Cinematographer Larry Smith Captures ‘The Forgiven’ With Cooke Anamorphic/i Lenses

Writer-director John Michael McDonagh and cinematographer Larry Smith, ASC, BSC faced a race against time in the face of a threatening global pandemic to capture the vibrant colours and contrasting scenes of the Moroccan landscape for the feature film The Forgiven.

The Forgiven takes place over a weekend in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and explores the reverberations of a random accident on the lives of both the locals and western visitors attending a house party in a grand villa. Filming for The Forgiven took place during a five-week period at the beginning of 2020, under a very tight schedule as the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic became apparent.

Larry Smith was struck by the light and vibrant colour scene of Morocco as well as the wide vistas, but at the same time he realised the challenges created by the desert conditions and the short time frame. All circumstances factored in, the choice of trusted, reliable equipment was an essential factor for the project to succeed; to this end he opted for the Cooke Anamorphic/i lenses, provided by MovieTech, combined with a Sony Venice camera, to capture this highly cinematic landscape in its full frame glory.

Smith has vast experience with Cooke’s S4/i lenses, and prior to starting on The Forgiven he had been shooting with the Cooke S7/i full frame lenses. “For me, the choice of the lens comes down to trust and knowing that the lenses I choose are going to perform exactly how I visualise the scene in my head. That’s what I get with the Cookes generally, and also on this occasion with the Anamorphic/i’s.”

Night shots were the most complicated to shoot, according to Smith. “Logistically this was a nightmare as the scenes were shot in the desert, miles away from the closest town, which meant that the lighting and other equipment took forever to arrive. But if anything, these challenges make you prouder of the end result as a cinematographer," he said.

Smith concludes, “As a cinematographer, all you worry about is that when you connect the lens to the camera, whether the combination of the two will deliver exactly what you had in mind. The Cookes with the Sony Venice delivered this for me. With a tight schedule, unknown landscapes and changing weather, trust in my kit and my years of experience is all that is left.”

You might also like...

HDR: Part 44 - Creative Technology - 2021 Cinematography Roundup

Filmmaking is now an artform with a long history, and that means a lot of received knowledge. Things like primes being better than zooms, and characterful primes best of all. The public attitude to that orthodoxy, though, is starting to…

HDR: Part 43 - Creative Technology - Color Balancing Different Light Sources

Creating an LED light that looks reasonable, both on camera and to the eye, is no longer that difficult.

HDR: Part 42 - Creative Technology - Surviving Evolution

2021 saw the end of a British lighting institution with the demise of Photon Beard. The company has existed since the founding of R. R. Beard Limited, founded in 1882 by a man who reveled in the fantastic name of Robert Royou…

HDR: Part 41 - Creative Technology - LED Tech Update

A technology might seem to be near maturity when design approaches that were once theoretical, and impractical to build, become easier to make and start to hit the market. LED lighting isn’t necessarily easy to build in 2021, which is…

HDR: Part 40 - DOPs : Make Your Viewers Suffer

In some ways, the best DOP and a sadist have a lot in common: We strive to make our viewers suffer and the curious thing is, our audiences love us the more for it. Of course, DOPs, like most civilized…