American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 32

Top:
Cinematographer
Radek Ladczuk
(operating
camera) and crew
ready a scene
inside the
bedroom set.
Bottom: Amelia
reads to Samuel
before bed.

we had a very static camera where Amelia
often was situated in the center of the
frame. Usually, we shot her on a 32mm lens
to be able to see her emotions. Then we
added a handheld style to emphasize her
emotions, and then Steadicam, which we
called 'floating camera.' For the movie's
ending, we wanted to create very chaotic
and uncoordinated movement, reflecting
the Babadook's point of view. We also used
[increasingly] wider lenses for Amelia's
close-ups until finally, in one of the scenes,
we were shooting her with a 14mm lens.
32

December 2014

Everything for us was motivated by the
characters' emotions."
The Babadook opens with Amelia
having a surreal dream that forces her to relive the car accident that took her husband's
life; after the dream, she falls back into bed.
For the scene, a car partial and the camera
were mounted on a rotisserie so the car and
camera could rotate in tandem. The scene
then cuts to the actor on a dolly being
wheeled toward the bed, which was
mounted vertically against a wall, for the incamera falling effect.
American Cinematographer

Other in-camera effects are sprinkled
throughout the film. "We had fast-motion
and slow-motion effects, a lens out of the
mount, a Lensbaby," Ladczuk lists. "All
scenes with the Babadook were stopmotion frame-by-frame. We had an animator, Michael Cusack, on set to help us with
it."
When the Babadook finally goes
after Amelia, it crawls on the ceiling toward
her on a set that was flipped, with the ceiling built on the floor. The nightmarish
figure, played by Tim Purcell, moved stepby-step as Ladczuk shot five frames at a
time. On the right-side-up version of the
set, the Babadook was lowered incrementally toward the camera and shot stopmotion style. (The cables were removed in
post.) "It was very tricky and uncomfortable
for the actor," Ladczuk notes.
Mr. Babadook, the pernicious tome
that starts Amelia and her son spiraling, was
also to be filmed as a stop-motion
sequence. "That was the plan," recalls
Ladczuk. "The book was designed as a
pop-up with elements that you could move.
I had macro lenses for it. It was very complicated, and we didn't have the time to do a
real stop-motion animation - only a few
hours - so it was shot in real time."
Because black-and-white was not an
option for the film, Kent had specific ideas



American Cinematographer - December 2014

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

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