The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry
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A blue HMI twilight pouring through the windows in the background lends a sense of fantasy not only to young Oxford’s performance, but also to the key moment when the future lovers first meet. “One could say [the look] is a bit over-the-top,” Foerster concedes, “but you could also say those moments were a bit romanticized in Elizabeth’s memory.”

Many plays are staged at the Rose, a typical Elizabethan-era playhouse with a circular floor plan and an open roof. On the Babelsberg backlot, the art department constructed a stand-alone replica of the Rose that could also double as the Globe, complete with a muddy, winding street leading up to the main entrance.

Foerster describes the theater as a chimney. “How do you light a chimney and shoot a scene on a 15.5mm lens?” she asks, noting that A-camera operator Sebastian Meuschel was often joined by Vladimir Subotic and Philip Peschlow on B and C cameras, respectively. “That theater was one of the most difficult things to deal with, but we had an interesting approach.”

Outside the theater, the crew positioned two 60' Condors that allowed them to suspend 70'x45' and 45'x45' UltraBounce flyswatters like lids over the open roof, blocking the interior from direct sunlight. The cranes would boom up and down as the sun moved, allowing only the open sky to provide ambient light.

If Foerster needed additional light, 18K and 6K HMIs positioned along the theater’s upper levels were bounced off the UltraBounce flyswatters or huge muslin and white Duvetyn tarps hanging down from the lower ranks, just out of the camera’s view. To facilitate transitions from day to night in the same scene, the crew layered additional silks over the set until it was dark enough to bring up the candles and firelight.

When strong winds prohibited the team from deploying the blackouts, Haupt ran sheets of silk and muslin across the opening on ropes and cables inside the theater. The strategy worked, but it also required Foerster to avoid photographing the upper levels of the audience.

Each play staged in the movie has its own look: the climax of Romeo and Juliet takes place at twilight; hunched witches hover around a crackling bonfire in Macbeth; and Hamlet is shown mainly in broad daylight and wide shots. This was consistent regardless of where a play was being staged. For example, when the story crosscuts between a monologue from two different performances of Hamlet — at the Rose and at Elizabeth’s royal court — each performance contains a reference to the other’s lighting and camera moves.

The final digital grade was carried out at Arri’s Munich headquarters, where Martin served as the colorist. “It was important for the Arri team to keep an eye on the DI,” says Foerster. “And it was great to have Utsi handle it, because he was there [with us] from the beginning.”

She observes that the final look is very close to what she conceptualized with the viewing LUTs. “Of course, we tweaked a few things, like matching scene-to-scene or matching light levels when we were shooting outside. We also played with the contrast a bit and took advantage of the masks and windows you can do in the DI. But in general, what we timed for was what we saw on the monitors on set.”


TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

2.40:1

Digital Capture

Arri Alexa

Arri/Zeiss Master Primes, Arri LWZ-1

Digital Intermediate


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