#2: [Right] - "The Passage" [2006]

 

   


JIM DENAULT   ASC

 

Born: 25 July 1960, ?, N.Y., USA.

Education: Rochester Institute of Technology [RIT] [Still Photography; graduated in 1982].

Career: 'I was born and raised in upstate New York in the Hudson Valley. My father was a social worker and my mother was a chemist, but she got out of that and became an elementary school teacher. We had a big family with six kids, so we didn't go out to the movies that much. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I discovered that my father always kept film in his Kodak Reflex camera, and I started taking pictures. He bought me my own camera, so I wouldn't be messing around with his expensive one. When I got to high school, I started taking photography classes and joined a photo club. When I got to the end of my time in high school, I had no idea of what I wanted, except I wanted to be a photographer, and thought I should go to school to learn more. I enrolled at Rochester Institute of Technology, where I took classes in basic studio photography, ranging from product shots to portraiture. RIT didn't have a film major, but there were a few courses. In my junior year, I took an introduction to conceptual filmmaking that was taught by Martin Rennalls. It was a Super 8 film production class, where we learned how to put sequences of images together, usually with music that somehow flowed with the film. […] I had a couple of odd jobs after I graduated from RIT. A friend got me a semi-freelance job shooting videos for the Rochester City School District cable access stations. I was shooting five-minute news stories. We had to shoot and edit our own footage on a deadline. That job led to work shooting industrial videos in Rochester. I worked on a combination of training films and motivational movies, including many for Kodak. […] Around 1985, a couple of guys were making an independent movie called 'Cheap Shots' with a $500,000 budget. I was friends with the sound man who needed a boom guy. He asked if I would do it. I made friends with Tom Trovato, the gaffer. He told me that if I wanted to grow in the business, I'd have to move. I moved to New York the next year [1989]. My first job was as a replacement for gaffer Mike Bonvillain on a very low budget movie called 'The Refrigerator'. I was working as a gaffer on music videos and similar projects, and I put up posters on film school bulletin boards saying that I would shoot their movies for lunch. I met a bunch of budding directors while shooting some student films. […] I got a phone call out of the blue from Michael Almereyda, who said that Ethan Hawke had recommended me to shoot a movie that he was going to direct. It was called 'Another Girl Another Planet'. […] Nobody promotes you to being a cinematographer. You have to do it yourself. Around that time my grandfather died and left my mother some money. She told me that if I needed to borrow money for anything, I should just let her know. I decided that it was time for me to buy a camera. I had my eye on a 16mm Aaton. I shot some 16mm movies with budgets around $40,000. They would make 16mm prints with optical soundtracks for festivals with the hope of a distributor picking up the cost of a 35mm blow-up. Ironically, the biggest drawback of 16mm prints is not poor picture quality, but the poor sound quality. The last regular 16mm film I did was 'Our Song'. That was in 1999 and Super 16 had taken hold by then, but the producers wanted to shoot in regular 16mm to have the option of a 16mm print for festivals. It had a marching band and great music, so they ultimately decided to make an optical blow-up to 35mm, because the sound was better.' [From interview with Bob Fisher on the KODAK OnFilm website.]

Ph PSA's for Orangutan Outreach [2008] dir by Richard Zimmerman.

Member of the ASC since 2008.

Appeared in the internet doc 'The New Arrival: Behind the Scenes' [2000, Josh Cramer; 6m] and in the ep 'The Believer' of the doc tv-series 'Anatomy of a Scene'.

Awards: Independent Spirit Award nom [1996] for 'Nadja'; 'Emmy' Award nom [2004-05] for 'Carnivàle' [for ep #18]; ASC TV Award nom [2016] for 'All the Way'.

Website: Jim Denault


'The Passage' [2006]: The Super 16 revolution in the independent film genre has shifted into high gear during recent years with the convergence of advances in film and DI technologies.

Jim Denault describes 'The Passage' as 'a cross between a love story and a thriller… more of a thriller. The script is about two guys from the West who are traveling in Morocco. They meet a beautiful woman who offers to show them the sights. They travel to the mountains, where the second half of the story takes place in a dark maze of underground tunnels.'

The film opens with scenes filmed in Marrakech, which Denault describes as a big city with culture and art. The second half of 'The Passage' was filmed in and around a small ski resort in the mountains, including many shots in a maze of underground tunnels lit with candles and the flash of a still camera.

'I really enjoy working on this type of film because you have to be more resourceful and figure out how to work within the limitations of the budget and schedule,' Denault says. 'We came to a quick consensus to produce it in Super 16 format because film can handle extreme contrast, and the look relates to the way we see the real world with our eyes.'

