‘Dunkirk’ Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema On Christopher Nolan’s Visceral Approach To Cinema

Reuniting with Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, the director’s singularly immersive war film, following 2014’s Interstellar, cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema knew what to expect—to be pushed to the farthest limits of what was possible in the pursuit of vivid cinema.
On Interstellar, the challenge was of an intellectual nature, “understanding and incorporating a level of physics into the storytelling and way of shooting.” With Dunkirk, on the other hand, the challenges were…

Reuniting with Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, the director's singularly immersive war film, following 2014's Interstellar, cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema knew what to expect—to be pushed to the farthest limits of what was possible in the pursuit of vivid cinema. On Interstellar, the challenge was of an intellectual nature, "understanding and incorporating a level of physics into the storytelling and way of shooting." With Dunkirk, on the other hand, the challenges were…

‘Blade Runner 2049’ Wins Top Prize From American Society of Cinematographers

Roger Deakins has been named the best cinematographer of 2017 for his work on “Blade Runner 2049,” the American Society of Cinematographers announced at the ASC Awards on Saturday night.

The honor marks Deakins’ fourth competitive ASC Award, in addition to one lifetime-achievement award from the group. Though he is widely acclaimed as the greatest living cinematographer and has been nominated for the Oscar 14 times, Deakins has never won an Academy Award.

The five ASC nominees in the theatrical category — Deakins, Bruno Delbonnel for “Darkest Hour,” Dan Laustsen for “The Shape of Water,” Hoyte van Hoytema for “Dunkirk” and Rachel Morrison for “Mudbound” — were the same as the five nominees for the Academy Award for cinematography, with Morrison the first woman ever nominated for both awards.

But the win does not necessarily mean that Deakins is now an Oscar frontrunner. In the first 31 years of the ASC Awards, the theatrical winner went on to win the Oscar only 13 times, although three of those wins (“Gravity,” “Birdman” and “The Revenant,” all to Emmanuel Lubezki) were in the last four years.

Also Read: Oscars Nominate First Female Cinematographer: Rachel Morrison for ‘Mudbound’

More often than not, though, ASC members disagree with the Academy. That explains why Lubezki won two ASC Awards before he won his first Oscar, and why Deakins won his first three ASC Awards but then lost at the Oscars.

The ASC Spotlight Award, which goes to a foreign or indie film without wide distribution, was won by Mart Taniel for the black-and-white Estonian film “November.”

Television awards went to Adriano Goldman for the “Smoke and Mirrors” episode of “The Crown,” Mathias Herndl for the first episode of the Nat Geo miniseries “Genius” and Boris Mojsovski for the “Thief” episode of “12 Monkeys.”

The ceremony took place in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. Honorary awards were given to director Angelina Jolie, cinematographers Russell Carpenter, Alan Caso, Russell Boyd and Stephen Lighthill and Kino Flo Lighting Systems founder Frieder Hochheim.

Also Read: ‘Get Out’ and ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Win 2018 Writers Guild Awards

The ASC Awards winners:

Theatrical Release: Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”

Spotlight Award: Mart Taniel, “November”

Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television: Mathias Herndl, “Genius,” “Chapter 1”

Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television: Adriano Goldman, “The Crown,” “Smoke and Mirrors”

Episode of a Series for Commercial Television: Boris Mojsovski, “12 Monkeys,” “Thief”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Russell Carpenter
Board of Governors Award: Angelina Jolie
Career Achievement in Television Award: Alan Caso
International Award: Russell Boyd
Presidents Award: Stephen Lighthill
Bud Stone Award of Distinction: Frieder Hochheim

Andrew Lesnie Heritage Award Winners:
Undergraduate: Logan Fulton, “Widow”
Graduate: Favienne Howsepian, “Snowplow”
Haskell Wexler Student Documentary Award: Connor Ellmann, “Forever Home”

Related stories from TheWrap:

SAG and PGA Awards Give Boosts to ‘Three Billboards’ and ‘Shape of Water,’ But How Big?

Roger Deakins has been named the best cinematographer of 2017 for his work on “Blade Runner 2049,” the American Society of Cinematographers announced at the ASC Awards on Saturday night.

The honor marks Deakins’ fourth competitive ASC Award, in addition to one lifetime-achievement award from the group. Though he is widely acclaimed as the greatest living cinematographer and has been nominated for the Oscar 14 times, Deakins has never won an Academy Award.

