Jump to content


Photo

Up In The Air


  • Please log in to reply
52 replies to this topic

#1 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 09 September 2009 - 07:24 PM

I didn't talk about it earlier this year while shooting the film, but the teaser was released today following a well received sneak last weekend at Telluride. The film officially world premieres at Toronto this Saturday.

teaser

Apple has also posted a short clip on their website.
  • 0

#2 Richard Vialet

Richard Vialet
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 133 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Hollywood, CA

Posted 09 September 2009 - 08:04 PM

I've been waiting to hear from you in the forums about this movie. I'm sure there was a reason why there wasn't a journal for it. I'm glad to hear it brought up now.

I've been SOOO excited for the movie and really glad its been getting good reviews at Telluride! The trailer is amazing and everything about it looks great! I love the clip and love your lighting. Congrats! Can't wait to see the movie!

I would love to hear more about working on the project and your experiences...like working with an extremely huge star like Clooney and your approach to the lighting and composition in the movie. That bar scene clip has a wonderful simple elegance to it.

Edited by Richard Vialet, 09 September 2009 - 08:05 PM.

  • 0

#3 georg lamshöft

georg lamshöft
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 310 posts
  • Berlin

Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:05 AM

This teaser blew me away! Maybe it was the right moment I watched it, the right mood!? But it doesn't show what is happening in the movie, it seems to show deeply what it's really about!

May I ask if you shot the aerials? Wow!

Tell us EVERYTHING! :rolleyes:

Hopefully the studio paid for a decent DI this time - what about some IMAX-prints - one for Berlin would be fine :P

You just set the bar even a little bit higher, don't disappoint me :lol: ;)

Damn, I'll have to wait till 28th of January...
  • 0

#4 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:33 AM

I've been waiting to hear from you in the forums about this movie. I'm sure there was a reason why there wasn't a journal for it. I'm glad to hear it brought up now.

I've been SOOO excited for the movie and really glad its been getting good reviews at Telluride! The trailer is amazing and everything about it looks great! I love the clip and love your lighting. Congrats! Can't wait to see the movie!

I would love to hear more about working on the project and your experiences...like working with an extremely huge star like Clooney and your approach to the lighting and composition in the movie. That bar scene clip has a wonderful simple elegance to it.



I didn't do a journal because with a studio film, I sign confidentiality agreements which are so in depth I'm not even allowed to say who is in the movie. So as this was my first major studio film, I thought I'd play it safe and keep my mouth shut. But now that it's premiered, I can talk about it.

Telluride had a fantastic response. Toronto was always the goal, but during post Jason decided he wanted to push the schedule even harder to sneak at Telluride. We finished shooting the movie on May 15, it showed in Telluride on Sept. 4. Incredibly short post.

The Toronto premiere was last Saturday and a huge success. Everyone was there and the screening was really well received. It played in the Ryerson, the same place we premiered JUNO two years ago. We showed a digital print and the projection was beautiful. All the reviews seem to be mentioning Oscar buzz for Jason and the actors and I have to agree about that. Really fantastic work (yes I know, I'm bias).

Honestly, I can't say anything about Clooney that hasn't been said before. He's nothing less than 100% at any time, a total professional...a real actor, not a star. He stays on set between set ups to talk and hang with the crew, stands in line at catering, and sits down to eat with the masses. One of my favorite experiences with him was on the third day. We told him we were going in on a close-up and he asked what lens...I said "200" and he nodded. After "action" he repeated the scene but with just a little less movement and controlled his expressions just a bit more...knowing that everything would be magnified. I couldn't believe it. Not only does he know the art, but the technical as well and is able to effortlessly combine the two. It's small, I know, but it impressed me and had never seen that before or since. And that's how it was the rest of the shoot. I could ask him anything to help me out and he was always respectful of what was helpful for lighting and composition.

I'm glad you enjoyed the clip online. And that's how the whole movie was approached...simple, elegant, and mature. I hope we succeeded.

The official website is up and has the teaser on it.

And some really good reviews:
Variety
Hollywood Reporter
/Film
In Contention
Roger Ebert


And the best news of all...the release date just got moved up to November 13 in LA & NY, and going wide November 25 for the holiday.

