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Newton Thomas Sigel changed the game with “Drive”

Have you ever wondered how? Newton Thomas Sigel could do journey looks so damn cool? Well we have the answer.

The cinematography of journey is like no other. The urban neon lighting that floods the dark scenes created a mood in the film that we are still talking about 10 years later. This is thanks in part to the film’s cameraman, Newton Thomas Sigel.

Sigel, who is known for his work on films such as Towel head, The usual suspects, and Bohemian Rhapsody, sat down with KochOptikTV to break down how he got some of the best shots using cameras, lighting, and color grading journey.

Let’s check it out.

Before Sigel started to work journey, his preferred method of recording was film. Classic and timeless. Then it is ARRI Alexa came out. Robert Richardson started using it for the movie he was working on Hugo, and Sigel was impressed with the results.

Sigel thought he would try and the result overwhelmed him.

The ARRI Alexa enabled him to explore the world of film more. The neon street lights of Los Angeles were captured by Sigel’s new film method, which allowed the film to capture the history and its surroundings.


Ryan Gosling as driver in “Drive”Recognition: Film district

All recordings with the nameless driver (Ryan Gosling) were shot in very low light with very small lights all over the car. The gaffer was driving in a vehicle behind the car and communicated with Sigel via a headset when the lights should be switched on and off or faded in to imitate a passing car.

Colors like sodium vapor and mercury vapor and certain shades of red make the free drive scenes look as natural as possible.

Sigel was impressed with the way he was able to catch the street lights that changed from green to red as they lit up Ryan’s face. It was a natural feeling.

The next time you’re in the car, drive, or shotgun at night, watch the city lights reflect in the car, then go home and watch journey and notice how perfectly the lighting is captured.


‘Journey’Recognition: Film district

In the action parts of the film, the lighting got a little more difficult for safety reasons. Much of this lighting had to be taken over by camera cars and total shots.

Color correction to the journey was one of Sigel’s favorite roles for several reasons. When he brought the footage to the colorist, they looked at what range they had with the footage and how much they could change without affecting the film. Sigel trusted ARRI Alexa. The range he had was like no other. Even with a sensitive camera, the end product was overwhelming.

With the 10th anniversary of journey here we can confidently say that Sigel’s work is still breathtaking and we are still trying to take as many notes as possible.

Take a risk and use a different camera than the one you are used to taking pictures with. The result can only be groundbreaking.

What do you think of Sigel’s work? journey? Let us know in the comments below!

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