He describes a night scene in the big square in Marrakech that was jammed with people who were selling food and other things, and pushcarts with little lights and gas lamps. Denault notes that there was no way to light the square as naturally.

His camera package arrived only a few days before they were scheduled to begin shooting on a very tight schedule. The first thing he did was go to the square and shoot tests with the 7218 stock, mainly on the dimmest setting his meter read.

'We used little lights on the actors' faces to bring them out of the background,' Denault says. 'We were wide open at T1.3 on the primes, and at T2.5 on the zoom. We must have been four stops underexposed at times. We shipped the film to DuArt in New York. They emailed me still frames of the dailies that boosted my confidence. The timer at the lab told me everything looked great and that pushing the film worked fine.'

The lab sent him full resolution JPEG files that gave him the confidence to shoot in the darkest environment rather than relying on his light meter readings.

He chose from a palette of films depending on the environment. Denault used KODAK VISION2 7201, a 50-speed daylight for most daytime exteriors, 7205 as they got into twilight, and 7218 for everything else.

He timed the DI with Doug Delaney at Post Logic Studios in Los Angeles. 'It's amazing what you can do with Super 16 films by manipulating colors and contrast in DI,' he concludes. [From article by Bob Fisher in the 'ICG Magazine', July 2007.]


 

 FILMS

1992

Another Girl Another Planet [Michael Almereyda] video (PixelVision/PXLvision; video cameras - PXL-2000 - originally sold by Fisher-Price as toys)-to-16mm/b&w; 56m

1993

River of Grass [Kelly Reichardt] 16mm-35bu/c

1993

Lie Down with Dogs [Wally White] c; addph New York; ph: George Mitas

1993

Two Plus One [Eugene Martin] 16mm/c

1994

Nadja [Michael Almereyda] video (PixelVision/PXLvision)+35mm-to-35mm/b&w; 2uc: Ed Talavera

1994

Trembling Before G-d [Sandi Simcha DuBowski] v+16mm-to-35mm/c; doc/84m; cph USA; ph USA: David Leitner, Ken Druckerman, Sandra Chandler, Fawn Yacker, a.o.; ph Israel: Yitzhak Portal, Issa Freij, a.o.; ph UK: Noski Deville; filmed 1994-2000

1995

Breathing Room/'Til Christmas [Jon Sherman] 16mm/c

1995

Layin' Low [Danny Leiner] c

1995

Sleeping Together [Hugh Bush] c; addph; ph: Sarah Cawley

1995

Sudden Manhattan [Adrienne Shelly] c; 2uc: Kurt Lenning

1995

Illtown [Nick Gomez] c

1996

Clockwatchers [Jill Sprecher] c

1996

Number One Fan [Amy Talkington] 16mm/c; short/19m

1996

Frostbite [Kristy Hasen] 16mm/c; short/9m

1996

Hide and Seek [Su Friedrich] 16mm/b&w; docudrama/64m

1996

Louis & Frank [Alexandre Rockwell] c

1997

Daughter of Suicide [Dempsey Rice] dv+16mm+s8-to-16mm/b&w-c; doc/72m; addph: Michael Pearlman, D. Rice & Dick Ridington; prod 1996-99; premiered on cable-tv

1997

Trance/The Eternal [: Kiss of the Mummy] [Michael Almereyda] c/V

1997

Too Tired to Die [Wonsuk Chin] b&w-c

1997

Second Skin [Amy Talkington] 16mm/c; short/16m

1997

The Taxman [Avi Nesher] c; 2uc: Derek Wiesehahn

1998

The Book of Life/Le livre de la vie [Hal Hartley] dv (Sony DCR-VX1000)-to-35mm/c; 63m; also ep of 10-part tv-series '2000 vu par...'

