Ben Davis, BSC has become an old h& in the Marvel universe.

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Doctor Strange marks his third Marvel film as director of photography, preceded by the global hits Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy. “Marvel very much is a universe with its own language, but the three films I"ve done have been vastly different.”


In Doctor Strange, a car accident changes the fate of brilliant neurologist Dr. Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who in his quest to lớn heal và rebuild his life is trained in the mystical arts by the Ancient One to keep inter-dimensional peace. 

Davis met with Strange director Scott Derrickson on the mix of Ultron. “It"s hard to lớn say why these things happen or why I was selected khổng lồ vị Doctor Strange, but Scott and I got on very well và it all started lượt thích that.”

Marvel gravitates toward the digital format for its movies, and production on Doctor Strange hit just as the ARRI Alexa 65 camera was being introduced, &"s large-format lenses were experiencing a resurgence.


"What I was interested in was close-up work with faces. When we tested the System 65 lenses, I immediately became aware of how great the resolution was and how great the exposure latitude was from blaông chồng to trắng..."

Davis, a self-professed “ guy,” selected the company lớn service the production. “I"ve had an association with since I was a teenager working as a camera technician at Samuelson, which was a agent in the U.K. They have stood by me và supported me throughout my career.” Lenses were another reason he ended up at “We did a lot of lens testing, & the cameras had just come out,” he adds. “We had four lens sets that covered the format, but since then, the lens range that has available now is greater than when we were in production.”


Out of London, Davis selected two Panavised ARRI Alexa 65 cameras, along with two ARRI Alexa XTs for backup and special shooting situations. “One XT would occasionally get thrown in when we shot with a third camera,” he says, “or if we were on an action sequence, we had a fourth camera.” 

Davis opted for System 65 lenses as his main phối, a mix of Primo 70s, và two rehoused Hasselblads.

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A mount adapter also allowed him to use the System 65 & Primo 70 lenses on the ARRI XT cameras. For Davis, digital images can be a bit too clean, preferring khổng lồ use atmosphere, flare & older lenses lớn “corrupt” the imagery in some way. “What I was interested in was close-up work with faces. When we tested the System 65 lenses, I immediately became aware of how great the resolution was & how great the exposure latitude was from blachồng to lớn trắng,” says Davis. “The System 65 lenses were a consistent T2.8, whereas some of the rehoused Hasselblads tended khổng lồ be stops of 4-plus. Because we had a lot of night & night interior work, I just felt that going into lớn it with only a mix of T4 lenses wasn"t a good idea. I"d have sầu to lớn have more light.”


With all the digital work happening in Thành Phố New York, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Longcross and Pinewood, shooting in Nepal called for a different approach. “What Kathmandu has is this great texture, and we were really keen on capturing the dust, the heat, the smoke, the grime, the reality,” Davis recounts. “I thought we should shoot film because it would deliver that, particularly daylight exterior in harsh sunlight with lots of smoke và texture. Also, Kathmandu was going to lớn be one of those shooting scenargame ios where we had to be discreet with run-and-gun stuff on the streets in real crowds. I felt the Millennium XLs would whaông chồng it on the head – put a battery on bachồng, switch it on & go.”


Through the complexity of global travel và a newer, larger digital format, Davis says the production went really smoothly. “ was there for me throughout the whole process, & if I ever had a problem, I knew I could liên hệ ( Marketing Director) Hugh Whittaker or (Technical Marketing) Lee Mackey on the phone và it would be sorted out immediately.” 

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