"In real life you can't control everything. I try to to be imperfect always."

Cinematographer Bélanger describes the HBO series Sharp Objects as "a very dark story."

He says that he and director Jean-Marc Vallée, "knew for sure that it had to be a dark series, but a lot of times, when they go for a dark story, they go with contrast-y lighting that comes from film noir and German expressionism. That sort of film takes a lot of lighting and you close down your aperture and create contrast."

Read more: Nightmares vs. Blackouts vs. Memories: How Sharp Objects Revisits the Past 

Bélanger and Valée carefully avoided that classical approach for Sharp Objects. "Since Dallas Buyers Club, we only shoot available light and handheld. We don't use artificial light, we use the practicals, windows, even in the studio." Given this, Bélanger is keen to credit the ingenuity of production designer John Paino and his crew. "Sometimes we changed the bulb of the streetlights to be stronger, or add a window to an existing house."

Observant viewers will notice that locations such as the karaoke club feature a lot of practical light both inside and out, including light behind the racks of bottles and colored fluorescent tubes on the canopy. "I ask [the production designer] to add things like that. The production designer is always very important."

Amy Adams in HBO's 'Sharp Objects'

Amy Adams in 'Sharp Objects'

Sharp Objects was shot on the ARRI Alexa Mini, using the ARRI Zeiss Master Prime lenses, with principal photography mainly in Los Angeles but also over three weeks in Atlanta. "On make-up tests, Jean-Marc said 'Yves, let's try to underexpose.' Normally, exposing in a safe way, you let the white go over a little bit and the blacks go a little bit... you try to expose in the middle. Now we're always exposing for the brightest object. I'm very proud because it was quite scary but I think we got a good look." 

Bélanger took a straightforward approach to monitoring, using the Alexa's built-in Rec. 709 LUT and exposing by eye. "In the grading," he says, "we did nothing. We just matched the rushes."

Bélanger's approach is designed to avoid the hyper-reality of much mainstream filmmaking without being ostentatiously unconventional. "The problem with a lot of DPs, when they go into a studio, is that they start putting lights in places that are impossible, or too perfect. In real life you can't control everything. I try to to be imperfect always."

Read more: Closer: The Intimate Imagery of Yves Bélanger

Read more: Shifting Focus: Cinematographer Yves Belanger Finds the "Truth" in HBO's Big Little Lies

Amy Adams in HBO's 'Sharp Objects'

Amy Adams in HBO's 'Sharp Objects'

Read more: Deconstructing Production: Achieving the Affecting Realism of Demolition

Read more: Wild Life: Yves Bélanger Captures Emotion, Motion and Mountain Ranges (All While Walking Backwards)

Read more: Sharp Objects Author Gillian Flynn Explains the Show's Hidden Words



VI Rental Replaces Entire Tripod Fleet with Sachtler flowtech100 Tripods

Sachtler today announced that VI Rental, the hire division of UK broadcast equipment provider Visual Impact, has made a major purchase of Sachtler's flowtech100 carbon-fibre tripods and Video 18 S2 fluid heads. In response to customer demand, VI Rental has replaced its entire inventory of tripods with 40 new flowtech100 units and 18 Video 18 S2 fluid heads.


Cobalt Iron and Melius Group Team Up to Bring On-Premises and Backup-As-a-Service Data Protection to UK and Ireland

Cobalt Iron Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based data protection, and business transformation and IT specialist company Melius Group Limited today announced a reseller/cloud service provider agreement. Under the terms of the contract, Melius Group will represent Cobalt Iron's Adaptive Data Protection (ADP) SaaS enterprise backup solution to customers in the U.K. and Ireland across a range of markets, but primarily the public sector. Melius Group will resell ADP and associated services in on-premises solutions and as a backup-as-a-service offering from its hosting centers.


New App for Riedel's 1200 Series SmartPanel Provides API for Third-Party Control, Monitoring, and Automation Systems

At the 2019 NAB Show, Riedel Communications previewed a new API, based on open NMOS standards, for its 1200 Series SmartPanel. This innovation will enable industry partners to utilize the SmartPanel as a user interface for their control, monitoring, and automation solutions, and is another example of how the app-based SmartPanel can be leveraged to take on additional duties within broadcast workflows.


RTI Now Shipping VMS-741 4K Quad MultiViewer

RTI, a leading control and automation manufacturer, today announced that the company is now shipping its VMS-741 7x1 4K Quad MultiViewer. The powerful presentation switcher and scaler takes advantage of the 4K resolution of today's flat panel TVs and projectors to combine video from up to four sources onto one display.


Just Add Power Pumps Up Players and Wows Recruits in Revamped University of Memphis Locker Room

Just Add Power (J+P), a leader in Ultra HD over IP video distribution, announced that its Ultra HD over IP video distribution system has been installed in the University of Memphis Tigers' renovated locker room at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Tasked with creating a unique atmosphere in the space to wow recruits and pump up players before games, Miestro Home Integration relied on J+P's solutions to cost-effectively and reliably distribute video content to a variety of video walls and large displays.

Tim Burton’s Dumbo Delivered in Dolby Vision with Blackmagic Design

Tim Burton’s Dumbo Delivered in Dolby Vision with Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design has today announced that DaVinci Resolve Studio was used throughout the full color pipeline on Disney’s live action remake of Dumbo. Directed by Tim Burton with a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, the DI was delivered by Goldcrest Post’s Adam Glasman, who collaborated with Director of Photography Ben Davis, BSC.