Canadian Cinematographer January 2022

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VOL. 14 NO. 1


canadian society of cinematographers













with Claudine Sauvé csc, Lina Roessler, Marie-Julie Besse and Vickie-Lynn Roy

NUISANCE BEAR with Gabriela Osio Vanden and Jack Weisman

Y: THE L AST MAN with Catherine Lutes csc 1





With Gabriela Osio Vanden and Jack Weisman (associate members)

With Catherine Lutes csc

By Fanen Chiahemen

table of contents

JAN 2022 ISSUE VOL. 14 NO. 1 Katie de Meulles



By Trevor Hogg, Special to Canadian Cinematographer


With Claudine Sauvé csc, Lina Roessler, Marie-Julie Besse and Vickie-Lynn Roy

National Geographic/Jack Hextall







With Ian Seabrook csc

With Vinit Borrison (associate member)

By Ian Harvey

By John Lyden


CSC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Paul Sarossy csc, bsc, asc





Cover: Sir Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza in Best Sellers

bilingual article english and french



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.

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CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER JANUARY 2022 VOL. 14, NO. 1 EDITORIAL BOARD FANEN CHIAHEMEN, Editor-in-Chief, CLAUDINE SAUVÉ CSC, Art Director JO ENAJE, Design and illustration SIMON EVERS, Graphic Designer ROBYN BACON, Photo Editor PATTY GUYADER, Copy Editor GEORGE WILLIS CSC, SASC SUSAN SARANCHUK, C SC BOA R D O F D I R E CTO RS Jeremy Benning csc Zoe Dirse csc Guy Godfree csc Rion Gonzales Christina Ienna Alex Sandahl CPA Claudine Sauvé csc George Willis csc, sasc Martin Wojtunik

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Dancing with Bears

by Fanen Chiah emen


Sony C A N A FX9 D I A N C I NLenses E M A T O G R A P:H E R | JCanon A N U A R Y 2 0L2 2







nuisance bear


n 2015, while on a student film shoot in Churchill, Manitoba, associate members Jack Weisman and Gabriela Osio Vanden witnessed firsthand the carnival of the polar bear migration that occurs every October – throngs of tourists armed with cameras jostling for a perfect shot of the symbolic creatures, as conservation officers attempt to create a safe buffer between humans and bears. The town of Churchill, normally home to around 900 residents, draws some 10,000 people during what is known as bear season. It was an experience that never left the Toronto-based filmmakers. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Weisman says. “I was shocked by this circus that popped up around the polar bears and their migration, and Gabriela and I wondered what is the bear experiencing through all this? Everyone is so focused on making these animals into majestic beasts in the wild, but no one was showing them for what the daily reality is, at least when they interact with the town.”

illustration by Jo Enaje

Weisman and Osio Vanden, who have been collaborating on films as cinematographers for six years, were so captivated by what they had seen that they returned to Churchill over the next four migrations seasons, cultivating relationships with locals and learning more about the seasonal spectacle. “We were filming the whole time. We always brought cameras with us,” Weisman says. On their fifth trip to Churchill, in October 2020, they brought with them another tool that would facilitate the filmmaking opportunity they were looking for.


“Jack and I always used to obsess over the Cineflex heads and those kinds of rigs that are used on things like BBC’s The Hunt,” Osio Vanden says. “That was to us an example of a wildlife show that is beautifully shot. So we had to figure out how to do a version of that that’s affordable for us. We talked to a lot of local DPs, and the lightbulb for us was mounting the camera on the car.” With the help of fellow cinematographer Sam Holling and key grip Jon Glendon, the filmmakers constructed a rig that enabled them to mount a camera and telephoto lens to the front of a vehicle while controlling the camera from the inside. By keeping the camera in the same spot, eye-level with the bear, they discovered they could create a unique point of view. They were able to capture some 40 hours of footage, which served as raw material for their 14-minute short Nuisance Bear, a revealing snapshot of a day in the life of a migrating polar bear. With interviews, narration or commentary conspicuously absent in the film, the camera simply tracks the bear – actually a composite of three or four bears – as it wanders through town, crossing streets, stopping at dumpsters and backyards, and evading conservation officers, while onlookers relentlessly snap photos. From the sky, a helicopter follows with flash bangs meant to deter the bears from raiding the town’s food supplies. The film, which had its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, raises questions about eco-tourism, climate change and the human impact on endangered wildlife species.

arts background is always a huge part of my operating for sure, but this was really interesting because it was a symbiotic coming together of all of us,” she says. “We had a third person with us, Sam Holling, and he and I were taking turns framing and pulling focus, and Jack was driving the car. Jack was really great at just responding to what was happening because we don’t get a second shot with what the bear is doing, we just had to respond. There were a lot of points where we were all holding our breath and just responding. It became very much like in sports where you perform better when you stop thinking and you just react and it’s very physical.” For Weisman it also felt like a dance. “There was a choreography in the sense that we would eventually try to figure out the patterns that the bear would take,” he says. “While you only get one moment, the route they take is recurring, there’s a pattern there. So we were at least thinking of the movement of the bear and the patterns of its movement and choreographing ourselves to be in sync with it. I think being led is harder than leading because you have to respond, and you don’t know what the other person’s going to do. You just have to be ready.”

Nuisance Bear recalls such documentaries as Edward Burtynsky’s Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark – both co-produced by Nicholas de Pencier csc – “vignette portraitures where the audience is not being spoon-fed information, they’re being enveloped by these landscapes or these environments, and it’s kind of on the viewer to decide how they feel about it,” Weisman offers. “We felt like there’s such a rich opportunity to tell stories from other perspectives that aren’t human. We talk so much as a species; we don’t listen enough.

“We felt like there’s such a rich opportunity to tell stories from other perspectives that aren’t human. We talk so much as a species; we don’t listen enough.” – Jack Weisman

"Actually, we got a lot of help from Nick de Pencier csc, and associate members Marty Wojtunik and Mike Reed. They were so incredibly generous with their time, answering questions and even lending us gear to take up for six weeks. I think without their help, we really would have struggled to figure out what the best configuration was. So we mounted the camera to the front of the car, and we had to weld a trailer hitch to the front, so that was our main mounting point, and then we had suction cups and other stuff like that too.” The camera was a Sony FX9, outfitted with Canon L Series lenses. “There was a bit of post stabilization, but that combination worked out pretty good,” Weisman says. “The FX9 has some limitations for sure, but it’s incredibly good in low light, so all the Halloween scenes or all the nighttime stuff, I don’t know if we would have been able to film it with another camera.” Osio Vanden, a trained dancer and artist, found she could draw on instincts from her former vocation when operating the rig. “I definitely think my visual



By the same token, they had to be ready to get out of harm’s way at a moment’s notice. A memorable scene in the film depicts Halloween night in Churchill when children, decked out in costumes, need a police escort to go trick-or-treating to protect them from lurking bears. Without police protection of their own, Weisman and Osio Vanden had to keep their wits about them at all times. “Everything was done from within the vehicle, except changing the batteries and media, which had to be done outside the car,” Weisman explains. “There were a couple of times where we’d be following a bear – and bears do a lot of sitting – and then our batteries die and we’ve got to change the battery, so we get out of the car really slowly, the bear looks up at us and we move a little bit closer. So changing the battery a couple times was actually pretty scary.”

“But there’s three of us, so one person’s changing batteries, one person is looking at the bear to watch what they’re doing, and the other person is looking around in case there are other bears,” Osio Vanden adds. “You keep the motor on, the doors are open, and you have a firearm as well. I think it’s important to keep in mind that the bears at this point are not surprised by us being around. I think they’re more accustomed to humans. And bear maulings don’t really happen that often. It’s still dangerous of course, you never know what animals are going to do, but that usually happens if both parties are surprised.” Weisman suggests that bears have been unfairly portrayed in the media. “I think there’s a bit of a mischaracterization of bears as being monsters, and from our experience working with them, they’re really quite passive and there’s a big range of personalities,” he says. “Some of them are aggressive, others are quite shy and curious. You just get more and more used to the bears, and you get to know how to read the bears’ behaviour.”




The filmmakers nevertheless understood that in order to effectively observe the bears, they had to give the animals plenty of space. “We tried to maintain a respectful distance. I think because we had a long lens and we were in the car, and also the tourists were part of the film, we didn’t really feel the need to get as close, but sometimes we were probably 10 feet from the bears when they were resting,” Osio Vanden says. “There are a lot of little moments we caught that just felt really magical. The big one for me is when we’re tracking the two conservation officers along the shore, and we realized that a little Arctic hare had jumped into the foreground, so we pulled focus to that.” One of the biggest takeaways from the shoot for Weisman and Osio Vanden was coming to understand how highly intelligent polar bears are. “Something that one of our guides was telling us is that some bears can recognize the sound of the conservation trucks versus the tourists’ vehicles,” Weisman says. “They can differentiate the sound of different motors, and they also know the tourists aren’t a threat and the conservation officers have a different motive. He’s witnessed bears hearing the sound of a Ford F-150 engine behind a little hill or something, and the bear will flatten itself out of sight until the conservation truck leaves the area. Even in the film where the bear bangs on the door of the dump, the way that it reacts I think shows it’s aware it’s not supposed to be there and it’s on edge, it’s trespassing. I just thought that shows a really deep sense of self-awareness too.” Aside from keeping themselves safe, another priority for the filmmakers was to avoid disrupting the bears’ movements. “I’m sure at some point we probably got in the way,” Weisman admits. “It’s kind of hard not to, but most of the time we were just following. Some bears are much more comfortable with humans and vehicles. It’s important to recognize how each bear is responding to our behaviour. If it’s scared, then we need to back off.” Osio Vanden adds that they had to learn the proper way to approach bears. “You never go towards the bear head on. They don’t like that, that’s aggressive, whether it’s a vehicle or a person,” she explains. “You approach at an angle. They’ll let you kind of come along if you’re along their side. So that was something we were aware of as well. I think we always kept a really healthy distance.”

