New interview up over at Filmmaker Magazine with One Night in Miami cinematographer Tami Reiker (High Art, The Old Guard). Shot on Arri Alexa 65’s and Arri DNA lenses. The film unfolds largely over a single night in a Miami hotel room, offering a fictitious version of Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke celebrating Ali’s 1962 victory over Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion of the world.
To elevate the material’s stage origins, Reiker employed a pair of manually-operated jibs to float throughout the hotel room set, which was built in a rec center in LaPlace, Louisiana.
I (used a similar technique) on High Art. It used to be my favorite way to operate because you have control of it; you’re not relying on the dolly grip to back up or move right or move left. You can organically move around the space and move with the actors and go with their action. I hadn’t done it on a movie in a while, but it seemed so perfect for this. Even though it may seem counterintuitive to have a very small room and have two giant pieces of steel in there, it worked. Sometimes the camera movement is almost imperceptible, but it keeps it from being static. It keeps the perspective always shifting.
Reiker recreates several famed photos of Ali in the film, including the LIFE Magazine shot of Ali training at the bottom of a swimming pool and Neil Leifer’s God’s-Eye-View of Ali knocking out Cleveland Williams. Here’s Reiker on mimicking Leifer’s pic:
Our widest lens was a 24mm, I think, and we did all the calculations for the Technocrane that we had that day to make sure we could get to the right height. And we thought, “This is going to be beautiful.” But then we get the camera up there and that lens is just not wide enough. And we’re in New Orleans—we can’t just quickly get another lens. For the Alexa 65, you have to have an adapter. It’s not like the Alexa Mini, where you can just go to any rental house and they’ll have something for you. We ended up taking the camera off of the Technocrane and rigging it from the ceiling and it was perfect. For a scary moment it was like, “Oh my God, are we going to be able to get wide enough?” But the stage we were at had a catwalk and we were able to go up there and literally rig the camera to the catwalk looking straight down.