Pic of the Day: Behind the scenes of David Lynch’s Dune (1984)

Behind the scenes of David Lynch's Dune

American Cinematographer recently shared an interview with Freddie Francis from its March 1998 issue that included the photo above from the set of David Lynch’s Dune. Francis, a two-time Oscar winner, also shot Lynch’s The Elephant Man and The Straight Story.

It’s an incredible piece that covers the breadth of Francis’ career, from his beginnings as a clapper boy in Britain in the early 1930s to shooting Cape Fear, The Innocents, and Glory.

Here’s one of the many pearls of wisdom from Francis…

“If someone asks me, ‘I loved that shot, how did you light it?’, I’ll think they’ve lost the point. My explanation doesn’t mean a thing because there are 20 ways to light a shot and get the same result. Why you do something is far more important than how.”

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The Shot Behind the Shot – Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

Behind the scenes of HBO's Fahrenheit 451

Behind the scenes of the HBO retelling of Ray Bradbury’s classic sci-fi cautionary tale Fahrenheit 451. Shot by cinematographer Kramer Morganthau on Panasonic’s 4K VariCam 35 with Panavision Super Speed and Ultra Speed legacy primes. The lighting units you see on frame right – both sitting on the ground and perched on the stand – are Arri SkyPanels.

The set pic on the left comes from American Cinematographer magazine’s feature on the film from the June issue, which you can read here.

Behind the scenes gallery and a collection of quotes for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Photo courtesy of W Magazine. Pic by Martin Scali.

“Each time I start (a new movie), I feel like I’m doing a completely different thing. We go to a different country. We have a whole different kind of story. I feel like everything I’m doing is different from what I’ve done before.” – Wes Anderson, from an interview with New York Times writer David Carr

For anyone familiar with Wes Anderson’s fastidious creations, the above quote will seem patently absurd. Very few directors in the history of the medium have a recurring style and thematic preoccupations as easily identifiable as Anderson’s, enough so that his oeuvre lends itself to both Saturday Night Live spoofs and supercuts about obsessive center framing. (continue reading)

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Golden Age issues of American Cinematographer

AC 1942 (Shadow of a Doubt, Hitch) copy

(Above) Alfred Hitchcock peers through the camera’s viewfinder on the set of Shadow of a Doubt, which was shot on location in Santa Rose, California.

The Media History Digital Library boasts a database of more than 800,000 pages of digitized materials from vintage periodicals. That includes full issues of American Cinematographer ranging from 1924 to 1942. The database can be accessed here.

What’s interesting about this era of the magazine is that the cinematographers wrote the features themselves. Thus Greg Toland pens a piece in the February 1941 issue on Citizen Kane and Joseph Valentine contributes a feature in the October 1942 issue on Shadow of a Doubt.
AC 1941 (Citizen Kane) copy
(Above) A low-angle camera set-up  from Citizen Kane, a film that broke with the conventions of the era by showing the ceiling of its interiors.
AC 1926 (Ben Hur) (#2) copy
(Above) The chariot race  from the 1925 silent version of Ben-Hur. Continue Reading ›