CANADIAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS
June 2021 www.csc.ca
WATER MAN Matthew J. Lloyd
PRETTY HARD CASES Kristin Fieldhouse csc
A publication of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers
FEATURES – VOLUME 13, NO. 3 JUNE 2021
Credit: Harpo Films, ShivHans Pictures
Fostering cinematography in Canada since 1957. The Canadian Society of Cinematographers was founded by a group of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa cameramen. Since then over 800 cinematographers and persons in associated occupations have joined the organization. The CSC provides tangible recognition of the common bonds that link film and digital professionals, from the aspiring student and camera assistant to the news veteran and senior director of photography. We facilitate the dissemination and exchange of technical information and endeavor to advance the knowledge and status of our members within the industry. As an organization dedicated to furthering technical assistance, we maintain contact with nonpartisan groups in our industry but have no political or union affiliation.
The Water Man: Matthew J. Lloyd
Merges Life and Fantasy
By Trevor Hogg, Special to Canadian Cinematographer
The CSC is a not-for-profit organization run by volunteer board members of the society. Thank you to our sponsors for their continued support.
Pretty Cool Collaboration
By Trevor Hogg, Special to Canadian Cinematographer
Courtesy of Method Studios
AC Lighting Arri Canada Blackmagic Design Cinetx Inc. Company 3 Cooke Americas Frame Discreet Fujifilm, North America Corporation Fujifilm, Optical Devices Division Fusion Cine Grande Camera HD Source Inspired Image Keslow Camera Kino Flo Matrix Video Communications Corp. MOSS LED Panavision Canada Picture Shop Red Digital Cinema REDLABdigital Rosco Canada Rotolight Sigma SIM SIMMOD LENS Sony of Canada The Source Shop Urban Post Production Vistek Walter Klassen FX William F. White International Zeiss
Facial Mocap Technology
By Ian Harvey
COLUMNS & DEPARTMENTS 2 4 6 10 12 34
From the Editor-In-Chief From the President In the News CSC Member Spotlight – Pauline Heaton On Set Production Notes/Calendar/Classifieds
Cover Caption: Amiah Miller as Jo in the film The Water Man. Credit: Harpo Films, ShivHans Pictures
Canadian Cinematographer June 2021 Vol. 13, No. 3 EDITORIAL BOARD JOAN HUTTON csc, Editor-in-Chief FANEN CHIAHEMEN, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org JANEK LOWE, Photo Editor PATTY GUYADER, Copy Editor SIMON EVERS, Graphic Designer GUIDO KONDRUSS, Advertising Manager, email@example.com GEORGE WILLIS, csc sasc CLAUDINE SAUVÉ csc SUSAN SARANCHUK, firstname.lastname@example.org CSC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Zoe Dirse csc Jeremy Benning csc Rion Gonzales Joan Hutton csc Kristin Fieldhouse csc Guy Godfree csc Claudine Sauvé csc George Willis csc, sasc CSC EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT George Willis csc, sasc PAST PRESIDENT, ADVISOR Joan Hutton csc VICE PRESIDENTS Philip Lanyon csc Bruno Philip csc Penny Watier MEMBERSHIP CHAIRS Arthur Cooper csc Zoe Dirse csc EDUCATION CHAIRS George Willis csc, sasc Martin Wojtunik AWARDS CHAIR Arthur Cooper csc ONLINE CONTENT COMMITTEE Jeremy Benning csc – Co-Chair Christina Ienna – Co-Chair Carolyn Wong – Co-Chair DIVERSITY COMMITTEE CHAIR Rion Gonzales MENTORSHIP COMMITTEE Nyssa Glück – Co-Chair Iris Ng – Co-Chair RELATIONSHIPS Gaston Bernier OFFICE / MEMBERSHIP / SUBSCRIPTIONS 131–3085 Kingston Road Toronto, Canada M1M 1P1 Tel: 416-266-0591; Fax: 416-266-3996 Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Canadian Cinematographer makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information it publishes; however, it cannot be held responsible for any consequences arising from errors or omissions. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed within the magazine are those of the authors and not necessarily of the publisher. Upon publication, Canadian Cinematographer acquires Canadian Serial Rights; copyright reverts to the writer after publication.Canadian Cinematographer is printed by Winnipeg Sun Commercial Print and is published 10 times a year. One-year subscriptions are available in Canada for $40.00 for individuals and $80.00 for institutions, including HST. In U.S. rates are $45.00 and $90.00 for institutions in U.S. funds. International subscriptions are $50.00 for individuals and $100.00 for institutions. Subscribe online at www.csc.ca.
ISSN 1918-8781 Canadian Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40013776 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses 131–3085 Kingston Road Toronto M1M 1P1 THE CANADIAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION.
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FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joan Hutton csc
It brings me great pleasure to announce that the print version of Canadian Cinematographer will be relaunched this coming September. What a difference a year makes. In June 2020, the magazine’s administration made the difficult decision to place Canadian Cinematographer’s hardcopy edition on hiatus. The COVID-19 pandemic was in full nefarious bloom, vaccines and personal protection gear were in short supply, while restrictions and lockdowns had taken on a whole new meaning in everyone’s lives. It was a time of economic and financial uncertainty that left no one immune, including our film and television industry, and certainly not the CSC. It seemed prudent at the time to invoke efficiencies to protect the magazine as a continuous periodical. Publishing a print magazine is costly, so that part of Canadian Cinematographer was laid to rest until now. Our industry has adapted remarkably well to working under the constant duress of a pandemic. Sets have become enclosed bubbles where face shields, masks and gloves are now mandatory equipment. COVID safety protocols are strictly enforced by special personnel, and COVID testing is done every third day if not daily. Just the whiff of a possible COVID infection is enough to close down a set until an all clear is sounded. Not an ideal situation for shooting films, but doable and necessary. Because we’ve played well by the rules, production has been soaring in Canada. Some are saying 2020-21 will prove to be banner years for the industry despite the pandemic. I would also like to thank the 145 CSC members who responded to our email questionnaire about the magazine. Your time, effort and interest in helping guide the content of Canadian Cinematographer is much appreciated. The survey is comprised of five pointed questions designed to gauge how CSC members read the magazine as to their likes and dislikes. The findings will help us improve the magazine to better engage its readership. The survey results and comments by participants will be published in the September issue. It should make for some very interesting reading. Everyone, have a terrific and safe summer.
Photo: Fabrizio Di Giulio
“It was a 37-day shooting schedule and the fort, our principal location, was on the north side of the Atlas Mountains, not the best for a cinematographer. The light was volatile: cloudy and dark one moment and bright sunshine the next. But symbolically a fantastic location because in the snowy mountains dwell the barbarians, ever present, but not seen. I chose the Cooke 5/i primes for two reasons. They are, I believe, quite forgiving. They are mellow in contrast, colour and sharpness. But most importantly the 5/i lenses are T1.4 and that extra speed was vital to completing schedule within the tight timeframe. Coupled with the ARRI ALEXA SXT and Mini, the Cookes performed remarkably well. They don’t have — God forbid I would say this— the slight hard edge that some other primes have, and they have the speed. They join in telling the story. They make a commitment. We went with a 2.39:1 spherical aspect ratio. We wanted clarity and lenses that matched. Basically, the Cookes were terrific. The most important thing in this scenario was ‘fast’ combined with the skill of our focus puller, Olly and the crew.”
5I Primes T1.4 Focus ring illuminates when you need it. Focal lengths: 18, 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 75, 100, 135mm.
