You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tom Stern, ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ and ‘Letters From Iwo Jima’

Tools: Panavision and Arriflex cameras with Panavision C-series anamorphic lenses; Kodak Vision 5246 (250D) and 5279 (500T) stock.

Aesthetic: “In my mind, the two movies are twins — the same story reflected,” says Stern. “We wanted some continuity between the two. In that sense, I viewed it as just one long film. With my history of doing lighting for (director) Clint (Eastwood), we always do things dark. He asked me if I remembered how dark we did it on ‘Bird,’ which of course I did since I was that film’s (lighting consultant). He asked me to try for darker than ‘Bird.’ But the trick with that is, it is not really darkness — it is really about refining blacks and building off that. With so much CGI stuff, and the digital intermediate thing maturing, we knew we could use a variety of techniques in-camera and in post to desaturate it. We tried to emulate the best of the (photochemical) ENR process digitally and go further with it during the DI (at Technicolor Digital Intermediates).”

Visual references: “It was mainly historical still photos from books that we used, along with combat footage. Principally, still images are what I like to reference, rather than other films, because I don’t want to specifically do something someone else has already done. We did not show everything happening in a perfect or correct way, like they often try to do in historical films.”

Challenges: “There were lots of technical challenges, but solutions are always more accessible than with creative challenges. Lighting in caves was really hard, for instance. But the biggest thing was not to lose the individual human emotions in the middle of all the battle stuff. ‘Flags’ is the story of three characters, and ‘Letters’ is the story of two characters primarily — the general and the young conscript. Finding ways to highlight their performances in the middle of everything else going on was the main thing.”

What’s next: Stern has shot two films slated for 2007 release — “Tenderness” and “Things We Lost in the Fire” — and is about to start filming Alison Eastwood’s directorial debut, “Rails & Ties.”

More Film

  • 'This Is Me' Catapults 'Greatest Showman'

    'This Is Me' Catapults 'Greatest Showman' Soundtrack Toward One Billion Streams

    Tools: Panavision and Arriflex cameras with Panavision C-series anamorphic lenses; Kodak Vision 5246 (250D) and 5279 (500T) stock. Aesthetic: “In my mind, the two movies are twins — the same story reflected,” says Stern. “We wanted some continuity between the two. In that sense, I viewed it as just one long film. With my history […]

  • Rex Pickett

    Rex Pickett's Drama 'Repairman' Moving Forward as a Movie

    Tools: Panavision and Arriflex cameras with Panavision C-series anamorphic lenses; Kodak Vision 5246 (250D) and 5279 (500T) stock. Aesthetic: “In my mind, the two movies are twins — the same story reflected,” says Stern. “We wanted some continuity between the two. In that sense, I viewed it as just one long film. With my history […]

  • moviepass card

    MoviePass Sues Subscription Rival Sinemia for Patent Infringement

    Tools: Panavision and Arriflex cameras with Panavision C-series anamorphic lenses; Kodak Vision 5246 (250D) and 5279 (500T) stock. Aesthetic: “In my mind, the two movies are twins — the same story reflected,” says Stern. “We wanted some continuity between the two. In that sense, I viewed it as just one long film. With my history […]

  • Octavia Spencer Isabela Moner

    Octavia Spencer, Isabela Moner Join Mark Wahlberg's 'Instant Family'

    Tools: Panavision and Arriflex cameras with Panavision C-series anamorphic lenses; Kodak Vision 5246 (250D) and 5279 (500T) stock. Aesthetic: “In my mind, the two movies are twins — the same story reflected,” says Stern. “We wanted some continuity between the two. In that sense, I viewed it as just one long film. With my history […]

  • Gabrielle Carteris SAG AFRA PRESIDENT

    SAG-AFTRA's Gabrielle Carteris Blasts Ruling on Actor-Age Censorship Law

    Tools: Panavision and Arriflex cameras with Panavision C-series anamorphic lenses; Kodak Vision 5246 (250D) and 5279 (500T) stock. Aesthetic: “In my mind, the two movies are twins — the same story reflected,” says Stern. “We wanted some continuity between the two. In that sense, I viewed it as just one long film. With my history […]

  • Bat Girl Directors Search

    Why a Female Director Can Give Us the 'Batgirl' We Deserve

    Tools: Panavision and Arriflex cameras with Panavision C-series anamorphic lenses; Kodak Vision 5246 (250D) and 5279 (500T) stock. Aesthetic: “In my mind, the two movies are twins — the same story reflected,” says Stern. “We wanted some continuity between the two. In that sense, I viewed it as just one long film. With my history […]

  • Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..L to R:

    'Black Panther' Eyes Fifth-Highest-Grossing Second Weekend at U.S. Box Office

    Tools: Panavision and Arriflex cameras with Panavision C-series anamorphic lenses; Kodak Vision 5246 (250D) and 5279 (500T) stock. Aesthetic: “In my mind, the two movies are twins — the same story reflected,” says Stern. “We wanted some continuity between the two. In that sense, I viewed it as just one long film. With my history […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content