and also saves the time that would be spent keying out the green. Adding interactive LED lighting has improved the process. “You don’t have to play a guessing game and hope the lighting matches,” Gandhi continues. “We can get the best match of movement in the background and what the lighting is doing, always working with cinematographers to ensure it’s what they want.” Last year, 24Frame Studio did an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm – the sequence when Larry David gets on (and off ) the bus. Gandhi, who worked in close consultation with the episode’s director, Patrick Stewart, says Stewart added LED panels to light the inside of the bus. “Larry David was free to fully interact with the bus driver,” Gandhi notes. “To do it economically for TV, this was the most practical solution.” Production Resource Group’s PRG OverDrive system uses LED panels for digital fill light on talent or vehicles, paired with highresolution LED screens for backgrounds for incamera lighting and motion effects. Zoe Borys, senior account executive, business development for feature film, says Claudio Miranda [ASC] first used the system on Oblivion. “We can bring any location to any soundstage in the world, and provide an immersive environment that actors can act against,” Borys boasts. PRG relies mainly on backgrounds from Driving Plate, which specializes in providing highresolution 360-degree plates from around the world. PRG’s LED technology began with live performance – it was used recently for a U2 tour. Borys, whose focus is scripted and feature films, says many film/TV lighting designers and gaffers already keep an eye on concert
lighting and LED’s. “They were the ones who started to say, ‘Why can’t we use this instead of green screen?’” The process begins with input from the cinematographer and production designer, from which PRG engineers create the appropriate panel arrays and projection systems. Extensive conversations and previs drawings are used to nail down the exact angles. “It’s not storyboarding, but it’s pretty meticulous in terms of angles,” Borys says. She ticks off the benefits of producing shots in this manner. “It allows for more creativity, especially from the actor’s perspective. They just walk out in the lighting, do the performance and walk away. Directors can interact with the actors without the conditions of being on location, and we hear that actors’ performances are more authentic.” Cinematographer Shelly Johnson, ASC, used PRG OverDrive system for The Hurricane Heist. “[Director] Rob [Cohen] asked me to come up with a way to shoot realistic liveprocess running shots in our storm-chasing vehicle for the 30-some-odd pages that took place as they traveled,” Johnson says. “PRG was proactive with creating a layout that would serve our needs, and they let me test the screens in London, where I shot some test footage for Rob’s approval.” Johnson had to prepare the plates, by sending a plate unit to Florida and bringing on a colorist to grade the plates. The tests “showed me what the screens could do well and gave me ideas for how to integrate the camera with our movement,” Johnson adds. “Creating a realistic storm effect for driving shots was integral to the narrative. By actually lighting the shots with our storm forge, we were able to create a convincing and natural effect while avoiding the timeconsuming and expensive task of creating large amounts of practical hurricane or hundreds of costly green screen comps. We saved so much money on planned comps that the screens more than paid for themselves many times over.” Augmented reality is another green screen alternative in the nascent stage. Both ARwall chief executive Rene Amador and chief creative officer Michael Plescia have VFX backgrounds and were quite familiar with green screen. “For the last five years, we’ve been hitting our
head on the capacity of green screen,” Plescia admits. “Nothing has come out that is making a huge difference in what it’s capable of. When you’re painting hair out frame by frame, you’re thinking there’s got to be a better way.” “Our interest in [augmented reality] began years ago,” Amador adds. “We noticed that the idea of spatial sensing and spatial technology – which some people call immersive – could be used for more than motion capture.” That idea crystallized with the advent of the Wii game platform, which allows the user to change the perspective on the screen via a controller, followed by Microsoft Kinect for Xbox, both of which relied on game engines for real-time movement. “I began to see it wasn’t a fad, and I thought it had the potential to get on set,” Amador describes. More powerful GPUs from Nvidia and AMD accelerated the development cycle of necessary tools, and the ARwall partners worked closely with LED manufacturer Matrix Visual to create a screen that is 20 feet by 12 feet tall, with a dot pitch of between 1.8 and 2.6 mm. Virtual-reality expert Leon Hui came in as technical director to handle latency, and William Hellwarth is working on an interactive tool designed for directors to manipulate the background behind actors. “Our core technology is all software that sits on top of any game engine,” says Amador, who currently uses Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. “The data tracks the motion of the camera as it moves,” he explains. “Once the calculation of the camera’s position is made, a ‘secret sauce’ calculates skew and distortion for the image from the camera’s perspective.” Amador notes one of the upsides of AR for backgrounds. “People abandoned rearscreen projection for green screen so they could move the camera,” he says. “But anything that changes the position that displays parallax is when it gets complicated and can increase four-fold in price. Productions have to decide which shots can move, and the rest have to be locked down. Green screen incentivizes productions to lock down the camera.” Apparently Hollywood agrees. Amador reports that, despite how nascent his company’s technology is, the firm just signed a contract with a major motion-picture studio.
“WE SAVED SO MUCH MONEY ON PLANNED COMPS THAT THE SCREENS MORE THAN PAID FOR THEMSELVES MANY TIMES OVER.” SHELLY JOHNSON, ASC
TOP/BOTTOM IMAGES FROM THE HURRICANE HEIST USING PRG’S OVERDRIVE SYSTEM/ COURTESY OF SHELLEY JOHNSON, ASC
COURTESY OF PAUL POTERA
kIm B Y
D E B R A
K A U F M A N
KIM LIBRERI THRIVES ON BEING A PIONEER. WHEN HE STARTED IN DIGITAL VISUAL EFFECTS IN 1991, AT THE NOW-DEFUNCT COMPUTER FILM COMPANY (CFC), COMPUTER GRAPHICS IN MOVIES WERE EARLY DAYS. NOW HEâ€™S BUSY IN ANOTHER NASCENT INDUSTRY, USING REAL-TIME GAMING ENGINES IN ENTERTAINMENT, AS CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER FOR EPIC GAMES. ALTHOUGH THE COMPANY IS HEADQUARTERED IN NORTH CAROLINA, LIBRERI IS BRIDGING GAMING AND HOLLYWOOD, WITH HIS VAST DIGITAL VFX FROM EVERYTHING FROM THE MATRIX TRILOGY TO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.
LIBRERI APRIL 2018
@@ LIBRERI STUDIED COMPUTER SCIENCE AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING AT MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY IN NORTHERN ENGLAND, WHERE HE FOCUSED ON COMPUTER GRAPHICS. THEN HE GOT AHOLD OF THE 1987 BOOK INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC: THE ART OF SPECIAL EFFECTS. “THERE WAS A LITTLE SECTION ON THE PIXAR COMPUTER AND THEIR FIRST ANIMATED SHORT MOVIE,” HE RECALLS. “AND I THOUGHT, ‘THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO: MAKE IMAGES WITH COMPUTERS.’” AT CFC, HE WROTE COMPOSITING SOFTWARE AND WORKED ON THE FIRST 2K COMPOSITING SYSTEM, AND LATER WAS THE SECOND EMPLOYEE AND HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY AT CINESITE EUROPE. HAVING PARTICIPATED IN HOLLYWOOD’S GRADUAL EMBRACE OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY, LIBRERI IS THE IDEAL EVANGELIST FOR WHAT REAL-TIME GAME ENGINES CAN DO FOR FILMMAKING – AND CINEMATOGRAPHERS.
ICG: What were your breakthrough moments as a digital VFX supervisor? I was working on the sci-fi movie Event Horizon with Richard Yuricich and Douglas Trumbull, who were both old-school visual-effects experts. Richard looked at me and said, “Why don’t you become the visual-effects supervisor for this movie?” That was the beginning of my supervising on movies. Hollywood and the film industry were pretty conservative with what they were willing to do with computer graphics. Now, as a supervisor, I could choose the techniques and technologies. What made The Matrix [shot by Bill Pope, ASC] such a groundbreaking film? I had been working for Mass Illusions – which became Manex Visual Effects – and the company landed What Dreams May Come and The Matrix. The people there all came from Douglas Trumbull and his Massachusetts facility, so they were kind of anti-establishment, and the directors on both movies really bonded with them. For Dreams, with visual-effects supervisor Nicholas Brooks, we used Optical Flow, which is a kind of motion estimation or motion tracking for every pixel. We also invented the use of photogrammetry for synthetic backgrounds, which we used on both films. No way could you make a background look photoreal with CG, so we did photogrammetry to create a crude version of the set, took photos of it and then projected them on the models. On The Matrix, with VFX supervisor John Gaeta, that’s how we created the bullet-time shots. Didn’t the team win an award for that film? In 2001, George Borshukov, Dan Piponi and I got a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy for developing image-based rendering that allowed choreographed camera movements through computer-graphicsreconstructed sets. We called it the “Manex Visual Effects Virtual Cinematography System” at the time. More recently, you got a credit as “technology supervisor” for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. How did that come about? The last movie I worked in a visual-effects role was Super 8 (2011) with my good friend Dennis Muren [ASC], where we were both visual-effects supervisors. I was running technology for Lucasfilm, and did a lot of research into realtime technologies for performance capture and animation and facial capture. By the time [The Force Awakens] came out, I wasn’t working there anymore, but as part of the team I worked on a lot of foundational technology.
Why the move into gaming? I was thinking about how digital visual effects has taken away some of the spontaneity of filmmaking. If you blow up a physical object, there’s a certain amount of random chaos that makes things amazing. Computer graphics is mostly a premeditated art. We storyboard, we previsualize, we create animatics, and the final result is an evolution of the idea you had in the beginning. So after Super 8, I was missing innovation, and I bet that real-time computer graphics would be on the same path that [digital] filmmaking was twenty years ago, going from Jurassic Park to Avatar and on. We started with simple characters and effects, and there was this tremendous evolution of digital effects. Real-time computer graphics is similar, but in an interactive way. More [technologies] are being pioneered in the real-time world than in the movie industry. Great ideas like physical-based shading and accurate lighting units are already being done in the gaming industry. What was your first step in that direction? I made the move to LucasArts and worked on the action videogame Star Wars 1313, and was responsible for the visuals. It was when we went from the PlayStation 3 to a PlayStation 4, and we were trying to show you could make ILM-quality images, but in a videogame on a next-generation console, which used Epic Arts’ Unreal Engine 3. When Disney bought Lucasfilm, it ended the development of LucasArts projects. I told ILM [president] Kathy [Kennedy] that I’d like to set up a realtime division for new technologies. I was chief strategy officer at Lucasfilm at that time, and one of the things I was responsible for was the Advanced Development Group, which did pure real-time research. Back then, ILMxLAB was only an idea. At ADG, we took what we learned on Star Wars 1313 and pushed it further. That group has gone on to create some awesome virtual reality experiences. What intrigued you about Epic Games? I really felt real-time was going to be the future of the entertainment industry, and the pinnacle for that is Epic Games’ Unreal engine. As chief technology officer, I’m responsible for pushing the engine forward in terms of its capabilities for all applications, not just games. In addition to my day-to-day job as CTO, I am also responsible for special projects. One of those was the animated short A Boy & His Kite, which we showcased at our Open World. In this short, we showed what photogrammetry and dynamic lighting could do in a cinematic piece, with character animation capabilities you
“The MONSTRO 8K VV sensor represents the highest level of performance on the market. Coupled with the WEAPON’s modularity, you have a high-resolution camera system malleable enough to capture in any filming scenario and at every delivery spec.” Christopher Probst, ASC Director of Photography
“ CINEMATOGRAPHERS WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THEIR VISION FOR LIGHTING OF CG CHARACTERS AND SETS SIDE BY SIDE WITH THEIR PHYSICAL LIGHTING.”
might consider only possible in an animated movie. And we also showed that you could stream a massive environment, which in this case was 100 square miles of terrain, which was based on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. It won the Best Real-Time Graphics and Interactivity Award at Siggraph’s Real Time Live!
camera.” The cinematographer could control the game engine or work with a technician. Cinematographers will get full ownership of the lighting. For actors like Andy Serkis, realtime technologies will allow them to see their performances translated into a digital character in front of their eyes.
What other special projects have you worked on? The year after, we continued to improve digital human capabilities and show it off in terms of rigging capabilities. We demonstrated that with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, where we partnered with Ninja Theory, CubicMotion and 3Lateral, showing real-time cinematography with a live performance capture driving an animated character. That received a second Best Real-Time Graphics and Interactivity Award at Siggraph.
How would this work in a production? We currently have a laborious pipeline from storyboard to post. If you make a mistake in the beginning, it’s very expensive to correct. When it’s live, you bring back a level of spontaneity and happy accidents, even if it’s in a synthetic environment. Take a movie like Speed Racer. Instead of having animators animate it, you could set up a visual simulation and drive it like a multi-player game. You can time out the explosions and then decide where you want to put the camera. Anything that happens in a game-play session is recordable. Cinematographers can block cameras. Game engines are like simulation sandboxes. You can crash a vehicle 20 times and pick the one you like. For VFX-heavy movies, this will speed things up, involve the shooting crew and make it more fun.
Is Unreal having an impact for previsualization and on-set capture? In TV we’re seeing lots of broadcast-technology companies using it for virtual sets. Almost all virtual set companies are compatible with our engine. The pinnacle of Unreal’s use in TV is Lost in Time, a TV show in Norway produced by The Future Group, in collaboration with Fremantle Media. In the show, they use the engine to generate all the background environments, so the contestants see the virtual world while they’re shooting the show. After they decide the camera angles, they go back and re-render the backgrounds as a final. Visual effects companies are using Unreal as well. Halon Entertainment and The Third Floor are big users for previsualization, Halon also makes ride films in the engine for theme parks, and The Third Floor makes excellent VR pieces. At least two-dozen VFX companies are using it for previs and shot design, VR experiences as a work-for-hire and/or virtual production. ILM even experimented with it to render final shots on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. How will real-time technology impact ICG members? At this point, computer graphics and live action have to fit together. Cinematographers will be able to see their vision for lighting of CG characters and sets side by side with their physical lighting, and generate an environment where they can adjust the background of the computer graphics. Essentially, it brings the ownership of the look back to their hands. There is no room for misinterpretation. Some of the real-time tracking systems, like Ncam and Lightcraft Technology, are on the edge of pixel perfect, which means it would be feasible to have a set extension that could be considered “in
What are the current limitations of gameengine technologies vis-à-vis filmmaking? It’s early days of game engines on movie sets, and we’re limited quite frankly by adoption and the users understanding the technology, which is moving faster than you might think. In the next decade, we’ll get super-photorealistic pixels that today can only be done in VFX. Last year, we did The Human Race, a Chevy Camaro commercial with The Mill. Nobody expected us to be able to do lighting and compositing of the car in real time. The thing that’s missing is blowing stuff up, or Michael Bay-hem. I would love to see those kinds of capabilities in our engine. How do you get Hollywood filmmakers to adopt it? I think filmmakers will embrace it because making VFX movies has been an abstract process for too many years. Directors demand technologies that bring real time back to the set. Our job is to make sure things are intuitive for moviemakers. They can download Unreal and learn how to use it, and we also have an enterprise team that can provide support and engineering. We’ve already worked hand in hand with ILM, Apple, The Mill, Peter Jackson, and J.J. Abrams. Cinematographers should not be afraid of real-time technologies, as they will bring back traditional craftsmanship. Everyone will be making the picture on the set, not in postproduction.
L A N D S
37 APRIL 2018 MORTON PHOTO BY MERRICK
PHOTO BY MERRICK MORTON
VISUALIZING THE DARING AND OFTEN SCARY WORLD OF DAVID FINCHER REQUIRES NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND PROCESSES RARELY ATTEMPTED IN SERIES TELEVISION. BY MATT HURWITZ PHOTOS BY PATRICK HARBRON & MERRICK MORTON, SMPSP
IN THE SEASON 1 FINALE OF NETFLIX’S MINDHUNTER, A DISTURBED FBI AGENT, HOLDEN FORD (JONATHAN GROFF), BURSTS WILDLY FROM A HOSPITAL ROOM, AS A HANDHELD CAMERA GIVES CHASE. THE MOVE BEGINS AS SHAKEN AS FORD IS, BUT, AS IT LANDS WITH THE AGENT, WHO COLLAPSES IN THE HALLWAY, IT’S AS IF THE CAMERA HAS FLOATED TO A BUTTER-SMOOTH STOP INCHES FROM THE FLOOR, THE MANEUVER EXECUTED LIKE IT WAS ON A PERFECTLY BALANCED JIB ARM, CRANE, OR EVEN STEADICAM. BUT IT’S NONE OF THOSE. WHAT CAN VIEWERS ASSUME FROM THIS?
DAVID FINCHER HAS RETURNED TO TELEVISION.
