Some say that "Skyfall" is one of the bests James Bond movies. You need to decide for yourself how good it actually is but what's quite interesting about this movie is that it was shot with the ARRI ALEXA and in an interview for Film School Rejects, cinematographer Roger Deakins shared how he achieved such amazing pictures with this camera. According to the website, Deakins fails to see any shortcoming with the camera and he said that he doesn't plan to return to film. Well, it seems that good times for film are over after all. He also talks about his collaboration with Sam Mendes.
Deakins believes that when you shoot an action scene you don't need a billion cameras, because it kills the perspective. Besides they both wanted to focus on the characters and be in the middle of the action.
But what's more interesting is his opinion on shooting digitally and the ARRI ALEXA:
"I did the previous film digitally, and I wasn’t necessarily thinking about using it for the Bond film. When we started talking about the script and what situations it would be, I thought, “Well, it seems to make sense to me.” I showed Sam what I had shot previously, and then we shot different tests ourselves. After that, we made the decision. When we were looking at LED screens for that particular sequence, we got an ALEXA to see how the screens reacted. That worked out on a technical level."
He also added:
"I realized the versatility of the camera, in particular on the night work. On In Time, I was working with quite a few practical sources and low-light levels. There was quite a lot of lights on that movie, but not a lot of light, if you know what I mean. I could see what the camera could do, which led me to using it on Skyfall. I wanted the saturated colors and to shoot a lot based in practical sources."
He even did not observe any problems with the ALEXA:
"We shot for 128 days with the camera, and I can’t remember one problem. We put it through a lot of different type of situations. I mean, talk about the low-light night stuff, which is a very extreme contrast ratio in the Shanghai set. On the other side of the spectrum, we’re shooting the bright sun on the Mediterranean, and it looked great. That was unexpected. I thought shooting in such extreme, bright sunlight it would have had problems, but it didn’t. The camera behaved as well or better than it would have on film."
As you can see Roger Deakins is a big protagonist of digital shooting but we are not surprised as today's digital cameras give you so many possibilities and the image quality they provide is often great.
If you want to read more on Deakins' experience with the ARRI ALEXA, follow this link for the whole interview.