Dear Colleague

Here’s an advance look at the June 2012 issue of American Cinematographer magazine, which will have a special focus on this year’s first round of summer blockbusters. (All articles are tentative and subject to change.)

The Avengers (Marvel, Disney)

Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC joined forces with writer/director Joss Whedon to bring Marvel’s most famous heroes together for the first time on the big screen. When the mighty Thor’s nefarious half-brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), employs otherworldly forces in his quest to rule Earth, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles a team of his own — comprising Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) — to fight back. AC visited the production on location in Cleveland, Ohio, where McGarvey and his collaborators provided an up-close look at their work on this epic production. The movie was shot primarily with Arri’s Alexa digital camera, but McGarvey’s team also employed Canon EOS DSLRs to get inside the explosive action, as well as 35mm cameras for high-speed sequences.

Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)

Greig Fraser was behind the camera for director Rupert Sanders’ reimagining of the classic fairy tale. When the evil, jealous Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) orders the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to lead the fairest in the land, Snow White (Kristen Stewart), to her slaughter, the Huntsman instead trains Snow White to fight back. Fraser will detail his work on the production’s U.K.-based stages and locations, where he and Sanders opted to shoot in the anamorphic format on 35mm film.

Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.)

Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC joined director Tim Burton for this big-screen reinterpretation of the cult-favorite television series from the 1960s. Having been entombed for two centuries, vampire Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) awakens in 1972, where he discovers his estate — not to mention what remains of the Collins family — has fallen on hard times. Delbonnel will cast light on his and Burton’s approach to the material, their decision to shoot on 35mm film and how they handled the stage and location sets throughout the U.K.

Men in Black III (Sony)

Bill Pope, ASC partnered with director Barry Sonnenfeld for the long-anticipated third installment in this popular action-comedy franchise. This time, aliens have hatched a plot to assassinate Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones); in order to foil the aliens’ plans, K’s partner, Agent J (Will Smith), travels back in time to the Sixties and teams with a younger K (Josh Brolin) for a high-octane adventure in which time is literally of the essence. Pope will shed light on his approach to the film’s present-day and retro-sci-fi settings, which mixed stage and location work in New York and Los Angeles, as well as his reasons for employing both digital and 35mm film formats.

The June issue’s departments will also offer illuminating insights:

Short Takes will spotlight Aaron Phillips‘ cinematography on director Lucy Walker’s Oscar-nominated short documentary The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.

Production Slate will examine Rogier Stoffers, ASC‘s work behind the lens on Hemingway and Gelhorn, an HBO original film directed by Philip Kaufman, and Robert Yeoman, ASC’s most recent collaboration with director Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom.

ASC Close-Up will spotlight Society member and Stargate Studios founder Sam Nicholson, whose lighting-effects and visual-effects credits include Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Ghostbusters II, Moll Flanders, Seed of Chucky, the miniseries Into the West and the series Nip/Tuck.


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