American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 14

Short Takes

I

Retro Style
By Iain Stasukevich

During a break in the 2011 Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s awards ceremony, cinematographer Matthew Libatique, ASC
felt a tap on his shoulder. It was director David Fincher, who complimented him for his work on Black Swan (AC Dec. ’10). A little over a
year later, Fincher got in touch again, this time with a project in mind.
“His reps were being very secretive, so they wouldn’t tell me if it was
a music video or a commercial,” recalls Libatique. “It wasn’t till I
signed on and met David at his office a couple of weeks before the
shoot that he played the song for me.”
The song was Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z’s “Suit & Tie,” and
Fincher’s vision for the video was a classy Rat Pack atmosphere. “He
wanted to emulate the lifestyle of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey
Bishop and Sammy Davis Jr. in Vegas,” says Libatique.
The camera follows Timberlake and Jay-Z as they get ready for
a big show, perform and then wind down at the after party.
“At our meeting, David was very clear about what he wanted
to do, and when we got to the set, he remembered every one of
those details,” says Libatique. Fincher offered opinions on which
lights to use, the number of camera carts required and the specific
configuration of the camera for a given shot. Meanwhile, Libatique
hustled to keep 1st AC Matt Stenerson in the loop.
The camera package and workflow were of particular interest
to the director. “David wants the most streamlined, mobile camera
system possible — he wants it free of cables and free of the DIT,” says
Libatique. Fincher wanted to shoot the video with the Red Epic-M
14

May 2013

Monochrome, a black-and-white version of the Epic’s 5K
Mysterium-X sensor. (The Monochrome’s sensor lacks the RGBG
Bayer color-filter array.)
Fincher and camera assistant Steve Meizler had developed
the Meizler Module, a wireless module that was still in the prototype
phase when “Suit & Tie” was shot. When attached to the back of
the Epic, it provides a wireless 1080p feed for monitoring and wireless focus control. (The remote-focus motor is still cabled.) With the
camera in studio mode, Libatique operated using Red’s 9" LCD
touchscreen monitor and judged exposure with 24" Sony OLED
monitors. He used the OLED monitors and histograms at video
village to compare exposures between multiple cameras.
“Another feature [of the module] allows the director to play
back while the cinematographer uses the camera to frame up,” says
Libatique, who adds that this was not implemented on “Suit & Tie.”
To achieve this, the unit records a proxy image that can be accessed
via touchscreen monitor at video village, where the director or script
supervisor can play back takes and make notes, “similar to Pix,” says
Libatique.
Libatique conducted latitude and exposure tests with the
Epic-M Monochrome in an effort to familiarize himself with some of
the camera’s unique sensor properties. “I would have done the
same thing if we’d shot with black-and-white film,” he remarks.
Fincher’s editor, Tyler Nelson, and assistant editor, Nate Gross, logged
and organized the footage in Pix, which Libatique used to screen
and make notes on his shots. “I wanted to be able to have a sense
of the camera’s dynamic range,” he says. “After that, I wanted to
try different lenses to see how wide I could go before the sensor

American Cinematographer

Images courtesy of Reset Content.

Director David Fincher and cinematographer Matthew Libatique, ASC teamed up to create the Rat Pack-inspired music video
for Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z’s “Suit & Tie.”



American Cinematographer - May 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - May 2013

American Cinematographer - May 2013
Contents
Editor’s Note
President’s Desk
Short Takes: “Suit & Tie”
Production Slate: Trance • The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Surviving the Future
A Trailblazer’s Tale
Conjuring Hope
The ABCs of DMX
Star Tech
Hot Shots
New Products & Services
International Marketplace
Classified Ads
Ad Index
Clubhouse News
ASC Close-Up: Paul Maibaum
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - American Cinematographer - May 2013
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 1
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 2
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Contents
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 4
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 5
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 6
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 7
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 8
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 9
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Editor’s Note
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 11
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - President’s Desk
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 13
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Short Takes: “Suit & Tie”
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 15
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 16
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 17
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 18
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 19
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Production Slate: Trance • The Reluctant Fundamentalist
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 21
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 22
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 23
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 24
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 25
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 26
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 27
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 28
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 29
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 30
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 31
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 32
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 33
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Surviving the Future
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 35
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 36
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 37
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 38
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 39
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 40
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 41
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 42
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 43
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 44
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 45
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 46
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 47
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - A Trailblazer’s Tale
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 49
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 50
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 51
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 52
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 53
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 54
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 55
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Conjuring Hope
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 57
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 58
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 59
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 60
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 61
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 62
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 63
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 64
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 65
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - The ABCs of DMX
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 67
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 68
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 69
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 70
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 71
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Star Tech
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 73
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 74
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 75
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 76
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Hot Shots
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 78
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 79
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 80
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 81
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 82
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 83
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 84
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 85
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 86
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 87
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 88
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 89
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - New Products & Services
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 91
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 92
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 93
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - International Marketplace
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Classified Ads
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Ad Index
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 97
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Clubhouse News
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 99
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - ASC Close-Up: Paul Maibaum
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Cover4
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