Definition February 2024 - Web


Cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd and colourist Damien Van Der Cruyssen talk creating colour and connection in Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla

O n the heels of Baz Luhrmann’s electrifying Elvis biopic, Sofia Coppola’s new film gives another compelling glimpse into the world of The King – this time focusing a lens on his tumultuous six-year marriage. Foregrounding Priscilla’s perspective, the film draws inspiration from her memoir, Elvis and Me , and sees Coppola taking on the dual roles of writer and director. In this cinematic exploration, she reunites with cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd and colourist Damien Van Der Cruyssen at Harbor, following the trio’s successful collaborations on La Traviata (2017), The Beguiled (2017) and On the Rocks (2020). TRUST AND COLLABORATION Le Sourd, who has known Coppola for more than a decade, was approached in the summer of 2022 ahead of pre- production kicking off in September. “Through each project – from The Beguiled to On the Rocks and finally Priscilla – Sofia has become more and more engaged with the DI process,” he comments. “I think she feels very connected to this project, so she wanted to be sure that what we translated with Damien was accurate.” Staying close for the fortnight of DI, Coppola regularly stopped in to review and pass on notes to the pair. “She’s all about collaboration,” he shares. “Though she has a very specific idea of what she wants and how to show it, she’s completely open to what you can bring as a cinematographer to the set. She’ll often know if she wants to zoom

or track inside the corridor, if she wants music at this moment or emotion – or if she wants one or two shots. She can be very specific, so we spent a lot of time together to talk about the script.” CAMERAS, TESTING AND LUTS Le Sourd and Coppola have previously shot their movies together on film, but for Priscilla – after extensive testing of cameras, lenses and formats – they made the decision to shoot digital. “I knew the film wouldn’t be shot in Cinemascope, because if you are to create something intimate, Cinemascope would probably be bigger than life,” remarks Le Sourd. “The film was shot 1.85:1 on the ALEXA 35. I shot with the Ultra Speed from Panavision – an old lens. We didn’t want the end of the film to be too shiny, but not nostalgic either. It was not like The Beguiled – we were looking for something different.” During pre-production, Le Sourd called upon Van Der Cruyssen to start building a custom LUT for the feature. “Philippe sent me his look bible and test footage,” recalls Van Der Cruyssen. “The prep window was short, and we only did one round of tests, so after some back and forth, I built three LUTs based on the test footage. After a few days of production, Philippe settled on the more refined option – this became the show LUT.” SHOOTING WITH EMOTION Le Sourd described how, for him, shooting the movie was less about creating a certain ‘look’ or specific colour, and more about resonating with the essence of the story itself. “It’s about emotion with Priscilla ,” he sums up. “It’s not about a historical

LOOK OF LOVE Coppola, Le Sourd and Van Der Cruyssen collaborated closely to create a dreamlike aesthetic for Priscilla's world



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