“EVERYTHING [ON THE CAMERA] WAS BUILT IN, NO CABLES – JUST A REALLY CLEAN FORM FACTOR.” A-CAMERA 1ST AC ALEX SCOTT
FOR THIS SERIES ABOUT A PAIR OF AGENTS WORKING IN THE FBI’S ELITE BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES UNIT in 1979, and attempting to understand the mind of a serial killer, Fincher used a number of leading-edge technologies – interactive LED lighting, custom built high-resolution cameras, and, as in the shot with Agent Ford, image stabilization/smoothing in postproduction – to keep the viewer visually embedded. Fincher’s aim with MINDHUNTER, which has no graphic violence, is for viewers to “access their own attics. There’s far scarier stuff up there than anything we can fabricate,” the filmmaker insists. “I wanted people to register what’s going on in [characters’] eyes and where the gear changes are taking place. At what point do I [as the viewer] feel like, ‘OK, I’ve got an insight,’ and at what point do they feel like: ‘oh, I’m being sold something. It’s all about the nuance in how the balance of power is changing.” Fincher’s longtime postproduction supervisor, Peter Mavromates, says he creates an “experience of omniscience,” similar to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, “where you’re in a straitjacket with your eyelids pinned open, and David’s forcing you to watch these horrible things.” In fact, the show’s
unique visual process began more than a year before production started in Pittsburgh (on area locations and on stages at 31st Street Studios, a former steel mill), with the development of a unique RED camera system. Christopher Probst, ASC – who shot MINDHUNTER’S pilot and second episode – was asked for his input on a RED prototype system, which had been designed by Jarred Land and RED’s Chief Designer Matt Tremblay according to Fincher’s specific needs. “David wanted to take all of the different exterior add-ons that create a jungle of wires, and put them inside the camera body,” Probst explains. Fincher puts it even more directly: “It just seems insane that we’ve been bequeathed a [camera] layout [dating back to] D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin that looks like some bizarre Medusa. [The camera] should be something that people want to approach, touch, and pick up.” In fact, the custom system built for Season 1 [Land created a 2.0 version being used in Season 2] had an RTMotion MK3.1 lens-control system, Paralinx Arrow-X wireless video, and Zaxcom wireless audio (with timecode) integrated into the RED body,
PHOTOS BY PATRICK HARBRON
FRAMEGRABS COURTESY OF NETFLIX
“WE WOULD ALWAYS HAVE LIGHTS WE COULD PUT IN THE FRAME, AND THEN AUGMENT, HIDING OUR SOURCES OUTSIDE OF FRAME.” GAFFER DANNY GONZÁLEZ
with the only visible cable being to control the lens. Slating was all but eliminated, with clip-number metadata being shared wirelessly between the camera and the script supervisor, who used Filemaker software to associate takes and clips. An audio scratch track from the mixer was recorded onto the REDCODE RAW R3D files and received wirelessly. The base camera was one of RED’s DSMC2 systems, the then-new WEAPON DRAGON, with its 6K sensor. The shell design, accommodating the added gear inside, with its angular shape and heat venting fins on top, had a “Xenomorph” appearance (à la Alien), and was dubbed as such by Land and Fincher. “When the camera arrived in Pittsburgh, they had actually engraved “Xenomorph” on the side,” Probst says. A 7-inch RED monitor was mounted atop the shell for the operator’s use (eyepieces were rarely used, except for occasional bright exteriors). Fincher requested another 7-inch monitor be integrated into the side of the camera for those who might otherwise ask the operator for a quick view. “David would stand there with me,” describes A-camera Operator Brian Osmond, SOC, “and say, ‘Show me what you got.’ Then he would just look at that side monitor, and I would look at my own. People could walk up to the right side of the camera, take a glance, and say, ‘Okay, I see,’ and walk away. It was a really efficient way to work.”
The design was a favorite with assistants as well. “If you’re in a tight spot, like inside a car, it was nice not having to remove the transmitter or MDR and reconfigure everything,” recalls A-camera 1st AC Alex Scott. “Everything was built in, no cables – just a really clean form factor.”
SINCE FINCHER HAD USED LEICA’S SUMMILUX C SERIES LENSES on Gone Girl, Probst tested them on RED’s 8K VistaVision-sized Dragon prototype to determine where each focal length covered the various possible resolutions. Fincher and Probst then decided the lenses would work best on a 6K system, to avoid any portholing effect. “I l o ve those l e n s e s , ” s ay s cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, a former gaffer and Fincher veteran who replaced Probst on Episode 3 and shot the remainder of the first season. “They’re fast and sharp, and the color is consistent, from lens to lens.” Messerschmidt says the series was filmed almost entirely on 29- and 40-mm lenses, which, Osmond adds, fit well with the show’s aesthetic. “We worked close and wide, which is really true to life,” the operator notes. “If you want to see somebody close up, you walk over to them, you don’t change the focal length of your eyes, and those lenses perform well in that way.” The series is also
shot in 2.21:1 aspect ratio, which Fincher used on House of Cards. “It’s the equivalent of 70mm 5-perf widescreen spherical.” Fincher notes. “Which is a good aspect ratio for 16:9 displays. To me, 2.40:1 feels chopped in the middle once it gets into a display. It’s a less obtrusive letterbox, and still gives the viewer a widescreen feel.” As noted, Probst shot the pilot and second episode, and helped develop the look of the series. Messerschmidt served as a consultant during the prep of the show (he was unable to serve as gaffer due to a commitment to Claudio Miranda, ASC, and suggested his former lighting technician, Danny González, be MINDHUNTER’S gaffer). When Messerschmidt took over DP chores, he brought on Focus Puller David Edsall, B-camera operator David Richert, and Key Grip Paul Goodstein. Scott, fellow A-camera assistant Gary Bevans, and Dolly Grip Dwayne Barr were already in place from the pilot and worked the entire season. “David wanted a low-contrast kind of seventies look,” Messerschmidt recalls. “But he didn’t want to hit the audience over the head with the period; production design and costume design can do most of that work for you.” Messerschmidt also brought in a unique visual perspective, having worked as an assistant to renowned still photographer Gregory Crewdson. “[Crewdson’s] work lives right on the edge between reality and surrealism,” he explains. “The audience
“WE STARTED USING [INTERACTIVE] LED’S ON ZODIAC. NOW, THE LED’S ARE SO EFFICIENT AND BRIGHT, AND THE COLOR’S SO GOOD, THEY CAN PUSH COMPLETELY INTO THE CAR.” DAVID FINCHER
knows what you’re making is fake – so it’s riding that knife’s edge between telling a real story without letting it be too theatrical.” González supports that thinking, noting that, “we were constantly adding practicals and lights in the frame, using that to motivate with, and sometimes just using that,” González recounts. “We would always have lights we could put in the frame, and then augment, hiding our sources outside of frame.” An example would be an expected overhead light purposely left powered off, even though it’s visible in frame, in favor of a lamp. Another would be, in the case of FBI Unit Chief Sheppard (Cotter Smith), lighting mostly from outside the blinds of his large office window. González utilized T8 Technologies’ daylight-balanced Luma Panels (above the window and on the ground), bounced into muslin or gray cloth, to provide a general ambience. Green screen was also used, lit with Cineo HS2 fixtures – panels of uncoated LED emitters, in front of which can be placed panels of phosphors of whatever color is needed. “The HS2s give a rich, saturated green,” González adds. “And if you get a more saturated green, you don’t need as much light, which helps with spill.” The apartment of Ford’s girlfriend, Debbie, has numerous 1970’s practicals, courtesy of set dresser Tracey Doyle, who Probst notes, “was excited about recreating the environment of her hippie youth.” Instead of hard ceilings overhead, LiteGear LiteMats were placed above stretched
muslin for an out-of-frame ambient source to augment the practicals and other custommade LED sources González would hide. “It gave us a bit of that Conrad Hall ‘room tone’ aesthetic, which worked well for that set,” Messerschmidt adds.
FANS OF MINDHUNTER KNOW THE AGENT/ SERIAL KILLER INTERVIEWS, all done inside the prisons, are at the core of the viewer experience. Scenes with killers Ed Kemper and Jerry Brudos were photographed at Westmoreland County Prison in Greensburg, PA, subbing for California Medical Facility in Vacaville, CA and another in Oregon. Key to the cold and sparse Kemper look were 400 5000K fluorescent bulbs (“super cool whites,” as González calls them), along with prerigged lighting that offered three different looks. The closed – and very creepy – West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, WV sat in for Joliet prison, for visits with murderer Richard Speck [the interview set was built on a stage in Pittsburgh]. “David said: ‘It should look like Dracula’s breakfast nook,’” Messerschmidt laughs. With so many road-trip conversations between the main characters, Fincher wasn’t about to ruin the experience by using a cheap process methodology. Instead, he used an ingenious combination of realistic, multiangle plate photography and plate projection on stage as interactive lighting, later comped in post. Far from a “poor man’s process”
photography, the high-tech approach produced an uncanny realism. “Riding in a car next to somebody you can see how much the light changes on their face,” Fincher notes about the approach. “We’re so used to seeing these car chases, with 1200-watt Pars blasting into one side of the character’s face, it’s ridiculous.” Probst set 11 RED EPIC cameras on the plate vehicle (a Mercedes Metris SUV ), representing all pre-visualized angles for conversation shots inside a car. He then catalogued the lens height and angles (in loaded vehicles) of the many picture car autos to be used, making a “Denny’s menu” book of information. The cameras were mounted on sliders from Modern Studio Equipment, with vertical scales and rotation angles printed onto “80/20” modular rails, on which the cameras would be raised or lowered to the correct height and angle for the subject car. After capturing shots of the actors – using the Xenomorphs – arriving or driving through particular locations in their car, another pass was made using the plate vehicle, to easily capture the plate material in the same location, at the same time of day and same lighting that would be used on the process stage. “You don’t have to reset, circle back for two miles, deal with police escorts and closing streets or ‘Listen, we can only do this two times,’” Osmond notes. Returning to the process stage, the same vehicle was then placed on jacks (allowing
PHOTOS BY PATRICK HARBRON
ERIK MESSERSCHMIDT / PHOTO BY MERRICK MORTON
CHRISTOPHER PROBST, ASC / PHOTO BY PATRICK HARBRON
“DAVID’S A VERY PURPOSEFUL FILMMAKER. THE FRAME IS SACRED; WHAT WE CHOOSE TO INCLUDE IS INTRINSIC TO WHAT THE AUDIENCE THINKS IS IMPORTANT.” ERIK MESSERSCHMIDT
realistic wheel turns) and surrounded by green screen. The editorial department would select footage from the plate shoot, from which Fincher dialed-in his final selects. That was played back on large WinVision Air 9-mm video panels, with shower-curtaintype material placed in front, to diffuse the image. The panels are placed high enough to be out of sight of the camera, but low enough to allow reflection of the blurry, but accurate, content onto window glass, chrome, and the actors’ faces. The result is true interactive lighting: timecode synched, to allow the very same footage to be comped-in behind or ahead of the actors. “If a white truck passes the guys in the plate, there’s a white reflection passing along the chrome of the car,” Messerschmidt describes. Adds Fincher: “ We started using [interactive] LED’s on Zodiac. Now, the LED’s are so efficient and bright, and the color’s so good, they can push completely into the car.”
AS NOTED, FINCHER’S WORK OFTEN HAS A UNIQUE SENSE OF OMNISCIENCE. The very precise and deliberate work the Local 600 camera team creates for him on-set is typically augmented or enhanced in postproduction through motion smoothing or stabilization. Fincher first used postsmoothing in 2002’s Panic Room and has refined the process through recent projects like Gone Girl, House of Cards and now MINDHUNTER. By removing even the slightest bump or unwanted motion in a jib arm or dolly move, Mavromates explains, “there’s no reminder a human is involved.
You’re floating, almost godlike, because the camera is perfect.” The process has been perfected in Fincher’s Hollywood offices, which contains a VFX department, editorial, and even color timing on a Baselight by in-house colorist Eric Weidt. Working from Fincher’s notes, compositor Chad Peter uses tracking software (SynthEyes) to export data to Adobe After Effects – used to reanimate the camera operation. “It gives it a stabilized and machine-perfected look,” Mavromates adds. The same process was also used for reframing. Probst and Messerschmidt would shoot the show in a 5K-protected frame within the Xenomorph’s 6K frame, leaving 1K worth of border for Mavromates to correct for even the smallest compositional imperfections Fincher or others would identify. But Fincher adds, “reframing is a bad misnomer. To me it’s just combing through [the footage] to remove distracting misses or miscues.” Although one (or both) processes were used in every shot in which the camera moves, the scene with Agent Holden in the hospital put the methodology to the test. Osmond shot Groff sitting on a butt dolly pulled by Barr in true handheld mode – a rarity for Fincher, who says he only uses handheld “when it’s not in the service of making something cheaper.” As Messerschmidt describes: “David was interested in letting the anxiety of the character take hold – that’s why we ran handheld down the hallway with him. But then, as he completely falls apart, the frame becomes very stable. So it appears to go from handheld to almost Steadicam to motion control.” “David wanted it physically rough at
the start, and then we flew down the hall, and I did my best toward the end of the shot, to hold it as steady as I could, as he hit the ground,” Osmond adds. “I can say I shot handheld for David Fincher – it does happen!” Messerschmidt puts it best when describing Fincher’s singular approach to moviemaking. “He’s a very purposeful filmmaker. The frame is sacred; what we choose to include is intrinsic to what the audience thinks is important. They are one and the same.”
LOCAL 600 CREW Directors of Photography Christopher Probst, ASC (Pilot, Episode 2)
Erik Messerschmidt (Episodes 3-10)
A-Camera Operator Brian S. Osmond, SOC A-Camera 1st AC Alex Scott B-Camera Operator David Richert B-Camera 1st AC David Edsall Rick Crumrine B-Camera 2nd AC Gary Bevans Additional AC Paul Toomey Loader Bill Crumrine Still Photographers Merrick Morton, SMPSP Patrick Harbron
S P Y VS
S P Y APRIL 2018
HULU’S NEW SERIES, THE LOOMING TOWER, PORTRAYS COMPETING INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES AND A PRE-9/11 WORLD ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH DESTINY. BY KEVIN H. MARTIN PHOTOS BY JOJO WHILDEN, SMPSP
AN ESSENTIAL PRECEPT OF INTELLIGENCE WORK IS THAT DETERMINATIONS BE MADE ABOUT AN ENEMY’S CAPABILITIES, AS WELL AS THEIR INTENTIONS. WITHOUT DATA THAT DEFINES THOSE PARAMETERS, ANY NATION’S INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY CAN WIND UP SQUANDERING ITS RESOURCES. AND IF THAT COMMUNITY BECOMES FACTIONALIZED, THE DISSEMINATION OF DATA IS JEOPARDIZED, OFTEN WITH CATASTROPHIC RESULTS. SUCH IS THE HEART OF THE STORY BEHIND HULU’S NEW SERIES THE LOOMING TOWER, which dramatizes the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks. Lead cinematographer Jim Denault, ASC (joined later by Fred Elmes, ASC, and Ivan Strasburg, BSC), says that upon reading the script, “the CIA is presented as the antagonist, with the FBI the protagonist, and the terrorist threat like an approaching tornado. The FBI-versus-CIA aspect has the agencies so occupied that they
fail to deal with this force of nature closing in on them.” Denault’s past work includes Ryan Gosling’s first leading role in The Believer, and Emmy-nominated efforts on Carnivàle and Game Change. Initial plans had him alternating episodes with Strasburg, but production vagaries had Denault shoot footage for nearly every installment. Some of Denault’s shows also included scenes shot by Elmes (a fellow alumnus of the
Rochester Institute of Technology), who DP’d much of the series’ conclusion. “It was a complex schedule, with shoots sometimes taking place simultaneously in different countries,” Denault elaborates. “Everything was completely cross-boarded; sometimes we shot scenes at the same locale for multiple episodes in the same day, using two different DP’s and two or three different directors.” The first time Denault alternated with another DP – Jeff Jur, ASC – was
AS PER HIS WORKFLOW, DENAULT CREATED A LOOK BOOK THAT COMBINED PHOTOS HEâ€™D TAKEN DURING SCOUTING AND OTHER IMAGES FOR INSPIRATION.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JIM DENAULT
“A LOT OF THE LOOKS DPS ARE CREATING WITH DIGITAL CAMERAS NOW ARE VERY FLAT, PRESERVING A LOT OF SHADOW AND HIGHLIGHT DETAIL. I WANTED TO GET AWAY FROM THAT AND BUILD THE CONTRAST UP.” JIM DENAULT, ASC
for Carnivàle’s second season. “I asked Jeff whether I had to use the same lights he relied on – whether the gaffer should tell me how Jeff lit each set previously,” Denault recounts. “You know what the show looks like, get there the way you think is best, which was the best thing he could have said to make the work good. Fred, Ivan and I have very different lighting styles, but we somehow got ourselves into the same space with respect to the story being told.” The Looming Tower was shot 2.8K ARRIRAW with ALEXA STUDIO XT and MINI’s, which Denault describes as having solid and substantial colors. “ARRIRAW is completely uncompressed,” he adds, “so you get all the information from the sensor, including all the in-between colors, which can provide subtle nuances.” Denault chose Leica primes, partly because of similarity to Leica still lenses. “They’re sharp and fast, plus it is difficult to make them flare,” he continues. “This all relates to my taste in photography, which is to not draw attention to the surface of the image. I feel a lot of diffusion or lens flares can draw attention away from the subject.” The DP also created specific LUT’s for the show. “A lot of the looks DPs are creating with digital cameras now are very flat, preserving a lot of shadow and highlight detail,” Denault observes. “I wanted to get away from that and build the contrast up a little more, putting more of a film stock curve on the look. When you see this LUT on the monitor, it becomes a reminder of your desired approach and influences your lighting and exposure.” The LUT’s, created with help from Technicolor Postworks NY final colorist Jack Lewars, reflected an early directive to make the series “look cinematic.” “I thought about what they meant by that,” Denault recalls. “Does part of it mean
a film-like range of contrast and a particular level of color saturation? That’s what I wound up going after with the basic LUT’s – something more punchy and contrasty.”
