American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 76

◗

Crime Family

Erin Reagan (Bridget Moynahan, right) and Anthony Abetemarco (Steve Schirripa, center)
confer at a crime scene in the Season 7 episode "Unbearable Loss."

mobile postproduction approach was
essential in maintaining control over the
look. "The most important aspect of my
job is providing the cinematographer
with the confidence to know that whatever he sees on my monitors is exactly
what he will see in dailies the next day,"
Heide says. "This is enabled by our
workflow, which has a DIT on set -
me - sitting next to Gene, doing the
color. Processing of dailies is done inhouse with a digital mobile lab. It's
faster, cheaper and more accurate than
doing dailies the traditional 'film' way."
Heide adds that this method
helps tremendously with the visualeffects department. "Our dailies are
ready a day and a half quicker than most
shows, so they have access to them faster
and have more time to work on the
episode overall," he says.
The visual effects on Blue Bloods
represent another aspect of the show's
fully
integrated
approach,
as
Filmworks/FX weighs in on every step
of prep and production, as well as post.
The visual-effects company's creative
director, Ken Locsmandi, explains, "We
attend the concept meetings as well as
the production meetings, and the on-set
visual-effects supervisor is fully prepared
before anything is shot. During the
meetings, we make suggestions on how
best to achieve the effects the produc76

July 2018

tion team has in mind. This means
working directly with the practicaleffects department to engineer rigs that
will be used in conjunction with visual
effects. Since I have a background in
traditional effects as well as CG and
production, we don't always rely on CG.
In most cases, if we can build a practical
scenario that requires only additional
compositing, we'll opt for that."
Effects on Blue Bloods range from
enhancement of muzzle flashes and
squib hits to more involved shots
including explosions, full computergenerated replacements of cars and
buildings, and replacing the heads of
stunt doubles with those of actors.
"Typically, productions will send out
visual-effects shots to be bid on by
vendors, but the Blue Bloods turnaround
is extremely fast," Locsmandi says. "We
often deliver 100 to 150 shots for editorial in four days, with a week or so to
polish them. This fast-paced schedule
could not be achieved if they were sending out shots to be bid on by multiple
vendors."
Heide and visual-effects supervisor Mike Warren collaborate closely at
the monitor during production. "He can
confidently check exposures for certain
elements - like greenscreen, etc. - at
my cart," Heide says. "And if, for some
reason, he needs footage before it's
American Cinematographer

processed, I can provide it to him."
Locsmandi adds, "We interact
with all aspects of the production before
we shoot, so there tend to be few
surprises. We often create a procedure
bible for complex shots that goes to the
cinematographer, director, producers
and AD. We've gone as far as filming
the location ourselves and making a
detailed previs beforehand, so the
shooting team already knows what the
scene looks like before heading into the
production meeting."
Finnerty says that this kind of
efficient thinking characterizes every
department on Blue Bloods, and enables
the team to consistently achieve Engels'
vision on schedule and on budget. "Blue
Bloods has a much faster pace than other
shows I have worked on," the key grip
attests. "Our lighting setups are very
quick." Engels adds, "You get a rhythm
going where the set is lit and people are
raring to go even before the actors have
rehearsed."
Barrett confirms that Engels puts
his heart and soul into his work. "He is
tireless," the director says. "He's never
not there. He's the first person on set
and the last one to leave. He's one of the
most dedicated crewmembers I've ever
seen."
Reflecting on his storied career,
Engels relates, "I'd do it all over again.
I've had a joyous time with the people
I've worked with on these shows. I've
had very few bad experiences, and thousands of great memories - with good
actors, good cinematographers, good
directors. It's been magical at times." ●

TECHNICAL SPECS
1.78:1
Digital Capture
Arri Alexa Plus, Mini
Panavision Primo Zoom, Ultra Speed;
Angenieux Optimo



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2018

Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 4
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