American Cinematographer - August 2014 - 68

◗

Shaking a Family's Foundation

Richardson embraced a naturalistic lighting style for the film. "We would never tell the actors
exactly where to stand," he says, "but we might position the camera to shoot three-quarters to
a specific window, which would give them a natural tendency to land in the area that was lit
most interestingly."

68

August 2014

American Cinematographer

Arri/Zeiss Ultra 16 prime lenses. "The
416 is a dead-reliable, beautiful camera
that I had used on Beasts of the Southern
Wild," says Richardson. "In looking for
that intimate, handheld, documentary
feel within the main house location, we
shot mostly on the 12mm and 16mm
lenses. The longest lens we had was a
50mm, which rarely came out. We used
a 25mm once in a while for locked-off
shots."
In crafting the film's visual style,
Richardson and Swanberg drew inspiration from the imagery of documentary photographers Helen Levitt and
Nan Goldin. "It's been my experience
that if you frame and work around practical, existing lights - with perhaps a
few supplements - you can get very
beautiful images through blocking
alone," the cinematographer observes.
"We would never tell the actors exactly
where to stand, but we might position
the camera to shoot three-quarters to a
specific window, which would give
them a natural tendency to land in the
area that was lit most interestingly."
After opting for Super 16mm,
Swanberg recalls, "Ben and I first
considered shooting on reversal stock to
get a hyper-saturated, high-contrast,
1970s-style warm-orange-and-yellow
look. We realized only one Kodak
color-reversal stock was still available
[Ektachrome 100D 7285, which has
since been discontinued], and we would
really have had to light the hell out of it,
[which wouldn't have been appropriate
for] the kind of small crew and cast intimacy I wanted. So we needed to figure
out how to get that reversal look using
negative film stock."
Working with Alpha Cine Labs
in Seattle, the production conducted
tests to attain a one-light look-up table
that approximated the desired reversal
look and could be applied to the dailies
throughout principal photography. "We
shipped out negative about every
second day to help keep costs down,"
notes Richardson. "Alpha Cine transferred our footage to Cineon spec in log
through the LUT and then sent dailies
back as ProRes 1080p QuickTime files



American Cinematographer - August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - August 2014

Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2014 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - August 2014 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - August 2014 - 1
American Cinematographer - August 2014 - 2
American Cinematographer - August 2014 - Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2014 - 4
American Cinematographer - August 2014 - 5
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