Canadian Cinematographer December 2022

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VOL. 14 NO. 6

DEC 2022 ISSUE

canadian society of cinematographers

GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S

CABINET OF CURIOSITIES

with Jeremy Benning csc, Colin Hoult csc and Tamara Deverell 6K

1.78:1

24fps/various

iso2500

1/48

Ontario

CHIEN BL ANC with Jonathan Decoste csc

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LOST OLLIE with C. Kim Miles csc, asc, mysc


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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | SEPTEMBER 2022


table of contents

DEC 2022 ISSUE VOL. 14 NO. 6

P6

IN CONVERSATION: GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S CABINET OF CURIOSITIES

With Jeremy Benning csc, Colin Hoult csc and Tamara Deverell

P28

P18

QUALITY TIME

With Robert Scarborough csc

With Jonathan Decoste csc

By Trevor Hogg, Special to Canadian Cinematographer

By Fanen Chiahemen

P34

P42

BIG LITTLE ODYSSEY

ART ON THE STREET

With C. Kim Miles csc, asc, mysc By Fanen Chiahemen

P49

CSC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Kristin Fieldhouse csc

P52

ON SET GALLERY

P54

THE CSC INTERNSIP PROGRAM

With Ian Toews csc

Cover: still from Cabinet of Curiosities - Graveyard Rats shot by Colin Hoult csc

TRUTH TO POWER

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Fostering cinematography in Canada since 1957. The Canadian Society of Cinematographers was founded by a group of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa cinematographers. Since then over 800 cinematographers and people in associated occupations have joined the organization.

The CSC provides tangible recognition of the common bonds that link film and digital professionals, from the aspiring student and camera assistant to the news veteran and senior director of photography. We facilitate the dissemination and exchange of technical information and endeavor to advance the knowledge and status of our members within the industry. As an organization

dedicated to furthering technical assistance, we maintain contact with nonpartisan groups in our industry but have no political or union affiliation.

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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER DECEMBER 2022 VOL. 14, NO. 6 EDITORIAL BOARD FANEN CHIAHEMEN, Editor-in-Chief, editor@csc.ca CLAUDINE SAUVÉ CSC, Art Director JO ENAJE, Design and illustration SIMON EVERS, Graphic Designer PATTY GUYADER, Copy Editor GEORGE WILLIS CSC, SASC SUSAN SARANCHUK, susans@csc.ca C SC BOA R D O F D I R E CTO RS Guy Godfree csc, Chair Jeremy Benning csc Zoe Dirse csc Rion Gonzales Christina Ienna Alex Sandahl CPA Claudine Sauvé csc George Willis csc, sasc Martin Wojtunik

CSC EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT George Willis CSC, SASC PAST PRESIDENT, ADVISOR Joan Hutton CSC VICE PRESIDENTS Philip Lanyon CSC Bruno Philip CSC Penny Watier MEMBERSHIP CHAIRS Arthur Cooper CSC Zoe Dirse CSC EDUCATION CHAIRS George Willis CSC, SASC Martin Wojtunik Christina Ienna AWARDS CHAIR Arthur Cooper CSC DIVERSITY CHAIR Rion Gonzales

Canadian Cinematographer makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information it publishes; however, it cannot be held responsible for any consequences arising from errors or omissions. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed within the magazine are those of the authors and not necessarily of the publisher. Upon publication, Canadian Cinematographer acquires Canadian Serial Rights;

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copyright reverts to the writer after publication.

Canadian Cinematographer is published six times a year. A single print issue is $15. A one-year print subscription is $75. Single print copies and subscriptions can be purchased online at cscstore.ca. ISSN 1918-8781 Canadian Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40013776 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses 131–3085 Kingston Road Toronto M1M 1P1

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

The CSC is a not-for-profit organization run by volunteer board members of the society. Thank you to our sponsors for their continued support.

CSC WELCOMES NEW SPONSORS Nanlux Versatile Media Videndum Production Solutions

ONLINE CONTENT CHAIRS Jeremy Benning csc Christina Ienna Carolyn Wong MENTORSHIP CHAIRS Nyssa Glück Iris Ng RELATIONSHIPS Gaston Bernier Lucy Kayumov, Communications, Education & Social Media Manager Francis Luta, Online Content Producer Gail Picco, Strategic Partnership Director OFFICE / MEMBERSHIP / SUBSCRIPTIONS 131–3085 Kingston Road Toronto, Canada M1M 1P1 Tel: 416-266-0591; Fax: 416-266-3996 Email: admin@csc.ca, subscription@csc.ca

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Canadian Cinematographer welcomes feedback, comments and questions about the magazine and its contents. Please send your comments to editor@csc.ca. Canadian Cinematographer celebrates the art and craft of cinematography through the lens of CSC members and their collaborators. @canadiancinematographer @csc_CDN

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Image from VITA LOVE Directed by FRANCIS LUTA Best Music Video WINNER Toronto Arthouse Film Festival 2022 Cinematography by MATT BENDO Steadicam Operator JASON VIEIRA


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Image from HAPPY FOR YOU a film by FRANCIS LUTA Cinematography by ADAM MADRZYK


Jeremy Benning csc: Lot 36 Red Monstro 4K 2:1 24fps iso800 180° Master Primes The Outside Sony Venice 1 4K 2:1 24 fps iso3200 180° Cooke 15-40mm Zoom - Sigma 14mm

Colin Hoult csc: Sony Venice 6K 2:1 - 1.78:1 24fps/various iso2500 1/48 Pickman’s Model and Graveyard Rats Zeiss Supreme and Supreme Radiance primes Fujinon Premista zooms T-Rex probe lens Dreams in the Witch House Arri Signature primes Fujinon Premista zooms Ontario 43°38'19.9"N 79°21'04.6"W


cabinet of curiosities

In Conv ersat ion: with Jeremy Benning csc, Colin Hoult csc and Tamara Deverell

watc h t h e f u l l c o n v e r s at i o n h e r e

G

uillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is an anthology series created for Netflix by the Oscar-winning Mexican director and based on his short story of the same name. Shot at Netflix’s production hub in Toronto, the series is made up of eight unique horror stories that push the boundaries of the genre. Although each story is told by a different director, production design on all eight episodes was handled by Oscar nominee Tamara Deverell (Nightmare Alley), who worked closely with Jeremy Benning csc on “Lot 36” (Guillermo Navarro) and “The Outside” (Ana Lily Amirpour), and with Colin Hoult csc on “Graveyard Rats” (Vincenzo Natali), “Dreams in the Witch House” (Catherine Hardwicke) and “Pickman’s Model” (Keith Thomas). The three collaborators recently discussed how they worked together to bring del Toro’s vision to life.

Still from "Dreams in the Witch House," shot by Colin Hoult csc.

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The Visuals Colin Hoult csc: I have worked in this genre before a few times and have had the chance to work with Tamara and Guillermo [del Toro] in the past. I think you tend to sometimes gravitate towards certain types of projects, perhaps sometimes they gravitate towards you! Projects like this that are scary and fantastical are wonderful places for visuals. There are so many great opportunities to do all sorts of crazy different things. Tamara Deverell: As Colin mentioned, we worked together on The Strain with Guillermo in a very similar feel or vibe. On this one, I think all of the ones that I did with you guys, Jeremy and Colin, were kind of period pieces. So that’s always fun. I’ve done a bit of Star Trek and I got my fill of sci-fi on that for a lifetime. I’m quite happy to be working in this genre with Guillermo. Jeremy Benning csc: Colin, your pieces were actually even more period, because mine were almost contemporary period, like ‘90s,’80s, and you went further back, right? 08

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

Hoult: Right. The episodes I photographed all took place at the turn of the 20th century and all seem to be part of the same universe in a funny way. There was a Lovecraft-ian, Gothic kind of vibe going through all of them. Benning: Tamara, there are different DPs and directors, but you are the one production designer through the whole thing. And you’ve obviously got that connection with Del Toro, as far as knowing the style and the look. I remember with our first episode you were showing us drawings of the corridors in the storage facility, and one of the drawings got revised with archways and you said, “Guillermo really loves archways.” So it’s interesting you having that connection with him and peppering those ideas through as you were designing. Deverell: I will always send him everything, and sometimes he responds really strongly on certain parts of the design work and other parts he’ll just leave to me. But for “Lot 36” with the arches and the whole designing of that storage facility, he was very involved in that.


The Designing Deverell: Anthology series, I think, were new to a lot of us. I hadn’t done an anthology series before, and doing all of them as a production designer, I was like, “Wow, this is a lot.” We did “Lot 26” together, Jeremy, and the set for the old man, we repurposed that for “Graveyard Rats” for the tenement building. And the advantage for us, we had all four stages right next to each other. I would get in my 10,000 steps just walking back and forth, but at least we are all together. I don’t think I could have actually done this show if we were in two different areas. We’d have to have two different art directors and art departments.

