Director of photography James Mathers shot contemporary interviews for “The U.S. vs. John Lennon” with Panasonic’s AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema camera.
Now in theaters, “Lennon” is a historical documentary chronicling the transformation of John Lennon from Beatle to anti-war activist, and the Nixon administration’s efforts to thwart him. The story is told using a combination of 1970s-era stock footage and contemporary interviews.
Blue and green screen backgrounds were used for the interviews at a variety of locations around the world to help Mathers maintain a consistent look. His challenge as DP on the project “was to work up a scheme for shooting these interviews that would make the subjects look good, be quick to set up, practical to travel with via airline,” in addition to “the technical challenge of pulling a good matte,” he said.
The project was shot on DVCPRO HD with Mathers’ VariCam, which was outfitted with a Canon HJ 11x4.7 HD lens. According to Mathers, the VariCam signal's “great color space” made the matte work easier.
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