American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 30

Cinematographer Chris Manley, ASC lines up a shot for the television series Mad Men.

Fresnels were focused into an overhead
20'x20' Ultrabounce. "It helps to have a
knowledge of how cinematographers of
that time worked at 50 ASA, and how to
make a scene look good with hard sources
in close proximity to the actors."
Monroe died at age 36 in 1962, and
for scenes set in the early '60s, Collyer
wanted to evoke photos of the star's final
days. For example, there was a series of
nudes shot by photographer Bert Stern in a
house with all the windows overexposed, as
if Monroe were in Heaven - a look Manley
emulated by exposing this period brighter,
with more washed-out shadows. He used
the Varicon in a neutral fashion, with white
light as opposed to a colored gel. (Because
the Varicon employs a tungsten lamp, Lee
Half or Full CTB was used in the unit for
daylight-balanced scenes.)
Garner was in almost every scene,
and it was often unavoidable to shoot
different periods back to back. As hair,
makeup and wardrobe transformations
were time-consuming, Manley recalls that
"we would have an hour and a half to light
the master, which was a luxury, but only
minutes to light the coverage." For speed,
gaffer Terry Banting used 3- and 6-Lite
Barger-Lites, with one circuit on a Variac
dimmer for warmth, and Lowel Rifa 44, 55
and 88s fitted with honeycomb grids. Additionally, ETC Source Fours were frequently
30

July 2015

bounced off a piece of unbleached muslin
paper-taped to a wall, which eliminated the
need for stands. The Varicon was also a
time saver; as Manley notes, "It's the fill
light that comes from nowhere."
Manley often had to juggle an
intended period look with the need to
make the actors look younger or older -
Garner played Monroe from 16 to 36, and
Emily Watson, who portrayed Marilyn's
childhood caretaker Grace McKee, transformed from a young woman to an older
woman in ill health. When lighting the characters' younger days, the cinematographer
notes, "the danger is you can very quickly
flatten out the image, which was in conflict
with the story's dark take on Monroe's life."
Additionally, Manley often had to
maintain a sense of ambient light while
shooting night-for-day on location, as
happened with the re-creation of Monroe's
rehearsal for the "Diamonds Are a Girl's
Best Friend" number in Gentlemen Prefer
Blondes. The bottom two-thirds of two 20'high windows were dressed with orange,
translucent curtains, and two 18K Arrimaxes on 50' scissor lifts were projected
through the exposed glass above the
curtains - and above the frame line -
from the street outside. When the location
forbade any gear on the sidewalk, a plan to
diffuse the windows from outside had to be
quickly rethought; instead, Drennan had
American Cinematographer

the idea to use the location's motorized
blinds. "They reminded me of a fly-system
pipe from my theater days," he remembers.
Two 12'x12' Quarter Grid rags were clipped
to the bottom of the blinds, which were
then raised into position. "It was fantastic,"
Manley praises. "As soon as they went up,
it was like daytime in Los Angeles. We went
to picture eight minutes later."
Manley monitored the shooting on
21.5" LM-2140W LCD displays from Flanders Scientific. Imagery was viewed in Rec
709 color space with the carefully prepared
LUTs added via Pomfort's LiveGrade software, and CDLs were loaded into Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve 11. RAIDs
were delivered to Technicolor Toronto each
night, and H.264 iPad dailies were made
available - after being thoroughly checked
and verified by Nurlybayev - in ProRes
4:2:2 LT.
Manley enjoyed an extensive prep
with Nurlybayev, and he insists that the DIT
is an indispensable position in a modern
digital production. "There's a movement
against using them because producers balk
at the equipment rentals, and there is the
notion that it slows down the cinematographer," he notes. "On this show, I found it
made me faster." Rather than putting gels
on lights or adding fill, he often had Nurlybayev make an adjustment to the color or
the curve and was ready in seconds. And as
to the complaint that a DIT separates the
cinematographer from the director, he credits the advent of better-quality monitors for
changing that; Manley prefers to rough-in
the scene alongside the director, then sign
off on the look at the DIT station.
Manley stresses the importance of
getting the image right on set before it goes
to editorial, where people can otherwise
get used to seeing it the wrong way. As he
notes, "It's critical that the cinematographer
influence the look of the dailies."

TECHNICAL SPECS
1.78:1
Digital Capture
Arri Alexa Classic
Panavision Primo, Angenieux Optimo

‚óŹ



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

Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - Contents
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