Cinematographer Barry Markowitz, ASC recently relied on two OConnor 120EX fluid heads to shoot Jayne Mansfield’s Car, his newest collaboration with writer/director/actor Billy Bob Thornton.
Shot entirely on location in Georgia, Jayne Mansfield’s Car is a culture-clash story set in 1969 Alabama that stars Thornton, Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick, and John Hurt. [Correction: Dennis Quaid is not in Jayne Mansfield’s Car as we had previously reported].
“We chose to shoot on 35mm 2:40 3-perf with two Panavision cameras,” said Markowitz. “My second camera was outfitted with an OConnor 120EX at all times.”
“In the opening shot, Robert Duvall is driving down Main Street and the camera has to pan 240 degrees at a very rapid pace,” said Markowitz. “For a shot like this you try not to pan too quickly for fear of strobing. The OConnor helps me handle the pace and fluidity to get it right.”
“It seems to allow the operator a reassuring control when you land at your finishing frame,” he explained. “No spinning of the wheels to hit your mark. The drag control settings allow you to put your muscle behind a quick pan, which enables you to have total control of your panning speed. It’s akin to pushing off the side of a pool when you want to get a better start and more traction when in a race.”
As longer and heavier lenses were added for action sequences, Markowitz appreciated the systems’ extra boost capability, which allowed him to extend beyond the standard payload. He also took advantage of the system’s 90-degree plus/minus tilt range to capture more dynamic action.
Jayne Mansfield’s Car, which marks Thornton’s return to directing after a 10-year break, is the fifth pairing of Thornton and Markowitz. The two also worked together on Sling Blade, The Apostle, All the Pretty Horses, and Daddy and Them. Jayne Mansfield’s Car is currently in postproduction and is slated for a late-2012 or early-2013 release.