American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 12

Short Takes

I

Car Trouble
By Derek Stettler

With the tense, six-minute short Jessica, writer-director Jack
Bradley and cinematographer Tobias Marshall sought to tap into the
instinctive human response to being chased - the adrenaline rush
that fuels a sense of panic and paranoia. In the short, a man (David
Pibworth) appears to be driving home after a long day's work when
a white van speeds out of nowhere and begins to follow him. The
ensuing game of cat and mouse plays out as sunset gives way to
dusk, mirroring the audience's growing suspicion that the driver
who's being pursued has a dark side.
Marshall got his start in the industry as a 2nd AC in 2003 and
eventually notched credits on features such as Skyfall, shot by Roger
Deakins, ASC, BSC (AC Dec. '12). He has worked on several action
units with Alexander Witt over the years, and he recently worked as
2nd-unit director of photography on location in Morocco for NBC's
American Odyssey. "Working with great cinematographers and crew
is very inspiring," he says of his experiences. "I'm just trying to
emulate the people I've worked with and climb up to their level."
For Jessica, Marshall and Bradley had the chance to experiment with tone and mood, telling the story with visuals and almost
no dialogue. With echoes of Steven Spielberg's first studio feature,
Duel, the U.K.-based production was shot entirely with natural light
in a gritty, minimalist style. Bradley says the idea for Jessica came to
12

August 2016

him "when I was driving back from a shoot one day and I accidentally cut off a white van. I was convinced the driver was following
me home, turn for turn, and I found myself constantly glancing in
my mirrors. The next day, I wrote the script for what would eventually become Jessica."
To keep viewers engaged, Marshall made a point to avoid
recycling shots inside the car, where the majority of the movie takes
place. In doing so, the cinematographer devised a plan to begin the
short with wider lenses on stabilized rigs, creating a feeling of calm
and normalcy; as the story unfolds and the driver's panic increases,
the images get progressively tighter and the camera goes handheld.
Marshall operated the production's single Red One
Mysterium-X camera, and he selected Arri/Zeiss Ultra Primes
because he was "looking for a colder image than an S4 and something sharper than Super Speeds," he explains. To maximize image
quality, he shot at 4K onto 128GB RedMag 1.8" SSDs in Redcode
42. The highest-quality compression available on the Red One,
Redcode 42 is equivalent to a 7.5:1 compression ratio on newer Red
cameras; the 42 refers to the data rate - 42 MBps.
Marshall also opted to utilize Tiffen soft-edge graduated NDs
to enhance the darkness of the car's interior while keeping a
brighter golden-hour exterior, visually hinting at the main character's
dark inner world. At the same time, the cinematographer was
aiming for a lot of flares. "The sun is going down and his secret is
coming out," Marshall notes. "For me, that was the whole journey

American Cinematographer

Photos by Sacha Phillips and David Marshall. Photos and frame grabs courtesy of the filmmakers.

An ominous white van engages a seemingly unassuming driver in a panic-inducing game of cat and mouse in the short thriller Jessica.



American Cinematographer - August 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - August 2016

Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Intro
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 1
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 2
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 4
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 5
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 6
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 7
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 8
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 9
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 10
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 11
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 12
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 13
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 14
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 15
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 16
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 17
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 18
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 19
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 20
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 21
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 22
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 23
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 24
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 25
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 26
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 27
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 28
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 29
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 30
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American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 32
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 33
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 34
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 35
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 36
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 37
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 38
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 39
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 40
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 41
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 42
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 43
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 44
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 45
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 46
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 47
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 48
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 49
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 50
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 51
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 52
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 53
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 54
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 55
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 56
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 57
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 58
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American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 60
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American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 62
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American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover4
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