Harrison Ford’s character – Public Advocate Rusty Sabich – arrives at his office. Find it at the 0:4:40 mark…
This single, unbroken shot was executed on the Panaglide (Panavision’s finicky 1980’s answer to the Steadicam) by future ASC member Craig DiBona (who also served as the movie’s camera operator). The ‘Glide pans left-to-right as Ford sweeps into the room and follows him, pausing for a moment as he grabs some coffee; we then follow him once again to his desk.
The lighting matches the simple, easy nature of the shot. Optima 32’s – forerunners of today’s KinoFlo fluorescent tubes – were mounted overhead in practical fixtures. They filled the room with a soft, omni-directional feeling that perfectly lent itself to the bureaucratic environment. In most cases Willis would order the Optima 32’s to be wrapped in a light grade of Minus Green gel (he preferred Lee over Rosco at the time) but as it’s not listed in my notes, he apparently opted out in this case.
Full disclosure: as Ford steps away from the coffee station and heads for his office, you’ll notice two little flares that kick in from the top of frame, just right of center. They were completely my fault! I somehow forgot to place the 40mm hard matte in front of the lens. Though you couldn’t see the mistake on the primitive video assist, you’d better believe I heard about it from Willis the next night in dailies.
Side note: My good friend Tim Smith (formerly of Canon) has started a podcast in association with Filmtools – and I had the great honor of being his first guest. It’s called, Hollywood, How Did You Get Here? and can be found on Spotify. Give it a listen!