#3: "Super 8" - photo by François Duhamel [2010]

 

   


LARRY FONG   ASC

 

Born: 19 July 1960, Los Angeles, Calif., USA, as Lawrence Arthur Fong.

Education: UCLA [BA Linguistics; graduated in 1984]; Art Center College of Design, Pasadena [BFA Film; graduated in 1989].

Career: 'My parents are both Chinese and were born and raised in Hawaii. Our ancestors are all from Southern China. As a result my upbringing was an odd blend of Chinese and Hawaiian culture and vocabulary. I grew up in the suburbs of Southern California where my parents were a bit puzzled by my interest in art. Nevertheless they supported me and my dad started it all by giving in to my begging for a darkroom. So in junior high I taught myself photography and printing. Soon I started experimenting with Super 8 movies, making little films with the neighbors as well as cell animation and stop motion projects. I attended UCLA but was utterly rejected by their film program, a dark day indeed. I graduated with a BA in Linguistics and figured I had no future in film. Over the years I renewed my interest in photography and heard about the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and its amazing photography department. I applied, submitted a portfolio, and got accepted. That's where I began to develop my visual sense and aesthetic as well as knowledge of art history. But halfway through the program, my parents couldn't afford to shell out any more money… and I was unable to nab a scholarship. But the film department had seen some of my work and seemed to be interested in me. So I transferred over, and ended up with two scholarships. During this time I realized that my skills were not so much in directing but in photography. I ended up shooting projects for a lot of my classmates, Zack Snyder and Tarsem among others. So I had a pretty interesting reel upon graduation. I immediately got work in music videos. Soon I had shot three MTV Best Videos and that attention started getting me work in TV commercials. Between then and now I only was able to shoot two independent films. Even though I was well recognized from commercials sometimes you can get pigeon-holed. But I did do a couple of TV pilots and shorts and eventually 'Lost' came around. I'm so thankful to J.J. Abrams for fighting for me to shoot the pilot, not only because it's great to work with old friends, but I think it gave me some street cred in Hollywood's eyes. Otherwise I'm sure it would have been much harder for Zack to hire me for '300'. I'm single and live in Los Angeles. I have a cat named Ravi. I like cooking and world music and have a love for magic, in fact I'm a member of the Magic Castle.' [From interview on the asianconnections website.]

Ph music videos dir by Tarsem [1991, 'Losing My Religion', a: REM], Nancy Bennett, a.o. Ph numerous commercials dir by Roman Coppola [for Toyota], Thor Raxlen [for Nike], Dick Sittig [for Jack in the Box], Noam Murro, Zack Snyder [for Jeep], a.o.

Member of the ASC since 2011.

Awards: ASC TV Award nom [2004] for 'Lost' [pilot].


'300' [2005]: Director Zack Snyder and cinematographer Larry Fong collaborated on creating a unique look. In addition to original photography, the final elements for '300' included over 1,300 visual effects shots, and significant use of virtual set extensions and computer-generated backgrounds. The filmmakers manipulated the images during digital intermediate [DI] timing with colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld at Company 3 in Los Angeles. '300' marked Fong's first feature film DI experience: "Knowing the film would have a very specific visual style, we did quite a bit of testing during pre-production. We had six weeks to prepare for the 60-day shoot. We shot tests on different stocks, along with the usual gray scales and color charts with bracketing and pushing/pulling. We also shot tests of set pieces, makeup treatments, fabrics, props, and even dirt. We tested both blue screen and green screen as well. In the end we were happiest with the [KODAK VISION2 Expression 500T] 5229 film in Super 35mm format. We shot the entire picture on 5229, aside from one exterior day shoot when we used [KODAK VISION2 100T] 5212 film. We knew the look of this film would be nailed down in post. We took some digital stills during pre-production that were manipulated in Photoshop to approximate the final look. We envisioned clipped highlights and crushed shadows, which we dubbed 'The Crush.' That look ultimately became more contrasty, monochromatic and desaturated than we had initially envisioned. Apple's iPhoto was also invaluable to me for organizing shots by scene, emailing stills to the lab, and setting up web pages that displayed my visual references. The film was scanned at 2K resolution at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. For efficiency and continuity, we first did a rough pass and then went in again to fine tune it. Sometimes those tweaks would be very elaborate, using up to eight or nine Power Windows at a time, but only on particularly important shots. Quick cuts and close-ups were much less adjusted. As the visual effects shots trickled in, we went back to the DI suite countless times over many months. […] Zack was very involved with the DI. Stefan Sonnenfeld's contribution was also invaluable. Besides being the last in a long line of people who contributed to the look of the film, he had the arduous task of seamlessly blending the many VFX shots that were delivered by a vast amount of vendors. […] The DI process brings so much to the cinematographer's toolbox that the possibilities are endless. These are exciting times. However, like any tool, it must be used to bring about the vision of the filmmakers, not just because the technology allows you to do something. It's the job of the cinematographer to work with the director to create a look that serves the story. Sometimes the look is extreme, and sometimes it's subtle." [From the KODAK InCamera website, 2007.]


