The American Society of Cinematographers

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Return to Table of Contents January 2015 Return to Table of Contents
Presidents Desk
Exodus
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ASC Close-Up

Wolski shot the vast majority of Exodus at 800 ISO, but there were moments when he increased the ISO to 1,250. “You don’t want to rate those cameras for less because you’ll have a problem of overexposing highlights,” he notes. “The middle of the chip is 800 ISO. All the things you would do when shooting film, you still do when shooting digital. You just have to be very careful about light. You feel light very quickly with digital, so you have to be more elegant and subtle with it.”

When Ramses (Joel Edgerton) hears the rumor that Moses is actually a Hebrew, he confronts him and his supposed mother, and threatens to cut off her arm if she does not confess the secret of Moses’ heritage. The scene takes place in Ramses’ temple, which was also built onstage at Pinewood. “It was a difficult scene to shoot,” recalls Wolski. “There are a lot of angles from everywhere. We shot from every possible direction. There aren’t a lot of candles in the scene, so we had sort of ambiguous flames coming from somewhere. I decided to frontlight the first part of the scene, breaking from my tendency to always [use] 3/4 backlight and wrap the light to make it feel more dramatic. Then, when we cross the line to the other side, that frontlight becomes the more standard 3/4 backlight, making the look more dramatic.”

Reflecting upon his experiences on Exodus, Wolski marvels that the complex production was shot in a mere 80 days. “Everything was very well prepared,” he says. “Ridley always has an amazing team of people and great actors. We work 10-hour days, straight through, and go home. It’s an exception to work at that pace, but everyone is extremely focused, and the days go by very fast.

“Working with Ridley is a great collaboration,” he continues. “He’s super smart, and he sees so many details. It’s always a great dialogue. He has a phenomenal array of references in terms of art, architecture and films. It’s always a real pleasure to get into discussions with him. He also has his own array of incredible experiences.

“There is an odd aspect to working with him, though. Because so many of us have been so influenced by his movies and have mimicked his work for our entire careers, we have to stop ourselves from ripping him off while we’re working with him! Ridley is totally aware of the danger of repeating himself, too. Sometimes we’ll set something up and throw some smoke into the scene, and he’ll look at it and say, ‘No, I’ve done this before,’ and we’ll take a different approach. He’s a super interesting human being in the way his brain works; it’s really incredible. This project was an amazing challenge and a great experience. There was never a dull moment!”


TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

2.40:1

3-D and 2-D Digital Capture

Red Epic MX

Angenieux Optimo


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