AS PER HIS WORKFLOW, DENAULT CREATED A LOOK BOOK THAT COMBINED PHOTOS he’d taken during scouting and other images for inspiration. “It might only be a dozen images altogether,” he explains, “enough to give a taste of intention once I’ve color-corrected them. This one includes imagery from photojournalist/street photographers Alex Webb and James Nachtwey, whose pictures have an off-kilter, out-of-balance quality in the framing and an intensity in the color.” B-camera operator John Pirozzi recalls Denault had him framing very high “above the usual headspace, which worked very well with a lot of rooms we were in.” Initially, Denault says, the thinking was that the FBI and CIA scenes would be shot in studio mode, while Al-Qaeda would all be handheld. “But that was too simplistic,” he adds, “so we steered it by changing up the framing. The camera approach suggested these professionals aren’t seeing the full problem, due to a failure of interpersonal dynamics. By comparison, Al-Qaeda is more creative by pulling off these bombings, so there’s an energy that reflects that commitment.” Pirozzi says Denault’s collaboration with production designer Lester Cohen resulted in a stage that had “a lot of soft lights in architectural parts of the set. Overall, the practical lighting on the stage was so well integrated with the sets that it was rare we’d have a stand on the floor, outside of the occasional flag,” the operator recounts. “That let us move quickly, because, depending on the shooting angle, they’d only have to turn
some units off and then be ready to go right on to the next.” Elmes agrees, adding that “Jim, along with Gaffer Dave Samuel and Key Grip Gary Martone, had lighting installed in the two key, but very different office sets. The FBI is up high in Manhattan while the CIA is down in a basement. Lester Cohen brought a cool gray monochrome to the CIA with diffuse ceiling light that never seemed to change, while the FBI was often flooded with daylight. That has a definite effect on all the scenes that play there.” In fact, some CIA offices were so small they imposed limitations, like not using multiple cameras. “It would have compromised the lighting too much,” Elmes continues, “and we would have spent too much time trying to fit it in.” While following Denault’s general lead, Elmes also developed supplementary visual approaches in concert with the various directors. “There’s no reason that the look shouldn’t evolve with such a big story,” Elmes observes. “I was most involved with the last three shows, and since the beginning of the series was well-received, after consulting with Jim it made sense to take his ideas a step further. We took our cues for camera movement and lighting from the content of a given scene. The night time office interiors, for example, became a little more shadowy.” Mobile cameras enhanced the desired cinematic feel, with A-camera Steadicam operator Aiken Weiss employing the MōVI to facilitate certain moves, including one following an FBI agent out of a cab and into a house. “That possibly could have been executed with a Technocrane, but we chose Jim’s MōVI that day,” Weiss recalls. The unit was hung from the center of a long piece of speedrail attached by a quick-release hook, and two grips carried it, allowing the camera to move above the
stopped vehicle. “Another grip and I waited outside the frame and came in as the camera moved forward. I grabbed the MōVI handles as the grip detached the rig; I followed Jeff in to the house while Jim operated the wheels.” Though the value of the MōVI is clear, Weiss says it can take a little while to get the MōVI ready. He cites a scene with two FBI agents in a bar, where the camera pulls back from a waiter, then crossed over to the other side of the bar before settling into a sustained master. “Jim was on the wheels while John pulled back with the waiter, then handed me the MōVI over the counter,” Weiss adds. “The MōVI is not a light setup to hold without support for an extended amount of time. I really didn’t feel like standing there for many takes without moving. The grips helped build a pipe/clamp/stand/arms contraption in the perfect spot, so I only had to step back and slide the top-mounted eye hook onto a baby pin and let go.”
WHILE THE LOOMING TOWER MADE USE OF 9/11 ARCHIVAL IMAGERY, visual effects renderings featuring the World Trade Center before the planes hit were also critical. VFX vendor Phosphene was selected to provide the photoreal elements. “Right from the beginning, we knew there were certain set pieces that would be the main meat for us,” notes VFX supervisor Aaron Raff. “Those included an embassy bombing, the USS Cole attack and of course the WTC. For the latter, there were only a few shots, but it was a major focus of ours to invest the proper attention to detailing the interior lobby and exterior towers accurately.” Elmes shot the live action for these sequences. “We found a concrete plaza downtown to use as the WTC exterior, filming a big crane shot as Jeff Daniels walks through,” he recalls. “We had to shoot at a specific time of day for the direction of light. Then, when [Daniels] enters the lobby, we had the partial set, which included the floor, banks of elevators and parts of the walls – with the rest all built by Phosphene, based on plans and photos of the real deal. “The key design elements there were the tall vertical windows and ribs – imitating
that on stage in a way that let VFX build on what we photographed and allowing us to design the lighting correctly,” he continues. “While I was doing the New York shooting, the rest of the company was in Morocco, which brought a wonderful diversity to the filming behind the camera as well as in front of it.” One example is when the U.S. embassy in Nairobi falls prey to a car bomb, and practical effects are combined with CGI. “We built our part of the blast out from what was shot by the South Africa unit on a separate element shoot,” Raff explains. “Special effects packed the shell of a truck full of explosives and blew it up. We extracted the blast element and how the cloth flapped around it, then used FumeFX effects and RealFlow [3D Studio Max] to create a simulation that gave the shot scope that couldn’t be achieved practically.” In episode two, the devastating aftermath is revealed. “The art department created an expanse of rubble over superstructure that was 20 feet tall and a block long,” Raff continues. “We extended that look back several blocks with a matte painting showing the devastated neighborhood. Those elements were modeled with standard environment-building tools in CG, using photogrammetry derived from a ton of stills taken on set.” To replicate the rubble pile, Phosphene based their work on point cloud data obtained via LIDAR mapping. Scenes set at an Al-Qaeda training camp involved night exteriors, for which Denault stuck with the standard 800 ISO. “When you start boosting it to crazy levels, light is introduced that isn’t under your control,” the DP emphasizes. “And for a lot of night shooting, it isn’t necessarily about how big the lights are – if you think ahead enough to know where you want to place them. “For most of the night lighting, especially the urban stuff, we used 1K Par cans,” he adds. “For the Al-Qaeda training camp, we were down in a quarry, with a Condor and an ARRIMAX above, and we still wound up dropping a ton of scrims in front so the moonlight wouldn’t look fake.” Denault favored ARRI SkyPanels for all of the location work. “I also have a small LiteMat kit, so those two kinds made up the majority of our soft lights, along with a few 1Ks and 300s, plus a rack of Par cans.”
SET IN A JERSEY CITY COMMUNITY REELING AFTER AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN TEEN IS CRITICALLY INJURED BY A WHITE POLICE OFFICER, SEVEN SECONDS IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE TV SHOW. YARON ORBACH, THE CINEMATOGRAPHER TASKED WITH BRINGING THE COMPLEX WORLD TO LIFE, KNEW IT RIGHT AWAY. “IT FELT LIKE THIS WAS SO RELEVANT WHEN WE WERE ON THE SET,” SAYS ORBACH OF THE TONE WHILE SHOOTING. “IT GIVES IT ANOTHER LAYER WHEN YOU’RE CAPTURING SOMETHING THAT IS IN THE NEWS AROUND YOU.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF HULU
“WHILE I WAS DOING THE NEW YORK SHOOTING, THE REST OF THE COMPANY WAS IN MOROCCO, WHICH BROUGHT A WONDERFUL DIVERSITY TO THE FILMING BEHIND THE CAMERA AS WELL AS IN FRONT OF IT.” FRED ELMES, ASC
“THE SHOW HAS PARALLELS TO TODAY’S LANDSCAPE, WITH THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY AT ODDS.” JIM DENAULT, ASC
FOR THE LEAD-IN TO THE BOMBING OF THE USS COLE, Denault split four cameras between two units. “We had people on the main ship and others on a small boat,” he explains, “so when [director] Michael Slovis and I were jumping from one spot to another, the assistants and cameras were already in place. Every day seemed to have a new logistical challenge, but fortunately we had Libra head guys, plus a gaffer and grip from the UK that often saved the day.” To recreate the USS Cole, Production (incredibly) obtained a battleship from the Moroccan navy, which Phosphene extended digitally. “We had buoy-like markers in the water to show how far the ship needed to be extended,” Raff details. “We also took parts of the practical ship and remixed those with our CG to wind up with a vessel matching the Cole’s exact dimensions. We shot all of our elements on ALEXA in open-gate mode, with a 2.8K frameline, which helped our camera tracking and to get more information for the shots.” The post-explosion hole in the ship was modeled digitally and composited with a drone shot of the Moroccan stand-in vessel. Raff and his team created a cutaway view that contained immense amounts of detail but retained a lot of the real ship-in-water aspects, like how water lapped up against the hull. “We’d remix that and project it into our shot,” he adds, “creating natural and unique interaction of water with the CG element.” While Denault set most of the show’s looks, he was not available for the DI, which Elmes spearheaded. “I did color-correction on the first three shows, helping the colorist get those right, and then did work on some of the later ones, which included locations that hadn’t been established yet,” Elmes
describes. “I don’t know whether there will be a second season, but that’s probably not as important as the fact that The Looming Tower was made at all, and turned out so well. I’m sure it’s going to make some waves.” Denault agrees, adding: “The show has parallels to today’s landscape, with the executive branch and intelligence community at odds. This increases the possibility that the next tornado coming our way – regardless of where it originates – may not get headed off in time, which could be equally catastrophic.”
LOCAL 600 CREW NEW YORK CREW Directors of Photography Fred Elmes, ASC Jim Denault, ASC Ivan Strasburg A-Camera Operator Aiken Weiss, SOC A-Camera 1st AC Edwin Effrein A-Camera 2nd AC Leonardo Gomez B-Camera Operator John Pirozzi B-Camera 1st AC Nicholas Hahn B-Camera 2nd AC Christopher Gleaton Loaders Derrick Dawkins Sean McNamara Still Photographers JoJo Whilden, SMPSP
THE BODY ELECTRIC 58
PHOTO BY RICHARD DUCREE
IT TAKES TWO DP’S (WHO ARE BOTH PAST GUILD ECA HONOREES) TO HARNESS THE LEADING-EDGE LIGHTING SCHEMES THAT POWER BLACK LIGHTNING. BY PAULINE ROGERS PHOTOS BY RICHARD DUCREE & BOB MAHONEY
NINE YEARS AGO, GARFIELD HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL JEFFERSON PIERCE RETIRED FROM HIS SUPERHERO PERSONA, BLACK LIGHTNING, AFTER SEEING THE EFFECTS IT HAD ON HIS FAMILY. HOWEVER, WHEN PIERCE’S HOMETOWN OF FREELAND GOES UNDER SIEGE FROM A LOCAL GANG CALLED THE 100, THERE’S NO OTHER CHOICE FOR PIERCE THAN TO BECOME THE ELECTRIFIED CRIME-FIGHTER HIS NAMESAKE POWERS FIRE OFF.
PHOTO BY BOB MAHONEY
DC COMICS’ FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN SUPERHERO – CREATED BY WRITER TONY ISABELLA AND ARTIST TREVOR VON EEDEN – was developed for the small screen by the husband/wife writing/directing/producing team Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil (Sparkle, Being Mary Jane, The Game, Girlfriends) with the help of TV superhero producer Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow). To visualize the show’s unique look, the Akils hired Emerging Cinematographer Awards honoree Scott Peck to set the tone with the pilot and continue the series, alternating with fellow ECA honoree Eduardo Mayén. In the early discussions with Salim Akil, who directed the pilot, and Producer/Director Oz Scott, one of the ideas frequently voiced was, “Of a
comic book, but not a comic book,” meaning the show should have comic-book elements but look gritty and real. And throughout the show’s first season, both Peck and Mayen have referred to images from DC Comics as springboards for color and composition. Camera movement has been key for both shooters. Peck says “to visualize the Black Lightning universe, we needed to use all the tools available. Whether that’s dolly or crane, we try to give the camera just a little float so it doesn’t get too static. A-camera/ Steadicam operator Brian Nordheim and B-camera operator Bob Newcomb [SOC] do an amazing job of blending that technique, so it feels almost imperceptible.” For both operators, each episode offers a stylish, feature-like scope. “It pushes the
boundaries of the episodic form,” Newcomb shares. “Our DP’s encourage us to look for new and different opportunities in composition and framing.” Nordheim agrees, citing a scene for a planned 50-foot Technocrane straight down a city street in Atlanta. “It’s where Black Lightning comes walking up into our 14mm lens and we have to boom up over the top of him to eye level,” Nordheim explains. “He then turns toward a high-rise building, and we had to come back down his body and look straight up behind him to the very top of the building – 90 degrees. We paused, and then I had to tilt back down and follow him into the front doors of the building, down some stairs and into a fight scene, which transitions into a stairwell, where we switched camera modes
“ IN ADDITION TO LED’S, WE USE INTELLIGENT THEATRICAL LIGHTS AND WIRELESS CONTROLS. OUR SET HAS TO BE QUIET, FAST, AND COOL, SO CONVENTIONAL TOOLS JUST DON’T FIT OUR NEEDS.” GAFFER JOSHUA STERN
to handheld for the fight.” But in fact, Nordheim says they had to abort the crane and do it with Steadicam, “because we could not tilt 90 degrees without seeing the head of the crane,” he continues. “We always have tools like a large crane available, but making creative choices to benefit the shot – and continue that feature quality – is important to the show and the schedule.”
THAT “FLOAT FEELING” PECK DESCRIBES IS NOT WITHOUT ITS CHALLENGES for Black Lightning’s focus pullers, who frequently must contend with wide-open shots through foreground elements. “Often, during fight sequences that involve Black Lightning,” describes B-camera assistant Alan Newcomb, “the light is flashing or undulating from the electrical interference he causes. Combine that with darkness and wide-open lenses, and you sometimes abandon both the monitor and any technical methods of pulling focus in the moment – you just need to feel them coming at you and hope that when the lights come back on you are still good!” For A-camera AC Anthony Zibelli, one interesting challenge came on the pilot – where Pierce’s two daughters (who also have super powers) were coming down the stairs
with Anissa yelling at Jennifer for going to Club 100. “Steadicam – 50mm wide open at a T1.3,” Zibelli recalls. “We had to follow the dialogue with some shifts to cell phones and reactions of actors that weren’t talking and back to dialogue. It was difficult, but nailing it was a great feeling.” Also unique to the series are Black Lightning’s physical attributes. As Zibelli explains: “Although he may be talking, you need to focus on his hand, knowing it is glowing with electricity, which they put in with CGI. But then knowing when to go back to his dialogue before the scene is over and you reach the important part of his speech. Then there are his goggles – where you have to remember to focus on his eyes, not his goggles. You can tell the difference, which is in focus at a T1.3. And it always should be his eyes.” “In this world,” Peck elaborates, “every time we see Black Lightning, he directly affects the energy and lighting around him. As the electricity begins to fluctuate, lights flicker, spark, and even sometimes explode. We knew we needed to come up with an unconventional approach that not only gave us maximum control and flexibility but that was also efficient and affordable.” Peck, Mayen and gaffer Joshua Stern sat down for a series of conversations that ultimately led to the team eliminating tungsten lighting from their package. Set
lights consist of LED units from ARRI, Digital Sputnik, GroundedLED, Litegear, and Quasar Science, with the goal being to balance the comic book palette and still achieve flattering colors for the cast’s skin tones. “We use lime green through indigo blue on the cooler side of things, and peach through chocolate on the warmer side,” explains Stern. “In addition to LED’s, we use intelligent theatrical lights and wireless controls. Our set has to be quiet, fast, and cool, so conventional tools just don’t fit our needs. A light comes in, gets placed, the control number is called out, and we are off to the races – color, intensity, and even focus are often just a click away.” Which makes for an interesting mix. Episode 109 features a large scene in the Greenlight factory, where Black Lightning and Anissa (aka “Thunder”) attack the facility responsible for making drugs in the city. They used all their lighting tricks, throughout multiple floors of an old water treatment plant in town. “More than a hundred lighting instruments and practical fixtures,” recounts Stern. “Both of the superhero suits, multiple handheld LED gun flash panels, and a large number of fire effects and explosion cues.” Stern adds that having one location function as six different locations over two days was a real test. “When utilizing the
TOP RIGHT PHOTO BY RICHARD DUCREE / BOTTOM PHOTO BY BOB MAHONEY
SHOWRUNNER SALIM AKIL AND DP SCOTT PECK / PHOTO BY BOB MAHONEY
“ WE’RE DOING LARGE-SCALE ACTION AND VFX SEQUENCES ON A TELEVISION BUDGET AND SCHEDULE SHOT OVER THE COURSE OF EIGHT DAYS. THERE IS NO MARGIN FOR ERROR.” SCOTT PECK
amount of tech that we do,” he continues, “you have to take into account the materials a building was made with and its proximity to cell towers and other wireless interferences– we aren’t just running heavy cable and using classic tools.”
BIG SETS ON BLACK LIGHTNING ARE OFTEN CROSS-BOARDED ACROSS EPISODES, so Mayen and Peck need to be in relative sync. Take Episode 109 (shot by Peck), which sets up Episode 110, which takes place in a warehouse. “Scott wanted to do overhead lighting,” Mayen recalls. “I wanted practical lighting for the control. We both knew this was going to be handheld.” The space offered high bay metal halide lights and no windows – a secret storage
room where Black Lightning and Thunder fight the bad guys. Mayen and Stern realized they would have to control the flicker while shooting at high frame rates and recording dialogue. “With only two days of prep to rig and light, turning off the flickering overheads was the only way to go,” Stern states. “Eduardo had us dress in 120 four-foot Quasar Science Crossface tubes on the front and back of all 60 columns in the space, set them at 6000K, giving the space a really beautiful steel blue look, while maintaining a rich fall-off in the shadows.” The moving parts within the story (set) were also dressed in Quasar tubes and diffused with active diffusion to change the opacity of the glass as the actors moved. Black Lightning also offers the DP’s the chance to work in unusual smaller setups. A favorite of Mayen’s was something he took
directly from a comic book – the “Blam!” shot. “I remembered the original Batman TV show, and the ‘BLAM’ punches,” he recalls. “So, I thought, what if we could get something that is iconic for our show – with a twist?” The solution was to put a Micro 4/3 Black Magic camera with an 8mm lens on the forearm of Black Lighting’s suit – and punch-in. The result was a cool fist in the foreground as he hits someone in the face! As for the other star of the show – Black Lightning’s suit – Peck built a small set in pre-production and tested the outfit, finding it an excellent reflector of light. The chest plate is made up of blue and gold LED lightning bolts that have the ability to dim up and down. “The light intensity displays how much power he has,” explains Peck.
“ I REMEMBERED THE ORIGINAL BATMAN TV SHOW, AND THE ‘BLAM’ PUNCHES. SO, I THOUGHT, WHAT IF WE COULD GET SOMETHING THAT IS ICONIC FOR OUR SHOW – WITH A TWIST?” EDUARDO MAYEN
“When the lights are dim, he is out of juice! Black Lightning needs to draw power from the world around him, otherwise he can run out of energy.” To properly light the suit, the Black Lightning team often has to eschew elaborate location lighting for elements they can more easily control. Mayen and Peck work with Stern and Console Programmer Jason Clairy to dial-in the intensity of the suit and its potential effects – using Theatre Wireless RC4 dimmers and small battery packs to make them as “nimble” as possible. The fight scenes at Club 100 from the pilot are a prime example. Pierce goes to rescue his daughter, Jennifer. But needing to protect his identity, he opts to draw energy from “the grid” and shut off all power inside the club – his enemies can no longer see him. “Our first step was to set our ‘movie blackout’ as a base,” Peck remembers. They then set the intensity of the flicker as he pulled power, and augmented the scene with custom remote-controlled LED hand pads that were set to a steel-green color. Clairy would cue the “lightning bolts” based on action points.