“I definitely think my visual arts background is always a huge part of my operating for sure, but this was really interesting because it was a symbiotic coming together of all of us. There were a lot of points where we were all holding our breath and not breathing and just responding. It became very much like in sports where you perform better when you stop thinking and you just react and it’s very physical.” – Gabriela Osio Vanden

As the weather grew colder, the car served as a shield from the cold as well as the bears, and the filmmakers ended up wrapping plastic bags around the camera for insulation. “It started out with temperatures about 0 and then the coldest it got towards the end was negative 30 at night with windchill, so we didn’t really shoot at night that often,” Weisman says. “We did have a couple of issues like our car battery froze so we had to replace that, but the camera never shut down, never stopped recording. There were no media or battery issues, the battery lasted about an hour and half sometimes, and the trash bags actually were so great because the wind is so strong they just create a barrier for the wind but the camera inside the trash bag was actually reasonably warm. We got really lucky in terms of temperatures not affecting the camera too much.”


At one point, Osio Vanden tried to start the car only to discover that the vehicle’s brake lines had frozen. The filmmakers also had a close call with Weisman at the wheel when the car fell three inches through the ice. “We were going 20 or 30 km per hour, so it was a pretty big impact and the whole gimbal flipped upside down and we broke our Ronin 2,” Weisman says. “That was on day five. That was probably the biggest equipment failure, and we had to have a Movi Pro shipped in from 2D House. They got it to us in 36 hours, which is really crazy for how remote we were.” For Weisman and Osio Vanden the entire experience opened up new vistas for nature shooting. “I think we’re underestimating the intelligence of the audience with wildlife films for the sake of commercialization,” Weisman observes. “I hope this film shows that people are really perceptive, and they love to be perceptive and so giving that opportunity in a film is really rewarding for audiences. We wanted to take more risks

in terms of wildlife filmmaking and create a story that doesn’t have an intrusive narrator or anthropomorphize the animals so much and lets the images speak for themselves.” Upon reflection, the director concedes that in some ways, nature films underestimate the intelligence of animals too. “We’re not spending enough time observing them and letting them share who they are and how complex they are,” he says. Despite the film’s overwhelmingly positive reception – including an Honourable Mention for Best Canadian Short Film at TIFF and an international premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam – the filmmakers say Nuisance Bear is just the tip of the iceberg, and they hope to leverage its success to fund a feature length version. “There’s so much more to unpack,” Weisman maintains. “We think it’s a really important story, we just want to be really respectful and take our time.”

Nuisance Bear crew at sunset in Churchill, MB. (left: Sam Holling, middle: Gabriela Osio Vanden, right: Jack Weisman)



Jack Weisman


C A N A D I A N C I N E M A T O G R A P H E R | J A N U A R Y 2 0Arri 22










y: the last man

GOING VIRAL By Tr evor H ogg,

Special to canadian cinematographer


hat would happen if a virus decimated all mammals with a Y chromosome, leaving the world to be run by women? This was the central question explored by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra from 2002 to 2008 in the post-apocalyptic science fiction comic book series Y: The Last Man. Flashforward to 2015 and FX announces the development of a television series, but it would not be until 2019 when actress and playwright Eliza Clark (Animal Kingdom) took over the role as showrunner that the adaptation finally became a reality. In September 2021, FX on Hulu launched 10 episodes of the series, half of which were shot by Catherine Lutes csc (Disappearance at Clifton Hill).






Making the series in the time of coronavirus turned out to be a case of life imitating art. In March 2020, Lutes was a week into prep with Kira Kelly ASC (Connecting) – who looked after the pilot, as well as Episodes 103 and 105 – when the pandemic hit. “We stayed in touch and started a movie club with the other heads of department,” Lutes recalls. “Usually, it was somewhat related to the show, like Children of Men, Zero Dark Thirty, Close Encounters of a Third Kind, and I Think We’re Alone Now. We got to know each other without knowing what was going to happen. Then we came back in September 2020, and I didn’t finish shooting the finale until July 2021.” With regards to the dynamic created by having a female-dominant production, Lutes notes, “You can have good and bad people despite gender. But on this show when so many of the characters were women, our female perspectives made the show stronger. There was a lot of discussion about if an event like this happened how people might be forced to look at their identity. What is innate, learned or imposed? Who would continue to wear makeup or present themselves in a stereotypical feminine way? It’s not about the actors looking beautiful, overly lit, and glamorous. They’re living in this post-apocalyptic world, and we want that to feel real.”


You can have good and bad people despite gender. But on this show when so many of the characters were women, our female perspectives made the show stronger. There was a lot of discussion about if an event like this happened how people might be forced to look at their identity. What is innate, learned or imposed? Who would continue to wear makeup or present themselves in a stereotypical feminine way?” – Catherine Lutes csc

While Lutes and Kelly shot the bulk of the episodes, Claudine Sauvé csc (The Wall) stepped in for Episodes 107 and 109. “It’s exhausting to do the entire show, and the prep time is minimal,” Lutes notes. “Doing every other episode means that you get to spend proper time with the directors prepping, which was key for the show. Because it was still a show figuring out its footing and we rarely returned to locations especially with my episodes, which tended to not be in the political storyline in the Pentagon. There was a lot of prep time spent finding those locations. There were constant curveballs thrown at us. We came back in January 2021 to do Episode 102, which had huge crowd scenes and the Ontario government had regulated that there could only be 30 actors onset. A camp of people was supposed to be outside the Pentagon. The challenge of the show was being with the characters but at the same time you need to show a sense of the world. It was a combination of filling the space with tents and vehicles, and using visual effects to extend that. In that particular case, we did extensive previs with Mavericks VFX. We all got on Zoom and played the video game version. Mavericks VFX had scanned our set. I could see how much greenscreen we were going to need and how many people had to be tiled in certain places. It opened the brain as to how you can use some of that technology going forward.”

& Magic did Amp and they had done the monkey in Aladdin. Stephen said the camera shouldn’t do things that a monkey wouldn’t do. If the camera is a little bit stilted or doesn’t move smoothly that’s great because that’s what would happen if you were trying to follow an actual monkey running or moving.”

A constant companion for Yorick Brown (Ben Schnetzer), the sole surviving man, is his pet primate Ampersand. “When I was first interviewed for the show and came onboard the monkey was going to be real,” Lutes reveals. “FX is now part of Disney, which has a no primates rule so Amp changed to being CG. Stephen Pugh and Jesse Kawzenuk were our amazing visual effects supervisors. I’m not somebody who comes from a visual effects background and they made it so easy for me. I was constantly laughing at the puppet Amp that we had; it helped with the way that the light was falling and that’s a good reference as well for visual effects. The actors were good with the puppet and more often than not, having to imagine that the monkey was there. I had so many conversations with Stephen because I’m the visual effects skeptic. He had great tips for us as well. Industrial Light

Over the course of Y: The Last Man, Lutes collaborated with directors Destiny Ekaragha, Louise Friedberg, Daisy von Scherler Mayer, and Karena Evans. “The hardest thing about TV is just as you get the hang of one person, you’re switching to someone else,” Lutes says. “Part of my role is to keep a consistency in the look and tone. It’s talking with those directors and respecting what they want to do but also guiding them into the world that we’ve been creating so far. Some of the directors would be in quarantine when they arrived so we would be doing Zoom meetings for half a day. With every director we shot listed the entire episode and sometimes would storyboard for more elaborate sequences. The location department had done a lot of scans of the locations so we could sit on a computer together and walk through the spaces. I had pre-scouted that with production designer Alexandra


Schaller so I could say, ‘This works like that over here.’ We would usually have days that were spent on location shot listing. Something that was great which I haven’t experienced much on other shows were rehearsals. When rehearsing with the actors we would try to do it in the locations. You can see what the actors are doing and make changes, which saved us huge amounts of time on the shoot days.”

Five weeks was spent on preproduction before the pilot was shot, with principal photography generally lasting 11 days for each episode. “There wasn’t much second unit mostly because of COVID-19,” Lutes remarks. “It was so busy in Toronto that finding a crew would have been next to impossible. At certain times we were unable to get Technocranes so we had to come up with creative solutions for equipment shortages.” 17

The hardest thing about TV is just as you get the hang of one person, you’re switching to someone else. Part of my role is to keep a consistency in the look and tone. It’s talking with those directors and respecting what they want to do but also guiding them into the world that we’ve been creating so far.” – Catherine Lutes csc

The 2:1 HD footage was captured primarily with two ARRI ALEXA LF cameras with an additional one mounted on a Steadicam. “If the scene did not require much coverage, then we went with one camera. For some motorcycle stuff we did use drones as well for the big wide shot above the street,” Lutes says. The cameras were paired with Panavision Anamorphic lenses, in particular the E and G Series. “The lenses that we used were old and had quirks which sometimes would be considered a flaw. Kira and I were like, ‘How do we embrace that part of the aesthetic?’ We had a Macro Auto Panatar 55 mm, which was our favourite lens. We tried to do our coverage with wider lenses closer to people as opposed to relying on long lenses.”



The lack of electricity in Y: The Last Man meant having to be creative with lighting, making flashlights, lanterns and fire important light sources. “It takes a lot of light to create darkness,” according to Sauvé. “In Marrisville, Yorick goes to this night party where the women there have found a way to have electricity. But in an effort to save it, they turn the power off at 9 p.m. in the scene. Turning off the lights of an entire little town at night on cue and keeping only the effects of moonlight and fire was an interesting challenge. We had six moons in the sky in this town! The moonlight was a mix of 18K HMIs on cranes and SkyPanels above the different areas, streets and fields. Lots of string lights, Astera tubes and NYX bulbs were

rigged on the porches of the houses around our shooting area where we also hid some bounced T12s in between houses. All of those tungsten lights were controlled by two board operators, one on each side of the main street, and they went off right on cue.” “In the studio, our basis would be LEDs, and we would create large soft boxes filled with SkyPanels and Moss LEDs,” Lutes says. “Sometimes we would add harder lights for direct sources through windows. I have been a fan since doing Anne with an E of the MoleBeam, which are like old tungsten lights that are crazy punchy; they were used for the First Lady’s and President’s bedrooms.”

“For the invasion of the Pentagon, we had to create a different mood there because there were suddenly bombs going off, no electricity anymore, smoke everywhere, so we built security lights with the art department and put Astera AX3 in them and based the general lighting on them. And with the help of costumes and props, we strapped flashlights on some of our cast to their heads, wrists, arms and necks,” Sauvé adds. “Sometimes lens flares were a little crazy. I was constantly adjusting the angle of the lights on the actresses in order to manage them. But in the end, with the help of our VFX team, these scenes are all about fear steeped in darkness, flares, smoke, fire, controlled chaos.”




