‘You Can’t Put a Light Anywhere!’ Deakins on the Challenges of Lighting ‘1917’

Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins managed to turn 1917 into a technological marvel of cinematography. This exclusive video gives you a glimpse into how they did it.

Naturally, if Roger Deakins is working on a project, you know the cinematography is going to be top-notch. However, combine his legendary raw talent with Sam Mendes’ idea to shoot a “real-time” WWI epic in what appears to be a single take, and you’ve got a recipe for something truly exceptional—and nearly impossible to pull off.

Making a film appear as though it was captured in one continuous shot is a gargantuan undertaking that requires superb choreography, camera movement, and editing. Each of those elements come with their own set of challenges, however, one piece that seems especially difficult to control and customize, especially when shooting outdoors on location, is lighting.

To commemorate 1917’s official digital release today, we’re pleased to bring you this exclusive video, courtesy of Universal, in which we get to take a quick look at how Mendes and Deakins managed to orchestrate such intricate and complex cinematography.

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