John Schwartzman, ASC has more than 35 studio feature films to his credit, including Seabiscuit, which earned him an Oscar® nomination, and The Rock, Armageddon, Saving Mr. Banks, and Dracula Untold – all shot on film. One of the executive producers on his most recent assignment, Jurassic World, was Steven Spielberg. So when Schwartzman proposed shooting on film, it seemed like an obvious choice.
“I had some previous experience shooting very big budget movies in Hawaii, on Pearl Harbor,” he says. “I knew the contrast ratios of day exteriors in Hawaii, and almost everything we were going to shoot in Hawaii was day exterior. We were there for the big vistas and the scope and all of the things that you can’t do on stage. Nothing else was going to capture the 18,000 footcandles in the highlights of the sky, and the 20 footcandles in the shadows of the jungle, in the same shot. I didn’t have to choose to preserve either the highlights or the shadows. I knew that if I placed my exposure where I thought it should be, I was going to have all of that information there. Film was simply the right tool.”
Entourage, the HBO series about a crew of young, working class New Yorkers and their adventures in Hollywood, finished its strong eight-year run in 2011 with a total of 26 Emmy® nominations and numerous wins. Rumors of a feature film began swirling even before the series finale, and by early 2014, with the support of executive producer Mark Wahlberg, cameras rolled. The feature film depicts Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) as he makes his feature directorial debut, and includes the principal cast members reprising their roles, as well as a star-studded list of celebrities making cameo appearances.
The project reunites director/creator Doug Ellin and cinematographer Steven Fierberg, ASC. Fierberg (The Affair, Secretary, Love and Other Drugs) shot the first 25 episodes of the show, setting a distinctive look that was built around the ensemble nature of most scenes, subtly underscoring a blend of comedy and drama that audiences loved.
Trainwreck is the latest Judd Apatow-directed comedy to hit the big screen. As a director, Apatow’s smashing success in the comedy realm includes The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People and This is 40. In the producer role, he has had a hand in a long string of other hit comedies including Bridesmaids, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, and he is known as a pioneer in the “bromantic comedy” genre.
This time around, Apatow has built a film around a female lead. In Trainwreck, Amy Schumer, who also wrote the script, plays a semi-autobiographical character who is extremely commitment-phobic, tending to sabotage any budding relationship. When she meets a good man, she must face her fears. The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Marisa Tomei, and LeBron James. The shoot was mounted in New York City over the course about 53 days.
Dwight Chalmers is filmmaker and musician who divides his time between professional sound work for movies and television, and small, personal films. His most recent short film is Dim the Lights, an impressionistic collage that serves as a travelogue for a recent trip from the Midwest to the Pacific Ocean along the old Route 66. The film’s audio track includes original music along with sounds and ambiences gathered and edited by Chalmers.
“At first, there were two sides to my love for sound,” says Chalmers. “One was recording bands, and the other was collecting ambiences. For years, I have gone out and recorded interesting sounds – crickets, open air spaces, air conditioners, a soda machine with a strange buzz. Twenty years later, I might use sounds from that library on a project like Dim the Lights.”
“I’m a believer in organic filmmaking,” he says. “I like to give my interpretation in the moment. If you’re surrounded by good production design, and you have a good director, cast, grader and editor, everything just seems to happen. It's a perfect balance between just enough planning and the director letting his/her actors go, and then you being there to capture organically."
Annis is an in-demand cinematographer who specializes in unique imagery for music videos and commercials. His recent credits include clips for Florence and the Machine, KWABS, Bryan Ferry and Gary Clarke Jr. and commercials for Powerade, UNIQLO, Sony and Adidas.
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