Camerimage- French cinematographers seminar

French cinematographers Michel Abramowicz, Nathalie Durand and Romain Lacourbas gave an insight in to their world as DOPs.

Nathalie Durand, who was incidentally the only female cinematographer I could find at Camerimage, spoke about how she prepares for shooting from script to the first day of filming. She introduced us to her movie Sky and said she begins by creating a visual look book, identifying different moods per scene, making sure she has one clear mood per scene.

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She says that this is her way of evoking ideas about lighting, framing and emotions. Herself and Director Fabienne Berthaud worked with two camera throughout, as if they are alos partaking in the action. Almost used as POV which would constantly be changed in order to keep the fresh, meaning no two shots were framed the same. She created a sort of dance around the actors and action – making the actors and cameras involved in the scene as one creating an intimacy.

Lighting techniques

  • Depron foam sheet for bounce
  • Difficulties of using single source lighting when the source becomes a  practical weapon in a  rape scene
  • Socket dimmers
  • Using shadows and silhouettes to add to the eeriness of the rape scene without being to explicit
  • Working around 360° shooting by using top source lighting and attaching dados to ceiling
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Romain Lacourbas – Marco Polo

Roamin spoke about using just three sources for lighting with this Netflix series: the Sun, moon and fire. He said these lights sources, particularly the fire, increases darkness and contrast. He chose the colour scheme of moonlight blues and fiery oranges. Using haze to help the camera catch the jade of the light /fire in the darkness.

Lighting Techniques
  • He said that in a tv series you need a look.
  • Contrast your colours but only have three colours in the frame, no more, otherwise becomes too hectic.
  • A means of exaggerating Saturated colours is by using gels.
  • Colour separation. Complimentary moonlight colour with fire. Almost surreal blues. Pushing them to their limit for an interesting shot. Playing with colour temp of camera. Higher one. 4300
  • Darkness of face
  • Used f55 for its high dynamic range. But felt it would have been too clinical. So instead went for more vintage lenses
  • Finding the balance. To keep I cinematic.

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This is a behind the scenes clip showing how they shot the horses in flames – using light up strips for the vfx team

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