Chomyn’s Varied Path Leads to Mexico

Christopher Chomyn, ASC

Christopher Chomyn, ASC

ASC cinematographer Christopher Chomyn’s recent work exhibits an enviable variety in terms of visual style and subject matter. It includes the documentaries The Making of Nebraska, Levitated Mass and And the Oscar Goes To ….  Nancy Schreiber, ASC, brought Christopher on to help shoot the latter project, and his contributions included about a dozen interviews with subjects such as Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Voight, Liza Minnelli and Jason Reitman. Levitated Mass tells the story of Michael Heizer’s monolithic sculpture, now resting at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Making of Nebraska took Christopher to Alexander Payne’s set on the windswept Great Plains.

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Wagner Recalls ASC ‘Wizards of Oz’

From left: Director Richard Thorpe, producer Joe Pasternak and Harry Stradling, ASC, on the MGM lot. "Obviously, something is wrong, and they're having a meeting about it," says Roy Wagner, ASC.  Everything’s at a standstill. It’s a rare photo showing a frustrated cinematographer. The pride of the cinematographer is what this photo is about.”

From left: Director Richard Thorpe, producer Joe Pasternak and Harry Stradling, ASC, on the MGM lot. “Obviously, something is wrong, and they’re having a meeting about it,” says Roy Wagner, ASC, who worked for Stradling early in his career. “Everything is at a standstill. It’s a rare photo showing a frustrated cinematographer.”

Roy Wagner, ASC, first came to the ASC Clubhouse in the early 1960s as a wide-eyed high-school student visiting from the Midwest. He could recognize ASC luminaries from their photographs in the pages of American Cinematographer. He remembers meeting Arthur Miller, Joseph Ruttenberg, James Wong Howe and Leon Shamroy. Eventually, he formed close relationships with Burnett Guffey, Harry Stradling Sr. and Frank Phillips, among others. In fact, Phillips became the godfather to Roy’s son.

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Lindley Assesses Digital Since Pioneer Pleasantville

A scene in PLEASANTVILLE.

A scene in PLEASANTVILLE.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with John Lindley, ASC. He has been shooting commercials, and he just finished a pilot titled Members Only. His most recent feature is the current release St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy.

I asked John to reflect on Pleasantville (1998), which was the first Hollywood feature to employ an early version of what became the digital-intermediate process. Directed by Gary Ross, Pleasantville featured a trip into a black-and-white 1950s sitcom. People and their surroundings transformed into color when they escaped the repressive 1950s mindset. John shot Pleasantville on color negative, and the images were scanned on a Spirit Datacine and color corrected (work that included selective desaturation) at Cinesite.

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Smoot Surveys Digital’s Impact on Imax

Steadicam operator Scott Hoffman uses a CC3D rig and Red Epic to capture some action for the Imax project JERUSALEM 3-D.

Steadicam operator Scott Hoffman uses a CC3D rig and Red Epic to capture material for the Imax project JERUSALEM 3-D.

Reed Smoot, ASC, recently checked in from his home in Utah, where he was prepping the series Granite Flats. He had recently returned from China, where he shot a series of public-service spots for the Foundation for a Better Life, a campaign backed by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz. The foundation has promoted classic values and virtues in the United States for years, sometimes with the help of celebrities, and Reed says it is now expanding its campaign to China.

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