The five ASC nominees in the theatrical category — Deakins, Bruno Delbonnel for “Darkest Hour,” Dan Laustsen for “The Shape of Water,” Hoyte van Hoytema for “Dunkirk” and Rachel Morrison for “Mudbound” — were the same as the five nominees for the Academy Award for cinematography, with Morrison the first woman ever nominated for both awards.

But the win does not necessarily mean that Deakins is now an Oscar frontrunner. In the first 31 years of the ASC Awards, the theatrical winner went on to win the Oscar only 13 times, although three of those wins (“Gravity,” “Birdman” and “The Revenant,” all to Emmanuel Lubezki) were in the last four years.

More often than not, though, ASC members disagree with the Academy. That explains why Lubezki won two ASC Awards before he won his first Oscar, and why Deakins won his first three ASC Awards but then lost at the Oscars.

The ASC Spotlight Award, which goes to a foreign or indie film without wide distribution, was won by Mart Taniel for the black-and-white Estonian film “November.”

Television awards went to Adriano Goldman for the “Smoke and Mirrors” episode of “The Crown,” Mathias Herndl for the first episode of the Nat Geo miniseries “Genius” and Boris Mojsovski for the “Thief” episode of “12 Monkeys.”

The ceremony took place in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. Honorary awards were given to director Angelina Jolie, cinematographers Russell Carpenter, Alan Caso, Russell Boyd and Stephen Lighthill and Kino Flo Lighting Systems founder Frieder Hochheim.

The ASC Awards winners:

Theatrical Release: Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”

Spotlight Award: Mart Taniel, “November”

Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television: Mathias Herndl, “Genius,” “Chapter 1”

Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television: Adriano Goldman, “The Crown,” “Smoke and Mirrors”

Episode of a Series for Commercial Television: Boris Mojsovski, “12 Monkeys,” “Thief”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Russell Carpenter
Board of Governors Award: Angelina Jolie
Career Achievement in Television Award: Alan Caso
International Award: Russell Boyd
Presidents Award: Stephen Lighthill
Bud Stone Award of Distinction: Frieder Hochheim

Andrew Lesnie Heritage Award Winners:
Undergraduate: Logan Fulton, “Widow”
Graduate: Favienne Howsepian, “Snowplow”
Haskell Wexler Student Documentary Award: Connor Ellmann, “Forever Home”

Related stories from TheWrap:

SAG and PGA Awards Give Boosts to 'Three Billboards' and 'Shape of Water,' But How Big?

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ Broke the Rules by Ignoring Spielberg and Hiding Tom Hardy

From the radical time structure and IMAX camerawork to a unprecedented blend of sound and score on an epic movie with little dialogue, Nolan forged into the unknown.

Any filmmaker who wants to make a blockbuster has to find a new approach, within a frame of reference that the audience will accept. You’ve got to wow and provoke while maintaining mainstream appeal. That’s a steep, narrow, and risky path; ask “Blade Runner 2049” director Denis Villeneuve, who never wants to make an expensive art film again.

When it does work, you have the work of Christopher Nolan, who has gotten away with the time-twisting, low-budget claustrophobia of “Memento” to the ground-shifting, big-budget spectacle of “Inception.” That has given him — and his studio, Warner Bros. — reason to trust that audiences will go where he leads.

Christopher Nolan at his Syncope offices at Warner Bros.

Even so, “Dunkirk” was a low-dialogue doozy. When he presented the 76-page script to the studio and asked for a blockbuster budget, he wondered, “Should I double-space it? I had no idea how long the film was going to be.”

Talking from his sunny Syncope office on the Warner Bros. lot, he said he did try to give the studio a clear sense of what he wanted to do, working out the story’s precise beats and timing. “When you’re going to try and do something radical,” he said, “you don’t want to give people too much opportunity for misunderstanding your intentions. So the further you can get it on your own, the further you can advance your conception of the project and the script before you present it to them, the better chance they have of connecting with the material and understanding.”

Nolan feels strongly about leading the audience to what it doesn’t know it wants. “I’m the audience, we’re the audience,” he said. “We ignore that at our peril. People are always talking about ‘them.’ I don’t trust that. We know when we pay to see a certain scale of movie that we are expecting certain things from that experience. The audience doesn’t know what it wants. It wants to be surprised. I think this industry is in danger of forgetting that, because Wall Street demands the studios lay out their wares for years to come. I don’t think the audience wants to know what the big movie is: They want us to tell us what it is! That’s where I feel responsibility, to use that in as adventurous and productive a way as I can.”

