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500 Days of Summer


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#1 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:41 PM

As soon as I returned from WILL, I came back to LA having just been hired for a new film being shot in Los Angeles called 500 DAYS OF SUMMER. The director is Marc Webb. This will be his first feature but he's one of the busiest music video directors around. Smart guy and technically apt...we instantly hit it off. Our first conversation was effortless and made me feel at ease since communication, especially on a first feature, is critical.

The film will most likely be categorized as a romantic comedy but is about a guy who falls in love with a girl who doesn't believe in love. The actors are Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt. We start shooting on May 7th for a very full 29 days, all locations. Adding to the challenge is a fairly lean budget but I'm glad to be back working with Fox Searchlight who I did JUNO with.

We will be shooting 3 perf Super35 2.40 using Panavision. There are some fun sequences which call for use of 16mm black and white so I had a great time on Friday shooting tests at Panavision using color and b&w 16 and 35mm stocks on different cameras with different lenses...and all will be printed to 16mm b&w to see which looks best for us (the color reversal will be printed via IN so as not to project the camera original).

Tomorrow begins our last full week of an accelerated prep.
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:01 PM

Very cool, I have heard a lot of very good things about Marc Webb from some of the camera crews that have been on his videos. I wonder if Zooey's dad will make a set visit at some point, maybe a little intimidating ;).

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#3 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 05:12 PM

Job opportunity...

I'm looking for a PA...really for me...to take lighting stills with my slr and print them to be sent in to the dailies colorist. I also need this person to do lighting diagrams of our setups as well. The bad news is that it is not a camera dpt position nor union, just an opportunity...and that it will only pay $10//hr. Must know how to use a digital slr and photoshop (camera raw).

Job starts May 7th. If you or anyone you know are interested, please email me and let me know some background.

Sorry to post this here...I'll put it in the appropriate section too.
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#4 John Hoffler

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 02:08 AM

Pulled this out of the depths of the forum. A friend of mine saw this film at Sundance and really enjoyed it! I recently watched the trailer and it looks really wonderful.

Great stuff, Eric!

http://www.foxsearch...00daysofsummer/
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#5 Jason Reimer

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:36 AM

I checked out the trailer, and this looks really interesting; Joseph Gordon Levitt was great in Brick, so I'm curious how this turned out. Like we talked about with Juno, this has its own look that isn't like other movies of this genre; at least judging by the trailer, it doesn't look like the same old bright, slick & glossy stuff that you see so much of. Definitely looking forward to it, Eric.
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#6 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:14 AM

Bonjour Mr Steelberg

i really enjoy your visual style

could you tell us a bit more on the prep, how your choices with the director were motivated?
What is the B/W S16 supposed to say?
why the 2:35 and what choice of lens, stock, filter to achieve what look?

if you find time, i'm just super curious ;)

have a good prep
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#7 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 06:37 AM

Thanks guys.

Yes, the Sundance premiere was wonderful. The film received a standing ovation and I couldn't have been more happy for the director Marc. A new HD trailer was just posted on Apple's website.

In prep, Marc and I spent a lot of time at his house watching all kinds of films, many from the French new wave. Coming from music videos, Marc has a very strong aesthetic and technical knowledge so what we wanted to do is deconstruct these films he has always enjoyed and find out what makes them work, or doesn't. This way we felt we could come up with an approach for 500 that would give us the tone visual tone Marc sought. In addition to films, the work of still photographers was references for contrast and color palette, our favorite being Sal Leiter.

The b/w 16 was chosen for these day dream sequences Tom (Joe Gordon-Levitt) has about himself or Summer (Deschanel). Since Marc is such a huge fan of the New Wave, he thought it would be fun if Tom was too and thus day dreamed that way. There is also a small Bergman reference. That was some of the most fun I had on the shoot. I spent a lot of my testing in prep figuring out 16 vs 35 b&w, different stocks, processing, color to b&w conversions, lenses, etc. to find something that was just the right look.

