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Eric Steelberg ASC

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About Eric Steelberg ASC

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    Los Angeles, CA

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  • Website URL
    http://www.mediumgrey.com/

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  1. Been a long time... The trailer is now out and attached to The Ides of March. I've seen it online but don't care for the color correction they did on it for video/internet...highly inaccurate. Color in the theater very accurate. I ended up on the Alexa out of CSC. For various reasons including DI budget and studio comfort, we shot to the SxS cards in 4x LOGC as backup with our primary record source being SRW-1 decks in HQ. I don't believe we ever had to go back to files and recording to tape gave us a less compressed output. The only option for ArriRaw (at the time) was the S.two which I did not like after having it demoed. For me it added another potential point of failure and I had heard of some claims regarding reliability and integrity. Not worth it. This does get into an issue a lot of guys starting out ask me and that is of quality and specs, etc. Let me say it like this...2k, 3k, 4k, 5k....I could care less. "You can't do that, it's so compressed!" To all of it I say "so what?" Maybe it's confidence or maybe it's being tired of a new camera every year. If it looks right to my eye, I don't care about what is giving it to me. If it's a Super8 camera or a 5D or 35 anamorphic....what's important is what my eyes see. A couple of people in prep asked me why I would shoot Alexa when I could be shooting 4k RED. I like the RED image, but for this project and the tests I did with it, it was not right. I've decided to treat the various cameras as the new film stocks. I just feel bad for the people who buy them and don't have enough time to make their money back before the new one is out. I'll stop ranting now I've got that off my chest... Anyway, the experience with the camera was good. If anything I think the camera is too sensitive in the shadows. I was constantly creating negative fill to get the shadows down where I wanted them. The look of the film was supposed to feel as if it was lit naturally and by practicals and I found the curve of the Alexa very accommodating to our style. We used Cooke S4s for most of the movie, carried a zoom but maybe put it on twice. To Georg who asked "What`s happening in a critical situation where lighting/exposure wasn`t right and you want to heavily manipulate the look in post? I guess this makes the difference, Isn`t it nearly ten times the data rate?" - I do my best to make sure it's right and I shoot so I never have to heavily manipulate in post. It helps that most of my work is not very effected and somewhat natural. Though if I am trying to do an affected look, I'll do as much in camera as possible. And yes it's a much higher data rate, but there are tradeoffs. And the bottom line was that our budget (and post facility) just couldn't support the workflow and tremendous data handling a two camera ArriRaw feature would generate (at the time). Since I wrapped the film a year ago, I've been doing commercials exclusively and 95% of them have been Alexa to ProRes and I've been very happy. Though recently I've used the Epic on some shoots and am very very impressed with it and it's capabilities. The fact you can shoot RAW built in is great. To do that on an Alexa is a huge added cost and more gear. I do miss film. Hope I use it again.
  2. In NY prepping a new film called YOUNG ADULT, being directed by Jason Reitman. Charlize Theron starring. Going to be a quick 30 day shoot. Shot tests last week on 35, Alexa, and RED. Film always looks great but both digital cameras were impressive (RED was MX). I gotta say the Alexa has an edge in smoothness and is more flattering on an actress' skin. RED was recorded raw and Alexa went to ProRes 4444 in Log-C. I really can't see with my eye what more I'd be getting with ArriRaw and the hassle of recording uncompressed to an S.Two. Still deciding though it does seem to be leaning a certain direction.....
  3. Sorry I've been MIA. Life.... To answer the questions... My target stop varied but Day Ext it was 5.6-8, Day Int I aimed for a 4, and everything else I kept at a 2.8-4. They definitely liked what they had in season one with the 16 but wanted a little more polish. So that's why I went to the textured high speed stock in 35. Regarding Going the Distance, yes there is a montage that is also in the trailer which was shot on the Sony EX3. I sent out a couple of docu style camera operators to follow Drew and Justin around. The idea came about when the director heard I had done the weeding sequence in Up In The Air on HD in order to make it feel more real.
  4. "Lonestar" premiere's tonight on FOX at 9. I did tonight's show, the pilot, and Jeff Jur is doing the series. Great script. Hope it succeeds. Check it out. Genesis, lots of natural light. Happy with it.
  5. I retired my flash site after a year. Liked the design, not the usability. My new one is now up with a WordPress back side so managing it will be much easier. Also improved is video quality and streaming speed. I never could get high enough quality Flash encodes. If anyone needs a designer, talk to mine. She has her link at the bottom right of my site. Eventually I'll have a section where I post extras like lens and film tests. Enjoy!
