American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 38

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Great Escape

Top: The "Frankenhull" - a fully gimballed sinking warship built in Falls Lake at the Universal
lot. The funny-looking proportions allowed the ship to look bigger and more complex for shots
made on deck. Two 60'x30' overhead frames with gray muslin were employed to replicate the
overcast skies encountered in Europe. Bottom: Van Hoytema and Nolan work out a shot on the
tilted minesweeper replica.

the sea bottom. In all, the camera was
under for [more than 90 minutes] until
divers could retrieve it. The housing was
completely compromised by water pressure, and the camera and mag had filled
with [brackish] water. But Jonathan
Clark, our film loader, rinsed the
retrieved mag in freshwater and cleaned
the film in the darkroom with freshwater before boxing it and submerging it in
freshwater."
Hall adds, "FotoKem advised us
to drain as much of the water as we
could from the can, [as it] is not a watertight container and we didn't want the
airlines to not accept something that is
leaking. This was the first experience of
sending waterlogged film to a film lab
38

August 2017

across the Atlantic Ocean to be developed. It was uncharted territory."
As van Hoytema reports,
"FotoKem carefully developed it to find
out the shot was all there, in full color
and clarity. This material would have
been lost if shot digitally."
The process of devising aerial
shots was "very meticulous and careful,"
van Hoytema says. "Our mandate was
that we wanted it to be visceral - for
the aerial footage to feel real and not
sensationalist, including the experience
of sitting in the cockpit of a Spitfire. We
felt it was important to avoid any
dramatization that defied the laws of
physics. We wanted to understand the
mechanics of a dogfight, to be aware
American Cinematographer

that the maneuvers will place a certain
amount of Gs on [a pilot], and that it
gets very heavy, physically, on the body."
When the Imax cameras were
rigged to peek into the cockpits using
the Panavision periscopes, either Nolan,
van Hoytema, or aerial-unit director of
photography Hans Bjerno squeezed in
and
partnered
with
aerial
coordinator/pilot Craig Hosking.
"We mounted the camera
[upside-down] behind the camera operator, and the lens would stick out above
him," van Hoytema explains. "His knee
operated the periscoping lens by rotating it left and right. And the camera was
mounted so that it was balanced, but we
could actually still move it.
"For shots done from the wing,
inward," the cinematographer continues, a camera-mount support built by
the production's aeronautical engineers
was employed "so that we could physically put an Imax camera on the wing of
an airplane. The camera was hardmounted and started and stopped by
Craig Hosking, the pilot."
Describing another aerial setup,
van Hoytema reports that Hosking "had
a EuroStar airplane, and we would have
an Imax mounted in the nose of it and
in the back of it with hard mounts, so
that the only way to point those cameras
was to steer the plane, to bank it left or
right."
When asked if all the aerial
footage in the film was shot on real,
flying planes, the cinematographer notes
that "we did the meat of it for real, apart
from some additional outdoor close-up
gimbal work."
In terms of focus pulling, Hall
notes with a laugh that he "only experienced the normal challenges that one
would associate with pulling focus on
the bow of a 1935 sailboat in force-7
seas in the rain, with my CineTape
disabled and large-format depth-offield equal to 3 stops less than anamorphic 35mm film."
The depth-of-field issue resulted
in Hall's relying largely on his own
seasoned experience for pulling focus.
As Hall explains, "When you shoot



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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