16 SHOOT STORY DARKEST HOUR
that typically is black and white. The initial concept though was that when we think of those films from those eras but in terms of still photography there was in fact quite a lot of colour but although those processes weren’t technically perfect there was an intrinsic beauty of how that colour was produced.” MEATY DIGITAL NEGATIVE The single camera used on Darkest Hour was the ARRI Alexa SXT with Cooke S4 lenses. Bruno and Joe had looked at a lot of alternate lenses, the initial experimentation was to use very old fashion lenses or vintage lenses but again it felt, particularly in such an ensemble performance, that playing with depth of field and radical focus pulls would get a little distracting. Peter was looking forward to a ‘thick’ negative coming his way, “The Cooke S4s have a very distinctive look and it’s a kind of combination of sharpness in the right place, so sharpness for eye lights and other detail. They have quite a lustre to them, quite a glow which makes them quite reactive to the set. So whilst they’re not flaring like a classic anamorphic, as you pan across a scene or if an actor walks up there’s a kind of glow that will follow them through. Certainly in the Parliament when he’s delivering the speeches it just meant that your main protagonist could be exceptionally bright and very focused whilst the Commons can fade off in to an almost painterly like texture. “We wanted to design this film for a cinema experience so we came up with a contrast range for the classic Xenon DCI projector, built the LUT, Bruno could do his exposure wedges and then really test the camera finding out where it was clipping, all the old school bracket-
ABOVE The aesthetic changed from being initially based on vintage lenses to a refined sharp look. BELOW The Commons set was designed to spotlight the performances of the speeches.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF SOMEONE LIKE EDWARD STEICHEN LENDS ITSELF TO THE TONE OF THE PERIOD
data was carried through to the DI. CODEX was used throughout from recording on-set all the way through the process. REMAKING RETRO COLOUR Senior Technicolor colourist Peter Doyle isn’t one to accept an easy colour solution, his research of this period was deep. “I took myself off to the Victoria & Albert museum in London, which I do a lot, they have a fantastic photography collection and I did some research of colour photography of that period and I also went through my own library. I collect photo books and have been building up a collection of all the different colour processes that have been available. That’s a huge undertaking and I don’t think I’ll ever get there, but along the way what’s interesting is how varied the
like tests. Bruno and the team went in and lit it with that in mind so my job didn’t include so much re- construction of the lighting as such. Certainly we play to the title, Darkest, we just spent some time seeing how dark we could get the shadows with men in black suits in lots of smoke against very dark wood paneling in shadows. Technical I spent quite some time getting a tone curve in the shadows that really works so the display medium like your television and the projector really reproduces that in the way that we wanted.” This film was a Technicolor show from start to finish so it was Technicolor providing the on-set rushes with Mel Kangleon as the on- set colourist who would make sure all the different scenes were matched-in so editorial were able to cut some good looking rushes and then all that
DEFINITION JANUARY 2018
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