“Birds Of Passage”
Dir: Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
DP: David Gallego
Format: 35mm, 3 perf
Camera: Arricam LT
Lens: Ultra Prime, Zoom Alura, Angeneux
Gallego: One of the ideas that I was most interested in first understanding myself, and then transmitting in “Birds of Passage,” was the sense of recollection. A tragic story that becomes a memory, dreams that become a premonition for the tragedy, and the massive and epic atmosphere that belongs to this indigenous culture. I believe shooting in film, these sensations were emphasized. The Arricam LT gave us the possibility to film some scenes in Steadicam, in an aspect ratio of 2:40 in 3 Perf. The Ultra Prime Lenses, combined with the film negative, highlighted the desert textures and also enhanced contrast of the costumes, colors and typical villages of this region.
Dir: Mohamed Ben Attia
DP: Frédéric Noirhomme
Format: ARRIRAW 3.4K Open Gate framed for 2.39 center extract
Camera: Arri Alexa Mini
Lens: We shot 99 percent of the film with a 29mm Leica Summilux-C. Maybe five or six shots were framed with a 25mm and a 35mm.
Noirhomme: Mohamed’s work is so much anchored in reality. The way he works with his cast, and the details he keeps focusing on while directing, require a pictorial approach without any kind of effects. The look of the film had to be given by its content, the way we framed and lit every shot. And that was the challenging part of the work. To emphasize the main character’s psychology, in his fluent and continuous dogmatic life, the whole film was shot shoulder-held with only sequence shots (long takes). The camera and the actors had to move together in a sort of choreography, but simple and always in the right point of view. Very often, the lens covered 360 degrees of the set; it was impossible to set up any stand or light. (We had them) hanging them on the ceilings or in rare narrow corners.
The Arri Alexa mini was the right body for its lightweight and compact volume. My choice for the lenses was a compact series for the long shoulder-held takes. Almost half of the film happens at night, so I needed a fast aperture. And most important, for the realistic look of the film, I wanted lenses with the least lens flares. The Leica Summilux-C did the job perfectly: very discreet flare with strong backlights, a T1.4 that saved my ass a few times, and the perfect sharpness for the natural aspect we wanted for the film.
“Leave No Trace”
Dir: Debra Granik
DP: Michael McDonough
Camera: ARRI Alexa Mini (two cameras for portions of the filming)
Lens: We used two different sets of lenses to achieve two different feelings. Leica Summilux Primes were used for their warmth and richness for the woods at the beginning, and to a degree, the end sequences. For the city sequences, we used Vantage Ones — colder and sharper. A bit more clinical in feel, to enhance the difference between these two very different worlds. The Vantage T1s are also very fast and were a bit of an insurance against running out of light.
Granik: The main goal that Michael and I went in with was doing justice to the characters’ feelings for their environment. They had a love of these woods and a comfort in them. Both main characters are keen observers of their environment. We’d be shooting it in detail and attempting to show its resplendence. Michael aimed to express that warmth through a harmonious feeling to the look of the woods. For the city, which was not an easy environment for them to be in, the cinematography reflected the sharper edges of the built world.”
Claire Nicol 2016
Dir: Pierre Salvadori
DP: Julien Poupard
Camera: Arri Alexa Mini
Lens: Leica Summilux primes
Poupard: I was looking for a very colorful film. Leica Summilux primes are bright and contrasted, but soft and sensitive to the flare. The color rendering is precise, subtle. Alexa mini is a lightweight camera that I often use. It was nice to use it by car, on the shoulder, or on the stand.
Dir: Gianni Zanazi
DP: Vladan Radovic
Format: 3.2K ARRIRAW
Camera: 2 ARRI Alexa mini
Lens: Ultra Prime lenses
Radovic: The versatility of the ARRI Alexa camera in the ARRIRAW format allowed me to explore from deep shadows to very extreme highlights. At the same time with the ARRI, Zeiss Ultra Prime lenses and the filters I used, I was able to reach the right combination between softness and detail.”
Dir: Panos Cosmatos
DP: Benjamin Loeb
Camera: ARRI Alexa
Cosmatos: The most overtly cinematic look a film can have has always been anamorphic cinemascope. The way it draws attention to the design, optic, and framing aspects of the medium really appeals to me. Of all the digital formats available, currently the Alexa feels the most organic and the least clinical. For a film like this, a buttery, painterly quality is imperative to creating the right visual tone.
Dir: Jaime Rosales
DP: Hélène Louvart
Format: Kodak VISION3 500T color 5219 & Kodak VISION3 250D color 5207
Camera: ARRICAM LT super 35mm, 4 perf
Lens: COOKE anamorphic 50mm
Rosales: We wanted to work with just one lens. After discussing between the 40mm and the 50mm, we decided the 50mm was our best choice. It works nicely with closeups and long shots with landscapes. It is a very honest lens. The 50mm lens doesn’t enhance or reduce expressivity. It shows things the way they look in the space.
We also wanted to shoot 35mm for photographic reasons, mise-en scène reasons, and conservation reasons. I think 35mm brings density to the image and is a noble support for conservation. Digital allows more manipulation in post-production, but I tend to like things the way they look in nature. No need to manipulate anything. Shooting in 35mm means you need more intensity and concentration shot by shot. You can’t just shoot and shoot over and over endlessly. Everything is better executed because film stock is expensive.
We talked about the lighting and contrast. In Spain, light is very hard and it is difficult to bring down contrast. Hélène decided to use 500T for interiors mostly and 250D for exteriors. She asked the lab to pull development to reduce contrast. Grading was fully achieved with 35mm prints. No digital grading was used.
Dir & DP: Stefano Savona
Format: HDV video, main photography was completed in 2010 and I was alone in a war zone.
Camera: SONY Z1 with its lens
Savona: “It was the most adapted tool available for handheld documentary at the moment of shooting.”
Dir: Beatriz Seigner
DP: Sofia Oggioni
Format: 2.8K ARRIRAW
Camera: Arri Alexa Mini
Lens: Set of Leica Summicron
Oggioni: “As a cinematographer, my role in a film is to help the director tell their story. That is why I try to make an interpretation of light according to the intention of the director for each scene. I always look for a camera with a good dynamic range, and even though my favorite format is 35mm, I find that in the digital realm the Alexa best interprets light in a natural way. This is important to me because in many situations, I can only work with natural light, reflective surfaces, and negatives to achieve the contrast I need. In these moments, I don’t want to be fighting a camera; I want a sensor I can rely on, especially when I must deal with difficult contrast situations.”
“To the Ends of the World“
courtesy of Directors Fortnight
Dir: Guillaume Nicloux
DP: David Ungaro
Format: 35mm film, kodak 200T & 500T
Camera: Panavision millenium XL
Lens: Anamorphic C series
Ungaro: This project was very specific in its need for both an authentic and poetic rendering of landscapes and faces. The combination of 35mm and C-series gave us that direct and sensitive connection to the audience, conveying the beauty of Vietnam’s nature and the emotional journey of our characters.
We also value the discipline associated with 35mm projects of this size. Unlike digital, you can’t do multiple takes and it creates a tension when capturing the shots, with higher-level standards for the whole crew. Most of the film was shot on the same lens, single camera, and a limited number of shots. Anamorphic gave us that extended horizontal perspective, allowing the eyes of the viewer to also travel through every frame, faces becoming emotional landscapes, and Vietnam’s primary forest exposed.