If you like movies with superheroes, you probably saw Iron Man 3: Revealing the Mandarin. This motion picture was shot on two popular cameras - the ARRI Alexa Plus and the amazing Phantom Flex. Both cameras were used with Zeiss Master Prime and Angenieux Optimo Lenses and the footage was recorded to Codex recorders. For cinematographer John Toll it was the first time he recorded a feature on digital, so it was also a good opportunity for him to share some thoughts. HD Magazine published an article on the matter and John revealed that he was very interested in doing a movie with digital cameras, and exploring the whole medium. For some cinematographers the shift from film to digital can be a pain, but John managed to perform an easy transition and he also learned a lot on shooting digital. Besides let's not forget that now most Hollywood studios prefer digital to film and it shouldn't be surprising as shooting digital is not only better for editing and grading but also much cheaper.
"I love film, but obviously, there are reasons to use digital cameras on certain projects. Iron Man 3 was a good opportunity for me because I had the resources to do a lot of testing and to really explore how digital cameras work. I think part of the whole attraction of the digital world is convenience, especially for big visual effects movies. I thought it made sense for this project", said John. He decided to use ARRI's cameras for most scenes and here's why:
"We were recording the 14 stops of range that the ALEXA claims. (...) If we needed to access that enormous amount of information down the road, for visual effects and in the DI, then we could. That additional information was the reason we chose to go with the Codex workflow and ARRIRAW."
John also added:
“One obvious attraction of the whole digital camera process is having an image on the set that represents the characteristics of that particular camera in terms of the way colour, contrast and density – all aspects of the image – are actually working out. If you trust that system, then you make lighting judgments based on what you see on the monitor. I think that's an advantage, there's no question about it."
For more information and thoughts, make sure to read the whole article - you will find it here.