Above Photo: L to lớn R: The Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) & Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) BTS on set. Photo by Ben Rothstein

By Peter Rosenfeld,

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero và a father. Approached by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly, also known as the Wasp) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Lang must once again don the Ant-Man suit and fight alongside the Wasp. The urgent mission soon leads to lớn secret revelations from the past as the dynamic duo finds itself in an epic battle against a powerful new enemy.

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As a camera operator it’s not often you get lớn know what’s coming more than a few months ahead. Knowing that a movie is coming several YEARS ahead is rare. In this case however, I knew that Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp was in the works & I was most likely going khổng lồ be a part of it. I have been director, Peyton Reed’s camera operator for 15 years now, and had operated all of his movies since 2002.

SMALL HERO, LARGE FORMATAbout a year or so before principal photography began, Peyton called me to lớn get my thoughts on large format photography with the ALEXA 65 system. At that time, I was shooting Bright with DP, Roman Vasyanov. We were using the ALEXA 65 system và ULTRA PANAVISION 70 Anamorphic lenses. Roman crafted incredible images on that picture. Putting aside the many aesthetic reasons, I told him that there are a great many benefits that come with the increased sensor size. There was the luxury of reserving an area outside of the theatrical release for visual effects. A big consideration for a movie like this. There would also be a need lớn extract an IMAX (1.9:1) format from the sensor area. Lastly, the greater resolution would allow flexibility for reframing in post.

“Can we shoot an action movie with this format?” Reed asked me. “Sure,” I responded. However, as an operator I know that Peyton is fond of complex Steadicam master shots, và his frames are often very specific. This would not be Bright where a looser more frenetic camera style was part of the aesthetic. I proposed using an ALEXA SXT for the Steadicam work and he agreed. When Dante Spinotti, ASC was signed on he instantly became enamored of the ALEXA 65 và the beautiful images he could craft with it. The die was cast.

For Ant-Man & the Wasp Dante và Peyton decided on the ALEXA 65 in open Gate mode, shooting at a resolution of 6.5K (6560 x 3100), và scaling at 87%.

The ALEXA SXT was also mix to mở cửa Gate mode with a resolution of 3.4K (3424 x 2202) and scaling at 95%.


Marvel Studios ANT-MAN và THE WASP. L lớn R: David Dastmalchian (Kurt) và camera operator, Peter Rosenfeld BTS on set. Photo by Ben Rothstein

THE STORY OF ANT-MAN CONTINUES & EVOLVESAnt-Man và the Wasp turned out lớn be far more ambitious project than the original. The first Ant-Man was essentially a heist movie with the added element of Scott Lang able to lớn shrink, và enlist the aid of armies of ants. Ant-Man và the Wasp is more of an kích hoạt picture in the classical sense with oto chases, & large fight scenes. Both movies were shot at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, as well as on location in San Francisco where the stories are set. However, in this last picture we spent far more time in San Francisco than we did on the first movie. The main unit was there for several weeks, và the second unit for much longer. Ant-Man và the Wasp features spectacular stunts, hundreds of background artists, và very large action sequences staged in iconic San Francisco locations.


BTS on set. Photo by Ben Rothstein

THE CASTMost of the cast returned và picked up their roles from the first movie. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily in the title roles, Michael Douglas is back as Hank Pym, và we introduce Michelle Pfeiffer as Hope Van Dyne’s mother, Janet. Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, và Tip T.I. Harris also resumed their characters from the first movie.

THE CREWAmong the crew returning from the 2014 Ant-Man was the extremely talented production designer, Shepherd Frankel, và our popular and very clever 1st AD, Lars Winther. Also critical khổng lồ the film crew was the return of dolly grip, Brad Rea. Brad has been on several of Peyton’s movies, và was one of the first crew members Peyton asked me to hold for this picture. For an operator, having a short hand & mutual trust with the dolly grip is huge. Brad & I have been working together for a long time & I rely on him heavily lớn help me plan shots và decide how lớn execute them.

Need an example of how a great dolly grip can save the day? We had a long dialogue scene in one of our largest sets. The actors were going khổng lồ wind their way over several hundred feet of uneven stage floor then ascend some stairs lớn an elevated platform. We needed lớn land in a wide shot at this point in order to lớn promote some cuts khổng lồ the close-ups which followed. Although we had a Technocrane on set, it was not feasible for the first part of the shot. I was considering the Steadicam but knew that a ramp would have khổng lồ be built in order for me to lớn get the camera up to lớn the height that the actors would kết thúc up at. The geometry was not promising, và the ramp would have lớn be pretty steep. Brad suggested we try the Oculus stabilized head on the dolly. The large Chapman dolly could give us just enough of the height change that we needed. The Oculus head would take out any unevenness of the stage floor. We shot this complex shot without a rehearsal & it worked lượt thích a charm. So perfect, in fact, that the director asked to bởi it several more times with tighter lenses lớn single out the characters.


L to lớn R: The Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) BTS on set. Photo by Ben Rothstein

THE CHALLENGESAnt-Man và the Wasp also had other challenges for us. There were complex crane moves with both the 50 foot, as well as 35/45 foot Technocrane. The large format left very little room for error on focus. Our 1st AC’s, Brad Peterman on A camera, & Haydn Pazanti on B camera, had a lot to contend with. Our B camera operator, Chris Schenck was often squeezed in at the last minute to lớn pick out a bit of coverage or a tighter value. This left Haydn very little time for marks, và rarely a rehearsal. They all were terrific and rock solid.

