Dean Semler needs to return........nope, it's John Seale

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Re: Dean Semler needs to return........nope, it's John Seale

Postby biolumen » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:04 pm

Desert Heat: Cinematographer John Seale Takes Codex into the Namibian Desert to capture “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Monday, September 9, 2013

London, UK – Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth installment in writer/director George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action franchise. It is also the first digital film for cinematographer John Seale, whose storied career spans more than 30 years and such iconic titles as Mosquito Coast, Witness, Dead Poets Society and Rain Man. Facing inhospitable conditions, intense action scenes and the need to accommodate a massive number of visual effects, Seale and his crew chose to shoot principal photography with ARRI Alexa cameras and capture on Codex Onboard recorders, a workflow that has become popular among filmmakers for its ruggedness, reliability and easy integration with post-production.

Originally, Fury Road was intended to be shot near Broken Hill in New South Wales, Australia. However, several years of unusually heavy rainfall caused the desert in the area to bloom with wildflowers making it unsuitable for the film’s wasteland setting, and production was moved to Namibia. The coastal deserts of that African country are among the most formidable in the world, featuring sand dunes measuring 1000 feet high and 20 miles long. Frequent sandstorms and intense heat required special precautions by the camera crew.

“I’d shot plenty of film-negative films in deserts and jungles under severe conditions, but never digital,” notes Seale. “So I was a bit worried, but I had a fantastic crew of people who had done that…had worked with digital cameras in jungles, deserts, dry, heat, wet, moist, whatever. They were ready and put together full precaution kits of rain covers, dust covers and even heat covers to take the heat off the cameras in the middle of the day.”

“We were using a lot of new gear.” Seale adds. “Everything that our crew did in pre-production in Sydney and took to Namibia worked very, very well for the entire time. Our time loss through equipment was minimal.”

Seale’s crew was outfitted with six ARRI Alexas and a number of Canon 5Ds, with the latter used in part as crash cams in action sequences. The Alexas were supported by 11 Codex Onboard recorders. The relatively large number of cameras and recorders helped the camera crew to remain nimble. While one scene was being shot, the next was being prepped. “We kept two kick cameras built the whole time, and two ultra-high vehicles rigged the whole time,” recalls camera coordinator Michelle Pizanis. “When we when drove up (to a location) we could start shooting, rather than break down the camera at one site and rebuild it at the next.”

The original Mad Max is remembered for its gritty look. Fury Road took a different route due to the film’s heavy use of visual effects. “The DI and the post work is so explicit; almost every shot is going to be manipulated in some way,” Seale explains. “Our edict was ‘just shoot it.’ Continuity of light wasn’t really a question. We knew that the film would be cut very quickly, so there wouldn’t be time to analyze every shot. Intercutting between overcast and full sun wasn’t going to be a problem. On this film, the end result controlled the execution.”

In order to provide maximum image quality and flexibility for post-production manipulation, Seale and his crew chose to operate the Alexa cameras in ARRIRAW mode. That, the cinematographer noted, made Codex an obvious choice as only Codex recorders were capable of reliably capturing ARRIRAW.

“The choice to go with Codex was definite for the quality of the recording and post-production considerations,” Seale said. “Everyone said Codex was the recording device that we had to have. Once again, we were a little worried about desert heat and desert cold. It changes so much from night to day. And during the day, we had dust storms, dust flying everywhere. We sometimes had moisture in the air. But the Codex systems didn’t fail us. They came straight through with flying colors and, in post, they are very happy with the results.”

Shooting digitally with Codex offered an advantage over shooting on film as it avoided the need to reload cameras with film negative in the blowing winds of the desert. “There is a certain amount of paraphernalia needed to shoot digitally,” Seale said, “but our crew was used to that. They built special boxes to put everything in. They had little fans. They had inlet and outlet areas to keep air circulation going. Those boxes were complete. Cables came out and went to the camera. If we were on the move, the boxes were bolted down so that they were out of the way and didn’t fall off. Sometimes we sat on them to get our shot.”

