Censor – a 1980s-set, color-drenched horror flick centered around a British ratings board member who sanitizes “video nasties” – hits theaters today and VOD on June 18th. I’ve got an interview with the film’s cinematographer, Annika Summerson, up over at Filmmaker Magazine. Though shot mainly on 35mm with era-appropriate Canon K35 lenses, Censor’s eclectic formatting includes Sony Venice, Super 8, VHS, and even an iPhone shot.
Summerson: We used 35mm for the bulk of it. Basically most everything is 35mm up until the night exteriors in the forest at the end, then we switched to digital with a Sony Venice. It was a requirement from the financiers, because there was going to be VFX and children in those scenes. Then, for the final scene, we switched back to film. There’s a couple of scenes of Super 8, some that actually came from a short film Prano and I did in 2014 called Nasty, then some new Super 8 footage we shot of Enid in the forest being filmed by [the movie’s fictional Don’t Go in the Church director] Frederick North. Then there’s a news report in the film on a 1980s estate that was shot on a Panasonic M40, I think it was, which is an old VHS camera.
There’s also one iPhone shot. We were about to do a few pickups [last] March when COVID hit and we got postponed. So, during lockdown Prano and I just did one shot with an iPhone of her at home covered in blood with a knife. We actually tried to shoot that on a really old camera that Prano had in the attic, but that didn’t work, so we ended up doing it with an iPhone.
And here’s Summerson on the Canon K35’s and using short form jobs as an opportunity for experimentation:
Summerson: I had used them for commercials, so I knew the qualities they have and the type of flaring and softness they have. That was quite an early decision. I do a lot of short form as well, like music videos and commercials. Those kinds of jobs are brilliant for trying out new equipment. Whenever I do a job where maybe I don’t get that much salary, I see it as a test to use new equipment or to try out new looks. So, I always try to bring in something new on every job I do just to learn a little bit more.