 

 FILMS

1993

Zalman King's Red Shoe Diaries 3 - Another Woman's Lipstick [seg (ep #5) 'Just Like That' dir by Ted Kotcheff] V/c; comp of 3 ep of tv-series; other ph: Ronn Schmidt (seg [ep #4] 'Talk to Me, Baby' dir by Rafael Eisenman) & Daniel Mindel (seg [ep #6] 'Another Woman's Lipstick' dir by Zalman King)

1994

Cost of Living [Stan Schofield] c

1995

The Crow: City of Angels/The Crow II [Tim Pope] c; uncred addph; ph: Jean-Yves Escoffier

1999

Hero [Mark Bamford] c; short/15m

2003

Cape of Good Hope [Mark Bamford] c

 

With Zack Snyder [left] - "300" - photo by Takashi Seida

 

2005

300 [Zack Snyder] s35 (+ IMAX-70bu)/c; 2uc: Miroslaw Baszak; see above

2007

Watchmen [Zack Snyder] s35 (+ IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema)/c; vfx ph: Tim Angulo

2009

Sucker Punch [Zack Snyder] s35 (+ IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema)/c; addph: William R. Dalgliesh; filmed 2009-10

 

"Super 8" - photo by François Duhamel

 

2010

Super 8 [J.J. Abrams] p+s8 (Canon 1014XL-S + Beaulieu 4008 ZM4)+s16 (Arriflex 16SR 3)+RED-to-35mm scope (+ IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Bruce McCleery

2012

Now You See Me [Louis Leterrier] p (+ D-Cinema)/c; cph: Mitchell Amundsen; 2uc: Lukasz Jogalla & (France) Christophe Guyon; aph: Hans Bjerno & Dylan Goss; vfx ph: Robert Bock

2014

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [Zack Snyder] p+IMAX 65mm+s35+s16+HD (ARRI ALEXA XT + Canon EOS 5D + GoPro HD Hero 4)-to-35mm scope (+ 70bu, IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; 2uc: William R. Dalgleish; aph: David B. Nowell & Brian Heller; uwph: Ian Seabrook

2015

Kong: Skull Island [Jordan Vogt-Roberts] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT Plus/p)-to-D-Cinema (scope [also 3-D version]) (+ 70bu)/c; 2uc: Jacques Haitkin; ph nature unit: Ross Riege; filmed 2015-16

2017

The Predator [Shane Black] HD/c; aph: Hans Bjerno

 

 TELEVISION

1992

Zalman King's Red Shoe Diaries [ep #5 'Just Like That' dir by Ted Kotcheff & #9 'Accidents Happen/The Fling' dir by Alan Smithee (= Mary Lambert)] 66-part series, 1992-97 (+ 1 tvm + 19 comp/V); 1st season, 1992

1997

Sleepwalkers [pilot dir by David Nutter] 9-part (2 unaired) series, 1997-98

2004

Lost [2-part pilot dir by J.J. Abrams, ep #3 'Tabula Rasa' dir by Jack Bender (JB), #4 'Walkabout' dir by JB, #6 'House of the Rising Sun' dir by Michael Zinberg, #8 'Confidence Man' dir by Tucker Gates, #9 'Solitary' dir by Greg Yaitanes (GY), #12 'Whatever the Case May Be' dir by JB & #14 'Special' dir by GY] 120-part series, 2004-10; 1st season, 2004-05

2005

The Catch [Jesse Peretz] pilot; for ABC-tv

2006

Secrets of a Small Town [Adam Davidson] pilot; for ABC-tv

2006

Helmut by June [June Newton] doc special/60m; ph opening commentary; expanded version of doc (53m) filmed by June Newton in the early 1990s; for HBO-tv (2007)

2007

Anatomy of Hope [J.J. Abrams] pilot; for HBO-tv

2009

Cop House [Brett Ratner] pilot/HD (Genesis); for FOX-tv

2010

Cutthroat [Bronwen Hughes] pilot/HD; addph: Damián Acevedo; for FOX-tv