“Kira and I built a LUT with colourist Dave Hussey at Company 3,” Lutes states. “We tried not to go too much into an overly drab or colourless apocalypse look. Alexandra Schaller and costume designer Olga Mill made strong colour choices as well. The trickiest location was the PriceMax where at first, I said, ‘There are too many colours!’ Bigger than anything was choosing colours that were not in a scene as opposed to overly controlling it to be a certain colour." Weapons were utilized on Y: The Last Man, a process that Lutes reflected upon following the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (The Mad Hatter) while filming the Western Rust. “When I was younger, I was only putting myself at risk but now I am a manager of a lot of people. We used a lot of quarter loads and guns on this show, and now I’m like, ‘Is that necessary?’ It would always be discussed like how far away people are in the distance, when we would use it, and when it would be visual effects. Looking back, would I ever push for it again? I don’t know. It sounds like a nightmare on the set of Rust and that a lot of red flags were ignored. Our set had very strict protocols as well as gun handling rehearsals and extremely professional wranglers and stunt people.”

Key crew members were camera operators Michael Heathcote and Jeremy Lyall, along with key grip Paul Howden and gaffer Tom Starnes. “The biggest challenge was visually creating a world that has some humour while being grounded in reality and finding ways to embrace the graphic novel,” Lutes observes. “One of the favourite things that we did in Episode 102 was the flooded subway set, which took up an entire stage and filled with four feet of water. We shot the overcast exterior part and then we had to go in there. The Technocrane was put through the wall to be able to go over the top of the water. It’s nice when you have all of those departments collaborating together. The feat of building a set that can be filled with water is beyond my skill level! It was cool seeing it all happen.” Unlike other post-apocalyptic series, there are no zombies to be found in Y: The Last Man. “We wanted to create moments where you felt the presence of the deceased in a way that isn’t gruesome,” Lutes nots. “It’s about people having lost people. There were macro shots showing details within a space to help you understand the emotional state of the character, whether it’s an item of a family member who is gone or the thing that has nearly run out. Those little details help to reveal character.”


In Conv ersat ion:












in conversation: best sellers :




with Claudine Sauvé csc, Lina Roessler, Marie-Julie Besse and Vickie-Lynn Roy








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 g a s to n b e r n i e r










The search for this dream team became the equivalent of a speed dating show, where I sat in a café drinking copious amounts of coffee while meeting a rotating door of Montreal’s finest who were kind enough to meet with me. When cinematographer Claudine Sauvé CSC walked in, I was already buzzing from too much caffeine, but the energy she brought with her was an added jolt to my system. Her arms full of photography books, a warm smile stretched across her face, she sat down in front of me, and we immediately started talking about the film in a way that I had literally only dreamed about. It was as though my director’s lookbook and the books in her arms were from the same publisher. Underneath it all, they shared the deep emotion that I knew was to be the heart of the story. It was something Claudine saw too. And just like that, we were working together. We sat there, weaving the film into reality.

La quête de cette équipe de rêve devint l’équivalent d’une séance de speed-dating où, assise dans un café, j’en buvais une grande quantité pendant que je rencontrais, un à un, de talentueux artisans du milieu cinématographique montréalais. Lorsque Claudine Sauvé CSC est arrivée, mon esprit bourdonnait dû à la trop forte dose de caféine, mais l’énergie qu’elle dégageait m’a donné une décharge supplémentaire. Avec un sourire chaleureux et les bras chargés de livres de photographie, elle s’est assise en face de moi et nous avons tout de suite commencé à parler du film exactement comme j’en avais rêvé. C’était comme si mon lookbook et les livres qu’elle avait apportés venaient du même éditeur. Tous ces livres partageaient une émotion profonde qui au fond, serait le cœur de notre histoire. C’était aussi la vision de Claudine et tout bonnement, nous nous sommes mises à travailler, à tisser le film et lui donner vie.

This all sounds like a fairy tale, but what really made it possible was that Claudine brought with her a group of hard-working, talented, likeminded artists, who worked collaboratively and creatively with us to find the right pieces to fit the puzzle. We had the chance to regroup and chat with two of them, colourist Vickie-Lynn Roy and 1st assistant camera Marie-Julie Besse.

Tout ceci ressemble à un conte de fées, mais est devenu réalité lorsque Claudine a amené avec elle une équipe tout aussi talentueuse travaillant sans relâche et partageant cette même vision. Ensemble, nous avons trouvé toutes les pièces pour compléter notre puzzle. Nous avons eu la chance de nous regrouper et de discuter du film avec la coloriste, VickieLynn Roy et la première assistante à la caméra, Marie-Julie Besse.

– Lina Roessler, director

– Lina Roessler, réalisatrice

est Sellers, starring Sir Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza, was to be my first feature film and directorial debut. Needless to say, I was under pressure to deliver. I needed a crew who had expertise, talent and creativity, but most importantly, a crew who would be willing to collaborate, share and lift my ideas from the realm of imagination and help me breathe them into reality.

est Sellers qui met en vedette Sir Michael Caine et Aubrey Plaza devait être mon premier long métrage comme réalisatrice. Inutile de dire que j’étais sous pression. J’avais besoin d’une équipe compétente, talentueuse et créative, mais surtout une équipe prête à collaborer, à partager et à propulser mes idées appartenant à l’imaginaire dans la réalité.





Claudine Sauvé csc: Lina, your lookbook described Best Sellers as a would-be father/daughter love story, but also a story about imposter syndrome and what it’s like to feel like a fraud. It’s the story of Harris and Lucy, two completely different characters, who will surprisingly come together at the end.

Claudine Sauvé csc : Lina, ton lookbook décrivait Best Sellers comme une possible histoire d’amour père-fille, mais aussi une histoire sur le syndrome de l’imposteur et le sentiment de ne pas être à sa place. C’est l’histoire de Harris et Lucy, deux personnages complètement différents, qui se retrouvent ensemble à la fin contre toute attente.

Lina Roessler: So from the get-go, it was important to make sure that when we meet them we know exactly who they are and what we’re dealing with. If we start with a clear sense of who they think they are, the journey they take and the changes in their relationship and within themselves becomes more satisfying. Lucy [Plaza] was really the straight-edged one with a square personality. I imagined her centre frame in a symmetric and controlled environment. Harris [Caine] was basically a drunk character, a hermit and a loner, all over the place, and way more messy. We wanted to emphasize their differences with our look, not only through production design, wardrobe, makeup and hair, but through our lenses and light.

Lina Roessler : Dès le départ, il était important de nous assurer, en les voyant, qu’on savait exactement à qui on avait affaire. Si d’emblée nous partons avec une idée claire de ce qu’ils pensent être, la voie qu’ils prennent, les changements en eux et dans leur relation deviennent plus significatifs. Lucy [Plaza] était dotée d’une personnalité droite et cartésienne. Je l’imaginais au centre d’un environnement symétrique et contrôlé. Harris [Caine] était un personnage ivrogne, ermite, solitaire, désorganisé et plus compliqué encore. Nous voulions souligner leurs différences avec notre look, non seulement à travers la direction artistique, les costumes, le maquillage et la coiffure, mais aussi à travers nos objectifs et la lumière.

CS: In prep, and even in post, we talked a lot about these two characters and their homes. The words we usually used to start a conversation about visuals and colours for Harris were associated with smells – dust, smoke, tobacco, old books, old leather…

CS : En préparation comme en postproduction, nous parlions beaucoup de ces deux personnages et de leurs environnements respectifs. Les mots souvent utilisés en début de conversation pour parler de visuels et de couleurs pour Harris étaient associés à des odeurs de poussière, de fumée, de tabac, de vieux livres, de vieux cuir...

LR: Like a perfume.

LR : Comme un parfum.

Vickie-Lynn Roy: It’s one of these nice things about a collaboration that endures. We end up understanding our mutual symbolic language – how can an odour translate into colour, or into a degree of luminosity? Many things are felt. In this case, there were already clear differences in the characters’ lives. During your shooting, I was able to imagine how it smelled at their places!

Vickie-Lynn Roy : C’est une des beautés des collaborations qui perdurent. On finit par comprendre notre vocabulaire symbolique mutuel. Par exemple, comment une odeur se traduit en couleur ou en degré de luminosité? Il y a beaucoup de choses qui sont de l’ordre du ressenti. Dans ce cas-ci, il y avait déjà dans l’univers de chacun des personnages des différences claires. Pendant votre tournage, j’ai pu imaginer ce que ça sentait chez eux!





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THE DRUNK LENS CS: Early, in our process, we shared the idea to film them with two different sets of lenses. At some point, we even thought about shooting Lucy in her own world with clean spherical lenses and Harris with old anamorphic ones. This is when Marie-Julie and I left for L.A. for a few days to do some tests at Lensworks Rentals and Hawk Anamorphic because they both had a panoply of lenses that I wanted to test for this project.

CS : Très tôt à travers nos discussions, nous avons partagé l’idée de les filmer avec deux types d’objectifs différents. Nous avons même pensé filmer Lucy dans son univers avec des objectifs sphériques très nets et Harris avec de vieux objectifs anamorphiques. C’est alors que Marie-Julie et moi sommes allées à L.A. pour faire des tests pendant quelques jours chez Lensworks Rentals et Hawk Anamorphic parce qu’ils avaient tous les deux une panoplie d’objectifs que je voulais tester pour ce projet.

Marie-Julie Besse: I found it really great to be able to take part at this stage of image creation. Being able to bounce ideas with you and see what each lens could do for the final touch and feel of the image. When we arrived at Lensworks and started testing their lenses, it was obvious that they each had a different language.

Marie-Julie Besse : J’ai trouvé ça vraiment chouette de pouvoir participer à cette étape-là de la création de l’image, de pouvoir échanger avec toi et de voir l’influence que chaque objectif pouvait avoir sur la touche finale et le feeling de l’image. Je ne pensais pas que ça allait être aussi marquant. Quand on est arrivé chez Lensworks et qu’on a commencé à tester leurs objectifs, c’était flagrant comme ils n’avaient pas le même langage chacun.