SUCH CHALLENGING SETUPS ARE AIDED BY THE PRESENCE OF ON-SET VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR KIMBERLY RASSER. “It’s about being involved in the creation of ideas from the beginning,” she relates. “In prep for this sequence, for example, Josh, [Scott Peck] and I talked about interactive lights attached to Black Lightning’s hands. These practical lights would add a more dynamic feel to
DP EDUARDO MAYEN
the fight, especially in the dark lighting. It proved effective in making Black Lightning’s powers paramount in the scene, and it set up a perfect integration of VFX elements in post.” That’s when Encore’s Armen Kevorkian, senior visual effects supervisor/creative director, gets involved. “Once a sequence is cut,” he relates, “we spot the VFX and pull dailies, ingest the footage and set up everything – track and lay out, FX simulations, lighting and rendering, compositing. I work closely with the artists to come up with the final look, which is eventually what the audience sees on TV.” Another big asset is having on-set DIT Justin Warren, who built his system exclusively for the series using an Echo 36 and a Chuck May mount system. “It’s an unusual arrangement of setting the DP/DIT monitors in the front [two 24-inch Flanders OLED’s] and the director/script village on the side,” Warren describes. “It’s great having the DP and director so close, and it’s obviously great for me to be so close to script – I can constantly keep track of where we are for my color grades. There’re a lot of action and stunts on this show – so it moves fast.” Warren calls Black Lightning a “vibrant and exuberant show. From an artistic point, it’s not a typical CW show,” he states. “It’s grittier, and darker, but still colorful. There are many visual themes that go with either characters or locations. “So many times, when we shoot offspeed,” Warren continues, “where every single light is dimming rapidly up and down [when Black Lightning steps into frame and ‘disrupts’ the power], having someone strictly
technical behind the monitor to help dial-in a specific shutter angle to avoid flicker is critical. There is no time to test. We just have to get it right.” For Peck and Mayen, Black Lightning is a very ambitious show loaded with complex and creative challenges. “ We’re doing large-scale action and VFX sequences on a television budget and schedule shot over the course of eight days,” Peck concludes. “There is no margin for error. That wouldn’t be possible without the full support of this great team.”
LOCAL 600 CREW Directors of Photography Scott Peck Eduardo Mayen A-Camera Operator/Steadicam Brian Nordheim A-Camera 1st AC Anthony Zibelli A-Camera 2nd AC Alfredo Santiago B-Camera Operator Robert Newcomb, SOC B-Camera 1st AC Alan Newcomb B-Camera 2nd AC Zsolt Haraszti DIT Justin Warren Still Photographers Richard DuCree Bob Mahoney
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F UJ I F I L M U SA .CO M
F UJ I N O N .CO M
2 0 1 8 APRIL 2018
PHOTO BY SARA TERRY
Come Sunday shot by Peter Flinckenberg / Courtesy of Netflix
#ABOUTTIME 2018 Will Be Remembered as a Breakout Year for African-American Films at Sundance (Finally!) by David Geffner
IT’S NOT LIKE SUNDANCE HASN’T CHAMPIONED BLACK-THEMED FILMS – JULIE DASH’S EVOCATIVE DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, THE FIRST INDEPENDENT FEATURE DISTRIBUTED IN THE U.S. DIRECTED BY AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN, DEBUTED THERE IN 1991, WINNING THE EXCELLENCE IN CINEMATOGRAPHY AWARD FOR ARTHUR JAFA.
And just last year, Rachel Morrison, ASC, became the first woman nominated for an Oscar for Mudbound, writer/director Dee Rees’ novelistic tapestry about black sharecroppers in WWII-era Mississippi. Middle of Nowhere won Ava DuVernay a Best Directing Award in 2012, and before that came films like Finding Christa (1992 Grand Jury Prize), Love & Basketball (2000, shot by Reynaldo Villalobos), Hustle & Flow (2005 Cinematography Award for Amy Vincent, ASC, and Audience Award) and Precious (2009 Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, shot by Andrew Dunn, BSC) Two years ago, Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation (Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner, shot by Elliot Davis) dwarfed everything. But with
the more than three-dozen films programmed, across all the festival sections, 2018 represents the most comprehensive portrayal of black stories ever screened in Park City. Consider just a small sampling of features – all shot by Local 600 cinematographers – notable not just for narrative range, but also for bold choices in visual styling. Come Sunday, shot by Finnish DP Peter Flinckenberg, may well be the only movie, indie or otherwise, to take audiences into the inner chamber of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops, where the group’s striking red priestly garments recall African tribal leaders by way of Roman Catholic vestments. W hen minister Carlton Pearson
(brilliantly played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is brought before the Joint College for his heretical theories of “universal reconciliation” (which posited a hell on earth created by humans, and not as an afterworld for nonbelievers), Flinckenberg used long, deep shadows and stunning composition to bring director Joshua Marston’s vision – based faithfully on the real man – to life. “The story is set in the 1990’s, in everyday interiors – offices, a megachurch, kitchens and living rooms that were not particularly cinematic,” Flinckenberg explains. “We wanted to keep a naturalistic feel but with a little heightened drama. My gaffer, Spike Simms, used moving lights, programmed with DMX, to make sure Pearson was in a hard
Come Sunday shot by Peter Flinckenberg / Courtesy of Netflix
future of filmmaking, was also key.” Flinckenberg says he casts each person on his team – focus puller, 2nd AC, operator, etc. – with the same precision and care as the actors in front of the camera. In that respect, he says, his Atlanta-based Guild camera crew, none of whom he’d ever worked with before, was tremendous. “Shooting documentaries in Europe, I always operated myself,” he says. “Here I had fantastic people like [A-camera/Steadicam operator Ian Forsyth] and [A-camera focus puller Nancy Segler], which allowed me to go behind the monitor and concentrate on lighting, which is my biggest passion.” In fact, the risks Flinckenberg took with lighting were impressive, letting his shadow levels spiral down to full black in
some interior scenes. “I had a very good DIT, Michael Kim, whom I could trust completely,” he concludes. “Yes, there were discussions where he was begging me not to go dark, and I would continue to push it. [Laughs.] But Josh [Marston] and Netflix were on the same page, and never pressured me to lift up [shadow details], as that just wouldn’t have served the story.” Faithfully serving the story was Zak Mulligan’s approach for the NEXT film We The Animals, based on Justin Torres’ autobiographical novel about three boys growing up in a mixed-race family in rural 1990’s New York. Mulligan and co-writer/ director Jeremiah Zagar used Super 16mm
We the Animals shot by Zak Mulligan/Courtesy of Cinereach
light, while the Bishops, who give off the feel of a witch hunt, are steeped in shadow.” For the dynamic opening scene, which introduces Pearson’s Tulsa, Oklahoma megachurch that at its height drew 5,000 worshipers, Flinckenberg used a RED 8K VistaVision (shot in anamorphic at 5.6K with Hawk lenses) and White Point Optics, a prime lens set he helped design based on Hasselblad glass. “We only had 50 extras,” Flinckenberg notes, “so with the swing-and-shift lenses I could choose the focal point of the frame and allow the areas without extras to fall off. Most swing-and-shift lenses I’ve used are not great for Steadicam or remote focus, so our design satisfied that. And the fact that it covers the 65mm sensor, which feels to me like the
We the Animals shot by Zak Mulligan/Courtesy of Cinereach
Working with three non-actors in the lead roles also meant being flexible with lighting. “Jeremiah and I have a long history in documentaries together,” Mulligan adds, “so using a vérité shooting style made sense. We often didn’t give marks, and most of the beginning of the film is lit 360 degrees, like the scene where Paps is singing and dancing with the boys in the kitchen. We let the kids play, and that comes across in the performances.” Mulligan says that Zagar, who loves using wide lenses very close to his subjects, wants the audience to be more than just a spectator. “The camera was always at Jonah’s eye level and usually from his perspective,” the DP describes about the main character, Torres based on himself. “But getting a handheld
ARRI 416 at a kid’s eye level, while allowing for freedom of movement, required a hybrid approach. We had Adam [Gonzalez] rig a luggage strap and an eyehook to sling around my shoulder and have the camera sit at waist level. With the long eyepiece, this became almost comfortable!” As for where We The Animals fits into this breakout year for black-themed films at Sundance, Mulligan says that the main character’s “otherness” is mostly attributable to the adults around him. “He’s brown in a predominantly rural white American landscape, and he’s gay in a family of boys intent on emulating the machismo of their father,” Mulligan concludes. “This is why it was important to always keep Jonah’s perspective in mind when lighting and
We the Animals shot by Zak Mulligan/Courtesy of Cinereach
film, because, as the DP describes, the story had a visceral quality that felt almost like a memory. “Unlike digital [capture],” Mulligan explains, “where your highlights can easily blow out and you lose information, the densest part of the film negative is the highlights, which have an almost infinite roll off. Since the popular aesthetic has shifted with digital imagery towards very clean and crisp photography, audiences see film as different or unique. So by shooting film, we can take a shortcut to creating something special.” Mulligan, who was joined by Guild operator Quenell Jones and 1st AC Adam Gonzalez, also used Cooke S4 and SK4 lenses to support the “visceral memory” look without creating an overly sentimental frame.
photographing a scene. We always made sure to show everything that Jonah was witnessing without judgment.” Judgment factors mightily into Monsters and Men, a Brooklyn-set Competition film, shot by Patrick Scola. The story begins with a local man, Manny Ortega (Anthony Ramos), using his phone to film a white police officer gunning down a street hustler. The video poses a dilemma from which everything moves forward: release the clip and bring unwanted attention to Manny’s family, or do nothing and be complicit in police violence? Writer/director Reinaldo Marcus Green tells his story through its impact on three local men. Although the shooting is the catalyst, the story is more about its “ripples,” with each ripple moving slightly farther from the actual event. “Photographically, I wanted to use this idea of proximity to define the camera language,” Scola describes. “For the characters closest to the event, the lenses are wider, and the camera is closer, reflecting a world that is more raw and rough. For those a few steps removed, the lensing becomes longer, and the life of the camera is less noticeable. As the ripples get further away, they become calmer and ultimately disappear.” Because smartphone videos of police violence have (unfortunately) become so ingrained in American culture, Scola says he and Green felt there was no need to put it on screen. What was necessary, and the biggest challenge for Scola and a Guild crew that included Camera Operator Nick Timmons and 2nd AC Zachary Grace, was a large protest scene with hundreds of BedfordStuyvesant residents. “It was the most sensitive (and expensive) location, and we only had one night to light, rehearse and shoot,” Scola reveals. “We had three Condors with soft boxes lighting all shooting directions so we could quickly switch [angles and setups] with minimal reset time. This also allowed the scene to play out like a ‘live event,’ and with multiple cameras running, takes could be upwards of seven to eight minutes.” Scola credits line producer Charles Miller with helping to fill the location with 300 extras for the first half of the night, which meant [the scene] required no CG or tiling, and the camera language could remain consistent with the rest of the film. “We had one or two crane moves to establish the scale of the event in comparison to other [protests] in the film,” Scola concludes. “The very last shot of the movie represents the full arc of the
camera’s relationship. During a big decision for our last character, it stays back and is detached, almost ready to drift to the next person in this community.” Community is at the heart of a pair of films set in Oakland, CA – a city struggling with rapid change and uniquely modern problems, like “hipsterization.” Robby Baumgartner has spent decades gaffing for the likes of Robert Elswit, ASC; Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC; Janusz Kaminski, and Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC; before becoming a 2nd Unit DP. Blindspotting, directed by Carlos López Estrada and co-written and co-starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, is Baumgartner’s 5th feature as a 1st Unit DP, and his first in Competition at Sundance. The story, about a pair of best friends – one white, the other black – navigating their hometown as everything changes around them, was shot in 22 days, due in large part, Baumgartner says, to his bringing on Guild vets like 1st AC (A-camera) Steve Cueva, 2nd AC (A-camera) Sam Lino, and 1st AC (B-camera) Patrick McArdle. “The combined years of skill of all those guys, plus [DIT] Sin Cohen, [2nd AC B-camera] Shannon Bringham, and Reid Murphy operating A-camera, was the reason I could get the coverage and look on such a low budget,” Baumgartner adds. “We used an ALEXA Mini and ALEXA XTS, with the Mini living full-time on the MōVI ; I had shot a commercial with Reid, who works with MōVI Rentals, Inc. in L.A., and it was clear he would save us so much time on this film. Using the MōVI with a Ready Rig, Reid got amazing shots with a small footprint, and in a timely way. Lori Killam at Panavision set us up, and I managed to have some quality time with lens guru Dan Sasaki, who introduced me to the newly de-tuned Primo spherical lenses, which are fantastic!” Baumgartner’s first thought for the film’s look was that of a gritty Sundance indie, Fruitvale Station (shot by Rachel Morrison, ASC), but Diggs, Casal and López Estrada cited Do The Right Thing (directed by Spike Lee and shot by Ernest Dickerson, ASC) for its warm, neighborhood feel. “We ultimately blended both styles,” the DP recounts. One such example was a sequence inside a beauty parlor, where Casal’s character (Miles) is selling hair irons to a group of female customers, as Diggs looks on. For that, López Estrada had noted the iconic Sal’s Pizza location from Lee’s film. “I did remind Carlos that Spike and Ernest had a bit more money and could use
Blindspotting shot by Robby Baumgartner / Courtesy of Lionsgate
“THE CREW KNEW THE AREA VERY WELL AND REALLY ENJOYED SEEING OAKLAND SHOT IN AN AUTHENTIC WAY.” ROBBY BAUMGARTNER
Monsters and Men shot by Patrick Scola / courtesy of Sundance Institute
Sorry to Bother You shot by Doug Emmett / Courtesy of Sundance Institute
“BOOTS WAS INSISTENT THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHY NEVER APPEAR TOO POLISHED – HE WANTED THE IMAGES TO BE ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES.” DOUG EMMETT
a lot more lights,” Baumgartner laughs. “But we did the best we could with 180 degrees of floor-to-ceiling windows, which faced south to the changing sun all day! We only could afford one scissor lift and an old 12K Fresnel and 4K Par to maintain a consistent sunlight. It was definitely a challenge for my Gaffer, Kiva Knight, to keep things consistent all day long and not take up too much of the day lighting.” Baumgartner had to be equally creative for a handful of key scenes with Diggs on his morning run through a cemetery. At one point, Diggs, having seen an unarmed black man shot down by Oakland police in front of his moving van, imagines the cemetery filled with the young victims of police violence, all stoically poised near grave stones. “For the many tracking shots of Daveed running, we used a poor man’s version of a Grip Trix golf cart my Key Grip Steve Forbes
knew about,” Baumgartner recounts. “With Reid riding front, back or side-saddle with the MōVi , we were able to get some very smooth, dynamic and safely done shots. We only had 35 extras for [Diggs’] fantasy scene – there was no artificial lighting and just enough in the budget for a single CG-enhanced crowd shot. Basically, I just did my best to follow the sun.” Baumgartner, who has shot in Oakland many times over the years, calls Blindspotting his most intense experience there. “Most of the crew was from the East Bay,” he concludes. “They knew the area very well and really enjoyed seeing Oakland shot in an authentic way. We were able to come back up after principal photography to grab a lot of B-roll footage that’s featured in the montage sequences. That opened up the film and let the audience feel the personality of Oakland. Even with the changes that are pushing
people out, humor, laughter and community are still so essential there.” Sorry To Bother You, shot by Sundance regular Doug Emmett, could not look more different than Blindspotting, yet it, too, delivers a compelling and timely portrayal of one of America’s most dynamic cities. The story centers on Cassius “Cash” Green (a hilarious Lakeith Stanfield), who rockets up the food chain of a telemarketing company by finding his “inner white voice,” also enraging his social-activist girlfriend. Emmett calls the script, by writer/director Boots Riley, the most stimulating, socially important, and visually creative he’s ever read. “Boots is a musician as well as a visual artist,” Emmett explains, “so we used music as a language and a throughway to discuss the look of the film. Boots was insistent that the
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L to R: Doug Emmett and Boots Riley / Courtesy of Doug Emmett
photography never appear too polished – he wanted the images to be rough around the edges. Our VFX vendor, Beast, deserves a lot of credit for helping make a tiny movie look much bigger than it actually was.” Such was the case near the film’s climax, when protesters swarm outside Green’s Regalview HQ in downtown Oakland. Emmett says it required three consecutive mornings of shooting groups of extras on a closed street that would later be multiplied to appear like there were hundreds of protestors. “We had to shuffle groups of people around into different chalk-outlined quadrants [for perspective purposes], which required a lot of precious time just for plate work,” he notes. “But there was no other way to do it.” Emmett says the location was a “cavern of buildings” that got sporadic direct sunlight, “so lighting continuity was always an issue, which is why we shot the plates over three
mornings instead of one day. We brought in an 18K for edge and fill when the sunlight was really contrasty. The scenes had been storyboarded ahead of time, but ultimately it was more like triage – Boots and I scrambling to complete fight scenes with stunts, 60 extras and five cast members. We had to constantly shuffle extras around and use long lenses so that the audience couldn’t tell that we were only 60 people deep!” Oakland’s unique art and architecture inspired many of Emmett’s choices (the DP was joined by Guild members Buddy Allen Thomas (1st AC), Emily Hock (2nd AC) and Bryan Perido (Loader). “The city streets are filled with murals and the culture embraces the artist community,” Emmett relates. “We were lucky to shoot in the Cathedral Building –an epic Gothic Revival structure – that got amazing light all through the day and presented elevated views of downtown.”
