DP Linus Sandgren used the magic of celluloid to create authentic and fun panic in the American sci-fi film Don’t Look Up. The main tools for the job were powerful Aaton Penelope film cameras paired with Kowa Cine Promiser macros and some Atlas Orion Anamorphic lenses with Fujinon Cabrio, on other film cameras (ARRICAM LT).
Don’t Look Up is a 2021 American science fiction film written, produced and directed by Adam McKay, and starring an ensemble cast consisting of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande and Scott Mescudi. It tells the story of two astronomers attempting to warn mankind of the approach of a comet that will destroy human civilization. The impact event is an allegory of climate change and the film is a satire of government, political and media indifference to the climate crisis. Don’t Look Up was shot entirely with cameras (ARRICAM LT and Aaton Penelope) by DP Linus Sandgren. Check out the trailer below:
Cinematographer Linus Sandgren, ASC, FSF is a big fan of shooting on film. You have probably heard this name before. Sandgren was the DP for No Time To Die (2021) which is a film well known for being shot on a wide range of cameras (IMAX 9802, ARRIFLEX 765, Panavision XL2, and more). Additionally, Sandgren also shot the great La La Land and First Man with Aaton cameras. To learn more, read our articles:
On Don’t Look Up, Sandgren used the Aaton Penelope to highlight the actors’ faces in extreme close-ups. For this, he chose to pair the camera with Kowa Cine Prominar Macro lenses.
The Aaton Penelope camera is convertible between 2-perf or 3-perf motion, quieter than previous Aaton 35s, and offers a new viewing system, along with other improvements. Because the camera can do two performances, that means we can get up to nine minutes of running time at 24 FPS. The camera works with two batteries and it is considered an advanced film camera.
Check out a glimpse of the camera behind “Don’t Look Up”:
For ‘Don’t Look Up’ the camera used Kowa Cine Promiser Macro glass. According to Sandgren, these macro lenses enhanced intimate moments, focusing on the actors’ faces. The Kowa Cine Prominars originated in Japan in the 1960s. They are optically sharp for their age and offer a low contrast image with interesting highlights. They’re known for their vintage looks, impressive macro images, and 10-inch close focus.
For the anamorphic look, Sandgren chose the Atlas Orion Anamorphic series paired with ARRICAM LT cameras. For the zoom, he chose the Fujinon 25mm-300mm Cabrio which proved to be very versatile during filming. This combination resulted in a very unique look. MOREOVER, most of the smartphones shown being used by the characters and featured by the BASH Company throughout the film are “HYDROGEN” phones made by RED Digital Cinema. Although the RED HYDROGEN failed as a smartphone. it seems high end productions use it as a gimmick. For example, the phone was also used in Fast and Furious 9. Anyway, “Don’t Look Up” became Netflix’s 3rd most-watched movie in just 11 days.
Have you watched “Don’t Look Up”? What do you think of its cinematography?