American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 34

Top: Delbonnel
on set. Bottom:
Davidson and
Delbonnel test
the lighting in
the painting
room.

before we arrived, so shooting on film
became a challenge. This was a lowerbudget movie compared to Dark Shadows. It would have cost a fortune to ship
everything to L.A. for processing, and it
would have been a couple of days
delayed, and Tim likes to see dailies in
the morning. So we were pushed to
shoot digital, but on the other hand, Tim
thought that doing Big Eyes this way
would be a good chance to experiment
with digital for the next movie.
34

January 2015

Did shooting digital affect
your cinematographic approach?
Delbonnel: There are two
aspects of it. The first is that you see your
image right away, which is quite interesting to me. It goes back to your fear as a
cinematographer, where you don't sleep
at night because you think that there is
no image on the neg and you ruined
everything. It's hard to ruin something
on digital.
On the other hand, it was hard to
American Cinematographer

light because when I shoot film, I sometimes like to overexpose up to two stops.
Overexposing with digital is a mistake
because there is more information in the
low end of the curve than the top, so you
have to underexpose, which is a total
disaster for my brain. My eyes are calibrated for the [Vision3 500T 5219] stock
by Kodak, so sometimes I know what
T-stop I'm at without even taking my
meter out.
I rated the Arri Alexa Studio [which
recorded to a Codex] at 500 ASA, and still
the digital-imaging technician - Simon
Jori from Vancouver - was telling me that
my lighting was much too bright, and I
have to stop down three or four stops. So
I had to change the way I worked, using
smaller lights than I was used to. A 20K
became a 10K, which isn't the same quality of light.
With regards to the Alexa, a
lower ISO setting creates more headroom in your highlights, but
compresses the shadows.
Delbonnel: I didn't need extra
headroom; I needed a clean negative for
working in post. 500 ASA on the Alexa is
absolutely clean and noiseless. It's not the
same 500 ASA as film, but it made sense
for the way I work because there's already
a lot of detail in the blacks just by the way
I light. I use a very low contrast range, five
to six stops. When you look at the film,
you see the image has a lot of darkness in
it, but there was almost no darkness on
set. It's all printed down.
What lenses did you use?
Delbonnel: The same lenses I've
used for the last five years - Cooke S4s
and the Angenieux Optimo 24-290mm
zoom. There's a fantastic combination
between Kodak film and the Cooke S4s,
and with the Alexa it's the same. They're
softer than Master Primes or Primo lenses,
[with] just slightly less contrast. But I challenge anyone to see the difference
between Master Primes and Cooke S4s
after going through the DI process. I don't
really care whether the lens is too clean or
crisp, because I can soften the image in a
very beautiful way in the DI - using digital 'blur' techniques that [colorist and ASC
associate] Peter Doyle and I have developed throughout our collaborations. ➣



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - January 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Intro
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 4
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 5
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 6
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 7
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 8
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 9
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 10
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 11
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 12
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 13
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 14
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 15
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 16
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 17
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 18
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 19
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 20
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 21
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 22
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 23
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 24
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 25
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 26
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 27
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 28
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 29
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 30
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 31
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 32
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 33
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 34
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 35
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 36
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 37
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 38
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 39
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 40
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 41
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 42
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 43
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 44
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 45
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 46
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 47
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 48
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K3
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K4
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K5
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K6
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K7
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K8
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K9
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K10
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K11
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K12
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 49
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 50
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 51
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 52
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 53
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 54
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 55
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 56
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 57
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 58
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 59
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 60
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 61
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 62
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 63
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 64
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 65
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 66
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 67
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 68
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 69
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 70
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 71
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 72
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 73
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 74
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 75
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 76
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 77
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 78
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 79
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 80
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 81
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 82
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 83
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 84
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 85
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 86
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 87
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 88
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 89
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 90
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 91
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 92
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 93
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 94
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 95
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 96
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover4
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