American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 76

◗

Darkest Days
The crew
captures the
action around
the Phoenix
rescue
capsule.

tion for the second-unit crewmembers,
who had to attach huge sections of
greenscreen to the rock wall for these
effects shots. (All work was monitored
by mine-safety personnel.) Each piece
of fabric - some as large as 40'x40' -
took a full day to mount. "My hat also
goes off to the Spin VFX team in
Toronto, our primary visual-effects
vendor," adds Henning. "They handled

76

the post on both the mine collapse and
the film's opening aerial shot.
"Production designer Marco
Niro built an amazing replica of the
Phoenix capsule," Henning continues.
"He essentially rebuilt the whole thing
- an actual, functional version,
although maybe not safety rated." A
false ceiling was constructed inside
Nemocón, enabling the filmmakers to

partially pull the capsule up and away
from the mine floor. To simulate the
point of view of Álex Vega (Mario
Casas), the first miner to ride the
Phoenix back to the surface, Varese
stood inside the capsule hand-holding
the SI-2K Nano.
A few days before the production
moved to Chile, it was determined that
some of the initial footage of the miners
fleeing the cave-in would have to be
redone. Varese served as both cinematographer and 2nd-unit director for
three days of intensive reshoots - with
Riggen at the helm to direct the actors
- during which four cameras were
employed.
Varese has high praise for his
crewmembers, who came from all over
South America. Given that cast and
crew were working either in the blazing
desert or in a dark, dank mineshaft,
conditions were far from ideal, but all
the equipment held up superbly.
Lattanzi, who used Preston and Scorpio


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - December 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 4
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 5
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