From the documentary

"Cinematographer Style"

"Stealing Harvard" [2001]



Born: 5 Augustus 1954, Zürich, Switzerland, as Ulrich Steiger.

Education: University of Zürich [English/Art History]; London [International] Film School [LIFS] [1978-81], UK.

Career: Ph commercials dir by Peter Lehner, a.o.

Member of the ASC since 2000.

Appeared in the doc's 'Cinematographer Style' [2005, Jon Fauer; ph: J. Fauer, Jeff Laszlo, Brian Heller & David Morgan] & 'Swiss Dreams Made in Hollywood' [2005, Marie Boetschi; 35m].

About 'Godzilla': 'Steiger elected to shoot in Super 35, not as an homage to the wide-screen Godzilla's of yesteryear, but for practical purposes. "For one thing, you can get a wide-screen look and not have to rent anamorphic lenses to achieve it; spherical lenses are easier to get hold of when you use as many Panavision cameras as we did, all over the city, on rooftops and on helicopters. There can be a bit of a compromise in quality, in that you use less negative, but with Super 35 you can use the full frame for the digital effects and the digital composites. You can shoot the full frame, then once the film is digitized, readjust it and do certain movements inside it to adjust for the size of the creature, even in shots with live actors in them. This way we had a little more leeway to play with Godzilla." The DP got to play with Godzilla well before he was digitized. Steiger shot test footage of models constructed by the creature's true parent, designer Patrick Tatopoulos, another 'Independence Day' alum who was readily available for on-set consultations. "Patrick tried out kind of an iridescent color on Godzilla's skin, so I did a complete lighting test with different types of light and different types of movement of the creature, to see what it could do."' [From article by Robert Cashill in 'Lighting Dimensions', June 1998.]


I understand that you used Gamma & Density's 3cP package. How did you use it on '10,000 BC'?

"I heard about 3cP [Cinematographer's Color Correction Process] from Yuri Neyman, the cinematographer who developed it. It's a system for on-set color correction and calibration, designed for cinematographers. It allows you to be very precise and grade every shot, change gamma, create the look - right on set, then pass those settings on to the dailies timer and the DI colorist, to maintain consistency. You can apply 3cP to the filmmaking workflow in many ways, and I used the system a bit differently on '10,000 BC', because we wanted to keep the look more natural. I used it primarily as a tool for communicating with the dailies telecine colorist and keeping things consistent without going overboard and being the dailies timer myself. There are so many variables with HD dailies - the projector, transfer, telecine process - and they all can go wrong! With 3cP I could establish a color direction for the dailies and pass it to the telecine operator. It was repeatable. If I had a photo of a shot in the system it was absolutely possible to reproduce it on the other side of the world in telecine because they had all of the same parameters which 3cP has. It was incredibly helpful. It was impossible for me to do every shot, but I was able to do enough 3cP reference shots to keep the look consistent across dailies throughout the entire film. I had the 3cP shots in my computer with me in the DI, and it was great to have them - and also the original stills of the original, uncorrected shots - as a reminder for what we did on set. On a film like 'The Day After Tomorrow' or '10,000 BC' I was involved in the DI for a good three months, and in the room for about three weeks full time. Because the effects are delivered at different times, you end up having to readjust and continually go back to what you've done. The 3cP calibrated reference sources were really a great tool." [From the studiodaily website, 2008.]



Mavhuzi [?] ?; doc/?m; chronicles the Swiss peace movement's work in Zimbabwe


Zapé [Luis Lares] c; short/10m; prod LIFS


A Visitor in the Piano Warehouse [Michael O'Rourke] c; short/10m; prod LIFS


Der Räuber [Lutz Leonhardt] 16mm/b&w; cph: Martin Fuhrer


Der Ohrenwurm/The Ear Worm [Herbert Fritsch] 16mm-35bu/b&w; exp short/12m


Warten auf Susi [Pascal Verdosci] c; short/25m


Promised Land/Young Hearts [Michael Hoffman] c; cph: Alexander Gruszynski; 2uc: Matthew Williams


Some Girls/Sisters [Michael Hoffman] c; 2uc: Larry Lynn


The Hot Spot [Dennis Hopper (replaced Mike Figgis)] c; aph: Jack Cooperman


Soapdish [Michael Hoffman] c


Singles [Cameron Crowe] c; cph: Tak Fujimoto; 2uc: Billy O'Drobinak; aph: Frank Holgate


