×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Masterful use of 65mm on ‘Master’

Eye on the Oscars: The Cinematographer

Romanian-born cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. used digital formats to shoot “Youth Without Youth,” “Tetro,” and “Twixt Now and Sunrise” for Francis Ford Coppola. But his latest, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” used 65 mm film and a completely photochemical post path.

Malaimare says he wanted to evoke the crispness and shallow depth of field characteristic of iconic post-war still photography, which was often captured with large format 4×5 Speed Graphic still cameras and sharp lenses.

The 65 mm format is generally used for sweeping landscape dramas (see Ron Fricke’s “Samsara”) but here the power of the larger negative is often focused on the contours of the human face, especially that of Joaquin Phoenix, who plays a neurotic vet who forms an unlikely, intimate bond with a charismatic cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

About 15% of the picture was done in standard 35 mm, including scenes done in tight quarters or with multiple cameras. Malaimare chose a range of exotic lenses, in part to smooth over the differences in the two formats. Initially, the filmmakers planned to use the bigger negative for only 20% of the film.

Popular on Variety

“As we were looking at dailies, we saw that every 65 mm shot was so amazing,” Malaimare says. “After a week or two of shooting, we switched, and ended up shooting something like 85% of the movie on five-perf 65 mm.”

He chose to shoot extensively on slower, fine grain film stock. There was no digital intermediate.

“Paul really believes in the photochemical process,” Malaimare says. “It delivers better quality. By using the large, low-speed negative, not using any filters and using these very sharp lenses, you get extremely high-image quality — and you don’t want to ruin that with a scanner. In certain scenes, we recreated a colorful, Kodachrome look, and for ideas on how to shoot on board boats, we looked at ‘The Black Stallion’ (1979, directed by Carroll Ballard and shot by Caleb Deschanel). We copied some shots directly from that film.”

Eye on the Oscars: The Cinematographer
D.P.’s grapple with liquidity | ‘Playbook’ for honest emotions | ‘Karenina’s’ gorgeous artifice | Masterful use of 65mm on ‘Master’ | Dark shadows envelop ‘Lincoln’ |

More Scene

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER

    Donna Karan, Mary-Louise Parker Honored at David Lynch Foundation's Women of Vision Awards

    Donna Karan, Mary-Louise Parker and Deborra-Lee Furness were celebrated for their charitable work at the David Lynch Foundation’s 2019 Women of Vision Awards. “We are all being guided to come together as one. There is so much chaos in the world right now,” Karan said, while accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual luncheon on [...]

  • Bill Hader

    Bill Hader, Greg Berlanti, Margie Cohn and Cindy Holland Inducted Into Variety Hall of Fame

    Variety’s annual Hall of Fame ceremony mixed comedy, gratitude and warmth at the annual awards ceremony Tuesday night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Because the class of 2019 celebrates technical innovation and achievement across film, TV, digital, video games and music. The honorees — Greg Berlanti, Bill Hader, Cindy Holland, Dametra Johnson-Marletti, [...]

  • Billy Porter FNAA

    Billy Porter Explains Why Fashion 'Can and Should' Be Activism

    On Tuesday in New York City, a handful of fashion’s marquee names, including Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Steve Madden and Pete Nordstrom, and many of its muses, including Billy Porter, Lena Waithe, Adriana Lima and Paris Hilton, gathered to celebrate the annual Footwear News Achievement Awards — or, as it’s more colloquially dubbed, the “Shoe Oscars.” Activism and the potential for designers to spur [...]

  • Tiffany Haddish Black Mitzvah

    Barbra Streisand Gives Tiffany Haddish Star of David Necklace for Her 'Black Mitzvah'

    Tiffany Haddish rang in her 40th birthday Tuesday night by celebrating her black and Jewish heritage with a star-studded “Black Mitzvah” party. One of Haddish’s famous friends, Barbra Streisand, was noticeably absent from the festivities, but sent the comedian a special memento for the occasion. “She got me this beautiful Star of David,” Haddish told [...]

  • Kasi Lemmons

    'Harriet' Director Kasi Lemmons Weighs In on Julia Roberts Casting Controversy

    Eddie Murphy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nia Long and “Harriet” filmmaker Kasi Lemmons were honored for their contributions to the industry Monday night at the inaugural celebration of black cinema by the Critics Choice Association. And as the event, held at the Landmark Annex in Los Angeles, looked back on how far people of color have come [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content