American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 90
At Home and at War
Salas, 1st AC Dominik Mainl (seated behind the cinematographer) and cast settle into position
aboard a Black Hawk helicopter for the season finale, "End Game."
the Canon lightweight and studio
Cinema Zooms for crane work as well
as for most of the day-exterior battle
scenes with multiple cameras."
Recalling his days shooting on
film, Klein notes, "I almost always
preferred primes, because I always
wanted to be at a T2, or even slightly
more open. Now that we're shooting
digitally and the resolving power of the
sensor doesn't hold up as well as a negative, I've found that T2, overall, makes
the Alexa a bit downy, so I've been keeping her at a T2½, or north of that, even
though I don't like the look as much. I'm
torn between having less depth of field
and wanting what's within that depth to
be truly sharp. I'm frustrated and sick of
the conversation that digital is sharper
than film ever was, when it's clearly not.
Not by half. It's just cleaner in the low
end, which gives the false perception of
"All of my zooms are a T2.8,"
Klein continues, "which - at a certain
distance and focal length - is indistinguishable from a T2, but when I put a
camera close to somebody on a 40 or
50mm, especially my actresses, I prefer
the wider apertures."
When it comes to filtration and
diffusion, Klein admits, "I haven't been
using color-correction glass since shooting film. I've been meaning to shoot
some tests to see if I can get better skin
tones out of a daylight white balance
and an 85B filter, but haven't done it yet.
I'll use diffusion a bit with actresses, but
when I do, I'll diffuse the entire scene a
bit, too. Sometimes I like atmosphere
from special effects to do the same
thing, but on a TV schedule nobody
likes to wait until I'm happy with the
smoke level. I always carry at least two
diffusion options - I like the lighter
densities of Soft/FX, Glimmerglass and
Black Satin. The Soft/FX and Black
Pro-Mist lines are old favorites. But
again, they're rarely used these days."
"Filtration was mostly NDs and
polarizers," Salas adds. "On the home
front I occasionally used 1⁄2 Black Satin
when getting really close to the actors,
or when matching one camera to the
halated look of another angle pointing
directly into a bright window."
Both Klein and Salas single out
their final colorist, Todd Bochner, for
effusive praise. "I've learned over the
years to pay less attention to the
machines and focus on the colorist,"
Klein says. "Todd's a great colorist with
a talented eye. The machines all do
pretty much the same thing, so what's of
greater importance is the person at the
controls, and Todd can play those
machines like a piano."
"Dailies were handled by Bling
Digital, and final color and finishing
were done at Chainsaw in Los
Angeles," Salas elaborates. "Luckily,
Klein and I were able to sit in with Todd
Bochner early on to develop LUTs for
the show. Each LUT was married to a
grain structure and some were very
aggressive. Because we finished all eight
episodes before the premiere date, I was
able to supervise final color. Todd and
Chainsaw were very accommodating. I
was shooting a feature in L.A. at the
time, but we were able to coordinate for
about four hours for each episode I shot,