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Turning up the volume on Sympathy for the Devil

Sympaty for the devil

Noah Kadner, American Cinematographer, 15th of March, 2023, image: Hammerstone Studios

Cinematographer Steven Holleran and director Yuval Adler use plate photography and an LED-wall stage to help present a nefarious night on the road.

LED stages have a wide variety of uses, and one area where they are proving particularly effective is for shooting scenes in moving cars — or, rather, in cars that seem to be moving. The psychological thriller Sympathy for the Devil spends nearly half its runtime traveling the streets of Las Vegas over the course of a night, and even savvy viewers might be surprised to learn that these scenes were captured predominantly in an LED volume, with the background provided by in-camera visual effects composed of pre-recorded plates. Six of the production’s 20 shoot days took place on a volume at Vū Las Vegas. It was the first feature undertaken at the facility, which opened in April 2022.

Full Control
Sympathy — which follows a driver (Joel Kinnaman) as he transports a mysterious passenger (Nicolas Cage) around town in a series of violent encounters — was also the first volume-based shoot for cinematographer Steven Holleran and director Yuval Adler, and the filmmakers agree that the technology poses an array of advantages over traditional process-trailer work.

“Many people don’t understand how challenging the logistics of taking a film on the open road are,” says Adler. “A typical set includes all your talent trailers, bathrooms, makeup department — [and] once you start driving, you’re out of the set, and everybody has to come after you. You’re not sitting with the actors, and you’re not in complete control. If your film has five minutes of driving, it’s fine, but not if you have 35 minutes.” Continue reading


The American Cinematographer: https://theasc.com/articles/sympathy-for-the-devil

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