American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 74

◗

Battle Tested

Arkapaw complemented the film's candle- and firelit scenes with Showtec Sunstrips, which
incorporate a DMX chase system to create an effect he describes as "the best I've come across."

features. So over time we have developed a lot of trust in each other, and we
definitely have a shorthand. I know
what he likes and doesn't like. He's very
trusting with me about coverage, lighting and color, to the point where I don't
really need to run a lot of what I'm
going to do by him. On occasion, if he
was expecting something else, he might
say, 'Why don't we try this or that?'
Otherwise, I just know him so well from
our shared aesthetic and long history
that he trusts me to do what I think is
best.
74

January 2016

One of Kurzel's key decisions
was to shoot almost entirely on location in Scotland, sometimes in very
difficult conditions.
Arkapaw: Yeah, even the locals
thought we were crazy! They would stay
at home and we would trek in. A lot of
exteriors were hour-long walk-ins, often
on mountaintops. It was super windy, up
to 40 miles an hour. My memory of
Scotland is having three layers of waterproof jackets on, with my hood on and
my back to the wind, and just watching
hail come sideways across my body.
American Cinematographer

Because we were up in the mountains, you could see the storms coming.
You'd say, 'Oh, that looks like it's 20
minutes away. Let's quickly get a shot
off.' You would shoot something and
then you'd pull your hood up and wait
another 20 minutes until the hail had
gone through, then go, 'That other
storm looks like it's half an hour away.
We'll get another shot off.'
You don't sense that extreme
weather on the screen.
Arkapaw: That was a comment
from Olly Tellett, my first AC. He said,
'I love the film, I love how it looks, but
you can't see how hard it was. I wish it
looked harder, because it was!'
One of Kurzel's original
premises for the film is that Macbeth
[played by Michael Fassbender]
suffers from post-traumatic stress
disorder. How did you represent that?
Arkapaw: When I was 23, I did a
documentary in the Middle East and I
met some guys in Israel who had been
in the army and were discharged
because they suffered from PTSD. I
asked them to describe it. They told me
it's as if every moment lasts an eternity,
everything is in slow motion, that it's
almost like a banality, a stillness that you
can't escape - which is terrible. That's
what we explored as Macbeth crashes
into his madness.
There's a moment like that
during the battle in the beginning,
when Macbeth is immobile and everyone around him is moving in slow
motion.
Arkapaw: That battle went
through different versions. At first we
were scheduled to have 10 days to shoot
it, which became six, which became
three! [Laughs.] So we had to simplify
it, but sometimes restrictions can be the
best thing for your movie.
Art is made of constraints?
Arkapaw: Yes, that was sort of
the main slogan in my film school.
Chris McGill, the head lecturer, used to
quote T.S. Eliot: 'When forced to work
within a strict framework, the imagination is taxed to its utmost - and will
produce its richest ideas.'
➣



American Cinematographer - January 2016

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
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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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