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American Cinematographer Magazine
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Zion gets its power from the magma and lava that form the earth's core, and this formed the basis of Pope's approach to the sequences in the city's temple. "The cultural center of the city is a huge temple within a giant cave, which was filmed in a former aircraft hangar at Alameda Air Base in California. The sources for the temple in Zion were the lava and candles scattered all around. Bobby Finley was our gaffer in the States, and he used the guts of space lights to construct softboxes that pushed light over the huge set. The 15-by-18-foot boxes each had straw gels on them, and the lights were dimmed down to about 70 percent; they were scattered around so everyone had a constant backlight. Bobby did a great job of hiding the lights behind the stalactites and stalagmites within the set. It was quite a feat to make an entire temple look as though it's lit by candles. When we did close-ups, I sometimes used flicker-boxes, but those occasionally look fake to me, so I usually opted to create the flicker with a series of smaller tungsten lamps that were operated manually from a dimmer board."

Access to Zion is gained through an elaborate system of dark, dank sewer tunnels, the sets for which were constructed at Fox in Sydney. "There is a sequence in which a hovership that's being chased by Sentinels crashes," Pope relates. "Neo, Trinity, Morpheus and Link [Harold Perrineau, Jr.] are forced to flee on foot through the tunnels, which are dark, cold and misty. We took the sewers to a different level of darkness and cooler colors to constantly reinforce the coldness." To simulate the light from another ship that comes to the rescue of the stranded group, Garside constructed a 20'x20' rig consisting of Par cans (to provide a bright ambience) and Lightning Strikes units (which suggested the ship's electromagnetic propulsion system). The rig was mounted on a system of pulleys and concealed by a black hanging underneath. At the appropriate moment, the rig was pulled out from the black, giving the effect of an arriving ship. "Reg and I relied enormously on Australian rigging gaffers Iain Mathieson, Simon Williams, Matt Clyde and, later, Matt Buchan," says Pope. "Because this show was prepped as we went along, the rigging crews were extremely important. While Reg and I would meet them every day to plan the lighting in advance, we were always just a few sets ahead, which is a very nervous way of working. I must also mention Ray Brown, our key grip in Sydney, who also worked on The Matrix. We could not have made the movie without this man. He became the de facto unit production manager, producer, statesman, planner, conscience and mentor to the entire crew. In the U.S., I depended upon the three people I've worked with forever: Bob Finley, key grip Tony Mazzucchi and first camera assistant Greg Luntzel."

Freeway Free-for-All
The action centerpiece of Reloaded is a 14-minute chase spectacular, the climax of which takes place on a six-lane freeway as Trinity, Morpheus and the Keymaker are pursued by Agents and new villains known as The Twins (Neil and Adrian Rayment). "The freeway was a huge exterior set that Owen Paterson built on the runway at Alameda Naval Base," Pope recalls. "It was 16 feet high and six lanes across, with concrete walls and an overpass. It was about one-and-a-half miles long and had a huge curve in it." Paterson recalls, "Building the entire freeway enabled us to completely control the view of the audience. We built 16-foot-high plywood walls on each side that were rendered to look like concrete. That line of walls gave the set a claustrophobic, semi-subterranean kind of vibe. Because the freeway is in the Matrix, we also stayed away from showing any plants; there are no trees or grass, just concrete.

"We were shooting that sequence for a couple of months," says Pope, "and on any given day we averaged fewer than 10 shots, every one of which was immense - even the close-ups. In the Wachowskis' world, there's no such thing as a simple close-up. It may involve your main actress driving solo on a motorbike down a freeway against traffic, or hundreds of cars in the background on the other side of the freeway. Every shot we did pushed the limit of what we can do."

Shots of the actors driving were achieved with some unique car-rigging equipment. "Alameda was definitely a grip's show," declares Pope. "On the road we had this wonderful rig called a Mic Rig, which is essentially a panel truck stripped down to the frame. The hero picture car is then mounted onto the van's frame, enabling you to do moves with an actor that you simply cannot achieve with an insert car. The two drivers of the Mic Rig, protected only by a windshield, can drive totally helter-skelter, do 180- or 360-degree spins, go up on two wheels, all that stuff. They also have little oil jets that they can shoot out onto the wheels on command so they can spin all over the place. The Mic Rig became our vehicle of choice; we could fly in between cars, or zip around as though Trinity and Morpheus or the villains were actually driving these vehicles."

The logistical demands of the freeway sequence, coupled with the Wachowskis' desire to shoot the action entirely in continuity, abrogated the use of artificial lighting. "I wasn't able to control the direction of the light or the time of day at which we shot," Pope notes. "We showed up each morning and simply picked up from where we'd left off the day before. In San Francisco, the weather is foggy in the morning, it clears up in the afternoon, and then the sun drops rapidly behind the hills. So in the middle of any given scene, I might have been shooting a close-up at high noon and the wide shot at sunset, and I needed them to match." By digitally grading the sequence, Pope was able to resolve matching problems and refine the Matrix "look." He explains, "It's a very complicated scene on many levels, with every shot a visual-effects construct of some sort. There's the virtual city that is visible beyond the walls of the freeway, as well as [visual-effects supervisor] John Gaeta's destruction effects with the cars, trucks and so on. Also, in the Matrix the sun is created by a computer; it's sickly and not quite convincing, so I needed to find a way to nullify the sun's natural warmth. The only way I could do all of this and still stay on schedule was to scan the whole sequence." (The rest of Reloaded was color-timed photochemically at Technicolor in Los Angeles.)

Pope supervised the digital grading at Animal Logic, a facility based in Sydney, Australia. To achieve the desired look, he and Lynn Cartwright, visual-effects supervisor at Animal Logic, altered the skies as well as the quality of the sunlight striking the freeway and actors. "I wanted a sky that looked polarized, going from deep blue on one end to white on the other, except that I wanted it in 'Matrix green.' We then softened the sunlight striking the actors and the road, so it looks like a thinly overcast day with just a little bit of sun and warmth peeking through. That was perfect for the Matrix; I couldn't have asked for anything better." Pope points out that the support of the visual-effects department was integral to the success of this sequence. "Visual-effects supervisors Dan Glass and John 'DJ' Des Jardin, as well as visual-effects producer Di Giorgiutti, were always present, dedicated and clever," Pope reports.

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