American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 73

had on a pole, to give Sophie something to
play off of directly."
As production commenced, Technicolor's supervising digital colorist, ASC associate Michael Hatzer, worked with Kaminski
to help define the look of the film. "Joe
Letteri and part of his team worked with
[ASC associate] Josh Pines, Janusz and me in
Los Angeles to create a suitable LUT for all
the visual-effects and live-action material,"
says Hatzer. "Our team here at Technicolor
- which includes project manager Ladd
Lanford, producer Bob Peishel and color
assistant Chris Jensen - worked closely
with Janusz and Amblin Partners post executive Mark Graziano to develop a comprehensive color-management pipeline that
insured continuity from on-set dailies
through final home-video deliverables.
"Our Technicolor mobile DI trailer,
outfitted with a Christie DLP projector, was
used to grade and review 2K projected
dailies," Hatzer continues. "Dailies colorist
John Vladic graded dailies with [Blackmagic
Design's] DaVinci Resolve. When production
moved to the U.K. for additional aerial and
visual-effects shoots, Technicolor London
adapted the dailies-grading workflow to
[FilmLight's] Baselight."
The BFG was shot primarily at
Mammoth Studios in Vancouver, Canada,
with additional location work done in
England and Scotland. The movie is bookended by sequences captured on mostly
live-action sets, including Sophie's orphanage and Buckingham Palace. The bulk of
the remainder was captured in entirely
virtual environments, including Giant Country and Dream Country.
"The orphanage was basically a full
practical set with extensions," explains
visual-effects supervisor Guy Williams, who
supervised Weta's visual-effects efforts
during production and post. "One interesting aspect was our virtual-cam tent, which
had all the previs tools and a virtual version
of the set. Steven and Janusz could go
inside and use a virtual camera to decide if
they wanted to change an angle or a shot.
Steven really enjoyed working with the
handheld unit, which had a small screen
along with two 55-inch monitors at either
end of the v-cam table. You hold it like a
camera and it behaves like one, but it only
weighs a few pounds. So Steven could plan

shots inside the v-cam tent and then go out
onto the real set and shoot.
"We also did a lot of SimulCam and
SimulCap," Williams continues. "SimulCam
represents the virtual environment through
the motion-picture camera's viewfinder,
while SimulCap captures mo-cap performances in real time and feeds the virtual
character, or characters, back into the
camera. It meant that the camera team had
a live-action movie shoot, where they could
look at the characters and environment and
figure out how they wanted to frame their
camera in real time. So if Janusz wants to try
to find a great angle on a window-insert
stage, he can still see the rest of the wall
and bias the framing [accordingly]."
BFG's dash from the orphanage to
Giant Country is described in the book as
being so fast that the landscape blurs away.
"A lot of that sequence was virtual just
because of the limitations of practical cinematography," notes Williams. "It's hard to
safely get a camera going 20 feet in the air
at 60 miles an hour down London city
streets. But once we got out into the countryside, we did an aerial-unit shoot over
northern England and Scotland and
captured things that would be used for
background plates."
Sophie and BFG travel to Dream
Country by trekking up a mountain to a
tree, whose reflection in an adjacent lake
reveals an alternate plane abuzz with luminous dreams, like so many super-sized,
multicolored fireflies. The two friends leap
into the water and emerge on the other
side, where the reflection is now their reality. "There are so many wonderful
sequences in this film that were a real joy for
me to grade," Hatzer enthuses. "I love the
transition from the rain sequence [in Giant
Country], through BFG's ascent into the
clouds, and into the fantastical world of
Dream Country."
After bottling up a few selected
dreams, Sophie and BFG hatch a plan to use
their procurements to enlist the queen's
help. Successfully securing an audience with
the monarch, the unlikely pair is given the
royal treatment at the palace. "One of my
other favorite scenes is with the queen in
the ballroom, where BFG is having breakfast," says Hatzer. "You see BFG walking to
his table and the light is streaming in. We
www.theasc.com

created a really fun and beautiful golden
look that we were all very happy with."
Hatzer graded the final version of The
BFG in Autodesk's Lustre using 2K DPX files
on an Eizo ColorEdge CG247 monitor in the
2.39:1 aspect ratio. "Weta supplied mattes
for a majority of the different characters,
which allowed us to pick out areas within
the frame," says Hatzer. "The challenging
part was seamlessly blending the practical
lighting on Sophie's character within all the
CGI worlds. With Janusz and Steven's direction, I would augment key, shadow and
highlights, particularly on BFG's face, in order
to 'bend' the Weta footage a little closer to
[the filmmakers'] signature style and level of
contrast and highlights. The goal was to
make BFG as realistic [as we could], and the
lighting as dramatic as possible."
In addition to delivering a neutral
base grade on many live-action plates, and
overseeing dailies and final grading, Hatzer
also graded the film's many final deliverables. "This is Janusz and Steven's first film
graded in Dolby Cinema EDR," he reveals.
"The DI opened up a lot of creative ideas for
them. I think they really enjoyed the ability
to put additional finessing into the shots
and take them to another level."
"We weren't sure how the story was
going to translate from the book," Letteri
confesses, "but the more we saw Mark and
Ruby working together, and the more we
saw that relationship between BFG and
Sophie start to work on the screen, the
easier it became for us to add in additional
qualities. We added warmth into the environment, and used the idea of dreams as
light sources to give us color and magic."
"Steven always puts tons of depth
and complexity into his movies," observes
Williams. "He and Janusz really loved this
project and wanted to do the best job they
could. I was constantly blown away by the
way people were crafting this movie, and it
was amazing to watch them really swing for
the fences. We were able to get such
genuine and beautiful performances -
while really striving to make not just another
'kids' movie,' but a great movie."
‚óŹ

August 2016

73


http://www.theasc.com

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
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 31
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
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 59
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 60
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 61
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 62
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 63
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 64
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 65
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 66
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 67
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 68
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 69
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 70
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 71
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 72
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 73
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 74
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 75
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 76
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 77
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 78
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 79
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 80
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 81
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 82
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 83
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 84
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 85
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 86
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 87
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 88
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover4
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