2.40 came out of wanting to keep Tom isolated and have tight compositions when he's with Summer. It was a little hard because of the importance of the downtown LA architecture which is so vertical. We just had to plan out shots carefully. The whole film was 5205 and 5218 with mostly Primo primes. I chose the stocks simply because I am so familiar with them and had a very accelerated prep, limiting extra testing. I also used 5219 pushed a stop with Master Primes fro some night time natural light shots around the city. Results were jaw dropping. The look we sought was very pastel, warm, and no primary colors. Our production designer used mid century design and colors exclusively, and reserved the color blue only for Summer.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 07:25 AM

Just saw the Trailer, Eric, on Apple. I think it's going to be one of the few to get me out of the house when it comes out. Good work!
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#9 Steve McBride

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 05:43 PM

Wow, I watched the trailer a week or so ago on Apple and immediately started sending it to friends to check out. I definitely love the feel to the cinematography. I don't know much about the story other than what was in the trailer and what you've said, but the look that you gave to it with the warmer tones definitely brings the emotion out.

I like your reasoning for the 2.40 also. A lot of people want to use 2.40 just to get the "film" look, so it's always great to hear that there is a reasoning behind the decision.

I was also amazed to see you on the forum. Definitely a pleasant suprise!
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#10 John Hoffler

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 12:14 AM

thanks for the response, Eric.

I've got my tickets to check it out next week at the Florida Film Festival!
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#11 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 06:35 AM

Hope you enjoy it!
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#12 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 08:19 PM

Eric, fantastic work. Really looking forward to being able to check this out when it hits theaters.
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#13 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 02:26 AM

Hope you enjoy it!



Looks really nice...!

R.
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#14 Jason Reimer

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 07:26 PM

Hey Eric,
I looked at the hd trailer (beautiful, by the way) and I saw some of those night shots you were talking about. I'm assuming you were using 500T pushed to 1000 ISO. In particular there was a long-exposure shot looking down at a freeway, and I'm wondering how long the exposure was, and your T stop. I've been thinking of some ideas for some similar night work around town, and never having done any before, I've been trying to calculate what I would need for a proper exposure. I'd be using some 400 ISO color slide film that I'd have to push a stop, but then I'd be losing a little light to the 80a or b filter I'd need to put on to balance for tungsten light. I have a 50mm lens that will open as wide as f1.4, a 28mm that will open up to 2.8, and a 100m that can manage a 2.5 Any suggestions? (Or any of you guys, for that matter). Thanks in advance.
Now back to our 500 Days of Summer discussion...
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#15 Drew Valenti

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 05:33 PM

Eric, I just saw your film at the River Run film festival in Winston-Salem NC. I really enjoyed it. In particular I loved the train scene at sunset and the "I love everything about her / I hate everything about her" scenes. Great work, I look forward to seeing more of your projects in the future.
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#16 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 06:46 AM

Eric, this is beautiful.
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#17 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 03:51 PM

Thanks guys.

That train scene was very challenging since it was on a scheduled Amtrak run between LA and San Diego with no prep so I had to wing it as we were rolling, literally calling out stop changes and flying bounce cards in and out. We planned the trip based on the time of day which gave us the best chance for low afternoon light, since we were working with all natural illumination except fro a few kinos and bounce cards.

The timelapse freeway photography was not done by me. We brought in a cameraman who specialized in that so I'm not sure what his exposure info was.
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#18 Jason Reimer

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 04:38 PM

Thanks, Eric. I was gonna do some tests anyway, so maybe I'll post the results in the first-time filmmaker's section or something like that. I must say, though, the trailer looks beautiful in full 1080p. Looking forward to it.
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#19 Steve McBride

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 11:31 PM

Just saw the film at the Rochester High Falls International Film Festival and absolutely loved it. I also got a chance to have a conversation with Laura Fox because I had mentioned your name, Eric, and this post at a Q&A with her and she recognized me at an after party.

I absolutely loved all of the movement in the film with the camera work, especially all of the tilting up and down with the transitions between scenes.

The way that it seemed Summer was lit throughout the movie was also interesting. She looked to be lit a bit more low key than other characters, and her apartment definitely had a different feel to it.

Again, amazing work on the film. Can't wait to see some more of your work.
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#20 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 11:58 AM

Thanks Steve!

Laura Fox was a pleasure to work with and really helped me out. You can light as much as you want but you still need to point the camera at something that looks good and she created so much out of nothing in terms of materials and money.
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Metropolis Post

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Tai Audio

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