RF interfaces were used with the Alexa cameras to transmit images to a command vehicle for monitoring by director George Miller. Miller was not only able to review shots, he could edit material to determine what further coverage was needed. “For George, it was a godsend,” said Seale. “That refined the film shooting and made it a lot quicker than the normal procedures.”

It was that sort of flexibility that made shooting with Alexa and Codex so appealing, added Seale. “I was a great advocate of digital ten or 15 years ago when it started to come in,” he says. “Film negative is a beautiful image recording process, but it’s 120 years old and you get scratches and dead flies caught in the reels. It’s pretty archaic.

“I think the way digital has caught on is extraordinary. Its R&D is vertical, where film development has stopped. The ability of digital to record images coupled with the DI, where you can change it, manipulate it, allows you do anything you like. I know with Mad Max, it won’t look anything like a ‘good film image’ and it won’t look anything like a ‘good digital image’…it will look like its own image. I think that’s the wonder of it.”

IMG_2872 Michelle Pizanis.jpeg
IMG_2872 Michelle Pizanis.jpeg (40.08 KiB) Viewed 1488 times

http://artisanspr.blogspot.com/2013/09/ ... seale.html
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Re: Dean Semler needs to return........nope, it's John Seale

Postby biolumen » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:36 pm

High-Octane Camera Wrangling on Mad Max: Fury Road

Coordinating AC Michelle Pizanis Details the Cameras and Bad-Ass Rigs that Captured the Film's Kinetic Action

By Beth Marchant / Sep 1, 2015

Some say the genius of George Miller's dystopian Mad Max franchise lies in the uniqueness of its genre-blending vision, equal parts post-apocalyptic morality tale, classic Western, and biker film on steroids. Others point to each film's relentless action, where the audience rides shotgun with road warrior Max Rockatansky, his gritty story in perpetual motion. Gearheads call out the parade of sinister Frankencars and trucks. In Mad Max: Fury Road, just out on Blu-ray, Miller is still firing on all pistons, the drama amped by Charlize Theron's anti-heroine Imperator Furiosa, Tom Hardy's Max reboot, some 200 custom-built vehicles and a strong feminist message. The driving force of Fury Road, however, is this installment's extraordinary array of practical effects and how Miller, cinematographer John Seale, ACS, ASC, and the large crew captured its many moving parts.

"You get on set with some directors and wonder how they ever got so far," says L.A.-based coordinating camera assistant Michelle Pizanis, who travelled with the crew to the Namibian desert for principal photography in 2012 and back to her home town of Sydney in 2013 for additional shooting. "But not George. He knows exactly what he needs and what he doesn't need. His vision affects every little thing during production."

Mad Max: Fury Road took more than 15 years to develop and spent 120 days in production, 84 of which were full days of shooting, says Pizanis. (Miller has said he was set to begin filming in 2001 but after the September 11 terrorist attacks, he shifted gears to direct Happy Feet, winner of the 2006 Oscar for Best Animated Film.) "Every single stunt or effect you see had a practical basis," she says, requiring carefully calibrated setups and executions to maximize coverage and on-set safety. "George would try anything, but never once would they put anyone's safety at risk. It was always safety first. If the shutter fell on the wrong side or the light faded too fast, we knew it could be fixed in post. We didn't have any serious accidents out there, and I thought, 'Well, there's a first.'"

Not one camera failed as a result of the conditions on location either, says Pizanis, although there was plenty of back-up built into the workflow: Six ARRI Alexa Plus and four ARRI Alexa M cameras recorded to 11 onboard Codex recorders as well as in-camera to SxS cards. "Each camera was fully independent of one another," Pizanis says. "Each one had its own remote focus device and its own set of zooms so they could work independently but also at the same time so we could capture all of it." Cast, crew and cameras were at the mercy of the desert conditions, and Pizanis says custom casing and some extra rigging ensured the cameras would keep rolling no matter what. "During the African shoot, we fit the lenses with compressed airline systems to keep them clean and operational," she says. "And at the end of the day, after we wrapped, all the ACs worked for hours cleaning out the dirt and grime from the gears. We had a technician on set to check the jib and clean the gates and give the main cameras and lenses the all-clear for the night."

