American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 36

Jafarian checks his light meter while Farhadi discusses a scene with Alidoosti. In the movie, Rana and
Emad appear in a stage production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

ian, the choice was straightforward. He
says, "I've worked with other digital
cameras, but for this particular film the
Alexa was the best choice. Also, since Arri
has been making film cameras and equipment for decades, as someone who comes
from the analog world, I'm more comfortable with it."
Most scenes were shot with the
32mm Arri/Zeiss Ultra Prime, although the
24mm, 65mm and 85mm lenses were also
used. "We chose Ultra Primes because
they're lighter, have LDS and can be
focused remotely," Jafarian explains. "This
was a logical choice because the majority of
the film was shot handheld." For shots in
the theater, where the camera was on a
tripod, Jafarian employed Arri/Zeiss Master
Prime lenses.
Apertures were generally between
T2.8 and 4 for interiors, and between T5.6
and 8 for exteriors, where large 6m (20')
square white fabric bounces were used.
The lighting package included Arri HMIs
from 575 watts up to 4K. The only camera
filters used were ND and IR, "but I used a
lot of gel filters to control the color temperatures of the lights," Jafarian says. In addition to the cinema-friendly fluorescents
used on the production, he adds, "we
sometimes would have normal fluorescent
36

January 2017

lights, which would have to be colorcorrected with minus-green filters."
The majority of Jafarian's camera and
lighting package came from Shantia Studio
Rentals. Monitoring was achieved with a
17" Panasonic LCD, which was fed from the
camera via Arri's Rec 709 LUT. "I'd use some
of the in-camera tools, like the false color,"
the cinematographer notes. "I try not to
trust the monitor too much. I like to use a
meter, a spot meter, a Kelvin meter. I try to
get everything on-set as much as possible,
as time allows. Then, based on experience, I
know what's possible in postproduction.
"Most scenes were shot in the same
way as the opening scene, when we follow
the main actor out of his apartment and
down the stairs," Jafarian explains. "For
inserts we'd go through the entire scene -
the actors would play the scene in its
entirety even when we were focusing on
only one aspect of it. If we'd shot on negative, we'd have gone through 900 400-foot
rolls of film in three months." This made
space-intensive raw files impractical, and so
instead the filmmakers chose ProRes 4:4:4
Log C, recorded using XR Capture Drives
and backed up to hard drives.
Colorist Hootan Haghshenas, of PCA
Digital Cinema Lab, describes how material
was ingested into the facility's networkAmerican Cinematographer

attached storage system, with Rec 709
proxies in ProRes LT produced for editorial
with Scratch, and a backup of the dailies
made onto LTO tape. For the final conform,
an XML file was sent, along with reference
video, back to the lab. The production was
graded in Scratch over 24 days, with Jafarian supervising throughout. "There were
two general steps for grading," says
Haghshenas, "first on the [42"] reference
monitor, then on the big screen.
"The idea," Haghshenas continues,
"was to have the whole range of [gray]
zones on the final picture without having a
wishy-washy look. It was a 2,800-cut timeline, and the most important thing was to
maintain continuity as much as possible.
The final result looks simple and minimal,
but a huge number of color layers and
masks were used on the whole movie.
Thanks to the power of Scratch, I was very
happy keying and [performing] complicated
tasks." The entire post process was
completed at PCA, with both 2K and 4K
DCPs output, as well as HD and UHD deliverables made as ProRes HQ files.
As of October 20, The Salesman had
already become Iran's most popular film of
the year. Beyond its Cannes successes, the
film is Iran's submission in the category of
Best Foreign Language Film for the 89th
Academy Awards. In 2012, Farhadi became
the first Iranian holder of an Academy
Award for his film A Separation. International success aside, Jafarian's approach
remains cautiously realist. "I'm not the type
of cinematographer to light for the faces of
the stars," he says. "I light to maintain or
help to advance the drama. That's the
philosophy, especially when doing these
realistic films. If there's a film that's romantic
and the actress is supposed to look beautiful, then I'll light to make the actors look
good!"

TECHNICAL SPECS
1.85:1
Digital Capture
Arri Alexa XT Plus
Arri/Zeiss Ultra Prime, Master Prime

‚óŹ



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - January 2017

Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 1
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 2
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 4
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 5
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 6
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 7
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 8
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 9
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 18
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 19
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 20
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 21
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 28
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 36
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 43
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 45
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 46
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 47
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 48
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 48a
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 48b
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 49
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 50
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