Early conversations about the film’s aesthetic revolved around a booklet of pictorial references, including photographs from Hedi Slimanes Diary and Eugene Richards ‘The Blue Room,’ with the overall discussion focused on expressing emotions and communication, especially in a non-hearing context.

“Darius and I spoke about the perspective of ‘sound’. What does Ruben experience when he loses his hearing? What does the audience experience when he cannot hear? Does that need to be visible as well? That was an interesting conversation, especially together with sound designer Nicolas Becker,” says Bouquet.

“One film that was really inspirational to me in terms of smart, layered 35mm film photography was Wuthering Heights (2011, dir. by Andrea Arnold, DP Robbie Ryan BSC ISC), especially the scenes with the younger Heathcliff. They feel free and intuitive but are actually very well chosen and very specific. I found it beautiful how they showed time passing in the details of an insect on a cracked, drafty window. That’s a very visual language and we felt that The Sound of Metal was going to have something similar on an auditory level as well, with the camerawork kept sincere, reserved and natural.”

Realizing he would need an affordable sync-sound camera configuration, which was also mobile enough to manoeuvre in the smaller spaces of the couple’s RV-cum-sound studio home, Bouquet went with the Aaton Penelope 35mm camera, plus Sigma lenses.

“I’m a big fan of the Aaton Penelope because it is very quiet in 2-perf mode, as well as being compact and very lightweight,” says the DP. “Even though they aren’t very costly, the Sigma lenses have been produced with many years of lens knowledge in the back pocket. I did a little test in Amsterdam and chose them because of their character, size, speed and ability to close focus.”

Bouquet selected a trio of KODAK VISION3 filmstocks for the production – namely, 50D 5203, 250D 5207 and 500T 5219.

“We had a dynamic schedule and preferred to spend our limited amount of production time on performance and to keep the overall look pretty natural,” explains Bouquet. “So I planned to use available light and to keep the lighting set ups minimal, which meant I had to be a little creative with the exposure sensitivity throughout the production.

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