Monday, March 19, 2012

The Cinematography of War, Storytelling, 5Ds and Recruitment - Act of Valour

"I feel the need, the need for speed". Anyone who remembers the excesses of the 80s will recall Bruckheimer's Top Gun (1986), which featured arresting visual photography, a typical Hollywood script that would make any teenager recite the aphorism above, and it didn't do to bad as a recruitment drive for fighter pilots.

With the same theme comes a 2012 simulucrum; Act of Valour.

The team are calling this a new kind of movie and to its credit it's trying hard to justify this. The first is its stars; actual Navy Seal.

This won't have been the first time professionals take on acting roles: Boogie Nights featured actual Porn stars, Platoon had army men in the film and advisors.

Act of Valor's claim is where you fictionalise fact based around what could happen, by taking what's real and hyperrealising it. The extras become the stars. They may not win Oscars, but there's no faking it.

In February's edition of American Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, cinematographer on Act of Valour gives big jack boots to the other stars, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR.

The team worked with 15 to make this, in a technique I described in this post some years back called "Swarming".

The technical specs include shoot exteriors at 5,200k and Shooting action around T4/5.6 and T2.8 for Shallow Depth of Field effect. In all the effects are impressive and on the back end of Danfung Dennis' Oscar nominated To Hell and Back Again, cement the little Canon as a big beast in the indie movie world.

It won't blow a hole in your budget either. Act of Valour is doing the rounds at the moment, and by any expectation, a new slogan will emerge for a new crop of young people wanting to join the SEALS, if you can get past their rigorous training regime.