American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 22

To light Hanks and Bullock at the dining-room table, Menges and his crew affixed a custombuilt, 4'-diameter ring light above the practical lamp. “I tried to light with practicals whenever possible to create a natural and organic space in which the light would be logical to the actors,” says Menges.

with a first-time actor and trying to live in the moment, is a huge benefit. We could keep going for additional takes without all the paraphernalia of starting and stopping the camera. It kept everybody on his toes; there’s nothing like turning the camera off to make people stop concentrating!” During the course of the story, Oskar comes to realize that the old man (Max von Sydow) renting a room in his grandmother’s apartment is, in fact, his paternal grandfather, who abandoned his young family many years before and never repaired the broken relationship with Oskar’s father. “One of the most powerful scenes, a night scene, shows the grandfather leaving the grandmother’s house, and Oskar is watching from the window of his own apartment across the street,” says Menges. “He runs down as his grandfather
22 February 2012

is getting into a taxi, and their confrontation is very resonant.” “That scene was shot on the Upper West Side, on 101st Street just east of Broadway,” says O’Leary. “We rigged 5Ks on the third floor terraces to provide backlight; we lit several storefronts and apartments; Par cans were rigged to scrape buildings and trees in the background; and one Condor was used to light the block looking west as the grandfather drives off. In the cab, we used commercially available rope lights that were powered by a battery and an inverter, along with a few small accent lamps. Again, it was all naturalistic.” In general, the EI 800 base sensitivity of the Alexa proved helpful for low-light situations. “The camera is exceptionally good at using its sensitivity to capture night scenes better than film does,” says Menges.
American Cinematographer

TECHNICAL SPECS
2.40:1 Digital Capture Arri Alexa Cooke 5/i, Angenieux Optimo

➣

Bottom photo by Bill O’Leary.

“For instance, it can photograph the sky at night without light, which film cannot do. We occasionally went to higher ASA ratings than 800, but this isn’t really a night movie.” Most of the picture was shot and graded to look as naturalistic as possible, but the filmmakers wanted a slightly different look for occasional shots of skyscrapers and airplanes to suggest Oskar’s lingering horror at the imagery associated with 9/11. “There is a nightmarish quality to some of the shots when Oskar goes out to search for the lock,” says Menges. “He has become quite freaked out by what happened, and there are a few moments that reveal his anguish. We had [New York cinematographer] Pat Capone shoot a lot of that material. The look was a combination of what Pat did and what we did later in the digital grade.” Colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld, with whom Menges sat for several weeks of grading at Company 3, notes, “We did apply a look to those shots, but only very subtly, by pushing certain colors.” Menges’ readiness to sacrifice eyelight on set in order to help the young lead actor inhabit his character led to some of the more detailed work in the final grade. “On a different kind of film, we might have had someone dancing around with a China ball or the like, but that would have been distracting for Thomas, so part of our work with Stefan has been about giving the characters a bit more life in the eyes,” says Menges. “Thomas has great eyes, as does Max von Sydow,” adds Sonnenfeld. “We did complement the image by doing [power] windows on eyes, but I have to stress that these are things 99 percent of the audience wouldn’t see. Chris is very critical of himself, but his lighting is beautiful, and the images in this movie are about as good as you can get. It was an easy film to grade. We just finessed and slightly embellished what Chris had already done.”



American Cinematographer - February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - February 2012

American Cinematographer - February 2012
Contents
Editor’s Note
President’s Desk
Short Takes: NASA time-lapse footage of Earth
Production Slate: Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseAct of Valor
Saving the Whales
High Stakes
A Very Bad Cop
Cinema, Italian Style
Filmmakers’ Forum: Hiro Narita, ASC
New Products & Services
International Marketplace
Classified Ads
Ad Index
Clubhouse News
ASC Close-Up: Roberto Schaefer
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - American Cinematographer - February 2012
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 1
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 2
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Contents
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 4
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 5
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 6
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 7
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Editor’s Note
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 9
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - President’s Desk
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 11
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Short Takes: NASA time-lapse footage of Earth
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 13
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 14
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 15
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 16
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 17
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Production Slate: Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseAct of Valor
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 19
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 20
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 21
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 22
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 23
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 24
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 25
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 26
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 27
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 28
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 29
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Saving the Whales
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 31
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 32
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 33
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 34
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 35
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 36
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 37
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 38
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 39
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 40
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 41
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - High Stakes
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 43
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 44
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 45
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 46
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 47
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 48
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 49
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 50
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 51
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 52
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 53
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - A Very Bad Cop
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 55
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 56
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 57
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 58
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 59
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 60
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 61
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Cinema, Italian Style
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 63
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 64
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 65
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 66
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 67
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 68
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 69
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 70
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 71
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Filmmakers’ Forum: Hiro Narita, ASC
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 73
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 74
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 75
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - New Products & Services
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 77
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 78
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 79
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 80
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 81
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - International Marketplace
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Classified Ads
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Ad Index
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 85
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Clubhouse News
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - 87
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - ASC Close-Up: Roberto Schaefer
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - February 2012 - Cover4
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