Emmett worked with Keslow Camera, which supplied Cooke anamorphics and ALEXA MINI. Paired with a few ARRI SkyPanels and smaller LED’s and HMI’s, the DP managed to keep the lighting nimble and evocative, using available daylight whenever possible to accommodate the short schedule. “You can’t talk about this movie without discussing the experience of being black and living in America right now,” Emmett concludes. “Boots deftly vacillates between outrageousness and seriousness, all without feeling preachy. I think the power of cinema lies not only in its ability to transport and entertain, but also to start a dialogue and ask the audience to question its own societal structures. Boots is confident enough to ask some unpopular questions, and I think that is a valuable contribution to our culture.”
REAL WORLD PROBLEMS A Conversation with Documentary DP Shana Hagan. by David Geffner portrait by Sara Terry
SHANA HAGAN IS PART OF A SMALL GROUP OF FEMALE GUILD CINEMATOGRAPHERS WHO HAVE MADE NONFICTION THEIR LIFE’S CALLING. TRUE, SHE’S AMASSED MAINSTREAM TV CREDITS THAT INCLUDE SHOOTING THE PILOT AND FOUR SEASONS OF NBC’S EMMY-WINNING COMEDY PARKS AND RECREATION, BEING THE 2ND UNIT DP FOR NETFLIX’S ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, AND SHOOTING FOUR SEASONS OF SURVIVOR AND THE APPRENTICE. BUT IT’S BEEN NONFICTION PROJECTS LIKE THE OSCAR-WINNING BREATHING LESSONS AND 15 SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY FILMS – INCLUDING QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS, AND AFTER INNOCENCE – THAT HAVE MADE HAGAN A ROLE MODEL FOR YOUNG CAMERAWOMEN INTERESTED IN THE NONFICTION FORMAT.
For Sundance 2018, Hagan (also one of a few cinematographers in the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) has surpassed her own high standards - her work appears in no fewer than four documentary features: Inventing Tomorrow (L.A. Unit and co-DP Mexico unit with Alison Kelly), Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Generation Wealth, and HBO’s Lenny, the last of which is a documentary series shot, directed, written, produced and crewed by women. ICG Magazine caught up with Hagan during the festival to ruminate on whether her success mirrors a larger industry trend, and why her fire for nonfiction never goes out, despite the format’s many limitations. ICG: Two years ago at Sundance there were only three features shot by Guild women – two by the same person! This year, you have four alone. What’s going on? Shana Hagan: Well, I would start by saying that being a female documentary cinematographer isn’t about being better at something than men. I think it’s more that we (as women) may have a unique perspective we can bring to the work. Every person views and feels the world differently. And women’s voices are certainly unique even among the female DP’s in this industry. Is there a sea change? I think so. And it might be as simple as audiences are looking for fresh and unique voices. It’s like
this: I’m a cinematographer, who happens to be a woman, and that means I can bring all of my empathy, sympathy, sensitivity and compassion to my work. I’m also a great listener and connect with my subjects on a deeply personal level. If that’s another reason to get hired [along with my filmmaking skills], that’s great! In fact, you have a great example of that from a Sundance film from 13 years ago, Shakespeare Behind Bars. That’s true. It was about a group of male inmates, at a mediumsecurity prison in Kentucky, who formed a Shakespeare troupe. Whether it was because I was a great listener and empathetic to these guys, which may go to my gender, or I was just especially attuned to their stories, those male prisoners opened up in a way that I really don’t feel they would have with a male DP. It may well have been a different movie. If there is a sea change, with respect to gender equality on sets, how will it be sustained? It starts with the leadership at the top. People like Rachel Morrison [ASC] lead by example – she hires women! And I try to do the same. There are so many talented women in this Guild, and they’re not just working in features and episodic television. One of the films here, Lenny, is a pilot from HBO that’s based on the Lenny Letter, which was a weekly online newsletter
from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. It’s curated nonfiction shorts based on the theme “women in pursuit.” Four of the five films were directed and shot by women, and probably 90 percent of the crew was female, which was…amazing. We shot three days for my segment, two of which were in Rhode Island, where they hired a local sound mixer. Everybody on the crew was female… everybody…so this mixer turned up the first day, and when he came down to the lobby his mouth dropped! He was really excited to be part of the team, but it was obviously a career first! That leadership role also applies to your becoming an Academy member in 2015, a big deal given how few cinematographers are in the documentary branch – male or female. At first, I honestly felt I was not worthy of that honor. But looking back at my career, at a film like Breathing Lessons, which won an Oscar and was directed by a woman [ Jessica Yu], I was just so…[pause]. Let’s just say it’s a huge responsibility. And it’s appropriate to this conversation, because the changes at the Academy – like their recent diversity initiative – have mirrored society and our industry. Bottom line: I was floored when I was asked to be a member. It’s the Motion Picture Academy after all, so to have a body of nonfiction work that’s been released theatrically is no small thing.
Generation Wealth (top) Inventing Tomorrow (bottom) / Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Let’s talk about Sundance 2018. Your films are all so different. What stands out from an art/craft perspective? Lauren Greenfield’s film, Generation Wealth, was shot over five years in ten different countries. I shot sequences for her in Russia and Germany, as well as China, in the largest mall ever built – it’s 95 percent unoccupied and filled with squatters. Shooting in China [without government oversight] is very…interesting [laughs]. You basically go in with a [Canon] C-300 and sound mixer and that’s it. You need a local person to let you know when the camera needs to go down. The shot in the mall is B-roll and turned out amazing. In Russia, we shot a debutante ball, with characters and locations Lauren had previously explored in her still photography that inspired the film. We had no translations on the shoot in Russia, but they speak with their hands, so it seemed easier to follow the action, shooting vérité.
What’s your gear of choice? We started shooting Generation Wealth five years ago, and back then the only option to shoot 4K to cards was the [Sony] F55, which is a bigger camera, which I actually prefer [see below]. We used [Fujinon] Cabrio19-90 and 85-300 zooms. For that film, in China, we used a C300 and a Canon 1D, both with EF-L Series lensing. For Inventing Tomorrow I used one of my favorite rigs – the ARRI Amira with the Cabrio 19-90 millimeter, which matches well with my other favorite lens, the Cabrio 85-300. They have the servo built in, which is helpful if I don’t have an assistant. For Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, I used the Panasonic VariCam LT with the Zeiss Ultra Primes. I like having a heavier camera on my shoulder when shooting traditional vérité, and the AMIRA is great for providing that kind of control. They brought five or six of us in during the development phase of the AMIRA to help shape the form factor for documentary DP’s.
So that’s an issue on foreign locations with very small crews? Oh, definitely. I was shooting in Mexico for Inventing Tomorrow, and they were speaking Spanish so quickly it was hard to follow the conversations. The movie includes three teenagers who are preparing to come to the finals of ISEF (Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair) in Los Angeles, and Martina Radwan was the primary DP. We were supposed to have a live translator in Mexico, but it never really worked. That’s a real luxury on a documentary, anyway. And even with the live translation, there can be RF interference and a lag time – by the time you get it, the subjects are off doing something else!
How do you reconcile any aesthetic for beautiful imagery and lighting with the limitations of nonfiction: whatever is in front of your camera is what you get, and, oh by the way, you’ll never get another chance to do it again? [Laughs.] Well the interview portion of most docs allow for some control. For Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, I shot an interview with Susan Stamberg at the NPR studios, and we lit with an Octobank, and it looked really beautiful. Going into an orphanage in China, for the same movie, I had zero lights and horrible overhead fluorescents that were flickering, and well…you have to be faithful to the reality of the story. For Shakespeare Behind Bars, we had a lot of orange mercury vapors, mixing with daylight and tungsten. We could have color-timed them out in post, but that’s a betrayal of how a prison really looks. Sometimes the lighting, or lack thereof, can be a strong story point.
What then, are the keys to shooting vérité, without translation? Listening is my biggest strength. Sensing and feeling the emotion of the entire room, while still pulling focus and keeping what you want in frame. There’s a scene in Mexico from Inventing Tomorrow where one of the students is talking to his mother and grandmother about college. I couldn’t get that much of what they were saying, but I could sense the frustration and emotion from the women, and I wanted to make sure I caught their reactions. It’s a delicate dance because you do need to make choices – sometimes the story is told in the reaction and not just in the action. My first job out of school was on Hearts of Darkness as an assistant editor, and after that I was syncing dailies – on film – for National Geographic. I remember one experience where the editor was calling for an insert for a scene with a bunch of people looking at a map –and they never shot the map! Every vérité scene I go into, I try to shoot a beginning, middle, and end, so there’s plenty to work with in the cutting room.
Is there a new generation of female doc DP’s coming up? Oh, definitely. I’m part of the USC mentorship program, and every year for the last four years I’m paired with a graduate student. I always request a woman, and it’s usually a cinematographer, and they’re doing great work. Also the young female DP’s I’ve met at Sundance this year are just killing it. I’m part of that generation that has benefited from people like Ellen Kuras [ASC], Joan Churchill [ASC], Maryse Alberti, Brianne Murphy, Nancy Schreiber [ASC], and now I feel there’s a new generation after me who will be so amazing! I tell the women I mentor that the key is to connect to that passion inside you as a storyteller. You shoot in a way that’s authentic, and people will recognize that and respond.
DREAM WEAVER Guild DP Steve Holleran unpacks the amazing A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night â€“ a 90-minute low-budget indie shot in a single take. Seriously. by David Geffner photos courtesy of Steve Holleran
JUST BEFORE THE PREMIERE OF A BOY. A GIRL. A DREAM: LOVE ON ELECTION NIGHT SCREENED IN SUNDANCE’S ALWAYS INTERESTING NEXT SECTION, I SAW A T-SHIRT WITH THE 2018 FESTIVAL LOGO – DREAMING… AWAKE. NO MORE PERFECT WORDS COULD BE USED TO DESCRIBE DIRECTOR QASIM BASIR’S FILM; A CAPTIVATING LOW-BUDGET INDIE – SHOT BY STEVE HOLLERAN – ABOUT AN L.A. FILMMAKER NAMED CASS (OMARI HARDWICK) WHO MEETS A BEAUTIFUL ATTORNEY, FREE (MEAGAN GOOD), WHO’S SET TO GO BACK TO HER HOME IN DETROIT THAT MORNING. THE NIGHT THE STRANGERS SPEND WANDERING THROUGH L.A. IS ALSO THE NIGHT OF THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THEIR UP-AND-DOWN COURTSHIP – LOVING, BICKERING, CHALLENGING, PLAYFUL – UNFOLDS IN A SORT OF WAKING TRANCE THAT IS UNDERSCORED BY THE STUNNING POLITICAL NEWS STREAMING IN VIA TEXTS, TV, AND CAR RADIOS, AS WELL AS ONE HUGE TECHNICAL CONCEIT: THE WHOLE FILM IS A ONER.
How it succeeds as well as it does owes a lot to Holleran’s willingness to venture far off the cinematographic grid. Basir wanted a freely moving camera to shadow the actors through seven different locations (including getting in and out of an Uber twice!), which meant the frame had to appear untethered from human hands. “The image had to be stabilized, mobile, and adaptive in dark and constantly changing environments,” Holleran told me after the Sundance premiere. “It was unnerving knowing you can’t reframe, reset a light, or even change a lens. My mantra was, ‘Stretch, hydrate, and meditate,’ because once we started rolling there’s no turning back.” What follows are excerpts of my conversation with Holleran, describing how he and his team (1st AC Adam Wheeler, DIT Dennis Scully, MōVI Tech Josh Lambeth, 2nd AC Diego Contreras and Antigravity Rig
Technician Shriyantha Wimalasakera) accomplished this daring and magical cinematic dance. How did this movie come about? I met Qasim at the L.A. premiere for the previous Sundance film I shot (The Land). [Director] Steve Caple and I had rushed up to the projectionist because they started the film with the wrong soundtrack! Qasim introduced himself, said he loved my work, and gave me his card. Flash forward a year and a half when Qasim calls about a “passion project” he wants to do. Low budget, all L.A. locations, and he wants it to be a oner! I always wanted to do a oner as well, so we talked about how it could be achieved. And what did you come up with? I said it needed to be stabilized to create an out-of-body floating feeling that’s reminiscent of the night of the election. Qasim
basically gave me complete freedom and trust to experiment. His original justification for a oner was schedule-based around the limited time he had with the actors. But as we talked more, it just made sense to let the night play out in real time, with the election as a backdrop. The movie is about the possibility for everything in life to change – in a moment, a night, a single encounter – as our characters experience. That same thing happened with what turned out to be the biggest upset in modern politics – one night in November. Tell us about the rig. The movie succeeds (or fails) based mostly on how that worked. I knew I would be gathering different tools I had used on other jobs – but never together – into one system. I’d seen a video of the guys who created [the Antigravity Cam] walking around NAB with their mobile jib. I had used the Easyrig and Ready Rig, but they didn’t provide the scale of movement that this appeared to have. They let me try a prototype on [the Netflix docu-series] Firechasers, where I combined it with the MōVI Pro. Of course on Firechasers, I never used it in the confined interiors we’d be in for Qasim’s film. I also knew I needed a low-light camera with a very small footprint that would capture for 90 minutes straight and didn’t need a lot of power. Remember, we couldn’t change batteries or cards, so the Sony aS7II turned out to be the best fit. We coupled that with a Panavision C-Series anamorphic lens – again another experiment because we would be taking a 2K crop out of the Sony’s 4K
sensor, which the folks at Panavision did not recommend! We brought the whole rig over to [Panavision Woodland Hills] to have them see what we had in mind, and people were actually taking photos of us. I was thinking: I’m totally off the grid here. I really hope this works. Did you know in advance all of the parameters the rig would have to handle? For the most part. We had special pieces milled for the MōVI Pro to fit in a cage inside the Antigravity Cam. And I did a lot of testing to find the optimal S-Log curve for shooting at night under various color temperatures and practical sources. Then we went to the locations and measured doorways and ceiling heights, and discovered we had about three to five inches of clearance in all examples to get the rig in and out. We also had to test what C-series prime was best for both close-up and wide shots, and it turned out to be a 35mm. How about an overall color palette and lighting? Blue and gold was our color palette – a play on the Star Wars red and green, which is essentially hope and fear. Blue and gold also worked with the glitz and glamour look of L.A. at night, and it tied in with the warmish sodium vapor streetlights in the area where we were shooting. I was able to meter all of our exterior locations the week before at night, and then I pre-lit the interiors – we could only get into them the day before – to match the exteriors so we wouldn’t have to
pull the iris too much when we went from inside to outside and back again. Some of the locations played to our favor; for instance, the opening scene by the food truck has a large building in the background that is actually lit blue and gold. But the streetlights turned off automatically at 11 p.m., so we had to be very aware of such limitations, along with curfews. You mentioned this was like shooting a live sporting event. How so? We spent a few days in a parking lot – Qasim, my team, no actors – just getting comfortable with how we would dismount the MōVI from the rig to make the transitions in and out of a car, four times. The rig was not designed for this at all! But [the Antigravity Cam designers] were able to customize the MōVI cage with these stirrups that allowed me to pop it out in a somewhat doable fashion and hand it off to an assistant, who would hand it off to another operator, who would shoot the car ride interior. When we got to the next location, I would be waiting, in the full rig, of course, for him to get out and for the shot to continue. But it didn’t always work out that way [laughs]. Oh, no. What happened? For the final scene at Mel’s Diner, I didn’t have enough time to get the rig back on when the car with the actors and camera arrived. I took the MōVI handheld and went the final 15 minutes with no support system. I’ve done a MōVI shot free-handed before, and after a minute or so it starts to get really painful, so…I had to follow them into the diner and land on a static two-
shoot, and hold that for the length of their dialogue. It got so challenging that Qasim had to grab one of the handles of the MōVI and help with the final few pans. I then took control of the MōVI solo again, and walked out of the diner with the entire crew walking out behind me. We did all that knowing the curfew at the location was about to end in 10 minutes! Was there ever a plan B if you had to cut or break? We would have stayed in the same position and restarted, but we would have considered that a total failure as it would have interrupted the flow of the performances and really changed the outcome. We had other close calls besides the diner. When they leave the club and the fight happens in the parking lot, for example. We had a permit to shoot in front of the store where the fight is, but the owner was so against it, she had a friend park a Suburban right in our shot. As I’m leaving the club mid-shot, I hear on the wireless about a bogey in our way. Qasim says to just keep going right past – as the storeowner is yelling at us – and pick up the characters a little further down. Also, as I left the club, one of my anti-gravity cam arms caught a curtain rod, and I literally ended up tearing it off the wall as I walked forward. Imagine: I’m walking in this odd looking rig with a curtain hanging off me like a cape as I’m crossing a street in West Hollywood! That’s what set was like that night. And that’s not all: for the first taxi ride, the actor driving got lost going to the Hollywood Hills, and the leads
had to improvise. I’m laughing, remembering how Qasim preloaded himself in the trunk of the taxi with a wireless monitor to follow the action the whole car ride. The camerawork is stunning. Were most of the beats and action designed in advance? I knew which actors the leads would talk to, and their rough actions. But I didn’t know where they would stop or turn to leave or enter a location. I had to respond on the fly and remember if I was supposed to lead them in or follow. The house party was extremely challenging, spatially, because there were so many people, in small groups, talking. I had to do a full 360 and get back to the leads in time without knocking stuff over or hitting furniture. Maintaining the correct headroom was challenging and frustrating as well. We had a ceiling hook for the MōVI to latch onto once we got inside the car. I operated the first ride and the MōVI slipped off, and I was squatting and holding it as we drove up these really twisty roads through the Hollywood Hills. Gimbals don’t like being mounted inside cars because they always want to find the center of the horizon, and that might not be the correct framing/headroom for where the actors are playing the scene in the car. The moment when she goes to the bathroom in the club is so beautiful; it seems to summarize this dreamy voyeurism and the feeling that, like the characters, you never know what is coming next. For that moment I did know I was following [Meagan Good]
into the bathroom and not staying with [Omari Hardwick]. But I didn’t know when or how the blocking would go with the extras as I tried to get in there with her. That bathroom, by the way, was 360 degrees of mirrors. We had wanted to use another upstairs, but it was too small, so they put a line on the floor where my DIT, Adam Wheeler – whom I had to trust completely throughout the entire shoot – had me stop so I wouldn’t be seen in the mirrors and still be able to frame Meagan, and then Omari when he comes to join her. Like no other film in recent memory, the cinematography will be a key part of the story of this movie once it’s released. How do you feel about that? It’s exciting. To push past your own limits and feel like you’ve created something special in the face of overwhelming odds is awesome. This film is half-performance ballet and half narrative filmmaking, and I always love exploring new ways to immerse the audience in the storytelling. The oner was done for practical reasons and it was there to serve the story, not to call attention to the photography. But here at Sundance, it’s clear audiences have been celebrating the camera as a key character in its own right, which is unusual, and forward looking. Whether it’s a oner, motion capture, or VR, technology is opening up new doors for us to use cameras to tell stories in bold and fresh ways, and I’m excited about that. Would I do a oner again, under similar conditions? Probably not. I think I’m good with the shoot-an-entire-story-in-asingle-shot experience – forever. [Laughs.]