The Alexas were mounted to two fully loaded performance vehicles from Performance Filmworks outfitted with their Edge system, a gyro-stabilized crane that can rotate on the top of the car a full 360 degrees; camera crews operated the Alexa Ms in handheld mode from inside the cars. "We also ran two Steadicams side-by-side at all times," says Pizanis. The production went through an additional 14 Canon 5Ds in Africa, where about 70 percent of filming took place, and added Blackmagic's 2.5K Cinema Cameras and Nikon D800s when production returned to Australia for additional shooting. "Once the studio saw what George had done in Africa, they gave him more money to come back to Australia to shoot it all practically — to blow up the cars and destroy everything." The smaller cameras were rigged just about everywhere, says Pizanis. "We rigged them in the cars and in the Shape housing we used, and we rigged them inside brick walls that we knew the vehicles would hit. We got some great footage from those collisions."

According to Pizanis, Miller's wife Margaret Sixel, the film's editor, loved the images John Seale was getting from what Miller and the crew called his "paparazzi" camera, his personal second camera with a long zoom that he'd use for hard-to-reach close-ups. "If George didn't want him using it, Margaret would be the first to say, 'Everything John's giving us is great. We just need more of it! Let him shoot with whatever he wants.' Eventually, George just let John go free and put that camera everywhere." Sixel ended up with some 480 hours of footage to edit and reportedly averaged just under 23 cuts per minute of footage.

Pizanis and first AC Ricky Schamburg tested a number of consumer cameras in Los Angeles to find suitable crash cameras before filming began. "Originally, editorial wanted a consumer-style look inserted on the 5D, to desaturate the image," she says. "But once we realized how George was using that footage and zooming within the shots taken with the 5D cameras, that look started to pixelate and lose quality. We brought the 2.5K Blackmagic Cinema Cameras on when we got back to Australia so we could record as high a quality as possible. We hooked an Atomos Ninja 2 up to the Nikon D800, but the only problem with using HDMI cables to attach it is if you happen to hit it during a stunt, after impact it doesn't render."

The smaller cameras were outfitted with Tokina's ultrawide 11–16 mm lenses, initially chosen to accommodate the 2D-to-3D conversion process in post. "We also attached a Blackmagic camera to a rig Tom Hardy wore at close range [seen at top]. Panavision, which provided gear and support, reconfigured the Blackmagic cameras so we could attach a block battery and let the camera run the entire time," something you can't do normally with the camera's locked battery system. "Panavision also helped us connect an external monitor so the DP could see the images as they came in."

Various octocopters and drone vehicles were tested in rehearsals for aerial shots, but were ultimately not rugged enough, or, with their open blades, deemed too dangerous to use around the sizable cast and crew. In addition to the two Edge vehicles, another moving rig was constructed to acquire high-angle tracking shots with the "Armada" as it traversed the desert. Called the "Ledge," in reference to the Edge arm that eventually became part of it, the crane supplemented the primary ride-along cinematography. "Initially these shots were going to be done with a drone of some sort," says Pizanis, "but back when we were shooting it was early days in the drone revolution and we couldn’t find one that was suitable."

The first outing with the Ledge, however, was a stunt in itself. "Action-unit key grip J.P. Ridgeway and the stunt rigging department commandeered one of the picture vehicles with a particularly wide wheel base and used it as a base to construct a 30-foot high tri-truss tower with a platform—our ledge—on top, from which our stunt coordinator and director Guy Norris could stand and operate a bungee-supported Alexa M," Pizanis explains. "The shots were great, although they all had some degree of float. We refined the idea by mounting the Edge Suspension Arm, stabilized Libra head and Alexa Plus to the tower and the problem was solved. It wasn’t something we used every day, but it was a great piece of equipment when the high angles were required," she adds. Norris supervised more than 150 stunt performers during the shoot, some of whom had Cirque du Soleil and Olympic training.

