DEFINITION January 2018



colour processes are, there are many different ways you can get there. “It struck us that the photography of someone like Edward Steichen in particular kind of lends itself to the tone of the period particularly in terms of the Palace and the dinner party scenes. Also between Bruno Delbonnel and director Joe Wright a kind of core element for the placement of the film ended up that this particular summer was one of the brightest and hottest in quite a long time. That made for a very interesting dichotomy that the summer is lush and hot so you have all this warm light and then inside you have the contrast of the dimmed, bare light bulbs and the blackened down walls. “I proposed reproducing this story with a colour that was almost SHOULD IT BE SEPIA, SHOULD IT BE 4:3, SHOULD IT BE IN BLACK AND WHITE, WHAT KIND OF THINGS WOULD MAKE IT ‘OF THE TIME’?

Darkest Hour is in UK cinemas from January 12. Sooner in the USA. like Bruno brings to the table very much the old school style of really lighting a set. So the file that you get is very much ‘old school’ like an old negative in as much as it’s really lit and exposed correctly. Bruno will light for consistency within the set so it means that I can build this quite extremely manipulative look, but the negative has been lit perfectly in a way that it actually matches.” too much so their skin tones would be quite pale. Also mindful that Gary in his performance would be giving quite animated deliveries and the nuance of flushed cheeks and very red skin during anger is something that really needed to be reproduced. We spent a long time making sure that the skin tones and the extraordinary prosthetics that Gary wore helped rather than hindered. “There are lots of browns and hessians for the pale skin, very pale skin with incredibly intense lips. That colour model really worked for that, then with Bruno’s lighting it just meant we had that fantastic contrast range and we went from that. “To achieve this tone you photograph colour charts with both a digital camera and these alternate processing that allows you to build a three dimensional colour model based on the difference between the two. You then build a second model that then bends the digital camera to reproduce as if it’s a film negative and then it all kind of sticks together. That only works if you have a DOP of the skill of somebody like Bruno Delbonnel, apart from the aesthetic considerations and being able to light a set fantastically. Technically a DOP

like a postcard from a sunny holiday, so based on that I got hold of the oldest reversal or slide film stock I could get hold of that had been sitting in my fridge for ages and just built a colour model of that and so it meant that when we shot with the Alexa digital camera we really bent the colour and the contrast so it reacted as if it was a colour filmstock from that period. It’s more like one of my favourite colour processes which is called the Colour Carbon process - certainly Steichen was experimenting with at the time. It was usually reserved for very expensive advertising shots. “That worked incredibly well as it really reproduced skin tones in a very beautiful way, we’re talking British people in war time so people who are not tanned, are unhealthy, smoke

TOP RIGHT ARRI’s Alexa SXT was used for the movie. BELOW Is this the movie to give Gary Oldman an Oscar?





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