American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 43

Unit photography by Michele K. Short, courtesy of AMC and Sony Pictures Television.

Opposite: Smalltime lawyer Jimmy
McGill (Bob
Odenkirk) creeps
closer to becoming
criminal-defense
attorney Saul
Goodman in the
third season of the
series Better Call
Saul. This page,
left: Mike
Ehrmantraut
(Jonathan Banks)
discovers a
tracking device on
his car. Below:
Executive producer
Vince Gilligan (left)
and
cinematographer
Marshall Adams,
ASC discuss a shot.

position lights anywhere, so we used the
VariCam at 5,000 for the wide shots. I
was absolutely blown away by the
images I was seeing."
Gilligan and Gould immediately
recognized the camera's potential for
Saul, which creeps into ever darker
terrain as it tracks the transformation of
Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) into
cagey criminal-defense attorney Saul
Goodman. "Having the ability to shoot
at ISO 5,000 opened a whole new
world for us," says Gilligan.
"Of course," Gould adds, "some
might assume that kind of sensitivity
means you don't need to light, so everything's going to move very quickly. But
the truth is, the VariCam was another
tool in the toolbox. It enabled Marshall
and his wonderful crew to use a combination of our lights and the light out in
the world to create a beautiful availablelight look for night - a look that wasn't
like anything we'd seen before."
Gilligan emphasizes that Adams'
artistry was as crucial to this as the
camera's extraordinary sensitivity. "At
ISO 5,000, you may need less light in
terms of raw candlepower, but you still
have to pay just as much attention to it
- and, in fact, you have to work harder
to keep light off the things you don't
want light on," he observes. "Marshall

was always working with [chief lighting
technician] Steve Litecky to shape the
light, putting it exactly where he wanted
it - no more, no less. The result looks
natural but beautiful, too."
One of the first night-exterior
situations the team shot with the
VariCam shows Ehrmantraut driving
through the streets of Albuquerque,
maintaining a discreet distance from a
vehicle he is tracking with a handheld
device. "Props built that device and put
an LED screen inside, and all the scenes
of Mike driving were lit entirely with
that tracker and available light," says
Adams. "Vince was in the back seat
www.theasc.com

with [A-camera operator] Paul
Donachie and [A-camera 1st AC]
Chris Norris, and Vince was blown
away with what we were seeing out the
window, even in neighborhoods that
didn't have much light."
In a related scene, Ehrmantraut
sits in his house with all the lights off,
looking at the tracking device and waiting for visitors. "In that moment, that
little prop was the only thing lighting
Mike's face," Gilligan marvels. "I was so
tickled seeing that on the monitor for
the first time."
In
the
same
episode,
Ehrmantraut meets a business connecJuly 2017

43


http://www.theasc.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2017

Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 4
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 5
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 6
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 7
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 8
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 9
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 10
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 11
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 12
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 13
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 14
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 15
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 16
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 17
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 18
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 19
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 20
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 21
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 22
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 23
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 24
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 25
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 26
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 27
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 28
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 29
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 30
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 31
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 32
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 33
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 34
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 35
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 36
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 37
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 38
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 39
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 40
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 41
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 41A
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 41B
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 42
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 43
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 44
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 45
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 46
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 47
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 48
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 49
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 50
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 51
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 52
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 53
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 54
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 55
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 56
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 57
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 58
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 59
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 60
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 61
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 62
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 63
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 64
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 65
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 66
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 67
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 68
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American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 70
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American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 84
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 85
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American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 88
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Cover4
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