Paul Cameron ASC takes on Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge


On the set of the upcoming, major motion picture, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, award-winning director of photography Paul Cameron ASC had to overcome hefty challenges.

To get unprecedented oceanic shots, Cameron used drones to gather closer approaches and wrap-around shots of the ships. His aerial unit also managed to sink a prototype Cinemoves head (this is the first feature to use the prototype), which until then had been working perfectly. Plus, he designed two massive U-shaped arenas (five shipping containers high by 600 linear feet around) to film the 13 main vessels featured in the story.

“The ships were 150-foot-long on average,” said Cameron. “I plotted the sun path and utilised 26-foot-high Aircover inflatable bluescreen walls. This way I could allow sunlight into the arenas a good 40 minutes earlier, as well as extend our day. At night, I incorporated an elaborate rail system to black out the arenas as needed. On any given day, I had to transition quickly from day to night work, quickly and seamlessly. We also dealt with massive weather challenges throughout the schedule.”

Cameras and lenses provided by Panavision included: ARRI Alexa XT, shooting ARRIRAW in open gate mode, for 2:40.1 aspect ratio. Lenses included Panavision Primo V Primes and Primo Zooms. RED Weapon cameras fitted with Zeiss Ultra Primes were used for background plate work.

An XM2 drone, fitted with an Alexa M shooting in open gate, was granted special permits to fly by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority. This enabled Cameron to stitch aerial CG shots to closer approaches and wrap-around shots of ships, thus allowing him to fly over decks and actors.

Lighting equipment included 6 x 120 foot Condors, with 3 x 18K Arrimax and MaxMovers per Condor, which were used on a daily basis in the bluescreen arenas and in the Caribbean town set (shot on the Australian Gold Coast) when the weather proved to be challenging with clouds and rain.

Issue 96 – November 2019

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