Interview: A Star Is Born cinematographer Matthew Libatique

My talk with A Star Is Born cinematographer Matthew Libatique is up over at Filmmaker Magazine. The film was shot on Arri Alexa Minis with Cooke/i SF Camtec Vintage Series and Kowa Cine Prominar anamorphic lenses. Here’s a preview, where Libatique discusses using the Kowas, what he loves about anamorphic, and why he stays loyal to the same rental house.

Continue Reading ›

Interview: First Man cinematographer Linus Sandgren

Here’s a link to my latest piece for Filmmaker Magazine – an interview with First Man cinematographer Linus Sandgren. The Neil Armstrong biopic was shot on a mixture of Super 16mm, 35mm and 70mm IMAX with many of the effects created practically in camera by placing spacecraft replicas on gimbals in an Atlanta soundstage decked out with giant LED screens. The climactic moon scenes were shot in an Atlanta quarry and lit entirely with one 200K bulb created specifically for the film. Production had only two of the prototype bulbs – one of which blew on its first day of use.

A snippet of the story is below. Also, check out my previous talk with Sandgren about his Oscar-winning work on La La Land.

Interview: Director Lowell Dean talks Another WolfCop

When it comes to pitching WolfCop flicks, writer/director Lowell Dean has a knack for dreaming up enticing amalgamations. He pegged the initial installment as Teen Wolf meets Bad Lieutenant. He’s labeled the follow-up Another WolfCop – now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD – as a cross between Gremlins, Slap Shot, Strange Brew, and Lethal Weapon. It’s an apt description of the lycanthropic sequel’s mixture of comedy, action, beer, gore, and hockey.

This time around the plot finds the titular hirsute law enforcement officer (again played by Leo Fafard) battling shape-shifting aliens whose scheme to take over the Canadian berg of Woodhaven involves impregnating its citizenry via a hearty new stout.

Continue onward as Dean talks Kevin Smith cameos, the importance of a kick ass poster in the age of streaming, and the challenges of capturing explosions, werewolf lovemaking, car chases, and alien baby berths in a 17-day shooting schedule.


 

When we talked about the original WolfCop back in early 2015, you had the sequel script ready to go and were hoping to get financing in time to shoot that summer. Did that ultimately happen or did production get pushed?

Lowell Dean: Oh, it got pushed! By almost two years. Development on the sequel was almost as much of a journey as production itself. The first film was very modest (a budget of about 1 million Canadian) and it was more a mystery film than an action film. Everyone involved agreed that the sequel needed to up the ante in terms of action and practical effects, which of course meant (we needed) more money. In the end, the producers pulled together just over 2 million but it took more time. Over that period the script underwent several revisions. We changed the villain. The setting changed from winter to summer and then back to winter. To be honest, there was a stretch of time when I thought the sequel just wasn’t going to happen. Continue Reading ›

Cinematographer Darran Tiernan talks Westworld Season 2

“I’ve been a cinematographer for 20 years, so I started on film and the majority of things I’ve shot have been on film, but when I got Westworld I hadn’t shot film for three years. I was actually terrified, to be honest. (laughs) I was quite nervous, but it ended up being absolutely wonderful to work on film again. I missed it. There is a reverence on set when the camera is spitting film through its gate. That’s the sound of money. Everybody is concentrated on what they’re doing. With digital, sometimes people don’t have the same self-control and they just keep shooting.” – Cinematographer Darran Tiernan

Check out my interview for Filmmaker Magazine with Darran Tiernan, who lensed five of the ten episodes of Westworld’s second season. Shot on 35mm with Arri Zeiss Master Primes and 75mm-400mm Fujinon Premier zooms.

Another sample….

Filmmaker: At this point I’m only through episode 3, which ends in a large scale battle between Delos security forces and a band of hosts holed up at Fort Forlorn Hope. How difficult is that scale to achieve on a TV schedule?

Tiernan: That battle sequence was shot over three days. Most of the real big battle scenes were shot on one massive day where we had seven cameras. We shot one direction in the morning, we shot another direction mid-day and then another direction in the evening. The next day we blew up the field in front of the fort. We had to plan it like a proper battle, deciding where every camera was going to go for each sequence. It was quite a phenomenal thing to be involved in, with so many departments all in sync in order to pull it off in the time that we had.

I also remember it being incredibly hot. Evan Rachel Wood [who plays Dolores] discovered that the electricians had a heat gun, which is this device that you can point at something and it will tell you the temperature rising off it. At one point she came up to me and said, “It’s 115 degrees on the ground.” All those poor Confederados in their wool period suits. (laughs) 

 

Cinematographer Sam Levy talks Lady Bird

Check out my interview with Lady Bird director of photography Sam Levy for Filmmaker Magazine.

Tech Info
Camera: Arri Alexa Mini
Lenses: Panavision Ultra Speeds and Super Speeds
Misc: Shot at 2K ProRes, with the camera rated at 1280 for day exteriors and 1600 for interior work

Here’s Levy on the film’s preproduction prep:

Continue Reading ›

Cinematographer Rachel Morrison talks Mudbound

Mudbound frame grabs

Check out my Filmmaker Magazine interview with Rachel Morrison regarding her work on Netflix’s Mudbound. Set in post-World War II rural Mississippi, Mudbound was shot on Alexa Minis using Panavision PVintage spherical lenses and Panavision B, C, and D series anamorphic glass.

Continue onward for a few set pics and a snippet from the interview in which Morrison breaks down the pros and cons of working with film vs. digital. Continue Reading ›

Cinematographer Dan Laustsen talks The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water frame grabs

Check out my interview with The Shape of Water cinematographer Dan Laustsen (Nightwatch, Crimson Peak, John Wick: Chapter 2, The Brotherhood of the Wolf) for Filmmaker Magazine.

Laustsen’s third collaboration with director Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water tells the story of a mute cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with the amphibious creature (Doug Jones) housed at the government research lab where she works.

Shot on Arri Alexa XTs with Master Prime lenses on a surprisingly skimpy budget of $19.5 million.

Here’s a snippet from the interview:

Dan Laustsen interview quote The Shape of Water