'Mudbound' DP Rachel Morrison on Creating a Period Look Without Overstylizing

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Dee Rees's Sundance-premiering film Mudbound tells the story of the struggles of two farming families in the post-WWII deep South. Cinematographer Rachel Morrison took inspiration from real archival photographs of the era.

"It’s always a challenge to shoot a period film and not have it look like you hit the tea stain button in post," Morrison tells IndieWire. "We wanted to create a world that was true to the time, but felt raw and real and not overstylized in a way that the audience can sense the theatricality. We chose older lenses, a mix of Panavision C and D Series anamorphics as well as Vintage Super Speeds from the 60s and 70s that had inherently reduced contrast and many optical aberrations.  We decided to embrace the aspherical softening around the edges because we felt that even on a subconscious level, this would help the imagery feel more like the FSA [Farm Security Administration] photography of the era."

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