December 3, 2019

'Knives Out' Pulled Off a Really Cool Shot That No One Noticed

...Well, almost no one. Steve Yeldin, who worked on Rian Johnson's film, revealed how he and the production pulled off one of Knives Out's most subtle (and cool) shots.

Knives Out proved that audiences are hungry for original content over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Writer-director Rian Johnson's expertly-crafted murder mystery, starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas, overperformed at the box office (to the tune of $70 million worldwide) as audiences got wrapped up in its eccentric characters and engaging, intricate visuals. 

Audiences got so wrapped up in Johnson's deft visual style and his crew's camera work that they very likely missed a small -- but key -- sequence that further proves that "less is more" -- especially when it comes to visual storytelling. Did you catch the shot we're talking about?

If not, no worries. Steve Yeldin, ASC, has got you covered. 

Yeldin, a self-described "camera person" who worked on Knives Out and Star Wars: The Last Jedi with Johnson, took to Twitter to reveal how he helped pull off one of the coolest and most subtle day-for-night shots in the film -- and, quite frankly, one of the best we've ever seen. As simple as the shot looks, it was quite complicated to pull off. 

Yeldin's tweets here are the Twitter equivalent of a DVD bonus feature. The before and after shots are very helpful in seeing just how much work went into this small but essential moment in the film. And if you noticed that green screen being employed on the mansion's exterior, you're not alone in wondering how and why that was used. 

"Since so many people are asking why there's a greenscreen," Yeldin explained, "I'll just clarify that it's for the same reason there's ever a greenscreen: To comp separate foreground and background elements. In this case, the aforementioned day-for-night and night-for-night elements."

Credit: SteveYeldin/MRC

The greenscreen allows Johnson to combine a shot from the house windows from another take into the one he wanted to use for the final cut. 

"The 'original photography' element shown is the main day-for-night shot," Yeldin tweeted. "There are multiple other plates comped in that were night-for-night."

And, no, doing it this way did not save the production time or money. 

"It was just the best method I could think of to get the very specific impressionistic night exterior look we were after," Yeldin said

The effort clearly paid off. Knives Out is in theaters now.

What did you think of the movie? Is it Rian Johnson's best film to date? Let us know in the comments. 

Your Comment

4 Comments

Easy but not easy solution

December 3, 2019 at 11:33AM, Edited December 3, 11:33AM

0
Reply

Yedlin. Not Yeldin.

December 3, 2019 at 12:40PM

0
Reply
RJ Ortiz
Cinematographer
261

I like this film

December 3, 2019 at 1:17PM

3
Reply

Great movie. Still prefer Looper as his best.

December 3, 2019 at 3:56PM, Edited December 3, 3:56PM

1
Reply