Chris Menges, ASC, BSC Cinematographer Waiting for the Barbarians An extract of an interview by Jon Fauer for Film and Digital Times
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FROM THE PRESIDENT George A. Willis csc, sasc
During my early years in the film industry, I was very fortunate to have done a lot of international travel. It was a strange time as I had just started to make the shift to operating and lighting but still remained heavily involved in my full-time occupation as a first AC. We travelled with a very small crew – director, producer, art director and myself. Contrary to the general belief, our budgets were small and the schedules, while optimistic, were rather unrealistic. The demands of international travel also required that I needed to apply myself in the area of camera maintenance. I remember purchasing the Arri Maintenance Manual, which became my bible as I had to be prepared to address the possibilities of things going wrong. The Arri IIC camera was our workhorse and I got to know that beast on the most intimate level, sometimes having to strip it down to almost bare bones because of a rogue wave when shooting on the beach. I remember having to second guess mechanical scenarios so that manual became quite possibly the most important part of my life when travelling. Allied to that valuable accessory was the very comprehensive tool kit that I travelled with for the “just in case and what if” scenario. The major problem on so many occasions was that travelling with a non-standard tool kit raised suspicions, and on more than one occasion we experienced some significant delays, especially if our flight arrived at night. Regarding the mechanics of the camera, imagine sensing that there was a concern about a camera/ lens issue on an island, thousands of miles removed 4 • Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021
from any civilization. As I reminisce, I recall another essential item – the basic black-and-white D-76 film processing kit, including all the chemicals. As an example, if there was any doubt concerning lens sharpness, the first line of defense was to shoot some black-and-white negative film followed by processing, commonly referred to as the “slop test.” Magnification for inspection was achieved by using a reversed prime lens and more often than not, a closet became the dark room. But one of the strangest experiences was in Madagascar when a customs official was going through our carnet in a darkened airport when our flight was delayed. While we assisted him (he had no flashlight), he demanded where the high-hat and the gooseneck were, bearing in mind we were looking at open cases of camera equipment. It was one of those moments you never forget. In the end, he was still confused, and we were all tired, but he allowed us to leave. Another memorable customs experience was going through departure security, still in Madagascar, when an official wanted us to “open the tins” – the film cans. In those days, we always hand-carried our film through security. We tried to explain the concept of “exposed film,” but he still insisted on seeing what was inside the tin. He watched as I put a “tin” in the change bag and then invited him to put his arms into the cuffs of that black bag and feel the film. Nope! There was no way that he would play that game of black magic. By this time, there was a huge lineup of passengers waiting to go through security and so out of frustration all he said was, “Go!” In retrospect, rather amusing but not at that time.
In The News CSC Honorary Member Graeme Ferguson Dies at 91
Netflix Selects Toronto for Canadian Headquarters In late April, Netflix announced plans to open a corporate office in Toronto, with the streaming giant committed to working with Canadian talent to bring stories from Canada to the world. According to media reports, Netflix plans to set up an interim office this summer before establishing a permanent location, in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Toronto was already home to one of Netflix’s two Canadian production hubs, and Toronto Mayor John Tory said the streamer spends more than $200 million a year shooting shows in the city. In 2019, the film, television and digital media sector contributed $2.2 billion to Toronto’s economy and employed more than 30,000 people.
CSC honorary lifetime member Graeme Ferguson died May 8, 2021, at the age of 91. Ferguson was the coinventor of IMAX, and the director/producer of a number of seminal IMAX films, including North of Superior (1971), the first shot in the IMAX process; Man Belongs to Earth (1974); Destiny in Space (1994); and he served as the executive producer on Hubble 3D (2010). He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1993. In 2013, the CSC awarded Ferguson the Bill Hilson Award for outstanding service contributing to the development of the motion picture industry. Film, TV Studio Planned for Greater Sudbury
Mongrel Media Launches Streaming Service
Cultural Industries Ontario North in April announced plans for a purposebuilt studio in Greater Sudbury with the aim of attracting larger-scale productions to Northern Ontario. The first phase of the project, currently named Freshwater Production Studios, includes a 116,000 sq. ft. facility featuring three clear span sound stages with 35-foot ceilings. There will be 23,000 sq. ft of production and sound stage offices in addition to wardrobe, mill, paint and other ancillary spaces. CION said it anticipates that FPS will be ready for occupancy by January 2023.
In late April, Mongrel Media launched its own subscription streaming service for Canadian audiences in partnership with Magnolia Pictures. Through the service, audiences can view films from both companies’ catalogues, with 10 titles added on the first Tuesday of every month. The $69.99 per year (or $6.99 per month) subscriptions can be purchased via MongrelHomeCinema.com or the Android or iOS app.
Hot Docs Announces Film Relief Fund Hot Docs recently announced its Independent Cinemas Relief Fund, which aims to distribute 14 grants of $2,000 in financial relief for independent cinemas to prepare them for an eventual reopening. The donation-based fund was developed and administered in consultation with the Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors, and grants will be awarded by this summer based on a juried process, taking need and geographic representation into account.
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Maxine Bailey Appointed CFC Executive Director In early May, Maxine Bailey assumed the position of executive director of the Canadian Film Centre, succeeding Slawko Klymkiw, who retired at the end of March. Bailey joins the CFC after 18 years at the Toronto International Film Festival, most recently as Vice-President, Advancement. Bailey has more than 20 years of experience in stakeholder engagement, fundraising and program management in the creative industries. In her role as Vice-President of Advancement at TIFF, she was the principal liaison and chief fundraiser for the organization’s government partners, donors, and members in their support of TIFF’s festivals and year-round programming.
Streamland Media Finalizes Acquisition of Technicolor Post
Credit: Courtesy of Streamland Media
Streamland Media announced last month it has completed the acquisition of Technicolor Post and integrated its services into Streamland’s picture, VFX, sound and marketing divisions. Streamland’s executive leadership team incudes Sherri Potter, Robert Rosenthal and Jake Torem. Potter, who previously served as president of Technicolor Post and Technicolor VFX, will oversee the company’s worldwide picture and VFX services. Rosenthal will continue to lead all sound services for Streamland Media under Formosa Group. Torem will oversee Streamland’s marketing services. Streamland Media’s acquisition of Technicolor Post, which was first announced in January, is backed by Trive Capital and Five Crowns Capital.
Clockwise: Bill Romeo, CEO; Bob Rosenthal, Sound Services; Rerecording Stage 1, Sherri Potter, Picture Services; and Jake Torem, Marketing Services.
Producer and Distributor David Miller Dead at 47 Film publicist, producer and distributor David Miller died on April 6 at the age of 47 due to preexisting health conditions, according to media reports. Miller’s credits include Amal and Siddarth; Jason Buxton’s Blackbird; Jason Krawczyk’s He Never Died; Michael Melski’s The Child Remains; and Joey Klein’s The Other Half. Miller was born in
Kitchener, Ontario, in 1974. He began his career in the television and film industry with a public relations position at the Academy of Canadian Cinema. Over his more than 20-year career, he worked for the National Film Board where he led a winning Oscar campaign for the animated short film Ryan (2004); Channel Zero as the director of creative and business development; and then moved to producing and distribution as a partner in A71 Entertainment.
