The Cinematography of the Revenant

0W5A0015-Edit Before 3-11


Ben’s After Before Forum “is a place where photographers of all levels can show how they get the wow in their photography”.

I started with the Lightroom, then combined a number of filters through the Efex Pro Color 4 to get the after version (above). Below is the before photo.

0W5A0015 Before 3-11



After watching the Revenant, I was compelled to read about how it was filmed and where. Altas of Wonders and a couple Internet sources tell the stories behind the cinematography. Here are the highlights:

The 11 months of shooting was notoriously complicated. The Mexican director AG Iñárritu (Birdman, Amores Perros) was very clear from the beginning: it would not be a green-screen production; 93% of the movie takes place in exterior locations. The filmmakers were looking for remote locations to give the feel of wilderness in snowy virgin conditions.

Most of the film was filmed in Kananaskis Country, an area of parks and reserves in the Canadian Rockies. Some parts were filmed in Libby in Montana, US. Last scenes were shot on the southern South America and the small Olivia river was near Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

Iñárritu wanted to shoot only in natural light, and did 90% of the time, which added great difficulty. They had to wait for weather and light to align for the perfect shot, deal with cold and wet; and besides days were short during the winter. But, he wanted the audience to feel that “this stuff is really happening”, and nature light is the way to achieve that.

“A couple of times I fell in the frozen river,” Iñárritu recalls nonchalantly, “To go back and change takes half an hour, so you have to really think if it’s a good idea to change in that moment and lose the light that you’ve been waiting for.” 

He stated that he will never again make another movie like this, because “I am a crazy man, but not stupid”.

While watching the movie, I thought he was crazy, but brilliant. Have you seen the movie?


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