The film definitely had an immersive feeling. You got a sense of being surrounded by that tall grass. So how did you go about achieving that?
That immersive quality was a big part of why I was pushing to shoot on a larger sensor. When I was approached, I was shooting "The Umbrella Academy," which was shot on the ALEXA 65. The ALEXA 65 is unbeatable as a capture medium because it is so incredibly immersive and incredibly detailed. It picks out every single nuance of the image and has so much to offer. But the reality of taking the [ALEXA] 65 into the field was overwhelming for this production.
I had previous experience with the ALEXA LF, and I thought it was a perfect fit. It offered that immersive quality and a larger sensor, which allowed us to shoot wide lenses but not "feel" the lenses as much. If we went in there with a conventional-sized [Super 35] sensor and shot with really wide lenses, you'd feel the lens and the grass bending on the edge of the frame. It would take some of that realism away. You'd start to feel you were in a supernatural world because it would have that fisheye look. The [ALEXA] LF was perfect for flattening the frame but still giving it that beautiful, wide perspective that made us feel like we were right in there with the characters.
Is that immersive feeling something that you feel large format film cameras provide versus their Super 35 counterpart?
Definitely. I always want my photography to support the story and I don't want to feel like we are inflicting ourselves onto the story. Sometimes when you get into wide lenses, you start to feel the lens. The larger sensor captures all of the details, the nuances and the way the focus falls off is so beautiful. You can get these beautiful layers of texture in the grass.
That's what the larger sensor helped with so that there were layers, and it was never just faces cut out against a mask of green. If we had a conventional sensor, we would've run the risk of everything feeling flat and one dimensional.