Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Atonement


I went and saw Atonement the other day. It's one of those movies that makes you (me anyway) proud to do this. The photography by Seamus Macgarvey and the dolly work by Gary Hutchings were phenomenal. Gary's work makes me feel like I have claws for hands. You can usually tell a dolly pusher who knows his stuff by his starts and stops, or when there's heavy foreground in a shot. If you're not on your game, foreground will bite you every time. Stops are especially telling. It's where you really show whether you have the dolly, or the dolly has you. Sometimes, if you don't do that little 1/2-second reversal of momentum at the final inch of a slow move you'll have a little sudden settling rollback. That's the best I can explain it and most of you know what I'm talking about anyway. Those who don't, leave a comment and one of us will have a go at it. Anyway, Hutchings is a master and his moves are dead-on, done with feeling and delicately executed. I saw a behind the scenes clip of the famous steadicam shot and if I'm not mistaken, he (the steadicam op) was being pulled for at least part of it. So the Dolly Grip should get at least a little of the glory that everyone's heaping on the operator. If we gave out awards for Dolly Grip of The Year (and maybe we should) he would certainly get my nomination. So go see it. But try not to pay attention to all the technical stuff. I've already done it for you.
PS- With that said, I do want you to look for the handheld shot of Kiera Knightley as she primps in front of her mirror. Then tell me what you think of it.

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