Directed by Shawn Levy, This Is Where I Leave You centers on the aftermath of a father’s death, when his four grown children are obliged to live together at their childhood home for a week.
Shooting a 2.40:1 aspect ratio with ARRI Alexa allowed Levy to put the entire family in the frame and encourage the actors to work within it. “Other times we had more designed camera moves,” says cinematographer Terry Stacey, ASC. “It was tough to make dolly moves because of the tight space, but we made it work.”
Wendy and Judd Altman (Tina Fey and Jason Bateman). Photo by Jessica Miglio.
Stacey, who recorded ARRIRAW for maximum image quality, relied on Alexa’s low-light capability. “The Alexa is so good in low light, it’s uncanny,” he says. “Even if the set looks dim, it’s super bright on the monitors. At night we could go with very low light, even at 800 ASA, and it was amazing.”
Stacey notes that he worked “very much by eye” on This Is Where I Leave You, as he does for many of the films he shoots. “Out of all the digital cameras, the Alexa lets me treat it with the same logic as a film camera. It’s amazing how you can use it in any situation and it consistently gives you such a beautiful image.”