American Cinematographer - September 2010 - 72
A Beatle’s Upbringing
sion filters. “We had Harrison Diffusion 1, 2 and 3,” he recalls, “and we called them ‘George Filters’ in honor of George Harrison! We also used optical flats and put either nose grease or Vaseline on the edges to flare it out, and we sometimes attenuated the image with Sharpies by drawing on the glass to darken areas of the frame and create a gauze between the real image and the film plane. We were also using much hotter lights — I would overexpose highlights by 4 or 5 stops. It definitely gave those sequences a different look.” At the start of the shoot, the filmmakers weren’t sure they would do a DI, so McGarvey approached it as though the film would go down the traditional photochemical path. “Deluxe [London] was our lab, and I’ve got a good relationship with [color timer] Clive Noakes, so we were printing selected takes for him to see, although we were actually watching our dailies on DVD,” recalls the cinematog-
McGarvey checks the light on Johnson and Sangster for a scene depicting one of The Quarrymen’s recording sessions.
certainly had the attributes we needed to play with in terms of color and saturation. I’m afraid we tortured the poor stock — it was screaming with pain in
the digital intermediate!” Other devices McGarvey utilized to give flashbacks an unusual look included a mesmerizer lens and diffu-