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Cinematographer Matthew Libatique, ASC on ‘Straight Outta Compton’

In the current issue of ICG (International Cinematographers Guild) magazine, noted DP Matthew Libatique, ASC talks to editor David Geffner about shooting the F. Gary Gray-directed Straight Outta Compton, which looks at the rise of rap group NWA. 

“Libatique opted to shoot Compton on RED DRAGON, using re-housed vintage Kowa (4.5K) anamorphic lenses (occasionally swapping with spherical Zeiss Super Speeds to compensate for close-focus issues inside the recording-studio scenes.),” the piece says. 

Libatique explains, “’Shooting anamorphic period is all about pulling back from that digital edge, particularly if you come from shooting film…We tried to keep the beginning of their stories as gritty as possible, using smoke and [for night scenes] changing out existing LED streetlights back to their original sodium vapor. That combination of the smoke, a dirty color palette and the anamorphic lenses introduces us to the first third of the story, before they make a record and go on tour.’”