Here are the six rules Nolan broke on this summer blockbuster, which made $504 million worldwide and is nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Nolan’s first bid for Best Director. If “The Shape of Water” does not take the top award, it’s the most likely movie to amass enough support from mainstream voters and the craft branches. (What it will most likely win: Editing, Sound Editing and Mixing, and possibly Cinematography.)

“Dunkirk”

Melinda Sue Gordon

1. Avoid the Spielberg moments.

Nolan has battled the way studios read scripts his entire career. “It’s always been a problem for me,” he said. “‘Memento’ was the first time I went through this. People who read scripts tend to read dialogue. They don’t read stage directions, and have no idea what’s going on.”

British citizen Nolan grew up on the story of “Dunkirk,” and wanted to find a way to tell it “without over-sentimentalizing or treating it with unnecessary artifice or theatricality, because it’s a real story,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve told a real story about real people’s lives and deaths and I felt a great responsibility to that.”

So he came up with a form of narrative that was “devoted to a subjective experience,” he said. “And then as I looked at the different aspects of the event that I needed to portray, I realized that they would have to run on different time scales. It was a response to trying to give the audience different points of view, different perspectives on the event so they had an understanding of the bigger events without ever leaving a subjective mode of storytelling.”

Tom Hardy’s Spitfire pilot’s journey takes just one hour of the narrative, while the Moonstone boat takes a day and soldier Fionn Whitehead’s narrative unfolds over a week. Nolan says that “Dunkirk” is his most challenging structure since “Memento,” which relied on the familiar tropes of the noir genre to ground his audience, while the radical structure of “Dunkirk” fits inside the conventions of a war movie, which is “a much more expansive epic genre to work in,” he said. “It’s got a bigger worldview.”

With this genre, viewers are used to multiple things going on amidst explosive action. “It’s a ‘fog of war’ kind of thing,” said Nolan, “and so I felt confident that people’s familiarity with the sights and sounds of a war movie would orient them in the structure.”

Still, it’s a structure that didn’t favor its chances of WGA or Oscar nominations. “It also abandons the conventional ideas of backstory and dialogue to explain why we should have sympathy for a character,” said Nolan.

He also eschewed the Spielbergian moment when a flotilla of British boats arrives to rescue the 400,000 stranded British troops. “Dunkirk is an amazing story and it’s massively emotional on its own,” he said. “I wanted to tell story in as objective way as possible and trust that the facts of it would inspire an emotional response. We tried not to be overtly emotionally manipulative.”

“Dunkirk”

Melinda Sue Gordon

2. Cast young, unknown leads, and no Americans.

“Any studio would immediately object to the fact that there are no Americans in the film,” said Nolan. “It’s very easy to overlook, and a very radical proposition for the studio, unprecedented really. I didn’t have anything I could point to and go, ‘This has worked in the past.’ What I concentrated on was the experiential nature of it and how that is what seems to be getting people into cinemas these days. Warners was looking at ‘Gravity’ and ‘Mad Max’ and films like that, where you give people a very intense experience.”

And Nolan insisted on casting actors who were the right age. “I didn’t want a 30-year-old pretending to be 25; some [soldiers] were 18 or younger,” he said. “We wanted 18-, 19-, 20-year-old unknowns. I gave them the bad news up front. They were very relieved when we turned up with [Tom] Hardy, [Mark] Rylance, and [Kenneth] Branagh later on, when we started to realize that officers were older generation, in their 30s and 40s.I wanted to avail myself of the best-possible actors. Branagh anchors the movie with a sense of authority the audience taps into.”

“Dunkirk”

3. The one movie star you do hire, put him behind a mask.

Spitfire pilots were officers, so they could also be a little older, Nolan realized. “I got Hardy into my head,” he said. “Tom is one of the only people I know who could convey an intense moment of emotion with one eye, when he turns the Spitfire back. It’s fun to take a movie star and cover his face for the entire film until the end. He’s an adventurous performer.”

“Dunkirk”

Melinda Sue Gordon

4. Push IMAX to its limits.

With “The Dark Knight,” Nolan was the first filmmaker to shoot on IMAX for a studio movie. Then his fearless cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema started carrying IMAX cameras on “Interstellar;” on “Dunkirk,” he added handles. He also found ways to cram the huge cameras into the fighter-plane cockpit, and adapted a fast-moving crane rig for car chases to a North Sea catamaran.

