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'CLOVERFIELD' SHOT HAND-HELD WITH SONY'S F23

January 23, 2008
'CLOVERFIELD' SHOT HAND-HELD WITH SONY'S F23 In it, five young New Yorkers throw their friend a going-away party the same night a large monster descends upon the city. The story is told from the point of view of a video camera, which documents their struggle to stay alive.

Theodorakis had used the F23 on a Michael Mann-director Nike spot, but since the camera was not yet widely available, he had to track one down, eventually securing a test unit from Pace Technologies.

Cloverfield director of photography Michael Bonvillain helped director Matt Reeves create the look of the film. There is no traditional scene coverage or musical score, and the entire story unfolds over an eight hour period that has been encapsulated into 90-minutes.          

“We needed the look of the movie to be very immediate, like found footage, so a ‘YouTube’ aesthetic was the look we were trying to achieve,” Theodorakis recalls. “The F23 provided latitude without sacrificing any color imagery, allowing us to stay as strict to reality as possible while generating that warm look of New York City’s streets with its sodium vapor lights.”

He recalls the team being impressed with the look of the footage upon initial review. “There were literally gasps in the room,” says Theodorakis. “Without any lighting, you could see so deep in the shadows it was unreal. The F23 sees more than the human eye.”

To mimic a Handycam style, Theodorakis placed the F23’s deck inside a backpack. “I literally ran up and down the Brooklyn Bridge 10 times with Mike Bonvillain operating the camera and didn’t encounter a single problem,” he says.

While comparisons to The Blair Witch Project are anticipated, Theodorakis thinks people will discover it’s a very different movie.

“In Cloverfield, something actually does happen, extraordinary things, and moviegoers get to see it all happen,” he says. “It’s a great story with great characters and a whole lot of fun.”

PHOTO: A Sony F23 camera was used to mimic the look of Handicam footage shot being shot throughout Cloverfield's storyline.

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