How They Shot Mad Max: Fury Road

Fury Road was a reinvigorating adventure for veteran cinematographer John Seale, who came out of retirement to collaborate once again with George Miller. Only this was no Lorenzo’s Oil, the last film he shot for Miller.

With usual “Mad Max” DP Dean Semler out of the picture, Seale stepped out of his comfort zone to tackle the reboot, which turned out to be the best action film in years — and in what is still the best post-apocalyptic franchise.

“The whole film is basically a chase [in the desert landscape of West Africa with 75 vehicles], but was originally envisioned as a 3D shoot and they were building their own stereoscopic cameras,” recalled the Oscar-winning Seale (“The English Patient”). “But then George changed his mind after I signed on. I was able to trim the 3D rig down because our 2D cameras are much smaller and lighter and it became more versatile for George.”

Still, it was Seale’s first digital experience, and despite all of Miller’s meticulous planning after being in pre-production for 10 years, they had to revise the camera placement during the spectacular chase in the War Rig helmed by Charlize Theron’s Furiosa.

“For 20-percent of it we were hanging on platforms at 80 kilometers an hour through the desert, rocking around and doing it the old way, which still works,” said the 73-year-old Seale. “We knew what we had to do and the actors were comfortable shooting it in sequence to keep the psychological rhythm going.”

Miller’s mandate was to center the frame at all times, because he was going to cut fast and wanted the appearance of seamless, continuous action, with the viewer never confused. He even manipulated frames to help achieve this effect. But Miller likes to shoot with one camera and Seale prefers multiple cameras to give the editor more choices.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Crafts, Movies, Tech, VFX

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