“The guy became his cameraman.” The grotesque way in which Cailee Spaeny took combat photographs in ‘Civil War’

“The guy became his cameraman.” The grotesque way in which Cailee Spaeny took combat photographs in ‘Civil War’
“The guy became his cameraman.” The grotesque way in which Cailee Spaeny took combat photographs in ‘Civil War’

Were they photographed in real time with the camera Cailee Spaeny carries? Are they frames taken from the recorded footage? A bit of everything.

If you have already read my review of ‘Civil War’ you will have seen that Alex Garland’s latest has excited me, and the reasons are not few. The British filmmaker’s war road movie not only seemed to me one of the most transcendent films so far this century and, potentially, the best of 2024 who still has a long way to go; It is also a formal, narrative and technical gem that deserves to be enjoyed carefully again and again.

Perhaps, among all his achievements, one of the most surprising is the way in which he reflects the work of war photojournalists in general and that of the most veteran ones in particular. Something she does through the character of Cailee Spaeny, who is armed with an analog Nikon F-2which returns to the times of photochemistry and whose photographs are captured on the screen in real time, while the protagonists are involved in the heat of battle.

The heat of battle

One of the big doubts at a technical and logistical level that ‘Civil War’ left me was the way these images were captured. Did they use real footage shot by Spaeny? Did they extract frames from the recorded footage and process them after the fact? During an interview, whose interesting fragment he shared https://twitter.com/kevinmccarthytv/status/1779500257836962033?s=46&t=DCcn3g9plGcbXoO7849ewAGarland has revealed the mystery, explaining that it was a combination of both caused by the limitations of the actress’s equipment.

“Cailee’s character shoots on film, which is in some ways a throwback to an older period of journalism. What happened is that the camera she was using and the speed of the film were suffering with the lighting conditions we had.” created”.

Once the problem is detected, the solution to this was even more creative and almost humorous if we take into account that the actress is 1.55m tall and the camera operator David J. Thompson is big enough to be able to carry out his job without complications.

“What she did was she grabbed Dave Thompson, who was the camera operator. He was holding the camera and she was holding him, and throughout the fight scene, [Cailee] He moved this guy who is twice your size, pulling him and saying ‘This image, this one.’ When we did this, we had already shot the combat scene several times and I knew the photos I was going to take. The guy became his camera. Then we took frames of what they had recorded, and they became the images you see in the film. “It was something very interesting to see.”

now only It remains to know the editing process these frames went through., because at the level of color and texture they manage to wonderfully generate the sensation of looking at images captured with photochemistry. Brilliant.

In Espinof:

 
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