Definition July 2021 - Web


for lighting the actors. This was because any adjustments could be made remotely through the DMX board, without having to get near the cast. Tungsten lights were still used, but only for sun streaks through windows – and even the ER, which historically used tungsten sources, became illuminated with bicoloured LED tubes. Robbins liked this alteration, because the changeover between people coming in and out of the ER was always long. On previous seasons, they would knock the lights out and re-gel everything to change from daylight to tungsten, to show the time difference. “It’s much quicker to do this switch with bicoloured LEDs,” she says. MINI MAGIC Despite the modifications necessary to reimagine Grey’s Anatomy for the Covid-19 crisis, the camera package mostly remained the same. Robbins has

ABOVE Robbins used bicoloured LED tubes to help light the set at a distance

always used Arri cameras, but for this season, the Alexa Classic was switched out in favour of the Alexa Mini for archiving purposes, but also for its higher 3.2K resolution. “We were so limited on time with our ten-hour days, that if I wasn’t able to get all the shots, the editors could use that extra resolution to adjust the frame. But it’s crazy, because we actually did get everything we needed,” says Robbins.

Similarly, Robbins had the Cooke S4s – lenses the DOP has used on the last two seasons – but had to change up the filtration system. “For many years, Grey’s has been shot with nets on the back of the lens, and although they look fantastic on skin tone, they turn specular highlights into a honeycomb shape,” she explains. “Knowing that we were going to be working with more specular reflections from the PAPR screen, I switched to the Hollywood Black Magic filter, because it matched the net look, but didn’t produce this honeycomb effect. I reserved two long netted lenses, just in case we needed them for close-ups, but you couldn’t tell the difference between the filters.” This is most definitely not a show that celebrates the subtleties of acting, but for key moments – where Robbins felt the scenes needed to be about two people, and those two people alone – she’d shoot wide open on the S4s at 180mm. Similarly, speciality Kardan swing tilt lenses were brought in to enhance the emotion of certain scenes, such as the opening moments in episode 4, where Dr Meredith Grey is put into a coma. It was a bold move to make for several episodes with the show’s central character, but with both the working conditions and plot lines provided by the pandemic, the writers and crew could shake things up a bit. Yes, it’s dramatic, but the show always has been – and even after 17 seasons, viewers still find themselves drawn back in to the “madhouse on fire”.


JULY 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 15

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