TECH CHOICESDante selected the ARRI DNA prime lenses as well as a selection of ZEISS & ANGENIEUX large format zoom lenses. We never actually “zoomed” on this picture but used them as variable focal length lenses. Dante knew the sweet spots of each lens, and would often suggest using the same focal length on a different piece of glass depending on the subject. A close-up of our leading lady might be on the Angenieux zoom set to lớn 80mm. However, for the opposing shot on another character he might select an 80mm prime lens. It was often like a painter switching his brush. His tremendous talent, experience, and confidence was a driving force on this picture.

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For me, working with Peyton Reed is always a pleasure. He is sensitive khổng lồ the performance and is brilliant with his cast. He is also a visual director and, most importantly for an operator, knows when a shot is not right. His movies showcase his style, love of music, và sense of humor. His tremendous success at the box office attests khổng lồ the fact that his pictures connect with the audience. We’ve been working together for so long that I can watch him rehearse the cast and, by observing where he chooses to stand & where he looks, I can visualize how he wants khổng lồ shoot the coverage.


Hannah John-Kamen (Ghost) BTS on set. Photo by Ben Rothstein

MY MOST MEMORABLE SHOTIf I were lớn pick one shot that was memorable from Ant-Man và the Wasp, I think it would be this one. First, the mix up—Scott Lang (Ant Man) is being pursued by his opponent, Ghost. With his suit regulator broken, Ant-Man can neither shrink nor grow. So in essence, he has no powers at his disposal other than his athletic ability. Meanwhile, his opponent is a meta-human who can pass through walls & obstacles. We watched a stunt performance of this scene a few weeks before shooting it. Peyton had a concept that we photograph the Ghost with classical, rock-steady shots. Tracking shots on a dolly for the side angle. A stabilized head for the close-up leading her. However, for the shot leading Scott through this maze, he wanted frenetic energy. Hand-held. Colin Follenweider was the Ant-Man stunt double who would swing on cables, jump tables, and sprint at full speed khổng lồ try and get away.

Colin, I should mention here, is a former Cirque Du Soleil acrobat & is blazingly fast.

Me running backwards in front of him was out of the question. Even Brad Rea’s ‘steadi-sled’ (a cart that I can ride on và be pulled along quickly) would not be anywhere near fast enough. The phối was also very tight with many sharp turns.“Let’s get a GripTrix & I’ll shoot it handheld from the back of it,” I blurted out.

I confess to not really giving this much thought. The GripTrix is like a golf cart on steroids with tremendous torque, và a very tight turning radius.

“You sure?” Peyton asks me. “Can a vehicle make those turns?” I looked at Brad Rea. He shrugged. “Yes,” I answer. Hoping I was right.

I knew that we might have khổng lồ shift some things around, but in leading a runner in a close-up at full đoạn phim with a long lens, we could get away with it. In the weeks that followed before we shot the scene Peyton would occasionally ask me, “You sure about this GripTrix thing? Is it going khổng lồ work?” “Yup,” I would answer. Sometimes confidence is everything.

When the day arrived, of course we were under the gun to lớn get this sequence quickly. Thankfully, Mike Howell was the GripTrix driver and had lots of experience with that vehicle. I gave him one demo run, by himself, lớn get used to the turns. I went old school on this. Hand-holding the ALEXA 65 with a 150mm prime lens. I had key grip, Alan Rawlings strap me in tight, và wedge in some furniture pads around me. I knew that at times I would have to lớn pan 90 degrees both left and right. Our rehearsal was take one. As the slate cleared and Lars called, “ACTION!” I can only describe what happened next as framing as if my life depended on it. I fought as hard as I could khổng lồ keep his head ‘in the box.’ Colin was going full speed, and I knew at times I would thua kém him, but struggled to lớn reacquire as best I could.


BTS on mix with cinematographer, Dante Spinotti. Photo by Ben Rothstein

“CUT!” was called as the shot ended and I staggered my way back lớn the monitors, unsure whether this worked or not. We gathered around và watched playback together. When the shot was over there was applause. A strange thing had happened. There was so much energy in that shot that the viewers became participants. In a kind of Roman Polanski-way (think of the audience leaning lớn one side in The Tenant) when Colin slipped away out of frame then back in they leaned in and cheered. They were invested in my success or failure in framing him in.

I have a habit of always trying to watch the director’s face when shots are played back. You can learn a lot about how the shot is working, or not, by his or her reactions. In the case of this shot, as I glanced over at Peyton I saw a familiar expression. A small smile, eyebrows raised, leaning forward towards the monitor. The shot worked perfectly and he knew it. His expression was of a deep desire satisfied.

I like to say that even on the hardest of days, working in this business is still better than anything I can think of. But when it’s great, when you have achieved the director or DP’s vision with a tremendous shot, that satisfaction is lượt thích nothing else. It’s a high that I can never match with anything else I do. It’s the drug that fuels us all. #bestjobever

Peter Rosenfeld, dvdtuhoc.comPeter has been the camera operator on award-winning movies like The dvdtuhoc.comial Network, Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha as well as blockbusters like Ant-Man, Suicide Squad, and X-Men: Wolverine. Among the directors who Peter has operated for are; Oliver Stone, David Fincher, Rob Marshall, Peyton Reed, Kathryn Bigelow, & Nancy Meyers. His well-rounded career includes extensive experience shooting news & documentaries, having worked for the bbc and CBC in foreign bureaus such as đài loan trung quốc and Russia. Peter has covered many of the world’s hot spots and combat zones. Peter was assigned khổng lồ Beijing during the Tiananmen Square crackdown, found himself in Baghdad for the first Gulf War, & filmed the 1989 collapse of the Berlin Wall. He speaks three foreign languages; French, Mandarin Chinese, & Russian. Peter lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.