the place, but also the vibrant colors
and the joy. Kathmandu’s rather like
India; it’s a land of contrast. There
is beauty and ugliness. It’s such a
vivid palette, and we wanted to capture that. We talked about the best
way to do that, and my feeling, since
it was all going to be exterior harsh
sunlight, was to shoot on film. So we
shot that section on 35mm, whereas
everything else in the film was shot
on the ALEXA 65.
How did you plan your camera
BD: It really depends on the scene.
If it’s a complex sequence involving
stunt work and a lot of visual effects, we would generally previs or
storyboard those sections. If it was
a scene where we have Benedict and
Tilda together acting, then we would
do a more organic process. We had a
very tight post-production schedule
on this film, so if it was a very visual
effects–heavy sequence, then previs
work would have already been done
before we would even shoot it.
Did you work closely with the
previs team, and did you find
the process to be helpful?
BD: Yes, there was a big previs involvement. At times I find previs to
very helpful, at other times I don’t
There are times when I think it’s
dangerous to be over-reliant on it.
You have to remember that previs
is done way before, and there may
not yet be a set design to work with
at that point. Even if there is a set
design during previs, you make shot
decisions in advance with people
who aren’t on set. Once you get on
set and the set is lit, there may be
a better shot to be had. I think previs is a great tool, but you have to
be judicious about how you use it.
Knowing the difference — where
it’s beneficial and where it’s not —
Who was on your camera crew
and how did you set up your
workflow on set?
BD: We generally ran two cameras,
A and B cameras. My operators were
Julian Morson and Sam Renton, and
I had two fantastic first ACs, David
The ARRI ALEXA 65 in action
The city skyline bends and folds, defying space and time
Wong (Benedict Wong) is a powerful ally and a wise librarian