ACCEPTANCES / AWARDS / NOMINATIONS CSC Members among Canadian Screen Awards Winners The CSC congratulates the following members for their 2021 Canadian Screen Awards wins: Achievement in Cinematography: Maya Bankovic csc (Akilla’s Escape) Best Photography, Documentary or Factual: Martin Buzora (Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade – “Cultures Left Behind”) Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Documentary: Ryan A. Randall (Workhorse) Best Photography, Drama: Steve Cosens csc (Cardinal: Until the Night) Best Photography, Comedy: James Klopko csc (Kim’s Convenience – “Couch Surfing”) Michael Jari Davidson, associate member (cinematographer) Philosopher’s Dream (short film), accepted: Official Selection, 21st Annual Malibu International Film Festival, Malibu, 2021 Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
THE 64 ANNUAL CSC AWARD NOMINEES th
THEATRICAL FEATURE CINEMATOGRAPHY Kristofer Bonnell Girl! Guy Godfree csc Let Him Go Jeff Maher The Oak Room Brendan Steacy csc Flashback Nick Thomas The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw NON-THEATRICAL FEATURE CINEMATOGRAPHY Maya Bankovic csc I Was Lorena Bobbitt Douglas Koch csc Funny Boy Kevin Rasmussen Tainted Ronald Paul Richard Dangerous Lies Jason Tan csc The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel DRAMATIC SERIES CINEMATOGRAPHY - COMMERCIAL Project Blue Book “Area 51” François Dagenais csc Pierre Gill csc Transplant “Pilot” Pierre Jodoin csc La Garçonne “Pilot” Jon Joffin asc Motherland: Fort Salem “Say the Words” Ronald Paul Richard Riverdale “Chapter Seventy-Four: Wicked Little Town” DRAMATIC SERIES CINEMATOGRAPHY - NON-COMMERCIAL Fraser Brown csc The Hardy Boys “The Secret Room” Robert McLachlan csc asc Lovecraft Country “Jig-A-Bobo” Boris Mojsovski csc Titans “Faux Hawk” Craig Wrobleski csc Tales from the Loop “Stasis” Craig Wrobleski csc The Umbrella Academy “The Swedish Job” DRAMATIC SHORT CINEMATOGRAPHY Christian Bielz Bloodshed Daniel Everitt-Lock Challenger Peter Hadfield Benjamin Benny Ben D. Gregor Hagey csc The Kall Ian Macmillan Still (Where Then Ends and Now Begins) FRITZ SPIESS AWARD FOR COMMERCIAL CINEMATOGRAPHY Arc’teryx “Flow With Life” Kris Belchevski Daniel Green & Jean-François Lord Export Development Canada “Nova Craft Canoe” Norm Li csc Whoop “Know Yourself” Mark Zibert & Eric Kaskens Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment “Don’t Blink” Mark Zibert & Eric Kaskens Kruger Products L.P. “ Unapologetically Human”
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CHILDREN’S / YOUTH PROGRAMMING CINEMATOGRAPHY Utopia Falls, “If I Ruled the World” Samy Inayah csc George Lajtai csc Endlings, “The End is the Beginning, Part 2” George Lajtai csc Ghostwriter, “Franken-Ghost, Part 3” COMEDY SERIES CINEMATOGRAPHY Kristin Fieldhouse csc Run, “Jump” Jon Joffin asc Julie and the Phantoms, “Wake Up” Kim’s Convenience, “Couch Surfing” James Klopko csc David Makin csc Schitt’s Creek, “The Presidential Suite” Brett Van Dyke csc JANN, “The Tunies” ROBERT BROOKS AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARY LONG FORMAT CINEMATOGRAPHY Ray Dumas csc & Simon Shohet csc Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan “The Rise of Oda Nobunaga” Claudine Sauvé csc & The Fence François Vincelette & Christian Lamontagne & Stephen Chandler Whitehead The Last Tourist Bryce Zimmerman Borrowed from Nature DOCUMENTARY SHORT FORMAT CINEMATOGRAPHY Jeremy Benning csc & Matt Bendo Footsteps Nina Djacic Last Night at the Strip Club Cole Graham They Saw the Sun First Goh Iromoto My Name - Pratibha’s Story Adam Madryzk Rising “Amaal” MUSIC VIDEO CINEMATOGRAPHY Julien Lomaga “Equinox - Into the Open” performed by Voga Catherine Lutes csc “Anywayz” performed by Austra Catherine Lutes csc “No One But You” performed by Justin Nozuka Catherine Lutes csc “Risk It” performed by Austra Mike McLaughlin “Pay For It“ performed by July Talk WEB SERIES – FICTION CINEMATOGRAPHY Kieran Crilly Band Ladies “Orgasm Addict” D. Gregor Hagey csc Detention Adventure “Old Roads” Robert Scarborough csc For the Record “The Drop”
STUDENT CINEMATOGRAPHY Steven Bagshaw Hamza Boudjelal Nathan Flores Matthew Mosley Tony Truong
Down Deloro River, Sheridan College Archet Violon, Université of Montréal 1000 Paper Cranes, Sisler Post-High Anamnesis, Sheridan College Freebird, Sheridan College
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CSC Member Spotlight
Pauline Heaton csc What films or other works of art have made the biggest impression on you?
Films and other works that originally inspired me were Nomads of the Deep, an IMAX film about humpback whales, and the French feature The Big Blue.
How did you get started in the business?
My grandfather owned cinemas and distributed films for Warner Brothers starting in the Caribbean and later in Canada. The suggestion of taking two of my loves – cinema and swimming in the ocean – and make it my life was given to me. I was diving at 15. I got my BA at Ryerson in Motion Picture and at the same time worked as an underwater camera assistant. I was picked to train with the CSC and that led to being invited to train in the Union. I started Canada’s first underwater motion picture company with the help of Panavision and was a founding member of IATSE 669 after being a member of 667 in Toronto. I specialized in underwater and quickly became the only Union underwater director of photography.
Who have been your mentors or teachers?
Credit: Wendy D Photography
I was fortunate to work alongside the greats such as Vilmos Zsigmond asc, hsc, Russell Carpenter asc and Adrian Biddle bsc. Early in my career, I was taken seriously by DPs like Bob Ennis and Tom Burstyn csc, nzcs when I wanted to try not using the old film stocks underwater or fly off to a far destination and capture the “real thing;” and producers John M. Eckert, Chad Oakes, Michael Frislev, who were not afraid to let me
10 • Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021
take the scenes into the wild oceans; and production managers such as Harold Tichenor and Fran Rosati who trusted me to go and get the job done on budget, on time and with that wow factor. What cinematographers inspire you?
Vilmos Zsigmond and Tom Burstyn supported me and collaborated in helping me create my visions.
Take Your Pick One is an RGBW tube light, the other a powerful LED lineup that rivals the output of portable HMI lights – these portable production lighting solutions from Nanlite put incredible power in your hands.
Name some of your professional highlights.
Walking down the red carpet about to be honoured with the Woman Cinematographer Award of the Year by Kodak in Hollywood for my lifetime achievement at the Women in Film Crystal Awards. The award was called the “Kodak Vision Award” in 2003.
What is one of your most memorable moments on set?
My most memorable moments always involved my team and I achieving the impossible – in the ocean with creatures such as whales and manta rays, combined with movie stars pulling off dramatic scenes that were high production value, provided an environmental window and amazing moments that take your breath away.
The Nanlite Forza LEDs pack a real punch and come in 60, 300 and 500 watt versions and have a wide range of lighting modifiers; each offers incredible output relative to its size: up to 6732L, 29440L and 46613L respectively.
What do you like best about what you do?
Once I am in my element and doing my job achieving my vision with the cooperation of Hollywood and Mother Nature, I would ask my team to pinch me and I would say, “You know we are getting paid for this!”
What do you think has been the greatest invention (related to your craft)?
I was constantly assisting Kodak with testing stock for underwater work. I was also designing and manufacturing underwater lights since anything invented before was still in the dark ages and was useless at allowing an underwater cinematographer to achieve the level of vision that they were trying to create. The new stocks, the new lights and building my own equipment allowed me the tools to take the craft of underwater cinematography to a level where I can achieve the look needed, whether in a controlled environment or in the ocean.
