The Mountain Between Us is a harrowing film, directed by Hany Abu-Assad, that concerns two strangers (Idris Elba and Kate Winslet) who survive a terrifying plane crash and trapped on a remote snowcapped mountain, where they must find it in themselves and in each other the strength to survive. Cinematographer Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS worked with Natasha Leonnet (their fourth collaboration) at EFILM, color grading the film, which Walker shot using a combination of ARRI 35 and 65 Alexa cameras, in great part under freezing conditions on a glacier at Invermere, BC.
“Shooting in snow can be some of the most difficult conditions,” Leonnet explains, “and Mandy wasn’t able to use any lighting equipment at all. But she found a lot of clever techniques to expose her ‘digital neg’ exactly the way she wanted to. In some cases, she even had the crew wear all white and positioned people to best reflect the sunlight.”
Much of the work Leonnet did with Walker involved fine tuning the bluish light as it really would appear in reality, nearly 11,000 feet above sea level. “She used different shades of blue to define time changes,” Leonnet elaborates. “Sometimes it’s lighter blue, sometimes it’s more cyanish and then it’s more blue-green than cyan. We also made very subtle changes to luminance levels to help define time of day and enhance a feel of whether the scene is overcast or not.
“As always,” Leonnet recalls, “it was wonderful working with Mandy. She is so precise with the way she shoots everything that the time we spend in the DI can be devoted to perfecting the imagery.”
Deluxe’s EC3 also four-walled a mini facility in Vancouver, BC where they graded all the footage and screened dailies for a major portion of the shoot.