DEFINITION July 2022 - Newsletter


As No Time to Die starts streaming free on Amazon Prime Video, we speak to Steadicam operator Jason Ewart on his own Bond adventure Shoot to thrill

WORDS. Mel Noonan IMAGES. Various

F or Jason Ewart, it was a dream job – the opportunity to be a part of Daniel Craig’s final Bond outing: No Time to Die . Ewart had worked alongside Linus Sandgren on The Nutcracker and the Four Realms a few years earlier, so when the DOP asked in November 2018 if he wanted to get involved, the answer was easy. Five months on, they began filming on a frozen lake in Norway, before flying off to Jamaica, Pinewood Studios, Scotland and – finally – Italy. Ewart was both camera and Steadicam operator, using the Volt system to ensure footage was not shaken, but stirring. Keen to find out about the Steadicam experience, we caught up with him to discuss his work on the movie. DEFINITION: In a blockbuster like No Time to Die , are all the Steadicam moves storyboarded beforehand? JASON EWART: Not necessarily. More often than not, the director or DOP will know if they need the Steadicam on a certain scene. But sometimes, during blocking, it becomes apparent that the Steadicam is the best tool to tell the story. It gives you freedom other camera platforms don’t. On a job this big, the Steadicam had its own camera body and was set up for use all the time, so it wasn’t difficult to get ready quickly. D: The film was shot using several different film formats, including Imax. As Imax cameras are so big, how do you follow the action smoothly? JE: We used a mixture of Imax, 65mm and 35mm film, but only did a couple of scenes with Imax on Steadicam. The camera’s weight made this a challenge, as did the displacement of the film as it goes through the magazine. It dramatically changes the balance of the rig in a short amount of time, making it hard to keep steady and level. I tested the Steadicam Volt with Danny and Robin from Tiffen in prep – that really helped. I’d been using a

LEVEL BEST Jason Ewart testing the Imax camera on Steadicam in Jamaica for No Time to Die

Steadicam for over 20 years and thought I didn’t need the Volt, but I’m so glad I bought one. I now use it all the time and can’t imagine operating without it. D: How did shooting on film change the way you worked? JE: The main difference is you get more rehearsals on film, since you don’t want to waste the stock. I enjoy film because there’s more discipline. The sound of it going through the camera and the smell of film stock is old-school and romantic in a way – and it’s great operating through an optical eyepiece. With Steadicam, it can be trickier; you can’t see as good an image on your monitor as with a digital camera. D: You’ve operated a Steadicam Ultra2 for some time now. How did adding the Volt impact your work? JE: The Volt helped with film displacement. I would have hated to work without it. It didn’t completely

47. JULY 2022

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