FAR AND AWAY What does it take to shoot a Sundance film many thousands of miles away from where it will eventually premiere? by Michael Chambliss photos courtesy of The Filmmakers
LOCATION WORK COMES WITH CHALLENGES, EVEN MORE SO ON INDEPENDENT FILMS WITH TIGHT BUDGETS AND AGGRESSIVE SHOOTING SCHEDULES IN DISTANT FOREIGN COUNTRIES. WE CHECKED IN WITH THREE GUILD CINEMATOGRAPHERS WHO WERE DEBUTING FILMS AT SUNDANCE 2018 ABOUT REALIZING THEIR PHOTOGRAPHIC VISIONS SO FAR FROM THEIR HOME TURF. 88
Swedish DP Pär M. Ekberg, who moved to Los Angeles nine years ago, says his exploratory style of cinematography – rooted in his early work as a still photographer – led to work in commercials and musicvideo assignments, and collaboration with artists such as Pink, Lady Gaga, Metallica, Madonna, Beyoncé, Kesha and Coldplay. Ekberg had worked with Lords of Chaos director Jonas Åkerlund on several musicvideo titles, before the two combined their intense styles on the 2012 feature film Small Apartments. Chaos traces the rise and descent into chaos of the Norwegian black-metal band Mayhem from the late 1980’s to mid-’90’s. The band was notorious for its controversial live performances, the suicide of vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin, church arsons and the murder of their guitarist by a former band member. It was rumored that one member of the band made necklaces out of bits of Ohlin’s skull! “Jonas was part of that musical era and had spent a lot of time working on the story
and developing this project,” Ekberg shares. “I had to catch up on the backstory, so I watched documentaries to get under the skin of the characters. It’s hard to find a hero in this story and someone to identify with. We pushed through that by using emotional close-ups that became my favorite part of the film.” One of Ekberg’s visual signatures was punching-in for the close-ups using a wide-angle lens. “We shot in Budapest, Hungary, with three days of landmarks and exteriors in Norway,” he adds. “Generally, there is more specialization in the U.S. and more role blending in Europe. We had a 22-day shooting schedule, so I tried to make it small with minimal crew and gear. We didn’t have a lot of stuff on the truck, a few HMI’s, some LED panels and a couple of Kinos. Much of the lighting was practical and available light. A lot of our interiors were cramped and access was difficult. We used ALEXA Minis and even stripped-down batteries to make our cameras as small as possible.”
Even with a three-week schedule and minimal gear, Ekberg still ran two cameras on the main unit and a splinter unit roaming around on its own, “more or less like a traditional U.S. camera department,” he continues. “We had a DIT doing basic LUTs so we had decent dailies. Moving fast puts a lot of strain on camera; our focus pullers were dealing with low light levels and almost every shot was handheld.” Ekberg has a base of friends in Scandinavia and relied on people he had worked with in Hungary to provide staffing recommendations. “One key is to allow time before shooting to have meetings and shake-out the crew,” he advises. And while the Lords of Chaos story did not call for traditional shooting styles, Ekberg says, “there are very few rules left to be broken: from lens choices to light or pushing the grading. The only rule, really, is that the cinematography must be visually interesting and remain within the framework of the story, which we accomplished.”
LORDS OF CHAOS DIR. OF PHOTOGRAPHY: PÄR M. EKBERG LOCATIONS: HUNGARY, NORWAY
Ophelia, starring Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts, is a reshaping of Hamlet from the perspective of a now bold and complicated tragic heroine. Based on the novel by Lisa Klein, Claire McCarthy’s film focuses on the interplay between the female leads to frame the classic conflicts. Guild DP Denson Baker explains that to establish a visual style, he and McCarthy watched films and pulled images to make a look book. “Our story starts a bit earlier than Hamlet,” he adds, “so we’re moving from happier times with saturated colors to a grittier look, as the themes of the story grow darker. Using pre-Raphaelite paintings as a guide, we chose to shoot anamorphic and used a lot of Technocrane for classic cinematic moves. But when we needed to get into the headspace of the characters, we used Steadicam for kinetic moving evolving masters.” The pair crafted ambitious visual goals for a 42-day shooting schedule, making detailed pre-planning absolutely essential. Baker says that when he and McCarthy arrived in Prague (Czech Republic), they had the art department build sample environments on stage to test lighting changes and design our LUT’s. “Having the prep period enabled us to design the continuity of our looks. We made a lot of creative decisions in prep.” Because Prague is a large European production base, workflows were similar to those in the U.S. “The crew spoke English and used the same terminology we do,” Baker shares. “Our Steadicam/A-camera operator, Jaromir ‘Jarda’ Sedina, worked on Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy and Casino Royale, and our DIT had the systems down pat. We worked French hours with 10-hour days.” Gaffer Václav “Enzo” Cermak had period film experience with candlelight, moonlight, and large, soft sources. “We built a lot of interiors on stage, using shafts of light to create atmospheric worlds with shadowy backlighting,” Baker states. “We used ARRI SkyPanels and a dimmer board to change colors on set. ” Location authorities were as responsive and prepared as the Czech crews. “I’ve shot in heritage-protected homes, and that always limits the options,” the DP reflects. “The Czech authorities were willing to move antique pieces and paintings to arrange the castle for our use. They even had covers for power outlets and switches standing by from previous productions.” But, working with 600-year-old locations still had its challenges. “We might have a particular shot in mind, but the architecture is going to dictate the frame,” he adds. “Access can be difficult, and logistics dictate the choices.”
OPHELIA DIR. OF PHOTOGRAPHY: DENSON BAKER, ACS, NZCS LOCATION: CZECH REPUBLIC
DEAD PIGS DIR. OF PHOTOGRAPHY: FEDERICO CESCA LOCATION: CHINA
In the Chinese cultural lexicon, pigs represent fortune and wealth, so Dead Pigs is not only the story of a calamitous situation for unfortunate pig farmers, but a tonguein-cheek cultural statement about money and class in contemporary China. Guild DP Federico Cesca met director Cathy Yan while they were both graduate students at NYU and was immediately intrigued at the prospect of shooting in China. “I enjoy shooting in a language I don’t speak,” Cesca relates, “because it forces me to focus on the musical aspect of the image. It strips out the meaning of the words, and I’m observing in a way that has more to do with emotions, rather than ideas.” Dead Pigs evolves around five characters whose storylines slowly come together. Cesca and Yan talked about visual tone, and the need to be open to the story’s comedic elements. Cesca says the main axiom was simplicity. “We found that certain colors echoed
our themes and were already present in some locations,” he explains. “So I would try, in a not too forced way, to make use of these colors to represent certain ideas.” Cesca carried the goal of simplicity into camera movement and the number of setups, as well, using an ALEXA MINI with Zeiss Master Anamorphic lenses. “We didn’t want an over-lit or stylized look,” he continues. “If the scene worked as a static shot and a ‘oner,’ that would be our first choice. I feel my work is successful when [the camera] becomes invisible, so the camera only moved to underline or adjust the rhythm.” Even with a 38-day shooting schedule, and a month of prep on location, the budget was tight and the lighting package small. Cesca asked his gaffer to buy a few slim LED’s in different sizes that he could easily tape on ceilings or walls. With the exception of the Steadicam operator, the crew was made entirely of locals.
“The biggest challenge,” he explains, “was to find not only a professional crew, but those who spoke some English. In the end, I hired a great 1st AC who spoke English very well. On the other hand, my gaffer didn’t speak a word of English. We had an interpreter, this wonderful 18-year-old kid from Tibet who was my liaison to the lighting and grip departments.” Cesca says he was stunned by the working standards in Asia. “I heard from crewmembers that they sometimes would work 70 days straight, no days off, which sounds completely insane!” he concludes. “But since Cathy and I were setting the pace, we worked six-day weeks and rarely went over 12 hours. The crew was extremely happy about this and worked very hard. When any ideas were lost in translation, I’d run outside – and with the blessing of the crew – adjust a lamp myself or climb a ladder to adjust the skirt on a Kino.”
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20TH CENTURY FOX “EMPIRE” SEASON 4 Director of Photography: Paul M. Sommers Operators: Joe Williams, Barnaby Shapiro Assistants: Betsy Peoples, Shannon DeWolfe, Andy Borham, Uriah Kalahiki Loader: Torey Lenart Utility: Amanda Kopec Still Photographer: Chuck Hodes “LIFE IN PIECES” SEASON 3 Director of Photography: Mike J. Pepin Operators: Jacob Pinger, Jeremiah Smith Assistants: Chris Workman, Edward Alfred Nielsen, III, Sergei Sorokin, Jason Sharron Camera Utility: Noel Vidal Still Photographer: Ron Jaffe “THE MICK” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Alan Caudillo Operators: Joel Schwartz, April Kelley, Kris Krosskove Assistants: Chad Rivetti, Chris Flurry, Roger Wall, Matt Gaumer, Aaron Tichenor, Chris de la Riva Steadicam Operator: Kris Krosskove Steadicam Assistant: Chad Rivetti “THE RESIDENT” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: John Brawley Operators: Mark Karavite, Dave Drzewiecki, Jessica Lopez Assistants: Kris Hardy, John Metcalfe, Mark Boyle, Oren Malik, Sebastian Boada, Austin Taylor Loader: Trey Volpe Digital Utility: Amanda Gianneschi Still Photographer: Guy D’Alema
“CRIMINAL MINDS” SEASON 13 Director of Photography: Greg St. Johns Operators: Darcy Spires, Mike Walsh Assistants: Keith Peters, Tim Roe, Todd Durboraw, Robert Forrest Steadicam Operator: Mike Walsh Steadicam Assistant: Keith Peters Utility: Jacob Kuljis “DAREDEVIL” SEASON 3 Directors of Photography: Christopher La Vasseur, Manuel Billeter Operators: Jeff Dutemple, Nicola Benizzi Assistants: Gregory Finkel, Marc Hillygus, Emma Rees-Scanlon, Jason Rihaly Loaders: Patrick McKeown, Jye-en Jeng Still Photographers: Wally McGrady, Nicole Rivelli “FOR THE PEOPLE” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Alan Caso Operators: Stephen Collins, Cybel Martin, Jamie Sterba Assistants: Bianca Bahena, Darby Newman, Carlos Lopez-Calleja, Chris Sloan, Tim Luke, Matt Williams Digital Imaging Tech: Earl Fulcher Utility: Lauro Avila Still Photographer: Nicole Wilder
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ADOBE PICTURES “THE GOLDFINCH” Director of Photography: Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC Operators: Maceo Bishop, Joshua Blakeslee Assistants: Andrew Harris, Connie Huang Digital Imaging Tech: Joshua Gollish Loader: David Ross Still Photographers: Macall Polay, Leslie Robson-Foster, Nicole Rivelli Publicist: Frances Fiore AFN PRODUCTIONS-TELEPICTURES “THE REAL” SEASON 4 Lighting Director/Director of Photography: Earl Woody Operators: Kevin Michel, David Kanehann, Steve Russell, Bob Berkowitz Steadicam Operator: Will Demeritt Camera Utilities: James Magdalin, Henry Vereen, John Markese Jib Arm Operator: Jim Cirrito Video Controller: Jeff Messenger
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AMAZON/PICROW STREAMING INC. “TOO OLD TO DIE YOUNG” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Darius Khondji, ASC Operators: Andy Shuttleworth, R. Michael Merriman Assistants: Faith Brewer, Wade Whitley, Gayle Hilary, Kelly Mitchell Digital Imaging Tech: Dan Skinner Loader: Jake LaGuardia Camera Utility: Ben Brady Still Photographer: Scott Garfield
2ND UNIT Director of Photography: Michael Svitak Assistants: Mark Santoni, Grace Thomas Digital Imaging Tech: Pasquale Paolo AMC/STALWART FILMS “THE SON” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Todd McMullen Operators: P.K. Munson, Michael F. O’Shea, Ian Ellis Assistants: Robert Rendon, Rob McGrath, Kelly Bogdan, Chris Smith, Leslie Frid, Wes Turner, Jack Lewandowski Steadicam Operator: Michael F. O’Shea Steadicam Assistant: Rob McGrath Digital Utilities: Amber Rosales, Leslie Kolter Still Photographer: Van Redin A VERY GOOD PRODUCTION, INC. & WAD PRODUCTIONS “THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW” SEASON 15 Lighting Director: Tom Beck Ped Operators: David Weeks, Paul Wileman, Tim O’Neill Hand Held Operator: Chip Fraser Jib Operator: David Rhea Steadicam Operator: Donovan Gilbuena Video Controller: James Moran Head Utility: Craig “Zzo” Marazzo Utilities: Arlo Gilbuena, Wally Lancaster, Diego Avalos
BEACHWOOD SERVICES “DAYS OF OUR LIVES” SEASON 52 Directors of Photography: Mark Levin, Ted Polmanski Operators: John Sizemore, Mark Warshaw, Vickie Walker, Michael J. Denton, Steve Clark Utilities: Steve Bagdadi, Gary Cypher Video Controller: Alexis Dellar Hanson BLUE CAT PRODUCTIONS, LLC “OZARK” SEASON 2 Directors of Photography: Ben Kutchins, Armando Salas Operators: Ben Semanoff, Danny Eckler Assistants: Liam Sinnott, John Hoffler, Brandon Dauzat, Mike Fisher Digital Imaging Tech: Dan Skinner Loader: Taylor Seaman Still Photographer: Jessica Miglio BONANZA, INC “THE ORIGINALS” SEASON 5 Directors of Photography: Roger Chingirian, John Smith Operators: Ian Forsyth, Brian Davis Assistants: Matt Brewer, Kyler Dennis, Uly Domalaon, Andy Lee Steadicam Operator: Ian Forsyth Utility: Jesse Eagle Digital Imaging Tech: Billy Mueller CBS “BULL” SEASON 2 Directors of Photography: Derick Underschultz, John Aronson Operators: Oliver Cary, Eli Aronoff Assistants: Cris Trova, Roman Lukiw, Soren Nash, Mike Lobb, Michael Lobb, Elizabeth Cavanagh, Trevor Wolfson Steadicam Operator: Eli Aronoff Steadicam Assistant: Roman Lukiw Digital Imaging Tech: Gabe Kolodny Camera Utilities: Wyatt Maker, Peter Staubs Still Photographers: David Russell, Phil Caruso, David Giesbrecht, Eric Liebowitz, Giovanni Rufino, JoJo Whilden “ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT” SEASON 37 Lighting Designer: Darren Langer Director of Photography: Kurt Braun Operators: Jaimie Cantrell, James B. Patrick, Allen Voss, Ed Sartori, Henry Zinman, Bob Campi, Rodney McMahon, Anthony Salerno