Available in 10-inch, two-foot and four-foot versions, the Nanlite PavoTube RGBWW LED tube light features a convenient internal battery and adjustable colour temperature up to 7500K. Both lineups boast a CRI of 98 and a TLCI of 95, 0 to 100% flicker-free dimming, plus a full slate of cool special lighting effects. Each model is designed to meet different needs: which ones belong in your production bag? CLICK HERE TO SEE VISTEK’S FULL NANLITE RANGE
How can others follow your work?
Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
TORONTO | MISSISSAUGA | OTTAWA CALGARY | EDMONTON
Credit: Christina Laurice
Daniel Villeneuve csc with director Caroline Labrèche lining up a shot on TV Movie Sweet as Maple Syrup
Credit: Jordan Heguy
Associate member Anthony Sardo on set for a Southern Ontario travel show called Living Local on YES TV.
Associate member Daniel Green on a commercial shoot film performed by the local Chief in Northern Ontario.
Associate member Monica Guddat on set of a commercial/comedy how-to skit for Chive plant store.
Credit: Kate Cameron
Pearl in The Mist’s director and cinematographer David Bercovici-Artieda (associate member) lines up a shot with lead actress Raechelle Banno, with A camera/steady operator Brett Manyluck in the background.
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Credit: Weeping Willow Pictures
Credit: Courtesy of Daniel Green
Credit: Bruce Dale
Credit: Dominique Fortin
Associate member Gregory Bennett and actress Victoria Mero on set of the horror film It’s Me, Billy.
Credit: Mike Gouvis
ming a traditional native dance
Credit: Kato Ferrer
Student member Susan Liu and 2nd AC Moe Marino on set of director Luvleen Hunjan’s Underwater Flower
Associate member Cameron Roden and his mentee through the CSC Field of view program Dhruval Patel on the set of a recent music video shoot for artist Ralph.
Associate member Michael Jari Davidson tracks the action on the horror comedy feature film The Chamber of Terror.
Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
The Water Man
Matthew J. Lloyd csc, asc
Merges Life and Fantasy By Trevor Hogg, Special to Canadian Cinematographer Images Harpo Films, ShivHans Pictures
s part of the first online edition of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2020, acclaimed actor David Oyelowo had the world premiere of his feature directorial debut The Water Man. Oyelowo appears in front of the camera alongside Lonnie Chavis, Amiah Miller, Rosario Dawson, Maria Bello and Alfred Molina. The story revolves around a teenage boy (Chavis) searching for a mythical figure who might be able save his terminal ill mother (Dawson) by granting her eternal life. The family drama caught the attention of RLJE Films, which acquired the North American rights, while Netflix serves as the international distributor.
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Hired to be the cinematographer was Matthew J. Lloyd csc, asc (Spider-Man: Far from Home), who partnered with veteran collaborator Sean Coleman (Bird Box) at Company 3 to grade the footage. The elegance and intellect of Oyelowo, as well as his grace under pressure, impressed Lloyd. “David has obviously studied many of the directors that he has worked for as an actor and has absorbed a lot of that,” the cinematographer says. “He has a lot of resources to call upon when he doesn’t know something. It never felt like a true first-time director scenario.” However, the director also being a cast member did complicate matters. “David would be
Amiah Miller as Jo.
in costume, standing by the monitor directing and call, ‘Action!’ He would literally run into his own shot and then watch it in playback. It was amazing to see. He was very nimble,” Lloyd says, adding that there was room for collaboration. “We spent a lot of time going through the script talking about what each scene was about, not necessarily the shot. There are certain punctuation shots that get you in and out of scenes which can be quite specific. But in terms of the general rendering of a scene, I don’t find talking about two-shots and singles helpful because once you see the scene unfolding you understand what it is that you need.”
Preproduction began in April 2019, while principal photography commenced outside of Portland, Oregon, in late May 2019 and concluded in early July 2019. “The one obvious challenge was the variety of locations that were going to be necessary,” Lloyd states. “It was some of the deepest scouting that I’ve ever done where you’re hiking. We would check our step meters at the end of the day and would be routinely doing eight to 10 miles of walking around. Very little of it is set or greenscreen. We shot in a real house and turned it into our go-to set. The house was reworked to serve the specific needs of the script. The only greenscreen work were the Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
danger sequences with the kids involving the horses, the log and fire. But the majority of it is true Oregon wilderness.” The horses were real but layered and duplicated to increase their numbers. “The kids were pulled off with chroma screens so they could look like the horses were right on top of them,” Lloyd says. “The town scenes were captured in Estacada, Oregon. It was near to where we were going to shoot the house and had that main street vibe you would expect from the non-urban American landscape.” Visual references and inspiration came from shooting, scouting, watching movies and looking at stills from past projects, according to Lloyd. “David
had things that he responded to in terms of types of shots such as how tight is a closeup or how wide is a wide shot,” he explains. The Water Man was predominately captured with two ARRI ALEXA Mini cameras with a third camera brought in for complicated scenes. It was shot in 3.4K open gate and Cooke Anamorphic/i lenses from Koerner Camera in Portland. The visual effects sequences were shot spherical with Cooke S4 so that the lens mapping and focus falloff would not be as hard for Pixomondo to deal with when compositing. “We used the T5 Macro for most of the closeups in order to get closer than you usually can with an anamorphic lens without diopters.
This is an Adventure N
ot one to shy away from challenging roles, whether it be portraying civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. (Selma), MI5 agent Danny Hunter (MI-5), or providing the voice of Scar (The Lion Guard), David Oyelowo adds feature film
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directing to his distinguished resume with The Water Man. According to the actor-director, a critical part of the storytelling is having an understanding and appreciation for cinematography. “Growing up watching films and being transported
by them, so much of that was tied to imagery,” Oyelowo says. “I’ve had the good fortune of being in the midst of seeing how the sausage is made, in terms of being on great film sets with great filmmakers. In some ways you lose a little bit of your awe around how these images are created. Truly great cinematography is when I’m still taken back to what it felt like to watch great images
Left and top: Amiah Miller. Bottom: (L-R) Lonnie Chavis and Amiah Miller.
The 40 mm was a good midrange,” Lloyd says. An that can be turned into a lot of different things with important visual element was being able to isolate one head. It can become a big soft box or a harder the characters of Gunner (Chavis) and Jo (Miller) parabolic thing. It has a lot of output and is flexible. in the landscape so the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 was The Sourcemaker 8x8 Blanket lights I used to clean chosen. “The traditional scenes were ProRes, which up skin and fight off some of the green coming off is fine for a 2K finish, especially when you have somebody like Sean grading it, and ARRIRAW David has obviously studied many of the directors for all of the visual effects.” that he has worked for as an actor and has A fair number of LED lights were absorbed a lot of that. He has a lot of resources used like ARRI SkyPanels. “Most to call upon when he doesn’t know something. It of the fire stuff is tungsten,” Lloyd never felt like a true first-time director scenario. remarks. “I used the Hudson Spider, which is a terrific instrument for the first time on a big screen.” It was through the eyes of directors that Oyelowo was introduced to cinematography. “I understand what a director is doing or has done in the past more so,” he says. “But I will say that Anthony Dod Mantle [dff, bsc, asc] made a great impression on me when I did The Last King of Scotland with him; in particular his style of structured imagery mixed
with cinéma verité. I’ve worked with Bradford Young asc on Middle of Nowhere, Selma and A Most Violent Year. Bradford is phenomenal at making black skin work well on film, especially when it is interacting with white people on screen.” While performing in a short film shot by Matthew J. Lloyd csc, asc, Oyelowo decided that he wanted to collaborate with him on The Water
Man. “We shot it in five days, and I was so taken by how creative Matt was with his camera,” Oyelowo recalls. “It struck me that he was just coming off of Spider-Man: Far from Home. A cinematographer who is that nimble but also knows how to do scope and scale on huge movies is someone who has the whole package. I’m so glad that Matt felt the confidence to come on this Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
(L-R) Lonnie Chavis and Amiah Miller.