“Hoyte spent lot of time on how to get the pilot’s POV in the plane,” said Nolan. “He built special lenses with snorkel attachments so he could get into the cockpit, reorient the camera, and find places to put it. That took months of research with PanaVision and IMAX.”

5. Stick with analog.

In order to get Tom Hardy to fly, they dressed a Yak plane from Romania of similar size and shape as the Spitfire. With two seats, it could be flown out of frame by a pilot seated in the rear, with the actor in the front. “They could fly in formation with the other Spitfires and get the actors up in the air, which hadn’t been done before,” said Nolan.

To get the sense of thousands of extras, Nolan used the old-fashioned technique of adding painted extras deep in the background. “We built paintings of men on fences, and gave two extras in deep background a painting of another 10 guys, and paintings of trucks and boats. These optical illusions worked in-camera very well.”

And the movie still uses photochemicals. Nolan went to the lab, not knowing if they could do photochemical reductions from IMAX 65mm to standard 65mm — and the other way around. “We had on previous films, where we had transposed formats for the digital releases,” he said. “We had digitized and then scanned the shots, and then finished them photochemically. This time we went all analog, and really loved the results.”

While Nolan works on an Avid, his analog love even extends to editing. Once he’s shown his cut to the studio, he splices together film prints that match the cut and projects them. “We’ve done that on every film,” he said.

“Dunkirk”

Melinda Sue Gordon

6. Give your film a nonstop score.

The silent era is Nolan’s baseline. “I go back to silent cinema to refresh myself,” he said. “We work with a visual medium, which is narrative in a cinematic way. But it’s always been musical and sound related as well. There’s tremendous value in that.”

Nolan also has faced consistent criticism for his use of sound (see: Tom Hardy’s mumbling Bane in “Dark Knight Rises”), and  he thinks the moviemaking establishment is rife with “surprising conservatism about sound,” he said. “It’s one area where you can take risks and be quite bold with it. But when you make something that feels different sound-wise, it’s unsettling for people.”

Nolan vividly recalls his first time on a studio dubbing stage. “I wanted the soundtrack to go to silent for half a second,” he said. “You cannot do it in a studio film — I got a slightly shorter bit of silence. The theory was the audience would think the projector was broken.”

For Nolan, sound doesn’t have absolutes. “It has fashions that change over time,” he said. The sounds in space on “Interstellar” were “raw and scrappy sounds. We didn’t do traditional sci-fi,” he said. “It sounded incredible, but it didn’t fit into people’s expectations. They’re comfortable with the lavish quality to studio sounds, and don’t know what is bugging them.”

The integration of sound and score in “Dunkirk” is unprecedented, with one long, uninterrupted 100-minute sound cue. Nolan’s sound team used synced rhythm tracks — some were carried by engines in the boat, footsteps, ticking or heartbeats — all in sync with music runs.

“For Hans Zimmer, it’s one continuous cue,” said Nolan. “I don’t think it’s ever been done before. Except for two places where the film takes a breath for a couple of seconds for effect, it’s a continuous track. We had to re-lay all the sound tracks every time we made a picture change. The way we used the ProTools editing system was unprecedented — no one ever mixed and edited film in same way, and maybe never will again.”

The director’s aesthetic purpose was “to reinforce the Shepard tone audio illusion,” he said. “I used music and sound effects in previous films to create the effect of a corkscrew rising. It was written in the script according to mathematical principle so that each strand of the story peaks at a different moment; we’re always ratcheting up. We never have a moment when we are not narratively reaching some kind of peak. That’s why the movie is shorter; it’s exhausting to watch.”

While Nolan doesn’t use research companies, at his own friends and family screenings he learned “where the music had to be pitched,” he said. “It risks being massively irritating — until Fionn falls asleep on the train and it stops. At times you are aware of it; other times it’s running like sound on the projector. It’s the running of the timeline, in and out, and becomes more obvious, but you tune that out over time.”

Next up?

While Nolan has projects in his trunk, he has “no idea.”

‘Mudbound’ Gives American Society of Cinematographers Its First-Ever Female Film Nominee

For the first time in the 32-year history of its awards, the American Society of Cinematographers has nominated a woman in the feature-film category.