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Camera Utility: Terry Ahern Video Controllers: Mike Doyle, Peter Stendal “MAN WITH A PLAN” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Gary Baum, ASC Operators: Glenn Shimada, Travers Hill, Lance Billitzer, Ed Fine Assistants: Adrian Licciardi, Jeff Goldenberg, Alec Elizondo, Clint Palmer, Jason Herring Utilities: Danny Lorenze, Sean Askins Digital Imaging Tech: Derek Lantz Video Controller: John O’Brien “NCIS” SEASON 15 Director of Photography: William Webb, ASC Operators: Gregory Paul Collier, George Loomis Assistants: Chad Erickson, James Troost, Nathan Lopez, Helen Tadesse, Anna Ferrarie “NCIS: LOS ANGELES” SEASON 9 Director of Photography: Victor Hammer Operators: Terence Nightingall, Tim Beavers Assistants: Keith Banks, Richie Hughes, Peter Caronia, Jacqueline Nivens Steadicam Operators: Terence Nightingall, Tim Beavers Steadicam Assistants: Keith Banks, Richie Hughes Digital Imaging Tech: John Mills Digital Utility: Trevor Beeler Still Photographer: Ron Jaffe Publicist: Kathleen Tanji “NCIS: NEW ORLEANS” SEASON 4 Director of Photography: Gordon Lonsdale, ASC Operators: Jerry Jacob, Tony Politis, Vincent Bearden Assistants: Peter Roome, Brouke Franklin, Jeff Taylor, Toni Weick, Dave Edwards, Sienna Pinderhughes Steadicam Operator: Vincent Bearden Digital Loader: Christian Wells Digital Utility: Kolby Heid Still Photographer: Sam Lothridge “SCORPION” SEASON 4 Directors of Photography: Ken Glassing, Fernando Arguelles Operators: Paul Theriault, Chris Taylor Assistants: Scott Ronnow, John Paul Rodriguez, Chris Mack, Tim Sheridan Digital Imaging Tech: Greg Gabrio Utility: Tyler Ernst
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“SEAL TEAM” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: J. Michael Muro Operators: Alan Jacoby, Dominic Bartolone Assistants: Alex Scott, Andrew Degnan, Arturo Rojas, Gary Bevans, Scott O’Neil Steadicam Operator: Dominic Bartolone Loader: Tim Balcomb Digital Imaging Tech: Raul Riveros Still Photographer: Ron Jaffe
COLUMBIA “TOSH.0” SEASON 10 STAGE CREW Operator: Jason Cochard Camera Utilities: Benjamin Steeples, Kyle Kimbriel, Roger Cohen
“THE GOOD COP” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Eric Moynier Operators: Larry McConkey, Pierre Colonna Assistants: Anthony Cappello, Stephen Kozlowski, Marc Loforte, Rob Wrase Digital Imaging Tech: Charlie Anderson Still Photographer: Michele K. Short “THE GOOD FIGHT” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Timothy Guinness Operators: William Hays, Chris Scarafile Assistants: Rene Crout, David Baron, Ian Schneider, Cameron Sizemore Loaders: Tommy Scoggins, Sancheev Ravichandran Still Photographer: Annette Brown “THE TALK” SEASON 8 Lighting Director: Marisa Davis Ped Operators: Art Taylor, Mark Gonzales, Ed Staebler Hand Held Operators: Ron Barnes, Kevin Michel, Jeff Johnson Jib Operator: Randy Gomez
FIELD CREW Director of Photography: Andrew Huebscher Operator: Jason Cochard Assistants: Benjamin Steeples, Kyle Kimbriel, Roger Cohen, Delfina Garfias CONACO “CONAN” SEASON 8 Operators: Ted Ashton, Nick Kober, Kosta Krstic, James Palczewski, Bart Ping, Seth Saint Vincent Head Utility: Chris Savage Utilities: Baron Johnson, Josh Gwilt “THE RANCH” SEASON 3 Director of Photography: Donald A. Morgan, ASC Operators: Brian Armstrong, Randy Baer, Chris Hinojosa, Robert Guernsey, Michelle Crenshaw Assistants: Missy Toy, Vito De Palma, Adan Torres, Al Myers Camera Utilities: Don Davis, Justin Metoyer, Erinn Bell, Richard Woodard DIT/Video Controller: Rick Dungan Still Photographer: Greg Gayne
CRANETOWN MEDIA, LLC “YOUNGER” SEASON 5 Director of Photography: John Thomas Operators: Hollis Meminger, Scott Sans Assistants: John P. Fitzpatrick, James Daly, Tricia Mears, Emily DeBlasis Steadicam Operator: Scott Sans Digital Imaging Tech: James Strosahl Loader: Alyssa Longchamp Still Photographer: JoJo Whilden DESIGNATED 1 LTD “DESIGNATED SURVIVOR” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Jeff Mygatt EYE PRODUCTIONS, INC. “BLUE BLOODS” SEASON 8 Director of Photography: Gene Engels Operators: Stephen Consentino, Patrick Quinn Assistants: Geoffrey Frost, Michael Grantland, Justin Whitacre, Jacob Stahlman, Martin Peterson Digital Imaging Techs: Steven Calalang, Ryan Heide Loaders: John Keeler, Josh Pressgrove Still Photographers: Christopher Saunders, Craig Blankenborn, Cara Howe, David Russell “DYNASTY” SEASON 1 Directors of Photography: Michael Karasick, Star Barry Operators: Ben Verhulst, Geoff Shotz, Brett Mayfield, Brown Cooper Assistants: Colin Duran, Tim Risch, Ryan Abrams, Kelly Poor, Alexa Romero Steadicam Operator: Brett Mayfield Digital Imaging Tech: Eric Henson Loader: Jimari Jones
Technocrane Operator: Chris Mayhugh Technocrane Tech: Colin Michael West Remote Head Tech/Operator: Jay Sheveck Still Photographer: Ron Jaffe Publicist: Kathleen Tanji
“ELEMENTARY” SEASON 6 Directors of Photography: Thomas Houghton, ASC, Ron Fortunato Operators: Carlos Guerra, Jeremy Weishaar Assistants: Kate Larose, Jason Cleary, Charlie Foerschner, Kyle Blackman Loaders: Dylan Endyke, Patrick O’Shea, Ryan Haddon Still Photographers: Christopher Saunders, Elizabeth Fisher, Cara Howe, Wally McGrady, Michael Parmelee
“INSATIABLE” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Walt Fraser Operators: Ian Takahashi, SOC, Dale Vance, Jr., SOC Assistants: Gary Ushino, Donald Burghardt, Laura Ostapiej, Chris Dawson Steadicam Operator: Dale Vance, Jr., SOC Steadicam Assistant: Gary Ushino Loader: Matt Evans Still Photographer: Tina Rowden “MADAM SECRETARY” SEASON 4 Director of Photography: Learan Kahanov Operators: Jamie Silverstein, Peter Vietro-Hannum Assistants: Heather Norton, Jamie Fitzpatrick, Amanda Rotzler, Damon LeMay Digital Imaging Tech: Keith Putnam Loaders: Zakiya Lucas-Murray, Christopher Patrikis “ANIMAL KINDGOM” SEASON 3 Director of Photography: Loren Yaconelli Operators: Scott Dropkin, Brooks Robinson Assistants: Ray Milazzo, Patrick Bensimmon, Blake Collins, Kirten Laube Steadicam Operator: Scott Dropkin Steadicam Assistant: Ray Milazzo
Digital Imaging Tech: Jefferson Fugitt Digital Utility: Gabe Hirata Still Photographer: Eddy Chen “STUCK IN THE MIDDLE” SEASON 3 Director of Photography: Suki Medencevic, ASC Operators: Eric Fletcher, Luke Cormack Assistants: James Barela, Sal Coniglio, Luis Gomez, Angela Ortner Steadicam Operator: Eric Fletcher Steadicam Assistant: James Barela Digital Imaging Tech: Scott Resnick Digital Utility: Elise Martin FREEFORM “FAMOUS IN LOVE” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Larry Reibman Operators: Craig Fikse, SOC, Brian Bernstein Assistants: David Dowell, Gretchen Hatz, Rocio Meda, Robin Bursey Utility: Roberto Ruelas Digital Imaging Tech: Calvin Reibman GRAVIATIONAL PRODUCTIONS, LLC “SUPERFLY” Director of Photography: Amir Mokri Operators: Kirk Gardner, Peter Hawkins Assistants: Jon Lindsay, Nino Neuboeck, Jonny Quintana, Justin Cooley Digital Imaging Tech: Joe Dare Loader: Peter Johnston Still Photographer: Quantrell Colbert Publicist: Carol McConnaughey HORIZON SCRIPTED TELEVISION, INC. “LOVE IS_” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Steven Calitri Operators: Bob Gorelick, SOC, Gregg Easterbrook Assistants: Josh Hancher, Saul McSween,
Warren Brace, Kyler Dennis Steadicam Operator: Bob Gorelick, SOC Loader: Jennifer Braddock Digital Utility: Rachel Keenan HTF PRODUCTIONS, INC. “HIT THE FLOOR” SEASON 4 Director of Photography: Walt Lloyd, ASC Operators: Gary Camp, Anthony Gutierrez, Henry Cline Assistants: Kyril Cvetkov, Eric Amundsen, Mark Reilly, Steve Marshall, Marcus Mentzer, Gus Bechold Steadicam Operator: Gary Camp Loader: Alex Zolad Still Photographer: Ron Jaffe IN HIS HAT PRODUCTIONS INC. “MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN” Director of Photography: Dick Pope Operator: Craig Haagensen Assistants: Eric Swanek, Robert Mancuso, Michael Guthrie, Justin Mancuso Digital Imaging Tech: Patrick Cecilian Loader: Tyler Swanek Still Photographer: Glen Wilson INVENTIVE MEDIA, LLC “SUPER SOUL CONVERSATIONS-OPRAH AT THE APOLLO” Director of Photography: Erica Shusha Operators: Ittai Eshed, David Heide Jib Arm Operator: Jay Kulick Jib Arm Tech: Steve Dahl Camera Utilities: Ramsey Alkaysi, Mike Cunningham, Abner Medina Digital Imaging Tech: Peter Symonowicz KNIGHT TAKES KING PRODUCTIONS, LLC “HOUSE OF CARDS” SEASON 6
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LMOC, LLC “LAST MOMENT OF CLARITY” Director of Photography: Andrew Wheeler Assistant: Austin Burnette MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT “AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.” SEASON 5 Directors of Photography: Feliks Parnell, Allan Westbrook Operators: Kyle Jewell, Bill Brummond Assistants: Coby Garfield, Josh Larsen, Derek Hackett, Tim Cobb Steadicam Operator: Bill Brummond Steadicam Assistant: Josh Larsen Digital Imaging Tech: Ryan Degrazzio Digital Utility: Josh Novak Remote Head Operator: Clay Platner Still Photographers: Kelsey McNeal, Ron Jaffe 2ND UNIT Director of Photography: Kyle Jewell Operators: Tony Cutrono, Miguel Pask “IRON FIST (AKA KICK)” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Niels Alpert Operators: Jon Beattie, Frank Larson Assistants: Andrew Juhl, Christopher Wiezorek, Yale Gropman, Daniel Pfeifer Loaders: Adam DeRezendes, Andy Hensler
MESQUITE PRODUCTIONS, INC. “START UP” SEASON 3 Director of Photography: Timothy Burton Operators: Jon-Michael Mooney, Santiago Benet Mari Assistants: Carlos Rivera, Marayda Cabrera Davila, Ernesto Gomez Digital Imaging Tech: Omar Rivera Abreu Loader: Nestor Cestero Digital Utility: Maria Beltran MINIM PRODUCTIONS “COMPLIANCE” PILOT Director of Photography: Sam Levy Operators: Michael Fuchs, Wylda Bayron Assistants: Johnny Sousa, Michelle Sun, Patrick Bracey, Mike Swearingen Digital Imaging Tech: Loic de Lame Loader: Jessica Cele-Nazario Still Photographer: Sarah Shatz NBC “BROOKLYN NINE-NINE” SEASON 5 Director of Photography: Giovani Lampassi Operators: Phil Mastrella, Rick Page, Lauren Gadd Assistants: Jamie Stephens, Rochelle Brown, Bill Gerardo, William Schmidt, Dustin Miller Loader: Nick Gilbert Digital Utility: Chris Carlson “CHICAGO FIRE” SEASON 6 Director of Photography: Jayson Crothers Operators: Rob Stenger, William R. Nielsen Assistants: Melvina Rapozo, Zach Gannaway, Brian Romano, Gary Malouf Digital Loader: J’mme Love Digital Utility: Nathan D. Sullivan Still Photographer: Elizabeth Morris
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“SUPERSTORE” SEASON 3 Director of Photography: Jay Hunter Operators: Adam Tash, Hassan Abdul-Wahid, Danny Nichols Assistants: Jason Zakrzewski, Brandon Margulies, Eric Jenkinson, Ryan Sullivan, Sean Mennie, Rikki Alarian Jones Digital Imaging Tech: Paul Maletich Loader: Estefania Garcia “UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT” SEASON 4 Director of Photography: John Inwood Operators: Douglas Pellegrino, David Taicher Assistants: Douglas Foote, Cai Hall, Caroline Ibarra, Andrew Hamilton Digital Imaging Tech: J. Eric Camp Loaders: Daniel Cardenas, Stan Grunder Still Photographer: Eric Liebowitz
NADIA PRODUCTIONS “RUSSIAN DOLL” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Chris Teague Operator: Kyle Wullschleger Assistants: Rebecca Rajadnya, Timothy Trotman Digital Imaging Tech: Jaime Chapin
NETFLIX “THE HIGHWAYMEN” Director of Photography: John Schwartzman, ASC Operators: Ian Fox, Remi Tournois Assistants: Todd Schlopy, Thom Lairson, Bryan DeLorenzo, John Richie Steadicam Operator: Remi Tournois Digital Imaging Tech: Stephen Freebairn Loader: Zander White Libra Head Tech: Jon Philion Technocrane Operator: Derlin Brynford-Jones Technocrane Tech: David Haeussler Still Photographer: Merrick Morton Publicist: Diane Slattery ONLY, LLC “ONLY” Director of Photogrsaphy: Sean Stiegemeier Assistants: Mary-Margaret Porter, Geoffrey Waters Loader: Joshua Looby PACIFIC 2.1 ENTERTAINMENT “HOMELAND” SEASON 7 Directors of Photography: David Klein, ASC, Giorgio Scali
Operators: Rick Davidson, Mikael “Kale” Bonsignore Assistants: Dominik Mainl, Courtney Bridgers, Elizabeth Silver, Eric Eaton Steadicam Operator: Rick Davidson Steadicam Assistants: Dominik Mainl, Courtney Bridgers Utility: Danny Caporaletti PALLADIN PRODUCTIONS, INC. “DECEPTION” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Jack Donnelly Operators: David Knox, Tom Fedak, John Schwartz Assistants: Lee Vickery, John Oliveri, Niknaz Tavakolian, Jorge Del Toro, Tricia Mears Steadicam Operator: Tom Fedak Digital Imaging Tech: Jeff Cirbes Loaders: Bryant Bailey, James Dean Drummond, George Lookshire Still Photographers: Phillip Caruso, David Lee PARAMOUNT “THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Michael Fimognari Operators: James Reid, Brian Osmond Assistants: Troy Wagner, Greg Williams, Griffin Maccan, Chris Morales Steadicam Operator: James Reid Digital Imaging Tech: Giovanni Carranza Loader: Ben Eades Digital Utility: Rodrigo Melgarejo PICROW “JUST ADD MAGIC SPINOFF” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Mark Doering-Powell Operators: Paul Sanchez, David Hirshmann Assistants: Robert Shierer, Michael Kleiman, Paul Janossy, Dan Taylor Loader: Andrew Oliver Still Photographer: Nicole Wilder, Jessica Brooks POP FILMS “BEING MARY JANE” FINALE Director of Photography: Michael Negrin, ASC Operators: Deke Keener, Pierre O’Halloran Assistants: Lex Rawlins, Erika Haggerty Loader: Caroline Oelkers Digital Utility: Nastasia Humphries
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“HISTORY OF THEM” PILOT Director of Photography: Chris La Fountaine Operators: Bruce Reutlinger, Geroge La Fountaine, Chris Wilcox, Kris Conde Assistants: Brian Lynch, Jeffrey Roth, Craig LaFountaine Camera Utilities: Vicki Beck, Chris Todd Digital Imaging Tech: Shaun Wheeler Video Controller: Andy Dickerman Still Photographer: Ron Jaffe “JEOPARDY!” SEASON 34 Director of Photography: Jeff Engel Operators: Diane L. Farrell, SOC, Mike Tribble, Jeff Schuster, L. David Irete Jib Arm Operator: Marc Hunter Head Utility: Tino Marquez Camera Utility: Ray Thompson Video Controller: Gary Taillon Still Photographer: Carol Kaelson “THE GOLDBERGS” SEASON 5 Director of Photography: Jason Blount Operators: Scott Browner, Kris Denton Assistants: Tracy Davey, Nate Havens, Gary Webster, Jen Bell-Price Digital Imaging Tech: Kevin Mills Digital Utility: Dilshan Herath Still Photographers: Nicole Wilder, Adam Taylor “TIMELESS” SEASON 2 Directors of Photography: Jimmy Lindsey, Nate Goodman Operators: Stefan von Bjorn, Peter Mercurio Assistants: Matthew King, Thomas Tieche, Billy Dicenso, Jon Kurt Steadicam Operator: Stefan von Bjorn
Digital Utility: Shannon Cook Still Photographer: Justin Lubin
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“WHEEL OF FORTUNE” SEASON 35 Director of Photography: Jeff Engel Operators: Diane L. Farrell, SOC, Jeff Schuster, Ray Gonzales, Steve Simmons, L. David Irete, Mike Corwin Camera Utility: Ray Thompson Head Utility: Tino Marquez Video Controller: Gary Taillon Jib Arm Operator: Randy Gomez, Sr. Still Photographer: Carol Kaelson
“THE AMERICANS” SEASON 6 Director of Photography: Brad Smith Operators: Gabor Kover, Afton Grant Assistants: Rory Hanrahan, Elizabeth Singer, Sean Souza, Nick Koda Loader: Sebastian Iervolino
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Steadicam Operator: George Bianchini, SOC Steadicam Assistant: Bret Lanius Digital Imaging Tech: Paul Schilens Loader: George Zelasko Digital Utility: Tyler Latham
