Not only did Lubezki find the right placement for his lighting equipment, he had his grip team constantly move them during the shot, with the lights dancing just out of frame and moving along with the actors, Lubezki, and the camera operator. He wanted to feel those moments emotionally rather than just show them objectively.
If the Oscar for Best Cinematography was given on a purely technical level, Birdman would be more than worthy of it. The cameras used in Birdman included the Arri Alexa and, for the handheld and Steadicam shots, the Alexa plus.
They would move not only heavy, superhot lamps but also the gels and diffusions bouncing their light and shadows, all to maintain the illusion of a natural source within the shot.
If the Oscar was awarded based on artistry and how beautifully shot a film is, then Birdman would be more than worthy of it. In a normal movie, a close-up is a couple feet from the actor. On one side he has the bright spot of the audience clapping and his ego being fed by that, and the other side is the blue, sad knowledge that everything is collapsing and his ego brought them there.
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