I saw the first billboard for it last week at prominent location in NYC, couldn't believe it. My first film with billboards.
  • 0

#5 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:39 AM

This teaser blew me away! Maybe it was the right moment I watched it, the right mood!? But it doesn't show what is happening in the movie, it seems to show deeply what it's really about!

May I ask if you shot the aerials? Wow!

Tell us EVERYTHING! :rolleyes:

Hopefully the studio paid for a decent DI this time - what about some IMAX-prints - one for Berlin would be fine :P

You just set the bar even a little bit higher, don't disappoint me :lol: ;)

Damn, I'll have to wait till 28th of January...



I can't take credit for the aerials. We had an aerial unit spend a couple weeks flying around the country shooting based on notes from Reitman. All I did was push Jason to actually do the aerials which wasn't decided until later in the shoot. Glad you like them. I'm certainly impressed by them. Most of the aerials at the beginning of the movie were shot on film by Bob Mehnert and my A operator Matt Moriarty and the rest throughout the film were shot on HD by Dylan Goss.

For the DI, I got to go back to my colorist at EFILM, Natasha Leonnet, who I did both JUNO and BANDSLAM with. I flew back from my shoot in NY on a few weekends to work with her on it. As always, she did a beautiful job. IMAX..hmm, don't think so on this one but we can always hope!
  • 0

#6 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:17 PM

Sad indeed that Hollywood actors / directors / producers who behave on set like regular people, shock us, crew members --who unfortunately have come to expect a good 90+% of them to behave like aristocrats among commoners at best or like raging tyrants among subjects at worse.

The biggest name actor that I have worked with (not as a DP, of course) who was down to earth and would actually talk to the crew was John Travolta in 2006. Wouldn't expect less from George Clooney. Glad to hear he doesn't disappoint. I worked for a couple of weeks for the upcoming "Men Who Stare At Goats", but unfortunately not on any scenes that included George Clooney. Jeff Bridges is pretty down to earth though.

Can you please talk about the formats / cameras used for production? I noticed very little grain, lots of HD-like sharpness (in a good way) on the 720p trailer I saw, but the palette looks like it was shot on Fuji stock, can you please comment on that?

The aerial photography looks stunning indeed. The set lighting is very even and looks very naturalistic, which is hard to achieve, particularly on studio pictures --where the tendency is to light the crap out of every scene to justify the larger budgets / crew. Good job!

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 17 September 2009 - 07:21 PM.

  • 0

#7 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:54 PM

The film was shot in super35, 1.85 on Panavision cameras and lenses. I'd say about 90% of the film was made using the new Panavision compact zoom, my new favorite lens. In fact that lens lived on the A camera, a Platinum, while the 11:1 mostly lived on the B camera, an XL.

I wanted to test Fuji stocks but was told that would cause a huge stink at the studio since they, as well as the other majors have exclusivity deals with Kodak and testing would almost certainly start a series of unpleasant calls. I love Kodak stocks and have used them for every film I've done, and every commercial and most shorts. I had remembered testing Fuji for BANDSLAM and liking the gentler contrast and more neutral skin tones but thought it wasn't punchy enough for what that film needed.

Anyway, 5219 and 5205 were my stocks. 5207 came out early on in the shoot and I used it in Las Vegas (one of the 5 cities we shot in). I never got to print it so I just shot it like the 5205, as recommended by Kodak. I couldn't really tell a difference in the DI between the 05 and 07 except that I could pull a bit more detail in the highs in the 07 and the 07 the skin tones went ever so slightly more saturated in the yellow direction. But again, that was judged in the DI suite.

The lack of grain was important. It may sound a little strange, but I shot a thick neg to minimize grain so that the texture of the many locations was the only texture being presented. I didn't want grain to alter or overlay what was in front of the camera. Now of course all film has grain, but it can be controlled and worked into the aesthetic and visual design/language of the movie. On JUNO for instance, visible grain was important to me because I didn't want that incredible sharpness...I wanted a texture and middle america patina...because I didn't want anything to look idealized...the movie needed to feel real. Maybe it worked, maybe not...but I liked how my choice in using 5229 (Expression 500T and underexposing about 2/3 of a stop) altered the color, contrast, and grain. And so you mention the lack of grain in UP IN THE AIR, which I'm surprised you could judge online, and I'm glad you noticed something a conscious decision was made about. In terms of looking like Fuji, that was a combination of my exposure and the curves my colorist and I came up with in the DI. I generally like a softer color palette and like using the full range of a neg while still having and nice black level. But the Kodak stock, as always, performed beautifully.

