1917 Movie, Cinematography Worthy of Oscars Best Picture

Every year, a number of unique movies get
released in many genres to captivate us and tell us stories that worth watching. stories that hold a special message in their
heart, stories that make us think more. For the creators though, it isn’t a normal
process. Every time they create a movie of enduring
value, they pioneer new ways of filmmaking that later on becomes a strategy that can
be used in many films. And this year, the movie 1917, is one of the
movies that used some innovative stuff in filming and storytelling. This war movie is directed by the famous director
Sam Mendes, with the amazing cinematography of Roger Deakins and the composing of Thomas
Newman. Let’s see what makes 1917 so special that
worth winning Oscar. Story (Includes Minor Spoilers)
The story of 1917 takes place during World War I, where two soldiers named Blake and
Schofield, have a mission to go to the enemy territory, to deliver a message to the commander
of their allies. They have one day to do the mission otherwise
1600 men will die, and Blake’s brother is among them. The surprising thing is that the camera is
only loyal to these two soldiers so even actors like Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, and
Mark Strong, get the chance to be seen only where the main characters meet them. This type of narration holds the most of what
will happen to the main character as a secret because you don’t see what’s coming to
them. You don’t see anything about the places
they’re heading to or even the places they’ve passed. This method of storytelling creates a great
sense of identification between the audience and the protagonist as they are walking every
step together. Filming
The first thing about 1917 that grabs our attention is that the film seems to be one
continuous shot, without any cut, but the fact of the matter is that it has many cleverly
done cuts that aren’t obvious for the viewer. Although the method of continuous shots has
been done before by directors like Alfred Hitchcock in the film “Rope”, using it
for a war movie is a novel idea. As said before, from the beginning of 1917
to the end, the camera follows the main characters along their journey. An approach to filming that made Deakins do
the continuous shot method for the first time in his career. What made Mendes want to film 1917 this way,
is probably the story’s essence that stresses the shortage of time and the deadly mission
that soldiers are on. So Deakins filmed the movie in a way that
the audience follows the young soldiers in every second of their mission without any
cuts in between. As this is the main strategy of the filming
of this project, everything else is there to serve this idea. The cameras used in this film are a series
of ARRI cameras including Arri Alexa Mini, Arri Alexa LF, combined with Arri Signature
Prime Lenses. The choice of Alexa Mini was especially a
crucial decision because that enabled the camera crew to carry the camera around the
set with ease for all the handheld recordings. The movie is captured in ARRI Raw 4.5 k, and
the sound is recorded in the Dolby Atmos format which is a common format for war movies because
it creates 3D sound reproduction of all the shootings, explosions, planes, etc. So it’s highly recommended to watch the
movie using a Dolby Atmos enabled system. Set
Designing the set for 1917 was something that was dependant on so many factors. Starting with the unusually long rehearsals. It took them 4 months to do the rehearsals,
not only to prepare actors for the shooting but also to learn exactly how long each shot
will take. And this timing information helped the set
designers to design every location based on the time the characters will spend there. The shocking point is that they didn’t use
any location twice but instead, they built every single location separately including
the 5,200 feet of trenches. Another task for the designers was to create
a path for the camera as it should be able to follow the characters through every location. And it wasn’t easy, the camera crew carried
the camera on foot, or by using jeeps, motorcycles, cranes and even drones. Lighting
The designers also helped Deakins to do the lighting precisely in some particular scenes
with the models that they created for each location. Using these models the camera and lighting
crew could guess how the lighting and shadows will look like in the real location. One example is the scene that Schofield runs
through the destroyed city where the lighting is done by flares. A scene that is truly wonderful, creative
and not easy to make. Another point about the lighting of 1917 is
that the camera only moves forward in 360 degrees around the characters so there’s
very little chance to hide things behind the camera. And this 360 method limited the possibilities
of lighting the scene as it might accidentally appear in the video. So Deakins decided to shoot the most parts
of the film by using natural light in cloudy days. This was quite the challenge for them as they
had to wait for the weather to get cloudy enough for shooting, checking all weather
apps to find a cloud that covers the sun for a five a minute shot. The only scene that happens on a sunny day
is the resolution of the story, when soldier Schofield lies on a tree, just like the starter
scene. And it makes sense right? Conclusion
As you can see what makes a movie like 1917 so captivating and award-winning level successful,
is the innovations they perform in every aspect of it. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, I’m
sure you’re gonna like it even more as you now know how far they went to make the film
special. 1917 works well in bringing you to those cold
days of WWI and makes you feel you’re in there on a mission to save lives. It is, in other words, a work of genius storytelling.

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