  6. One of the jobs that kept me busy for 4 months this year was season 2 of HBO's "Eastbound & Down". Tim Orr shot season 1 but was unavail due to a movie commitment so Danny McBride, whom I had worked with on UP IN THE AIR had the producer get in touch with me since we had gotten along well during his brief time on that film. This was my first tv series and first time I have had to "match" to an established look. Both the tv schedule and the matching were two very unique challenges for me. One of the first decisions made was to graduate the series to 35mm...season 1 had been on 16. Honestly I was shocked to hear that at a time when everything seems to end up digital on television. My first concern/challenge was how to keep the look of the series with an inherently richer format. My gut reaction was to use some older, softer lenses and a softer, more "textured" (grainy) film stock. For the film I chose 5229 (Expression 500T) which I had used almost exclusively on JUNO and the lenses where mostly old Panavision SPs. Now this may beg the question "if you are degrading it then why not just stick to 16 like season 1?" and that is a good question. My answer to that is I had more flexibility to to add or subtract any of those qualities whereas with 16 I'd be stuck. There is also something to be said for the variety of optics available for 35. So off we went. And where we went was Puerto Rico. This was the most humid place I've ever been and I've shot outside in Miami during July. Anyway, I was able to bring my Keys while picking up some very good local technicians. The camera package, as mentioned above, came from Panavision Orlando and consisted of a Platinum, XL, two sets of "my" primes, and two Primo 11-1s I had detuned to match the primes. When I say "detuned" I mean I had Dan Sasaki adjust them so that I had a lower contrast lens while still maintaining a high degree of sharpness, two things that usually go hand in hand. We also carried an Arri 3 for high speed work. That's all the info I can share until the show begins airing on September...26th?? As the episodes air I can talk about and answer questions about each one. HBO is showing season 1 again now in preparation for the season 2 premiere. The promos from my season should begin to air shortly, and fans of the show should get excited. Also for the fans of the show and it's character Kenny Powers, there is a new spot on my website which is a viral commercial made after we wrapped in conjunction with K Swiss and Funny or Die.
  7. Always great to read your experiences. Like always you do a great job of conveying the the daily decisions and compromises that arise on a feature. Can't wait to see your work. As for me, I'm going to attempt to end my hiatus from the forums. Can you talk about some of the conversations you and the director had in prep about the approach in developing your visual grammar?
  8. Sorry to hear about the projection. It breaks my heart to hear that. Thanks for the kind words Henry.
  9. The wedding scene was shot on HD which is why the lights were clipping. Very perceptive. I was a choice made so that the scenes could be shot in single takes, making the actors and background talent feel like they were at a real wedding by not having to cut. I've been happier with the digital screenings of the film as the cleanliness of digital suits the look of the film better than the film prints which for distribution can shift in color and get muddy.
  10. 6 Oscar noms for Up In The Air. Couldn't be happier for everyone I worked with.
  11. and congrats again on all the BAFTA nominations announced this morning.
  12. very pleased to see Jason get the Globe for screenplay. If anyone is interested, Film Independent will be doing an evening on Feb 3rd called The Creative Collaboration, part of the director's close-up series. Jason, myself, the editor, and composer will be participating in a discussion moderated by John August. Should be a good time. More info available here: http://www.filmindependent.org/content/dir...loseup-schedule
  13. Christine - There is one line of ADR in the whole film. Everything is production sound and yes, it was very difficult for our mixer. Took a lot of planning with gate schedules and facility management for announcements to get it done. What kind of detail would you like? Logistical? Technical? It was overall very, very difficult despite airport cooperation. The non-secure side was more favorable than that of the secured area past TSA. There, crew and background actors were limited to specific numbers and only minimal equipment allowed. Everything had to be accounted for and all crew required escorts. You can imagine how that would slow us down, though we planned for it. American Airlines was our marketing partner and they served all the airports we shot at so they were indispensable interfacing with the airports and helping us achieve our scenes. Bill - Thanks. He's great. I've been was fortunate to have him on this and (500) Days of Summer. An artist with the knob. I have no idea what's next, currently reading scripts with my fingers crossed for something I respond to. Thanks Marcus!
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