“MARLON” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Antar Abderrahman Operators: Vincent Singletary, Brain Sweeney, Jeff Miller, Kevin Haggerty Assistants: Jeff Johnson, John Weiss, Lisa Anderson Digital Imaging Tech: T. Brett Feeney Camera Utilities: Selvyn Price, Lance Mitchell Video Controller: Ed Moore WARNER BROS. “BLINDSPOT” SEASON 3 Directors of Photography: Andrew Priestley, Jon Delgado Operators: Pyare Fortunato, Peter Ramos, John Romer Assistants: Andrew Smith, Aleksandr Allen, Liz Singer, Christian Bright, Kyle Clark, Deborah Fastuca Steadicam Operator: Pyare Fortunato Digital Imaging Techs: Chloe Walker, Jeff Cirbes Loaders: Kjerstin Rossi, Brian Grant Still Photographers: Phil Caruso, Elizabeth Fisher, Zach Dilgard, David Giesbrecht, Linda Kallerus, Eric Liebowitz, Jeff Neuman, Barbara Nitke, Christopher Saunders, Peter Zimmern “FAMOUS IN LOVE” SEASON 2 Director of Photography: Larry Reibman Operators: Craig Fikse, Brian Bernstein, Hilton Goring Assistants: David Dowell, Gretchen Hatz, Rocio Meda, Robin Bursey Digital Imaging Tech: Calvin Reibman Camera Utility: Robert Ruelas “GOTHAM” SEASON 4 Directors of Photography: Crescenzo Notarile, ASC, Scott Kevan Operators: Alan Pierce, James Gucciardo, Gerard Sava Assistants: Braden Belmonte, George Tur, Gavin Fernandez, Maria Gonzales, Brendan Russell, James Schlittenhart Digital Imaging Techs: Ted Viola, Rob Strait Loaders: Ken Martell, Austin Restrepo Still Photographers: Elizabeth Fisher,
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Cara Howe, Jeff Neumann, Nicole Rivelli, Christopher Saunders, JoJo Whilden “LETHAL WEAPON” SEASON 2 Directors of Photography: David “Mox” Moxness, ASC, Andy Strahorn Operators: Victor Macias, Robert Givens Assistants: James Rydings, Kaoru “Q” Ishizuka, Troy Blischok, Kelsey Castellitto Digital Imaging Tech: Mike DeGrazzio Digital Utility: Spencer Shwetz Technocrane Operators: Colin Michael West, Chad Eshbaugh Remote Head Tech/Operator: Jay Sheveck Still Photographer: Ron Jaffe “LUCIFER” SEASON 3 Directors of Photography: Christian Sebaldt, ASC, Tom Camarda Operators: Kenny Brown, Eric Laudadio Assistants: Ryan Pilon, Nathan Crum, Rob Magnano, Jason Kinney Digital Imaging Tech: John Reyes Digital Utility: Bryce Marraro Still Photographers: Ron Jaffe, John P. Fleenor, Michael Desmond “MACGYVER” SEASON 2 Directors of Photography: Gabriel Beristain, ASC, Mike Martinez Operators: Mark Moore, Greg Faysash, Paul Krumper Assistants: Al Cohen, Kate Roberson, Trevor Rios, Stefan Vino-Figueroa, Mike Torino, Danny Vanzura Steadicam Operator: Mark Moore Digital Imaging Tech: Greg VanZyck Digital Utility: Anna-Marie Aloia Publicist: Kathleen Tanji “MOM” SEASON 5 Director of Photography: Steven V. Silver, ASC Operators: Cary McCrystal, Jamie Hitchcock, Larry Gaudette, Candy Edwards Assistants: Meggins Moore, Nigel Stewart, Damian Della Santina, Mark Johnson, Benjamin Steeples Camera Utilities: Alicia Brauns, Andrew Pauling Video Controller: Kevin Faust Digital Imaging Tech: Robert “Bob Z” Zeigler Publicist: Kathleen Tanji “THE BIG BANG THEORY” SEASON 11 Director of Photography: Steven V. Silver, ASC Operators: John Dechene, Richard Price, SOC,
Jamie Hitchcock, Brain Armstrong Assistants: Nigel Stewart, Chris Hinojosa, Steve Lund, Meggins Moore, Benjamin Steeples Camera Utilities: Colin Brown, Jeannette Hjorth Video Controller: John O’Brien Digital Imaging Tech: Robert Zeigler Publicist: Kathleen Tanji “THE KOMINKSY METHOD” SEASON 1 Director of Photography: Anette Haellmigk Operators: Colin Hudson, Bonnie Blake, Tom Fraser Assistants: Matt Stenerson, Jose De Los Angeles, Simon Jarvis, Jihane Mrad, Andy Sydney, Kara Rittenhouse Digital Imaging Tech: Dane Brehm Camera Utility: Farisai Kambarami Digital Utility: Richie Fine Crane Operator: Corey Checketts Head Tech: Rodney Sandoval “THE MIDDLE” SEASON 9 Director of Photography: Blake T. Evans Operators: John Joyce, Bret Harding Assistants: Jefferson T. Jones, Roger Spain, Bryan Haigh, Suzy Dietz Steadicam Operator: John Joyce Steadicam Assistant: Jefferson T. Jones Loader: Richard Kent WOODBRIDGE PRODUCTIONS “BETTER CALL SAUL” SEASON 4 Director of Photography: Marshall Adams Operators: Paul Donachie, Matt Credle Assistants: Chris Norris, Cherilyn Barnard, Rob Salviotti, Dorian Blanco Digital Loader: Jesse Heidenfeld Digital Utility: Kyle Jacobs Still Photographer: Nicole Wilder
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“SL” Director of Photography: Ross Richardson Assistants: Nina Chien, Mabel Santos Haugen Digital Imaging Tech: Loic de Lame ARTS & SCIENCES “T-MOBILE” Director of Photography: Corey Walter Assistants: Jeff Caples, Erin Zadrozny Digital Imaging Tech: Ryan Campbell Jib Arm Operator: Colin West Remote Head Tech/Operator: Jay Sheveck Still Photographer: Justin Lubin AT SWIM TV “MULLER” Director of Photography: Omer Ganai Assistants: Chris Slany, Noah Glazer, Big John Takenaka Digital Imaging Tech: Willis Chung BIG BLOCK “ESPN” Director of Photography: Tristan Nyby Assistant: Jared Wennberg Digital Imaging Tech: Charles Alexander BISCUIT “COMCAST XFINITY” Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt Assistants: Lila Byall, Jennifer Lai Digital Imaging Tech: John Spellman
“PLAYSTATION VUE” Director of Photography: Tim Hudson Assistants: Erik Stapelfeldt, Daisy Smith Digital Imaging Tech/Phantom Tech: Felix Arceneaux Digital Utility: Holden Miller Technocrane Operator: Christian Hurley Remote Head Tech: Derrick Rose “NY LOTTERY” Director of Photography: Peter Deming Assistants: Chris Silano, Troy Sola Digital Imaging Tech: Jeff Flohr “X-BOX SEA OF THIEVES” Director of Photography: Khalid Mohtaseb Assistants: Lucas Deans, Noah Glazer Digital Imaging Tech: Mark Wilenkin Steadicam Operator: Mark Meyers CAVIAR “QUICKEN LOANS” Director of Photography: Darren Lew Operator: Peter Agliata Assistants: Bob Ragozzine, Dan Hersey, Dan Keck, Kyle Repka Digital Imaging Tech: Patrick Cecilian CHELSEA PICTURES “DOMINO’S” Director of Photography: Kip Bogdahn Assistants: Ethan McDonald, Arthur Zajac, Andrew Pauling Digital Imaging Tech: Erica McKee Libra Head Tech: Chris Bangma Technocrane Operator: Joseph Rodmell Technocrane Tech: Colin West Remote Head Tech: Jay Sheveck
CMS PRODUCTIONS “MENACTRA” Director of Photography: Luca Del Puppo Assistants: Filipp Penson, Mabel Santos Haugen Digital Imaging Tech: Bjorn Jackson
“RPO-CONTENT DAY” Director of Photography: Nathan Wilson Operators: Rick Lamb, Alex Vendler, Eric Zimmerman, Matt Baker, Andrew Turman Assistants: Erik Stapelfeldt, Jeanna Kim, Nick Infield, John Scivoletto, Dennis Lynch, Daisy Smith, Kelly Simpson Digital Imaging Tech: Randy Kaplan CONDUCTOR “BATH FITTER” Director of Photography: Patrick Ruth Assistants: Mary Anne Janke, Michael Rodriguez Torrent CULTIVATE MEDIA “JUICY JUICE” Director of Photography: Joe DeSalvo Assistant: Doug Kofsky Digital Imaging Tech: Kaz Karaismailoglu DOOMSDAY “CLAIROL” Director of Photography: Elexander Dynan Operators: Matt Klammer, Yousheng Tang Assistants: Lance Rieck, Jay Eckardt, Cai Hall, Kellon Innocent Digital Imaging Tech: Bjorn Jackson Head Tech: Junction Wen
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A JUMPING GIRL PRODUCTIONS, INC. “BOSS” Director of Photography: Philippe Le Sourd Assistants: Rick Gioia, Jordan Levie Digital Imaging Tech: Jeff Flohr
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FERAL GATO “STAR B2B” Director of Photography: Matthias Koenigswieser Assistants: Ethan McDonald, Arthur Zajac Digital Imaging Tech: Jamie Metzger
IDENTITY “KOHL’S Director of Photography: Mike Berg Assistants: Al Rodgers, Sam Elliot Steadicam Operator: Alec Jarnagin Digital Imaging Tech: Mariusz Cichon
FRAMESTORE PICTURES “GEICO” Director of Photography: Adam Beckman Assistants: Peter Morello, Jordan Levie Digital Imaging Tech: Joe Belack
“OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE” Director of Photography: John Clemens Digital Imaging Tech: Tyler Isaacson
“NAT GEO” Director of Photography: Eric Robbins Operator: Ed Herrera Assistants: Jim Hair, Doug Kofsky Digital Imaging Tech: Othmar Dickbauer HB COLLECTIVE “GATORADE” Director of Photography: Max Goldman Operator: Josh Medak Assistants: Ethan McDonald, Tobin Oldach, Marcus Del Negro, Jordan Martin Digital Imaging Tech: Erica McKee HONOR SOCIETY “3M” Director of Photography: Kat Westergaard Assistants: Sarah Harrison, Andi Obarski Digital Imaging Tech: Joe Belack Still Photographer: Sarah Shatz HUNGRY MAN “AMEX” Director of Photography: Matthew Lloyd Operator: James McMillan Assistants: Keitt, Greg Principato, Dan Keck Digital Imaging Tech: Tom Wong ICONOCLAST “CNBC” Director of Photography: Stuart Winecoff Assistants: Peter Morello, Nate McGarigal Digital Imaging Tech: Tom Wong
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IMPERIAL WOODPECKER “AT&T” Director of Photography: Nigel Bluck Assistants: Chris Slany, Noah Glazer, Lucas Deans, Kira Hernandez Digital Imaging Tech: Michael Kellogg Steadicam Operator: Grant Adams IT’S POSSIBLE PRODUCTIONS, LLC “WHIRLED RENOWNED” Director of Photography: Russell Swanson Assistants: David Flanigan, John Clemens Digital Imaging Tech: Matt Harding JOINERY “STARBUCKS” Director of Photography: Mark Dektor Assistants: Kristy Arnds, Liam Miller Digital Imaging Tech: Andrew Bethke MICHAEL SCHROM & COMPANY “BOSTON MARKET” Director of Photography: Michael Schrom Assistant: John Glaser Digital Imaging Tech: Don Cornett “IHOP” Director of Photography: Michael Schrom Assistant: John Glaser Digital Imaging Tech: Don Cornett “JOHNSONVILLE” Director of Photography: Michael Schrom Assistant: John Glaser Digital Imaging Tech: Don Cornett “KIND” Director of Photography: Michael Schrom Assistant: John Glaser Digital Imaging Tech: Don Cornett
“MCCORMICK” Director of Photography: Michael Schrom Assistant: John Glaser Digital Imaging Tech: Don Cornett MINTED CONTENT “CIRRO ENERGY” Director of Photography: Kai Saul Operator: Twojay Dhillon Assistants: Steven Magrath, Arien Hatch, Alan Certeza, Diona Mavis Digital Imaging Tech: Andy Cordos Still Photographer: Michael Becker M SS NG P ECES “JETBLUE” Director of Photography: Michael Svitak Assistant: Nigel Nally Digital Imaging Tech: Ryan Kunkleman “LINCOLN” Director of Photography: Jody Lee Lipes Assistants: Michael Burke, Andrea Bias Digital Imaging Tech: Anthony Hechanova MJZ “DAIRY QUEEN” Director of Photography: Jeanne Vienne Assistant: Nina Chien Digital Imaging Tech: George Robert Morse Phantom Tech: Steve Romano O POSITIVE “TWIX” Director of Photography: Richard Henkels Assistants: Stephen MacDougall, Niranjan Martin, Jordan Pellegrini Digital Imaging Tech: Adrian Jebef PIRO “LOVESAC” Director of Photography: Zeus Morand Assistants: Kenny Thompson Digital Imaging Tech: Joe Belack PARK PICTURES “MAYBELLINE” Director of Photography: Franck Tymezuk Assistants: Robert Ragozzine, Dan Keck Digital Imaging Tech: George Robert Morse
RADICAL MEDIA, LLC “DICK’S SPORTING GOODS” Director of Photography: Katelin Arizmendi, Andrij Parekh Assistants: Robert Ragozzine, Craig Pressgrove, Dan Keck, Eric Schwager Digital Imaging Tech: Kazim Karaismailoglu, Mariusz Cichon
SMUGGLER “AT&T” Director of Photography: Max Goldman Assistants: Ethan McDonald, Paul Saunders Digital Imaging Tech: Matthew Love Crane Operators: Bogdan Iofciulescu, George Dana Remote Head Tech: Dustin Evans
“HONDA” Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt Operators: Ian Clampett, Ross Coscia, Chris Bottoms, Robert Arnold, Ivan Acero Assistants: Lila Byall, Kira Hernandez, Daniel Hanych, Bill Robinson, Yen Nguyen, Ryan Monelli Digital Imaging Tech: John Spellman
SPARE PARTS “NBC BRAND NY 2018” Director of Photography: Daniel Patterson Operator: Kerwin DeVonish Assistants: Christopher Gleaton, Jelani Wilson, Kiersten Lane, Kellon Innocent Digital Imaging Tech: Ryan Winsor
“SNICKERS” Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt Operator: John Pingry Assistants: Lila Byall, Kira Hernandez, Yen Nguyen Digital Imaging Tech: John Spellman RESET “FACEBOOK” Director of Photography: Paul Cameron, ASC Operator: Charles Libin Assistants: Robert Ragozzine, Craig Pressgrove, Dan Keck, Eve Strickman Digital Imaging Tech: Ted Viola Technocrane Tech: Sean Folkl Libra Head Tech: Craig Striano SIBLING RIVALRY “ETHAN ALLEN” Director of Photography: Pete Konczal Operator: Paul Goroff Assistants: Brett Walters, Nate McGarigal Digital Imaging Tech: Tyler Isaacson
STUN CREATIVE “ALEX INC., OSCAR PROMO-ABC” Director of Photography: Wally Pfister, ASC Operator: Leslie Morris Assistants: Phil Shanahan, Bob Heine, Todd Sansone, Tim Bauer Digital Imaging Tech: Joe Hedge STATION “VALSPAR” Director of Photography: Kip Bogdahn Assistants: Ethan McDonald, Marcus Del Negro Digital Imaging Tech: Lee de Arakal SUPERLOUNGE “BUICK” Director of Photography: Michael Svitak Assistants: Niranjan Martin, Jeremy Cannon Digital Imaging Tech: Pasquale Paolo
SUPPLY & DEMAND “API” Director of Photography: Steve Gainer, ASC Assistant: Jonathan Goldfisher Digital Imaging Tech: Nate Kalushner TASTE IN MOTION “BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY” Director of Photography: Thomas Schauer Assistant: John Clemens Digital Imaging Tech: Joe Belack Phantom Tech: Steve Romano TECHNOBABBLE PRODUCTIONS “NBC NY SUPER BOWL BRAND EPK” Director of Photography: Gary Nardilla Digital Imaging Tech: Peter Symonowicz TESSA FILMS, INC. “DIRECT ENERGY HOME SERVICES” Director of Photography: David Robert Jones Operator: Keith Dunkerley Assistants: Ethan McDonald, Arthur Zajac Digital Imaging Tech: Dan Moses Y&R “BRAVECTO” Director of Photography: Benn Martenson Assistants: Ian Congdon, Noah Glazer, Lucas Deans Digital Imaging Tech: Jesse Tyler
“GSK” Director of Photography: Michael Svitak Assistants: Mark Santoni, Jose De Los Angeles Digital Imaging Tech: Pasquale Paolo
COMPANY PAGE 16x9 102 ARRI 5 Backstage Equipment 88 B&H The Studio 100 Band Pro 35 Canon 107 Chapman Leonard 11 Cinegear Expo 104 Cinemoves 9 Cineo Lighting 85 CL Enterprises 13 Cooke Optics 25 CW Sonderoptic 77 DJI 15, 17, 19, 21 Fujinon 67 IDX 86 Kino Flo 89 Lee Filters 101 Mole Richardson 84 NAB Las Vegas 4 NBC Universal Lightblade 65 Panasonic 7 Red 79 Schneider Optics 87 Teradek 2,3, 108 Tilta 33 Warner Bros Photo Lab 93 Zeiss 105
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CINE GEAR EXPO 2018 LOS ANGELES MAY 31 - JUNE 3, 2018 EXHIBITS: JUNE 1-2 THE STUDIOS AT PARAMOUNT HOLLYWOOD, CA
FOR FULL DETAILS GO TO: WWW.CINEGEAREXPO.COM
104 APRIL 2018
EXHIBITS • SEMINARS • DEMONSTRATIONS • FILM SERIES COMPETITION NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTIONS • TECHNICAL AWARDS • NETWORKING • SPECIAL EVENTS
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PAT RI C K
H A RB RO N
MINDHUNTER, THE NETFLIX SERIES CREATED BY JOE PENHALL, FOLLOWS THE EFFORTS OF FBI AGENTS HOLDEN FORD (JONATHAN GROFF) AND BILL TENCH (HOLT MCCALLANY) AS THEY PROBE THE MINDSETS OF SOME OF AMERICA’S INFAMOUS SERIAL KILLERS. IN THIS SCENE FROM EPISODE 8, WE SEE DR. WENDY CARR (ANNA TORV), THEIR COLLEAGUE AND CONSULTANT. PITTSBURGH, PA, AND ITS MANY SURROUNDING TOWNS SERVED AS IDEAL BACKDROPS FOR THE 70’S-ERA SERIES. DURING THE SHOW I WAS TRANSITIONING FROM DSLR TO MIRRORLESS CAMERAS TO SHOOT MY STILLS. THE ADVANCED FUNCTIONS OF THE NEW GEAR GAVE ME MORE FLEXIBILITY AND ACCURACY AS I WORKED ON SET. WATCHING AND PHOTOGRAPHING THE SCENES FROM EXECUTION TO COMPLETION WAS REMARKABLE. 106 APRIL 2018
Russell Carpenter, ASC
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ICG Magazine has been the world’s premier cinematography publication since 1929. Published monthly by the International Cinematographers Gui...
Published on Apr 1, 2018
ICG Magazine has been the world’s premier cinematography publication since 1929. Published monthly by the International Cinematographers Gui...