Left: "The Forest of Lost Souls” set from "Dreams in the Witch House," shot by Colin Hoult csc. Ken Woroner Below: Set designed by Tamara Deverell for "The Viewing." (Director: Panos Cosmatos, DP: Michael Ragen.) Ken Woroner (Courtesy of Netflix)

Benning: I remember [on “Lot 36”] director Guillermo Navarro was very specific about how the fluorescent lights would be in the storage facility hallways, which were in Tamara’s concept art. We actually did tests very early on of what the fluorescents would look like, how much shadow they would throw on the wall. I think the fluorescent fixtures that Tamara’s team used were fabricated based on the look of vintage fluorescent fixtures, which we put our own Astera Titan tubes in. I think we had well over 50 fixtures in all these long corridors, each with two Titan tubes.


Hoult: On “Pickman’s Model,” “Dreams in the Witch House” and also “Graveyard Rates,” we used a lot of handheld lanterns for practical lighting, and Charles McGlynn, the props master, was really helpful and accommodating. We ended up building these little handheld lanterns that were to look as though they were candles or oil lanterns but were actually LEDs combined with a controller and a battery, so each one was controllable, could be programmed to flicker and we could change the brightness on cue. For most of the subterranean portion of “Graveyard Rats,” the only source of lighting is Masson’s flashlight. Early on, I wanted something that not only lit the path ahead, but also would simultaneously light the actor’s face. Charles created a wonderful prop for this purpose, with “vents” that projected light back as well as forward. And so that was a really important part of all of my episodes, working with Charles to design and build that stuff. 10

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

Top: Still from final master of "Lot 36," shot by Jeremy Benning csc. Below: Illustration for “Lot 36" created in pre-production by Andy Tsang, part of Tamara Deverell's team. Right: Stills from "The Outside," shot by Jeremy Benning csc.

The sooner I can get a DP on with me in prep the better for me because I hate designing in a vacuum and I really do try and design with lighting in mind. - Tamara Deverell


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Deverell: There was a lot of going back and forth with Shane Vieau our decorator because there was so much lit by the practicals in all of these episodes, and also playing a lot with curtains; in all the sets that we did with you guys that was kind of a big deal. In “Pickman’s Model” we went for candles, we went for those augmented lights. Benning: You and I and Shane worked with Guillermo Navarro to figure out how to place those gooseneck sconce lights on the walls in the “demon chamber” because there was the discussion of how much do we see the dirty upholstered walls, how much do we not see it, how dirty is the fabric, which is the part of the process that I find interesting working with you and the director. All that stuff was a fun discussion process. Hoult: On these kinds of productions, concept art is incredibly important, and it spoils you. Especially with Tamara’s team because the concept art is almost photorealistic. It’s absolutely gorgeous. And it gives you this fantastic stepping-off point where Tamara and myself and the directors could really talk about, “We love how this looks. How are we going to be able to show off certain elements in a given scene? What do we want to accent?” And it gives you a really quick shorthand into any given visual situation. Sometimes it’s so right on the money that we just go in that direction. Other times we may have something else in mind in terms of how the light would work in the room, or discover we may need to approach day and night scenes in a certain way, etc. It can also be very helpful in terms of everyone seeing how VFX might integrate into a given scene. Benning: Also, it avoids there being a difference of opinion when something is built because no one really saw it before and then you have this lastminute, “Oh, wait, the walls are too close,” or whatever. I find that in this process when you get to the set, it’s pretty much this is it, we’ve all kind of gotten there together. Deverell: For me working with you guys, to have had you both in early on was essential for my design work. The sooner I can get a DP on with me in prep the better for me because I hate designing in a vacuum and I really do try and design with lighting in mind because it’s my work that the DP

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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022


Still from "The Outside," shot by Jeremy Benning csc. Bottom from left: Illustration of the witch house by Chris Penna for “Dreams in the Witch House." Illustration of the studio art class by Chris Penna for “Pickman's Model." Still from "Pickman's Model," shot by Colin Hoult csc.

has to show off with the lighting. Having that relationship from early prep is a wish list thing. We often don’t get it, but on this show we got it and it was great. Jeremy, who I hadn’t worked with before, even came in before he really started, and we were able to talk and make some really crucial creative decisions. So that’s essential. And then working with practicals to give you guys as many options, that’s a no-brainer. How can we help you guys practically and make the set look good at the same time and get the right vibe and mood. I can’t remember if we did a lot of colour testing on this, but camera tests are really crucial. I don’t stand around during the camera test, but I really look at that as a guide for me for picking final colours and textures and paint. And for costumes, putting fabrics in front of the lights that the DP knows they’re going to provide is essential. We did that on “Graveyard Rats” a lot because it was such a dark movie, and we did some on “Lot 36.” Benning: I think it’s important that as DPs we have to recognize that there’s a process of work that’s going to happen and that the sooner we get our 13


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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022


Concept art by Chris Penna of Lavania's dinner party from "Pickman's Model."

Clockwise from top left: Still from "Pickman's Model," shot by Colin Hoult csc and also above. Design work by creature concept artist Guy Davis of the witch from "Dreams in the Witch House." Concept art by Chris Penna of Lavania's dinner party from "Pickman's Model." Still from "Lot 36," shot by Jeremy Benning csc.

input in, the better because the machine starts to work and the sets start to get built, and if you come in and don’t consider something soon enough or voice your opinion, and then it’s like, “Oh, those windows are in the wrong place.” And they’ve already built the flats where the windows are going to go. So getting in early is key because then you sort of set the pace for everything after that. Deverell: Yeah, and then on sets like Star Trek, or for you, Jeremy, I imagine The Expanse was similar, those sci-fi sets, the lighting is so integral to the set and the way it’s going to look on camera, you have to have that design input from the cinematographer and the lighting department as you’re designing the sets, there’s just no two ways about it. Hoult: Yeah, especially in those situations, for instance, how reflective a set’s surfaces are in a given situation, where the lighting can be sourced from, or perhaps how the set can potentially self-light through built-in practicals and all those sorts of things, that forethought will help us forevermore when we’re working in that environment. I echo getting in as early as possible. Tamara and I were talking about “Graveyard Rats” very early on because we had several problems to solve regarding the physicality of the tunnel 15


Still from "The Outside," shot by Jeremy Benning csc.

sets and how we would move the camera. We ended up constructing a rail system for the camera to roll on, built in tandem with the set. Early prep was crucial for these kinds of things. Tamara has a great gift for understanding how light contributes to a set, so that’s an easy conversation to have. I think what’s great about working with you, Tamara, is you want to have that talk. Deverell: Things like wild walls and wild ceilings and knowing what’s going to work for camera and crew, that’s really important because when I’m designing a set, I do try and design it with a mind to the fact that there’s two people in the scene, but there are a hundred of our other friends who have to manage to move around this space. And sometimes it’s hard for me to remember there’s a grip and electric and how they have to move through the set. I’ve seen sets that have been designed where they’ve only done one way in and out of the set and no wild walls. There was no way for the crew to operate in the set. The interesting thing about [“The Outside”] was the wide-angle shooting. Oh, my God, crazy. Benning: Yeah, that was tricky because Lily’s favourite lens was the Cooke 15 – 40 mm zoom and we shot almost everything that way, so I’d say to the riggers, “Remember, everyone, we’re seeing this room on a 14 mm; we can’t hide the way we usually can. We’re going to see the entire space and most of the ceiling all the time.” We had to kind of constantly remind ourselves that you can’t get away with things, you’re going see everything. Pan the camera a little bit to the right and now you see the other half of the room. All the windows might be seen at any given time, so every window has to look real and right simultaneously. The Directors Deverell: It’s interesting, none of the directors are really episodic TV directors, except for Navarro, who’s done his fair share, and Vincenzo. But most of them come from a lot of indie films, which is a very different kind of 16

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

mentality. We’ve all done our fair share of episodic television. That in and of itself was like, “Oh my God, this person is making their own film.” Benning: Because there wasn’t really any kind of overarching style they had to adhere to. They didn’t have to connect what they were doing to the next episode. So they were thinking completely of just what they wanted to do. We didn’t have any creative constraints; they had full control of the tone in that sense. Hoult: Working with the three directors I had was a treat every day. The most unique thing about each of these episodes was the director, and each one came at the process from a completely different direction. Each one had a completely different background, handled problems in a completely different way. We all know that’s usually the case in TV, but it’s interesting to have a project where you get to see that happen almost bi-weekly, making an entirely new movie each time. I hadn’t worked with Keith Thomas or Catherine Hardwicke before, but I had worked with Vincenzo a few times before we did “Graveyard Rats” together. That was the best way possible to finish the series off, it was such a fantastic collaboration. His process included storyboarding the entire episode like it was a graphic novel, showcasing his background as a storyboard artist. Deverell: And he’s such an organized director with his storyboarding, and he’s such a sweet guy. They were all pretty nice. Benning: Lily liked having music playing on set. She has music that she had curated that was the inspiration for the scene. When we were blocking, and even sometimes shooting the scenes when there wasn’t dialogue, she would have her boombox playing specific songs. I’d never worked with anyone who had done that before. We literally had music playing all the time; it really did add to how we approached our shots. It was a surreal place that we were living in.


