Phil Abraham (who shared cinematography duties with Alik Sakharov, ASC on The Sopranos) is responsible for the images in this stylish new series, which recently earned a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Television Series (Drama) category. Created by Sopranos writer/producer Matthew Weiner and set during the early 1960s, the show follows the drama at a top New York advertising agency, focusing on one of the firm's most talented executives, the mysterious Donald Draper (Jon Hamm). Abraham reveals the strategies he uses to perfect the show's evocative period ambience.
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Caleb Deschanel, ASC joined forces with director Mark Waters to envision this story of a family that is suddenly thrust into a magical realm that normally exists just out of sight. Based on the popular series of books by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, the film follows brothers Jared and Simon Grace (both played by Freddie Highmore) and their sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger) as they unlock the long-hidden secrets of Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn), which they must then protect from an army of dark forces led by the evil Mulgrath (voiced by Nick Nolte). Deschanel reveal a few secrets of his own as he describes how he grounded this fantastical tale in a recognizably real world.
Michael Bonvillain, ASC helped director Matt Reeves try a new take on the monster movie with this scary vision of New York City under siege. The duo brought intriguing creative strategies to the time-honored terrors of a "hideous creature run amok": there is no traditional scene coverage, no score, and the entire story unfolds over the course of just 7 or 8 hours. Working on a short schedule of 33 days (with just 3 days of additional shooting), the filmmakers shot parts of the picture with Panasonic's AG-HVX200 "prosumer" HD camcorder to lend a documentary-like realism to the fantastic events onscreen. Scenes involving visual effects were shot with either a Thomson/Grass Valley Viper or Sony's new F23 CineAlta 24P camera, and a few sequences were even captured with a consumer-grade Panasonic camcorder. Bonvillain gives a full rundown of his approach to AC assistant editor Jon D. Witmer.
Lowell Peterson, ASC mans the camera on this satirical and wildly popular series, which concerns the trials and tribulations of a group of female friends in the fictional suburban neighborhood of Wisteria Lane. Peterson discusses television logistics and his approach to keeping the show's beautiful stars (Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria Parker and Nicollette Sheridan) looking their very best.
Gordon Lonsdale lends suspense to this hit series, in which a cynical forensic anthropologist (Emily Deschanel) and a cocky FBI agent (David Boreanaz) team up to solve long-ago murders — while trying to circumvent bureaucratic red tape, corruption and other obstacles. Lonsdale details the approaches he and his crew use to create feature-film panache on a television schedule.
ASC Career Achievement in Television Award
The Society honors the stellar accomplishments of George Spiro Dibie, ASC on January 26, were he receives this prestigious award during the annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards gala, which was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland complex.
Dibie's career highlights include five Emmy Awards and seven additional nominations for multi-camera, episodic television series between 1985 and 1998. His award-winning programs were Mr. Belvedere (1985), Growing Pains (1987 and 1991), Just the Ten of Us (1990) and Sister, Sister (1995). The other nominations were for Night Court (1986 and 1988), Growing Pains (1992), Dudley (1993) and Sister, Sister (1996, 1997, and 1998).
Dibie worked on six television series that broke through the 100-episode barrier, beginning with Barney Miller in 1975. Along the way, he compiled between 1,500 and 2,000 hours of situation-comedy credits on primetime television. He shot every Warner Bros. pilot for multi-camera series over a 10-year span, including My Sister Sam, Head of the Class, Murphy Brown, Driving Miss Daisy and The Trouble With Larry. He also shot between 60 and 70 television movies, including a number of programs for a regular, late-evening drama series called The ABC Armchair Mysteries.
In 1984, Dibie was elected second vice president of the Los Angeles Local for cinematographers and soon stepped up to president, a post he held for 20 consecutive years. During this remarkable span, the country's three regional organizations were merged into the International Cinematographers Guild, Local 600.
All of these accomplishments and more will be saluted in a piece penned by frequent AC contributor Jon Silberg.
The March issue's departments also offers illuminating insights:
Short Takes offers an interview with pioneering video artist Bill Viola, who has been instrumental in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art. Viola offers particular insights into his video installation Oceans Without a Shore, which was recently unveiled in the atmospheric Church of San Gallo during the 52nd Venice Biennale art exhibition.
Production Slate offers an interview with cinematographer Oleg Mutu about his work on the film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and the FIPRESCI Film of the Year award at the San Sebastián Film Festival. This section also present a piece on the intriguing lighting challenges faced by cinematographer Jean-Philippe Bourdon and lighting designer Matthieu Larivée as they helped stage the PBS musical special Beladi: A Night at the Pyramids, featuring Canadian singer Chantal Chamandy and the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. AC executive editor Stephen Pizzello traveled to Egypt to see the show and talk with both men about their approach to this unique television spectacle.
Post Focus presents an overview of the intriguing workflow used during production and post of the independent movie Sibling, shot by cinematographer Aaron Medick. Medick shot the project with Thomson/Grass Valley's Viper camera, capturing entirely to 4:4:4 log space on HDCAM SR stock. During post, he worked with digital imaging technician David Satin (Miami Vice, Reign Over Me) to create a set of Look-Up Tables that allowed the creation of different looks for the movie's different time periods.
Filmmakers' Forum offers an article by Steven Fierberg, ASC about his work on the indie feature Searchers 2.0, a postmodern take on the classic John Ford Western.