CS: The film’s look finally rested upon lens choice. At Lensworks we met with Stephen Gelb, the friendly creator of the intriguing Meru Anamorphic lenses that I had heard about after seeing When They See Us, the beautiful series directed by Ava DuVernay and shot by Bradford Young ASC. I had read somewhere that he shot with those mysterious Merus and a few old Todd AOs. True or false, I was curious. Their web




CS : Le look du film a finalement reposé sur le choix des objectifs. Chez Lensworks, on a rencontré Stephen Gelb, le sympathique créateur des intrigants Meru Anamorphic, objectifs dont j’avais entendu parler après avoir vu When They See Us, la magnifique série de Ava DuVernay tournée par Bradford Young ASC. J’avais lu quelque part qu’il avait tourné avec ces

page mentioned a complete modern rehousing using anamorphic and spherical glass. We discussed the making of his lenses, but Stephen did not want to let us into his little secret lair full of all kinds of lenses ready to be cleverly mixed together. MJB: Which obviously added to the mystery! Those lenses personally touched me. And since they had been rebuilt by Stephen, they had the practicality of recent lenses and the soul of old lenses. When the light came through them, we saw right away that it would work. It already started to tell us the story and the feeling of the film. Then when we arrived at Hawk’s, in their brand-new space, the lenses were all well aligned on carts against the wall. I remember us saying that it reflected the nature of the lenses and the difference between our characters. LR: I’ll never forget this little gold bird that you put in front of these lenses! That was the first thing I saw when you came back. Those tests were so precious. It was so fun and exciting for me to watch.

mystérieux Meru et quelques vieux Todd AO. Vrai ou pas, j’étais curieuse. Sur leur site, c’était écrit : reconstruction complète et moderne utilisant du verre vintage anamorphique et sphérique. On a discuté de la fabrication de ses objectifs, mais Stephen n’a pas voulu nous laisser entrer dans son petit antre secret plein de boîtes de lentilles de toutes sortes prêtes à être savamment mixées ensemble. MJB : C’est certain que tout ce contexte-là en a rajouté au mystère! Moi, ces objectifs-là m’ont vraiment touchée. En plus comme ils avaient été reconstruits par Stephen, ils avaient vraiment le côté pratique des objectifs récents et l’âme des vieux objectifs. Quand la lumière y est entrée, on a vu tout de suite que ça allait fonctionner. Ça commençait déjà à nous raconter l’histoire et la touche artistique du film. Après quand on est arrivé chez Hawk, dans leurs nouveaux locaux, les objectifs étaient tous bien alignés sur des chariots contre le mur. Je me rappelle qu’on s’est dit que ça dénotait vraiment la nature des objectifs et la différence entre nos personnages. LR : Je n’oublierai jamais ce petit oiseau doré que vous avez placé devant les objectifs! C’est la première chose que j’ai vue quand vous êtes revenues. Pour moi, ces tests étaient tellement précieux et excitants à regarder.

Claudine Sauvé csc (left) and Marie-Julie Besse (right) during lens tests at Lensworks Rentals L.A.


CS: We also tested a lot of sharp, large-format spherical lenses at Grandé in Montreal, and we asked ourselves is this too much of a difference? Is it going to be distracting? We didn’t want the audience to feel that they were in two different movies and that there was something wrong with the image. In the end, we chose the Hawk V-Lite Vintage ‘74 for Lucy, a set of lenses that was not too far from the Meru’s look for Harris and still more straight-edge.

CS : Nous avons aussi testé plusieurs objectifs sphériques grand format chez Grandé à Montréal et nous nous sommes demandé si la différence était trop grande. Est-ce que ce sera déconcentrant? Nous ne voulions pas que le spectateur pense qu’il regarde deux films différents et qu’il y a quelque chose d’erroné avec l’image. Nous avons finalement opté pour les Hawk V-Lite Vintage ’74 pour Lucy, un ensemble d’objectifs pas trop loin du look des Meru pour Harris, tout en étant plus définis.

LR: Yes, the difference between the two wasn’t brutally obvious.

LR : Oui, la différence entre les deux n’était pas brutale, ni trop évidente.

CS: They were also beautifully imperfect but with a different personality. Then, just before shooting, when our Merus arrived in Montreal, we realized that our 90 mm had slightly lost its setting in the shipping.

CS : Ils étaient aussi magnifiquement imparfaits, avec une personnalité différente. Ensuite, juste avant le tournage, quand nos Meru sont arrivés à Montréal, on s’est aperçu que notre 90mm s’était un peu déréglé dans le transport.

MJB: When I tested it, I saw that it was in trapeze. I then had discussions with the optics technicians at Grandé’s. For them, lenses are very technical tools. The creative dimension of the object could often be lost at this stage of the process. It’s sometimes hard to make them believe that we might not expect perfection. So when we decided to use this twisted 90 mm anyway, they were scratching their heads trying to understand what we were doing! One of the internal elements of the lens must have been slightly off angle, but it was totally usable focus-wise.

MJB : Quand je l’ai testé, j’ai bien vu qu’il était en trapèze. J’ai donc eu des discussions avec les techniciens d’optique chez Grandé pour qui les objectifs sont des outils très techniques. La dimension créative de l’objet peut parfois être perdue de vue à cette étape du processus. C’est parfois difficile de défendre son point quand on dit qu’on ne tend pas à la perfection. Alors quand on a décidé de partir avec ce 90mm tout tordu, ils se sont bien demandé ce qu’on faisait! Il devait y avoir une des lentilles internes qui était un peu en biais, mais l’objectif était tout à fait utilisable en ce qui concerne la mise au point.

CS: Since we wanted to find a way to express Harris’ rebellious and alcoholic side, we decided to embrace this slightly twisted lens and play with it. Depending on the angles, vertical lines could be more or less off.



CS : Puisqu’on cherchait comment exprimer le côté rebelle, imprégné d’alcool de Harris, on a décidé d’embrasser l’idée d’utiliser cet objectif un peu de travers et de jouer avec. Selon les angles, les lignes verticales pouvaient être plus ou moins croches.

MJB: Right. As soon as our character was in an environment with straight lines, it looked as if the lens could not handle that. We could really see it in Lucy’s office, and it fitted so well. LR: In a real simplistic way, it’s almost like she’s sober and he’s drunk. With the edges of this cool distortion that we ended up using for Harris, stuff like that gave him a feel that was not so clear and as sharp as she would be. It worked. CS: This is the kind of stuff I love. You have this lens that we already loved and chose, something happened with it in the shipping, and it is suddenly artistically even better. You’re not going to bang a lens on a bench to try to make it look different and weird. But in this case, this imperfection added something that doesn’t look sober. It was our drunk lens! And it worked super well. We didn’t use it for Lucy at the beginning. And then as the two characters get into the same zone, or get closer in the story, we used that lens for her too. LR: And that was the other fun thing, deciding when that merge would sort of take place. I think it was fun to track that while shooting. In the end, it’s subtle and subconscious enough. MJB: I find this side of image work, finding something that nobody will analyze but that works, really interesting. It’s all these little details and work in the shadows during a production that are fascinating.

MJB : C’est vrai que dès que notre personnage était dans un environnement avec des lignes droites, c’est comme si l’objectif ne pouvait pas gérer ça. Dans le bureau de Lucy, on le voyait vraiment et ça collait trop bien, c’était très marrant. LR : D’une façon simpliste, c’était comme dire: elle est à jeun et il est saoul. Avec cette amusante distorsion qu’on a fini par utiliser pour Harris, ce genre de truc lui donnait une apparence pas aussi précise qu’elle. Ça fonctionnait. CS : J’adore ce genre de truc. Tu choisis un objectif que tu aimes déjà beaucoup, quelque chose arrive durant son transport et soudainement, il devient encore plus intéressant. Jamais tu ne frapperais un objectif sur un banc pour le rendre étrange. Au final, ce fut notre objectif saoul! Et ça a fonctionné à merveille. On ne l’a pas utilisé pour Lucy au début, mais au fur et à mesure que les deux personnages se rapprochaient, nous l’utilisions pour elle aussi. LR : Et c’était une autre chose amusante, décider quand cette fusion allait se faire. C’était drôle à suivre au moment du tournage. En fin de compte, c’est juste assez subtil et subliminal. MJB : J’ai trouvé vachement intéressante cette partie du travail de l’image qui consiste à trouver quelque chose que personne n’analysera vraiment, mais qui fonctionne en fait, qui traduit bien les deux mondes. Ce sont tous ces petits détails et travaux de l’ombre lors d’un tournage qui sont fascinants. 33



CS: We also worked hard on the grading of the first scene in Harris’ house to find the right texture for our film. At the beginning, Lina and I thought of shooting in 16 mm. It did not happen for multiple reasons, but we still wanted a dusty feeling, a more organic texture, closer to books and films.

CS : On a aussi travaillé fort en étalonnage sur la première scène dans la maison de Harris pour trouver la juste texture pour notre film. Au départ, Lina et moi avions pensé tourner en 16mm. Ce qui ne s’est pas passé pour toutes sortes de raison. Mais on voulait tout de même un feeling poussiéreux, une texture plus organique, plus proche du livre et du film.

VLR: We then combined several types of grain to get the desired texture that we adjusted for each scene, to get the right amount of granularity that we wanted for every part of the image.

VLR : On a donc combiné plusieurs types de grain pour avoir la texture voulue qu’on a ajustée pour chaque scène parce que parfois ça affectait trop ou pas assez certaines zones de l’image.

CS: Having done a lot of dark room work where I pushed my films to the limit, I wanted to get as close as possible to a realistic grain that I could believe in.

CS : Ayant fait beaucoup de chambre noire et poussé mes films à fond, je voulais qu’on s’approche le plus possible d’un grain réaliste auquel j’allais croire.

LR: I liked it; it made everything look a little bit dirtier, which was great.

LR : J’ai aimé ça; ça faisait en sorte que le look était un peu plus sale, ce qui était formidable.

