Magazine article American Cinematographer

Daniel Pearl Is "Thinking out Loud"

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Daniel Pearl Is "Thinking out Loud"

Article excerpt

Emil Nava is a successful music video and commercials director whose instinct for stylish imagery is behind music videos for Jesse J, Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora, as well as spots for MasterCard and L'Oréal.

For his latest creation, the video for Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud," Nava wanted a classic look, and he wanted to achieve it by shooting film. Behind the camera, he had a strong ally in Daniel Pearl, ASC.

"I found shooting film again to be fantastic," says Pearl. "It was very freeing. I could move a lot faster. You don't have to fiddle with quarter-of-a-stop or eighth-of-a-stop changes in light, because you know that there will be a final color grading."

The film gauge was to be Super 16, but Nava told Pearl that he prefers to shoot in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio for a more cinematic sweep.

"So I did something I'd learned about several years ago, but never had the opportunity to try - HAWK 1.3x ANAMORPHIC lenses," Pearl explains. "My reasoning was, why would I throw away perhaps a quarter of the negative by letterboxing a spherical image?" The HAWK V-Lite 1.3x lenses, made by VANTAGE Film, squeeze a widescreen 2.35:1 image almost perfectly into a 1.78 Super 16 film frame.

The clip shows Sheeran and a female dancer performing an intricately choreographed dance in a finely appointed, old-world ballroom. The camera's movements interact gracefully with the dancers, adding to the lyrical feel. At times the camera was on STEADICAM, and at other times it was on a large crane with a jib arm. Pearl sometimes placed props like a chandelier or an arrangement of furniture in the foreground to add depth and dimension to shots.

To avoid frontlight, Pearl lit from outside the large arches and from balconies above the action. As the camera swirled around the action, lights were cued up and down to maintain backand crosslight. STEADICAM operator Chris Cunningham collaborated with Pearl and the choreographers on the coverage of the dance.

The entirety of the clip was shot over the course of a single day at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. One continuous, complete take was done at the start of the day, and then a couple more times at the end of the day. …

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