In order to better manage the transitions between the different plans, the technical team was forced to compete ingenuity. As well, Roger Deakins – director of photography of the film, told the Hollywood Reporter that it was not uncommon for technicians to hide in the scenery in order to play the extras AND manage the cameras at the same time : “sometimes They were in uniform and suddenly they have been paid more because they received a cheque for their figuration.” We can also see an example below.
A camera invisible…
The problem of a film in plan-sequence, is that the performance film can quickly take over the story and the experience of the spectators. Also, Roger Deakins has stated, they have done everything to minimize the place of the camera in the film : “You don’t want it to become a character. This is not that kind of film. You want it to go in the picture“. Result, the team has tested all the possible supports that are capable of managing the effects of movements in order to keep that 4 : the classic Steadicam, Trinity Arri stabilization rig, the Stabileye and a Mini Libra remote head.
… and unique
Speaking of the camera, Roger Deakins was running around to find the best on the market. The program ? He simply asked Arri if it was possible to manufacture a mini version of the arri ALEXA camera LF in order to preserve the intimate side of the film just by popping on the screen the visual quality of the scenery. A request that fell on the pic, since the German company was working on exactly such a project. Therefore, Arri was able to send him 3 copies in time for the shoot, making 1917 the first film to have used them.
Finally, for questions of transitions and credibility of images and timing, none of the decor has been designed at random. For example, for a scene of spectacular action on the front, it’s nearly 1.5 km of trenches which were excavated in Bovingdon (England). A considerable amount of work which has allowed the actors to fully immerse themselves in the film. The micro de LCI, Dean-Charles Chapman even went so far as to declare : “It was very, very dense. The catch could last for up to 6 minutes, I was completely disoriented. When they said ‘cut’, at the end I forgot completely who I was, I was my character“.