Magazine article Variety

DP Focuses on Innovative Lighting for 'Current War'

Magazine article Variety

DP Focuses on Innovative Lighting for 'Current War'

Article excerpt

"THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR'S CUT" gave cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung a chance to reteam with director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon to create an environment in which both could indulge their preference for thinking outside the box for a movie about invention - specifically the race to build the first modern electrical system in the Western world.

"When I started prepping for the movie, his room was full of photos from the Edison and Westinghouse era," says Chung, a South Korea native known for his work with director Park Chan-wook. "Our job was to create something new from old. We always overthink and exceed the limit of our boundaries, then work our way down until the camera starts to roll."

Though the Weinstein Co.-financed film, completed in 2017 and finally arriving in a refined cut Oct. 25 in theaters, takes place at the turn of the 20th century, Chung eschewed a dated look and focused on the movie's message of innovation and invention.

"I wanted to make the lighting as simple as possible in order to maintain the reality of the movie without compromising the details of dark spaces," he says. "[Simplifying the key light and focusing] on details of unlit areas without limiting the actors and Alfonso's workspace, I used small battery-powered LED lights [hidden in strategic places]. I like having contrast, but not to the extreme where all you see is pitch-black in a frame."

Chung shot on the Alexa XT Plus with Panavision G Series anamorphic lenses and the spherical Primos. Gomez-Rejon, with whom Chung had worked on the Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," initially wanted to shoot on film, but the movie's budget limitations didn't allow for using both film and the lenses Chung wanted for the project. …

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