American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64a

JANUARY 2016

RUSSELL AND
SANDGREN BRING
TO THE BIG
SCREEN

I

n American Hustle, Linus Sandgren, FSF and David O. Russell
forged imagery that evoked the glitz of the 1970s. That film
struck a chord, earning 10 OscarĀ® nominations, including
a nod for Best Picture. Now Sandgren and Russell have
reteamed for Joy, the story of a family across four generations
that centers on the girl who grows up and establishes a
powerful business dynasty. Like much of Russell's work, Joy is
impossible to pigeonhole. It is a drama with quirky, dark humor and
a unique humanity. The cast includes Jennifer Lawrence as Joy, and
reunites her onscreen with Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper.
As they did with American Hustle, Sandgren and Russell shot Joy
on 35mm film. But the similarities end there. This time around, they
devised a more classically cinematic approach with more specific
lighting and deliberate framing. Taking inspiration from older blackand-white movies, the production design was often muted in color
and contrast.
"We lit more for a single direction, rather than a 360 lighting,
which was our approach on American Hustle," says Sandgren. "It
was more of a noir approach, this time."
Two Steadicam operators helped with that. Even static shots
were often accomplished with the camera on the rigs, which
allowed for quick push-ins, for example. A 1.85:1 aspect ratio was
used to compose more painterly, classic frames. The lenses were
Zeiss Ultra Primes with special vintage coatings developed by
CamTec to enhance flares and veiling.

Sandgren worked mostly with KODAK VISION3 500T Color
Negative Film 5219. A few exterior scenes were done with KODAK
VISION3 200T Color Negative Film 5213. Testing revealed the right
exposure/development recipe for the film. The 500T was rated at
E.I. 200, and the 200T was rated at E.I. 80.
"We pull processed the entire film, and I overexposed
everything one and a third stop," Sandgren says. "I thought this
gave the film much more beautiful highlights and blacks, and
a richness in the details of the sets and costumes. The colors
are slightly muted and the grain is finer. We lit with harder light
to maintain strong contrast. The result is a smooth, soft image
where you see all the details."
Shooting film didn't interfere with Russell's proclivity for a fast,
flexible shoot.
"Although we were shooting in a more traditional manner, David
still wanted to maintain the flow and energy," says Sandgren. "He
values extensive quality time with the actors during the shoot. He



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
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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
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64
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