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2011 / 01 — January Issue of American Cinematographer
2011 / 01 — January Issue of American Cinematographer

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The January 2011 issue of American Cinematographer magazine includes a profile of this year's ASC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient: Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC

Tron: Legacy (Disney)
Claudio Miranda, ASC was the cinematographer on this technically complex production that revisits the computerized landscapes first explored in the 1982 sci-fi classic Tron. This time, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the tech-savvy son of the man who created the Master Control program, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), is transported into the program's futuristic settings, where he joins forces with his father and a new confidante (Olivia Wilde) and competes in life-or-death gladiatorial contests. Miranda discusses an array of advanced techniques that were employed on the production, including his use of the next-generation Pace "Avatar" 3-D rig, which was equipped with Sony F35 cameras; breakthroughs in LED and electroluminescent lighting, which, coupled with Arri Master Prime lenses set to a stop of T1.3, enabled him to shoot self-lit costumes; the use of the Phantom HD camera to capture high-speed virtual gaming action in 3-D; face-replacement animation effects that allowed Jeff Bridges to play opposite a younger version of himself; and the painstaking re-creation of key sets, including Flynn's Arcade, from the original 1982 movie. Miranda also analyzes his personal approach to key 3-D strategies, such as convergence and his use of a shallower depth of field than is commonly used on 3-D productions.

The Fighter (Paramount)
Hoyte van Hoytema, FSF, NSC lent a gritty look to this hard-hitting drama about Boston-area boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg), who trains for the pros with the help of his troubled, drug-addicted brother (Christian Bale). Van Hoytema, whose credits include the acclaimed 2008 Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, discusses his collaboration with director David O. Russell, the duo's approach to the film's fight scenes and locations, and how he fine-tuned the film's look in digital-intermediate sessions at Technicolor.

Biutiful (Roadside Attractions)
Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC answers questions about his fourth feature collaboration with director Alejandro González Iñarritu, for whom he previously shot the critically acclaimed films Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros. Set on the streets of Barcelona, Biutiful follows Uxbal (Javier Bardem), a man who is struggling to make ends meet in the illegal-immigrant trade as he raises two children and grapples with a difficult illness. Prieto addresses all of his key strategies for the movie, which is Mexico's submission for this year's Academy Award competition for Best Foreign Language Feature.

ASC Lifetime Achievement Award
Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC received the Society's Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Annual ASC Awards ceremony, to be held in Los Angeles on February 13, 2011. The Lifetime Award is the Society's highest honor, presented annually to a cinematographer who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence over an entire career. Deakins certainly meets this criterium. His work has earned scores of prestigious honors over the years, including 7 Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography (for The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Kundun, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn't There, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men and The Reader, an award he shared with co-cinematographer Chris Menges, ASC, BSC); two British Academy Awards (for The Man Who Wasn't There and No Country for Old Men); and three other BAFTA nominations (Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Reader). He won ASC Awards for The Shawshank Redemption and The Man Who Wasn't There and earned ASC nominations for all the other aforementioned titles, and for Revolutionary Road as well. Deakins' other credits include 1984, Sid and Nancy, Mountains of the Moon, Homicide, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Dead Man Walking, Courage Under Fire, The Big Lebowski, The Hurricane, Thirteen Days, A Beautiful Mind, Intolerable Cruelty, House of Sand and Fog, The Village, Jarhead, In the Valley of Elah, Doubt, A Serious Man and the upcoming Western True Grit, directed by his longtime collaborators Joel and Ethan Coen. AC contributor Patricia Thomson penned a comprehensive overview of Deakins' life and work.

The December issue's departments also offers illuminating insights:

  • Short Takes gives cinematographer Craig Kief space to discuss his recent work on an effects-driven music video for the Ben Lovett song "Eye of the Storm." Kief explains how he used "blacklights and fluorescent dyes, tapes and paints to create live keys on the actors and props that could then be composited via CG into trippy, surrealistic animation."
  • Production Slate offers insights from Michael Seresin, BSC about his work on director Andrew Jarecki's riveting thriller All Good Things and Stuart Dryburgh, ASC on The Tempest, Julie Taymor's adventurous take on Shakespeare.

  • Post Focus presents information on EFilm's new digital-intermediate suite at Universal Studios.
  • Filmmakers' Forum presents observations from cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes about his use of the Canon EOS 7D camera to shoot the independent feature Tiny Furniture, written and directed by Lena Dunham, who also stars in the lead role. The movie recently won the 2010 South By Southwest Narrative Feature Film Award and was nominated for two Gotham Independent Film Awards (Breakthrough Director and Best Ensemble Performance).
  • ASC Close-Up offers a profile of Society member Jack Couffer, whose cinematography credits include the documentaries Secrets of Life, Islands of the Sea and The Best of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures; the features Edge of Fury, The Legend of Lobo, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull; installments of the TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, including Nikki, Wild Dog of the North (which he also co-directed) and The Legend of the Boy and the Eagle (which he also directed); and the TV movie Secrets of the Deep.