American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 76

◗

Battle Tested

"As the film progresses, we decided to be more classic with the cinematography," Arkapaw
notes. Here, a crane keeps the image stable as Macbeth rides for the castle.

We had to simplify the battle to
one charge, where Macbeth went
through a number of kills, saw the
witches and then had a second run. We
cross-shot it running with him from
three different angles, and we also had a
[Vision Research] Phantom Flex
camera, which gave us about 10 seconds
to keep [per take]. We used our
anamorphic lenses on it.
What frame rate did the
76

January 2016

Phantom record?
Arkapaw: I think we shot at 800
fps, but some of it was sped up to about
400 fps in the film. We didn't have a lot
of extras - I think we had about a
hundred - and the Phantom helped us
in the wide shots of people charging. If
we had shot them charging in real time,
you'd quickly realize that there weren't
any other people behind them!
When shooting the battle, were
American Cinematographer

you thinking at all about John Toll,
ASC's work in Mel Gibson's
Braveheart [AC June '96]?
Arkapaw: It was a touch point
for me, yeah. Braveheart is a beautiful
picture. It's pretty timeless.
One thing that distinguishes
this film is the phenomenal amount of
smoke in the outdoor battles, especially the final one.
Arkapaw: When we started
prepping, Justin was saying, 'I want to be
surrounded by smoke.' I thought that
was a bit ambitious out in the open. But
we had the right effects supervisor,
Mike Kelt, who surrounded the set with
these huge, very long smoke tubes. The
smoke was always 360 degrees around
us. There were also eight guys running
around with different types of smoke
machines, adding more smoke the
entire time.
We did a little testing in preproduction to see if the smoke would work
out. I guess it wouldn't have worked if it
had been too windy, but we got lucky on
those shooting days.
How many cameras did you use
on the film?
Arkapaw: We shot with two
cameras about 50 percent of the time. I
operated the A camera and Simon



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
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64a
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