The camera crew also put a camera crane in a trench to capture the action of the lead vehicles from yet another unique angle. "After the location was surveyed, a hole, long and deep enough to contain a 24-foot [Grip Factory] GF-6 crane, was dug and reinforced with a concrete floor and breeze block sides," says Pizanis. "The GF-6 and dolly were then lowered by construction crane into the hole. The dolly was attached by cables laid in tubes underground to another dolly and track on the surface, which was well out of harm's way. As the second dolly was pushed along the track the crane in the hole lowered (or raised). As the armada raced across the desert toward the rig, the Alexa Plus was lowered into the hole at the very last second, just an inch below the surface, capturing the underbelly of the lead vehicles as they straddled the hole—a very exciting shot!"

With so many cameras, angles and quick cuts, Miller chose to frame his film dead center, keeping each scene's most important action and the actors' eyes and noses locked in the crosshairs. "Amid the battery of fast cuts, the audience can continue looking straight ahead without losing sight of the primary action," says Pizanis. In the end, 3D is actually beside the point. "George was conscious of the 3D element and wanted to minimize audience eye strain, but framing this way with a lot of cuts draws you directly into the action, regardless of format. It's just extremely effective storytelling."

Some pics at link.

http://www.studiodaily.com/2015/09/high ... fury-road/
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Re: Dean Semler needs to return........nope, it's John Seale

Postby biolumen » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:55 pm

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ DP John Seale Talks George Miller’s Boldness, the Limits of Control, and More

Written by Nick Newman on November 20, 2015

Few films in recent memory are quite as visually explosive as Mad Max: Fury Road, which makes any of the men and women behind its images an immediate point of interest. But for all the talent that’s on the screen, and for all the effort it must have taken to make that come through, cinematographer John Seale will tell you the process wasn’t always conducive to innovation — if only because George Miller and his team of confidantes had been waiting to go for so long.

This, I think, is all the more reason to sit down with the director of photography, whose enthusiasm for the project was so strong that it forced him out of retirement. Fury Road is being celebrated at Poland’s Camerimage International Film Festival — several months after its U.S. release, but not enough time for our curiosity about the picture to die down. To get a deeper understanding of how that unique beast was created, read on.

I read an interview you did right around the time this movie came out, when you hadn’t yet seen it. So I’d like some description of your thoughts upon viewing it for the first time — after all those years of work, having it right in front of you.

Oh, gosh, you know, it’s always a very pleasant surprise, because you work hard with a director to shoot the film. You know, basically, in the direction, which direction the director wants to take it, but you’re shooting really broad brush strokes of the film, and it’s not until the editor gets a hold of it and ends up trimming it down and getting it down to a reasonable length, and the director and him fine cut, and it gets tighter and tighter. Then the music tracks are laid and the extra voiceovers go on. The polish of the film is then completed.

So, when I go along to see them, I am most surprised how they turned out. It’s never a surprise that it’s not the way I thought it would turn out, because I’ve obviously talked with the director in the shooting of it to know which way he wants to take it. The surprise is how well they’ve done it, so that’s generally the surprise. More so on Fury Road, because I knew George would cut it pretty fast in the editing — but I didn’t think it would be quite that fast. But I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that it was, because I’ve always believed that a lot of the earlier films that I helped to make in Australia were very slow, and could be tightened up and still tell the same story. George, with his experience and age, I think understood that as well, and he cut it very tight. That was the pleasant surprise.

The last time you worked with him was Lorenzo’s Oil, from 1992; Fury Road shot in 2012. I don’t think it’s unfair to say those are different kinds of films. But even with that and the twenty-year separation in mind, what makes George Miller consistent?

I’ve got to say one word: boldness. He’s a very bold filmmaker. He fears nobody, from critics to studios to audience to whatever. He makes his films. And that boldness came through on Lorenzo’s Oil, and I thoroughly enjoyed that boldness and working for him on that. Years and years later, when Fury Road came up, I knew enough about Fury Road on the grapevine — I could hear they were talking about problems in pre-production — and I remember thinking, “That’s going to be a big movie.” Then, all of a sudden, I get the phone call to go onboard, and it was that boldness that really made me decide to go on it — because I knew that George would end up with a very bold film, and I think he has. I’m glad he has.

