American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 37

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Great Escape
there the first time, you are in awe of the
magnitude of the place, and you realize
you don't have to do a lot of complicated
things in order to reproduce that magnitude. It was a unique atmosphere, so we
only had the core crew out there with the
camera - an intimate, contained,
focused, down-and-dirty experience."
Monro adds, "We had to keep the
camera footprint small and stealthy, to
move in and out of the way of [actors
portraying soldiers] without the use of
large telescopic cranes and tracking vehicles. So we used a lot of dolly track,
usually on the edge of the water. We had
a team of French and English grips and
techs leapfrogging camera dollies to dolly
tracks set up further away as the tide came
in. On [a jetty known as 'the mole'], there
wasn't much space for any gear, so we used
dollies and track there, also."
As Monro explains, the mole is "a
massive pier or breakwater. From the
beach it went straight out into the ocean
for about one kilometer, and it ranged
from 8 feet to 20 feet wide in various
spots. Along with using camera dollies
on the mole, and due to weight restrictions, we used a lightweight GF-8
camera crane from Grip Factory
Munich. In the streets of Dunkirk, we
used a Grip Trix electric camera car with
a 17-foot telescopic MovieBird mounted
to the top."
Van Hoytema also waded into
shallow water and shot Imax handheld.
For those applications, Imax cameras
were placed into special waterproof
splashbags designed by underwater cinematographer/engineer Pete Romano,
ASC of Hydroflex, so that van Hoytema,
wearing a drysuit, could carefully dip
Imax cameras underwater while operating by hand. To accomplish this, Hall
came up with an alternative way for van
Hoytema to be safely tethered to the
camera's electronic components.
"We had a cable loom going from
the camera to the backpack," Hall says,
"and we had to be very careful that Hoyte
didn't go in too deep, where water could
go in through the opening of the sleeve
on the [splashbag]. So I found a little
[SEAC Seamate] raft, which is designed

Top: An Imax camera in a custom splashbag - and mounted to an Edge Crane on a camera ship
- is angled into position for a shot of a Spitfire after a water landing. Above: Van Hoytema and
Nolan line up the Imax camera, which is encased in an underwater housing, for a shot of
Lowden's character trying to escape a sinking Spitfire.

to hold a scuba tank for divers, maybe
21⁄2 feet long and 2 feet wide. We put
the backpack in a waterproof bag,
strapped it to the raft, and let it float
along with Hoyte as he was handholding, standing in the English Channel.
We were using these cameras exactly as
they were not designed to be used, turning a lot of notions about Imax cameras
and how to use them upside down."
Indeed, van Hoytema reveals that
the production was so eager to "put the
camera in places that are normally hard
to access in order to provide a firsthand, visceral view of what was happenwww.ascmag.com

ing," that they decided to place an Imax
camera into a stunt plane - which was
"unmanned and catapulted from a
ship," van Hoytema says - and crash it
into the sea. The crash, however, didn't
go quite as expected.
"Our grips did a great job building a crash housing around the Imax
camera to withstand the physical
impact and protect the camera from
seawater, and we had a good plan to
retrieve the camera while the wreckage
was still afloat," van Hoytema says.
"Unfortunately, the plane sank almost
instantly, pulling the rig and camera to
August 2017

37


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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