American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 31

Opposite: Set in
1940, the World War
II epic Dunkirk
depicts the
evacuation of the
British Army from
the titular beaches
in France. This page,
left: Commander
Bolton (Kenneth
Branagh) stands at
the end of a
concrete mole that
protects Dunkirk's
outer harbor, with a
hospital ship
moored behind him.
Below: Director
Christopher Nolan
(left) and
cinematographer
Hoyte van Hoytema,
ASC, FSF, NSC plan a
shot on the beach.

Van Hoytema reports that it
required "Chris Nolan standing on his
head in my office to come to a realization - what if we turned the camera
upside down?"

Unit photography by Melinda Sue Gordon, SMPSP, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

***
Dunkirk examines the true story
of the famous evacuation of virtually the
entire British Army from the beaches of
Dunkirk, France, in 1940. The event
was the ideal subject matter, and van
Hoytema the perfect partner, for Nolan
as he took his crusade to promote largeformat filmmaking to new heights. In
their second collaboration after
Interstellar (AC Dec. '14) - an
Imax/35mm-anamorphic hybrid -
they have produced a movie that,
according to Nolan, has "a very good
claim about being the highest-resolution feature film that has ever been
made." And they did it by "trying hard
to do things never done before on such
a large and rewarding negative."
Indeed, the filmmakers shot
about 70 percent of Dunkirk with 15perf 65mm Imax MSM 9802 and
MKIV film cameras, and acquired the
rest with 5-perf 65mm Panaflex HR
Spinning Mirror Reflex and System 65
Studio cameras. "The noise in the

[Imax] cameras was always a limiting
factor, because I don't like ADR
dialogue," Nolan explains. "[But] with
Dunkirk, I was looking at telling the
story in primarily a visual way, with less
dialogue than in my previous films, so
that suggested to me that we could
achieve more with Imax MSM cameras
[than on Interstellar]. We could use
[Panavision 65mm] cameras for
[lengthy dialogue scenes], and [achieve]
the goal of as much 15-perf [Imax] as
possible."
Van Hoytema reports that the
production relied primarily on Kodak
Vision3 250D 5207 stock, with 200T
5203 and 500T 5219 stock employed
www.ascmag.com

"for a small number of night scenes."
Nolan's work with van Hoytema
on their prior feature was an important
factor in the director's decision to pursue
these ambitious methodologies. "We did
a lot on Interstellar that gave us confidence we could find solutions," he says,
"such as Hoyte working closely with
Panavision to make special lenses and
attachments for us. These were huge
issues, but Hoyte was able to challenge
Panavision and Imax to come up with
innovative solutions. He doesn't take no
for an answer. He has an engineering
mind - he challenges everybody."
Nolan also points to van
Hoytema's "brute strength as an operaAugust 2017

31


http://www.ascmag.com

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

Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Intro
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 1
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 2
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 4
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 5
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 6
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 7
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 8
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 9
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 10
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 11
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 12
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 13
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 14
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 15
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 16
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 17
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 18
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 19
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 20
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 21
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 22
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 23
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 24
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 25
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 26
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 27
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 28
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 29
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 30
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 31
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32a
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32b
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32c
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32d
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 33
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 34
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 35
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 36
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 37
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 38
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 39
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 40
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 41
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 42
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 43
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 44
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 45
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 46
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 47
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 48
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 49
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 50
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 51
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 52
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 53
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 54
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 55
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 56
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 57
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 58
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 59
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 60
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 61
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 62
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 63
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 64
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 65
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 66
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 67
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 68
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 69
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 70
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 71
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 72
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 73
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 74
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 75
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 76
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 77
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 78
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 79
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 80
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover4
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