PRODUC T I ON . THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK
INSPIRING THE VISION While much of The Many Saints of Newark’s look was inspired by the period, Morgenthau included techniques popularised by iconic gangster films like The Godfather
“Within single shots, we used wide lenses to bring viewers close to these characters, and make them feel as though they’re right there with them,” Morgenthau continues. “The camera is often quite low – almost always below eyeline – which brings an Orson Welles quality to the film. It makes the characters larger than life and gives a perspective that’s just not quite normal. It’s a viewpoint, but not an intrusive one.” The lens choice, more specifically, was a mix of old and new. A selection of modern Panavision T Series anamorphics were coupled with vintage C Series glass, dating back to the late sixties – the same era as The Many Saints of Newark . Naturally, they had a wider appeal to Morgenthau than just their focal lengths. “Dan Sasaki, Panavision’s VP of optical engineering, detuned the lenses to take an edge off the Arri Alexa LF’s digital look, letting sources glow and artefact in the frame. We were also able to achieve a very shallow depth of field. “Part of that came down to the Alexa’s large format sensor, which was something The family business Christopher Moltisanti, a key character in The Sopranos and Tony Soprano’s protégé, narrates The Many Saints of Newark . Christopher’s father, Dickie, mentors a young Tony throughout the film.
“This is a big-screen cinematic experience, and we wanted the audience to be immersed”
Large format wasn’t without its challenges, though. “We didn’t have the Alexa Mini LF; we had the studio-camera-size version, which made it very difficult for Steadicam and handheld. But it was so worth it to have that sensor. This is a big-screen movie, a cinematic experience, and we wanted the audience to be immersed. That really comes across through anamorphic lenses and large format.”
we really pushed for on the film,” says Morgenthau. “The background falls off in such a beautiful way, which helped maintain the period illusion while working in certain locations. We couldn’t control every visible detail, but if the background just went soft, a little more painterly and a little more impressionistic, then suddenly those details aren’t an issue. The characters really pop out in the frame.”
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