The new issue of American Cinematographer magazine will soon arrive, featuring detailed coverage on a variety of projects.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC
“Ant-Man is not a total hero. He has doubts. He’s human, sometimes a little clumsy, and definitely a character we can relate to,” says cinematographer Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC. “My idea was to have a realistic, neoclassical approach — however, in the back of my mind there was a strong reference to comic books, in which the light might come from a strange source, but we don’t question it.”
Whereas Ant-Man— photographed by Russell Carpenter, ASC — was a superhero adventure in the framework of a heist movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp is comic-book action on a grander scale, as evidenced by Lang’s newfound ability to grow to 65-foot-tall “Giant-Man” proportions. “If Elmore Leonard had written a science-fiction novel and we made a Marvel movie out of it, that’s what this would be,” offers Peyton Reed, who has been in the director’s chair for both outings. “The first movie largely takes place in Hank Pym’s house and Pym Technologies’ labs, but this time I wanted to get our characters out into San Francisco.”
Spinotti’s work behind the camera has been recognized with an ASC Lifetime Achievement Award (AC Feb. ’12), as well as two Academy Award nominations for L.A. Confidential (AC Oct. ’97) and The Insider, among other accolades. “There’s a dash of noir in [the movie],” says Reed. “I wanted Dante to shoot it because I’ve been a fan of his photography for so long, and he seemed like a great fit for the story we were telling.”
Yves Bélanger, CSC
The cinematographer and director Jean-Marc Vallée previously collaborated on the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies and the features Demolition, Wild and Dallas Buyers Club. “I read the book quite some time ago and thought it was Gillian Flynn’s most disturbing work, darker than Gone Girl,” says Bélanger. “I also really wanted to work with Amy Adams. Even though her character does horrible things, I knew Amy’s big blue eyes would make you want to stay with her.” (After establishing the show’s style over the first four episodes, a scheduling conflict led Bélanger to cede the cinematographer’s chair to his good friend Ronald Plante, CSC.)
This film earned raves at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but as the cinematographer reveals in this story, he initially thought he’d blown his job interview when he recommended a gritty, handheld look to director Carlos López Estrada and his screenwriter stars, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal — who had already decided, despite the production’s 22-day schedule, that they wanted a more glossy, stylized look. Playing it cool, Baumgartner suggested combining the two styles. They went for it. “That’s what we ended up with,” he says. “A mash-up of both stylization and gritty realism.”
Detroit: Become Human
The cinematographer pens a first-person piece about his work on this Sony PlayStation 4 video game, which illustrates how a cinematographer’s skill set can be applied to other platforms in intriguing and exciting ways.
Also in this August issue is a focus on drones, including a piece on post work done by Stephen Nakamura at Company 3 with drone footage for Dariusz Wolski, ASC’s taut thriller Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and an interview with Eric Austin, the director of media operations and chief pilot at M2 Aerials.
In this issue’s Shot Craft department there’s a focus on virtual reality, where cinematographer and visual effects veteran Greg Downing discusses his work on the VR experience Awavena, and L.A.-based cinematographer Sam Gezari, known for the VR project Dinner Party, offers insight on shooting VR and 360 projects.
You’ll find all this and much more in the August issue of AC, which subscribers should receive shortly.
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