journey because he absolutely had what I wanted in terms of capturing the intimacy of the family but also the scale of the adventure.” Oyelowo was able to leverage the visual effects expertise that Lloyd had gained from working on Marvel Studio productions. “The ambition lay in how we were going to be platforming the imagination of kids and the size of the world that
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they were stepping into,” Oyelowo says. “I needed a cinematographer who could capture as much of that scope, scale and size in camera but understood the moments where visual effects would have to take over. The log crossing over the river was one of those moments where Matt’s experience with visual effects paid off. I’ve had experience working with visual effects as an
actor, but it is a different thing when you are building that. To have a cinematographer with a high level of confidence around how to do it was absolutely invaluable.” The wilderness locations restricted the type of equipment that could be utilized. “Going on those location scouts with Matt was invaluable,” according to Oyelowo. “Matt understood quickly that he required
of the foliage in the forest scenes.” The light scheme for the house is moodier. “There is some heavy stuff happening there. Mom is sick. The family just got to town. Dad and son aren’t connected as ultimately they will be towards the end of the film. We tried to open up those ending sequences to make them feel daylit and open, so you feel a change happen visually in the house.” Animated storyboards were created for the big sequences such as the forest fire and river crossings scenes. “You think about the bluesky version where you can do anything and then assess what parts of that are going to give you the most scope and realistic effects,” Lloyd explains. “For example, when the kids are crossing a flowing river at height over a log, you have this impossible scenario of working with kids near a river that is moving fast enough. You know that every time we see the water it is going to be a visual effects shot. It is a matter of figuring out what is the ultimate number of shots that we want to invest in a scene like that to sell the peril and stakes to the audience. It becomes a combination of a real environment where you have everything leading up to the log shot in camera. You shoot them looking across a real river where Pixomondo put a simple composite of our set piece log without seeing too much of the water. You’re preserving your resources for the big shots in the sequence.” Practical effects were utilized for the forest fire. “Most of the cover-
It was some of the deepest scouting that I’ve ever done where you’re hiking. We would check our step meters at the end of the day and would be routinely doing eight to 10 miles of walking around.
camera equipment that you could put on your back and literally go hiking with, but still have the type of lenses that gave us scope and the cinematic qualities that we needed and wanted. I never wanted the nature of our location in any way to detrimentally affect the scope and scale of the film. I relied heavily on Matt to figure out the kind of equipment that would enable us to be both
nimble and capture that scale.” In the third act of the film, vibrancy gives way to desaturation. “It was to do with the fact that images inherently elicit a feeling,” Oyelowo remarks. “If you are looking at a frame that is vibrant with colour, it suggests life and hope. If you desaturate that same image, it extricates some of that hope. When Gunner [Lonnie Chavis] goes out
into the forest, he is full of hope about being able to save his mother [Rosario Dawson]. As time passes, that hope begins to ebb because it’s taking longer and more effort to find this mythical figure that might be the answer to cheating death. I wanted in a subtle way to diminish that feeling of vibrancy that we had earlier on in the film. By the end at the movie, that vibrancy is back. Even though Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
age is flame bars in the foreground giving you the effect of heat ripples,” Lloyd reveals. “Then a lot of lighting to produce the effect on the actors’ faces. We had a large tube pumping soft billowy smoke and fans to move it around; that was bumped up in the closeup to try to sell it without needing to see fire. We had the forest service with us for the whole time. When going into these areas you have to be specific as to where you want to be. It was a lot of packing things and carrying them in by hand. There weren’t a lot of vehicles to move stuff around. It was a labour-intensive operation to get in and out of those areas.” Disorientation prevails in the cabin scene with the handheld camera motion, and lack of clarity and sharpness in the imagery. “It’s a limited depth of field where you only have one razor-thin section of the axis left in focus,” Lloyd says. “Things are falling off quickly. It helps to add to the mystery and hide the seams to some degree.” Comic book sequences featured in the film were brought to cinematic life through animation. “They were well-identified in the script and were originally intended to be live-action,” Lloyd offers. “But it became clear that was not going to be realistic in terms of capturing the flood, and the aesthetic of the storybook element was pivotal to the film and was something that worked in well with those animation sequences. It was figuring out where they were going to go, and what shot would get you transitioned in and out of those things.” The film’s colour palette goes from vibrant to monochromatic to reflect the coming-of-age adventures that Amblin Entertainment is known for, as well as the dark undertones of a fairy tale. “Most
the circumstance hasn’t changed, what Gunner comes to learn is that love and seizing the hope of the day, as opposed to worrying incessantly about what might be tomorrow, is the thing to gravitate towards. “I always wanted there to be these moments when the kids feel so tiny in the frame in these big environments,” Oyelowo explains. “The reason I wanted that
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of that idea of desaturation in the third act of the film was a David invention,” Lloyd says. “Once I understood what the elements were going to be there, in terms of the smoke and some charred woods that we found to work in, the desaturation started to make more sense and feel integrated. Sean Coleman did a fantastic job of subtly pulling more colour out as we drew to the climax and rescue.” One LUT was utilized by Lloyd and Coleman. “We had to do the DI remotely because the facilities were closed when we were finishing,” the cinematographer says. “That took some R&D in terms of how we would check the work and getting monitors set up in the house to be able to double check that everything was going according to plan. I like to get directors and producers in on it sooner than later because there are a lot of notes in the DI process.” For Coleman, it was important not to radically change things in the DI such as with the comic book animation moments. “They build these sequences with colours that have been accepted and liked, so my job is to bring that to life without randomly changing things within that colour space,” Coleman says. The scene when the children are sitting around the campfire was shot day for night. “My job is dependent on what was done before I get to it. Matt did a fantastic job of lighting it,” he adds. “It comes out looking natural. I don’t know you can look at the scene and say that they shot it during the day. It is funny. The movie is colourful, but there is no part where we added in any colour. The colour was all baked in. We did take a lot out as David wanted the smoke to play in the forest and for it to feel like the fire was an eminent danger. There was a lot of manipulation with that stuff.
is to typify how insurmountable the circumstances they found themselves in. I wanted the shooting style to be fairly classic. We didn’t want it to get too handheld and juddery in that way; we wanted it to be poetic. I wanted to make a film where every time you can get a sense of what the story is and where the characters are by virtue of looking at a still frame. The
framing, the size of the characters within it, and where the camera is in the home or outside, these were all things that Matt and I talked about. Without him there I would have been completely lost.”
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Top: Lonnie Chavis from the climactic scene in The Water Man. Bottom: (L-R) Lonnie Chavis and Amiah Miller.
It was thoroughly thought out.” The fantasy and real worlds collide inside of the mysterious hut. “It morphs into a graphic novel aesthetic. I love that scene. It’s beautiful.” Indispensable support was provided by A camera/ Steadicam operator Matthew Moriarty, key grip Sean Devine and gaffer Edward Barnes. “In terms of challenges, it’s an adventure movie in the woods with kids,” Lloyd reflects. “You have restrictions on the hours the kids can work, and that time of year your best light is early and very late. You can’t have the kids on both ends. You’re always trying to find 22 • Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021
ways to work outdoors that give you the best visuals but inside the parameters that have to happen for the logistics and execution. You work with the AD to schedule and come up with smart ways to give you the best shot and have it look like something special. For what we had to work with in regards to the visual effects sequences that Pixomondo executed, like the log crossing and horses, they were well done. I love Rosario Dawson’s performance and Amiah Miller in that abandoned mill with the graffiti, which was a special location. I was happy how that turned out.”
