Call of Duty

Director: Simon McQoid

The role of the cinematographer is changing, this is not headline news. It is rare that we can utilize the curve of a particular emulsion or the characteristics of a specific print stock to express our artistic vision. It seems, at this moment, that to be a master of digital cinematography is to grasp control of the specifics associated with lens properties, LUT’s and the associated color science. Much to the dismay of many practitioners the Alchemy of our craft no longer lies solely in the merging of light with photochemical processes. Instead we must embrace where ones and zero’s intersect RGB and are filtered, rendered and transformed through the imperfections of glass. Whilst some see this as a loss, I maintain it is also an opportunity. Indeed whilst we must respect and preserve the history of celluloid film, as artists we must also innovate and experiment to create original images with new technology. I developed the LUT used here (known as DJH1) in association with colorist Jen Clemente and Technicolor. The base was similar to one that I had developed for Ghost In The Shell but as I was no longer using the specific pastel color palette associated with that film we had more freedom to maneuver. Contrast was tweaked several times in micro adjustments before I was satisfied and particular colors were addressed individually in terms of hue and saturation. Significantly I had removed the necessity of P3 color space for default viewing which also simplified our workflow and made the LUT more practical. The advantage of working with such a LUT is that I deliver dailies as I wish to see them. In fact the finished commercial that can be viewed here looks almost exactly as it came out of my camera on the day of the shoot. For lenses I combined the Panavision anamorphic T and C series as I had done on a recent feature project. I like the flexibility of combining these two lens systems as I can draw on the advantages or properties of each set to extend my palette in relation to a specific shot. The T’s ability to minimize veiling flare, their close focus and their T2.3 maximum aperture across the set are useful properties whilst the C’s, well I just love the C’s.