Cinematographer Eric Robbins and Director Ti West (The House of the Devil) made the choice to turn to Canon and the Alura Zooms to create a retro-creepy filmic look inspired visually by the Jonestown settlement.
“The best part about making a movie is the design factor,” said Robbins. “Then there’s the physical parameters of it, which are what are we doing with the camera? How are we going to light this? How big or small are we going to go? Is it beauty lighting? Is it very gritty? All those are huge contributing factors to ultimately what your decisions are. And you test. You do a lot of testing and you find your alchemy.”
West and Robbins tested several different cameras before arriving at the conclusion to shoot on the C300. Since this was West’s first digital film, so he chose the C300 because to him it looked the most like film.
The C300 and Fujinon glass were also chosen because the parameters of the shoot demanded a need for long, angle-changing takes. “We knew we were going to be walking around doing takes where we walk in and out of things,” Robbins stated. “User exposure shifts, looking 270 degrees, 360 degrees all the time, takes that would go for six to eight to ten minutes. So there were some restrictions with it. A lot of the movie we wanted to shoot chronologically because the story takes place in about a day and a half and I wanted it to feel consistent.”
Robbins wanted the film to have a “decouverte” feel with fluid motion. The camera and lens choice really gave him a bunch of creative options. “I feel like cameras are like film stocks,” says Robbins. “Lenses are like film stocks. They have certain looks that then you build off of.”