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Toronto Behind the Lens: Eli Roth Calls 4K 'Insane' at Canon/THR Panel

"If one person got a pimple, it was incredibly noticeable -- and we were just shooting in HD," the filmmaker said of filming "The Green Inferno."

Eli Roth - H - 2013
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Eli Roth

Eli Roth isn't sold on 4K — the high-resolution format four times the resolution of today's HD that is being heavily marketed in both the consumer electronics and professional production industries.

Speaking on a cinematography panel that I moderated, which was hosted by Canon and The Hollywood Reporter at the Toronto Film Festival, the filmmaker asserted: "Most of the cast on The Green Inferno were college kids with flawless skin. And if one person got a pimple, it was incredibly noticeable — and we were just shooting in HD." He added that they also had to hide bug bites while shooting on location in the Amazon. "And we were getting devoured by bugs," Roth said.

TORONTO: Eli Roth on the Dangerous Shoot for Gory Cannibal Movie 'The Green Inferno'

The director pointed out that that working with more data can also be more time consuming. "If you're Peter Jackson and making a movie and have time, it's great. But when you are going on the fly and moving fast, 4K is way more information that you need. It's insane."

He added that you often hear people comparing megapixels, but Roth said: "It's an algorithm and basically you only need [all of the extra pixels] if you are going to blow it up to the size of a billboard. … So we are watching these movies now where are going 4K, but the cameras aren't as good."

Most of the discussion centered on the filming of The Green Inferno — the Roth-helmed homage to Italian cannibal movies of the late '70s and early '80s, which debuted at TIFF — as well as the Roth-produced The Sacrament, a take on cults that had its North American premiere this week in Toronto.

Also joining the panel were Ti West, (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), director of The Sacrament; Eric Robbins, the director of photography behind The Sacrament; Antonio Quercia, director of photography behind The Green Inferno; and Aaron Burns, second-unit DP on The Green Inferno.

Both films used the Canon C300 and 5D cameras and both involved a large amount of handheld work that took advantage of the portable cameras. The filmmakers shared their experiences and advice with a standing-room-only crowd during the panel, held at Brassaii Restaurant.

The Green Inferno is a perfect example of guerilla filmmaking, with Roth leading his team on a perilous journey to shoot in remote parts of South America. The Sacrament was lensed on location in Savannah, Ga.

"Ultimately all of these cameras are like film stocks, and Canon is a beautiful film stock," summed up Robbins. "For us it was the right camera and the right size."

Tim Smith, advisor to Canon's film and TV group, also participated, reporting on Canon's roadmap, which in the near future will involve expanding the company's line of Cinema EOS lenses.

Check back to THR for more interviews, including video, with cinematographers at TIFF as part of the Behind the Lens series.

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com
Twitter: @CGinLA