Set in the 1980s, Bones and All is a tender horror story that shows the beauty in the horror of cannibalism. Based on Camile DeAngeis’ novel of the same name and adapted by David Kajganich, director Luca Guadagnino’s visual horror blended with DP Arseni Khachaturan’s beautiful cinematography creates humanity that separates it from a traditional horror story. 

As the characters road trip across the United States, Guadagnino and Khachaturan captured the natural beauty of the Midwest with sweeping landscape shots and limited lighting. 

Lewis Potts breaks down the cinematography of Bones and All and how it played to the film's naturalistic look. Watch his video below, then let's break down what camera, lenses, and lights were used in this cannibal romance. 

The Cinematography of Bones and All

Shot on Panavision 35mm, the crew used ultra-speed and superspeed lenses to help capture as much light as possible during the nighttime shoots.

When you are wanting to have naturalistic lighting for a movie, you don’t have a ton of light to illuminate a scene. Superspeed lenses are used to capture all of that light. 

For scenes that took place at dusk, of which there are quite a few, the key light in scenes would often have to be constantly lower as the sun slowly sets. Lowering the key light will match the constantly changing background light. The goal of lighting is to make the scene look as natural as possible, so try to make the key light level not look like a key light and open up the lens to capture as much light as possible. 

When that light is gone, lamps and LED tube lights help dramatize the natural light in those night scenes. 

The cinematography of 'Bones and All''Bones and All'Credit: United Artists Releasing

To help make sure that light was directed a specific way for a night scene, the crew wore black hoodies as well as setting up slightly transparent flags to diffuse lights near the camera so the light didn’t bounce widely through the night. 

There isn’t too much out there about the lighting of Bones and All, but I believe that was the goal of the filmmakers. They wanted to create an environment that is extremely natural to highlight the beauty of young love in America.

There are so many stunning landscape shots that I will return to over and over again, and it is all about finding the right time of day and having a good plan ready to shape any needed light to accentuate the moment. 

What do you think of the cinematography in Bones and All? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Lewis Potts