The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry
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Return to Table of Contents November 2015 Return to Table of Contents
PresidentsDesk
Steve Jobs
Page 2
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Steadicam Sidebar
Meadowland
ASC Close-Up

“The drone crew was a self-contained unit supervised by cinematographer Mehran Salamati,” Irwin adds. “It came complete with a Red [Epic] Dragon shooting with [Zeiss] Compact Prime lenses, and I pulled focus for it. It wouldn’t have been possible to get that kind of shot any other way given the physical restrictions of the location.” According to Salamati, the unit’s wheel controller was custom-made for the filmmakers.

Küchler supervised the 2K DI at Technicolor London, working with colorist Jean-Clément Soret on FilmLight’s Baselight. The final deliverable was a 2K DCP. “Danny was popping in and out of the sessions, and we spoke all the time,” notes Küchler. “He’s a very clear communicator about his expectations and what is important to the story. For the 1984 sequence, we pushed the 16mm with very saturated colors, emphasizing the oranges and greens of the '70s and '80s and embracing the grain. The second act, 1988, has more gold and red tones. As some scenes were intercut with earlier timeframes, we’d emphasize this with opposite color temperatures to help orient the audience. Finally, for 1998, we went with a much more muted and very modern look; we graded all the greens out and emphasized metallic grays and cooler blacks.

"Working with Jean-Clément is like working with the Michelangelo of the grading world — he has great taste," the cinematographer adds. "I don’t like to defer completely to the original on-set LUT when I'm doing the final color correction. Instead, I prefer to see where we can take things and support the storytelling.”

As they strove to finish the picture in time for its premiere at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival, Küchler and Boyle took a moment to reflect on the experience of making Steve Jobs. “The biggest technical challenge was the huge crowd days we did,” says Boyle. “But the biggest creative challenge we set for ourselves was to construct the film in two-shots. It’s a 180-page script driven completely by dialogue. Cinema is a visual medium occupying a widescreen canvas, and we didn’t want a movie full of singles. We developed a language to build the film in two-shots and used singles very sparingly for emphasis at important moments.

“Really, the job of the director is to try to realize his first reading of the script,” Boyle continues. “It’s an impossible task, of course, because things evolve in the making and turn out differently than you expected; but if you can hold onto the essence of what you felt and imagined the first time you read the script, then you have a shot at harnessing in a purposeful way the talents of all the people involved in making the film.”

“This story is ultimately about people keeping up with Steve Jobs, who was super-intelligent and had a great vision that he couldn’t wait to realize,” observes Küchler. “He drives people hard, but he’s also very charismatic. Similarly, our work was all about keeping up with Danny Boyle! He tried to add as much movement as possible to the scenes and make things as physical as possible, and our focus was as much about maintaining that momentum as it was about the look.

“I’m very happy with and incredibly proud of this movie,” the cinematographer adds. “I’m also curious to see how the film will do, because the audience really has to concentrate on the brisk pace of the dialogue. It’s almost like a thriller with words — I find it fast-paced even when there’s no action. It’s a moving story with three-dimensional, complex characters, and you always want to know what happens next.”


TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

2.39:1

 

Super 16mm, 3-perf Super 35mm, Digital Capture

 

Arri 416; Arricam LT, ST; Arri Alexa XT; Red Epic Dragon

 

Arri/Zeiss Master Prime; Zeiss Super Speed, Compact Prime; Cooke Panchro; Angenieux Optimo

 

Kodak Vision3 500T 7219/5219

 

Digital Intermediate

 


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