Janusz Kaminski: Technicolor's ENR Process

From American Cinematographer, Breaking Slavery's Chains by Stephen Pizzello (January 1998)

"When I'm doing a normal movie-- without ENR-- I typically try to add a bit more contrast, especially when I'm lighting faces. I want one side to be light, the other side to be darker, and so on. I always end up flagging the excess light to create some contrast because of the latitude of the film. While doing tests with ENR on Amistad, I learned very quickly that the process allows you to dispense with a lot of the grip equipment, because extra contrast is inherent to the ENR process. We could simply put a frontal light at a certain angle, without using flags."

- Janusz Kaminski

"We did have to adjust for that a bit. I'd ask Janusz about [flagging] certain setups, and he'd say, 'Don't worry, the ENR will take care of it.' The ENR really absorbs light in some areas that you'd normally want to control."

- Jim Kwiatkowski, Key Grip for Janusz on Amistad

"I'd find out what would happen if, for instance, I put a black net filter behind the lens, added smoke and ENR to the mix, and then lit flatly. We got to the point where we were trying to create the most implistic and idiotic lighting possible, where you just put a bounce card in front of someone's face and aim a light into it. That's as flat as you can get! We were dealing with a lot of contrast right there-- the light is reflected from a black face, and it just falls off. But that didn't create any problems for us, even when we were putting someone as pale as Matthew McConaughey next to Djimon. Djimon's magical face is truly black, but he reflects light beautifully; that compensated for Matthew's skin tone. If I had them in a two-shot, I'd maybe put the light closer to Djimon. My hat is off to Kodak in that regard; these days, the emulsions are so sophisticated, and have so much latitude, that you don't have to do very much to accommodate the tonal differences. For all of these reasons, we started doing very simple lighting tests with very easy lighting; there were no tricks."

- Janusz Kaminski

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