The Departed

 

Excerpt from

American Cinematographer 

(October 2006)

 

Martin Scorcese's DoP Michael Ballhaus took advantage of the Mo-Sys Lambda remote digital head for a series of unique crane shots.

 

“We had the first [Mo-Sys head] in New York, and it was very compact and quick to set up,” says Tom Lappin, Ballhaus’ ‘B” camera operator. “Marty [Scorcese] loves to look straight down, so we used it for a lot of planned shots, like the scene in which [Leonardo DiCaprio's character] gets his arm cast cracked open by a mobster. Marty wants to get that kind of shot, but Michael wants to be able to set it up, look straight down, pop it on the jib arm, and get it done in 20 minutes, and this was perfect for that. We also had some big crane shots showing the Boston police headquarters, and we had to have something small and light, and versatile enough to carry it in quickly, get the shot, and get out quickly. That’s one of Michael’s big things: If it takes too long, he doesn’t want to do it that way.”

 

In the story Colin (Matt Damon) strikes up a relationship with Madeleine (Vera Farmiga). To get this shot, Ballhaus employed a Mo-Sys remote head, which he found very handy. “It’s easy to use, and you can mount it on a crane very quickly,” the cinematographer enthuses. “Our key grip, Mitch Lillian, had a number of different cranes we could put it on. I liked that head a great deal, and we used it a lot on this movie.”

 

 

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