American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 67

Unit photography by Simon Mein, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Opposite and this
page, top:
Twenty-five years
in the life of
19th-century
English painter
J.M.W. Turner
(Timothy Spall)
are depicted in
the period drama
Mr. Turner.
Bottom: Director
Mike Leigh
(left) and
cinematographer
Dick Pope, BSC
(behind camera)
share a laugh
during filming.

concerned because it was about Turner,
our most cherished painter of land and
sea, and we had to get it right. More
than anything else, though, I was
nervous about our very unpredictable
British weather; I was really worried
that we wouldn't get the light, but we
were really lucky. We got it!
How did you go about defining
the look of the film?
Pope: The starting point for us
was Turner's color palette at the Tate
Britain museum. Well before prep
began, I absorbed Turner's works along
with 1st AC Gordon Segrove and digital-imaging technician Peter Marsden
- both of whom are also very talented
photographers. We saw exhibitions,
read books and revisited the Tate
Britain, which houses a magnificent
permanent collection and a wealth of
research material.
Gordon, especially, scrutinized
Turner's use of color. He pointed out
that Turner used warm yellow in the
highlights and blue/teal in the shadows
as his two main, complementary colors.
This is borne out by the chart of color
pigments available to him at the time, as
displayed at the Tate Britain. If you add
yellow to your highlights and blue to
your shadows, basically 'split-toning,'

you change the world around the
subject, but skin tones remain the same.
Peter then devised a palette based
on this research, which we then refined
through testing [with] LUTs - working with colorist Adam Inglis - right
through the DI process. We tried different looks and then viewed them with
Mike on a big screen in the West End.
Our upfront testing paid off in post, as
we had already defined our look for the
DI.
So we tried to apply Turner's own
colors to the film, paying homage to his
work and subtly evoking the period he
lived in without self-consciously
attempting to copy the paintings themselves.
There are a few moments in the
www.theasc.com

film that do take the viewer right into a
Turner painting. There's a sequence
that depicts the tugging of the warship
Temeraire, and the scene when Turner
strolls out of Mrs. Booth's one morning and the camera pans to a stunning
sunrise.
Pope: You cannot predict the
weather on a shoot, but those moments
just seemed to happen for us! With the
Temeraire, we went out quite late in the
afternoon. Just before sunset, we shot
Turner and his companions in the skiff,
and when we turned around for the
reverse, there it was, the perfect backdrop! The image is very similar to the
painting, including the position of the
sun. We weren't carrying a reference
with us, but that moment just happens
January 2015

67


http://www.theasc.com

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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