American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 50

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Worlds Apart
throughout my movies that I was able to
get very intimate with the actors with
my camerawork, and he wanted that for
Passengers. Even though it has the scope
of outer space, it's basically an intimate
story about these two people - their
faces are the essence of the story. He
also wanted the movie to feel naturalistic in a way; there are fantastic elements,
but he wanted to ground them in a
naturalistic style.
This was your first feature using
Arri's Alexa 65 and Panavision's Primo
70s. What led you to those choices?
Prieto: The spaceship in
Passengers is a luxury vessel designed for
comfort. The air had to feel clean and
the images needed to be pristine, and
that led me to digital. What we liked
about the Alexa 65 was that the sensor
has such high resolution, and when you
use it with the Primo 70s, which are T2,
you can get shallow depth of field even
with wide-angle lenses. It's not a harsh
digital image; there's a certain innate
softness to it with these lenses. I was
very fortunate to have [first AC] Zoran
Veselic, because pulling focus with the
Alexa 65, especially at T2.8 or T2, is
quite a feat. Zoran made the decision to
use the camera easy for me. He also
worked with me on Silence.
Aspect ratios have become
rather elastic in the digital age. What
made 2.39:1 the best frame for
Passengers?
Prieto: I felt that a taller aspect
ratio could work for Passengers, especially for the zero-gravity scenes, but
Morten felt 1.85:1 reminded him too
much of 16:9. We discussed Jurassic
World, which used 2.0:1 [AC July '15],
and Tomorrowland, which used 2.20:1
and 1.90:1 [AC June '15]. But then we
learned that if we shot something like
2.1:1, the projected image would be
contained in a 1.85 DCP, and the top
and bottom of the image would be gray
rather than black - standard digital
projection never achieves true black.
Because of that, we chose [2.39:1]
instead.
You often give your movies a
visual arc by mixing formats, lenses,

Above and
right: Jim
attempts
repairs on the
malfunctioning
ship. Below:
Arri SkyPanel
LED units
stand in
position
behind a
diffusion
frame.

50

January 2017

American Cinematographer



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
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 48a
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 48b
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 49
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 50
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - Cover4
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