'Steve Jobs' Uses 16mm, 35mm, and Digital to Tell Story in Three Eras

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Steve Jobs screenwriter Aaron Sorkin decided to tell the story of the Apple CEO in three acts taking place at three distinctive times. The first, in 1984, surrounds the debut of the original Macintosh computer, the second in 1988 surrounds the launch of the Next computer, and the final one in 1998 is about the launch of the iMac.

To depict the different eras, cinematographer Alwin Küchler chose to film with three different cameras and mediums. 1984 was shot with an ARRI 416 Super 16mm camera, 1988 with ARRIcam LT and ST cameras in 3-perf Super 35mm, and the 1998 footage digitally with an ARRI Alexa XT. Küchler tells American Cinematographer, “One of the wonderful side effects of the 16mm is that it looks aesthetically raw and poetically beautiful which mirrors the story of Jobs [in his early years] perfectly — the original ideas are there, but not fully developed.”

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