While doing some research for a completely unrelated article, I stumbled across the homepage for Munich-based FGV Schmidle. Schmidle is providing the camera and grip support for the George Lucas/Rick McCallum-produced, Anthony Hemingway-directed WW2 pic Red Tails, and have posted two huge Flash galleries of behind the scenes photos. Most of the pics can be chalked up to camera porn, but there are a few good snaps of gimbaled fighter planes, practical and greenscreen sets, and exterior locations in Prague.

Links to what I believe are the first official pix of any kind are at the bottom of the page.

In WW2 the squadron
of the Tuskegee Airmen not only had to fight in their planes, but also
against racism in the strictly segregated troops at that time. The
African-American pilots had to fly extremely risky missions and
escorted thousands of bombers.

George Lucas and Markus Schmidle (FGV managing director).

The press release on FGV’s site indicates the entire filmmaking pipeline from
production to post to exhibition will be completely digital, suggesting
that this film will never actually be printed to film.* “This represents the only way to really control the visual
quality throughout the entire production chain,
” [Lucas] claims. Production
started April 16th of last year, with reshoots rumored to have taken place around February of this year with Lucas in the director’s chair. (The slates in the pix indicate Hemingway as the director, so if the reshoot story is true they’re probably from the initial production phase.)**

Red Tails was shot with at least four Sony F35 digital cameras, which feature Super35mm-sized CCDs and PL lens mounts for high-end
Angénieux Optimo zooms and ARRI Master Prime lenses. 

The DIT station; from right to left, SRW-5800 HDCAM SR recorder & Codex recorder.

The signal was recorded with dual link 4:4:4 Codex disc recorders, which are capable of handling two
4:4:4 streams (meaning, two cameras) at the same time. Two additional SRW-5800 HDCAM SR recorders were used for
back-up and additional play-outs.

DP John Aronson (straw hat) and director Anthony Hemingway (blue cap).

This is the future of filmmaking and I for one, am pretty excited. Avatars big 3D/digital projection push probably paved the way for much smaller films to attempt completely digital theatrical runs. Seeing as Red Tails doesn’t exactly have the built-in audience of Star Wars or Indiana Jones, a move like this seems to indicate a lot of faith in the project, despite earlier reports that Lucas was displeased with Hemingway’s direction.




*Which, for the record, is not celluloid. Celluloid hasn’t been used since the 70’s. Modern film stock uses a triacetate base and release prints use a near-unbreakable polyesther (ESTAR) base that’s so strong you can use it to tow a truck.

**Thanks, TaylorF.