CS: From the start, I also wanted a very soft image to be able to get this dusty look. VLR: I think we should mention here your great work with RED over the years. You master the camera with all its nuances and strengths. CS: Well, on this shoot, I worked with the RED Monstro and its IPP2 workflow, and I minimally colourized my images with the CDL available in

CS : À la base, je voulais aussi que l’image soit très douce pour être capable d’obtenir ce côté poussiéreux. VLR : Je crois qu’il faudrait parler ici de ta belle relation avec la RED depuis toutes ces années. C’est ce qui fait que tu maîtrises autant la caméra dans ses subtilités et dans ses forces. CS : Pour ce tournage, j’ai travaillé avec la RED Monstro et son workflow IPP2 et colorisé minimalement mes images avec les CDL disponibles dans le menu de la caméra. J’avais testé la RED Monstro dans le passé et j’avais trouvé la



the camera menu. I had tested the Monstro in the past and found its sensor and image texture very soft. So I thoroughly worked my colour palettes directly with lighting with gaffer Hugo Roy, with Hugo in total control with his iPad, and myself directly in the camera, as I have done for many years. Later in colour grading, we refined, embellished and highlighted different aspects. For example, the meticulous work of Audrey Bitton [chief makeup artist] on Michael’s face and Johanne Paiement [chief hairdresser] on his hair, the nicotine stains in his beard, redness, aging and alcoholism lines. In the end, with your magic touch, Vickie, and our grain recipe, we reached our goal. In our story, we were also going through the colourful worlds of motels and dirty little bars, worlds where dust and texture also fitted well. However, when Lucy brings Harris back home towards the end, we wanted that less dusty, cleaner, less dark look. VLR: Like drawing the curtains! LR: Also, with the shots we’ve got of them outside in the snow at the end, it feels like the air is clean and that the smoke, haze and dust have lifted. That was also beautifully done with the light. The heaviness is lifted. VLR: I feel privileged to have helped seal the deal on a vision that had been thought out months, even years in advance and that depends on so many people and departments. In those final stages, we have the great fortune and responsibility to make it all coherent and seamless.

texture d’image de son capteur très douce. Donc, j’ai travaillé majoritairement ma palette de couleurs à l’éclairage avec mon chef électricien Hugo Roy. Hugo était en total contrôle directement de son iPad et moi, directement dans la caméra, comme j’ai l’habitude de le faire depuis bon nombre d’années. Après en colo, on a raffiné, embelli et souligné certains aspects. Par exemple, le travail minutieux de Audrey Bitton (cheffe maquilleuse) sur le visage de Michael et Johanne Paiement (cheffe coiffeuse) dans ses cheveux. Les taches de nicotine dans sa barbe, les rougeurs, les traces de vieillissement et d’alcoolisme. En y ajoutant ta magie, Vickie, et notre recette de grain, on est arrivé au résultat escompté. Dans notre histoire, on traversait aussi l’univers coloré des motels et des petits bars miteux, univers dans lequel poussière et texture collaient aussi parfaitement. Par contre quand Lucy ramène Harris à la maison vers la fin, on voulait ça moins poussiéreux, plus propre, moins sombre. VLR : Nous avons donc tiré les rideaux! LR : Aussi, avec les images que nous avons filmées d’eux à la fin, dehors dans la neige, on sent que l’air est pur et que la fumée, la brume et la poussière se sont dissipées. Ce fut aussi rendu magnifiquement avec l’éclairage. La lourdeur s’est dissipée. VLR : Je me sens privilégiée d’être une des dernières personnes à venir confirmer et sceller une proposition qui a été pensée il y a des mois, voire des années, et qui dépend de tant de gens et d’intervenants. En colo, nous avons la chance inouïe et le gros mandat de rendre tout ça, cohérent.


NUPTIAL SUITE WITH MICHAEL CAINE CS: When you read a script, it’s inspiring to know that the lead actor will be Michael Caine. It already sets a tone. He was 86 years old at the time, and I looked at a lot of photographs of him prior to shooting. VLR: During our first discussion, we looked at images from your mood boards, images that you had chosen, images of men that gave me a feeling of the character. CS: I do tend to like the faces of men damaged by life. They have always moved me, and I like what they can liberate from their interior, what is deeply buried in them. These men often inspire me as they are very sensitive. I have many photo books that influenced my look with the character. One is this really nice book by photographer Julien Germain – For Every Minute You Are Angry You Lose Sixty Seconds of Happiness. I must admit I was impressed the first time Michael entered the room and played for the camera. I also remember when I introduced myself, I realized how long the word “cinematographer” is! And I will always treasure that morning sitting by him with the camera on my shoulder, on the nuptial bed of the Oscar Motel with a heart-shaped mirror above us. LR: We were so lucky to have that experience. I do remember after every take he would ask me, “Was that all right, darling?” He really cared about the work. It’s quite humbling; it becomes like a trust.



LA SUITE NUPTIALE AVEC MICHAEL CAINE CS : C’est inspirant quand tu sais en lisant le scénario que le personnage principal sera joué par Michael Caine, ça te donne une couleur en partant. Michael avait alors 86 ans. J’ai regardé beaucoup de photos de lui avant le tournage. VLR : Lors de notre première discussion, les images qu’on a regardées ensemble venaient de tes mood boards, des images que tu avais choisies, des images d’hommes qui me faisaient ressentir le personnage. CS : J’aime beaucoup les visages d’hommes abîmés par la vie, ils m’ont toujours touchée. Ce que ces hommes dégagent de l’intérieur aussi, ce qui est profondément enfoui en eux. Ils m’inspirent, car ils sont de grands sensibles. J’ai beaucoup de livres photo qui ont influencé la façon dont j’ai posé mon regard sur le personnage. Entre autres, ce très beau livre du photographe Julian Germain: For Every Minute You Are Angry You Lose Sixty Seconds Of Happiness. J’avoue que la première fois que Michael est entré dans la pièce et qu’il a joué pour la caméra, j’ai été impressionnée. Je me rappelle aussi m’être présentée à lui et avoir trouvé le mot “cinematographer” très long à prononcer! Évidemment, je chérirai toujours le souvenir de cette matinée, assise à ses côtés, caméra à l’épaule, sur le lit de la chambre nuptiale du motel Oscar, sous un miroir en forme de cœur!

Michael’s wife Shakira told me, “The film shows his true personality more than any other role he’s ever done. You caught his charm, but also when he gets a little angry and grumpy and grim.” We captured his highs, his lows, the good, the bad. When I asked Michael about that, he said, “I will say she never lies.” I do think the film became a little bit personal. MJB: He brought me close to tears on set. He’s very empathetic and human. It really impressed and moved me. He’s so approachable. One of the film’s themes is looking back on life, which obviously affects an actor like him who’s had such a fulfilled life. He spoke about the love of his life in the film and then you see him with his wife. There are a lot of things that we could really feel that he was somehow embodying. LR: We also used footage of him talking about her in real life, on the BBC when he’s talking about Shakira. But in the film, Harris is talking about his wife. CS: There’s also something really rare and precious about seeing an actor like him saying goodbye on film. That’s why I think he was so moved when he played the scenes in the garden and the one in the car. LR: Yes, there was something really special in these moments. It’s strange how art can resemble real life. The things that move us are things that are personal to us. We put our own story on top of the story and that’s why it works, that’s what we’re looking for, why we connect to what we see on the screen, those colours, the subconscious stuff. Our own personal story is resonating on the screen. You know, Michael’s eyes in the car, when we’re driving in the trees, that beautiful reflection that you captured of the trees on the windows, we feel him through that glass. It’s so powerful that we can connect with him, and that’s all of us doing the job, and it’s really a magical thing. CS: All crew members put something of themselves in the film, and after all the craziness, this is what stays, and that’s what people will feel when they watch the movie. It’s all those layers of personal stories and the way everyone is involved in a personal way that you feel because it adds something. Every layer is part of the story even if it’s not obvious; it’s in the subconscious layers, but you can feel them.

LR : Nous sommes tellement chanceuses d’avoir partagé cette expérience. Je me rappelle qu’après chaque prise, il me demandait : “Était-ce correct, darling?” Il se souciait vraiment du travail. C’est une leçon d’humilité et ça devient une marque de confiance, ce qui est très important. Shakira, l’épouse de Michael m’a dit : “Le film montre sa vraie personnalité plus qu’aucun autre rôle qu’il a joué. Vous avez fait ressortir son charme, mais aussi ses petits côtés colériques, grincheux et sombres.” Nous avons saisi ses hauts, ses bas, le bon et le mauvais. Lorsque j’ai questionné Michael là-dessus il m’a dit : “Je dirais qu’elle ne ment jamais.” Je crois que le film est devenu un peu personnel. MJB : Il m’a souvent mise au bord des larmes sur le plateau. Il a quelque chose d’empathique, tellement humain, ça m’a vachement touchée et impressionnée. Et il est tellement abordable. Il y avait dans le sujet ce thème de l’ordre du bilan de vie, ça touche forcément un comédien comme lui qui a une carrière et une vie aussi remplies. Et quand il parlait de l’amour de sa vie dans le film et après tu le vois à côté dans sa relation avec sa femme… Il y a beaucoup de choses que tu sentais véritables, qu’il incarnait vraiment. LR : Nous avons aussi utilisé des images de Michael parlant d’elle dans la vraie vie à la BBC. Il y parlait alors de Shakira, mais dans le film Harris parle de sa femme. CS : Il y a aussi quelque chose de très rare et précieux qui se produit lorsque tu vois un acteur comme lui, faire ses adieux dans un film. C’est pourquoi je pense qu’il était très ému en jouant les scènes du jardin et dans la voiture. LR : Oui, il s’est effectivement produit quelque chose de très particulier dans ces moments. C’est curieux comme l’art peut ressembler à la vraie vie. Les choses qui nous touchent sont les choses qui sont près de nous. Vous teintez l’histoire en y superposant la vôtre et c’est pour ça que ça marche. C’est ce que nous recherchons et ce pour quoi nous nous reconnaissons en ce que nous voyons à l’écran, la subtilité de l’inconscient. Notre histoire personnelle fait écho à celle que nous retrouvons à l’écran. Vous vous souvenez des yeux de Michael dans la voiture, quand nous conduisions à travers les arbres et du magnifique reflet des arbres sur les vitres que Claudine a saisi. C’est tellement puissant de pouvoir ainsi se connecter avec lui dans un moment comme celui-ci. Et ce, grâce à nous tous faisant notre travail. Cela relève vraiment de la magie. CS : Chaque membre de l’équipe met du sien dans un tel film et après toute cette folie, c’est ce qui reste et c’est ce que les gens ressentiront en voyant le film. On ressent toutes ces couches d’histoires personnelles dans un film comme celui-ci. La façon dont chacun est personnellement impliqué enrichit le film. Chaque couche fait partie de l’histoire même si ce n’est pas évident. Ce sont des couches invisibles, mais il est possible de les ressentir.



