American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 20

Top: Simon
(James McAvoy)
collapses in a
Tube station in
a fractured
frame from
Trance. Bottom:
Reference
photos Anthony
Dod Mantle,
ASC, BSC, DFF
shot during
prep using his
iPhone and the
Artemis app.

I

Rendering Altered States for Trance
By Anthony Dod Mantle, ASC, BSC, DFF

My films with Danny Boyle are always very different. With
each one, he changes planets, and I like that. When he gave me the
script for Trance, he said, as usual, “Here you go, Anthony. It’s a little
one.” He thinks he just does “small films,” and I suppose he does it
with a clean conscience because our budgets are never very big! But
“small” Trance was never going to be.
It was initially posed to me as a heist film, and that didn’t interest me at all. But when I read John Hodge and Joe Ahearne’s script,
I realized it starts as a heist film, but then shifts into a strange journey that I relate far more to Danny as a director: an exploration of all
these weird aspects of our intelligence, and how we perceive and
deal with reality. It’s a brain fuck, one that I knew would be guided
by a very astute mind.
It’s also a London film, and that was attractive to us both.
After 28 Days Later … (AC July ’03), where we covered the city in
toilet paper and intestines, Trance gave us a chance to come back
and find other environments! It also gave us another chance to work
with Mark Tildesley, a phenomenal production designer. So, I never
really hesitated.
Danny and I prefer to be on a real location, and a lot of intuitive work goes on as we explore locations with the production
designer. I find this phase of a project really creative and inspiring.

20

May 2013

That’s where we really make the film. It took me a while to drill my
way into Trance, and the best way we could do that together was
by standing in the spaces, talking about the characters and looking
at surfaces. As we did that, I’d run around with my iPhone, with the
Artemis app set to the correct format and aspect ratio, and take
thousands of stills. Many of these images survived from the first
recce through to being almost perfectly replicated in the final film.
These small experiments during prep sometimes summon
new ideas that, in turn, create artistic themes and rules for the film
at hand. As we walked around, I’d find weird, abstract shots that
involved reflections, sometimes two or three layers of them; we felt
this was right for scenes related to the disorientation experienced by
Simon (James McAvoy) after his accident. Eventually, we also
decided to use reflections to ease the audience into trance scenes,
when Simon slips into a hypnotized state.
I am fascinated by these very small cameras that I can play
with in my own way, and Danny loves it if I can slip a second or third
camera in, or capture a little textural detail with something small
while we’re shooting. We started doing it on 28 Days Later…, and
we really explored it with the multiple formats on Slumdog Millionaire (AC Dec. ’08). On Trance I knew we’d be working in some very
small locations, and I also knew I would be working with abstract
layers and could get away with a limited rendition of detail; I associate trance and altered states with something very different from
high resolution and high definition.
➣

American Cinematographer

Trance frame grabs and unit photos (by Susie Allnut) courtesy of Fox Searchlight. Additional photos by Anthony Dod Mantle.

Production Slate



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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