Kristin Fieldhouse csc
PRETTY COOL COLLABORATIO “The pandemic brought into focus how much we depend on communication and in-person relationships to do our work. We had to adapt to this new normal quickly, while finding alternative ways of working together. Our team became close through this process, and it’s a testament to the passion and dedication we have for what we do.”
(L-R) Meredith MacNeill and Adrienne C. Moore.
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Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
n order to find the same drug dealer, Guns and Gangs Detective Samantha Wazowski (Meredith MacNeill) and Narcotics Detective Kelly Duff (Adrienne Moore) partner with one another, and what ensues is a clash of personalities and styles with comedic and dramatic results. Originally called Lady Dicks, Pretty Hard Cases was conceived by Tassie Cameron (Rookie Blue) and Sherry White (Maudie) with the 10-episode first season airing on CBC. Hired to be the sole cinematographer was Kristin Fieldhouse csc (Little Dog) who worked closely and remotely with Picture Shop Toronto Senior Colourist Brett Trider (The Breadwinner) as the project was shot and completed during the COVID-19 pandemic. By Trevor Hogg, Special to Canadian Cinematographer
*Credit: Kristin Fieldhouse csc
Images courtesy of the CBC*
On the set of Pretty Hard Cases.
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Having a number of women in key positions changed the dynamics of the show. “These two characters are in their mid40s, have successful careers, and are in leadership roles,” Fieldhouse observes. “When you combine that with the showrunners and the other creatives who have come to it from that perspective as working women in this industry, which has been traditionally male-oriented, it can lead to more authentic storytelling.” Also having a significant impact was having to deal with the COVID-19 protocols during principal photography. “The pandemic brought into focus how much we depend on communication and inperson relationships to do our work,” Fieldhouse says. “We had to adapt to this new normal quickly, while finding alternative ways of working together. Our team became close through this process, and it’s a testament to the passion and dedication we have for what we do. It was also a Season One, so we were trying to find the look and feel of the show with the pandemic put on top of that.” Fieldhouse put together a mood board website for the cast and crew featuring cinematic references such as BlacKkKlansman, High Castle, Atlanta, and the BBC series Luther. “It started with the showrunners loving The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, which is a more traditional comedic feature, and then Pretty Hard Cases evolved with more serious undertones that we emphasised using colour palette, composition and camera movement. We drew a lot from Pariah, a feature lensed by Bradford Young ASC and I loved the way that [the Netflix docuseries] Fear City brought the environment into focus as a backdrop to the story, which I wanted to emulate.” Finding locations was made harder by the pandemic. “There were certain
Meredith MacNeill and Adrienne C. Moore.
Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
Adrienne C. Moore.
locations that weren’t feasible because the rooms were too small or there wasn’t enough ventilation for interiors,” Fieldhouse remarks. “More sets were built than originally planned as we needed the environments to be safer. Then we had to match that to location exteriors. We had to survey with a lot more detail and a lot more cross communication between departments, especially because I wasn’t alternating on this. There were typically seven to eight days per episode. While shooting, we were surveying and preparing for the next episode.” While Fieldhouse was the only cinematographer on the series, David Wellington, Sherry White, Cory Bowles, Jordan Canning, Winnifred Jong and Bosede Williams took turns sitting in the director’s chair. “It was a very enjoyable experience for me to work with all of these directors,” Fieldhouse says. “They all brought their own unique tastes and perspectives to the material. The joy for me is to collaborate within the world that we’ve created, giving freedom and experimentation to try new things. I also made time on weekends and lunches to collaborate on Zoom and see how they were feeling about their episode. It was my responsibility as the con28 • Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021
sistent person on set to maintain the look and feel of the series. It was important that I had the trust of our fantastic leads who were very committed to what we were creating.” Principal photography took place in Mississauga, Etobicoke, Toronto and Ajax. “We were supposed to shoot for four months, but then we were worried about a second lockdown in January,” Fieldhouse states. “We went into six-day weeks for the last month, which was hard on the cast and crew but was important to finish the show by the holidays. Originally, we started with each department working separately on the floor, but that really hindered us moving with speed and fluidity. We found a way to dance around each other, physically distanced, while doing our jobs safely. It was a delicate balance especially when the winter came and our time was more limited. We had to be creative and flexible with our schedule in order to make our days.” Even though Pretty Hard Cases was primarily shot with two cameras, a third ALEXA Mini was available to be used. “I love the colour rendition of the ALEXA and like working with Minis on location because I can get them in tight spaces and am able
to move faster,” Fieldhouse explains. “I had one Lazarus [Possessor] and gaffer Mark Hewson to debuilt on Steadicam so we could flip between studio, sign a lot of practical lighting in the studio that utihandheld and Steadicam easily. I decided on the lised Astera Titan Tubes on dmx, which we could Cooke S5 lenses because of their warmth, texture manipulate and adjust seamlessly,” Fieldhouse says. and character. As the series evolved, the two-shot “A lot of our shots moved through our environments between Sam and Kelly became our main hero frame. It visually portrayed the dynamic and chemistry between “It was a very enjoyable experience for me to them. The 40 mm was certainly a hero work with all of these directors. They all brought lens, with 50 mm and 65 mm on clo- their own unique tastes and perspectives to the seups, and then some wider lensing for environments. We also utilised the material. The joy for me is to collaborate within 135 mm and 150 mm for surveillance- the world that we’ve created, giving freedom and type imagery. We always strived to get experimentation to try new things.” our cameras physically close to the characters to feel what they were going through.” For lighting they played things under key for mood as one-shot Steadicam sequences, so the lighting and brought in colour through wardrobe, set design was designed to give us freedom. We had harder and the use of practicals. “In the OCE [Office of tungsten lighting coming in through windows and Compliance and Enforcement], which is our police SkyPanels on the backdrops. The Astera tubes were station, I worked with production designer Rupert on camera as pendant lights and when offscreen I
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you’re going to embrace the lighting on location or create new looks, Jeff was able to bring his creative eye to things.” Fieldhouse and Trider were not able to be in the same room to do the final colour grading, which emphasized the importance of having properly calibrated monitors. “Technology has advanced so much we have the TechStream app on the iPad, which is calibrated exactly the same as what I am seeing,” according to Trider, Adrienne C. Moore. who graded the project on DaVinci Resolve. “There is played with their levels to bring up or down certain always a level of trust between the colourist and parts of the room. I used diffusion with magnets to DP as to what is going out, especially now because billow the lights for closeups. We also designed a people have different TVs or are looking at it on large key light called our ‘Hope Light,’ which was whatever Internet that they have. There is compresessentially a cage that had a 4x8 Sourcemaker Blan- sion involved. What is the broadcaster doing to it? ket light on the back, custom milk glass on the front How many boxes is the show going through before and blacked out on the sides; that was a soft beauti- it goes to air? There are a lot of questions like that.” ful light you could wheel around. Before principal photography began, Fieldhouse “With shooting such a high page count, we shot was able to spend time in the colour suite with ProRes 3.2K and 1.78:1 aspect ratio, which worked Trider. “We looked through some tests and then out nicely,” Fieldhouse states. “I took our tests all later the pilot,” Fieldhouse remarks. “The Flanders the way through the pipeline and was able to screen monitors that we had on set were close to what I them at Technicolor [now Picture Shop]. I created was seeing at Technicolor [now Picture Shop]. It was a seamless transition.” Camera tests are critical in establishing LUTs. “The most important thing when you’re do“It’s an exciting time because you can be anying camera tests is that you’re seeing where in the world and work on the image with the true lighting, and what it is doing your colourist without having to be in the same to people’s skin and how the art design room. Though I always prefer the collaboration of is going to affect the look of the image,” Trider notes. “Maybe some costume being in the same room with the colourist.” changes should be happening. Making LUTs are so important because people the LUT with colourist Brett Trider, which was get used to seeing an image that is 80 to 90 per cent finessed. I was able to live grade with DIT Jeff a final look.” MacNab and that was important when dealing with Two LUTs were made for Pretty Hard Cases. different locations and mixed lighting. Whether “There was only one that we really used,” Trider 30 • Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021
says. “The second one lifted the blacks, so it gave you more room to see there.” The primary LUT was influenced by a classic Kodak reversal film known as Ektachrome, which is famous for bold primary colours and a very fine grain. “It has a film roll-off in the whites that is so nice; it doesn’t have that harsh edge to it,” he says. “It really does compliment people’s skin. I look at the first week of dailies and talk to Kristin; maybe we’ll do a couple of tweaks. As long as the DIT is going through the LUT, I know that the looks are going to be there for Kristin and
we evolved our colour palette to the signature look of the show.” Two days were spent grading each episode. “I was allowed back into the suite when Pretty Hard Cases and a lot of other shows started shooting, which made things a lot easier than having to work at home,” Trider notes. “Because Kristin and I had established the looks and LUTs, we already had our shorthand. I already knew that the exteriors would be tough sometimes because they are on every show. Doing the work upfront mitigated all of those
(L-R) Adrienne C. Moore and Meredith MacNeill.