He storyboarded the entire film before it was shot, which I imagine is an interesting scenario for a cinematographer to enter. Apparently he’ll set up an entire room that you can walk around and “observe” a movie from.

Oh, yeah.

So were you concerned as far as autonomy goes — that you won’t be able to even express yourself?

Well, yes, I would be normally worried, but once I came onboard at very short notice, there was no script. So I didn’t have anything to read; all I could do was study the storyboards and do a lot of listening to all the guys talking. Because they were ten years in pre-production, so, for ten years they’d been honing the storyboards, they’d been rehearsing way out in the desert back out in Australia; they had been rehearsing all the stunts, all the car choreography, where the cars would be at a certain moment to set up this stunt. All of that had been done, and you couldn’t change it, because so much training had gone into each action scene, you couldn’t change it.

So I didn’t have any input on that, and, quite frankly, realized it was far too late to have any, if I did, because it was all rehearsed. So I really kind of came in and just did a lot of listening and doing exactly what George asked me to do, because I’ve made a lot of films and I just knew that George had that storyboard patent in his mind — everybody had that in their mind — and so there was no changing of it. I just went along with that and tried to catch up, really, because there were so many stunts, so much action — it just kept rolling from one scene to another — that it was quite a difficult thing to catch up with the intricacies of every stunt. So I was more trying to catch up with the whole movie rather than trying to contribute anything.

Did you have downtime during production, maybe between takes, where you could observe something and turn it into a suggestion? Were those conversations had?

They were — up to a very small degree. Because, once again, the whole thing was locked in, and even if I had an idea, generally I rethought it, and by looking at the storyboard book, realized that you couldn’t change any of that. I didn’t mind that because the pre-production had been so intense that I figured everybody else had smoothed that storyboard down to exactly what the film would be, and I was right: we literally shot the storyboard. So I didn’t mind. The only thing I brought to it, I feel, was that George and Guy Norris on the action unit had the very distinct feeling that they only needed one camera to cover the scenes and the stunts. But I’m willing to multiple cameras. I get frustrated if I can’t put in six, looking for little cutaways that the editor might need. So, with George, I did put more cameras in, and I operated one because I was able to, and I think we helped a bit by doing that.

Because, later, George was very complimentary to the camera crew for persevering with more cameras on the ground, and he got into editing and did get into trouble. When he did, they could go back through the digital records and find that, “Another camera covered that? No. Another one did that? Well… Another one did that? That’s perfect.” They used that to save them in the edit, and he was very complimentary to them in the end. I felt I was able to contribute at least that to the overall production, yeah.

You’ve talked about getting joy from being a camera operator. Could you expand a bit on what pleasures are specific to that position?

Yeah, I do love operating. I really started as an operator; I worked my way up through the ranks. I worked as an operator for a long time in Australia, because I just love operating the camera. In Australia, we worked kind of the English system, where the director would talk to the operator and the director of photography would be listening in. But the contribution of the operator was large, and the director needed that, so you really had a good say as to helping to make the film. So I enjoyed that thoroughly, and as I went into lighting as well, I found that I really loved lighting and operating, much as a lot of people say that it’s not a good, professional way to make a film, because you must be sacrificing a bit for the lighting and to the operator. But I don’t agree. I think that I worked quicker as a lighting cameraman, because I knew the parameters of the shot, and therefore I only lit that area.

So I was quicker lighting, because I only lit where the camera needed to go; the rest of it was patched-in, ready to go, but I didn’t have to trim it, so I saved a lot of time in lighting. And then I concentrated on the operating, because I believed that the size of the frame is really a lot of the psychological message to an audience, as to how dramatic the film is. You can disturb the audience, or you can make them feel relaxed. You can help to make them cry or laugh by the size. Why is the camera here? Why isn’t it there? Why is it this big and not that big? There’s a whole lot of questions to ask, and you’ve got to keep the editor in mind, that every shot except the first one and the last one has another in front of and behind it, and the editor has to cut those in. So the flow of the film is in your mind: that the last shot that the editor used that way, this should be that size. So it cuts nicely and the continuity is good. All of that’s racing through your mind, and I just love doing that as an operator. So, as I said, I can happily light and operate, so I’ve continued to do that all my life.