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chien blanc

TÉ T

he 1970 novel Chien Blanc (White Dog), by Romain Gary, is a semi-autobiographical account of the former French diplomat’s experiences in California during the civil rights era. In the late sixties, while Gary is living in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Jean Seberg, the couple takes in a charming stray German Shepherd to be a family pet and companion for their young son, Diego. Although the dog is affectionate with the family, the couple soon discovers that it is a former Alabama police dog that has been trained to kill Black people on sight. The couple is confronted with a dilemma – Seberg is a committed ally of the Black Panthers and keeping the dog is out of the question for her, but for Gary, having the dog put down for someone else’s actions is unthinkable. The story examines the issues of racism and activism and asks whether learned social behaviours can be unlearned.

par /By Fanen Chiah emen

bilingual article english and french t r a d u c t i o n / t r a n s l at i o n b y n i c o l e t t e f e l i x

L

e roman Chien blanc, publié par Romain Gary en 1970, est un récit semiautobiographique des expériences de l’ancien diplomate français en Californie à l’époque de la lutte pour les droits civils. À la fin des années soixante, alors que Romain Gary vit avec son épouse, l’actrice Jean Seberg, à Los Angeles, le couple adopte un charmant berger allemand perdu comme animal de compagnie pour la famille et compagnon pour son fils Diego. Bien que le chien soit affectueux avec la famille, le couple découvre bientôt qu’il s’agit d’un ancien chien policier de l’Alabama qui a été entraîné à tuer les Noirs à vue. Le couple fait face à un dilemme : Jean est une alliée engagée des Black Panthers, donc il est hors de question pour elle de garder le chien, mais pour Romain, il est impensable d’abattre le chien en raison des gestes de quelqu’un d’autre. Le récit se penche sur le racisme et le militantisme et demande si les comportements sociaux acquis peuvent être désappris.

EN FR

Canon

V-35

FF

Vancouver,

BC

49°16'57.7"N

123°07'14.5"W

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Le film éponyme de la réalisatrice Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, qui sort en salle ce mois-ci, est la plus récente adaptation du roman de Romain Gary, et lorsque le directeur de la photographie Jonathan Decoste csc a lu le scénario, rédigé par Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette et Valérie BeaugrandChampagne, il savait que le film devait être réalisé. « Le dialogue interracial est plus important que jamais, affirme Jonathan. Il était important à l’époque, et il l’est encore plus aujourd’hui. Nous voulions un look qui rendait justice à l’histoire. Le concept était la vérité sans artifice. Nous avons tourné de manière très réaliste. L’auditoire est toujours dans le moment présent. » Chien blanc comprend des séquences d’archives de l’époque, révèle Jonathan, ce que précisait le scénario d’Anaïs et de Valérie. « Nous ne voulions certainement pas recréer ces scènes-là, parce que ces images-là sont plus fortes; c’est ce qui s’est produit », ajoute Jonathan. Au départ, l’intention était de tourner Chien blanc en 16 mm pour correspondre aux archives, mais en raison de la qualité des images d’archives, cette idée a été rejetée. Jonathan a pu trouver le look qu’il voulait en employant la caméra Venice 1 de Sony avec module Rialto et des objectifs d’époque. « Nous voulions absolument tourner avec des objectifs d’époque pour obtenir la douceur, donc j’ai choisi les objectifs V35 FF -plein cadre- de Canon. Le revêtement est magnifique, donc j’ai pu obtenir de belles images douces, et cet objectif est très rapide. » Bien que l’histoire se déroule à Los Angeles, il était impossible pour l’équipe de s’y rendre en raison de la pandémie de COVID-19, mais elle a trouvé 20

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

Director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s film of the same name, in theatres this month, is the latest adaption of Gary’s novel, and when director of photography Jonathan Decoste csc read the script, written by BarbeauLavalette and Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne, he knew it was a film that had to be made. “Interracial dialogue is more important than ever,” Decoste says. “The subject was important back then, but it’s even more important today. We wanted a look that did justice to the story. The idea was truthfulness without any artifice. So we shot in a very realistic way. The audience is always in the moment.” Chien Blanc is interwoven with archival footage from the era, and Decoste says that was specified in Barbeau-Lavalette and Beaugrand-Champagne’s script. “We didn’t want to re-enact those scenes because for sure those images are stronger; it’s what happened,” Decoste says. The initial plan was to shoot Chien Blanc on 16 mm to match the archives, but the quality of the archival images ruled it out. Decoste was able to find the look he wanted by employing the Sony Venice 1 in Rialto module with vintage lenses. “For sure we wanted to shoot with vintage lenses for the softness and so I chose Canon V-35 FF lenses. They have a very nice coating, so it gave me nice soft images, and those lenses are very fast.” Although the story is set in Los Angeles, the COVID pandemic made it impossible for the crew to travel to the city, so they ended up finding usable locations in Vancouver. This meant it was up to Decoste to recreate the famous Southern California light. “I did a lot of research on Los Angeles in the ‘60s and I realized that in that period there was a lot of pollution, and


des lieux de tournage utilisables à Vancouver. Il revenait donc à Jonathan de recréer la célèbre lumière du Sud de la Californie. « J’ai fait beaucoup de recherches sur les années 60 à Los Angeles, et j’ai réalisé qu’il y avait beaucoup de pollution pendant ces années-là, donc la qualité de l’air était très mauvaise et la lumière était filtrée, explique-t-il. Alors je me suis rendu compte que je pouvais me servir de la situation. J’ai tout tourné en contrejour pour donner l’impression que le ciel était plus lumineux. J’ai placé toutes les scènes de sorte qu’il y ait plus de soleil en contre-jour. Le ciel n’est donc pas d’un bleu pur; il est blanc bleuté pour donner l’impression qu’il y a du smog. »

Interracial dialogue is more important than ever. We wanted a look that did justice to the story. The idea was truthfulness without any artifice.

Le soleil a une qualité différente à Vancouver, de dire Jonathan. « Pour créer ce beau soleil doré, Eric Bensoussan, mon premier assistant à la caméra très créatif, a mis un filtre Antique Suede devant la caméra. Avec le soleil, ce filtre crée une nuance jaune doré brunâtre. Lorsqu’on est à l’extérieur, on sent la chaleur de la lumière. »

the quality of the air was very bad, and the light was filtered through that,” he says. “So I thought, ‘I should use that.’ I shot everything backlit to have that feel that the sky is brighter. So I positioned all the scenes to have more backlit sun. So we don’t have a very blue sky; it’s a white bluish sky to give the impression that there is smog.”

En collaboration avec la coloriste Vickie-Lynn Roy, Jonathan a employé un traitement spécial pour la végétation lors de l’étalonnage. « Comme il pleut beaucoup à Vancouver, la végétation est luxuriante et verte, mais je pense qu’elle est plus sèche à Hollywood Hills. Je voulais qu’on sente cette sécheresse dans mes images, donc nous avons jauni tous les verts, révèle-t-il. Je travaille avec Vickie depuis plusieurs années. Nous avons collaboré à des séries télévisées et à des films. C’est une gardienne de l’image. Elle a de fortes compétences techniques et est très créative. Lors des préparatifs, nous avons fait beaucoup d’essais pour Chien blanc. Nous

The sun also has a different quality in Vancouver, according to Decoste. “To create that bright golden sun, my 1st assistant Eric Bensoussan – he’s a very creative 1st AC – put an Antique Suede filter in front of the camera that creates a very brownish tone. That with the sun creates a brownish golden yellow. When we’re outside we feel the warmth of the light.”

- Jonathan Decoste csc

Working with colourist Vickie-Lynn Roy, Decoste also applied a special treatment to the vegetation in colour timing. “There’s a lot of rain in Vancouver so things are very rich and green, and in the Hollywood Hills, 21


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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022


I think it’s drier. And I wanted to feel that dryness in my images. So we made all the greens more yellow,” he says. “I have worked with Vickie for several years now. We have collaborated on TV series and films. She is the guardian of the image. She is technical and creative. In prep, we did a lot of tests for Chien Blanc. We developed a custom shooting LUT that focused on the yellow and gold tone. Before starting the grading on the film, we called on another colourist friend, Benoit Côté. Benoit has developed DaVinci Resolve custom presets over the years and we asked him to collaborate with us to find the look of Chien Blanc. We wanted to have a recipe specific to Chien Blanc. We worked on a specific film curve, grain, colour shifting presets created by Benoit and we bloomed the highlights. Once we found the perfect balance, Vickie and I started to grade the film.” Decoste could rely on natural light with bounce outdoors, and even in the main house, the light coming in from the windows was usually enough, although he would sometimes use a mix of HMI and tungsten lights, keeping them to a minimum. “I used Molebeams to create very strong lights and to create rays of light on the floor. But I wanted Anaïs to be able to move around the room and to follow the actors. So I tried not to have too many lights in the house for sure.”