Rachel Morrison, the cinematographer of Dee Rees’ “Mudbound,” has been nominated for the top ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement alongside Roger Deakins for “Blade Runner 2049,” Bruno Delbonnel for “Darkest Hour,” Hoyte van Hoytema for “Dunkirk” and Dan Laustsen for “The Shape of Water.”

The ASC has nominated women for television in the past, but Morrison is the first to be honored in the theatrical feature category, whose nominees go on to receive Oscar nominations about 80 percent of the time. No woman has ever been nominated for an Oscar for cinematography.

Also Read: ‘The Post’ Producer Amy Pascal on What Happens in a World of ‘Women Not Speaking Up’

The nomination is the 15th for Deakins, who has won the award three times. Delbonnel has four previous nominations with one win, while Hoytema has one previous nomination without winning. This is Laustsen’s first ASC nomination, as well as Morrison’s.

The five nominees are all considered strong candidates for Oscar nominations, along with Vittorio Storaro for “Wonder Wheel,” Janusz Kaminski for “The Post,” Paul Thomas Anderson for “Phantom Thread” and Ben Davis for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” among others.

Nominees for the Spotlight Award, which goes to films without wide distribution in the U.S., went to the cinematographers of two films shortlisted for the foreign-language Oscar, “On Body and Soul” and “Loveless,” as well as the Estonian film “November.”

Also Read: Read Oprah’s Full Golden Globes #MeToo, #TIMESUP Speech

In the television categories, nominees in the non-commercial television category included two episodes of “Game of Thrones” and single episodes of “The Man in the High Castle,” “The Crown” and “Outlander.” Commercial-TV nominees were “Legion,” “The Originals,” “Gotham” and two episodes of “12 Monkeys.”

In the motion picture, miniseries or pilot category, nominees were “The Deuce,” “Sometimes the Good Kill,” “Genius,” “Training Day” and “Mindhunter.”

The 32nd Annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement will take place on Feb. 17 in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland center.

The nominees:

Theatrical Release
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”
Bruno Delbonnel, “Darkest Hour”
Hoyte van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Rachel Morrison, “Mudbound”

Spotlight Award
Máté Herbai, “On Body and Soul”
Mikhail Krichman, “Loveless”
Mart Taniel, “November”

Also Read: ‘Loveless’ Cannes Review: Gripping Russian Drama Delivers Gut Punch to Launch Competition

Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television
Gonzalo Amat, “The Man in the High Castle” (“Land O’ Smiles)
Adriano Goldman, “The Crown” (“Smoke and Mirrors”)
Robert McLachlan, “Game of Thrones” (“The Spoils of War”)
Gregory Middleton, “Game of Thrones” (“Dragonstone”)
Alasdair Walker, “Outlander” (“The Battle Joined”)

Episode of a Series for Commercial Television
Dana Gonzales, “Legion” (“Chapter 1”)
David Greene, “12 Monkeys” (“Mother”)
Kurt Jones, “The Originals” (“Bag of Cobras”)
Boris Mojsovski, “12 Monkeys” (“Thief”)
Crescenzo Notarile, “Gotham” (“The Executioner”)

Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television
Pepe Avila del Pino, “The Deuce” pilot
Serge Desrosiers, “Sometimes the Good Kill”
Mathias Herndl, “Genius” (“Chapter 1”)
Shelly Johnson, “Training Day” pilot (“Apocalypse Now”)
Christopher Probst, “Mindhunter” pilot

Related stories from TheWrap:

Golden Globes Have Historic Night, But Not Because of Who Won (Analysis)

Oscars Gender Gap: Docs, Foreign Language Films Still Way More Likely to Have Female Directors

Stars at Palm Springs Film Festival Discuss the #MeToo Movement ‘Wave’ (Video)

For the first time in the 32-year history of its awards, the American Society of Cinematographers has nominated a woman in the feature-film category.

Rachel Morrison, the cinematographer of Dee Rees’ “Mudbound,” has been nominated for the top ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement alongside Roger Deakins for “Blade Runner 2049,” Bruno Delbonnel for “Darkest Hour,” Hoyte van Hoytema for “Dunkirk” and Dan Laustsen for “The Shape of Water.”

The ASC has nominated women for television in the past, but Morrison is the first to be honored in the theatrical feature category, whose nominees go on to receive Oscar nominations about 80 percent of the time. No woman has ever been nominated for an Oscar for cinematography.

