'Spider-Man' Began Shooting On Monday; Cinematographer Praises New RED Epic Series Cameras

We knew that Marc Webb's new version of Spider-Man (or, more formally, the Untitled Spider-Man Reboot) for Sony was planning to shoot in early December. And now look, it's early December and there's a post from the film's cinematographer, John Schwartzman, trumpeting about the first day of shooting with RED's new Epic line cameras. (The same tech that will be used for The Hobbit.)

Expect to see some set photos soon — it's virtually impossible to keep a set fully locked down in this era — but for now you can read the bulk of Mr. Scwartzman's comments after the break.

This post appeared on the RED user forums. (via ComingSoon) A summation of his comments might be "the RED Epic is awesome!" as Mr. Schwartzman praises the high imaging resolution, light weight and flexibility.

Today was Epic, Monday December 6 marks the first day the Red Epic camera was used to shoot a major studio motion picture. I can say for certainty the camera does exist and boy is it ready for primetime, as a matter of fact it's a true game changer. We shot in 3D with 4 Epics mounted on 2 3ality TS-5 rigs today, we did 22 set ups, including running high speed and the images look stunning! I do believe the sensor is iso 800 minus 1 stop for the mirror in daylight and iso 640 in tungsten light but that is really for every dp to determine for themselves, Brook Willard and I figured 640 tungsten but that's just a number. For the first time in digital cinematography, small size doesn't come with a resolution penalty, as a matter of fact there isn't a higher resolution camera available other than IMAX, and this one weighs 5lbs with an ultra prime on it, suddenly 3D isn't a 100lb beast! We had the cameras on dollies and a libra head today and we flew the 3D rig like it was an Arri 435. You guys told me you could do it in September and here we are today, Congratulations.

I am lighting by eye except that I've had to re-train myself to work at lower light levels because the camera is so sensitive. The images we made today were stunning, rich beautiful color and the resolution of a vistavision camera all in a package the size of a Hasselblad 501. We are shooting 2.40 at 5K, there wasn't a hiccup from the cameras all day, the data was flawless, and there was a lot of it. I can tell you without these cameras it would be impossible to move a 3D rig in the ways that THIS story demands, if Jim and the crew hadn't made these cameras available to us I don't think we could have shot this movie the way our director envisioned it in 3D. Guys you've trusted me to take these out on their maiden voyage and I can tell you that after today I won't let you down. I will have the members of my team, most of whom are familiar to the REDUSER site post about things about sub-menu's and stuff my camera assistants won't let me touch. I would like to thank Nate, Brook, Michael, and Deanan as well as my regular camera crew for an unbelievable first day, and Brook thanks for the Tiff's they look amazing!

Mazel Tov RED!

(For those who aren't camera nerds, VistaVision was Paramount's proprietary camera system renowned for high resolution. By orienting the 35mm film to run horizontally through the gate rather than vertically, more film surface is exposed for each frame than in a typical 35mm setup. Only a few dozen films, such as The Searchers and Vertigo, were shot entirely in VistaVision, but the system is still in use for effects shots. Bill Pope used it on Scott Pilgrim vs the World, for example, in the alley fight between Scott and Todd Ingram.)

He had previously enthused about testing the RED Epic:

I have been part of a very select group of DP's that have actually shot with the EPIC and I can tell that the 3lb 5K camera is a game changer, end of story, game over, pick your cliche'. I am still very committed to film, it 's still the best data recorder if budget isn't an object. I don't think we've figured out digital archiving, and if you shoot EPIC you will have a lot of data. I will tell you this I have shot more tests on the EPIC than probably any other DP other than my mate Andrew Lesnie who is doing the "Hobbit", we skype daily about how this camera blows our mutual minds, when you see these image projected at 4K it's like looking a vistavision.


The cast of Spider-Man includes Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Spider-Man (well, a couple stuntmen and many computers will also be Spider-Man) and then Rhys Ifans as the Lizard, Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, presumably Sally Field as Aunt May, and Denis Leary as the father of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).  Campbell Scott (Roger Dodger, The Spanish Prisoner) and Julianne Nicholson (Kinsey, Little Black Book) are Parker's parents, Richard and Mary Parker, who leave their son an orphan. Irfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, The Darjeeling Limited) will play Nels Van Adder, a former research assistant who volunteered to become a test subject for a chemical developed by Stromm and Norman Osborn, which results in him becoming a villain named Proto-Goblin.  Annie Parisse (Rubicon, National Treasure) will play Van Atter's wife. It has been rumored that Chris Zylka has been cast as Eugene Thompson.

Spider-Man is scheduled for release on July 3, 2012.