Contact us + 372 6352 477 EU (818) 293-2132  USA

The Batman: Vengeance & DS Lights
City of Gotham in the spotlight

In this storyline, a cruel and ruthless serial killer starts targeting important political figures in Gotham. As a result, Batman is compelled to launch an investigation into the city's concealed corruption and also begins to question his own family's potential involvement.

In case you have not seen it, Watch the trailer here 

Greig called The Batman the most "complicated lighting job" he's ever done, adding, "Finding the right balance between darkness and lightness was the real challenge."

Read further to see what movie magic Greig Fraser made this time ( yes, our lights are part of the trick).

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Finding the sweet spot with exposure

The film is dark, we can all agree on that. That is exactly what Fraser and Reeves set out to create. One of the challenges was lighting the black batsuit in these low-light environments.
Fraser notes, "From an exposure standpoint, everything borders on the edge." To prevent the character from losing his frightening appeal, it was crucial to expose him enough to reveal the character underneath, but not so much that it feels false or cartoonish. According to Fraser, "You must see the actor in the suit; otherwise, the character doesn't have heart and soul." To achieve this, he focused on ensuring that light entered the actor's eyes while keeping it mostly off the cowl. This created a perfect sweet spot for the key light that reflected off the eyes, but not the cowl or jaw. Fraser often asked Robert Pattinson to be his own stand-in to achieve this precise lighting, which added to the film's overall excellence.

Photo Credit: YouTube


Massive soft box with Digital Sputnik lights

The lighting scale only continued to increase from there. In a climactic nighttime scene outside of the Gotham Square Garden Arena, Fraser and gaffer Jamie Mills were responsible for creating a massive soft box over the arena's exterior. The rigging consisted of 687 single Digital Sputnik cubes broken down into individual modules, mostly from DS6 lamps. The cubes were spaced into a 200'x170' box with Magic Cloth on the box and 251 Quarter White diffusion on the lamps. It took the crew seven weeks to construct the rig.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Lenses with character

Fraser is a cinematographer known for his unique lens choices. He worked with Arri Rental on a new series of lenses for the Alexa LF format that would cater to his preference for lenses with character. The Arri/Zeiss Master Anamorphics, while intricately designed, are typically noted for being very clean, lacking the aberrations that are often associated with anamorphic lenses. Fraser visited the facility and provided his feedback on the new Series 1 lenses, which he felt were too similar to the Master Anamorphics. After sharing his thoughts, Arri Rental developed the Series 2 lenses that fit Fraser and director Matt Reeves' vision for the film. Fraser was impressed with the lenses and they became the ones used in the film.  

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The famous car chase

During a pivotal car chase scene in the rain, the production chose to wet down the road and cars instead of using rain towers to save on costs and waste. The water on the lens was uncontrolled and at times would ruin the image. To combat this, Fraser used the new Bright Tangerine Prodigy rain deflector but found that it made the lens too clean. To create controlled and consistent raindrops that refracted and reflected the light beautifully, he used a variety of optical flats with clear silicone globules dropped on them to act as raindrops. The size and number of globules varied depending on the lighting and angle of the shot, allowing for a visually chaotic sequence that was actually very controlled.


Hollywood film made with a 50 dollar lens

Fraser also explained that for the climactic car-chase sequence between Batman and the Penguin, he wanted smaller, lighter-weight rigs and lenses that would maintain a continuity of look but be less expensive if damaged in a stunt. He turned to Vintage Lenses for Video's Alan Besedin, who had partnered with Iron Glass to offer rehoused Soviet-era Helios and Jupiter still lenses incorporated into cine-style mechanics.
Fraser said 
“They were smaller, lighter and less expensive, but still had a great look. We had them add in an elliptical aperture cut out to make the bokeh look more anamorphic-like. There’s a lack of uniformity across the image that I love with these Soviet lenses, but also a certain depth and warmth in the focus falloff — a lack of scientific perfection. They really felt right for us, and they fit in with the look and feel of the Alfas without any disparity. The crazy thing is wrapping your head around shooting a massive big-budget film with still lenses that you can get off of eBay for $50! They’re not something I could do an entire film with, but they were phenomenal for what we needed them for, and they had better edge-to-edge performance so that we could frame a bit more extreme in this sequence."

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Masters of film look

To achieve the desired look, the film was recorded onto Kodak Vision3 2254 1 ASA intermediate stock as a negative, which was then processed with a bleach-bypass technique and contact-printed as an interpositive to the same stock. The skip-bleach process was used to create halation around highlights, rather than for increasing contrast and desaturating the image. Working with colorist Dave Cole at FotoKem, Fraser picked the scan from the interpositive as the main "hero" image. For close-up shots, the interpositive scan was often used, while the scan from the negative was used for wide shots to maintain resolution. By using a film intermediate, Fraser was able to add texture and achieve a film look, while maintaining control over the degradation of the image.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Dark and visually stunning, this movie definitely changed how we see Batman forever! Greig Fraser never stops impressing us with his unique artistic choices and we are proud that our lights are his to-go lighting solution! LED is the way. 

Creating tools to crash your favorite movies