MALEFICENT is a re-imagining of the classic Disney fairy tale SLEEPING BEAUTY, told from the perspective of the wicked queen. Starring Angelina Jolie as the title character, it is the only non-superhero film this summer to gross over $600 million. Director Rob Stromberg and cinematographer Dean Semler, ACS, ASC chose to capture ARRIRAW on ALEXA Plus cameras with Codex recorders.

MALEFICENT: Behind the scenes

Watch the action unfold in front of the ALEXA cameras provided by Panavision London on Disney's MALEFICENT.

In 2012, Semler was honored with the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award for a body of work that includes DANCES WITH WOLVES (which he won the Best Cinematography Oscar for), DEAD CALM, SECRETARIAT and APOCALYPTO. He previously worked with Jolie on THE BONE COLLECTOR and her directorial debut IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY.

MALEFICENT's Academy Award-nominated VFX Supervisor Carey Villegas (ALICE IN WONDERLAND) told Below the Line (BTL) News, "As the first DP to adopt the Panavision Genesis digital camera system on a Hollywood film, Dean is definitely a pioneer. For MALEFICENT, shooting digital was a given because of the reliance of VFX in the film. In this case, Dean and I opted to use the ARRI ALEXA because we wanted the extended dynamic range, color fidelity and resolution that is achieved with this camera system."


Read the full story at BTL News: Carey Villegas and Kelly Port on Making MALEFICENT Fly.

Panavision London provided three ALEXA Pluses for the main unit and four ALEXA Pluses for second unit. The lenses were Panavision Primos. To create this magical world, production built practical sets at Pinewood Studios outside of London. These sets were extended and enhanced with digital backgrounds.


American Cinematographer's extensive article on the film covers the lighting, cinematography and visual effects in rich detail. Semler told writer Simon Gray, "I loved using the ALEXA; it's a great camera. I was able to slightly shift the color temperature in-camera, usually by 100 to 200 degrees — a simple and subtle but incredibly effective tool that I used a lot."


Jump to the complete American Cinematographer article Dark Majesty.