I to be creative as well. If the DIT is going to make any changes, it is important I know that.” Trider was not thrown off by the aesthetic of Pretty Hard Cases changing throughout production. “I find that any first season of a show the art direction on top of the colour is always finding itself,” he says. Locations impacted the colour palette. “We played with the colours that felt naturalistic to the environment that we were in,” Fieldhouse says. “We heightened that, but nothing was ever overly stylized. We didn’t tend to use a lot of backlight. It was more the feeling of light forcing its way in. We coordinated a great deal with production design and costumes as
challenges that we would have.” Fieldhouse is in agreement. “I felt that we had a good collaborative process from the showrunners to post,” she says. “[Postproduction supervisor] Rachel Sutherland was so key in keeping us together. If you don’t have that shorthand and haven’t done that work then those surprises are harder to deal with on the day.” Fieldhouse concludes, “It’s an exciting time because you can be anywhere in the world and work on the image with your colourist without having to be in the same room. Though I always prefer the collaboration of being in the same room with the colourist.” Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021 •
Facial Mocap Technology Gets Its Moment in the Spotlight
Babak Beheshti, Scott Robitille, Ian Kelly and Dejan Momcilovic in a screenshot of Standard Deviation's acceptance speech at the 2021 Scientific & Technical Awards.
he thing about technology in filmmaking is that you should never see it on the screen, but you’d miss it if it wasn’t there. In other words, nothing gets in the way of the story and everything should seamlessly support the narrative from start to finish. One of those behind-the-scenes technologies is motion capture (mocap) and after 25 years of evolution in filmmaking, it got a big nod a couple of months ago when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) honoured some 55 people and two companies who pioneered development of head-mounted camera systems with its Scientific and Technical Awards. Headcam rigs are used in both filmmaking and game making so it’s no surprise that there’s a blurring of lines between the two. We have already seen virtual sets incorporate a video game engine, and as movies become more like video games – John Wick, for example – video games are becoming more like player-directed movies. Of course headcams have been around for a long time. The early helmet-mounted rigs were big and clunky and the cameras crude and needing to be tethered. Since then, a combination of smaller cameras, more powerful processors, better batteries and
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storage, along with faster wireless, has transformed everything, according to Babak Beheshti of Standard Deviation. Beheshti and Scott Robitille were honoured for their creation – in collaboration with Ian Kelly and Dejan Momcilovic – of a compact, stand-alone, phase-accurate genlock synchronization and recording module, which underpins the Standard Deviation head-mounted camera system. The key to modern headcams, Beheshti says, is the software and electronics, which ensure the frames are synchronized to the house clock. This, he says, allows for multiple cameras to be deployed in capture without the longstanding issue of latency, that is frames being out of sync with what the main cameras are capturing. “We were doing live facial animation back in 1994,” he says. “And we were making our own electronics, a capture card based on a card we found that tracked missiles, so we were beating swords into ploughshares.” There have been more than 12 iterations over the years, he says, but they were a little ahead of the curve since mocap was still in its nascent years. The big break for mocap was on James Cameron’s Avatar, Beheshti says, but one of the issues was still latency.
“You would start off in sync with the main frames, but you would fall behind,” he says. “Synchronization is usually done with audio because you can see the lips moving and you can line up with the frame. But here you can’t do that, and it becomes a huge problem with VFX because everything has to line up or it doesn’t work at all.” The solution was to engineer a system that locked the sync to the house clock, and that brought the frame drift under control, which in turn has unlocked multi-camera head rigs as a much more viable cinematographic tool. “We also took this and reapplied this development to cinematography,” Beheshti says. “With the same technology developed for the HMC [head-mounted camera], we spun it as our ‘Phaselock,’ used on cameras since The Hobbit. It is a small phase-accurate sync and timecode distributor that has no cable and no RF.” The nod to mocap and head cams this year was spread wide with Alejandro Arango, Gary Martinez, Robert Derry and Glenn Derry at Technoprops recognized for their design and ergonomically engineered head-mounted camera system. The citation
reads: “The Technoprops head-mounted camera system, with its modular and production-proven construction, supports consistent face alignment with improved actor comfort, while at the same time permitting quick reconfiguration and minimizing downtime. This system enables repeatable, accurate and unobstructed capture of an actor’s facial movements.” It’s a tough market, and getting the technology integrated on sets had its own share of challenges. “They were shooting The Hobbit, and we had these long cables going over everything,” Beheshti says. “It was digital, and they were shooting on a first-generation RED.” Two weeks in, they found the sync was off. “Someone had found a cable, didn’t know what it was for and needed to plug in and so they just unplugged it,” he says. Things have advanced since then, and during the COVID-induced production slowdown, gaming companies have forged ahead and are the biggest users of the technology now. Ian Harvey is a journalist who has been writing about digital disruption for 21 years. He welcomes feedback and eagerly solicits subject matter ideas at email@example.com.
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Production Notes & Calendar
A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL (MOW)
DP Pieter Stathis csc B Cam Operator Jeff Zwicker
to June 4
CHESAPEAKE SHORES V (series)
DP Kamal Derkaoui csc
to July 13
DP Craig Wrobleski csc (alternating episodes) 2nd Unit DP/C Cam Op
to August 17
to October 7
D. Gregor Hagey csc
DAN BROWN’S THE LOST SYMBOL
DP Fraser Brown csc & Boris Mojsovski csc (alternating episodes)
DARK WINDOWS I (series)
DP Colin Hoult csc
to August 13
DIGGSTOWN III (series)
Camera Operator Forbes MacDonald Jr
to July 16
FEUDAL II (series)
Camera Operator Forbes MacDonald Jr B Camera Operator Jeffery
to October 14
to July 21
DP Karim Hussain csc Camera Operator/Steadicam Yoann Malnati B Camera Operator Keith Murphy B Camera 1st Assistant Kyryll Sobolev
FOR THE RECORD, (series)
DP Kim Derko csc
to August 30
DP David Greene csc, asc
to October 1
HARDY BOYS II (series)
DP D. Gregor Hagey csc Camera Operator Colin Akoon B Camera
to October 6
HEARTLAND XV (series)
DP Brett Van Dyke csc
Operator Bruce William Harper to Sept 21
HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN (MOW)
DP Amy Belling csc
to June 21
HOLLY HOBBIE III (series)
DP Lainie Knox Camera Operator Gregory Biskup
to July 25
HOT ZONE: ANTHRAX (miniseries)
DP Thom Best csc (alternating episodes) 1st Assistant Kevin Michael
to June 4
JOE PICKETT (series)
DP Jarrett Craig (alternating episodes)
to Sept 3
DP Marc Laliberté csc (alternating episodes)
to August 30
LE MONDE DE GABRIEL ROY I
DP Ian Lagarde csc
to July 16
LETTERKENNY VI (series)
1st Assistant Tony Lippa B Camera Operator Monica Guddat
to June 25
LILY & ISAAC I (TV series)
DP Glen Keenan csc (alternating episodes)
to July 23
LOCKE & KEY III (series)
DP Dylan Macleod csc B Camera Operator Brad Hruboska
to Sept 10
MAGNESIUM II (series)
DP Justin Black
to June 17
MAYOR OF KINGSTOWN (TV series)
DP Maya Bankovic csc (alternating episodes) Camera Operator/
to Sept 24
Steadicam Brent Robinson
MIDNIGHT CLUB, THE I (series)
DP Block IV Corey Robson
to July 23
MILL STREET (series)
DP Philip Lanyon csc (alternating episodes) C Camera Operator J.P.