1998

A Good Baby [Katherine Dieckmann] c; 2uc: Joia Speciale & Aurelia Winborn

1998

Getting to Know You/Getting to Know All About You [Lisanne Skyler] c; 2uc: Aurelia Winborn

1998

Boys Don't Cry [Kimberly Peirce] c; addph New York: Joe Arcidiacono; time lapse ph: John Pirozzi

1998

Hamlet [Michael Almereyda] s16-35bu/b&w-c; co-addph; ph: John de Borman

1999

History Is Made at Night/Spy Games [Ilkka Järvi-Laturi] c; ph Toronto & New York; ph: Michel Amathieu

1999

Double Parked [Stephen Kinsella] c

1999

Down to You [Kris Isacsson] c; addph New York; ph: Robert Yeoman

1999

Our Song [Jim McKay] 16mm-35bu/c

1999

Chasing Sleep [Michael Walker] c/V

1999

Bust [Amy Talkington] c; short/6m

2000

The New Arrival [Amy Talkington] Immersivision/c; interactive internet short/4m

2000

The Believer [Henry Bean] c; 2nd cam: Joia Speciale; addph: Ben Wolf

2000

Empire [Franc. Reyes] s35/c; Miami ph; ph: Kramer Morgenthau

2001

City of Ghosts/Beneath the Banyan Trees [Matt Dillon] c; 2uc: John Pirozzi

2001

Real Women Have Curves [Patricia Cardoso] c

2002

Maria Full of Grace [Joshua Marston] c; addph: Joia Speciale

2003

Tell Me a Story [Dempsey Rice] project since 2001, but now incorporated in work in progress 'Forget Me Nots'; see 2009

2003

Undermind [Nevil Dwek] c; 2uc; ph: Wolfgang Held

2003

Heights [Chris Terrio] c

2004

The Director's Cut - What Happened to Michael Cimino [Lucy Walker] c; doc/24m; co-addph; ph: John Bailey

2005

The Night of the White Pants [Amy Talkington] HDcam-to-35mm/c

2005

Jam [Craig Serling] announced as doph, but film was ph by Jeff Venditti

2005

Freedom Writers [Richard LaGravenese] c

2006

Hounddog [Deborah Kampmeier] c; replaced E. Lachman after 2 weeks; cph: Edward Lachman & (finished prod; + addph/gaffer) Stephen Thompson

2006

Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 13-22 [Robert Kelly, Victor Mignatti & Jim Swaffield] HD/c/V; 48m

2006

The Passage [Mark Heller] s16-35bu/c; see above

2007

Jua Kali/Harsh Sun [Amie Williams] c; feature (work in progress); scenes 34 and 35 were shot (11m, incl credits)

2007

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 [Sanaa Hamri] c

2007

The Divide/Borderline [Craig Serling] announced as doph; scheduled for September start; status unknown

2008

She's Out of My League [Jim Field Smith] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Rodney Taylor; aph: David Norris

2009

Forget Me Nots [Dempsey Rice] s8+dv/c; doc/17m; cph: D. Rice, Joia Speciale & Cynthia Wade; released 2010; see 2003

2009

Countdown to Zero [Lucy Walker] c; doc/91m; co-addph; ph: Robert Chappell, Nick Higgins, a.o.

2009

Dinner for Schmucks [Jay Roach] s35-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Marco Fargnoli; remake of 'Le dîner de cons/The Dinner Game' (1997, Francis Veber; ph: Luciano Tovoli)

2010

Butter [Jim Field Smith] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Patrick Rousseau

2011

The Great Gatsby in Five Minutes [Michael Almereyda] c; short/10m

2011

The Campaign [Jay Roach] HD (ARRI ALEXA)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; filmed 2011-12

2014

Pitch Perfect 2 [Elizabeth Banks] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c

2014

Trumbo [Jay Roach] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT Plus)-to-D-Cinema/c

2015

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 [Kirk Jones] c

2016

Bad Moms [Jon Lucas & Scott Moore] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus)-to-D-Cinema (scope)/c

2016

The Grizzlies [Miranda de Pencier] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus)/c

 

 TELEVISION

1996

Lois Lives a Little [Adrienne Shelly] tvm/30m

1997

The Secret Life of a Serial Killer [Liz Garbus] ep (60m) of doc series 'Investigative Reports', 1991-2004; for A&E-tv

2000

All Kinds of Families [Liz Garbus & Rory Kennedy] doc/60m; co-add cam; ph: Tony Hardmon

2002

Push, Nevada [pilot 'The Amount' dir by John McNaughton] 7-part series; other ph: Roy H. Wagner

2004

Ricochet [John McNaughton] pilot; for FOX-tv

2004

Six Feet Under [6 ep dir by various] 63-part series, 2001-05; 5th season, 2005; other ph: Rob Sweeney (6 ep)

2004

Carnivàle [ep #14 'Alamogordo, N.M.' dir by Jack Bender, #16 'Old Cherry Blossom Road' dir by Steve Shill, #18 'The Road to Damascus' dir by Tucker Gates, #20 'Outskirts, Damascus, NE' dir by Tim Hunter, #22 'Cheyenne, WY' dir by Todd Field & #24 'New Canaan, CA' dir by Scott Winant] 24-part series, 2003 & 2005; 2nd season, 2005; other ph: Jeffrey Jur (6 ep)

