American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 16

Top: Background fog, flares and searchlights were used during the air-raid scene when the
alien spacecraft attacks. Bottom: In a scene after the air raid, Govindini Murty (as a WAC officer) was lit
by a sodium-vapor streetlight and LED flashlight, which were diffused with fog.

lit up the sky as coastal fog added a layer of
diffusion.
Chaubal used Technicolor's CineStyle
Profile for the Canon 7D to boost dynamic
range, giving us greater detail in the midtones and shadows. This also helped the
color-grading process later on. "We just
tried to push the 7D to the limit, knowing
the footage was going to be heavily treated
to give it a vintage look," recounts Chaubal.
For a warm, nostalgic look, we shot
the daytime sequences at the fort and the
coastal bunker during magic hour. This
severely restricted our shooting schedule,
but we felt the results were worth it.
"Magic hour is always a blessing and a
curse to rely on for light," notes Chaubal,
who was assisted on these shoots by the
16

January 2016

versatile Jeff Fukuhara. "Mostly, it's a blessing."
Because we planned to "create" the
movie in the editing room - like an actual
documentary - getting proper coverage
was critical. Shooting 23.98 fps at 1080p
using the H.264 codec, we captured about
750GB of footage for the roughly 16minute film. Tasked with assembling this
footage into a cut was Emmy-winning
editor Mitch Danton, ACE, who worked in
Avid at Timeline Editing Systems in
Burbank. "Editing reality shows like Survivor
and the large-scale docudrama The Path to
9/11 gave me the confidence to tackle the
found-footage, documentary-style project
UFO Diary," says Danton. "The goal was to
find the images that looked the most realisAmerican Cinematographer

tic. That's why I think the film is so good,
because the performances are believable.
From the principal actors to the extras, it
feels authentic."
Editing would ultimately require a
group effort on UFO Diary, with Murty,
editorial assistant Sarah French and myself
also contributing. "The effort was worth
it," Murty attests, "because this initial cut of
UFO Diary - supervised by Mitch Danton
- played a crucial role in recruiting toplevel visual-effects talent to the project."
A key early recruit was Kiel Figgins
- notable for his animation work on
Avengers: Age of Ultron and as a Digital
Domain veteran - who came on board as
an animation supervisor after seeing UFO
Diary's rough cut. "I'm personally a huge
sci-fi fan," relates Figgins. "What drew me
the most to this project was the scale and
scope of the shots and assets, which
seemed doable and had a clear direction
and goal.
"The heavy lifting of shooting the
live action had already been done," Figgins
adds, "so it was less of a 'Hey, I have an idea
for a short,' and more of a true collaboration with people serious enough about the
project to meet halfway before bringing on
more talent."
Figgins brought other colleagues
onto the project, including animators
Delano Athias and Bren Wilson, and
concept designer Justin Albers. Figgins also
built the saucer's animation rig, based on
the 3D model designed primarily by artist
Shun Kim in Maya. "The rig allowed the
animators to manipulate the model and
create the animation," Figgins says. Rini
Sugianto - a veteran of ILM and Weta
Digital who has served as an animator on
such projects as The Hobbit: The Desolation
of Smaug - also joined the team as an
animation supervisor, bringing along animators Antony Pringorahardjo and Okki
Tanaya. Before long, visual-effects artists as
far afield as London, Jakarta, San Francisco
and Montreal were rallying to bring our
saucer to life.
Before animation could begin,
though, an enormous problem had to be
overcome: 3D match-moving. Our nightsky shots provided almost no visible geometry to track, and our daylight "hero" shot
- when the saucer first arrives at the



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - January 2016

Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 1
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 2
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 4
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 5
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 6
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 7
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 8
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 9
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 20
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 21
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 37
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 38
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 63
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64a
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64b
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64c
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64d
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64e
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64f
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64g
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64h
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover4
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