I’d like to know a bit more about the post-production process. You’ve described the color grading as “George’s manipulation,” but were you consulted or coming into the studio to look at material?

No. I went it as much as I could and had a good look at material, but it took about eighteen months to cut the film and down to fine cut. George put a DI colorist on for eight months, so he was grading the picture for eight months. I couldn’t go in there all the time and be there on the grade, so I did leave an awful lot to Eric Whipp, our colorist who was very good, and I’d go in and have a quick look at things, make a few suggestions, whatever, and never really knew whether they were taken into account or not.

But, in the final result, I also knew George well enough to know that he would take a long time to make sure it was going really well. We talked on set about what we thought the final image should look like: grainy; he didn’t want to go a kind of blue-gray-black post-apocalyptic standard look, desaturation of color. He didn’t want to do that. He wanted to keep the desert color in to the point where it might almost be construed as a scorched-earth syndrome — but we don’t know what happened. So I knew all that, and I knew he was going to degrade the image, so I was never perturbed about whether or not I had the best cameras or the best lenses, because I thought, “It doesn’t matter. It’s what we’re going to do in post.”

I think, to this day, I would have liked to see even more grain left in the film — or put into the film — and I might also like to have seen the night work a little darker. But the final result is George’s, and the final result is always with George — I think, a good decision. I always knew I was in good hands, and, whenever I could, I’d go in to have a look. George and I would have a talk about it, and George always had the final decision, so I was happy with it.

http://thefilmstage.com/features/mad-ma ... -and-more/
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Re: Dean Semler needs to return........nope, it's John Seale

Postby Immortan Joecutter » Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:46 am

You can witness Dean Semlers last work as a Cinematographer in 'The Last Witch Hunter'
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Re: Dean Semler needs to return........nope, it's John Seale

Postby biolumen » Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:49 am

How They Shot the Spectacular War Rig Chase in George Miller's 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood
November 25, 2015 at 12:56PM

Cinematography Oscar contender John Seale discusses coming out of retirement to shoot the 'Mad Max' reboot.

"Fury Road" was a reinvigorating adventure for veteran cinematographer John Seale, who came out of retirement to collaborate once again with George Miller. Only this was no "Lorenzo's Oil," the last film he shot for Miller.

With usual "Mad Max" DP Dean Semler out of the picture, Seale stepped out of his comfort zone to tackle the reboot, which turned out to be the best action film in years — and in what is still the best post-apocalyptic franchise.

"The whole film is basically a chase [in the desert landscape of West Africa with 75 vehicles], but was originally envisioned as a 3D shoot and they were building their own stereoscopic cameras," recalled the Oscar-winning Seale ("The English Patient"). "But then George changed his mind after I signed on. I was able to trim the 3D rig down because our 2D cameras are much smaller and lighter and it became more versatile for George."

Still, it was Seale's first digital experience, and despite all of Miller's meticulous planning after being in pre-production for 10 years, they had to revise the camera placement during the spectacular chase in the War Rig helmed by Charlize Theron's Furiosa.

"For 20-percent of it we were hanging on platforms at 80 kilometers an hour through the desert, rocking around and doing it the old way, which still works," said the 73-year-old Seale. "We knew what we had to do and the actors were comfortable shooting it in sequence to keep the psychological rhythm going."

Miller's mandate was to center the frame at all times, because he was going to cut fast and wanted the appearance of seamless, continuous action, with the viewer never confused. He even manipulated frames to help achieve this effect. But Miller likes to shoot with one camera and Seale prefers multiple cameras to give the editor more choices.

"One camera can slow you down as far as editing's concerned," he added. "One camera, one angle. About six weeks in, they decided to add multiple cameras. When he did get to post, much as George thought he didn't need those cameras, he realized the benefit."

Yet they couldn’t have shot it without a particularly mobile and lightweight setup: Alexas and Canon 5Ds (as crash cams for action) along with the Edge Arm crane for total immersion, allowing them to get right in there much more kinetically, like being in the middle of a video game.

