Magazine article American Cinematographer

Editor's Note

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

The legend of the ultimate superhero is retold in Superman Returns, the latest project to update a classic story with modern filmmaking tools. The most significant of these advancements is Panavision's Genesis high-definition camera, which offers a new format but also a design reminiscent of traditional 35mm cameras.

In Australian correspondent Simon Gray's piece on the show ("Hero Shots," page 28), cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC reveals that he and director Bryan Singer initially considered shooting the film in 65mm, before seeking a unique look with the first Genesis cameras that came off Panavision's production line. To familiarize themselves with the camera's capabilities, the filmmakers conducted a rigorous comparison between Genesis HD footage and 35mm. "We spent several weeks shooting everything we could - interiors, exteriors, costumes, sets - in all kinds of situations and lighting conditions," Sigel told AC. "The more we saw, the more excited Bryan and I became about shooting digitally."

Eye-popping visuals are also a strength of A Scanner Darkly, a computeranimated sci-fi story based on the well-known cult novel by Philip K. Dick (whose literary oeuvre also produced the modern classic Blade Runner]. Cinematographer Shane F. Kelly was enlisted to shoot the film's live-action template by director Richard Linklater, who had experimented with digital animation on the surreal 2001 fantasydrama Waking Life. As Kelly explained to correspondent John Pavlus ("Head Trip," page 44), the methodology on Scannerwas the same: the movie's live-action footage was shot with "prosumer" digital-video cameras on location in Austin, Texas, with real actors, and then edited and presented to a team of computer animators, who traced over every frame. …

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