Meet The Creative
FilmLight talked to legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro in Los Angeles this summer. He had just completed work on Café Society with director Woody Allen. It was Allen’s first taste of digital shooting.
A long time ago, someone at Kodak asked me what I thought about digital intermediate vs. film. Because I had already started doing transfer from film to telecine, I had some experience of the process. But the quality was not there yet though: digital cameras and colour correctors were still in their ‘infancy’.
My first experience in digital finishing was on a movie called Muhammad: The Messenger of God. In 2011 and 2012 we were doing the pre-production and production of the film, which we shot in Iran. I shot on film because in my opinion no digital camera could handle such drastic changing weather conditions. One segment though was transferred digitally, mostly for VFX purposes.
For the post-production of the film in 2013, we sent all the negative material to ARRI as both Kodak and Technicolor Italy had closed. ARRI scanned the negatives in 4K 16-bit. After that we decided to do the entire DI at ScreenCraft where I could review the film in a 4K 16-bit colour screening, which is very important. It was an almost 100 percent switch from film to digital. They also had a Baselight system in their screening room that we moved into their beautiful 4K theatre so we could work in the optimal environment.
The colourist at ScreenCraft was not used to doing films, as he had mainly worked on video and TV, so I had to influence him step-by-step, feeling the story. My advice to him was to work on colour in real-time, listen to the dialogue, understand the dynamic and not just concentrate on the technical aspect of the fixed images.
In cinematography the first image doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be the starting point. And it is moving in time until you reach the end. So when you see an image through Baselight, you have to think about what you really want to achieve. This is somehow a visual journey, which follows the path of the world where the characters interact, or the music plays.
It is fantastic to have colour correction in real time. Baselight through the 4K 16-bit video projector gave me my first taste of this great opportunity.
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“In cinematography the first image doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be the starting point.”
Creative: Vittorio Storaro