B y I an Harvey




Ian Seabrook csc shooting 35 mm film on Old.

Seabrook was perfect for the job. He and his Dorsalfin Productions are based in Los Angeles with a foot in his native Vancouver, and he’s been a go-to underwater cinematographer for decades. He started innocently enough as a hobbyist inspired by the underwater scenes in early James Bond films. He took to the water with a Kodak Instamatic and waterproof case and found his calling switching to still underwater rigs and then cinematography, starting out as a camera assistant and then focus puller. His credits are impressive: Batman v Superman, Deadpool 2, Jungle Cruise and more. In addition to television, commercials, music videos and IMAX productions, he holds Gold & Silver Medals for Cinematography from the 2019 Telly Awards.

David William McDonald

he stakes couldn’t be higher: 12 boys and their coach, trapped in a Northern Thailand underground cave system by rapidly rising monsoon waters. The world watched and prayed, captivated, hanging hope on every nugget of news, fearing the worst. The Rescue tells that story, directed by Academy Award-winners (Free Solo) Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin for National Geographic Documentary Films. It literally takes audiences back into those caves with the same people who risked their lives to save the players and coach of the Wild Boars soccer team. It’s real, gritty and chilling. The man behind the underwater camera, Ian Seabrook csc, wouldn’t have it any other way.

the rescue

| jungle cruise

| old Old Arri 435 Santa Bárbara de Samaná, Dominican Republic: 19° 12’ 41.98”N | 69° 19’ 56.33”W Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic: 18°25’0000”N | 69°25’0000”W

Jungle Cruise ALEXA SXT Plus Lenses : Panavision anamorphic C Atlanta, Georgia: 33°45’13.4856”N | 84°23’10.7880”W

The Rescue ARRI ALEXA Mini LF Open Gate Arriraw Lenses : Zeiss Supreme and Radiance Supreme primes London, United Kingdom: 51°30’35.5140”N | 00°07’05.1312”W Basildon, United Kingdom: 51°34’20.5536”N | 00°28’12.0324”E


Seabrook shoots both film and digital, usually with ARRI cameras, and his skills have taken him around the world to make movies, such as in 2018 with the underwater scenes for Disney’s Jungle Cruise. It was shot at Blackhall Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, with his ALEXA SXT Plus camera and Panavision anamorphic C lenses, all enclosed in one of Seabrook’s collection of self-built underwater housings. “The housings are rated to 200 feet,” he says. “To date, it’s been submerged to 150 feet (recreational diving tops out at just under 100 feet). Cameras do seem to change every six months, but for the most part I shoot on ARRI ALEXAs. There is no point chasing a new camera for a housing; it’s wiser to see which camera takes off popularity-wise, then determining whether it warrants a housing.” Underwater housing choices were less complicated when shooting film since there was only the Arri 3 or Arri 435 that would fit a housing for more than a decade. More recently, however, he did shoot film on M. Night Shyamalan’s film Old. Underwater shooting is much more physical than on land. Jungle Cruise, for example, required a sequence where a sunken puzzle is raised from the water. Seabrook and his 80-pound rig were submerged along with the actors, and the set was lifted by crane with the cinematographer simultaneously hand holding the housing both in and out of the water to maintain the shot. In another sequence, he had to shoot and dodge out of the way as actor Dwayne Johnson dived into the water above, and this strength brought him down more quickly than anticipated. Seabrook also had to work quickly since one scene with Johnson and Emily Blunt required them to hold their breath and maneuver underwater for 30 seconds at a time. That scene alone took two weeks to complete.

off, to the calming but shark-populated waters of French Polynesia where we shot Batman v Superman. Both of these environs have stark differences not achievable in tank environs, which are more conducive to a controlled shooting environment and not at the mercy of weather conditions.” Still, it is often more challenging on location. “For the IMAX job, the constantly changing ice floes were something I had to factor in during the dives,” he says. “I set up several sequences with icebergs in the shot, which would flip and rotate at any given notice. Once I determined where we would shoot, we would watch the icebergs that had rolled and time the shots in between rolls, which sometimes were unpredictable, at one point having to use a diving propulsion vehicle to escape an iceberg from rolling on top of me.” The iceberg field held other dangers too. “At one point in between shots, I heard a loud crack and turned to see a glacier which had deposited a large section of its wall into the sea, creating a tsunami of ice that was headed straight for us,” he says. “Seeing this, the boat captain left the area, and myself and my safety diver Steve Arnott had to fend for ourselves. Luckily, the constantly shifting ice floes helped to break up the tsunami, and we made it back to the boat in one piece.”

Getting directors and producers to understand the complexities and layers of safety required with underwater sequences can sometimes be another challenge. “For directors and DPs that have not filmed underwater prior, communication is the one element that is notably different,” Seabrook says. “My principal concern is for the safety of the talent. It is one thing for the screenwriter to envision a sequence involving characters in precarious situations underwater, quite another to achieve it safely. On Old there was a situation I knew would happen one day,” the DP says. “We were shooting in 60 feet of a continuous tunnel set when an actor lost their way to one of the escape holes and had to be rescued. It wasn’t difficult to get confused, especially as he was not wearing a mask. I was filming but reacted, grabbing the actor while holding the camera with my other hand, guiding him to the escape hole.” Once the talent recovered, Seabrook took him through the tunnel with a mask and air so he could see everything and breathe. “We ran a few practice runs so he could get the muscle memory down, then when he was comfortable, we did it sans mask and air, and all went well,” he says. “It was a close call, but I am always watching.” Tank or location, safety is always paramount, Seabrook says. “I have photographed in several oceans worldwide, from the Polar Sea to the warmer Pacific,” he says. “From an IMAX job in ice-laden waters replete with rolling towering icebergs and ice tsunamis made from ice shelves breaking


Cinematographer Ian Seabrook csc photographs the re-enacted conclusion of the divers' mission in the Chamber 3 in the Pinewood tank for The Rescue. National Geographic/Jack Hextall


Seabrook with the rigging for the cave system on Old in the Dominican Republic. Ian Seabrook csc

I have photographed in several oceans worldwide, from the Polar Sea to the warmer Pacific. From an IMAX job in iceladen waters replete with rolling towering icebergs and ice tsunamis made from ice shelves breaking off, to the calming but shark-populated waters of French Polynesia where we shot Batman v Superman. Both of these environs have stark differences not achievable in tank environs, which are more conducive to a controlled shooting environment and not at the mercy of weather conditions.” – Ian Seabrook csc

Construction of a water tank for Jungle Cruise. Ian Seabrook csc


For directors and DPs that have not filmed underwater prior, communication is the one element that is notably different. My principal concern is for the safety of the talent. It is one thing for the screenwriter to envision a sequence involving characters in precarious situations underwater, quite another to achieve it safely.” – Ian Seabrook csc


Seabrook photographs French free diver Julie Gautier for a Marriott commercial in a cenote in Mexico.


Julien Borde

Jungle Cruise, of course, was a fantasy yarn but The Rescue was real, and the added pressure was always to stay true to the story, according to Seabrook. Editor Bob Eisenhardt had some TV news and other footage shot at the time, and the producers freed 87 hours of GoPro footage from a Royal Thai Navy Seal commander’s wife, Sasivimon Youkongkaew.

for underwater sequences with a 66 by 33 by 20-foot-deep tank holding 1.2 million litres of water heated to 30 degrees Celsius. A scheduling conflict at Pinewood, however, meant the shooting schedule was split with Basildon Underwater Studio, which offered a slightly smaller tank at 40 by 30 by 20 feet deep east of London, about 90 minutes away.

After premiering at the 48th Telluride Film Festival, The Rescue garnered a People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, followed by a Best Cinematography honour for Seabrook (shared with David Katznelson and Picha Srisansanee) at the 6th Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards in November in New York. It has since opened to rave reviews, especially praising the realism, and has been nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography at the Cinema Eye Honors Awards.

“Coincidentally, National Geographic had 3D mapped the caves a couple of years earlier as part of a global project they were doing,” Seabrook says. The 3D maps were an astounding feat of GIS (geographic information system) with 8.7 billion data points and more than 7,000 photographs, which combined to give rescuers a look at what they faced.

With a rough script he’d written in hand – mostly a timeline of events to block out shots – plus Eisenhardt’s cut, Seabrook literally dove into the project, pun intended. Pinewood’s underwater studio offered a controlled environment since filming at the actual location was out of the question. The set up, just north of Heathrow Airport, west of London, is tailor-made

Seabrook in between takes on Deadpool 2.

Greg Milton

To recreate the caves, the team turned to set and prop maker Rod Vass of Armordillo in the U.K., augmenting them by using some other similar sets. Seabrook says he literally stumbled onto the sets stashed under the loading ramp at the water tank, but they needed painting to match up with their custom sets, and it fell to the veteran DP to do more than be behind the camera, which included organizing the transport, painting the set pieces, scheduling and organizing the entire U.K.-based shooting crew and the shoot itself.


The choice of cast, however, wasn’t up for discussion. “We wanted to work with the actual divers who did the rescue, and we had to assure them that it would all be accurate,” Seabrook maintains. "They had to trust me that I would photograph them observationally while they went through the recreation sequences. Given that they were not actors, I asked them to ignore me and not look at the camera." Even before the first pixels were captured in earnest, however, there were a few more challenges. First, they had to concoct a murky mix to replicate the dark waters of the cave system. “We tried a couple of mixes before we found one that worked,” Seabrook says, noting it had to be murky enough to be real but not so much as to obstruct filming, a fine balance. “The real colour of the water in the cave system was visually like coffee with creamer,” he says. Next up was lighting. The plan was to use the head-mounted lights of the divers themselves, but they quickly found each was a different manufacturer since it was all personal gear and each had a different colour value. They ended up getting a manufacturer, Scurion in Switzerland, to provide some of the lights for consistency and added neutral density and diffusion gels. He supplemented those light sources with an Arri S30 and S60 SkyPanels for the interior cave sections of Chambers 3 and 9, in addition to underwater fixtures for both submerged and surface work.