We wanted the camera to be free, but how do you free the camera with a dog? - Jonathan Decoste csc avons créé un LUT sur mesure pour le tournage qui mettait l’accent sur les tons jaunes et dorés. Avant de commencer l’étalonnage pour le film, nous avons demandé l’aide d’un autre ami coloriste, Benoit Côté. Au fil des ans, Benoit a créé des préréglages personnalisés dans DaVinci Resolve et nous lui avons demandé de collaborer avec nous pour trouver le look de Chien blanc. Nous voulions une recette propre à Chien blanc. Nous avons travaillé la courbe filmique, le grain, les préréglages de changement de couleurs créés par Benoit et l’ajout de diffusion dans les hautes lumières. Lorsque nous avons trouvé l’équilibre parfait, Vickie et moi avons commencé à étalonner le film. »

Decoste prefers to shoot handheld and follow the actors, which he did on Chien Blanc. “I don’t say to the actor, ‘You have to hit this mark,’” he says. “That’s part of our process and that gives a lot of liberty for the actor. That’s Anaïs’ style, and it’s my style when I work with her.” But when he told dog handler Josée Juteau, his plans to shoot handheld, she balked at the idea. “She said, ‘You need to understand something, guys. I need to hide myself so I can have eye-contact with the dog, so I need to know where you’re going to put the camera.’ So we had to figure out how to dance together. That definitely was a challenge for her and for me. Because we wanted the camera to be free, but how do you free the camera with a dog? In the end, Josée found a nice way to position herself and her team with some toys to keep the attention of the dog. Most of the time she was standing behind the camera to be in the dog’s eyeline, so she was behind me talking to the dog. When the dog didn’t do the right action, she’d enter the frame and reposition him. I had no idea if it was going to work! It was my first time working with a dog, although I’ve worked with many animals, even wolves. But honestly, Josée did an amazing job. She’s got all my respect.” What was most challenging was capturing the dog’s emotions on camera, according to Decoste. “We had to capture the dog when it was sad, happy, scared, but the dog can only look into the camera for less than two, three or five seconds, and then the eyes move. Because he always wants to have eye contact with the wrangler,” he explains. “So just getting the dog to stare at something was even more complicated that shooting a dog attack scene.” Working with production designer Emmanuel Fréchette (Monsieur Lazhar) was another first for Decoste. “It was a very nice collaboration,” the DP says. “He has training as an architect, so he was like the guardian of the period for us. At times we’d find a location for the couple’s street and I would say, ‘Oh, this works for me, and he would say, ‘No, it doesn’t work,’ because he knew what the surrounding neighbourhood around the house would have looked like. We didn’t want to paint an image that’s not the truth. With all the archives, we had a reality to match in terms of period. He 23


Jonathan pouvait compter sur la lumière naturelle indirecte à l’extérieur, et même dans la maison principale, la lumière qui venait des fenêtres suffisait habituellement, mais il utilisait parfois une combinaison de lampes HMI et tungstène, s’en servant au minimum. « J’ai utilisé des projecteurs Molebeam pour créer la lumière très forte et les rayons de soleil sur le plancher. Mais je voulais qu’Anaïs puisse se déplacer dans la pièce et suivre les acteurs. Donc j’ai essayé de ne pas mettre trop de lampes dans la maison. » Jonathan préfère utiliser une caméra à l’épaule et suivre les acteurs, ce qu’il a fait pour Chien blanc. « Je ne dis pas à un acteur qu’il faut qu’il atteigne un repère particulier, dit-il. Ça fait partie de notre processus, et ça donne beaucoup de liberté à l’acteur. C’est le style d’Anaïs, et c’est mon style quand je travaille avec elle. » Mais lorsqu’il a révélé à la maître-chien, Josée Juteau, qu’il avait l’intention de filmer à l’épaule, elle a résisté. « Elle a dit : “ Il faut que vous compreniez quelque chose. Il faut que je me cache pour avoir un contact visuel avec le chien, donc il faut que je sache où vous allez placer la caméra. ” Alors il a fallu trouver comment bouger ensemble. Ç’a certainement été un défi pour elle et pour moi, parce que nous voulions que la caméra bouge librement, mais comment la caméra peut-elle bouger librement avec un chien? En fin de compte, Josée a trouvé une excellente façon de se placer et de placer son équipe, armés de jouets, pour retenir l’attention du chien. La plupart du temps, elle était debout derrière la caméra pour être dans le champ de vision du chien, donc elle était derrière moi et parlait au chien. Si le chien ne faisait pas la bonne chose, elle entrait dans l’image et le replaçait. Je ne savais pas du tout si ça marcherait! J’ai travaillé avec bien des animaux, même des loups, mais c’était la première fois que je travaillais avec un chien. Josée a fait un travail extraordinaire. Je la respecte énormément. » Jonathan révèle que le plus difficile était de filmer les émotions du chien. « Il fallait filmer le chien lorsqu’il était triste, heureux, qu’il avait peur, mais un chien peut seulement regarder la caméra pendant quelques secondes, puis ses yeux bougent, parce qu’il veut toujours avoir un contact visuel avec la maître-chien, explique-t-il. Il a donc été plus difficile de lui faire regarder quelque chose que de filmer la scène de l’attaque. »

La collaboration avec le directeur artistique Emmanuel Fréchette (Monsieur Lazhar) a également été une première expérience pour Jonathan. « Ç’a été une excellente collaboration, dit le directeur de la photographie. Il a une formation d’architecte, donc il a un peu été le gardien de l’époque pour nous. Parfois, nous trouvions un endroit à quelques rues et je disais que ça m’irait, mais il disait “ non, ça ne marchera pas ”, parce qu’il savait à quoi le quartier dans lequel se trouvait la maison aurait ressemblé. Nous ne voulions pas créer une image qui ne serait pas authentique. Avec toutes les archives, nous devions recréer la réalité de l’époque. Il a vraiment insisté pour qu’on fasse des recherches partout au pays pour trouver l’endroit idéal. Il m’a ébloui. Il avait des idées fantastiques et nous a aidés à tourner à la caméra autant que possible, sans tout recréer par la suite en post. Nous avons établi la palette de couleurs en créant des tableaux d’ambiance composés d’images, et nous l’avons suivie du début à la fin. ». Deux autres membres de l’équipe ont également été essentiels pour le processus de Jonathan pour Chien Blanc, les conseillers en histoire Maryse Legagneur et Will Prosper, à qui on a demandé d’authentifier tous 24

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I wanted to position my camera in such a way that was respectful to the story. I wanted to be true but always respectful. - Jonathan Decoste csc really pushed for us to scout all across Canada to find the right place. He blew my mind. He came with amazing ideas and that helped us to shoot on camera as much as possible. We found the colour palette together by building some mood boards with images, and we followed that colour palette from day one through the entire movie.” Two other crew members ended up being crucial to Decoste’s process on Chien Blanc – historical consultants Maryse Legagneur and Will Prosper, who were brought on to authenticate all aspects of the film from dialogue to props, as well as to help the cast and crew make sense of the themes they were exploring. “They were with us all the time because it’s a sensitive subject and it was very important for Anaïs to be sure we had the right sensibility, to tell the story in the right way. They supported all departments throughout production. This rich dialogue helped to do justice to the nature of the film at all levels,” Decoste says. “I wanted to position my camera in such a way that was respectful to the story. I wanted to be true but always respectful.” A scene in which Black students demonstrating to racially integrate schools are confronted by angry protestors screaming racial epithets was


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les aspects du film, du dialogue aux accessoires, et d’aider la distribution et l’équipe à comprendre les thèmes qu’ils exploraient. « Ils sont restés avec nous pendant tout le tournage, parce que c’est un sujet délicat, et c’était très important pour Anaïs d’être sûre d’avoir la bonne sensibilité, de raconter l’histoire comme il se devait. Ils ont appuyé tous les départements pendant toute la production. Le dialogue riche a permis de rendre justice à la nature du film à tous les niveaux, affirme Jonathan. Je voulais placer la caméra de sorte qu’elle respecte le récit. Je recherchais l’authenticité, mais en restant toujours respectueux. » Une scène où des étudiants noirs manifestant pour l’intégration raciale dans les écoles font face à des manifestants en colère hurlant des injures racistes a été particulièrement difficile à tourner pour Jonathan. « Cette scène, basée sur des faits historiques, est extrêmement violente. La violence est verbale et physique. Les conseillers nous ont parlé avant le tournage de cette scène-là, raconte-t-il. C’était le dernier jour de tournage, et ils ont pris une trentaine de minutes pour expliquer la nature de la scène sous différents angles, pour faire en sorte que tout le monde se respecte. Des psychologues se trouvaient également sur le plateau ce jour-là, parce que le fait de revivre de tels événements peut rouvrir d’anciennes blessures. Cette scène était très difficile. Dans certains contextes, le viseur de la caméra crée une distance de ce qu’on filme. Mais pas cette fois-ci. À titre de directeur de la photographie, j’étais bouleversé. C’est difficile de diriger la caméra vers quelqu’un qui dit ces mots-là. Ç’a fait mal. C’est réellement arrivé, et je ne le comprends pas. Et c’est très difficile pour un directeur de la photographie de rendre une scène comme celle-là belle. Ç’a été un grand défi pour moi. Je me sentais mal à l’aise, triste, mais je pense que ç’a créé une certaine sensibilité sur la manière de tourner la scène, parce que je ne voulais pas créer des images sensationnelles. Au bout du compte, tous ceux qui participaient à cette scène étaient sur la même longueur d’onde et avaient la même perspective et se respectaient, et c’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai pu la tourner. » 26