"The whole thing was unrolling and unraveling by the day, " Seale explained, "because this mobile Edge camera equipment made the movie. I was watching the dailies and it was amazing stuff [with 300 stunts]. And George's post would be fierce to the image. Grain it up, contrast it, really make it gritty."

But Seale had no worries because these were two masters in total control of their craft, proving that old school still works supported by a few new digital tools and tricks.

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononho ... d-20151125
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Re: Dean Semler needs to return........nope, it's John Seale

Postby biolumen » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:49 am

'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cinematographer Recounts the High-Octane Shoot

DECEMBER 01, 2015 12:00pm PT by Carolyn Giardina

To create the striking look of Mad Max: Fury Road, director George Miller, 70, rang up an old friend — Aussie cinematographer John Seale, 73, who won an Oscar in 1997 for a very different desert-set film, The English Patient.

With an enthusiastic laugh, Seale tells The Hollywood Reporter that he didn’t need much convincing to take on the postapocalyptic thriller. “It was Mad Max and it was George Miller; it had to be exciting,” Seale said. “I worked with George on Lorenzo’s Oil and he made that an exciting picture. He's a very interesting director, and we got on well. It didn’t take me long, as he says, to come out of retirement to make the film.”

And so the duo went to work to make what is arguably the most visually dazzling action film of the year. “George’s initial instinct was to not go with the standard look of a postapocalyptic film, i.e. very desaturated blues, grays, the ‘life of the planet is coming to an end and it’s miserable’ look. He didn’t want to follow that pattern, which I liked a lot,” Seale says. “He went for a scorched look, a dried-out look but with color. George wanted to increase the grain, which I loved. It had its own look.”

The high-octane "road war" was shot in the deserts of Namibia, across multiple units for 120 days. It was lensed primarily with ARRI Alexa Plus and compact Alexa M digital cameras, plus various still cameras for crash cams, including Canon 5Ds and Blackmagic models.

“All the cameras were on the move: Steadicam, handheld, bungee work on the rigs. We knew George was going to cut the film very fast, so a lot of shots were quite short. George was very adamant about that. He really knew what we were going to do,” Seale said, noting that everything was meticulously storyboarded and choreographed -- it was "pretty well gospel."

The Edge system was heavily relied upon to put the camera in the action. “The Edge cam is a crane on top of a very powerful vehicle so it can accelerate quickly and the crane can be operated from inside the car by a crane operator." Seale explained. "It could go up and down and swing around 360 degrees; it’s got an extension of about 20 ft. and the camera is on the end of stabilized remote head that’s operated by a camera operate inside the car. So the camera could go right up to the window and get a close up of say Furiosa (Charlize Theron) driving and pull back and around and down to a full wide shot."

"The crane could also get the action on the top of the tanker and still be able to see the other vehicle in the backgrounds. And tracking with it at 80 kilometers an hour gave us a very awesome result," he added. “It was used to shoot 95 percent of the action unit’s material – amazing stuff and very safely.”

For the thrilling stunts, Seale related that they shot as much as possible in camera. “The visual effects helped enhance our frames, rather than create them. All of the stunts are live action stunts (not CG stunt doubles). They are real cars and amazing stunts, but done very safely,” Seale said.

In particular, that meant a lot of greenscreen work. "In the shots with actors, the trucks are not moving at all. It's created by the backgrounds (which were separately shot on location) moving by virtue of greenscreen," Seale explained. "Anything with Max (Tom Hardy) hanging down on the truck or swinging around on the pole — the trucks aren’t moving, so we were able to shot it very safely, and the VFX made everything move. We also used massive wind machines, dust machines, to give the feeling that they were doing 80 kilometers an hour -- anything we could think of it give the audience the feeling that they were actually moving.

"Visual effects also enhanced the skies; they put some clouds in and made it a little more dramatic," he added.

And if Miller asked Seale to do another Mad Max, would he sign up? "I enjoy his amazingly bold attitude toward his film," Seale responded. "Who knows when another film might be done, firstly. And who knows how my retirement will be going. But I certainly I enjoy working with George enough to be tempted."

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