Zitterchor/Trembling Choir [Herbert Fritsch] c; exp short/12m


Chasers [Dennis Hopper] c; 2uc: Paul Taylor


The Jerky Boys [James Melkonian] c


Now and Then/The Gaslight Addition [Lesli Linka Glatter] c


House Arrest [Harry Winer] c


Independence Day [Roland Emmerich] s35/c; addph; ph: Karl-Walter Lindenlaub


The Long Kiss Goodnight [Renny Harlin] s35/c; uncred addph; ph: Guillermo Navarro


Con Air [Simon West] p/c; 2uc; ph: David Tattersall


Godzilla [Roland Emmerich] s35/c; 2uc: Peter J. Krause; vfx ph: Anna Foerster


Bowfinger [Frank Oz] c; addph: Sandi Sissel


Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me [Jay Roach] s35/c; 2uc: Sandi Sissel


Just Visiting/Les visiteurs en Amerique [Jean-Marie Poiré] s35/c; addph: Michael A. Benson & Jim Grce; 2uc: Buzz Feitshans IV; 2uc UK: Michael Brewster & Keith Goddard; aph: Frank Holgate


The Patriot [Roland Emmerich] s35/c; co-2uc; ph: Caleb Deschanel


Rock Star [Stephen Herek] s35/c; 2uc: Sandi Sissel


Black Knight [Gil Junger] s35/c; 2uc: Sandi Sissel


Stealing Harvard/Stealing Stanford/Uncle [Bruce McCulloch] c; 2uc: Sandi Sissel


Holes [Andrew Davis] c; splinter unit ph; ph: Stephen St. John


The Day After Tomorrow [Roland Emmerich] s35/c; 2uc: Anna Foerster & Tom Yatsko


Nomad [: The Warrior]/Kochevnik [Ivan Passer (1st shooting period) & Sergei Bodrov (2nd shooting period)] scope/c; ph 1st shooting period; ph 2nd shooting period (2004-05): Dan Laustsen; vfx ph: Robert Grasmere


The Headsman/Henker/Shadow of the Sword [Simon Aeby] scheduled to start February 2004, but film was ph by Vladimir Smutný in October 2004


Zathura [: A Space Adventure] [Jon Favreau] c; co-2uc; ph: Guillermo Navarro

[Left] with dir Roland Emmerich


10,000 BC [Roland Emmerich] s35/c; 2uc: Anna J. Foerster; miniature unit ph: Britta Mangold


The Maiden Heist [Peter Hewitt] s35/c; aph: Brian Heller


Do começo ao fim/From Beginning to End [Aluizio Abranches] c


Friendship! [Markus Goller] c; 2uc: Frank DeMarco; addph: Winnie Heun


Astral City: A Spiritual Journey/Nosso Lar [Wagner de Assis] scope/c


Sweet Baby Jesus [Peter Hewitt (left the prod)] scheduled to start filming in September; status unknown


Eine ganz heiße Nummer [Markus Goller] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Andy Löv


Love Berlin: How We Met [seg ? dir by ?] ?; 10 seg; other ph: Frank Griebe; pre-production; prod halted due to a copyright dispute


Vatertage - Opa über Nacht [Ingo Rasper] HD (ARRI ALEXA)-to-35mm scope/c


Frau Ella [Markus Goller] c



Noch ein Wunsch [Thomas Koerfer] tvm


Eurocops [ep #7 'Honig der Nacht' dir by Jean-Pierre Heizmann] 70-part series, 1988-93 (prod by tv-companies from 7 European countries); 1st season, 1988


Eurocops [ep #15 'Falken auf Eis' dir by Jean-Pierre Heizmann] 2nd season, 1989; see 1988


Eurocops [ep #21 'Taxi ins Jenseits' dir by Erwin Keusch (EK) & #22 'Gerechtigkeit für Elisa' dir by EK] 3rd season, 1989-90; see 1988


Naked Hollywood [Margy Kinmonth & Alan Lewens] 5-part doc series; cph: Jon Keeping, Joey Forsyte, Jeremy Pollard & Arthur Vitarelli


Better Off Dead/A Good Kill [Neema Barnette] tvm



Privileged [Michael Hoffman] c.op; ph: Fiona Cunningham-Reid


Thin Ice [Fiona Cunningham-Reid] c.op New York; ph: Belinda Parsons


The Long Kiss Goodnight [Renny Harlin] special thanks; ph: Guillermo Navarro