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particularly difficult for Decoste to shoot. “This scene, which refers to historical facts, is extremely violent. The violence is verbal and physical. The consultants made a speech before we shot that scene,” he recalls. “It was our last day of the shoot, and they took about 30 minutes to explain the nature of the scene, explain it from different perspectives, just to make sure that everyone was respectful to each other. There were psychologists on set that day because reliving such events could bring up buried wounds. That scene was very tough. In some contexts, the eyepiece of the camera creates a distance with what we are filming. But not this time. As a cinematographer, I was shocked. It’s difficult to point the camera at someone who is saying those words. It hurt. That happened for real, and I can’t understand it. And it’s very difficult for a cinematographer to make a scene like that look beautiful. That was a struggle for me. I felt bad, I felt sad, but I think that created some sensitivity about how to shoot that scene because I didn’t want to create sensational images. In the end, everybody in the scene was on the same page and in the same mindset and respectful to each other, and that’s why I was able to shoot that scene.”



Quality Time ARRI

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hile attempting to connect with his daughter Billie (Madison Shamoun) who was given up for adoption, Justin (Jordan Gavaris) engages in a battle with his stepsister Maisy-May (Julia Stiles) to reclaim the family cottage; this is the premise for The Lake, the first scripted Canadian Amazon Original series. The comedy, created by Julian Doucet (Killjoys), consists of eight episodes shot in North Bay and was lensed by Robert Scarborough csc (Baroness Von Sketch Show) and directed by Paul Fox (Anne with an E) and Jordan Canning (Pretty Hard Cases).

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Describing the look of the show as a cross between The Spectacular Now and Booksmart, Scarborough says Amazon Studios wanted to avoid a half-hour television comedy aesthetic. “The Lake has beautiful moments between a father and his daughter; that to me is The Spectacular Now. And there are also fun characters like Booksmart,” he says. “The Lake has natural beauty but is a comedy, so you still want to move the camera in a particular way and interact with the actors in a certain way. Blocking is everything to Paul and I. Also, with regards to the comedy, you want some scenes to be brighter than others because you don’t want anyone to miss out on a gag due to it being too dark or having too much contrast or too much movement. We were shooting with two cameras but wanted it to feel like a single camera, so we didn’t do traditional coverage. The goal of each wide shot was to construct it in a way so we didn’t have to cut away. And if we needed to cut away, we would also get coverage to be safe because with comedy you have to sometimes tighten the joke up in the edit to make it funnier. Minimizing the typical TV coverage makes the show feel less halfhour comedy for me.”

comedies and drama,” Scarborough recalls. “What all the images had in common was that they were from character-driven stories. We were shooting in small cabins with a giant cast. You can put a lot more people in the frame and do a lot more interesting blocking in small locations with anamorphic lenses than a 16:9 image where you are working with a couple of people in a frame at a time or have to do a super wide shot and see everybody, and I am not a giant fan of super wide shots. We used a combination of Panavision T and G Series, which are old expanded glass for larger censors and ranged from 32 mm to 180 mm. Every movie that I watched as a kid, like the Steven Spielberg movies like Indiana Jones were all shot on Panavision glass. You see the image breathing when the focus is pulled, it has creamy skin tones, and the bokeh in the background is Panavision glass. There is nothing like it in the world.” The 100 mm to 150 mm were for closeups. “For the wide shots we would stay in the 40 mm to 65 mm range.” A slightly punched in on the chip 2.35:1 aspect ratio was utilized to avoid the vignetting on the LF chip with the older Panavision lenses. “Season Two is 2:39:1 and we’re using Cooke SF Anamorphics so every lens is full sensor now.”

Fox and Scarborough pitched the idea of anamorphic lenses, which is rare for a comedy. “I made a look book for Amazon and Julian that included

Deliverables included 4K SDR and HDR. “We used the ARRI Alexa LF and had an extra body for any Steadicam work,” Scarborough explains. “Some scenes

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022


The nice thing about shooting in cottages is everything feels a bit rustic, so the lampshades have textures, which is lovely and is usually a warmer and woodier feeling; that always lends itself to making actors look beautiful. - Robert Scarborough csc

played out as one camera – with the A cam operated by Mitch Mommaerts [ACO, SOC]– because the locations were so small or it didn’t need a second camera. The B camera, which was operated by Duraid Munajim, would come in when it could. The B camera played 65 to 70 per cent of the time and the C Steadicam camera was about 20 per cent.” Drone photography was shot with Phantom cameras in compressed 4K. “I gave a list of things I wanted, the drone team would go shoot it and show me the footage on set; I would give notes, and they’d go out and shoot some more.”

Practical lights were placed inside locations. “The nice thing about shooting in cottages is everything feels a bit rustic, so the lampshades have textures, which is lovely and is usually a warmer and woodier feeling; that always lends itself to making actors look beautiful,” Scarborough says, adding that the camera was set at 3200 Kelvin for night scenes. “I used HMIs and daylight-balanced LEDs and then balanced my camera to tungsten 3200K so there was this nice blue cast of moonlight. During the day, I’d go to 5600K to make it more white light.”

For lighting, 18K HMIs and 4Ks were usually placed outside of windows bounced into muslin or Ultrabounce fabric and small LEDs on the floor set to the same temperature as the HMIs. “We had Astera Titan and Helios tubes, which are so light and battery-powered that you can put them anywhere,” Scarborough states. “We also had ARRI S30s and S60s. The Murder Cabin and Maisy-May’s cottage were sourced from the windows. Most of the stuff I do I like to allow the actors to move around in the space instead of boxing them into a corner with my light. An HMI bouncing into a window looks beautiful when somebody goes in and out of that light. It seems more natural that way and better for the actors.”

Customization was required for the water shots, which involved the construction of a pontoon boat. “The pontoon boat was rigged with a J.L. Fisher 25 jib arm [that went out to 12 feet], and on that we had a Black arm that takes the motion up and down,” Scarborough explains. “Then we had a Ronin stabilizer on that too. Between the Black arm and the Ronin, we were able to get the camera right along fairly choppy waters and it was rock solid. I owe that design to Axel Green, my key grip, and Wayne St. George, my key rigger. The canoe was rigged to the boat so the boat would pull the canoe along with our cameras in front of it, and our arm could swing where we needed to get the shot. We had a couple of days in preproduction where we tested our theory.” Water scenes are time-consuming, he recalls. “You 31


have to get the people, gear and monitors on the boat. You have to get the actors out to the boat, and if they have to go to washroom, we have to get them off and back again. On Season One we did quite a bit of water scenes, and by the end of the season we were dialled in as to how to do it as fast as possible. But even as fast as possible requires a ton of time.” Another piece of speciality gear was a Fly Swatter rig used for a lot of the exterior work. “That is a huge 30x30 1/4 grid overhead that was on a telescoping lift that we put overhead for our heavy sunlight scenes in the daytime. Huge help making the day stuff look nice.” Restrictions had to be overcome and accommodated. “Locations look beautiful on camera and it’s wonderful for the actors because they’re real, but when you get to them there are cliffs, rocks everywhere, forests right where you want to put a light, and there are locations that we can’t get lifts close to because of the landscape,” Scarborough notes. “Sometimes the logistics of doing any lighting rigs in these crazy locations is more out of 32

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necessity than what is best for the scene.” Then there was the matter of the weather. “That’s a whole conversation! North Bay is a beautiful place, but the weather is bananas. There were tornado warnings for two or three days. It would go from sunny at 10 a.m. to aggressive downpours at 11:30 a.m. It changes on a dime, so we had to constantly adapt.” For Season Two, sets were built to have rain cover. “There were days in Season One where we lost hours because we had to wait the weather out,” Scarborough recalls. “Episode 106 is a horror movie episode and it rained for a week and a half straight. It said ‘rain’ on every heading on the entire script. On day one of shooting there was a downpour, and I went, ‘Awesome. We don’t need rain towers.’ It was in September, so it was cooler up here. We were all freezing, and the actors were wearing summer clothes. It was a nightmare, but everyone agrees that’s our favourite episode as far as how consistent that look is and how lucky we got because the actual rain added a lot to the flavour of the horror theme.”


