American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 78

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Battle Tested

Top: Macbeth
isolates himself as
he descends into
madness. Director
Justin Kurzel
posited that the
character suffered
from PTSD after
experiencing the
horrors of war
and committing
murder. Bottom:
Lady Macbeth
tries to keep her
husband's rule
from crumbling.

when Lady Macbeth [Marion
Cotillard] goes back to Inverness, I used
a specific LUT where the mid-tones are
really lifted and there's a cyan wash into
the shadows, so the scene has a more
heavenly look than the rest of the film.
And the climactic fight with Macduff
[Sean Harris] also has a particular LUT.
That final orange, smoke-filled
duel has a dreamy, almost hallucinatory ambience.
Arkapaw: It's a great way to end
the film, a crescendo. The wood is set on
fire and that motivated the whole color
spectrum, leading us to this warm glow.
We came at it a few times from scratch
to find the right levels of orange, yellow
and red.
78

January 2016

Approximately how many
different LUTs did you use on the
film?
Arkapaw: I'd say about 10. In
addition to the LUTs for specific
scenes, I'll do a high-contrast and lowcontrast LUT with cool, neutral or
warm looks. The high contrast is for the
sun, and the low contrast for the clouds.
Then I will flick through the LUTs
before I shoot the scene, and find the
one that feels just right with the design
and the performance.
I definitely like to go for a look as
much as possible when I'm shooting. I
prefer to go even too far on set rather
than to try to be subtle about it, because
then, when you get to the grade, the
American Cinematographer

idea is already burned into the director's
head. Once the director gets used to the
footage in the editing room, you can
never really do anything too extravagant
in the DI.
How did you create these LUTs?
Arkapaw: I made the 3D LUTs
with colorist Greg Fisher at Company 3
in London using [Blackmagic Design's
DaVinci] Resolve. We tried a few different versions of the LUTs before we
settled on our favorite [options]; we shot
tests out at our location to test them
under various lighting conditions. I did
the final grade at Goldcrest in London
with Adam Glasman; the final deliverable was a 2K DCP.
There's a real mixture of handheld and dolly shots in the movie.
Arkapaw: For handheld, I'm a big
fan of the Easyrig. I like how it spreads
the weight for your body. I often like to
shoot from below the eye line; if you're
shooting handheld, you're crouching
down all day long, but with the Easyrig
you can change the height very easily
during the shot. In some of the scenes I
was actually running around with the
Easyrig and swinging the camera about.
I have a lot of fun doing that.
As the film progresses, we decided
to be more classic with the cinematography. In the beginning Macbeth's life is
quite vibrant, and he is a great commander, so we gave the camerawork a lot of
life and vitality. Then, as he gets crazier,
the camera becomes more lifeless, either
static or just slow dolly moves, almost as
if he couldn't escape this sort of stillness.
In some scenes, we might start
with a wide shot that would clearly fit
the whole action, letting the actors do
what they wanted. Once Justin had a
take that he was happy with, I could
figure out how to cover the closer shots,
knowing where [the actors] had moved.
A key scene takes place in a small
candlelit church, where Lady Macbeth
seduces her husband and plots the
murder of King Duncan [David
Thewlis]. How did you light that night
interior?
Arkapaw: It was a small space, so
we created a wedge light. We started



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

Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover1
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 1
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64a
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64d
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