Legacy of Lies gets blockbuster treatment

Nov 11, 2020
Cinematographer Simon Rowling

“Anamorphic was a must to give us that blockbuster look,” said Rowling who tested a number of lenses based on what would be available from Patriot Rental in the Ukraine for location shooting before choosing Cooke Anamorphic/i zooms.

“I knew what the Cooke lenses were capable of [since] I used them on my first anamorphic shoot, Cognition, five years ago,” said Rowling. “After testing, I knew we would get the same oval bokeh from the Anamorphic/i zoom lens throughout zoom and focus that we would get from the primes.”

Rowling’s Cooke kit consisted of the 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm primes, plus the 35-140mm Anamorphic/i zoom.

“During our initial conversations, I sent Adrian my mood boards and three of the five boards were the same as his. That helps a lot when director and cinematographer have similar visions. We have artsy feel at points, but keep that dirtier eastern European Mission: Impossible sort of vibe.”

ARRI Alexa Mini cameras were used to cover the big action/gunfight scenes. They also had a Steadicam operated by Rupert Peddle.

“In terms of other grip equipment, we used a 2-meter slider, dollies and small jibs for the up/down movements that could place the camera in a position quickly. On some locations we used a Panther Foxy crane, to gain some great establishers. I just sat on the end of the 20-foot crane to get those high establishing shots.”

Rowling used the 25mm and 32mm for showing off the architecture of Kiev, featured in the first minute of the film. “I used the 100mm and 135mm for over-the-shoulder shots and certain perspectives. The 35-140mm 4:1 Anamorphic/i zoom was great for shots of snipers in towers.”

The opening scene of Legacy of Lies takes place 20 years in the past for which Rowling retained the anamorphic’s characteristics on the edge of the S35mm sensor. “Capturing this effect in camera was nicer than adding it in digitally.”

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