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Big Little

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We wanted the toys’ journey to be taken seriously and not to feel like a kids’ movie. We want it to be real and honest. - C. Kim Miles csc, asc, mysc

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he Netflix limited series Lost Ollie follows a stuffed toy who embarks on an epic journey to find the boy who lost him. The four-part series, directed and executive produced by Oscar-winner Peter Ramsey (Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse), is based on the book Ollie’s Odyssey by author and illustrator William Joyce. Shannon Tindle (Coraline) serves as creator, writer and executive producer. Although series DP C. Kim Miles csc, asc, mysc says Lost Ollie was jokingly pitched to him as “Toy Story meets Lord of the Rings,” he says he was impressed by the layers he saw in the script. “It was unlike anything I’d read before,” Miles recalls. “This is a story of loss, about growing up, about all those really hard decisions that we never want to talk about. And to tell that story through little animated dolls is so far beyond what Toy Story does.” Ramsey says he wanted to create a world that felt “tactile, real and not overly idealized. Our vision for the show was for it to be a fantasy set in a place that doesn’t lend itself to fantasy; that it’s a very real, sometimes harsh, sometimes beautiful world that our characters have to navigate on their journey.” Telling the story involved blending visual effects with puppet-driven sequences and live actors, with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) creating CGI characters for the series. “The show was always designed to be a hybrid,” Ramsey says. “The big decision was actually how to achieve the toy sections of the show, and early on there was a lot of talk about puppetry and how much we could use. We ended up relying on our beautiful, handcrafted puppets to give us valuable visual and lighting references for the animators at ILM.” For ILM Executive Visual Effects Producer Stefan Drury and Visual Effects Supervisor Hayden Jones – who were part of the team that handled Season One of The Mandalorian – the vision being crafted for Lost Ollie resonated from the start. “It took just one conversation with Shannon Tindle for Hayden and I to realize we were utterly in lockstep with his sensibilities, spirit of collaboration and visual style to fall in love with the project and give us the determination to make it happen,” Drury recalls. “It’s rare that you get such a creative and personal connection to a project, but this collaboration was genuinely in place from the first meeting to the final shot. The general approach we settled on was to use a puppet on a long rod to gauge camera movement and speed for rehearsals, shoot one rehearsal/ref plate, shoot a clean hero pass and the appropriate HDRIs/ puppet stand-ins for lighting reference. Another key element was whilst the show was always going to be 2.39:1, Kim chose to shoot open gate, which turned out to be an absolute stroke of genius when it came to post as it allowed us to make creative decisions on the final framing that was sympathetic to the animation.”

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Unpacking a typical sequence for shooting a scene, Miles says, “Let’s say Ollie runs along the top of the shelf in the pawnshop and tries to make a break for the door. We’d conceptualize that and storyboard it, we would light our scans of our locations so that visual effects had a 3D rendering of the location to have a reference for how it was laid out. Occasionally, they would do a digital pre-visualization of the sequence that was very broad to get a sense of how we wanted the puppets to behave and how we wanted to cover it with camera angles. On the day of shooting, we would block it and do an acting pass with the puppets. They would act out the scene with all the emotional beats so that we could time a camera. For example, if we’re walking along and one of the puppets pauses, we need the camera to sort of slow down for that beat and then continue. So we would do first a pass for an emotional run-through. And once we had that figured out, we would shoot that pass and make sure that we did a couple of variations. Then we would do it with the gray ball and the chrome ball for VFX for lighting references, and then we would do an HDRI pass.” His biggest concern with heavy visual effects shows is ensuring the seamless blending of the effects with the live action. “Often, we take a lot of care shooting the show and then the VFX guys take a lot of time building their end, but then you end up with a show that doesn’t necessarily blend properly,” Miles says. “So I managed to work out a deal on the show to remain active in a consultation capacity all the way through the visual effects process. And Hayden and his guys at ILM were unbelievably cooperative. We had many sync sketch meetings where we would sit and look at lighting and examine how the room was lit and then bounce ideas off of each other as to how the puppets should be lit.”

The puppet reference pass also gave the VFX team excellent reference as to how the characters looked throughout every shot and enabled us to examine any details to help the integration of the CG characters.” But animation that is too perfect on a visual effects show can undermine its success, Miles maintains. “Some shows look really awesome, but then you have a sense of something’s not right. It’s just not real. And a lot of the times if you break it down, it’s because the lighting is too perfect. The camera was perfect, the framing is perfect. Because you’ve had control over every element, you’re able to optimize it. So all through our lighting passes, we were looking for ways to make it imperfect. Moments where Ollie would walk through a shadow at the wrong place or walk through a little spill of light that looks like something we should have fixed but we didn’t. And they were also very good with occasionally miss-framing things or letting a puppet just run out of the frame and then having the camera catch up. So there was a lot that went into the animation to really give it a life and an identity to make it feel uncontrolled in a way,” he says.

Ollie has these two buttons for eyes that don’t move, and they managed to get so much emotion out of him. If you look in all their eyes, you’ll see the room reflected in their eyes.

Blending the animated characters into live action plates takes a lot of reference and an eye for detail, according to Jones. “First, we make sure we collect as much real-world data as possible. All of the lenses used on the show were mapped to make sure we could match any distortion applied to the shots in postproduction,” he says. “Then every location was digitized using a LIDAR scanner, so we knew we had a millimetre accurate representation of the set for tracking and creating accurate digital shadows. The on-set lighting was recorded using the Ricoh Theta 360-degree camera, capturing multiple exposures to enable the VFX team to recreate the colour and intensity of the lights exactly.

- C. Kim Miles csc, asc, mysc

“The main focus for the audience is the characters, so we spent a great deal of time creating the assets for each of them with various levels of distressing. We would have multiple layers of dirt, flyaway threads and scratches that all layered together to create a complex realistic feel,” Jones says. “During shot work, we designed the character placement to allow the characters to fall out of focus occasionally, creating the feel of the camera ‘finding’ them in shot. Also, in reality not everything in a scene is perfectly lit, so we created lighting solutions that allowed characters to walk through small hotspots of light or shadow. This gave a much more realistic feel to the shots, and also allowed for accidental imperfections to happen.”

Miles also wanted to avoid “the uncanny valley, in which an audience for whatever reason doesn’t connect with an animated cast,” something he learned a lot about when shooting Robert Zemeckis’ 2018 feature Welcome to Marwen (March 2019 issue). “It’s all in the eyes. If you’re making human beings, you need real eyes and real mouths and you need the muscles around the mouth to really convey emotion, so that’s something that we’re very conscious of as well, making the eyes as amazing and honest as possible. It’s unbelievable what they did,” Miles 37


says, referring to Drury and Jones. “It’s the little muscles around his mouth. It’s how his ears behave, how his shoulders move. Ollie has these two buttons for eyes that don’t move, and they managed to get so much emotion out of him. If you look in all their eyes, you’ll see the room reflected in their eyes. They did passes of the room so they could put reflections in that were accurate.” During location scouting, textures and floors were prioritized for interiors, “because we’re telling a story that exists down at floor level,” Miles explains. “So we were looking for things like floors and ceilings that were compelling. When you’re doing a show where your camera’s on the ground all the time, your equipment considerations are going to be a little bit different. Running 38

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

a Fisher dolly in low mode makes things 8 feet long. So now we’re thinking about locations that are a little bit bigger in terms of floor space so that we can get equipment in to service being down on the floor. We did a lot of work with remote heads and jib arms and that sort of thing so we could get down to the floor and also get up to a human perspective without having to change configurations. Gregory Venturi and Mark Stope were our designers on the show, and they were on board right away with just thinking about the different approaches that we would need to build the world down below waist level.” On his approach to the camera work, the DP says, “We wanted that to feel full scale and real. Camera-wise, I’ve done a lot of stuff on the ARRI Alexa


