Magazine article Variety

Top-Flight Lensers Elaborate on Craft

Magazine article Variety

Top-Flight Lensers Elaborate on Craft

Article excerpt



With his nomination for "Sicario" representing his 13th, with no previous wins, you'd think Roger Deakins would've developed a complex by now. But the unflappable, nofrills Brit is blase about the whole affair. "I've got plenty to come, I hope," he told Variety back in September.

For "Sicario," Deakins' second film with director Denis Villeneuve, capturing the harsh, brutal light of Mexico's Chihuahua Desert was key.

While the film was shot digitally with the ArriAlexa, for one particularly bravura sequence, depicting a raid on an underground tunnel used to smuggle drugs, Deakins used two different night-vision attachments employed by the military - one an infrared thermal system.

"It was almost ridiculous how little light I was using, but I didn't want to go too far and make the image look too good, because, naturalistically, it wouldn't work."



For his fourth collaboration with director Todd Haynes (including the outstanding HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce"), Ed Lachman shot on Super 16 mm film because of the format's kinship with the picture's '50s period milieu. "I was trying to reference early color film," Lachman told Variety back in November.

In Patricia Highsmith's novel "The Price of Salt," on which the forbidden romance is based, Rooney Mara's character is a department store decorator. In the film, she's a sales clerk and amateur photographer. "We wanted to reference the period not through the cinema of that time, but through mid-century still photographers, many of whom were women," Lachman says.

In Variety's review of the film, Justin Chang noted Lachman achieves "a realist look and texture that's worlds away from the lustrous sheen and pristine Technicolor surfaces" of the d.p.'s previous collaboration with Haynes on 'Far From Heaven."


"The Revenant"

Like Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki is considered among the top of the trade. And just as colleagues referred to the late "Godfather" d.p. Gordon Willis as "Gordy," Lubezki is known as "Chivo."

The fact that he's the reigning Oscar winner for his work on "Birdman," on which he also collaborated with "The Revenant" director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, gives him added cachet. Academy members might also be impressed with Lubezki's eagerness to push the envelope in the image-capture arena.

On Lubezki's Oscar-winning work on "Gravity," Sandra Bullock spent weeks inside a LED lightbox that added verisimilitude by surrounding her with the proper space environment and reflections. …

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