Inside Upcoming May Edition of American Cinematographer

The next issue of AC — Vol. 100 No. 5 — arrives soon with another special article celebrating the ASC’s 100th Anniversary plus much more.
Nellie (Maxine Peake) will be among a gathering of reformers that’s met with violent resistance in the historical drama Peterloo, shot by Dick Pope, BSC (at top of page). (Image courtesy of Amazon Studios.)

In this month’s opening note, editor-in-chief Stephen Pizzello explains, “While the ASC is best known as an organization comprising the world’s top cinematographers, its membership roster also includes many of the industry’s most innovative and accomplished visual-effects experts. A list of the movies and television shows augmented by these masters of illusion would consume the rest of this column, so it may suffice to note that their credits include influential all-time classics such as King KongStar TrekStar WarsBlade RunnerJurassic ParkTitanic and many, many other productions that set the bar for outstanding work in their particular eras.

“To honor ASC members’ contributions to visual effects in the Society’s centennial year, this issue includes the article  “Visions of Wonder,” featuring interviews with a number of top veteran FX wizards whose talents have enriched motion imaging for decades.” The subjects here include ASC members Mat Beck, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund, Anna Foerster, Neil Krepela, Robert Legato, Bruce Logan, Dennis Muren, Sam Nicholson, David Stump, Bill Taylor, Mark Weingartner and Richard Yuricich.

Filming a pyrotechnic effects sequence for Independence Day (1997), on which Anna Foerster, ASC was the visual effects director of photography.
Featured in the “Visions of Wonder” article are (from left) ASC members Dennis Muren (standing), Richard Edlund and John Dykstra.
Featured in the “Visions of Wonder” article are (from left) ASC members Dennis Muren (standing), Richard Edlund and John Dykstra.

Also in this issue is a “Close-Up” profile on David A. Geddes, ASC, CSC —  currently shooting DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

Featured in the issue's cover story, Dick Pope, BSC discusses about his work on the 19th-century drama Peterloo, which teamed the cinematographer with director Mike Leigh for the 11th time. In shaping the look of their films, Pope has found that he can provide Leigh with some creative spark that goes beyond their verbal planning sessions. 

“My tests are mostly designed to choose lenses and determine palette and possible looks — but also, importantly, to give Mike visual ideas and inspiration during those months when he’s locked away working with the actors,” Pope submits. 

Options abound in the Netflix interactive feature Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which generated much buzz by offering viewers the chance to push buttons on their remote and prompt various choices for the onscreen characters — whose fictional story involves developing a pioneering video game that presents a similarly godlike control over the fates of its digital protagonists. Our story, cinematographers Aaron Morton, NZCS and Jake Polonsky, BSC discuss how they helped director David Slade create the show’s multiple, mazelike branches. 

“As we got deeper into prep, we realized what a monster this was going to be compared to any ‘normal’ shoot,” Morton offers. Indeed, the ostensibly 90-minute show provides the most curious — or power-hungry — viewers with the chance to explore approximately 4.5 hours of viewable footage divided into 250 segments.

Ashe ’68 is another forward-thinking project that required cinematographer Eve M. Cohen to capture 360 degrees of action for a virtual-reality short that blends live action, stop-motion sand-art animation, and archival footage to produce an immersive portrait of iconic African-American tennis champion and human-rights activist Arthur Ashe. (This article is online here.)  

Cinematographer Eve M. Cohen shooting on location at the West Side Tennis Club with the Canon C700/Entaniya fisheye lens setup.

You’ll find all this and much more in the May issue of AC, which subscribers should receive shortly.

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