American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64h

GETS A TICKET TO HOLLYWOOD ON

You probably had no idea that when you were watching American
Idol at any point over the last 14 seasons, that you were witnessing the
nostalgia of Super 8. It would take a trained eye indeed to notice that
all those winter evenings spent in front of the tube with your family,
ready for the next Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, were actually a
throwback to many family's home videos.
Cinematographer Owen Smith, who's been with the show since
2006, has been capturing Super 8 footage that is interspersed
throughout the road show portion of the series.
"My dad shot Super 8," the St. Augustine, Florida, native reminisces.
"His dad had shot Super 8 too. More than photography, it is a history of
people. When my dad was using it, it was to document the life around
him. Everybody had one of those cameras, so a lot of people can identify
with it as sitting around watching home movies."
Smith had been doing a lot of travel documentary work earlier in his
career, and got to work on shows like Survivor and The Deadliest Catch.
When he started on American Idol, an already huge, well-oiled machine,
he asked himself what he could do to make his contribution unique.

Smith has shot a variety of Super 8 negative and reversal film
stocks since his first season with the FOX show. He frames it for 16:9,
and Pro8mm in Burbank scans the film in 1920x1080 with 3:1 color
correction on a Millennium 2 HD scanner. The film output is a ProRes
HQ codec, downloaded to a hard drive for editing of the digital files.
"Owen wanted to create a unique look for the American Idol
sequences, and he chose Super 8 because it combines a classic film
look with a modern application for stunning results," offers Rhonda
Vigeant, VP of Marketing at Pro8mm. "We provide a one-stop solution
with KODAK Super 8mm film, lab processing and HD scanning with just
a two-day turn around."
Smith always felt his Super 8 footage would mimic a dad following his
kid as they audition and make the trip across country to compete in the
iconic American Idol. He never put it on a jib or a Technocrane, but lately,
he has been using it in a more stylized way.
"Now," he says, "we talk about how we're going to compose the frame
and how it fits into the bigger show. I relate to this medium through travel
and a nostalgic emotion of family, friends and adventure. I'll always use it."

"I'd just joined the Union and was getting into bigger productions," he
explains, "and I realized that my strength could come from something
that I've always done - Super 8."
Smith was on a schedule that had him and his team up at 4 a.m.
shooting thousands of screaming people in lines in a different city every
few days. During his off time, he'd take a bike or go walking with his
Canon 814 and shoot B-roll of the cities. He'd end up using 24 to 36 rolls
of Super 8, which would equal about an hour's worth of footage.
It was never a fight for Smith to shoot the footage, but he would have
to usher it through the post-production phase, making sure each editor
who already had a million tasks to complete was aware that Super 8
footage was available. Smith says once the producers - namely Charles
Boyd, Patrick Lynn and Megan Michaels - began to see the value it
added, they asked for more Super 8 shots.

kodak.com/go/motion
@Kodak_ShootFilm
KodakShootFilm

KodakMotionPictureFilm

Photos: Top: Cinematographer Owen Smith. Bottom: Thousands line up for a chance to become
the next American Idol at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher.
(FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX BROADCASTING Getty Images for FOX Broadcasting)

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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 - 64a
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover3
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