With the sets in the water for sufficient time to allow any air bubbles to escape and any errant background blackout curtained, it was into the water for Seabrook and three crew members plus the divers. Not all the filming was underwater though. “Some was with the camera half submerged,” Seabrook says. They also included footage of each child being given injections to slow their saliva and suppress their anxiety by Australian anaesthetist and cave diver Dr. Richard Harris using a mix of Xanax, ketamine and atropine. “They were injected before they left the cave where they were stranded because if they panicked their self-preservation instinct could cause them to thrash around and drown,” the DP says. “Also their saliva had to be controlled because it could break the seal on the mask and cause the mask to potentially flood, drowning the child. The problem was the drugs only lasted about two and a half hours, so they had to readminister them again about midway through the journey and that was on the surface of the water inside the cave chambers. They had an alarm to remind them and a dry bag with the loaded syringes.” Seabrook shot with an ARRI ALEXA Mini LF (favoured for its compact size) in Open Gate, Arriraw giving full resolution and paired with Zeiss Supreme and Radiance Supreme primes to cover the large-format sensor. “Focus pulling was done remotely by Dean Thompson, who is renowned for his great skill on Kenneth Branagh’s films,” Seabrook notes. The key throughout was staying true to the story with no embellishment. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there and we wanted to tell the real story,” he says.

csc member spotlight

PAUL SAROSSY csc, bsc, asc

When I was kid, around 13, my mum took me to the movies to see The Conformist (Vittorio Storaro ASC, AIC). Not the usual film for a Canadian teenager, but I was thunderstruck by it. It was astonishingly beautiful and for the first time in my life, I became conscious that someone made those images — I had no idea who, but they were the work of someone. I wanted to be that someone. How did you get started in the business? My father was a cameraman at the local TV station in Barrie, Ontario (mostly news, documenta-

ry). I was often his assistant, and cameras and photography were ever-present at home. My first job, at 16, was shooting news, which involved filming, processing and editing a story each day for the 6 p.m. broadcast. The only qualification for the job was being able to drive. Who have been your mentors or teachers? My best teacher was my dad — I think that the bulk of my work ethic and basic understanding of cinematography was introduced by him. You never stop learning, but he opened the door. In film school, Mark Irwin csc, ASC visited our class (York University) and showed us bounced light, diffused light and hard light. I’ve never forgotten that afternoon, a revelation.

What cinematographers inspire you? When I began to shoot, the cinematographers that I aspired to were Néstor Almendros ASC, Sven Nykvist ASC and most importantly Vittorio Storaro ASC, AIC. Even today, their work inspires and touches the heights of cinematography. Darius Khondji ASC, AFC should be added to this list. Name some of your professional highlights. In fact, there is no one highlight – cinematography is a lifetime of highlights that you are privileged to experience, often unawares. One is the luckiest person on earth to be a cinematographer!

illustration by Jo Enaje

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




What is one of your most memorable moments on set? Perhaps the most wonderful part of the job is where in the world it takes you. You see places (even at home) that most people never will: the abandoned ‘20s speakeasy at the tip of the Chrysler Building, the stage at Shepperton Studios where Dr. Strangelove was filmed, the Oxus River under the Pamirs across from Afghanistan at sunrise, the Eurostar repair depot at World’s End, the ghost subway station under Bay St., the patio at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, the underground Roman cistern in Istanbul, etc.

What do you like best about what you do? You are constantly fed! No, of course it’s the people you are always surrounded by; every moment is problem-solving, overcoming a challenge, and you are amongst imaginative people who keep your brain cooking. Each day is a creative race, you cannot be bored.

What do you think has been the greatest invention (related to your craft)? Amazingly, for such a technical job, so much remained relatively unchanged for decades. Suddenly the digital revolution changed everything. I’m particularly excited by what’s possible in lighting. The new LED instruments are a true departure from the past and an opportunity to learn new things.

What do you like least about what you do? How can others follow your work? The most difficult part of cinematography is being away from your family. It can take you to the corners of the world for months. Sometimes the solution is to bring them with you, but it’s not always possible.; Team Deakins Podcast

STILLS: The Borgias Head in the Clouds The Sweet Hereafter The Padre Guest of Honour Exotica Affliction ON SET: Act of Dishonour The Adjuster


air canada safety video

Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland: Whiteshell Provincial Park, Eastern Manitoba: Whitehorse, Yukon: Toronto, Ontario: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: Nunavut: Prince Edward Island: Longview, Alberta: Vancouver, British Columbia: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Montréal, Québec: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia: Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick:

49°41’22.0000”N 49°54’59.9900”N 60°43’16.2700”N 43°39’03.8520”N 62°27’14.2992”N 70°27’11.7432”N 46°15’00.0000”N 50°31’00.5600”N 49°14’46.6512”N 52°08’49.1028”N 45°30’19.1900”N 44°22’22.1900”N 45°50’31.0100”N

| | | | | | | | | | | | |

057°44’17.0000”W 095°19’60.0000”W 135°03’24.6204”W 079°20’49.2540”W 114°22’18.4368”W 086°47’56.3316”W 063°00’00.0000”W 114°13’56.0000”W 123°06’58.4136”W 106°38’49.3224”W 073°33’08.9900”W 064°19’04.8000”W 064°34’20.8700”W


CANADA by john lyden


hese days, passengers travelling on this country’s largest airline could find themselves treated to a grand showcase of O Canada without ever leaving their seats: a sweeping vista of magical forests, the dancing Northern Lights, towering mountains and nourishing crops, balanced by a poetic, granular and alluring portrait of the underpinnings of the rich, colourful and diverse cultural fabric that make up Canadian life are all featured in



Air Canada’s new on-board pre-flight safety film shot by associate member Vinit Borrison. In the experiential and thought-provoking video, the airline received everything it envisioned from Borrison and his team, and then some. Borrison, a native of Toronto, teamed up with director and friend Kevin Foley on the Air Canada production. The two go back years, working together on a multitude of documentaries that







revolved around sports legends. The duo had a shared commitment to create documentaries that exceeded what people expected in terms of story, tone and aesthetics. Borrison has said that he never wants to make average-looking films or commercials and loves stylistic pieces that have striking tonality and colour. However, he invariably respects the story and stays true to the themes of every piece he works on.







“I think I light naturalistically, but I love really stylized work and getting to play,” Borrison says. He has the thoughtful inflection, gaze and vocabulary of a worldly professor, yet the infectious enthusiasm and emotionality of a poet striving to distill the vast scope of his emotional journey and observations into an experience that he can share with the rest of the world.

“I’ve been very lucky to travel across the country twice now. This country is absolutely stunning coast to coast, and it has a wide variety of landscapes and animal life. It’s something to be proud of.” – Vinit Borrison

The team utilized two ALEXA Minis for the production, paired with Master Prime Anamorphic glass for the first leg of the production. They decided to transition to using Zeiss Super Speeds for the remainder of the production in light of their plan to deliver a 16x9 product. Their footage was voluminous, and the need to ship hard drives around the country informed their decision to shoot in ProRes for an easier workflow while preserving quality. Though an efficient infrastructure was created for sharing files and coordinating with their postproduction team, many of their shoots presented formidable obstacles.

Foley enlisted Borrison to be his director of photography for the Air Canada project, largely due to the fact that they have a solid rapport and short-hand communication style. Air Canada came up with the concept for the film but provided Foley and Borrison with considerable creative latitude to build off of the company’s vision. The two men had shot content for Air Canada before, but the opportunity to travel across the nation and develop a safety film thematically built upon the most spiritually, emotionally and physically enriching and restorative experiences that Canada has to offer seemed too good to be true. “Kevin said it’s going to be played on every plane for years,” Borrison recalls. “He asked me if I was on board. I was like, ‘One hundred percent! We’re going to get to travel all over the country.’ It was such a blessing!”

“We were going into a lot of locations blind, there was no scout. We got there and had to figure out what to do,” Borrison offers. “There were photos we referenced, and Kevin scouted some stuff prior. We had to be very nimble because of the size of the crew, and there wasn’t much lighting at all. We had a really tight camera crew. There was a lot of time invested in prep, and we storyboarded. But we had to figure out the technical aspects when we were on location.”

Borrison’s crew was small, and their resources were limited, but Foley and Borrison were determined to create a cohesive look for their piece and maintain constant control over every aspect of shaping the aesthetic contours of their video, notwithstanding the unforgiving weather conditions and innumerable logistical challenges that they would encounter along the way. To this end, the two friends committed to craft an aesthetic that they would bring to fruition themselves, necessitating a level of teamwork, coordination and fitness far beyond what would be expected of the average film crew. Air Canada’s goal was to shoot in every province, a formidable task for any film crew, let alone a team the size of Foley and Borrison’s.

Preproduction was not a traditional process, according to Borrison. “Even though we had pictures of locations we wanted to shoot, we couldn’t pinpoint exactly where we were going to point the camera, or what we might need to rig to,” he says. This necessitated being highly adaptable and quick-thinking on location, and coordinating with the different parties involved to ascertain the ideal balance between creativity and practicality. “Luckily, production was in constant communication with our locations, and in some cases, they were able to get us in touch with our location liaisons so we could coordinate bringing the right equipment to rig to vehicles or helicopters,” Borrison says.




A Black Arm rigged to a quad to capture the dogsled. Vinit Borrison

The team spent considerable time on crafting a scene featuring airplane seats in a dense forest. “Thinking about this just makes me laugh,” Borrison states, not without a hint of nostalgia. “Each seat weighed over 300 pounds, so it was a bit of a hilarious shuffle. Honestly, by the time we got them back into their shipping crates, we were exhausted and ready for a drink!” Notwithstanding the demanding tasks associated with filming this scene, the final result provides a striking contrast to the bustling urban scenes and other compositions for a panoply of visual art that resonantly and poetically captures and builds off of the Canadian spirit. The team employed a DJI Inspire 2 to obtain sweeping aerial shots of the mountains, seas and cities, bringing forth the breadth needed to meaningfully contextualize the depth of people’s experiences. Air Canada demonstrated an unwavering commitment to provide Borrison and Foley with full autonomy and creative freedom, underscoring the clout the two artists have acquired in a highly competitive and dictatorial corporate sector. Part of this unshakable trust is attributable to the tenacity and resourcefulness Borrison and Foley have demonstrated. “We were in the Yukon in minus 30 weather, running on batteries, and bolting Black Arms to ATVs. Some days we were expecting the sun to rise, and it turned out to be a cloudy, gloomy sky. We would wake up at 2:45 a.m. to travel to a location two hours away. We knew this would be a film, and we handled the production accordingly,” Borrison says, almost with a sense of longing for this arduous yet deeply meaningful journey.

