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December 2019

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Page 34 of 53 31 POST NOV/DEC 2019 Oscar BUZZ light it," says Deakins. "If you were running down a trench, and turning around 360 degrees, there's no- where to put a light anywhere. And because we were shooting in story order, we had to shoot in cloud cover, to get the continuity from scene to scene. Some mornings, when the sun was out, we couldn't shoot. So we would rehearse and we would be waiting around for the clouds." Some days, he says, there would be a small window for crews to shoot, and they would jump into action to capture a scene. "Luckily, we stayed on-schedule," he says. "There's nothing worse than if you're behind schedule and you're waiting for the light. But we got very lucky, which actually took a lot of pressure off the shoot." The film was shot on three Arri Alexa Mini LF cameras, which did not exist prior to the making of 1917. "When we started prepping the project, we talked to Arri and we said we have this film that we want to do in slightly higher definition than the standard Alexa," says Deakins. "I didn't want to shoot on a 65, because we also needed a very light camera, and at that time, the LF camera had come out, but only a studio version, which was too heavy. We couldn't have done what we were doing on it. So we asked Arri if they were ever going to make a mini-version of the camera and if they could make one for us to use on this film? They came back a month or two later and said, 'Ok, we will guaran- tee three bodies by the time you shoot.' And they did. We basically had three prototype cameras…we needed three because we were using different kinds of rigs, so, you didn't want to have one camera and keep moving it from one rig to another. But Arri did come up with the camera, and now it's on the mar- ket and it's one of the most popular cameras." At the time of our interview Deakins was working closely with Mendes, editor Lee Smith, VFX super Guillaume Rocheron, as well as others on the post team, to complete the finishing touches on the film. He said he thinks about post when he's shooting a film. In this instance, "When your set has an exterior of a trench line and you know your set is so big, you think about what's going into the background. How is that going to work? There are elements that are CG in the film, so you have to think about that. It's all discussed in prep and right now, we're just look- ing at the last effects work, as they're fitting into the film. I usually stay involved in the effects work on any film, because I think it's conceptually part of the photography of the film. You can't divorce one from the other." Prior to the film's opening, Mendes had said that "the engagement is very important and that is be- hind the way in which we decided to shoot this film. I wanted people to understand how difficult it was for these men." Deakins agrees that while production crews may have been tested at times, "It was great. I obviously hadn't done anything like it and it was a wonderful challenge." Arri provided three Alexa Mini LF cameras for the shoot. Cinematographer Deakins Much of the film was shot with cloud cover. The film follows a one-shot concept. Director Mendes, on-set One long scene runs over eight minutes.

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