This was the first time I had used the 19 for a film, other than a couple of shots in 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, and I was knocked over by how well it scans. I've never seen anything so clean. It's hard to explain what I saw, but it's as if there is added color depth, sharpness, and overall clarity. I'm sure more technical people like David can explain the science behind those improvements. Truly impressive.

Coming from smaller independent films, my tendency is to keep it simple but do what I need to do to light the scene properly. It's not like I cut corners, I prefer to think I am efficient. If I can help design the shots in a way that makes the lighting simpler, I try to do that and am usually more pleased with the results. I get hired based on my past work and my interpretation of material and just because I have more money or bigger stars doesn't make me decide that I need to change my approach. Why should I? Because it's expected? Maybe as I do more films and maybe even bigger films I'll experiment with complexity and see how that affects my sensibilities, but I do know I'll always only do what I think is necessary to set the proper tone for a scene within the visual grammar of the movie.

Ok, enough rambling. Still awake?
  • 0

#8 Richard Vialet

Richard Vialet
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 133 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Hollywood, CA

Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:00 AM

Ok, enough rambling. Still awake?



Of course!

Based on the story, it seems like there were a lot of airport locations. Can you talk a little about the approach to that. Did you shoot in mostly practical working airport locations, mostly built pieces, a combination of both? If they were practical sets, can you talk about your approach to the logistics as well as the lighting. If they were built sets, I'd love to hear about your approach as well. And was it part of the look to make each airport location stand apart from the others visually? If so, what was your plan for that?

Thanks again for the info!

Edited by Richard Vialet, 18 September 2009 - 10:02 AM.

  • 0

#9 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:23 AM

Eric, just briefly wanted to say that I think it looks pretty fantastic from the trailer I've seen and I'm quite looking forward to seeing it in theaters. Keep up the very good work.
  • 0

#10 Rob Vogt

Rob Vogt
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 437 posts
  • Other
  • New York

Posted 18 September 2009 - 11:00 AM

Impressive rack focus on the shot with the phone, I'm envious of your 1st!
  • 0

#11 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 18 September 2009 - 05:59 PM

Yes the rack was good! I had one of the best focus pullers in the business, Zoran Veselic...a real artist. I also used him on 500. His resume is very impressive.

The airports were all practical, all in operation, and all very very difficult to film in. We shot the airports of Detroit, St. Louis, Omaha, and Las Vegas. Each had different challenges and restrictions. One thing they all had in common was that very little in the way of grip and lighting was allowed in the secure areas, past TSA. So whenever we had shots at or near a gate, it had to be accomplished in a VERY narrow timeframe with minimal lighting. I was usually balancing our stuff to the existing fixtures, never an exact science event though it should be. For the most part all that stuff came out fine. In the ticketing areas and public areas of the terminals I was allowed to be a bit more ambitious both with lighting and composition/movement. We just couldn't spring anything new on the airport staff at the last minute. They needed to know exactly what we were going to do so Jason and I spoke about the shots we planned on and he then had them drawn up with a storyboard artist. I think the airport scenes, though brief, will be referenced and talked about after this film. Jason did a great job with them.
On their own, all the airports were very different from one another bot in architecture and the way light penetrated them (or not). So we really just embraced those differences also because we wanted to really show he changing landscape of this characters life. In an airport like Detroit, you have this modern cathedral of steel of glass where in Omaha, an older design exists when airports were designed more for functionality than an symbol or gateway to the city...Omaha had lower ceilings and beige tile walls, but still beautiful in it's own identity. Clooney's character is most comfortable at airports and in airplanes so Jason and I and the production designer did our best to make all those things as visually appealing as possible.
  • 0

#12 Bill Totolo

Bill Totolo
  • Sustaining Members
  • 698 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 23 September 2009 - 02:23 AM