The nomination is the 15th for Deakins, who has won the award three times. Delbonnel has four previous nominations with one win, while Hoytema has one previous nomination without winning. This is Laustsen’s first ASC nomination, as well as Morrison’s.

The five nominees are all considered strong candidates for Oscar nominations, along with Vittorio Storaro for “Wonder Wheel,” Janusz Kaminski for “The Post,” Paul Thomas Anderson for “Phantom Thread” and Ben Davis for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” among others.

Nominees for the Spotlight Award, which goes to films without wide distribution in the U.S., went to the cinematographers of two films shortlisted for the foreign-language Oscar, “On Body and Soul” and “Loveless,” as well as the Estonian film “November.”

In the television categories, nominees in the non-commercial television category included two episodes of “Game of Thrones” and single episodes of “The Man in the High Castle,” “The Crown” and “Outlander.” Commercial-TV nominees were “Legion,” “The Originals,” “Gotham” and two episodes of “12 Monkeys.”

In the motion picture, miniseries or pilot category, nominees were “The Deuce,” “Sometimes the Good Kill,” “Genius,” “Training Day” and “Mindhunter.”

The 32nd Annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement will take place on Feb. 17 in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland center.

The nominees:

Theatrical Release
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”
Bruno Delbonnel, “Darkest Hour”
Hoyte van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Rachel Morrison, “Mudbound”

Spotlight Award
Máté Herbai, “On Body and Soul”
Mikhail Krichman, “Loveless”
Mart Taniel, “November”

Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television
Gonzalo Amat, “The Man in the High Castle” (“Land O’ Smiles)
Adriano Goldman, “The Crown” (“Smoke and Mirrors”)
Robert McLachlan, “Game of Thrones” (“The Spoils of War”)
Gregory Middleton, “Game of Thrones” (“Dragonstone”)
Alasdair Walker, “Outlander” (“The Battle Joined”)

Episode of a Series for Commercial Television
Dana Gonzales, “Legion” (“Chapter 1”)
David Greene, “12 Monkeys” (“Mother”)
Kurt Jones, “The Originals” (“Bag of Cobras”)
Boris Mojsovski, “12 Monkeys” (“Thief”)
Crescenzo Notarile, “Gotham” (“The Executioner”)

Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television
Pepe Avila del Pino, “The Deuce” pilot
Serge Desrosiers, “Sometimes the Good Kill”
Mathias Herndl, “Genius” (“Chapter 1”)
Shelly Johnson, “Training Day” pilot (“Apocalypse Now”)
Christopher Probst, “Mindhunter” pilot

Related stories from TheWrap:

Golden Globes Have Historic Night, But Not Because of Who Won (Analysis)

Oscars Gender Gap: Docs, Foreign Language Films Still Way More Likely to Have Female Directors

Stars at Palm Springs Film Festival Discuss the #MeToo Movement 'Wave' (Video)

How DP Hoyte Van Hoytema Captured Christopher Nolan’s Miracle Of ‘Dunkirk’ – Crew Call Podcast

It’s always a battle to shoot on the water and with Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirkboth director and DP Hoyte Van Hoytema braved the actual sea in order to capture the authenticity of the World War II Allied evacuation. In our latest Crew Call podcast,  Hoytema tells us about filming in Imax, his color palette and influences in delivering what is a very personal story for Nolan. Dunkirk is nominated for three Golden Globes including best director, best drama and Hans Zimmer…

It’s always a battle to shoot on the water and with Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirkboth director and DP Hoyte Van Hoytema braved the actual sea in order to capture the authenticity of the World War II Allied evacuation. In our latest Crew Call podcast,  Hoytema tells us about filming in Imax, his color palette and influences in delivering what is a very personal story for Nolan. Dunkirk is nominated for three Golden Globes including best director, best drama and Hans Zimmer…

How Christopher Nolan Brought The ‘Dunkirk’ Spirit To The Screen Against The Odds – The Contenders Video

Dunkirk opened in July and became a big summer hit despite the fact this relatively little-known story of a massive rescue of 300,000 mostly British soldiers from the beaches of the French town of Dunkirk in 1940 was not typical summer fare. But the Christopher Nolan film worked for audiences and critics, and now is firmly in the awards-season firmament (in fact, Nolan so far has received more Best Director prizes from critics groups than any other filmmaker this…

Dunkirk opened in July and became a big summer hit despite the fact this relatively little-known story of a massive rescue of 300,000 mostly British soldiers from the beaches of the French town of Dunkirk in 1940 was not typical summer fare. But the Christopher Nolan film worked for audiences and critics, and now is firmly in the awards-season firmament (in fact, Nolan so far has received more Best Director prizes from critics groups than any other filmmaker this…

‘Dunkirk’: Christopher Nolan’s Cinematographer Viscerally Redefined the IMAX Experience

Dutch-Swedish cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema could nab his first Oscar for instilling “Dunkirk” with a new kind of large-format immersion and intimacy.

There’s a thrilling scene early on in “Dunkirk” when Fionn Whitehead’s Tommy carries a wounded soldier on a stretcher through a long line of comrades on the beach. What made it work so viscerally is the fact that cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema picked up the 54-pound IMAX 65mm camera on the spur of the moment and feverishly followed the action.

It was part of the “You Are There” ethos of Christopher Nolan’s immersive World War II survival drama about the legendary evacuation of more than 300,000 British and Allied troops under German bombardment. which could only be captured through the IMAX film experience.

“Dunkirk”

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

“It’s quality and there’s nothing like it,” said van Hoytema. And when it came to “Dunkirk” they upped their game. “We always tried to be as much as possible in some sort of a point of view situation,” van Hoytema said. “To experience all these moments as if you were there was the most important visual cue. Where does the camera have to be and what kind of lens provides the most immersive experience?”

Going for Naturalism

Although “Dunkirk” is divided into three separate time lines (land, air, sea), van Hoytema avoided any sort of visual demarcation that might confuse the viewer. Instead, he went for a documentary approach, shooting hand-held in natural, available light whenever possible and as much in-camera.

Indeed, with the help of dolly grip Ryan Monro, they developed the IMAX camera as a run and shoot machine to record whatever action was in front of them. However, filming on location in Dunkirk, Holland, and England was fraught with unpredictable and often harsh weather conditions, which the cinematographer used to his advantage to instill a constant state of confusion.

“Dunkirk”

Melinda Sue Gordon

“We shot in sun, we shot in rain, and our main concern was not continuity,” added the cinematographer. “It was stepping over old-fashioned film concepts of what looks good in certain weather conditions. We wanted to be in the same cadence as the weather conditions.”

On land, the camera followed Tommy, trying to be with him and behind him on the beach. And in the air, the camera stayed with RAF pilots Farrier (Tom Hardy) and Collins (Jack Lowden). “Rather than finding the most sensational shots, we found the most visceral shots or the shots that would best explain their point of view,” van Hoytema said.

By contrast, at sea, we followed the Moonstone boat as part of the amazing civilian rescue effort. For that, van Hoytema shot with the 5-perf 65mm Panavision camera because the IMAX was too loud to capture dialogue.

Groundbreaking Air and Sea Action

The aerial action, shot in actual Spitfires, was groundbreaking in both authenticity and intimacy. “Chris took us out to fly a real Spitfire and later we were flying P-51s just to understand the G-Force and the light changes and vibrations,” van Hoytema said. “Formation flying was important to understand what it’s like flying so close and when another plane suddenly dives. Simulating dogfights you realize perspective shifts, how they line up, and the three-dimensionality of it. It’s very difficult muscle work. We hadn’t really seen realistic plane work on screen before.”

But such immersion and intimacy for the aerial action required new periscope lenses and lightweight mounts from Panavision. This allowed shooting from both inside and outside the cockpits, providing close-ups and vibrations of the mirrors. “All these little cues make you either consciously or unconsciously realize that you’re looking at the real thing rather than a green screen shot or a computer simulation,” said van Hoytema.

“Dunkirk”

Courtesy of Warner bRos. Picture

Additionally, the IMAX camera was equipped with special housing or splash back for underwater submersion. “We’re not only hand-holding it but going mid-waist in the water so we could keep on shooting. It was part of that thing where the camera can’t become a limiting factor in recording all that special beauty that was fired at us,” van Hoytema said.

In the end, van Hoytema helped demystify the IMAX camera, no longer requiring set-up time to capture a magical moment. “We made it a usable utensil that we could put in any situation we wanted,” he said. “That put strain and required a lot of prepping. But we embraced it and devoured it.”

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