2006

Him and Us [Charles Shyer] pilot/30m/s16; for ABC-tv

2007

Wildlife [Tucker Gates] pilot; for NBC-tv

2007

Recount [Jay Roach (replaced Sydney Pollack)] tvm/s16-35bu; ph Washington DC: John Pirozzi

2008

In Plain Sight [15 ep dir by various] 61-part series/s16-to-HD, 2008-12; 2nd season, 2009 (15 ep)

2008

Royal Pains [pilot dir by Jace Alexander + ep #7-12 dir by various] series, 2009-present; 1st season, 2009; other ph: Michael Slovis (ep #2-6); aph: Brian Heller

2010

Lies in Plain Sight [Patricia Cardoso] tvm/RED-to-HD

2010

Suits/A Legal Mind [pilot (75m) dir by Kevin Bray] series/HD, 2011-present; 1st season, 2011

2011

Game Change [Jay Roach] tvm/HD (ARRI ALEXA)

 

[Left] with Stephen Frears [red shawl] - "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight"

 

2012

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight [Stephen Frears] tvm/HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus); for HBO-tv

2012

Clear History [Greg Mottola] tvm; 2uc (+ c.op 'b' cam): John Pirozzi; aph: Phil Pastuhov & Brian Heller; for HBO-tv

2013

Silicon Valley [ep #1-8 dir by various] series/HD (ARRI ALEXA), 2014-present; 1st season, 2014 (8 ep)

2013

Getting On [ep #2-6 dir by various] series/RED Scarlet, 2013-present; 1st season, 2013; other ph (pilot): Tami Reiker

2013

Wayward Pines [ep #5-10 dir by various] 10-part series/HD, 2015; other ph: Amy Vincent (pilot + ep #2) & Gregory Middleton (ep #3-4); filmed 2013-14

2015

All the Way [Jay Roach] tvm/HD (ARRI ALEXA XT); for HBO-tv

 

 MISCELLANEOUS

1985

Cheap Shots/Cabin Fever [Jeff Ureles & Jerry Stoeffhaas] boom op; ph: Thom Marini

1989

The Refrigerator [Nicholas Jacobs] add gaffer; ph: Paul Gibson

1990

The Golden Boat [Raoul Ruiz] key grip; ph: Maryse Alberti

1990

Mindwarp/Brain Slasher [Steve Barnett] gaffer; ph: Peter Fernberger

1990

Severed Ties [Damon Santostefano] gaffer; ph: Geza Sinkovics

1990

By a Thread [Craig Richardson] best boy electric; ph: Denis Maloney

1991

Out of the Rain/End of Innocence [Gary Winick] best boy electric; ph: Makoto Watanabe

1991

Children of the Night [Tony Randel] gaffer; ph: Richard Michalak

1991

Martial Law II: Undercover/Karate Cop [Kurt Anderson] gaffer; ph: Peter Fernberger

1991

Bad Lieutenant [Abel Ferrara] electrician; ph: Ken Kelsch

1992

Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson [Barbara Kopple; tv-doc] co-gaffer; ph: Tom Hurwitz, Phil Parmet, Alicia Weber, a.o.

1992

Accidentally on Purpose [Tim Pope; tv-pilot] grip; ph: Tom Richmond

1992

The Secret Life of Mary-Margaret: Portrait of a Bulimic [Allen Coulter; tvm/30m] gaffer; ph: Peter Fernberger; ep HBO-tv series 'Lifestories: Families in Crisis'

1992

New York Cop/Nyûyôku u koppu [Toru Murakawa] gaffer; ph: Peter Fernberger

1993

Too Pure [Etienne Sauret] co-gaffer; ph: Peter Fernberger

1993

Straight to One [Ethan Hawke; short] gaffer; ph: Tom Richmond

1994

Nobody's Girl: Five Women of the West [Mirra Bank; tv-doc] gaffer (New Mexico); ph: Joe DeSalvo & Jamie Silverstein

1995

Big Night [Campbell Scott & Stanley Tucci] add electrician; ph: Ken Kelsch

1996

Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground [various; tvm/10 seg] rigging best boy; ph: Ken Kelsch, Tom Hurwitz, Tony Jannelli & Adam Kimmel

2003

The Hillside Strangler [Chuck Parello] co-c.op 'b' cam; ph: John Pirozzi