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family of cameras. I’m a big fan of the Alexa 65, but we ended up choosing the LF series so we had a full-size LF and mini LF. We didn’t shoot on a 35-size camera because we knew that we wanted to have a wider-angle perspective of the world without the distortion of 35 mm. We wanted the toys’ journey to feel epic and like this odyssey that the book talks about. So we knew that we were going to be on wider lenses most of the time and if we were to originate on a 35 mm sensor, we knew that wider lenses would tend to distort the image a little bit. And we didn’t want the show to become whimsical in that way. So we went with a larger-format sensor so that we could be a little bit longer for the same field of view and mitigate some of that bending and stuff that you get with the wider lenses. So we were often on 25s and 29s on the LF. The show was shot with ARRI Signature Primes, which are just incredible lenses in terms of their clarity, their resolving power. They’re absolutely fantastic edge to edge in terms of resolution and sharpness. The fall-off in focus is really pleasant, the bokeh is smooth and attractive. We ran on a Libra head pretty much the entire show so that we could be on the ground and do crazy moves without having to have Junichi Hosoi, who was our A cam operator, climb all over the dolly and do these crazy moves laid out on the floor. “We wanted the toys’ journey to be taken seriously and not to feel like a kids’ movie. We want it to be real and honest and to emphasize that when you’re this big the distance between where we are and where that river is down there is just colossal,” Miles continues. “And then in terms of the scale of the lighting, luckily the puppets are meant to be small in a huge world, so we were just shooting everything as per normal except we didn’t really have to adjust the scale of our lighting to accommodate the puppets. We just lit it as though they were normal size human beings.” One of the biggest lighting setups on the show involved Ollie and his toy friends wandering through an amusement park after hours. “They walk through the roller coaster and then they get to the breaker panel and Zozo runs over and flips on the lights,” Miles recalls. “We shot at Playland, which is an amusement park in Vancouver, and because it was January it was closed for the season, so we had the run of the place. There’s the one shot in which Ollie’s standing in the foreground looking around, and we wrap around him with the camera and see all the lights come on. We had probably 15 electricians scattered throughout the park at each different breaker panel. And we were actually turning on lights on all the rides in a sequential order as we wrapped the camera around. So that was a lot of fun, and that was something that we conceptualized early on. “Individually, I think everybody involved with the show fell so much in love with it that they gave 150 per cent, and you can see it on the screen,” Miles says. “The ILM folks in London were so conscious of lighting and they brought a lot to the table, and we just were able to speak on the same level and bounce ideas back and forth. And they were so in tune with how light behaves in a virtual space that it was so easy to have those conversations. So that was such a comfort in post knowing that these guys were 150 per cent behind the project.” 40

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022


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Sony a7 r3 HD 16:9 23.98fps Sony 24-70mm - 55mm - 85mm - 18mm Outside of Taraz, Kazakhstan 42°46'39.2"N 71°01'24.1"E On top of Goderdzi Pass, Georgia 41°37'55.5"N 42°30'37.0"E Minsk, Belarus 53° 53' 34.8324'' N 27° 34' 2.7984'' E Karashen, Armenia 39°32'22.9"N 46°25'07.1"E Kozhukhivka, Ukraine 50°15'21.0"N 30°13'58.1"E Niisitku, Estonia 57°59'18.4"N 27°26'31.0"E Samarkand, Uzbekistan 39°42'12.2"N 67°00'26.8"E Naryn-Acagat, Siberia, Russia 52°00'18.3"N 108°19'23.9"E


soviet bus stops

ART ON THE STREET

T

he documentary Soviet Bus Stops, co-produced by Ian Toews csc, follows BC-born photographer Christopher Herwig as he travels former Soviet Republics from Ukraine to Uzbekistan and all points in between in a unique, decades-long treasure hunt. During the Soviet period, while art and architecture were under strict centralized control, some artists found a way of expressing local and artistic ideas through architecturally distinctive bus stops, which were often overlooked by the government. Herwig came across his first of these distinctive pieces in 2002 and it set him off on a bus stop hunt, which resulted in a bestselling photo book that became the basis for the documentary. Shot over a period of seven years and directed by Kristoffer Hegnsvad, Soviet Bus Stops follows Herwig on several hunts, seeking answers about how they came to exist and tracking down some of the artists who created them. Toews, Herwig’s long-time friend and colleague, served not only as coproducer, but he also performed the colour grade on the film, which was shot by Nicholas Zajicek. (Zajicek passed away in 2021 but was a major part of the film’s edit with Herwig). One of Toews’ imperatives as a colourist was to ensure that the look was governed by the Herwig’s still photographs, which served as the master, as he tells Canadian Cinematographer.

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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022


Canadian Cinematographer: Could you talk about the significance of this project? Ian Toews csc: The Soviet bus stops were first chronicled as a phenomenon in Chris’ books. These books allowed people to see these collected works of minor architecture as more than just a phenomenon or regional peculiarity but in fact a movement — a notable identifiable section of history. Architectural history, art history, and human history. It’s quite a special thing that Chris has revealed. The film is ideally an extension of the books — just another way for people to come to understand and appreciate the bus stops. CC: When did the idea to turn Chris’ photography books into a film come about and what was your vision for the film in your early discussions? IT: Chris had been documenting his Soviet bloc photography adventures for over a decade. He had briefly asked me about helping out maybe five or 10 years earlier. Sometime in early 2021, he sent me a version that Kris, Nic, and he had put together. I gave them written feedback and we then started talking about helping take it through post to completion. Originally, I’d thought I’d offer a few notes on story and structure but mainly be focused on finishing, but we soon found that the story feedback was helpful and more was welcomed. So I sat with our friend and picture editor Jason Britski and we did several days of revisions and rethinking. Chris and Kris seemed to like those changes. The four of us did a lot of back and forth across four times zones for easily six months until we were locked. Then mix and on-line until we were finally completed in about March of this year.

CC: What was unique about producing this film given the subject matter? IT: I have produced, directed, and shot almost everything my name is on. This one came to me with all the photography done. Direction too. So my contributions here would be different than I was accustomed to. Kris and Chris were open to the redesign that Britski and I came up with. So that was more than I’d first expected. Everyone seemed pretty happy with the changes and so that was that. I’d say that the kind of operational motto was “if the film gets better, lets do it.” CC: Talk about the process of matching the film’s images with Chris’ still photography. IT: Chris’s bus stop images are most concerned with form and shape. How the structure presents itself in the landscape. For me I think of still photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher from the 1960s – ‘80s. The lighting conditions are not always as important as they might be in my own DP work, say, filming flower gardens on a summer morning. So I just had to keep true to the finished photographs and not pull attention away with punchy colour and high contrast. CC: The film was made over a period of seven years. What were some of the biggest hurdles and challenges you faced as a producer? IT: The challenges were related to getting things decided upon and done across four time zones. That was time consuming, and being completely 45


frank, frustrated all of us at times. Kris in Copenhagen might want to change six things in the timeline by small amounts, so those changes were executed by Jason in Regina. The changes would get made and the upload would go up, say, 12 hours later. However, Chris in Colombo, Sri Lanka, would not like change number four, and me in Victoria wouldn’t like change number six. You can see where this goes. But in the end, we are all grateful to each other for the collective effort and super happy with the film.

also had some adventures in Mexico, always shooting photos. I learned so much about image making from him. We built a friendship around photography and adventure that brought us here. The most important lessons I learned from Chris trace back to the idea of adventuring and having a camera along for that adventure. Today, 25-plus years since we met, I make many of my docs from that same spirit, going into remote or beautiful natural areas.

CC: You’ve had a decades-long friendship with Chris and have travelled extensively with him, watching him shoot. How has his work influenced you over the years?

CC: Can you describe one of your favourite anecdotes from your travels with Chris?

IT: When we met, I was about halfway through my film degree and was keenly interested in still photography. Chris had been a shutterbug his whole childhood. He had beautiful little Leica range finder, a 4x5 view cam and other amazing things. He travelled with darkroom tanks and chemistry. He and I hiked mountains in the Yukon and Alaska for two summers and 46

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

IT: Chris and I are probably the only people to have paddled upstream through Miles Canyon (Yukon River). We had forgotten our keys for the car that we’d left at the outlet of the canyon — and realized this only after going through. We didn’t paddle as much as claw our way along the canyon wall with our hands to pull the canoe forward. Absurd but entirely fun and worth every minute.


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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | SEPTEMBER 2022


csc member spotlight

KRISTIN FIELDHOUSE

I used to live right next door to an old dusty art house cinema where I would sneak away to watch films. I was mesmerized by the works of Lynne Ramsay, Almodóvar, Cuarón, Wenders, Kurosawa, Bergman and Reichardt. Growing up in London, I loved visiting photography and art galleries, which inspired me greatly from the works of Dorothea Lange and Nan Goldin to Caravaggio and O’Keeffe. More recently, I’ve enjoyed how James Turrell plays with light in immersive spaces, not restricted by canvas or screen. How did you get started in the business? Via a long route that took me overseas as an aid worker and then finding my way back to photography and the desire to be working creatively with others. An old friend suggested I shadow him on his first feature,

and I immediately knew that I wanted to play in this sandbox of moving imagery and storytelling. I worked my way up through camera, attended the AFI and committed myself to shooting and working with as many different directors and projects as possible. Who have been your mentors or teachers? My photography teacher in high school, Dan Robinson, who taught me about composition, light, working with film, developing prints in the darkroom, and reflecting on other artists’ work for inspiration. Bill Dill asc, shared his wisdom and film knowledge at the AFI in these remarkable classes where he would critique our films, and no one could speak. He also supported me through the ups and downs of navigating the industry early in my career. My agent Dora Sesler has been by my side from the very beginning, believing in me and pushing me forwards, helping me to evolve and grow through kindness and understanding. Most of all, I’ve learned so much from my fellow peers and technicians on set, whose

illustration by Jo Enaje

What films or other works of art have made the biggest impression on you?

csc

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work, knowledge and dedication to the craft have driven me to become a more well-rounded, evolved and competent cinematographer. What cinematographers inspire you? Bradford Young asc; Sven Nykvist asc; Natasha Braier; Conrad Hall asc; Maryse Alberti, Sir Roger Deakins asc, bsc, cbe; Gordon Willis asc; Hoyte van Hoytema asc, fsf, nsc; Darius Khondji asc, afc; Greig Fraser asc, acs; Christopher Doyle hksc, and so many more. Name some of your professional highlights. I’m grateful for the rich tapestry we get from filming on location and in different countries. I particularly enjoyed working with Francine Zuckerman and travelling to Israel with her to film with a small crew and meeting some incredible women who shared their stories with us. There’s an intimacy with that, a sharing of the moment and knowing one another in a meaningful way beyond the confines and separateness of a traditional set. What is one of your most memorable moments on set? Most recently filming a scene in a warehouse with just two actors, one trailer, one source well placed and just a few hours to do it. It involved committing to a bold look, preparing, and rigging in advance and then being fluid to the actors’ movements and performances on the day. I remember sitting by the monitor and feeling so moved and grateful for the experience of it and how beautifully it all came together. What do you like best about what you do? The process of building the moving image with the many elements required and their relationship to one another, and then how we as the crew bounce off one another combining and sharing our tastes and aesthetics, our personalities and vision. What do you like least about what you do? The hours and the stress. The health, wellbeing and safety of our crew should be taken much more seriously and brought up to the standards of other industries. We need to carefully examine our methods and make some important changes in the culture and priorities of the film industry. What do you think has been the greatest invention related to your craft? The diversity and quality of LED lighting fixtures that give us so much to play with, superior control and immediate versatility to adjust with a fastpaced shooting schedule. How can others follow your work? I’m on Instagram as my name and my website too – kristinfieldhouse.com.

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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022


Previous page top to bottom: 1. RUN (TV series, HBO) 2. "Freedom" music video 3. Pretty Hard Cases (TV series, CBC/Netflix) 4. Sugar Daddy (feature film) This page clockwise from top left: 5. RUN

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

"Alaska" (music video) Sugar Daddy Shadowtown (feature film) Pretty Hard Cases "Freedom" Sugar Daddy Young Americans (short film)

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on set gallery

Associate Member Lester Millado on set of Nike commercial “See Her Shine” with dolly grip Rohan Painter. Courtesy of Lester Millado

Associate member Tony Edgar and actor Simu Liu on top of the CN Tower filming for Destination Toronto with the RED Komodo and Kowa Anamorphic. @jeffisy

DP Christina Ienna (associate member) with crew at 2D House shooting a project for Crown Royal in partnership with NFL. Alexandra Petruck

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DP Ahmad Al Morsy csc on set of Kira & El Gen in Luxor, Egypt, with director Marwan Hamed and camera crew. Khaled Zohny


CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF ILLUMINATION!

Associate member Jack Yan Chen with key grip Peter Fraser on the east coast shooting for Nova Scotia Tourism. Dean Casavechia

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DP Ahmad Al Morsy csc on set of Kira & El Gen in Luxor, Egypt, with director Marwan Hamed and camera crew. Khaled Zohny

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DP Gordon Gair (associate member) in Old Perlican, Newfoundland, aboard the Atlantic Storm cod fishing boat in the North Atlantic for an upcoming Discovery Canada Series. Courtesy of Gordon Gair

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canadian society of cinematographers

The CSC

INTERNSHIP INITIATIVE

csc youtube channel

Front row (left to right): Jordan Wanakamik, Zoe Wojtas, Ramona (Momo) Adorjany, Shahed Khaito, Liya Teymouri, Micah Chu and Kelvin Mendie. Top Row (left to right): Patty Guyader, Susan Saranchuk, Beth Nobes, Roman Neubacher, Zoe Dirse and Lucy Kayumov. Gail Picco

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I

n 2020, Canada’s film and television production industry generated over $9 billion in production volume, contributed $12.2 billion to the GDP and created approximately 244,500 jobs (CMPA). Yet, according to a 2021 Being Seen report from the Black Screen Office, minorities remain severely underrepresented. The report cites the 2016 Canadian census, which found that 22 per cent of the Canadian population are visible minorities while, at the time, only five shows commissioned by a major network were led by BIPOC creatives.

address inequity by supporting marginalized communities – was born.

With the production industry experiencing unprecedented explosive growth, we have the potential to create lasting social change. Thus, the CSC’s Future is Calling – a $3.75-million campaign, undertaken to

At the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, we are committed to improving access to opportunity in the film and television industry. We believe that skills training and education is just as important as hiring.

CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

“It is widely acknowledged across the film and television industry that the racial, economic and gender injustice existing in society also serves to act as a barrier to accessing jobs in the industry,” CSC CEO Susan Saranchuk says. “And our board of directors has made a priority of mitigating the obstacles Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, LGBTQ-plus and women are facing.”


Gail Picco Steve Wilkie

Lucy Kayumov Top: Guy Godfree csc talks with interns at the orientation. Bottom left: Intern Momo Adorjany at Sim. Bottom Right: Intern Liya Teymouri on the set of The Accused.

Those already working within the industry, as well as those outside of it, may not be fully aware of the various career opportunities that exist. To bridge this gap, in addition to the CSC Field of View Mentorship Program, the internship initiative is a new program that focuses on fostering greater diversity while providing support and training to young talent between the ages of 19 and 25, interested in the entertainment industry. We launched the inaugural CSC Internship program in September, and our first cohort of eight interns have now completed their placements. Over the course of 12 weeks, the talented group of young people had the opportunity to work at rental houses, postproduction facilities and on local Toronto-based productions. With the goal of providing an opportunity to understand and experience the career paths available in our industry, while working alongside our hosts, the interns were given an opportunity to learn about cameras, lenses, how to prep packages, learn about the post

workflow, colour grading and VFX, as well as an opportunity to shadow professional camera crews on union productions. Our selection committee comprised of associate members Ashley Iris Gill and Vinit Borrison, as well as CSC VP, Eastern Canada Penny Watier; CSC Executive Assistant Patty Guyader; and Communications & Education Manager Lucy Kayumov, who spent countless hours going over the interview and application questions, mulling over more than 120 applications, and interviewing candidates, before selecting our final eight. We wanted to structure the program in a way that addressed some of the barriers many of our members faced and those breaking into the industry continue to face, with a focus on equity and inclusion. Factors such as background and job history, interest in media/entertainment, any personal challenges they’ve faced in pursuing their goals, artistic or otherwise, were all commonalties we looked for. 55


“As someone who has done numerous internships in the past, I’m extremely grateful to be working behind the scenes of this initiative so that it fills the gaps that past programs like this seemed to miss,” associate member Ashley Iris Gill says. “Cinematography is truly a challenging but rewarding career that takes a lot of trial and error to find your voice and expand your visual language. I know what it is like to be disappointed by the impact of an internship meant to push you forward. This one is different. “ As part of our recruitment drive for prospective candidates, we also conducted outreach to community organizations such as POV, Success Beyond Limits, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, Regent Park Film Festival, and ImagineNATIVE.

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The feedback we’ve received from our interns thus far has been nothing short of what we intended to see when launching this program. For many, this program has solidified their motivation to work in the film and television industry and has given them the opportunity to make contacts and receive training they otherwise would not have access to. Pulling together what they’ve learned from the rental houses and post facilities, a memorable component for all has been the opportunity to be on set. The CSC is so grateful for the collaborative, enthusiastic and supportive partnership with IATSE Local 667, without which this program would not have been what it was. “The participating IATSE Local 667 camera crews have genuinely enjoyed hosting the CSC interns during their initial four-week placements within participating productions. We have heard a lot of encouraging feedback so far,” IATSE 667 Training Coordinator Beth Nobes states. “Having an enthusiastic intern on board who observes and ask questions has brought a positive energy to our camera teams. Our 667 camera trainees have enjoyed passing on their own camera knowledge and practicing leadership skills in the process of delegating tasks to the intern. Our crews are very supportive in helping to open doors for young individuals who are keen to pursue a career in the film industry. 667 is honoured to be in collaboration with the CSC on this new internship initiative.” Of course, this program would not be possible without the generous time and commitment of our industry partners, as well as the Ontario provincial government. Thank you to our industry partners for their support in making this program a reality and to IATSE Local 667, William F. White International., Sim, Grande Camera, 2D House, Panavision, Keslow Camera, Picture Shop, The Vanity VFX, PurpleDOG Post Production, Studio Feather and Kookaburra Colour. As part of its Skills Development Training program, Ontario made a grant of $188,050, providing the CSC with the funding to ensure the interns are paid, insured and have everything they need to complete their placements. Our second cohort starts January 9, 2023, with seven new interns. We are also working to receive similar funding in British Columbia in 2023, with the hope of creating a national springboard for diverse young talent and their future careers within our growing industry.

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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER | DECEMBER 2022

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