again, in an attempt to let things go. It’s important that nothing feels staged.”
Wood chose to work with ARRI cameras in Super 35 format, which results in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. At least two cameras rolled on almost every shot, and often three or four. In New York, for example, the package included three ARRICAM Lites and two ARRI 235s. The compact 235 cameras are roughly half the weight of an ARRI 435. Wood says the decision to shoot with ARRI cameras was based in part on the production’s Europe-based schedule.
“Generally in Europe I choose ARRI because the technicians have been trained on Arriflex cameras,” he says. “It’s second nature to them. I usually go with Panavision when I’m shooting a film in North America.”
Wood also chose Arriflex cameras in part because their lightweight worked with the handheld approach. The crews customized them further to get rid of surplus weight and to enhance ergonomics.
“The operators and assistants—particularly Bebe Dierken, the AC with the first unit in London—worked for weeks on these cameras, breaking them down, making them work differently, and adapting zoom handles. In fact, we developed a whole package for them, which we called the gizmo package. Of course all crews do this to some extent, but in this particular case it was extreme.”
In keeping with the handheld, caught-on-the-fly look, the cameras were almost always mounted with lightweight zoom lenses, and in some cases, zooms were incorporated into shots.
“Tripods were almost never used,” says Wood. “On rare occasions, we’d use a dolly with a very long lens. The zooms gave us a newsreel feeling, as if you’re there, see something and zoom in. On the second Bourne movie, there wasn’t as much available. So on this one, I went out and got every kind of lightweight zoom I could find. I even had a couple made. I found two Nikon digital lenses and sent them to ARRI in Munich, where they were transformed into lenses that would work with the ARRI film cameras. One was a 28-70mm and the other was an 80-200mm, both T2.8 because they had to be fast.
“I’d say that 80 percent of the first unit photography ended up being shot on those two lenses,” Wood says. “The 80-200 worked all the time, but we had some problems with the shorter one. ARRI subsequently decided to develop these lenses, and they are in the process now of making ten of each.”
The filmmakers also made use of a 15-45mm ARRI-Zeiss zoom lens, an Optimo-Angenieux 28-70mm zoom lens, and an older Century Precision 28-70mm zoom lens. “Today, the zoom lenses we use are brilliant,” he says.
Wood used two stocks: KODAK VISION2 500T 5218 and KODAK VISION2 250D 5205. “I basically always use those two stocks,” he says. “They work for me. I’m not one to mess with stocks very much, ever since I did my first DI. I just use the best stock available, and if I want a special look, I’ll change it in the DI.”
Like the operating, Wood’s approach to lighting was against the book. “It became sort of anti-lighting,” he says. “As soon as it looked beautiful, I would probably get a disparaging remark from the director saying, ‘Oh, very BBC drama.’ Sometimes you’d do something that was absolutely beautiful and everyone would love it and that would be all right, but you never quite knew where you were going to go with things. If I started to light things traditionally, the set started to get that feeling of being lit, which is of course not the right feeling.
“So I began a policy of lighting and then turning off one or two of the lights,” he says. “And in some cases that might be all the lights I’d put in. Sometimes it was more a question of getting the courage up not to light.”
Wood says that he went on a dozen or more tech scouts with New York gaffer Rusty Engels, and planned the lighting for huge night exteriors.
“None of that ever materialized,” he says. “Rusty is a brilliant gaffer with a tremendous track record. He basically ended up lighting this movie with two Mini-Flos and a 4Bank Kino Flo. I had this talent on my crew, but in a funny way, I needed very talented people who were able to work that way.”
Nevertheless, some sequences required massive lighting schemes. For one chase sequence photographed over four nights in Berlin, which was standing in for Moscow, “We must have used every 18K HMI in Germany, which is a lot,” recalls Wood. “We lit at least 20 square blocks around a station and a huge housing complex. We laid snow everywhere and there were lights on every rooftop and down every street. It was probably the biggest lighting setup on the whole shoot.”
Wood scouted the Berlin locations over a weekend. The gaffer on the German leg of the shoot was Ronnie Schwarz. They then collaborated remotely on refining the lighting plan using Google Earth, a virtual globe program that maps the earth using superimposed satellite imagery and aerial photography.
“We could zoom in on three-dimensional images of Berlin, and plant little flags everywhere while discussing it over the telephone,” says Wood. “Over the course of three weeks, we were lighting over the Internet.”
The biggest lighting setup on the New York City leg of the shoot involved a hospital sequence at magic hour. The location was actually a courthouse in downtown Manhattan. The sequence ends on the roof as night has fallen.