to July 2
MURDOCH MYSTERIES XV (series)
DP Yuri Yakibuw csc
to Feb 14, 2022
OUT OF THIS WORLD (MOW)
B Camera Operator Brian Gedge B Camera 1st Assistant Pierre
to July 19
OVERLORDS & THE UNDERWOODS
DP Mitchell Ness csc
to August 4
PEARL IN THE MIST (MOW)
DP/Operator David Bercovici-Artieda
PRETTY HARD CASES II (series)
DP Kristin Fieldhouse Camera Operator/Steadicam Andreas Evdemon
Victoria to August 26
B Camera Operator Robert J. Barnett
RAPHANIS I (series)
DP Gavin Smith csc
to June 8
REACHER I (series)
DP Ronald Plante csc & Mike McMurray csc (alternating episodes) 2nd
to July 30
to July 9
Unit DP David Makin csc
RESCUED BY RUBY (feature)
DP David Bercovici-Artieda
RIVERDALE V (series) DP (Block 1)
Ronald Richard & DP Bernard Couture csc
to June 1
SINNER, THE IV BLOCK 1 (series)
DP André J. Pienaar csc, sasc (alternating episodes)
to July 31
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY IV (series)
DP Philip Lanyon csc (alternating episodes) C Camera Operator JP
to June 4
to July 15
STATION ELEVEN (series)
DP Steve Cosens csc & Daniel Grant csc (alternating episodes) DIT Andrew Richardson
STRANGE NEW WORLDS I (series)
DP Glen Keenan csc (alternating episodes)
to July 16
SUPERGIRL VI (series)
DP Michael Story csc (alternating episodes) C Camera Operator Jill
to August 6
SUPERMAN & LOIS I (series)
DP Stephen Maier & Gordon Verheul csc (alternating episodes)
to July 5
SWEATER VEST (TV series)
DP Thom Best csc 1st Assistant Ciaran Copelin B Camera Operator
to July 15
TAMARACK (TV series)
DP Brendan Steacy csc
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF DP Vincent De Paula csc
to November 5
to June 30
CHARLES (feature) TITANS III (series)
DP Boris Mosjovski csc & Fraser Brown csc (alternating episodes)
to June 17
WOMEN TALKING (feature)
DP Luc Montpellier csc
to Sept 10
Y: LAST MAN, THE I (series)
DP Catherine Lutes csc (even episodes) & Claudine Sauvé csc (odd
to July 5
to Sept 29
DP C. Kim Miles csc, asc, mysc (alternating episodes) B Camera Operator Nathan McTague
CALENDAR AUGUST 10-12, Inter Drone, Dallas, interdrone.com 24-26, Cine Video Television Expo, Mexico, revistapantalla.com/expo SEPTEMBER 9-18, Toronto International Film Festival, tiff.net
10-13, IBC, Amsterdam, show.ibc.org 23-26, Cine Gear Expo, Hollywood, cinegearexpo.com/la-expo OCTOBER 3, 64th CSC Awards Gala, csc.ca 10-13, NAB Show, nabshow.com/2021
34 • Canadian Cinematographer - June 2021
Classifieds EQUIPMENT FOR SALE Arriflex BL camera with 12 - 120 blimpted Angenieux lens, several film magazines, and accessories. Arriflex S camera with 9.5 - 95 Angenieux lens, film magazines, and accessories. C P 16 camera with angenieux 12 -120 lens with several film magazines and accessories. 2 Canon Scoopic film cameras, one takes a 200 foot load. Bell and Howell DR 70 wind up camera with lenses. Al Sugerman at 519-768-1623, or at firstname.lastname@example.org COLORTRAN Nook light with bard doors and bulb. Includes long power cable and Quartzcolor 2K switch. $75. LOWEL Blender with AC power adapter, battery adapter for Canon E6 batteries, 1 protective screen, 3 diffusion screens. Very Good condition. $250. CHIMERA Triolet with 3 bulb adaptors, Chimera 9890 ring, glass diffusion dome and small Chimera pancake lantern (type 1864). $475. CHIMERA Extra Small Video Pro Plus with 3 screens (type 8115, 16"x22"). New condition. $200. CHIMERA Small Video Pro Plus Strip bank. (type 8155, 9"x 36"). Good condition. $250. email@example.com 416.587-4848 Canon CN-E Prime Lenses. 24mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5. In excellent condition. EF mount, covers S35 and full frame. Asking $3400 each. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. 35 4x5.6 Schneider filters: ND’s, color correction, diffusion, grads 2 138mm Tiffen Tobacco, Sunset grad 2 138mm Schneider Tru Pola, 85 Pola 2 138mm Schneider CU diopter #1, Cu Diopter • includes case and pouches for every filter. • Excellent condition • 4x5.6 and 138mm. clears included Today’s value in U.S. dollars $13,705 U.S. Selling price $9,500 CDN CONTACT: Bert Tougas H: 514-634-2374 C: 514-913-2376 I have 15 - 3x3 Tiffen filters for sale - fogs, Promists Grads, 812's etc. all with cases. $185.00 - contact Barry Casson csc - 250-721-2113 or e-mail email@example.com TIFFEN ULTRA STEADICAM , HD Ultrabrite color monitor ,HDMI Decimator 2,Iso-elastic arm, 4-24 volt batteries, 1-Pag battery charger 24v,1-Lentequip battery charger 12/24v,Klassen vest and carrying bag, 1 Preston F1+Z transmitter 1 Preston MDR-1 receiver,1 Preston control, 2 motors, 2 batteries, charger, numerous Hill motor mount brackets rossette brackets and rods, 1 long dovetail plate,1 short dovetail plate, 1 docking bracket,1 fgs wheel chair/dolly adaptor,rain cover, too many cables, hard cases and accessories to list.This rig was well maintained looks new, all it needs is a few upgrades. $23,000.00 cad 416 817 3938 or firstname.lastname@example.org Rick Kearney Preston FIZ 2 kit - $5,000 2 x Arri MB-20 studio matte box - $8,000 Arri LMB-15 Clip-on matte box - $1,200 Power-Pod Classic - $5,000 Please contact Michael Balfry csc @: michaelbalfry@gmail. com for a complete list of items. Looking for a set of old, no longer used, standard legs with Mitchell base. Or any type of disused heavy camera support. This is to be used to mount a Mitchell BNCR camera in order to place it on display. Anyone with access to such a tripod or with information about one, please contact me: email@example.com 416-691-6865 CAMERA CLASSIFIED IS A FREE SERVICE PROVIDED FOR CSC MEMBERS. For all others, there is a one-time $25 (plus GST) insertion fee. If you have items you would like to buy, sell or rent, please email your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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