The crew also bonded around the Toronto Raptors’ playoffs on their trek. According to Borrison, Foley is the team’s “biggest fan,” and the crew made sure to wrap up shooting in time to catch the games at the end of their long, strenuous days. Travelling across Canada instilled every member of the crew with a heightened sense of national pride and patriotism, and in turn, increased interest in Canadian sporting events that would otherwise be viewed more banally, especially during a high-stakes film production. Colourist Andrew Exworth was able to add to the separation, enhance tonality and accentuate the natural beauty of the country’s varied landscapes. Though the COVID pandemic impacted some aspects of the production, and Air Canada’s flights were cancelled in droves in 2020, the final product and reception have assured Foley and Borrison that their efforts to capture Canada’s majesty were fruitful. “Air Canada was over the moon,” Borrison says. “Really heartwarming emails about how proud they were after they let us go and make something beautiful for them. It was such a great payoff.” Borrison now organizes annual reunions for the crew of the Air Canada production, as the bonds forged in such challenging and unprecedented filming conditions became as strong as the team’s commitment to their artistry, and most notably, their country. “I’ve been very lucky to travel across the country twice now,” Borrison muses. “This country is absolutely stunning coast to coast, and it has a wide variety of landscapes and animal life. It’s something to be proud of.”

2nd from top : Borrison in an airplane seat on location in Pointe du Bois, Manitoba. Courtesy of Vinit Borrison Far Left: Borrison using the rigged to the Ready Rig. Courtesy of Vinit Borrison


Pro ros Morne National Park, the final stop on journey shot with MõVI Pro G out the side door of a helicopter.


on set gallery 52

On the set of Slash/Back feature film, shot in the hamlet of Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Focus pullers Craig Jewell and Angelia Hughes, operator Scott Baker, 2nd AC Robert Duckworth, Key Grip Spencer Johnson, safety diver Johnny Issaluk, camera boat captain Luke Kunilusie, support boat drivers Patrick Kilabuk and Billy Etuanguat. Guy Godfree csc

DP James Gardner csc, sasc on Escaping The Nazis: Heroes of the Holocaust. Justin Lovell


DP Raymond Tuquero (affiliate member) on Pink Is In, Season 2. Chantale Viens

DP Lucas Joseph (associate member) and actor Lane Webber on Web Series: Bloom Room. Part of OYA Black Arts Coalition’s Emerging Filmmakers Program. Leilah Dhore

Power meets performance

Nanlux designs fixtures to meet the lighting needs of today’s most demanding cinema, broadcast and media production professionals, including the Evoke 1200: IP54-rated with built-in FX, this powerful portable daylight COB LED rivals the output of a 1.8kW PAR or 2.5kW HMI Fresnel while delivering fully dimmable flicker-free light.

B camera operator Monica Guddat (associate member) on Shoresy. David White

The compact but powerful Dyno RGBWW Softpanels also deliver incredible output, with built-in gels and colour modes, plus a range of FX modes and, like all Nanlux products, they support industry-standard remote-control protocols.

DP Ashley Iris Gill (associate member) on feature doc Away with Words. Laurie Townshend

Nanlink is a brand new series of control products, with a free downloadable app, wireless control transfer box and handheld remotes that enable simple to advanced control capabilities with one fixture or a network of lights.

Dolly Grip Chris Livingstone, 1st AD Sean Watson, Director Karena Evans, DP Catherine Lutes csc, Operator Mitch Mommaerts, Operator Jeremy Lyall, Focus Puller Robert Tagliaferri, Dolly Grip Chris Schillinger and Focus Puller Matthew Veen on the set of Y: The Last Man. Rafy

To learn more about Nanlux products, contact Vistek’s Commercial Solutions Group, see instore or at





2021 VIRTUAL CSC AWARDS Interviews conducted by affiliate member Michael McAsey. Photos by Michael McAsey and Aidan Breit-McNally


or the second year in a row, the CSC Awards was relegated to the virtual world due to ongoing restrictions on inperson gatherings. However, the 64th CSC Awards, held on November 7, 2021, marked the first time the event took place on the interactive platform Filmocracy, a new streaming and online networking service that allowed guests to enter the virtual space and interact with other guests. It was a unique and unforgettable experience produced by a group of dedicated CSC members and partners, with 2D House providing the virtual wall. The key creators of the event take us behind the scenes of the latest award show.

Additional behind-the-scenes footage available at the CSC YouTube channel

canadian society of cinematographers




Society President George Willis csc, sasc


Director Francis Luta and presenter Zoe Dirse csc

FRANCIS LUTA (PRODUCER / DIRECTOR) Susan Saranchuk pitched me the idea of directing and producing the award show. With CSC backing and sponsorships, we luckily had the means to aim for something bigger than last year’s effort to make up for the fact that it would be the second year in a row to host a virtual event. I pitched the idea to shoot the main speakers and presenters against a virtual wall. The first concept I had for the virtual wall backdrop was taken right out of the white room in Alien: Covenant where we see the giant David statue against an enormous glass overlooking a mysterious landscape. I wanted to replace the David statue with the CSC’s new and improved gold statue, as it overlooks the Canadian Rockies, and in it we see a drive-in theatre where the award show reel would be showcased. I tapped my friend Matt Beasant, a former advertising copywriter turned full-time painter. I worked with VFX artist Andrew Farlow to give the paintings dynamic movement by adding weather particles for each backdrop custom-made for the different categories and presenters. We were the first production to shoot at 2D House’s newest volume wall, where we worked closely with owner David Dvir, studio manager Evan Blacker and volume technician James Hughes.

Francis pitched an idea of doing “Canadiana” and we also landed on a drive-in movie theatre theme. We had two different layouts: one was for the ceremony, which was the drive-in movie theatre, and the other one was for the after party, which was more like being around a campfire having fun with friends. I had never done anything this large before in terms of drawing and graphic design because that’s not really what I do. I’m a cinematographer, and drawing is just something I did as a pastime. So having to figure out how to draw a little world that would work in this platform was definitely a learning curve. I handdrew everything in Procreate on my iPad and then I brought in the different elements and layered them in Photoshop. I output those as Photoshop files so that Filmocracy could take them from there and ingest them into the platform and layer them and make them interactive that way, so we could adjust and move different elements separately. I drew anything from little Muskoka

chairs and a fireplace to a boat to the TV screen that the actual award ceremony was streamed on, and then made background layouts. Shooting at 2D House was really great because they have all their equipment on site, as well as multiple studios. They have a variety of cameras and lighting and specialty tools at the facility, so that just makes it easier. Also, Watson, the resident dog, is really lovely to have around, and the staff and Dave are really awesome people. They really take pride in what they do, and they really are a major support system in the community, especially the independent industry. Everyone that worked on the production was volunteer-based, and I think that speaks volumes to the CSC and the community we have here, especially in Canada, that members come out and they want to put effort in, and they take great pride in the work they do for the CSC. Yeah, join the CSC! LESTER MILLADO, ASSOCIATE MEMBER (DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY) The lighting setup was fairly simple: two lights; key was a Sky Panel S60 through a Chimera with heavy diffusion and a fabric grid to control the beam. Then I had a Source Four with a 36-degree lens as our backlight. Ambience was done by the LED screen. The decision to go with a simple setup was driven by the two shots Francis and I had drawn up; the most limiting one being the wide on the 25 mm that started fully-boomed up on the GFM Primo dolly from 2D House that slightly pushed in on 16 feet of track while booming down. This shot was drawn up specifically to add some dynamism to introduce our presenters. After all, this award show is about cinematographers for cinematographers, so there was no way we were going with two lock-offs.

irst AC Dina Attalla pulling focus on the F CSC trophy hero shot.

P Lester Millado (associate member) D shoots presenter Rion Gonzales.


irector Francis Luta and B cam op D Christina Ienna (associate member).

DAVID DVIR (CEO / OWNER, 2D HOUSE) The difference of shooting at 2D as opposed to any other kind of a studio space is we focus on commercial primarily and, because we have full camera and lighting and other departments available in the same facility, there are some perks. Whether it’s not having to relocate your equipment from where you pick it up to where you’re shooting, or if there’s an emergency and you need some gear very much now – it’s a nice advantage of shooting within a rental house. So I think that there are unique advantages in that sense. The virtual table setup of the CSC award was a new thing for me. I had never experienced that kind of organization regarding people communicating, and I was curious as to how people would be able to interact with each other during the ceremony. It was a neat approach. I just think it was a clever way to gather a bunch of people and have it not be complete disorder. DP Lester Millado (associate member) and dolly grip Artur Vetstein.




irector Francis Luta and D presenter Luc Montpellier csc.

Producing a virtual gala versus a live gala was completely different. In a virtual gala you have no cocktails, no hors d’oeuvres, dinner menu, centrepieces, or any of that to worry about. So that made it easier – and much less expensive – from that point of view. The positioning of the tables and the guests are a very big deal in a live show, but in a virtual show it’s much easier. Everybody can see the screen; you don’t have to worry about how close you are to the stage. And with a live show, even though you script everything as much as possible, presenters still go off on tangents and it just blows your timing all to heck. In a virtual show, that was completely eliminated. Perhaps the biggest learning experience was when we decided to step it up this pandemic year and have a digital Gala. I said to myself, “How hard can it be? It can’t be that much work, you know, compared to a live event... Piece of cake!” But wow, was I wrong. Mounting the Gala, for the first time entirely digitally, was way more work. But I was really lucky because I had a fantastic crew. The key people on board made it look fantastic, and my crew was my biggest asset. The pre-recorded show was beautifully designed/ produced and directed by Francis Luta. Christina Ienna was amazing as always as a producer/camera operator and graphics. Lester Millado was a superb DP! The incredible Dave Oliver, our editor, put the pre-recorded show together with the host speakers, presenters, nominated clips, sponsor logos, shout-outs, and it was put in the hands of another amazing team of people after that: the live event director Ian McLaren, DIT/DMT Andrew Richardson, and technical wonder kid Michael McAsey. There were so many more people on this team that quietly in the background made sure that everybody had everything they needed. People like Patty Guyader, Penny Watier, Lucy Kayumov and Sydney Kondruss. P Lester Millado (associate member) D and Dolly Grip Artur Vetstein.


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