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2009 / 04 — April Issue of American Cinematographer
2009 / 04 — April Issue of American Cinematographer

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After taking Frank Miller's graphic novel 300 from the printed page to the silver screen, director Zack Snyder and cinematographer Larry Fong set their sights on the comic-book world's holy grail, Watchmen, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons. Set in a version of 1985 in which Richard Nixon still inhabits the White House and masked vigilantes have been outlawed by an act of Congress, the plot follows a group of embittered superheros who are being killed off one by one as the world teeters on the brink of nuclear Armageddon. Along with production designer Alex McDowell, visual-effects supervisor John "D.J." DesJardin and rigging gaffer Jarrod Tiffen, Snyder and Fong will discuss their approach to this ambitious and hotly anticipated epic.

Simon Duggan, ACS used the Red One camera to shoot this mindbending action thriller directed by Alex Proyas (The Crow; Dark City; I, Robot) about a teacher (Nicolas Cage) who opens a time capsule that reveals terrifying predictions about the future — and sets out to prevent them from coming true. Duggan will offer his thoughts on the Red camera's performance on the big-budget production, which shot at various locations in Australia.

Sundance Film Festival
Each January, industry insiders flock to Park City, Utah to attend this key festival, which has launched the careers of many independent filmmakers. AC's team of writers will scout out the most visually compelling entries for our annual roundup, which will spotlight the event's most promising cinematographers.

Restoration of The Robe
The technical wizards at Lowry Digital and Audio Mechanics lent their skills to the digital restoration of this classic 1953 motion picture. The restoration was a collaboration between the Academy Film Archive and 20th Century Fox, with funding from The Film Foundation. AC will offer an overview of the complex undertaking with analysis by the principals involved. "As the first CinemaScope film, The Robe represents an important milestone in cinema history," says Schawn Belston, vice president of Asset Management and Film Preservation at 20th Century Fox. "The restoration of the film was a unique and complicated challenge."

The April issue's departments also offer illuminating insights:

Production Slate presents an interview with cinematographer Sean Bobbitt about his work on the acclaimed IFC Films drama Hunger and Brandon Trost about his use of digital video cameras on Crank 2: High Voltage.

Post Focus offers an overview of the new Autodesk Lustre and an inside look at the postproduction work by Digital Jungle on the mixed-format indie film My Suicide.

ASC Close-Up offers a profile of Society member Thomas Ackerman, whose credits as a cinematographer include the features Beetle Juice, Christmas Vacation, Jumanji, The Muse, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Scary Movie 4 and Superhero Movie.