American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 44

◗

Darkness Gains Dimension

Using a handheld tracking device, Ehrmantraut tries to find out who placed the tracker on his car. The
search leads him all over Albuquerque, ending at a bridge above a drainpipe.

44

July 2017

American Cinematographer

tion in a rail yard late at night. Adams
recalls, "That location had a defunct
power pole, and we used that to hang a
400-watt sodium-vapor light that backlit
the whole scene. Then we put a 20K and
four 1K Par cans with Lee 651 gel in two
scissor lifts for foreground washes. Vince
asked the special-effects crew to lube the
train tracks so they'd be shiny, and we
tried to find an angle to capture that
reflection. It worked perfectly."
Adams notes that the rail-yard
scene typifies Gilligan's style in that it
plays mostly in wide shots. "One of the
first things Vince and Peter said to me
when I started prepping was, 'We know
what the actors look like, and we don't
always have to see them perfectly. Make
sure you're happy with the look of some
of these bigger, wider shots because we'll
use them.' And they did. I think we did
about 10 wide shots and two medium
close-ups in the rail yard, and that was it."
As Ehrmantraut pursues the other
vehicle, he is led to a power plant. From
there, Adams notes, "He follows a new
guy who leads him to an overpass, then
an abandoned booth, and finally a bridge
with a drainage pipe underneath it, all for
dead-drop pickups.
"We couldn't get anywhere near
the plant because it was live," the cinematographer continues, "so during prep
the electric department found a maintenance worker who was licensed to get in
there, and he made sure all the bulbs were
fresh - the lights in the plant were our
main source." Adams' crew placed just a
few additional lights at the location. For
the final dead-drop, the cinematographer
adds, "I had to take a different approach
because the bridge Mike was on and the
drainage pipe were so far apart. It became
something really magical for me." (See
bridge lighting diagram on page 45.)
Despite the VariCam's unique
capabilities, its workflow requirements
veered from Saul 's established methodologies, specifically the post workflow
that had been refined over the show's first
two seasons, which were shot by Arthur
Albert on Red's Epic Dragon. For this
reason, production reserved the VariCam
for select low-light sequences and



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

Contents
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