Shot Entirely Using Natural Light? Looks Like We’re All Going to Have to Watch THE REVENANT on the Big Screen

by Hugh BrownstoneLeave a Comment

In this installment of the series “We Are Not Worthy,” we learn not only that the team of director Alejandro González Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is white hot, but they keep pushing themselves.

A number of pieces have been written about the cinematography for THE REVENANT, but the idea that a big Hollywood film would be shot almost entirely using natural light really caught my interest.

Isn’t the first rule of being a DP to manage light so that dynamic range can be controlled? Is it possible that the camera Lubezki used (an Arri Alexa 65) captured a wide enough dynamic range without this? Is it possible that Lubezki and Iñarritu were willing to have blown highlights or crushed blacks? How did shooting this way lead to “…a movie that was immersive and visceral?”

I can’t wait to find out.


Via Videomaker:

“The Revenant” is an epic Western set in 1823 Montana and South Dakota inspired by the experiences of frontiersman and fur trapper Hugh Glass. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson and is the latest movie from director Alejandro González Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

Revenant image

In 2015 Iñárritu won the Academy Award for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture for “Birdman” and Lubezki has won consecutive Oscars for Best Cinematography for his work on “Gravity” and “Birdman” so it’s no surprise that the trailers for “The Revenant” are visually stunning. However, what’s more unusual is that the film was shot almost entirely using only natural light.


The Revenant | Official Teaser Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

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(cover photo credit: snap from Videomaker)

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh is the founder of Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions. He and the team write, direct, shoot, score, and edit web-centric films; conduct photo shoots; and write copy, white papers and blog posts. Hugh also writes screenplays (he recently optioned a TV pilot) and just published his first eBook (Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution). If it's about telling stories, it's in their wheelhouse.

And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
Hugh Brownstone

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