American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 59

"Wide-angle lenses allow viewers to feel
they are right there with the characters
and feel the context they are in," the
cinematographer observes. The filmmakers pursued "a sense of elasticity," he
adds, where the perspective can shift
from an objective angle to a specific
character's point of view. For example,
on several occasions the camera travels
down a corridor as though it's capturing
Riggan's subjective perspective; as it
arrives at Riggan's destination, the
camera pans to take in the drama in
front of him, and then Riggan steps into
the frame and becomes a participant in
the action.
Iñárritu says he wanted Riggan's
dressing room to be a kind of refuge for
the character, while the expansive stage
was where he hoped to find success.
"The hallways served as areas of uncertainty, transferring him from one place
to the other," the director notes. As
Riggan becomes more and more
unhinged, the corridors become
increasingly claustrophobic: They get
narrower, and the color of the light
becomes dirtier and sulfuric. At times,
the 14mm lens replaced the 18mm to
further accentuate Riggan's anxiety.
If blocking the movie was a challenge, lighting it proved even more hairraising. With the exception of three
20Ks positioned outside the large
window in Riggan's dressing room
(built at Kaufman Astoria) to simulate
sky light, the interiors were lit solely by
practicals - hundreds of them. Gaffer
Robert Sciretta and Lubezki spent
weeks designing a lighting plan that
would work with a continually moving
camera. One obvious solution - overhead lighting - was quickly rejected.
"We wanted the movie to feel as realistic as possible," the cinematographer
says.
"We told Kevin, 'You are the one
really lighting this movie,'" Lubezki
adds, only half in jest. Indeed,
Thompson and art director Stephen H.
Carter were responsible for finding the
hundreds of tungsten and fluorescent
practicals that were used, many of
which dated back to 1927, when the St.

James opened. The majority of the
fixtures came from New York lighting
house City Knickerbocker, Inc.
In order to control the lights'
intensity, shape and contrast as the
camera moved through the shots, every
fixture in the movie had to be on a
dimmer, and "the dimmer operators had
to hit their cues perfectly," Lubezki
emphasizes. "Any mistake and we would
see it on camera." Because of the

number of lights, two dimmer-board
operators were required at both the
Kaufman Astoria set (Fred Young and
John Luton) and the St. James ( John
Wooding and Luton).
"Not all fluorescents and practicals are made to be on dimmers,
however," points out Sciretta, who
turned for help to Los Angeles-based
lighting company LiteGear. Sciretta
adds that LiteGear "makes dimmable


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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
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 6
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 7
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 8
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 9
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 10
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 11
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 12
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 13
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 14
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 15
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 16
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 17
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 18
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 19
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 20
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 21
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 22
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 23
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 24
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 25
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 26
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 27
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 28
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 29
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 30
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 31
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 32
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 33
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 34
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 35
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 36
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 37
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 38
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 39
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 40
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 41
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 42
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 43
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 44
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 45
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 46
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 47
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 48
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 49
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 50
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 51
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 52
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 53
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 54
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 55
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 56
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 57
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 58
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 59
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 60
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 61
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 62
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 63
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 64
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 65
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 66
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 67
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 68
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 69
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 70
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 71
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 72
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 73
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 74
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 75
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 76
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 77
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 78
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 79
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 80
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 81
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 82
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 83
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 84
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 85
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 86
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 87
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 88
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 89
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 90
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 91
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 92
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 93
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 94
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 95
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 96
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 97
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 98
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 99
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 100
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 101
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 102
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 103
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 104
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 105
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 106
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 107
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 108
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 109
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 110
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 111
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 112
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - Cover4
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