Congrats Eric, saw the trailer on the big screen this weekend in front of "The Informant!" at the Bridge Cinema De Luxe. Looked amazing.
Keep it up.
  • 0

#13 Tim Partridge

Tim Partridge
  • Guests

Posted 23 September 2009 - 11:52 AM

There's a gorgeous magic hour shot of a plane taxiing on a wide angle lens, long shadow. Was this a second unit shot? I would be interested to know how it came about, as it seems very stylised, angular and controlled for a film of this kind of genre.
  • 0

#14 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 23 September 2009 - 04:32 PM

Is it the shot in the trailer with George's name over it? The two planes? If that's the one you are speaking of then yes, that was done by my Bcam 1st Cale Finot, who also shot my 2nd Unit. It is a great shot but the time of day was closer to 4 pm in April.
  • 0

#15 Jon Rosenbloom

Jon Rosenbloom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 713 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 23 September 2009 - 07:30 PM

Coming from smaller independent films, my tendency is to keep it simple but do what I need to do to light the scene properly. It's not like I cut corners, I prefer to think I am efficient. If I can help design the shots in a way that makes the lighting simpler, I try to do that and am usually more pleased with the results. I get hired based on my past work and my interpretation of material and just because I have more money or bigger stars doesn't make me decide that I need to change my approach. Why should I? Because it's expected? Maybe as I do more films and maybe even bigger films I'll experiment with complexity and see how that affects my sensibilities, but I do know I'll always only do what I think is necessary to set the proper tone for a scene within the visual grammar of the movie.


You don't feel the urge to "get creative?"
  • 0

#16 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 23 September 2009 - 09:50 PM

Once on set, I get creative in my execution of how I accomplish the look I've already decided on in prep. I may not know how I'm going to light a scene before I shoot it, but I know how I want it to feel and look. I then figure out how to accomplish that with lighting.

I don't want to be misunderstood. It's not that I don't try new things or challenge...I do on every project...I simply mean that when on set I try to be both true to the film and my intentions while simultaneously being responsible to production. I believe it's ok to take chances on set (exposure for instance) but not experiment.

Believe me it takes a lot of creativity to keep it simple. All this being said, the film I just wrapped was the most complex I've gotten and I really liked some of the results, and other times I wish I had used fewer sources and less gripping.

Regardless of how it's done though, the bottom line is always stay true to the tone of the film/scene/story.
  • 0

#17 Justin Hayward

Justin Hayward
  • Sustaining Members
  • 928 posts
  • Director
  • Chicago, IL.

Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:31 PM

Believe me it takes a lot of creativity to keep it simple. All this being said, the film I just wrapped was the most complex I've gotten and I really liked some of the results, and other times I wish I had used fewer sources and less gripping.


So true, on both points.

The film looks fantastic, Eric. And, who knew Jason Reitman would emerge as this total "tour de force". I'm so impressed by all of it.

Thanks for all your insight. It's all very inspiring.
  • 0

#18 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:52 PM

Jason is a great director, I knew that the first time I worked with him on a short film when we were 19. I'm very happy to see him getting all these accolades.

Going into the DI tomorrow with Jason to clean up a few scenes we need just a little better continuity in. What we premiered was 98% complete color and sound wise. Doing the video mastering in a couple weeks.
  • 0

#19 Justin Hayward

Justin Hayward
  • Sustaining Members
  • 928 posts
  • Director
  • Chicago, IL.

Posted 23 September 2009 - 11:23 PM

Jason is a great director, I knew that the first time I worked with him on a short film when we were 19.


Sounds like a good story by itself.

Thanks again.
  • 0

#20 Tim Partridge

Tim Partridge
  • Guests

Posted 24 September 2009 - 11:01 AM

Is it the shot in the trailer with George's name over it? The two planes? If that's the one you are speaking of then yes, that was done by my Bcam 1st Cale Finot, who also shot my 2nd Unit. It is a great shot but the time of day was closer to 4 pm in April.


It's at 00.52, backlit, shooting into the sun, plane moving left to right. Thanks for the reply.
  • 0


The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

CineLab

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Opal

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC