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The Cinematography Podcast Profile

The Cinematography Podcast

English, Cinema, 1 season, 325 episodes, 5 days, 15 hours, 47 minutes
The Cinematography Podcast is the program about the art, craft and philosophy of the moving image and the people who make it happen. Your job title doesn't have to be cinematographer to be featured on the show. We interview a wide variety of filmmakers including, actors, directors, producers, production designers, editors, storyboard artists and those in related filmmaking careers. This is not a film school, more like a professionally produced radio program found on NPR, each episode brings an interesting perspective to an often overlooked and widely misunderstood craft. Recorded in Hollywood, California at the world headquarters of Hot Rod Cameras. Hosted by Ben Rock and Illya Friedman.
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Griselda cinematographer Armando Salas, ASC

Netflix's gripping new series, Griselda, takes viewers deep into the world of Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco. But behind the drugs and violence is a masterfully crafted world, built by cinematographer Armando Salas, ASC. Armando, known for his work on Ozark, brings a unique perspective to Griselda. His approach to color throughout the series tells a story that's more about character than it is about the drug trade. “In the end, we're making a work of fiction, and we really want to connect with the audience,” says Armando. “And the things you know and hear about Griselda Blanco is, you know, she's a killer, a psychopath. There's not a lot of redeeming qualities when you're looking into the drug wars in Miami at that time.” Even through all the death and destruction in the series, director Andrés Baiz didn't want Griselda to be too dark. He still wanted to find some joy and absurdity within the story. Armando met with director Andrés Baiz, who wanted to hire a local Los Angeles DP who also spoke Spanish, since a majority of Griselda's script is in Spanish. Growing up in Miami, Armando happened to know the story of Griselda Blanco very well. He also worked on a 2006 documentary called Cocaine Cowboys, about how Miami became the cocaine capital of the US. They did careful location scouting around LA for places that looked like Miami in the late 1970's and early 80's. Armando and Baiz wanted the show to have the right period look. “We didn't take an intellectual conceit, I wasn't only using lenses or camera technology that existed at that time. We were really more interested in finding the right feeling,” Armando explains. “And so, we looked at a lot of photography from the period, we looked at a lot of films from the period, we looked at modern films that were doing a good job of recreating the period, but we kind of landed our our own version. Again, it's really just like capturing the vibe and building the world. And so we had a very aggressive and unique approach to the LUT and the color characteristics of our negative.” The Polaroid pictures Baiz took during location scouting became a big inspiration for the color palette of the show. Throughout the six episode series, Armando used color to help tell a compelling character story. Griselda's world is full of deep, rich colors as she's living the high life. In contrast, Armando chose a bluer, more desaturated color for scenes with June Hawkins (Juliana Aidén Martinez), the Miami PD intelligence analyst. As she breaks the case and convinces law enforcement officers to go after Griselda, she enters a world of color. “And on top of that, we unleash the camera. We go flying down the sidewalk with her from multiple angles. It's the fastest camera movements in the series. And over the course of the series, her storyline and Griselda's storyline meet, and the color, the glitz and glamour of Griselda's world has been mostly stripped out at that point. June has come into her own, and they meet in that world. The two arcs have now connected, and it's one story.” Griselda is available on Netflix. Hear our previous interview with Armando discussing his work on Ozark and more. Find Armando Salas: Instagram: @cinesalas Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Get Tickets to Cinebeer 2024! The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
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True Detective: Night Country cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister, BSC

HBO's True Detective: Night Country has captivated audiences with its chilling atmosphere and compelling narrative. Cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister, BSC worked with director Issa López to craft the haunting visuals for the supernatural whodunit. “The detective procedural is part of the brand and it's part of the show, but it should not affect the cinematography,” says Florian. “The cinematography is never motivated just in terms of solving the mystery. We must be sure to show every important fact or clue, to understand the mystery or to build up a bigger mystery. But it's important to follow the characters and their internal struggles and secrets, the relationships, the darkness, the supernatural as the case unfolds.” When he first met with Lopez to discuss shooting True Detective: Night Country, Florian liked the feeling of eerie isolation and darkness of the location. The influence of nature adds to the supernatural and to the characters' fragmentation from each other. Florian found inspirational images by photographer Alexander Gronsky, who took photos of Russian workers in mines near the Arctic Circle. John Carpenter's The Thing and the movie Sicario were also influences for the look of the series. True Detective: Night Country takes place in Alaska near the Arctic Circle, with Iceland as the filming location. Most of the show was shot outside during the winter months, although it happened to be the coldest winter in Iceland in a hundred years. They used a soundstage only for the scenes where characters had to be outside in the snow naked or barefoot. Florian enjoys shooting in extreme climates, noting that proper clothing for the temperature is what matters the most. Even with the extreme cold, the ARRI Alexa 35 cameras all functioned just fine. The filming was over a period of 112 days, starting in October on the soundstage. Once winter really hit after Christmas, they began shooting in the snow and darkness. Each day provided about four hours of light, with just about five minutes of sunlight, then a few blue hours of sunrise and sunset. True Detective: Night Country is available on Max. Hear our previous interview with Florian Hoffmeister discussing his work on TÁR. Find Florian Hoffmeister: Instagram: @florian.hoffmeister Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/15/202426 minutes, 1 second
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Late Night with the Devil cinematographer Matthew Temple, ACS

The critically acclaimed horror movie Late Night With the Devil blends found-footage, mockumentary and 1970s late-night television into a movie with genuine scares. Cinematographer Matthew Temple, ACS used shaky camerawork, close-ups, and multiple video sources to add to the feeling of watching “behind the scenes” documentary found footage. Though they didn't use vintage tube cameras for the 1970's TV look, Matt and the camera operators used studio pedestal bases or a crane for the cameras. “Right from the get-go, (directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes) came at me with this word, 'verisimilitude,' which means to make something feel real.” says Matt. “And that was kind of the seed for the television show.” During the preproduction period on Late Night with the Devil, the Cairnes brothers gave Matt a lookbook that they'd created referencing documentaries from the time. Matt had honed his craft on Australian TV shows like Comedy Inc., a sketch comedy show that spoofed movies and TV shows. He learned how to deconstruct a movie and replicate a specific look. Matt used the same approach for the film and watched several late night talk shows from the 1970's to get the visual aesthetic right. As he learned and took notes, Matt made an extensive document setting out rules for the camera crew to follow to keep the look authentic. Using the studio pedestal bases and cranes were key, with Sony Venice cameras in 4K mode with Fujinon zooms. “We had three pedestal cameras. They were new Venices, but nonetheless they were on pedestals. Each operator had to do their own focus and zoom and trucking up the pedestals in shot. I was careful to hire two camera operators who really knew what they were doing with studio cameras because the last time I did that was 35 years ago.” Matt himself acted as the third camera operator. He would brief the other camera operators in preproduction, break down the scene, and map out how all the cameras would work together. It was critical that the cameras always have a logic and placement and appear to be moving together. Growing up in Australia, Matt was impressed with the Australian movie Mad Max as a teenager. After studying some photography and stage production, he got a trainee job at ABC Television in Sydney. He slowly worked his way up as an assistant, operator, Steadicam operator and DP in Australian television. Late Night with the Devil is Matt's first feature film as a cinematographer. He previously worked with directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes as a Steadicam operator on their first feature, 100 Bloody Acres. Matt thinks Australia is its own independent film and TV powerhouse because of their ability to innovate and work with very small budgets. Find Matthew Temple: Instagram @dpwolfie Late Night with the Devil is still playing in some theaters and is available on Shudder and VOD. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/8/202451 minutes
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Hundreds of Beavers director Mike Cheslik and cinematographer Quinn Hester

Hundreds of Beavers is a callback to slapstick comedies like classic WB Looney Tunes cartoons. It's full of live-action wacky pratfalls, ridiculous situations, and a healthy dose of beaver-related mayhem. Shot on a micro-budget of $150,000, Hundreds of Beavers was made with passion, creativity, and a whole lot of beaver costumes. Director Mike Cheslik and cinematographer Quinn Hester and most of the cast and crew are all from Wisconsin, where Hundreds of Beavers was shot. Everyone was comfortable with snow, loved physical comedy, and had the desire to make a film that would stand out as a true indie. After first meeting at the Milwaukee Film Festival in 2018, Mike called Quinn in October, 2020 to ask if he'd DP the film during the winter in zero degree weather. “It couldn't have been anybody but Quinn because he's just a tough guy and he's used to the winter,” says Mike. In total, the film took about 8 weeks of shooting with a core crew of about 4-6 people over the course of two winters. The main location was a remote cabin in Northern Wisconsin. “We're out there in the elements. It's very rare to be on a production where you are not only making a movie and having to use all your energy, focus and creativity and meditate on how to accomplish certain looks and goals and shots,” says Quinn. “But you're also trying to not die. All of us almost died at least once.” To make Hundreds of Beavers, Mike spent years creating extensive storyboards and animatics. “People could watch the animatic on the DIT computer and they could also see the boards in my binders that I was carrying around,” he says.”But it still takes a lot of explaining and there's a lot to wrap your head around because there's so much in this movie. It is a lot. I was just thinking about it nonstop for years. And then just doing my best to explain it to the team. I was always surprised how much trust we got.” The film is very effects-heavy and made to look old-timey in grainy black and white. “The freedom of picking a grainy black and white style, it frees you up to tell a bigger story and to have bigger visual ideas. This style gave us permission to work that way in the modern day,” says Mike. Since they were shooting in the winter, they would have to wrap by 4:30 pm. Mike imported everything into Adobe After Effects and edited with Adobe Premiere every night. That way, Quinn and the crew knew exactly what they needed by the next day. Quinn shot on a Panasonic LUMIX GH5 camera that worked well even in extremely cold weather. All the footage could easily be imported into Adobe Premiere and After Effects. Hundreds of Beavers is still playing in select theaters and is tons of fun to see with a live audience. Go to the Hundreds of Beavers website to find cities where it's playing. Hundreds of Beavers is also available to rent on Amazon and Apple. Find Mike Cheslik: Instagram @mikeches Find Quinn Hester: Instagram @quinn.hester Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/1/202429 minutes, 57 seconds
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Working in small markets: DP Kyle Roberts

Kyle Roberts is a DP working in Birmingham, Alabama. One of the important aspects of working in a smaller market is to be skilled enough to function in multiple roles depending on what each project demands. “I'm a big problem solver,” says Kyle. “I feel like my career has taken off mainly because I'm the guy that can not just do multiple jobs, but it's using my creative mind, doing the problem solving, that's taken me far. That's what still brings me to the job every day.” After working in LA at Radiant Images, Kyle relocated back home to Birmingham to work for a local ad agency. He began shooting corporate video and regional commercials. Though he loves shooting narratives, commercials in this market are what pays the bills. Fortunately, production in the area has grown enough to support more work. Alabama is a pretty good central location for Kyle to work in Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans, so he's able to work as a local in any of those markets. He also finds and trains those who are eager to learn, so there's more experienced crew available and work can be shared. With his partners, Kyle opened Next Level Productions, a rental house, and Moonmen DJS, a production studio with an LED video wall. Find Kyle Roberts: Instagram @nextlevelfilm Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/24/202423 minutes, 58 seconds
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Amy Vincent ASC on A Nice Indian Boy, Hustle & Flow, Eve’s Bayou

Amy Vincent, ASC did not originally set out to become a cinematographer. While studying veterinary medicine at UC Santa Cruz, she got a work study job hanging lights for the theater department. She fell in love with the creative art of lighting, and soon transitioned to the theater arts department. Amy found her natural affinity for math and science matched the skill set needed for technical theater production. She began making short films at UCSC, moving to Los Angeles after college to pursue a career in film. Amy's first job was as an assistant editor, but she really wanted to work in the camera department. So she began working her way up from camera intern to camera assistant, working with notable DPs such as Bill Pope on Clueless and Robert Richardson on Natural Born Killers. A few years into her career as a camera assistant, Amy decided to go to grad school at AFI. She shot many student short films for free before meeting writer and director Kasi Lemmons. Amy could tell from page one that the script for Eve's Bayou was something personal and special. They made the short film together, then over the course of three years, Lemmons raised enough money and interest to turn Eve's Bayou into a feature. It was Amy's first movie as a cinematographer and it became her first big breakout. One of Amy's frequent collaborators was director Craig Brewer. She was given a copy of his first film on VHS, then the two met to discuss making 2005's Hustle & Flow. “I think the beauty of where my collaboration with Craig and the process of making the movie was what the movie was about. The two folded over on each other. I mean, it's the idea of making music or making a movie by whatever means necessary. And there was something that became so apparent in the process. For example, we tried on a whole bunch of different formats, like, what are we going to shoot? At one point we were going to shoot Mini DV, because that's what Craig knew and then we settled into Super 16.” She and Brewer went on to work together on Black Snake Moan and the 2011 Footloose remake. Throughout her career, Amy has enjoyed collaborating with directors on smaller movies. Her most recent project, A Nice Indian Boy, had a very low budget and it had to be shot quickly before the actors strike. “It is so cool to have a really funny rom com that's gay and Indian. It would have been great to have more time and more money to make that movie, but I love all of the things that came together to make this simple little movie. It's really important to me to be able to make a movie that means something to a slightly different community.” Amy recently received the ASC Presidents Award, which recognizes her long career as a cinematographer and a mentor to new cinematographers. She's also an artist in residence at Loyola Marymount University, where she teaches film classes and mentors students making short films. You can see Amy's recent work on the show Parish with Giancarlo Esposito on AMC+. A Nice Indian Boy premiered at the SXSW Film Festival to critical acclaim, and is seeking distribution. Find Amy Vincent: Instagram: @amyvvincent Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/19/202435 minutes, 51 seconds
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Strada CEO Michael Cioni: Using AI to simplify workflows

Michael Cioni is one of the film industry's most influential people in digital cinema and post production technology. He is uniquely gifted at identifying and following fads that turn into trends, and trends that convert into industry standards. Michael was always drawn to the challenge of helping filmmakers figure out their best workflows. “I really wanted to embody knowledge to help workflows, so that I could inform customers, partners and filmmakers. And then together we would figure out what's the best recipe for this particular film.” Michael began his career at post house Plaster City, then co-founded the post house Light Iron, which was acquired by Panavision. He then worked for where he found several workflow shortcuts, including Camera to Cloud. Shortly after Adobe acquired, Michael started paying closer attention to a new trend: AI. Last year he decided to leave and together with his brother Peter, they founded Strada. With Strada, Michael wants to enable creative professionals the freedom to work entirely from the cloud, using helpful AI tools. “The most lucrative, and I think the most useful forms of AI is in utilitarian tasks. The first major part of filmmaking workflow that Strada wants to use AI to eliminate is the mundane aspects of creating a story. If creative people can get rid of the boring, mundane, repeatable, low-skill stuff, then it means we have more time to do the satisfying, creative, fun stuff.” Strada can transfer assets from cloud to cloud without having to download them and then reupload them. Using AI, Strada can provide a transcription and a translation of narrative content early and up front. It can also tag and analyze images so that it's easy to search using just one word for a specific scene, saving hours in the editing process. Plus, all the work can be done remotely, from any location, because everything is stored in the cloud. Strada is currently still in private beta but anyone can apply to try it. If you have a project you're working on, go to Strada's website to contact them about trying out the beta version. The company plans to start rolling out the public beta by fall 2024. The entire Strada team will be at NAB Las Vegas next week April 13-17 at the Atlas Lens Co. booth in Central Hall C5539 to provide live demos of the AI-powered workflow technology platform and allow filmmakers to test out Strada's capabilities firsthand. Find Michael Cioni: Instagram: @michaelcioni Strada: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/10/202435 minutes, 3 seconds
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Dune: Part Two cinematographer Greig Fraser, ACS, ASC

Cinematographer Greig Fraser, ACS, ASC doesn't see Dune: Part Two as a sequel, but as simply the second half of the Dune story. Shooting the second movie made Greig feel “emboldened, to make decisions that we may not have made in the first instance. We weren't necessarily considering how to outdo ourselves. I think the fact that we were kind of riding a wave- no pun intended- but a wave of success for that last movie.” Dune: Part Two was shot digitally on the ARRI ALEXA 35 and the ALEXA Mini LF then printed to 70 mm film in post production for the final print. Greig prefers the look of film to that of raw digital, but he doesn't feel like he has to shoot on film. He used a small set of spherical lenses that were easily transportable. Lighting for the movie included plenty of hard light and open shade, since most of Dune: Part Two takes place in the harsh desert sands of Arrakis. Greig chose to uplight in order to illuminate faces, because harsh sunlight would naturally bounce off the ground and reflect upwards onto the characters. “I think that the most important thing in this movie is that everything feels honest. When you're going to extremes in a story, if you're running a thousand foot long sandworm in the middle of the movie, which is obviously fantasy, then you've got to also fill it with reality and honesty. You can tell Denis' direction with the actors was absolutely honest. I needed to make sure that I had the same kind of approach for the lighting.” The production featured a massive crew, shooting in four countries: Budapest, Italy, Jordan and Abu Dhabi. The second unit was essential for staying on schedule. Greig also relied on his DIT to help him match shots across different locations, sometimes months apart. He often had to choose whether to shoot on the sound stage or outside on location for the desert sequences. Though filming outside was best for daylight, the reality is that real sand is messy, uncontrolled, and harsh on equipment. The huge sandstorm sequence was shot on the soundstage, which was pumped full of atmospheric haze and color graded in post to be sand colored. Greig enjoyed testing and using infrared black and white film for the gladiator-style fight scenes on Giedi Prime. He used a modified ARRI ALEXA 65 to shoot infrared. Since the people there have very pale white skin, he imagined that Giedi Prime has only infrared light from the sun, and no visible sunlight. Greig partnered with actor Josh Brolin to create a beautiful art book of photography called Dune: Exposures. It features photos he took on the set of Dune and Dune: Part Two, with prose written by Josh Brolin. You can find it at Insight Editions or on Amazon. Find Greig Fraser: Instagram: @greigfraser_dp Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/3/202436 minutes, 16 seconds
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Dynamics of a Working Camera Department with Greg Irwin, SOC

Gregory Irwin is an extremely experienced A Camera First AC who first got into the business 44 years ago. He received a 2016 Society of Camera Operators Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions as Camera Technician. His most recent project is the Joker sequel Joker: Folie à Deux coming soon. Greg frequently gives talks on the importance of character and credibility in the camera department. The camera department is in a leadership role on any production. There's always going to be challenges on set, but it's important to remember that if the camera department seems like they're panicking, it affects the rest of the production. A good camera department is always helpful, no matter what department needs it. Never be rude or show panic, even when things aren't going to plan. Greg says, “I want my team to know everything at all times, and I want them to be better than me. If I can develop a young camera person into a rock solid, good human being as well as a good camera technician then I've done my job.” Greg discusses: Character and credibility in the camera department-remembering you are in a leadership role Taking a business approach to the camera department Interacting with the director, cinematographer, producers and showrunners How to hire others in the camera department- be sure to vet your camera crew before hiring them Be a “one minute manager”- choose people you don't have to micromanage Handling the first phone calls with the filmmakers and producers: save talk about rates, money, deals until about the 4th phone call so you can get to know the person who you're negotiating with Generally talk rates/business aspects for your camera team as well Prep for the camera prep day: prep should already be done ahead, including what you need for your camera package Prep and budget: build everything you need for prep based on meetings with the filmmakers & DP, timestamp prep lists to keep track of everything. By draft 10, you should be clear on what's needed and camera budget should be very clear at that point Look the part- better to dress like a professional Be organized and don't have a sense of entitlement How to get noticed and move up in the camera department Find Greg Irwin: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/28/202434 minutes, 22 seconds
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Masters of the Air cinematographer Richard Rutkowski, ASC

Masters of the Air on AppleTV+ is about the pilots who served in the 100th Bomb Group in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Cinematographer Richard Rutkowski shot episodes 107 and 108, which included both aerial flying, bombing and imprisoned airmen at a German POW camp. From the beginning, Richard was impressed with how everything was organized on such a massive scale. The props, set design and costumes were extremely exact to the time period. “I really am attracted to stories that have authenticity in them,” says Richard. “And they put the authentic on camera. It is all exactly what it's meant to be, what it was at the time, as close as they can get.” Richard worked with director Dee Rees on their block of Masters of the Air. The prison camp scenes involved working with searchlights, mud and absolute darkness at night, with up to 250 people in a scene. He chose to light in a way that would emphasize the dim lighting, gray atmosphere and unhealthy look for the POWs. Some of the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary African-American fighter pilots, are also brought to the POW camp and the prisoners are integrated into the previously racially-segregated fighting force. Shooting the action inside the planes involved large-scale LED volume screens surrounding the aircraft sections, with an LED roof overhead, which created most of the lighting for the scene. The actors were placed on a gimbal controlled articulated steel deck so they could react to the motion. The cameras tracked with the video system, and had GPS locators that allowed the background to respond to where the camera was so that it knew how much background to put in. Richard was the sole cinematographer on the FX series The Americans for several seasons. The Americans was about a Russian spy couple posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. during the Cold War in the 1980's. Richard established the look of the show, with the couple's “normal” DC life leaning into bolder primary colors, in a kind of red, white, and blue cleanliness. By contrast, in their double life as spies, Richard chose a grittier, darker and grainy look. On The Americans, Richard says he learned the value of letting the actors do their work. “(There is) an unspoken connection being made about whether a scene is moving well, whether a take is truly finished. I would learn to stop reaching for that cut button. No matter who said what, if the actor was in it, we don't cut. You leave the boom up, keep out of the frame. If the actor's in it, we're not cutting. We'll go till they're ready.” As a kid, Richard's father was a fine art painter and he grew up all over the country. He began making 16mm films in college and working with theatrical director Robert Wilson. After college, Richard started working on small budget films, working his way up through the camera department, including being a second assistant camera on School Ties with cinematographer Freddie Francis, a two time Oscar winner. After School Ties, Richard wrote Ed Lachman asking to work with him, and he went on to work with Ed on several movies. He feels that working your way up and learning all the different crafts in the camera department is a great education for a DP. Masters of the Air is available on AppleTV+. Find Richard Rutkowski: Instagram @richardrutkowskidp Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/20/202432 minutes, 27 seconds
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House of Ninjas showrunner and executive producer Dave Boyle

The Netflix series House of Ninjas has become a hit show, rising to #1 in the streaming service's top 10 list. The story follows the Tawara family, who have been ninjas, or shinobi, for generations. Tragically, the oldest son and brother disappeared six years before in a battle with their rivals, leading the Tawaras to stop being ninjas. But the family must fight together again as the rival clan gets more powerful and threatens the entire country. Showrunner Dave Boyle was first brought on as showrunner for House of Ninjas by an executive at Netflix Japan, who knew he was familiar with the culture. Dave's second language is Japanese, which he studied as a Mormon missionary in Australia. He had written and directed a few independent Japanese American and Japanese language films, such as Man from Reno, Daylight Savings and Surrogate Valentine, which all took place in the U.S. This was his first experience with shooting anything in Japan. He was drawn to the tone of House of Ninjas, which combines both drama, action and violence with comedy and warmhearted playfulness. “Tone was the reason why we all wanted to make this project. It's more than the plot mechanics and the story. It was all about creating this atmosphere, this tone that an audience could sink into and enjoy for many, many episodes. And so I think that tone was something that we were talking about from the very, very get-go and something that we really wanted to nail and get right.” Once he was on board, Dave began working on the preproduction and show bible for House of Ninjas. The show bible had to be written in three weeks, which is a very fast process, especially since Dave knew the show's foundation required a deep understanding of shinobi culture and history. He found the preproduction process in Japan to be much different from the U.S., with casting happening even before the show's scripts were written. The script format in Japan read from right to left, and the top half of the page is left blank for the director to draw storyboards and a shotlist, as a clear way for the director to show what they're planning to do. House of Ninjas is available on Netflix. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/13/202429 minutes, 22 seconds
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Jenelle Riley, Variety’s Deputy Awards and Features Editor, discusses the 2024 Academy Awards nominations

Long-time friend and colleague Jenelle Riley of Variety magazine chats with Ben and Illya for our fifth annual Oscar nominations special. With a focus on cinematography, they discuss what they liked, what will win, what should win, and their favorite movies of the year that may have been overlooked. They also talk about the past year in movies, Oscar campaigning and the accusations of film “snubs.” Here’s a rundown of some of the films and topics discussed in this episode. Listen to our recent interviews with the nominated DPs as well as other films of note! Spike Lee, who won an ASC Board of Governors award Hoyte Van Hoytema, Oppenheimer, who also won an ASC award for theatrical feature film Ed Lachman, El Conde Matty Libatique, Maestro Robbie Ryan, Poor Things Rodrigo Prieto, Martin Scorsese Killers of the Flower Moon Barbie, Ryan Gosling Nyad, Anette Bening The Holdovers (DP Eigil Bryld) , Alexander Payne, Da'Vine Joy Randolph Past Lives (DP Shabier Kirchner), Greta Lee American Fiction (DP Cristina Dunlap) Wonka Saltburn (DP Linus Sandgren) The Killer (DP Eric Messerschmidt) May/December Find Jenelle Riley on Instagram and X: @jenelleriley and Variety: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/6/202423 minutes, 42 seconds
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Bonus Episode: To Kill a Tiger director Nisha Pahuja and editor Mike Munn

In this bonus episode of The Cinematography Podcast, we interview director Nisha Pahuja and editor Mike Munn about the documentary To Kill a Tiger. The film is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. **A warning that this episode discusses sexual assault and violence, so please take care.** To Kill a Tiger is the story of Ranjit, a farmer in Jharkhand, India whose 13 year old daughter is raped by three men from her village. Ranjit is determined to get justice for his daughter through the legal system. In India, men rarely stand up for their daughters and conviction rates for rape are less than 30 percent. It’s common practice in the village for a girl to be married off to her abuser instead. Rangit and his family faced down threats of violence and ostracism by the townspeople. Director Nisha Pahuja was originally making a documentary studying Indian masculinity when she met Ranjit and his daughter. She followed their story for about 18 months, thinking they would only be one part of the story. Only in the editing process did the story start to take shape. It became clear that Ranjit and his daughter Kiran were the strongest characters. Nisha admired Ranjit's courage and love for his daughter. “I just think Ranjit is the kind of person who has this idea of doing the right thing inside of him. He's just a very ethical, thoughtful person.” Because Kiran was only 13 at the time, Nisha had to be careful about revealing her identity. By the time the film was finished, Kiran was 18, and gave permission to show her face. Nisha says, “She said it was because she couldn't believe how courageous she was when she was watching herself, she couldn't believe her own courage and her own bravery. And she wanted to celebrate that.” Nisha's husband Mrinal Desai was the primary cinematographer on To Kill a Tiger, and they lived together in India while making the documentary. Nisha finds that he has a very quiet and gentle way with the people they film. She, Mrinal and their sound recordist Anita Kushwaha have worked together for a long time and are able to create an atmosphere of intimacy and trust. Editor Mike Munn spent about 8 months working on the film before he decided that they had to distill it down to the best story. “We were wrestling a lot because we had, in fact, two different films. So Ranjit's story was so specific and so well drawn out that it needed its own place. So, we jettisoned all of that work that we'd done.” Mike started expanding Ranjit's story and discovered that this version of the film has a clear narrative arc with interesting characters. Fortunately, the raw footage came back from India with a basic transcription and subtitles that could be polished during the edit with the help of a translator. Mike says, “My favorite part overall was working with the observational and verite nature of the film. It was so intimate and real and we're all creating scenes out of real emotion. This was a film where the narrative was all happening within real scenes with the family. That was challenging, but rewarding in just the truthfulness of it.” To Kill a Tiger is in select theaters. Find Nisha Pahuja: Instagram @nishappics Find Mike Munn: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/27/202414 minutes, 21 seconds
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Maestro cinematographer Matty Libatique, ASC

We have the multi-talented Kays Al-Atrakchi as our special guest host this week! Shortly after working together on A Star Is Born, director and actor Bradley Cooper told cinematographer Matty Libatique that he'd like their next project to be about conductor Leonard Bernstein. Cooper hadn't even begun writing the screenplay for Maestro yet, but over the next six years, he and Matty discussed how to evolve the story and shoot the biopic. They spent a lot of time shooting tests in multiple formats. Matty and Cooper decided to shoot on Kodak film, using both black and white and color, and two different aspect ratios (1.33:1 and 1.85:1) for the story. The film takes place over 50 years, and it was important to test the aging makeup and prosthetics Cooper would wear as Bernstein. Maestro was a complex story to tell, and Cooper wanted to explore Bernstein's life in as many visually creative ways as possible. Every shot was thought out, including all the montages that deal with the passage of time. For several scenes, much of what Cooper had described on the page was what ended up on screen. “It's one of those rare cases where the the writing really matched up with what we ended up doing, very early on. There were subsequent drafts, but those moments that he had crafted ahead of time never went away,” says Matty. In order to keep himself organized, Matty created a spreadsheet that mapped out all the shots and equipment for every beat and scene in the script, which could also be altered if Cooper made changes. At the heart of Maestro is the complicated relationship between Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre. Cooper frequently used the motif of Montealegre waiting in the wings for Bernstein, as she put everything in her life on hold to be with him. Their love grounds the story, and Matty wanted it to look as naturalistic as possible. “Instead of going for the glam, even though it might feel like an old movie at the beginning of the film, I was trying to keep it more candid... I think Bradley and I gravitate towards naturalism because we don't want anything that smells false or pretentious. It's just something to stay away from. Bradley has a real sensitivity to it.” Cooper's approach as a director is extremely artistic and sensitive to the emotions in the scene, and he doesn't use a conventional shot list or get traditional coverage. If the scene feels wrong after they've shot it, he and Matty will mull it over and then come up with a better way to shoot it. “Bradley is so editorially minded, he keeps in mind whether or not we're going to end a scene in a wide or start in a wide or ended in tight or start in a tight. So those are conscious decisions, but they aren't necessarily made ahead of time. We respond to the space and we respond to the light. And then we just react and it's organic, it's his process.” Maestro is available on Netflix. Matty Libatique is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Find Matty Libatique: Instagram @libatique Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/21/202425 minutes, 32 seconds
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Bonus Episode: Past Lives cinematographer Shabier Kirchner

In this bonus episode of The Cinematography Podcast, we interview Shabier Kirchner, the cinematographer of Past Lives. The film is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Past Lives, written and directed by Celine Song, is about childhood sweethearts reconnecting as adults after many years. When cinematographer Shabier Kirchner, who is from Antigua, was sent the script, it immediately resonated with him. “Past Lives was not just a standalone amazing script, but I found myself in the material. A lot of what I was going through, being an immigrant to the US, being from the Caribbean, reconnecting with a friend, falling in love, all of that stuff was happening while I was reading the material and it just felt like it was written for me.” Shabier and director Celine Song had an amazing first conversation, and he wasn't aware that she'd never made a film before. Fortunately, they had an extensive amount of time to prep the movie, and they chose to shoot on Kodak 35mm film. The film takes place in New York and Korea, and they knew they had to shoot it out of order, starting with all of the New York scenes which take place later in the story. Shabier and Song also spent time discussing how to use the language of the film to express what the characters were experiencing. Past Lives tells a story about how relationships change over time. Shabier chose to translate this into deliberate pacing with long tracking shots, keeping the lighting natural and simple. In the film, natural elements tell the passage of time as well, through rain, clouds and the changing light. Even the characters Nora and Hae Sung tell a story about time in their movements. “We were speaking about the final scene in the film, and I asked Celine a question of what direction should they walk? In a very Celine fashion, she (said) 'Well, they should walk right to left because that is into the past. And she should drop him off in the past and then walk from left to right back into the future and up the stairs.' That very small and simple moment in our conversation led and informed the entire language of the film in terms of how we move the camera from left to right.” Shabier broke out as a cinematographer a few years ago on director Steve McQueen's five-part anthology series, Small Axe, winning a BAFTA for lighting and photography. The series tells both real and fictional stories about London's West Indian community in the 1970's and 80's. McQueen chose to treat each episode as a series of small films, rather than a TV series. They would discuss and prep one, scout it, shoot it, break for a week, then begin prep for the next episode. Starting with Mangrove, the longest in the series, they shot in order as much as possible, with Lovers Rock next. Shabier says it was a nice release for the crew's pent-up emotions on Mangrove, which dealt with anti-police protests and then the trial of nine Black men accused of starting a riot. They knew they could put joy and energy into Lovers Rock, a much simpler story about a house party, love and music. Shabier thinks McQueen structured the shoots for Small Axe in a way that was very smart, creating a serious mood when they needed to be serious, and lightening the mood as needed. Past Lives is still in some theaters and available on VOD. The Small Axe series is on Amazon Prime. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/20/202414 minutes, 27 seconds
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Bonus Episode: Bobi Wine: The People’s President directors Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp

In this bonus episode of The Cinematography Podcast, we interview Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp, who collaborated as directors on Bobi Wine: The People's President. The film is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Co-director and producer Christopher Sharp grew up in Uganda and was a fan of Bobi Wine's music. He met Bobi and his wife Barbie in London. Christoper says, “When I met him, he'd just run to be an independent member of parliament and he was sort of transitioning from being solely a musician into an activist and a politician. When he told me what he was about to sacrifice, it seemed pretty obvious that we needed to stick with him and see where it went.” Bobi Wine (Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu) had grown up in the slums of Kampala, Uganda and through his musical talent, had risen to become an extremely popular and famous Afrobeat musician. Bobi's music often communicates a socially conscious message aimed at political change. He put himself through university, where he met his wife Barbie. Political activism was extremely important to him, so Bobi successfully ran as an independent candidate for Uganda's parliament. He then decided to run for president against the dictator Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 38 years. Christopher brought the idea of making the documentary to Moses Bwayo, a Ugandan journalist and filmmaker. Moses followed Bobi with cameras for five years, sometimes with a small crew, using a monopod and available light. Moses used the Sony FS7 and the smaller Sony Alpha a7 III. He often had to just run and gun, serving as both cameraman and director, documenting the tense and frequently dangerous situations Bobi, his family and Moses himself encountered. “We wanted to tell a story of this young, talented musician who comes out of the ghetto to inspire the nation, and he rises into politics and the coalitions he was building in parliament and the bills he was trying to bring. But, as we kept filming, it was very dangerous for him and there was a few attempted assassinations on him. More and more we realized the camera was actually a protection to him... So we just kept on going and going.” Uganda has been under the control of Yoweri Museveni since 1986. Museveni uses the might of the military police and his political operatives in Parliament to stay in power. When Bobi announced he was going to run for president against Museveni, the military police stepped up their aggressive attacks on him, his family and his campaign workers. “We knew that the closer we stuck with him and his wife and people close to him, it would bring some level of protection, and indeed, even the days I spent under house arrest with Bobby and Barbie, what worried us was that the military and police would break into the house at any moment. But I think what stopped them is when they knew that there was a cameraman in that house- it probably stopped them from breaking into the house.” Moses and the crew risked their lives to make the film. “I was arrested a few times. I was locked up in jail. I was interrogated, and I was shot in the face close to the election.” Fortunately, Moses recovered from his gunshot wound and the documentary continued. The political situation in Uganda had become very violent, so before they released the film, Moses and his family decided to flee and are seeking asylum in the United States. Though Museveni won election again through terrifying attacks and imprisonment of Bobi and his supporters, Bobi still goes back to Uganda and continues to risk his life to speak out against the government. “This story is still happening today. It's urgent. Christopher and I, we've been thinking maybe we should find a way to start filming again because the situation has not improved, and we have this incredible access, we have this story still happening right now. And the camera had become like a protection to them and now we feel like we're indebted to this struggle.
2/17/202434 minutes, 33 seconds
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Oppenheimer cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, ASC

Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, ASC and director Christopher Nolan have crafted some of the most visually stunning and intellectually stimulating films of the 21st century. The film Oppenheimer marks their fourth collaboration, and they've achieved an ease and rapport with each other over time. “In all these years, we've spent so many endless hours in scouting vans and on airplanes and on film sets. So we have done a lot of the talking together. Chris is a very meticulous filmmaker, but this process has also allowed us to be very intuitive and we can kind of skim through a lot of bullshit just by knowing each other,” Hoyte says. Hoyte first began working with Nolan on Interstellar in 2014. At first he found the scale of the film extremely daunting. “I was literally looking up at that crazy, gigantic mountain in front of me and thinking, how am I going to do this and how am I going to even technically wrap my head around this? But (Nolan) was always very calm and very reassuring and he said, 'Let's just start'.” Despite it being their first project together, the synergy between Nolan's bold vision and Hoyte's keen eye for detail was immediately apparent. They employed a combination of practical effects and cutting-edge visual techniques to bring the vastness of space and the intricacies of theoretical physics to life on the screen. Nolan uses practical effects as much as possible, and he needed creative techniques to get across the idea of atomic energy on Oppenheimer. The second unit crew spent time experimenting with shots to create the effects of atomic particles and atoms interacting for scenes when Robert Oppenheimer envisions harnessing nuclear energy. To tell a story as big and complex as Oppenheimer, Nolan and Hoyte chose to shoot on IMAX. This required some invention and innovation. Nolan wanted to shoot the congressional hearing scenes in black and white, but black and white film stock for IMAX did not exist. Kodak was happy to manufacture it for the movie, although it was challenging to use. The black and white film didn't fit into the camera the same way, so they had to re-engineer the camera gates and pressure plates. Even though they were shooting with an extremely large format camera, Hoyte wanted to get very intimate, close shots. “Chris and I had to decide that our vistas in this film, our scope, is not something that comes from landscapes or wideness or action, but it has to come from faces, you know? I always say the faces kind of became our landscapes. But I also believe that scope is something that comes from what you as an audience project onto something.” They opted for a very simple, naturalistic style to the cinematography to support the unfolding psychological drama. Each frame is not just a visual composition but a narrative device, serving to deepen the emotional resonance of the story and engage the audience on a visceral level. Oppenheimer is playing in theaters, available on VOD, or streaming on Peacock starting February 16. Hoyte Van Hoytema is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/14/202454 minutes, 52 seconds
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El Conde cinematographer Ed Lachman, ASC

El Conde is a a dark comedy/horror film that portrays former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a 250 year old vampire. Director Pablo Larraín wanted to play with the idea that a dictatorship is a blood-sucking drain on society with lasting generational impacts. Cinematographer Ed Lachman immediately liked Larraín's message. “El Conde is his allegory of how we are seduced into yielding to fascism. And it isn't just in Chile. It's like the last 50 years, we're facing that all over the world. That's why I think the film has something to say- if you can get past the gore.” Ed had been a long time admirer of Larraín's work. He found Larraín's films to be conceptually brilliant with camera placement and movement to tell the story. “They say a cinematographer and a director is a marriage. But I always like to think of it as a dance partner- you hear the same music, but do your steps compliment each other? And I've certainly felt I have that relationship with Pablo.” Ed knew he wanted to shoot El Conde in black and white, referencing gothic vampire movies such as Nosferatu and Vampyr (1932). Working with Netflix Latin America, Larraín obtained approval to originate the film in black and white rather than shoot in color and then desaturate it later. For production design, special effects and costumes, all the color choices could be made for the best look in black and white. Ed decided to use the ARRI LF camera, and fortunately, ARRI had just developed a monochromatic sensor for them to use. He enjoys shooting with an actual black and white camera because the exposure latitude and grain structure is different, and he can use monochromatic filters meant for black and white cinematography. El Conde features some amazingly realistic scenes of vampires flying. The night flying sequences had to be done with a blue screen, which did require a color camera. But all of the day flying sequences and stunts were shot with the black and white camera. The flying sequences were done practically, with no special effects. A 120ft crane suspended the camera operator, who moved through the air with the actors and stunt acrobats on wires. Ed used the EL Zone System, a method he invented, to figure out the proper exposures for the cameras on El Conde. He's developed the EL Zone system over the past 10 years, in an effort to measure light values and standardize exposures for digital cameras, and won a technical Emmy in 2023 for the technology. The system uses 18% gray as the standard, which is a universal photography standard. The camera’s sensor data is used as a reference point and filmmakers can view the entire exposure of a shot on a monitor to make lighting adjustments easier. El Conde is streaming on Netflix: Find Ed Lachman, and learn more about the EL Zone System: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/8/202446 minutes, 45 seconds
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American Fiction cinematographer Cristina Dunlap

The film American Fiction has been nominated for over two dozen awards, including five Academy Awards. Director Cord Jefferson is a seasoned writer who worked on acclaimed series such as Watchmen, Station Eleven, and The Good Place. He adapted the screenplay and wrote the script for American Fiction himself. Jefferson knew that he would also like to direct the film, although it would be his first time ever directing. Cinematographer Cristina Dunlap knew immediately after reading the script that she wanted to work on the film. “I think there's always a concern every time you work with a new director, just learning their style and how they work. But the second I sat down with Cord, I could tell immediately that he was going to be a wonderful person to work with because he is just very joyous and positive and excited, collaborative and open to ideas. And so when we started talking about the script, it was really more excitement. And, you know, he was very honest. He said, 'I've never even directed traffic before. So you're going to have to maybe hold my hand through some things or answer questions.' And I was completely willing to do that.” Fortunately, Cristina and Jefferson had about eight weeks of prep time in Boston, with only about 25 actual shoot days. Cristina likes to break down each scene psychologically, to explore visually what each character is going through. They scouted locations with the rest of the crew, and spent time figuring out the blocking so that they would have a concrete plan when the actors were on set. Cristina relied on the Artemis Pro app to map the location spaces which really helped create photo storyboards, figure out the lighting setup and plan Steadicam moves. She knew it would be challenging to be able to fit everything in on each shoot day, especially when there would be six or seven people in a scene. The beach house was an especially challenging location for lighting- it had dark wood walls and low ceilings. Cristina knew they wanted to able to see the ocean through the windows, but they couldn't afford to light with a Condor lighting rig every day from the outside. She had to pull out a lot of lighting tricks and build off the practical sources in the space. For one scene, an arborist helped the gaffer by climbing a tree in order to rig several gem ball lights in the branches. Cristina got her start in photography. She went on to shoot music videos for artists such as Coldplay and Lizzo, and was the DP of the 2022 Sundance Audience Award winning feature, Cha Cha Real Smooth. American Fiction is in theaters now. Find Cristina Dunlap: Instagram: @cristina_dunlap Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/31/20241 hour, 16 seconds
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Napoleon cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, ASC

Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, ASC has worked with director Ridley Scott on nine different films. He loves working with Scott because he's extremely self-assured, not afraid to take chances, and always pushes the envelope. On the last day of their shoot for House of Gucci in Italy, Scott said to Dariusz, “You know, we're in Rome, we're so close to Malta, we should just hop on a plane and look at some locations. Why don't we just go there to scout locations?” Confused, Daruisz said, “For what?” “For Napoleon.” Dariusz says, “That's how that happened, it wasn't 'let's make a big epic.' And it was quite nice because Malta, which is a big part of the film, it was very special for him because that's where he shot the original Gladiator, so we actually revisited all the sets that were very familiar to him.” Scott did use a lot of the same locations he'd used for Gladiator for the late 1700's era of Napoleon. After they'd settled on their shooting locations, Daruisz began looking at an abundance of references available from the Napoleonic era. “There's just as many versions of Napoleon as you can imagine. So, we're not trying to make a historical film. But cinematically, you just load yourself with as many references as possible,” says Dariusz. They also relied on historical consultants, and experts on warfare from the period. Napoleon was known as a brilliant strategist, so it was important to understand some of the famous battle campaigns he had led. Coordinating the battle scenes was like shooting a rock concert- with 500 extras and 250 horses. They used 11 cameras for the battle scenes, plus a drone, and a small digital camera (the DJI Osmo Pocket) that a stunt person carried on horseback. Dariusz credits pulling off the battle sequences with Scott's extensive experience. “He has tremendous experience and he's done so many battles. He really understands what matters, what doesn't,” he says. Lighting for the non-battle scenes was trickier when shooting in historic locations. The sun and cloud cover for natural light would be intermittent in England, requiring some extra coverage, though it didn't trouble Scott very much. Indoors, Daruisz used a combination of a big window light, fire light and real candlelight. He wanted the lighting to reflect the most flattering portraits of Napoleon. As a film reference, Daruisz was also influenced by the Stanley Kubrick film Barry Lyndon,  which was primarily lit with candles. “That was a revolutionary movie, that was a masterpiece. We were trying to do that too, and keep the shots very simple- a big wide shot, couple of close-ups, just nothing fancy.” Napoleon is available on Apple TV+ and on VOD. Find Dariusz Wolski: Instagram @dariusz_wolski_official Listen to our previous interview with Dariusz Wolski from 2021 about News of the World, The Crow, Dark City, and more. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/18/202447 minutes, 39 seconds
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Poor Things cinematographer Robbie Ryan, BSC, ISC

Poor Things is a brilliantly imaginative, comedic and visually stunning film about Bella Baxter, a young woman who is brought back to life by mad scientist Godwin Baxter. She experiences a personal and sexual awakening as she travels the world, discovering what it means to be a confident woman free of societal constraints. Director Yorgos Lanthimos and cinematographer Robbie Ryan had previously worked together on The Favourite. They wanted to push the boundaries of how Poor Things looked in every possible way. “He's so prolific with ideas that you go, 'Okay, you want to try that? Okay, let's try that!' And, he gives me a lot of challenges that I go off and find a lens that he's trying to talk about,” says Robbie. Robbie shot Poor Things in a variety of different formats and with a range of unusual lenses. The film is a period piece, so he and Lanthimos decided to use the 1:6:6 aspect ratio, which is closer in composition to portraiture. They also chose to shoot entirely on film, using KODAK 35mm black and white, color negative and Ektachrome Reversal film stocks. For Bella's reanimation sequence, Robbie used a Vista Vision camera, which is a special widescreen format from the 1950's. The 35mm film stock is turned on its side, so that the picture is ultra-widescreen and high resolution. The film is energized with purposefully intrusive cinematography, lenses and zooms. Robbie selected a Petzval lens once used on old projectors. He also placed a 4mm lens, made for 16mm cameras, onto a 35mm camera, to create an extreme fish-eye, vignetted frame. “Yorgos wanted even wider fish eye lenses that created a vignette, with a dreamy focus bokeh on it. We wanted another era feeling to it, with a painterly quality to it, and to have a lot of character. You're jumping between so many different lens choices that would, they would definitely jar, but that's what the attempt is- to jar the audience.” On set, Lanthimos prefers to be able to use all 360 degrees of the entire space. He also didn't want any lights on the set, so it had to be completely built and lit with every direction shootable. It was more freeing for the actors and for the camera, but it did present a challenge for shooting on film, which needs a lot more light to make images. Robbie had to use many practical lights throughout the set, with sky lighting in the ceiling, especially for the outdoor scenes. Robbie is very proud of Poor Things, and he thinks it's funny and more accessible than some of Lanthimos' other work. “The universe that Yorgos has created is the one you want to enjoy and get into with this film,” he says. Find Robbie Ryan: Listen to our previous interview from 2019 with Robbie Ryan on The Favourite and his other work. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/12/202447 minutes, 45 seconds
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Ferrari cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, ASC

With the film Ferrari, cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, ASC has now had the opportunity to work with two huge directors: Michael Mann and David Fincher. In 2021, Erik won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Mank, directed by Fincher. He finds Fincher to be very methodical and precise about film structure and camera placement. Michael Mann tends to be more spontaneous, interested in capturing visceral moments, but still detail oriented. He is hyperfocused on the emotional response of the audience and how best to capture the character's interactions. “That is the joy of being a cinematographer, coming and playing in someone else's sandbox and learning how you can contribute to making their film,” Erik says. Ferrari was a passion project for director Michael Mann, who had been developing the film for decades. Once he was hired to work on Ferrari, Erik saw that Mann had tons of material on Enzo Ferrari. He had an incredible collection of photos, newsreel footage, and personal letters that provided a great start to shaping the film. Mann knew exactly what he wanted to make and it came down to the two of them discussing the film's look, pacing, and structure. The entire film was shot in 58 days with no second unit. They filmed on location in Italy, which was a huge contributor to the aesthetic of the movie and lent it authenticity. Most of the locations were historically accurate to Enzo Ferrari's story- they shot exteriors of the Ferrari home, his barber shop, and even inside the Ferrari mausoleum. Adding classic Ferraris and other vehicles from 1957 with people in period costume made it easy to make the movie feel of its time without needing to add more. The dramatic scenes in Ferrari had to be differentiated from the racing scenes. While all of the racing scenes were meticulously planned and storyboarded, the dramatic scenes such as a fight between Adam Driver & Penelope Cruz's characters was rehearsed, blocked and planned on the day. Erik chose to use more structured, classically composed framing, with subtle zoom moves in on the actor's faces for a nuanced emotional response. By contrast, the racing scenes had to be kinetic and visceral. Mann wanted the audience to feel like they are right there in the car, and all of the racing scenes take place in real cars on Italian roads. The camera operators sat in the car with the professional drivers, shooting handheld right next to them. As an amateur race car driver, actor Patrick Dempsey actually did all of his own driving in the film. Each Ferrari was actually a replica, and safety gear like roll cages and harnesses were added. Erik also used older camera mounts on the outside of the cars to capture every shake and bump, since the suspension on cars from that time period were much stiffer. Find Erik Messerschmidt: Instagram @emesserschmidt Listen to our previous interview from 2020 with Erik Messerschmidt on Mank and his other work. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/4/202452 minutes, 3 seconds
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House of the Dragon cinematographer Catherine Goldschmidt, BSC

Cinematographer Catherine Goldschmidt was thrilled to be the DP for House of the Dragon, episode eight, “The Lord of the Tides.” It was a huge behemoth of a production, with many cast and crew members, complex set design and costumes, as well as tons of visual effects to work with. But her hard work has paid off with an Emmy nomination for the episode. Catherine worked with director Geeta Patel for “The Lord of the Tides.” House of the Dragon is mainly shot with two cameras, plus a third camera that floats between units. For this episode, which included an epic family dinner and dramatic throne room scenes, they used 4 cameras and lots of planning to capture all the action. Her favorite scene in “The Lord of the Tides” was when Daemon Targaryen hunts for dragon eggs, which mainly used practical effects and stunts. “The camera glides along the floor and up the mound, and you see somebody kneel down- you don't see who they are. They're digging, they're digging, they're digging, the egg comes out and then you reveal it's Daemon, all in one shot.” Growing up in New Jersey, Catherine tried theater and then helped make a short student film in college, which inspired her to pursue film. She soon moved to LA and began working as a camera assistant, then went to AFI for grad school. Catherine worked on the first scripted Quibi series, Dummy  starring Anna Kendrick. She was asked to shoot the series so that it could be viewed on phones in two different aspect ratios, both horizontal and vertical. It seemed like it would be overly complicated, but Catherine figured out a way to frame for a square. Both aspect ratios could be taken from that, without affecting the framing of the shots. Catherine was cinematographer on two episodes of the upcoming House of the Dragon Season 2. Find Catherine Goldschmidt: Instagram @cgdop Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras Sponsored by ARRI The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/28/202350 minutes, 25 seconds
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Flamin’ Hot director Eva Longoria and cinematographer Federico Cantini

Flamin' Hot is an entertaining biopic about Richard Montañez, a janitor at the Frito Lay chip factory who rose to become a marketing executive after (he claims) he came up with the idea for Flamin' Hot Cheetos. While Monteñez may be exaggerating his role in the invention of Flamin' Hot, the movie is based on his real life experience as detailed in his book, “Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive.” Director Eva Longoria was drawn to telling Montañez's story for her first feature film debut. She wanted to tell a heroic, positive story about a Mexican American who worked hard to achieve the American dream, with the support of his family and community. Cinematographer Federico Cantini had previously worked with Eva on Unplugging, a small indie movie, where the two of them were the only Spanish speakers on set. Eva admired his energy, passion and collaboration with the female director. When it came time for her to choose her DP for Flamin' Hot, Federico was Eva's top choice. The original script Eva received for Flamin' Hot was a very straightforward, factual biography film, without any elements of humor. Eva knew she needed to capture the charismatic character and voice of Richard Monteñez, so she watched videos of his TED talks and other public appearances. She worked with writer Linda Yvette Chávez to rework the script during COVID. It was important to keep the film high energy and constantly push the narrative forward. “Ron Howard's one of my mentors,” says Eva, “and his motto is something should be happening every nine to ten pages. So you should have nine to ten page sequences. It's a page turner, you know, it's constantly moving.” She also admires the narrative style of director Adam McKay's films (The Big Short, Winning Time) and the way he fluidly uses montages and voiceovers to tell stories based on fact. Flamin' Hot has 11 montages, with tons of information crammed into each shot. The movie also never strays from Montañez's point of view. Even in scenes where he isn't there, Eva used the comedic device of Moñtenez narrating what might have happened in certain scenes, such as at Frito Lay executive board meetings. Once the script was complete, Federico read it and found it extremely relatable. As an immigrant himself, Flamin' Hot was an opportunity to make his mark, much as Monteñez had. Fortunately, he and Eva had lots of pre-production prep time. They are both big planners, which was important- the shooting schedule was extremely tight, with just 30 days to shoot Flamin' Hot on 108 sets, during COVID. The film was primarily shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the entire Frito Lay factory was a set. Today's Frito Lay factories are extremely modern and automated, so they knew it would not have the right look for the 80s and early 1990s. With the set, they had lots of control over where they could shoot and what it would look like with depth and color. The set pieces such as the tumbler and conveyor belt were all on wheels, so they could easily be moved around. Coming from TV, Eva felt confident that they could accomplish all they wanted in the time that they had, and they left all their creative energy on the screen. Federico and Eva wanted to break up Monteñez's story into three different decades with three distinct looks to separate them. Federico used Crystal Express lenses for Montañez's childhood, Canon K-35s for his gang banger days, and then for the 80s and 90s, Panavision Panaspeeds, but modified to look like Super Speeds from the 80s. He also used a probe lens to emphasize the size of the factory and for drama in the tasting scenes. Eva enjoyed directing a biopic, and she looks forward to telling more stories from her community. She likes directing projects she's also acting in, and she wants to continue to direct and produce films with purpose. Federico had a great experience working on Flamin' Hot, and he and Eva plan to work together again soon.
12/20/202359 minutes, 27 seconds
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Saltburn cinematographer Linus Sandgren, ASC, FSF

Cinematographer Linus Sandgren believes that films don't always have to look pretty. “A film should look appropriate for the story we're telling. It's about communicating the emotions of the film. And that can be ugly.” For his latest project, Saltburn, the beautiful images counterbalance the evil within the main character, Oliver Quick. Oliver is an outsider at Oxford who grows obsessed with Felix Catton and his friends, who are effortlessly born to power and privilege. Director Emerald Fennell wanted to create a “vampire movie without vampires” due to Oliver's ability to latch on to Felix and his family. Linus met with Fennell, who described her vision of the film. She was influenced by the rich colors in Caravaggio paintings, the early vampire film Nosferatu, and Hitchcock movies for suspense and voyeurism. It was important to tell the story as though the viewer is observing the film from a distance, as if it were a painting. To create the language, Linus found images of paintings and photography that were light-specific to put into a lookbook. They chose to shoot on Kodak film that emphasized the red spectrum, and for a portrait style look, Linus shot in the nearly square aspect ratio of 1.33:1. With the exception of shooting around Oxford University, Saltburn was almost entirely filmed at one estate in Northamptonshire. Linus and the team scouted around the grounds and inside the building, thinking like a painter to decide on shot composition, lighting, furniture placement and blocking for the actors. Outdoors in daylight at the Saltburn estate, it's summer, so Linus felt inspired by fashion photography, impressionist paintings and the square framing and colors of a Polaroid picture. He captured the Gothic feel of the grounds at night, adding to the suspense of Oliver's encounter with Felix's sister Venetia and the showdown he has with Felix in the maze.  Saltburn is currently in theaters. Find Linus Sandgren: Instagram @linussandgren_dp Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/14/202333 minutes, 58 seconds
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Crew Me Up CEO and DGA Assistant Director Joshua A. Friedman

As a production assistant first coming up in the film and television industry in New York, Josh Friedman always saw his fellow crew members not as job competition, but as collaborators. Once he'd moved up to assistant director, Josh decided to share what he'd learned as a PA, and wrote "Getting It Done: The Ultimate Production Assistant Guide." His number one advice to production assistants is to listen. “More often than not, everybody is so excited to be the hero, to be the problem solver, to speak up and get the attention.” says Josh. “But they don't hear everything that's being asked. So this might be a two-part question. And they're only answering the first part without hearing the second part, which is actually more important.” With Crew Me Up, Josh and his partners have created a new job and networking app that connects filmmakers and production crew to film and TV jobs posted across different regions. It all started when he had to replace a crew member while on a shoot in Texas, and had a very hard time finding anyone local who could work. Crew Me Up allows users to build a profile that hosts information such as their availability calendar, resume, website and IMDB page. Instead of job listings that people apply for, users can directly find other members on the platform, and hire them directly. They can also join Crew Me Up groups, where there's many active film communities. The app also provides vendor and services listings for camera rentals, post production, and more across different regions. Find out more about Crew Me Up: Instagram: @crewmeup Joshua Friedman: @crubie_rex You can get the FREE Crew Me Up app for iPhones in the Apple store or for Android in the Google Play store. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
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Loki season 2 cinematographer Isaac Bauman

For the second season of the Marvel series Loki, cinematographer Isaac Bauman decided to bring his own unique look to the show, especially when it came to the lighting design. Loki Season 1 DP Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC brought a lot of herself and her own unique look to the show. But Isaac feels that his approach to cinematography is very different from Autumn's, and he wanted to creatively stick his neck out to define his own voice for season two. During his initial interview for Loki, Isaac presented a detailed vision to directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead of how he would have shot scenes differently for season one. Once he was hired for season two, Isaac created an extremely detailed bible for the lighting and look of Loki. Season 2 is a mix of 1970's-inspired lighting and color palette, with warm browns, yellows and oranges within the TVA, shifting to cooler blues and greens with rainbow hues further down in the control room as the timelines begin to collapse. Loki Season 2 utilizes wide angles, handheld camerawork and monochromatic colors. As with season one, the sets are often full 360-degree builds, so that every possible environment has four walls and a ceiling. The lighting was also achieved with all practicals on set, with a lighting rig built into the ceiling. Isaac had to learn to work with the scenes being lit from overhead, which is not a very flattering look for the actors. He introduced a lot of handheld camera movement into season two, which would have made it challenging to have lights on the set. Instead, for a little extra light on the actors' faces, they often used a battery powered gem ball LED on the eyeline of the actors. The shoot for season two was more dynamic, as the actors were allowed to move more freely around the set, with the cameras just following and panning between the characters, using wide spherical lenses. Isaac loves shooting on a stage, because he loves being able to control all of the lighting. Isaac went to USC Film School where he met his friend, director Lee Roy Kunz, who convinced him to drop out and shoot their first feature film, A Beer Tale. He then started shooting low budget rap videos, which led to bigger music videos, which led to commercials and feature films. Growing up, he made his own video projects at home using a camcorder, but it wasn't until film school that Isaac realized that working with the camera, image and lighting was his true passion. Find Issac Bauman: Instagram: @isaacbauman Loki Season 2 is currently available on Disney+. Hear our interview with Loki Season 1 cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/29/20231 hour, 1 minute, 32 seconds
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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret cinematographer Tim Ives, ASC

The film Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is an adaptation of the 1970 Judy Blume book about a pre-teen girl coming of age. Cinematographer Tim Ives, ASC was drawn to working on the film because with three kids, including two daughters, he was interested in opening up the conversation about girls going through puberty and getting their first period. Tim also admired screenwriter and director Kelly Fremon Craig's work on The Edge of Seventeen. Tim had previously shot the series Stranger Things, so he had a comfort and familiarity with kids in their early teens. Tim also appreciated that Kelly Fremon Craig brought so much enthusiasm, love and commitment to the film, and deeply respected the book by Judy Blume. Though the film is set in the 1970's, neither Tim nor Craig wanted Margaret to feel too dusty and faded. They wanted the film to have a nostalgic feel while still seeming contemporary. At first, they had trouble finding just the right look, until Tim showed Craig a book of photographs by Tina Barney. Her photos influenced the look of the movie, with a very amber, Kodak Gold film look. Tim wanted every scene in the movie to feel like it was a snapshot taken from real life. In his work, Tim most enjoys working on stories with flawed characters with hopes of redemption. He first broke into narrative storytelling through the HBO series Girls, then went on to shoot the pilot for Mr. Robot and several seasons of Stranger Things. Tim enjoyed working on Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret because he likes the timeframe of film, where it's working on one thing for about half a year, with one singular vision from one director. In series television, it usually means working intensely on one thing for almost a year, with a few different directors. Tim Ives' latest project, Love & Death, another period piece set in 1980, is currently on Max. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is currently available on VOD or DVD. Find Tim Ives: Instagram: @timives Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/22/202344 minutes, 50 seconds
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Asteroid City, Roald Dahl shorts cinematographer Robert Yeoman, ASC

Cinematographer Robert Yeoman has been a consistent collaborator with director Wes Anderson since the 1990's. Together, Bob and Anderson have crafted a signature visual style that combines meticulous set design, vibrant color palettes, and symmetrical framing. Each frame feels like a carefully composed painting, with every detail thoughtfully arranged to enhance the overall narrative. Bob's latest collaboration with Anderson is the film Asteroid City and a series of short films adapted from the writings of Roald Dahl. Bob was the DP for The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, The Rat Catcher and Poison. Both the film Asteroid City and the Roald Dahl shorts feature the actors speaking directly to the camera as in a stage play, and props and sets pieces are obviously moved in and out of frame. For the Dahl short films, most of the script is taken directly from Dahl's writing, with the actors reciting the story to the audience. They shot all of the short films in England on two stages right next to each other. While the crew was shooting on one stage, the art department designed and built the stage next to it. Anderson's pre-production process includes the creation of animatics to plan and visualize scenes before shooting begins. An animatic is a series of storyboard images edited together to give a rough preview of the film's pacing and visual composition. Once the animatic is complete, everyone on the creative team is on the same page regarding the visual and narrative direction of the film. The art department then takes the animatic and turns it into a physical space. Since Anderson is so specific about how he wants his compositions to look, Bob usually uses a camera on a dolly track- a steadicam or a technocrane can't get the same level of precision. They imported a special dolly track from Paris for shooting the Roald Dahl shorts. Because of the size of the track, some of the sets that had to slide open and closed were built so that they were slightly elevated from the floor. To accommodate the dolly, all of the lights had to be placed in the ceiling and were operated from a main control board. There were many rehearsals with the art and props department to get the set and prop movements right. The actors knew exactly where to position themselves in the scene just from the detailed animatics. The film Asteroid City explores themes of grief, melancholy and disconnection. It melds together two very distinctive looks- the format of a black and white 1950's era TV documentary in 4:3 aspect ratio about a play, “Asteriod City,” which is then intercut with the staging of “Asteroid City” in a sunny desert town, shot in widescreen with bright pastel colors and lighting. The town set was built from scratch, in a desert in Spain. To create the look, they chose to shoot on film, and Bob tested several different film stocks. He embraced the harsh, high contrast desert light as a character in the movie, even though it went against his instincts as a cinematographer. They made the pastel colors pop in the DI (digital intermediate), and gave it more of a low-contrast look. Though it was shot on a set, Anderson didn't want to use any movie lights on Asteroid City. Instead, skylights were built into each of the buildings such as the diner and the motel office. The skylights were then covered with very thick diffusion so that the light was very soft and even. Under the desert sun, bounce cards and the occasional silk was used to throw more light on the actor's faces. By contrast, they used a very complex theatrical lighting setup when shooting the black and white sequences. They used a lot of harder lights on dimmers, and shot on black and white film. Bob finds that the less gear you have on a set coming between the actors and the director, the more intimate the experience. There's always a huge crew for making Anderson's films, but while shooting a scene, there are only about 10 people present.
11/16/20231 hour, 18 minutes, 45 seconds
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Special Episode: John Bailey, ASC on Groundhog Day, Ordinary People, and his past tenure as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

With the passing of director and cinematographer John Bailey, ASC, we are re-releasing our 2021 interview with him. He discusses his work on the film, Groundhog Day, and briefly touched on his other work. The screenplay is the most important part of a film, John believes. It can be a leap of faith to work with a first time director, when they don't have a body of work, so a good script is always a solid starting point. As the DP of Ordinary People, John noticed the craftsmanship of that particular screenplay, which was carefully written and structured for several years by screenwriter Alvin Sargent and first-time director Robert Redford. He knew right away it would become a meaningful and important film. Both Sargent and Redford won Academy Awards for their work as screenwriter and director, respectively, and Ordinary People won the Best Picture Oscar. Groundhog Day grabbed John immediately as an interesting and offbeat idea for a film, but no one guessed that it would actually become part of the film canon and popular culture. To this day, John is surprised when people tell him how much they like that film and how much it has touched people. The movie famously had its own chaos, since star Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis had a very combative relationship on set. John spent two years as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His passion was in furthering the Academy Film Archive, the Margaret Herrick Library, and other AMPAS charitable projects. He became frustrated with the industry's focus on the Academy's role in the Oscars and how much punditry went into how to fix the awards process. John was a veteran cinematographer who has left us with a huge amount of notable films, including “The Big Chill,” “As Good as it Gets,” “In the Line of Fire” and “The Accidental Tourist.” He will be missed. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz YouTube:
11/13/202318 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Holdovers cinematographer Eigil Bryld

The Holdovers is set in the early 1970's at a New England boarding school where a few students have to stay on campus over the winter holidays. Cranky ancient history teacher Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti) has to stay and supervise. Slowly, the curmudgeonly teacher, the school's head cook Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), and the one remaining student, Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa), form a family-like bond. Eigil Bryld is an accomplished Danish cinematographer, known for his work on In Bruges, House of Cards, Ocean's 8 and much more. He thinks of cinematography as a kind of performance art. Making a movie means working with different people across departments who have complex and artistic personalities, and interacting with actors who are responsible for playing different characters. All these human elements of a movie must then be orchestrated in the best possible way and captured on film at one single point in time. Eigil found it a true delight to work with director Alexander Payne on The Holdovers. Payne has a great sense of humor and is genuinely interested in people and their lives, which is always a thread in his movies. Eigil had known Payne for a few years, but this was the first movie they have worked on together. He loved the script and found himself laughing out loud several times, while also finding the characters rich and poignant. The Holdovers is a 1970s period film, so Eigil and Payne had lengthy discussions of how it should look. Eigil referenced films from the early '70s, such as the Hal Ashby movies The Last Detail and The Landlord. “The problem was that everyone has an idea or recollection of what the '70s looked like, but that's probably very far from what movies ACTUALLY looked like back then,” Eigil says. “One of the things we tend to forget in the '70s, they would do everything to avoid grain. I mean, it's ironic nowadays, everybody's fighting to have grainy images. Back then they would fight to have the best possible lenses and now there's this gold rush for old lenses with lots of mistakes and half of it is not really in focus.” He and Payne went through a testing process to find the right 1970's look. At first, Eigil tested period lenses and cameras, but realized it was more about capturing the spirit of the time- early '70s mid-budget movies had a kind of freedom to them, using lots of handheld shots and mostly available light. He tested 16 and 35mm cameras, but ended up shooting digital on an ARRI Alexa Mini and worked with the colorist to create a LUT with lots of yellow tonality in the highlights. Eigil shot The Holdovers with just one camera, and was also the sole operator. Camera placement was very important, with many of the shots in the movie framed portrait-style. The Holdovers is currently in theaters. Find Eigil Bryld: Instagram @eigilbryld Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/8/202339 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Pigeon Tunnel cinematographer Igor Martinović

The Pigeon Tunnel is director Errol Morris' latest documentary about David Cornwell, otherwise known as the author John le Carré, who wrote several best-selling spy novels after serving as a spy himself. Cinematographer Igor Martinović explores the nature of deception visually in the film, using multiple mirrors and reflections of Cornwell as he's being interviewed. For The Pigeon Tunnel, Igor wanted to create a visual story that enhances the story Cornwell tells about his life, adding another layer that the viewer might not notice right away. They used four cameras to shoot the interviews, and 12 mirrors to reflect Cornwell in different parts of the room. Igor liked the idea of a spy's multiple personas represented by multiplying images. It was tricky to shoot with so many mirrors reflecting the cameras and lights, so for some shots, the equipment had to be erased in post. Igor also used mirrors in some b-roll shots, as Cornwell walks though the forest between the mirrors. For the re-creations dealing with Cornwell's troubled childhood, Igor played around with some surrealist composition and kept the frame imbalanced, to represent the unstable conditions that he grew up in. Igor has worked on several commercials, documentary features and documentary series with director Errol Morris. With his 1988 film, The Thin Blue Line, Morris changed how documentaries were made. His approach to documentary filmmaking is something he describes as “anti-verité.” Even though his films are non-fiction, Morris always approaches each one as a filmed story, using composed interviews with the subject speaking directly to the camera, and creating artful reenactments. As a cinematographer, Igor was a long admirer of Morris' work. When shooting the documentary Man on Wire,  Igor watched The Thin Blue Line as a reference, and it inspired some scenes in the film. He's enjoyed being able to work with Morris now. In 2011, Igor shot a horror movie, Silent House, that was almost entirely filmed in one take. It was actually about 15 total shots, limited mainly by the amount of space they had on each memory card. He found it to be an interesting challenge, as if they were filming a dance or a play. They were able to accomplish the long takes through extensive rehearsals and improved the performances each time. The Pigeon Tunnel is currently on Apple TV+. Find Igor Martinovic: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/1/202348 minutes, 4 seconds
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Wildcat cinematographer Steve Cosens, CSC

Cinematographer Steve Cosens, CSC first met actor and director Ethan Hawke on the movie Born to Be Blue, a biographical re-imagining of the life of Chet Baker. Ethan played Chet Baker, and he and Steve connected over their similar film tastes. A few years later, Hawke called Steve to shoot Blaze, a film he was directing. Blaze is a semi-biographical imagining of the life of Texas songwriting legend Blaze Foley. While Ethan Hawke is drawn to directing films based on real people, the idea to make Wildcat came from his daughter, actor Maya Hawke, who is a huge fan of Flannery O'Connor's work. Though Wildcat is based on writer Flannery O'Connor's life, it also interweaves her short stories into the plot as she goes through the process of publishing her first novel, Wise Blood in 1952. Steve was unfamiliar with the writer, so he read her short stories and was blown away. For that time, it was unusual for a woman to write darkly humorous and disturbing stories. Hawke proposed they shoot in Kentucky, and sent Steve videos of a few location scouts. They both liked the idea of O'Connor's fictional short stories overlapping into the story of her real life, weaving together fact and fiction. Both Maya Hawke and Laura Linney play multiple roles and characters, adding to the layers of story within story. Steve decided to keep the camera locked off and more controlled for the sections dealing with O'Connor's real life. He contrasted that by shooting the fictional stories handheld. In post, he played a little bit with the contrast and color of the stories, but the color palette remains a consistent cool blue and green. Wildcat is a small independent film with a tight budget, so shooting for the 1950's presented a bit of a challenge. On location in Kentucky, the production crew needed to find the right period buildings and houses, and Steve was limited by what direction he could shoot to keep anything modern out of frame. They had a script and extensively location scouted, so that they knew what the shot and light limitations would be. But once shooting began, Hawke could keep it loose so that the actors were able to explore more with their characters within the scene. Steve really enjoys working with Hawke because he's a confident director who is not afraid to take chances or change the plan if necessary. As a DP, he finds it freeing, since many directors get locked into the script or the shotlist, and they can't see that there might be another way to be creative. Once he graduated art school in Vancouver, Canada, Steve got his start shooting the music video backgrounds for karaoke songs that were then sent to Hong Kong. The job required him to shoot two videos per day, without being able to scout locations ahead of time. It taught him to be flexible and adapt to the different locations that they would go. It also taught him to light quickly and in many different situations. Wildcat recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and is seeking distribution. Find Steve Cosens: Instagram: @cosenssteve Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/25/202344 minutes, 37 seconds
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Ahsoka cinematographer Eric Steelberg, ASC

Cinematographer Eric Steelberg, ASC has always loved movies, which is what led him to a career as a director of photography. He tries to find compelling film and television projects, putting his own stamp on the story's visuals. Back in 2006, Eric was at the beginning of his career as a DP when he shot the small independent film, Quinceañera which won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury prize at Sundance that year. It was shot in HD, which was very new technology at the time, especially for smaller films. After Quinceañera, Eric's career began to take off. He'd been a frequent collaborator with director Jason Reitman, whom he met shooting commercials and smaller projects, but not films. Working on Quinceañera gave Eric more credibility as a DP, so Reitman asked him to shoot his next film, Juno. At first it was an uphill battle to get Juno's financiers, Fox Searchlight, to sign off on Eric, because they didn't see him as experienced enough for the job. But Reitman fought for him, and it led to a long relationship with Eric as Reitman's director of photography for Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult, Labor Day, Men, Women & Children, Tully, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Eric never dreamed he'd start at Juno and end up working on the Disney + Star Wars series, Ahsoka. Eric was cinematographer for episodes 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7, with director of photography Quyen Tran, ASC taking on episodes 3, 5, and 8. He began prepping the show with executive producer/showrunner Dave Filoni, frequently touching base with Q since she wasn't able to come on set until later. Both Eric and Q have similar approaches to lighting and composition, and Eric feels it was the best version of a two DP collaboration that there could be. One of the biggest successes of their working relationship was doing their camera testing together and knowing they were aligned with the cameras, lenses and lighting for the show. As a Star Wars fan, Eric was familiar with the source material and he felt so much joy working on a piece of the saga. He had never done a show shot on volume and blue screen stages, and Eric saw it as an opportunity to learn something new. As a DP, he feels his biggest job is listening, looking and paying attention to what the director and the rest of the team wants to see on the screen. Developing the look of Ahsoka began with the art department's concept art for the show, but there was lots of room for creativity as the characters travel to different planets. Eric found Ahsoka to be by far the HARDEST show he has ever worked on, but he also feels extremely proud of his work. Ahsoka is currently on Disney+. Find Eric Steelberg: Instagram: @ericsteelberg Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/18/202348 minutes, 3 seconds
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The Creator cinematographers Greig Fraser ASC, ACS and Oren Soffer

Filmmaker Gareth Edwards and co-cinematographers Greig Fraser and Oren Soffer embraced the unconventional while making the new science fiction movie The Creator. From the camera used, to how it was shot, to the visual effects, the team brought together film techniques both new and old. It's rare to have two cinematographers working on the same film, but Greig Fraser had a set date to begin prepping for Dune and could not be on location in Thailand for shooting The Creator. Gareth was the co-writer, director and camera operator on the film, and Greig knew Gareth needed support prepping the camera and lighting each location. Greig enjoyed the close collaboration with another cinematographer while shooting the series The Mandalorian and he knew having a second DP would be the ideal situation for shooting The Creator. Cinematographer Oren Soffer was brought in, and Oren, Gareth and Greig all prepped the film together, discussing in detail how Gareth wanted to tell the story. Once shooting began, Greig was tasked with managing the LUT and screening the dailies in a Los Angeles theater, while Gareth and Oren managed the day to day on set. Oren and Greig would talk every day about lighting setups, and they both appreciated having another DP around for feedback and ideas. With a collaborator, they both felt like working on the film was less stressful and it led to better creativity. As Greig told us in his interview with The Cinematography Podcast in 2022, The Creator was shot on a Sony FX3. The FX3 is a very affordable, small, lightweight camera that Gareth was familiar with. It was easier for him to move around handheld, explore his shots, and have the freedom to interact with his actors. Gareth's approach to The Creator was documentary-style, much like his first film, Monsters, but it was important to him that it still looked composed like a film. The FX3 could deliver a quality image at the level they needed for color grading and for visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic to add VFX. Oren points out that if a camera can deliver an image quality that looks like what you want, and fits the technical specifications you need, then any camera the director or DP chooses is the right tool. The images shot on the FX3 did have a lot of digital noise at higher ISOs, but this was a look they embraced for its similarity to film grain. The tools a cinematographer uses will continue to evolve and unlock more creativity. With advances in post production and lighting technology, how the image is made matters a lot less. The most important thing to consider is how does the audience respond to the film? Is the cinematographer doing their job as the storyteller? For his part, Greig likes to know about all the tools available to tell the story, and he wants to have enough knowledge about what's possible to pass on to a director when he's asked. While shooting The Creator, Gareth would let the crew know the general story beats they needed for the day, but he would not share the shot list- it was a reference he kept for himself, so that he could shoot on the fly in an improvisational manner. As the operator, he didn't need to spend a lot of time explaining the shots he needed to get, or rely on storyboards. Since the visual effects were designed after the footage was shot, the storyboards only acted as a reference. Gareth wanted all of the pieces, including the action, to have the energy of spontaneity. Oren was able to “set up the sandbox for him and the actors to play in. It meant lighting more broadly, but we would know which direction he'd be shooting, and augmenting it on a shot by shot basis with small LED lights or a helios tube on a boom pole. It was like growing a film in a pot of dirt in your backyard.” For the visual effects on The Creator, Gareth chose to be very sparing in his use of 3D special effects., spending the budget only when it was needed to render detailed objects like the robots.
10/11/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 16 seconds
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Silo cinematographer Mark Patten, BSC

Cinematographer Mark Patten, BSC's most recent project, Silo, is a post-apocalyptic science fiction drama that's been a huge success for AppleTV+. The thousands of people who live in the silo don't know why the silo exists, who built it, or why the world outside is uninhabitable. Citizens who express a desire to go outside, or are convicted of a crime, are sent outside to “clean” the cameras and never survive. After being recruited as the new silo sheriff, engineer Juliette starts to uncover shocking secrets and the truth about the silo. Silo was shot in Essex, England in a huge former cold storage facility. The set had to be completely built out, retrofitting the space into a working film stage. Lighting rigs were hung even before the sets were built so that the set building and production design crew could see in such a huge dark space. The production crew built three working levels of the actual silo set, complete with the spiral staircase. Mark found the richness of the set decoration created a lived-in, worn down place that made the silo itself seem like a character. Everything is very analog or “lo-fi sci-fi” in this dystopian world. It was interesting to think about how society would act together, in a closed vessel, and maintain their sanity in a locked in culture, especially after just coming out of the pandemic. Mark thought of the Silo as a slow ship moving through time, and it felt like shooting a submarine film. The central staircase acts as a helix through the society of the silo, and Juliette is climbing her way up through the layers of it to solve a mystery. Mark worked alongside production designer Gavin Bocquet to visualize the Silo's society, honing in and letting the visuals sing. He decided to subtly use different color palettes for each level. It was a great way to add texture to the images, with the mechanical level becoming very desaturated, except for some touches of bright yellow and orange glow from the heat of the power generators. Since the silo is a mile down into the ground, there is no natural light at all, and Mark needed to figure out what would motivate the light all the way at the bottom. He decided the lighting in the top of the silo would be strongest, and the light would filter down from there. Practical lights were built in everywhere throughout the set and as characters descend to the lowest level of mechanical, the practical lights are the only source. Since every light source was designed and built in, there was no hard light anywhere to manipulate, so for Mark it was an exercise in restraint manipulating reflective light. Mark recently finished shooting Season 2 of Andor on Disney+. Silo is available to stream on AppleTV+. Find Mark Patten: Instagram: @kiesh Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/4/202350 minutes, 44 seconds
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River Wild director and writer Ben Ketai

Director and writer Ben Ketai's latest movie, River Wild, is a thriller inspired by the original 90's movie The River Wild, but with a reimagined plot. In River Wild, a group of friends take a white water rafting trip that becomes a desperate fight for survival as they get caught in serious rapids. Things only get worse once they realize that one of their friends has a dangerous and violent past. River Wild was shot in Eastern Europe in just 25 days with the added burdens of water, kids, and animals thrown in. With such stunt-heavy scenes, Ben worked with stunt coordinators and experienced river rafting guides to carefully storyboard the white water rafting sequences. The rapids in the movie really exist, and professional rafters practiced for weeks to know exactly where and how to shoot the sequences on the river. Ben had to make sure that the water scenes looked amazing, and he wanted to capture the power of the water as a raft is sucked through it. Fortunately, he had a long prep period with the cast and came up with an efficient coverage strategy for each scene. For the closer scenes with actors on the rafts, the production was able to use a special Olympic kayak training facility, where the water was shallow and could be turned on and off. As a Netflix movie, Ben knew River Wild was set to go straight to streaming on the platform. Though there was no big marketing push, it crept up to number three and stayed in the top 10 for over a month, and River Wild became the third most watched movie on Netflix in August. Ben says he doesn't mind making movies that go straight to streaming- he likes the idea that more people can actually watch things there. His show, Startup, also spread and charted well on Netflix. Ben and Ben Rock worked together on a series for Crackle called Chosen that was shot in 22 days for six 30-minute episodes. Both Bens fondly remember it as a lot of fun, and Ben Ketai thinks the challenge of a short time period and less money keeps you on your toes and forces you to be creative. On Chosen, he had the opportunity to make mistakes- with less money, there's also not a lot of people standing in your way. Growing up, Ben always wanted to make movies as a career and would use his dad's video camera to make movies with his friends. As soon as he graduated from college, Ben moved to L.A. Luckily, his mom casually knew director Sam Raimi's mother, and she was able to give him Raimi's contact info. Raimi was just starting Spiderman 3, so Ben was able to get a job as an office PA for Ghost House Pictures. After working at the production company and scriptwriting for a few years, they asked him to direct his first movie, 30 Days of Night- Dark Days. River Wild is available to stream on Netflix. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/27/202351 minutes, 13 seconds
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Talk to Me cinematographer Aaron McLisky, ACS

Cinematographer Aaaron McLisky is thrilled that Talk to Me, a small Australian independent horror film, has found such a huge audience. It has become A24's highest grossing horror movie in North America. The movie is about a group of friends who discover how to become possessed by spirits with an embalmed hand, creating a thrilling party game. The main character, Mia, has recently lost her mother, and her grief makes the idea of finding her mom on the other side both compelling and dangerous. But soon, the supernatural forces can't be controlled any longer. Aaron had heard rumors about the Talk to Me script and was intrigued to find out more about the project when directors Danny and Michael Philippou direct messaged him on Instagram. The twin brothers had no feature film experience, but are self-taught YouTube filmmakers. Their channel, RackaRacka is huge, and features a series of horror/comedy shorts completely shot and edited by Danny and Michael. During the development and pre-production of Talk to Me, Aaron and the brothers discussed how they wanted the film to look cinematically and frequently workshopped and filmed sequences. Aaron always wants to elevate the story through cinematography, making sure that every frame and every camera movement speaks to a world that's truthful to the characters. He wanted to be sure that the camera work elevated the tone of the horror movie, by showing or withholding information as needed. As a former editor, Aaron constantly thinks about editing- how certain sequences will go together and how much coverage might really be needed. Once production started, he found it exciting to be bold, keeping coverage of each scene minimal, and confident that they didn't need more. He kept scenes lit with practical lighting and green fluorescents as much as possible, making Mia seem sickly and possessed. During the possession scenes, Aaron chose to contrast the sequences with unmotivated lighting, and as Mia's psychological decay progresses, the film subtly becomes darker and more desaturated in the grade. Aaron was born in Australia but lived in Indonesia for much of his childhood. He fell in love with photography there and knew he wanted to study film, so he returned to Australia. After completing his degree, he got a job at a production company as an editor, eventually moving into directing commercials and music videos, but he didn't enjoy it. Aaron found he was always more interested in visual images as a storyteller, so he decided to start over as a cinematographer. He was fortunate enough to shoot a music video for YouTube stars, The Bondi Hipsters, who then asked him to be the cinematographer for their television series. Aaron also served as the primary cinematographer of the FX series, Mr. Inbetween. Talk to Me is still playing in theaters and is available to purchase on VOD. Find Aaron McLisky: Instagram: @aaronmclisky Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/20/202349 minutes, 39 seconds
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Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty cinematographer Todd Banhazl, ASC

When cinematographer Todd Banhazl, ASC was hired by creator Adam McKay for Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, he knew he wanted to capture the look and feel of TV broadcasts from the 70's for season 1. As the timeline of the show moved into the mid-80's in season 2, Todd wanted to embrace the gloss and glamour of the era, with more dynamic camera moves on the court. Perhaps the most striking aspect of Winning Time is its signature look. The show integrates and embraces the camera formats used during each time period in the show. They used 8mm and 16mm film and for season 2, VHS-C camcorders. Each scene was also always covered with two 35mm cameras, so that the period look of Winning Time doesn't weigh on the viewer too much. The series is based on the book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.” McKay and Todd wanted the show to be as loud, bold and maximalist as the personality of Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Todd and McKay tested the different camera looks for months before shooting the pilot, and they fell in love with mixing the formats. Todd made a look book approved by HBO, and shot the pilot that way. Next, they had to figure out the editing and post process, to make sure that the look stayed dirty- they wanted film grain, hairs and video imperfections to stay in and even be emphasized. Todd thinks they found the line where the look doesn't overwhelm the story. He enjoys creating art where the form and the way it's made is part of the emotional experience. For Todd, finding crew is much like a casting process. A TV shooting schedule requires finding people who you can trust and rely on. When it came time to find other cinematographers, he wanted to hire artists that he respected for their work, and he wanted his fellow DPs to be able to put their own stamp on the show. John chose to work with Mihai Mălaimare Jr. (a former guest of the Cinepod) for season 1 and John Matysiak (also a former guest) for season 2. He has always admired Mihai's work, and Todd felt that he and John had the same taste. In season 2 of Winning Time, Todd had the chance to direct episode 3, “The Second Coming,” which tells Larry Bird's backstory. The episode also deals with Larry Bird's father's suicide, and he and the crew had a lot of conversations about how to be deeply respectful and responsible about portraying an event that really happened. Even though there has been some criticism of the show by a few of the real people portrayed in Winning Time, Todd feels that their job on the series is to treat the real-life characters with humanity and empathy. Todd grew up in the suburbs of San Dimas, and he knew he always wanted to work in the movies. As a kid, he made home movies all through junior high and high school. He studied film at San Jose State, where he became the class's defacto cameraman. After film school, he went to AFI graduate school where he realized that cinematography was the career he wanted. Todd worked his way up, shooting music videos, camera assisting, and then becoming a director of photography. Blow the Man Down, a critically acclaimed feature he DPd, won awards at the Tribeca Film Festival. Todd was also the cinematographer for 2019's Hustlers, starring Jennifer Lopez. You can watch Winning Time streaming on Max. Find Todd Banhazl: Instagram: @toddbanhazl Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/14/20231 hour, 1 minute, 8 seconds
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Killing It cinematographer Judd Overton

Killing It is a satiric comedy on Peacock starring Craig Robinson as Craig Foster, an aspiring entrepreneur struggling to start his business. The show pokes fun at the absurdities of American capitalism, class, race, health care, and how it's all stacked against the little guy. Cinematographer Judd Overton shot all episodes of Killing It for both season one and season two. His approach to shooting the comedy has always been to keep it relatable and naturalistic, even though the characters are going through things that might seem ridiculous. With three cameras, it was also important to create a space for the actors to do their best work- they would often improvise and try to sharpen their jokes on set. Shooting with longer lenses gave them room to move. The composition and lighting also have to play together for the humor to hit. Each of the characters in Killing It have their own episode, and the lighting is influenced by the places they're in, such as a strip club or a huge mansion. Judd feels that planning is essential, and he had to think on his feet to be able to change blocking or the time of day a scene was shot. One scene in Killing It from season two required a lot of stunt work and fight scene blocking in an automotive chop shop, but the comedy beats weren't working. Without the comedy beats, the fight scene just wasn't going to play. They had to stop, reblock and shoot again to work out how to make it feel funny. Judd grew up in the outback of rural Australia, and his family would buy VHS movies for entertainment and watch them over and over. The kids would then reenact the movies, filming it with a camcorder, and edit them together. Growing up in the driest permanently inhabited place on earth meant that documentary crews would frequently come through, and Judd would go and watch them work. It inspired him to become a cinematographer, so he learned photography in high school and then became a camera assistant through the Australian Cinematography Society. He later attended the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), won several awards for his student work and started getting offers to DP on larger films. Judd's next project is a feature film called Totally Killer, a slasher comedy that will be the closing night film at Fantastic Fest in Austin. It releases October 6th on Amazon Prime. You can watch Killing It streaming on Peacock. Find Judd Overton: Instagram: @juddovertondp Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
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Director Alex Winter on his documentary, The YouTube Effect

It's an "All Things YouTube and the Creator Economy" episode! We welcome returning guest, director Alex Winter whose latest documentary is The YouTube Effect. You may know Alex Winter for his role as Bill in the Bill & Ted movies, but these days he's an accomplished documentary filmmaker. Many of Alex's films explore the role of technology in our society, such as Downloaded, about the rise and fall of Napster, to Deep Web, about the online black market Silk Road. The YouTube Effect explores the origins of the website, which began in 2005, and its rapid growth into one of the most powerful media platforms today. Interviews with early YouTube creators such as Anthony Padilla of the channel Smosh, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, and former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki are featured in the movie. The documentary also dives into the many layers of controversy around YouTube, both good and evil. As a free, easy to use public platform with little to no regulation, YouTube is a forum open to all, inspiring the Arab Spring protests and Black Lives Matter movement. But as we've seen in recent years, YouTube also spreads propaganda and can radicalize vulnerable people to dangerous causes. Coming from the world of film, director Alex Winter sees both similarities and differences between the creator economy of YouTube vs. the traditional media economy. He thinks that the entertainment industry has made a mistake in trying to monetize in similar ways to YouTube. The shift into streaming by media companies hasn't monetized well for anyone, nor is it sustainable- hence the current WGA and SAG strike. Both industries currently find themselves at a crossroads: they need to balance valuing money over the well-being of the workers/creators, and for YouTube's part, to allow regulation in order to stop actual harm to our society. YouTube is a public forum owned and controlled by one of the biggest corporations in the world- Google- with 4.6 billion views a day. People can watch all of their news, all their entertainment, all their TV, even all of our recorded human history there. It's both a search engine and the largest media conglomerate on earth. And the creator economy continues to thrive. As The YouTube Effect points out, by allowing people to simply add their own content, there's no barrier to entry to get started on YouTube. Ad dollars are attached to how many views the content receives. The downside is that YouTube creators feel the grind to constantly make content, because they'll get replaced instantly by someone else. We're in a new phase of YouTube's power, Alex notes, which includes monetizing disinformation and propaganda. YouTube provides no guardrails and no standards and practices for what is posted on the site, and very little on the site is monitored or taken down. As a monopoly, the company has no competition and very little incentive to delete content. As he explores in The YouTube Effect, channels such as Prager University- a right-wing non-accredited online “school”- is heavily funded by dark money, promoting conservative agendas. This disinformation will spread quickly- the Florida Board of Education has just approved PragerU Kids videos to be shown in K-12 schools. Alex believes that YouTube needs regulation to prevent the spread of dangerous propaganda that's funded by ideological interests with deep pockets. Education in media literacy and lessons in how to recognize disinformation for both adults and kids will also be key to creating safer content on the platform. YouTube won't go away and it will evolve- people have created robust communities on the platform, and it is part of our society. You can watch The YouTube Effect streaming on Kanopy, and on VOD: iTunes, Prime Video, VUDU and other platforms. Find Alex Winter: Instagram: @alxwinter Hear our previous interview with Alex, discussing his documentary Showbiz Kids.
8/31/20231 hour, 18 minutes, 2 seconds
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Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie cinematographers C. Kim Miles, Clair Popkin and Julia Liu

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie explores the life of actor Michael J. Fox in his own words. It's a moving and heartfelt documentary as he talks about his rise to fame in the 1980's with the TV show Family Ties, the Back to the Future movies, and what his life is like living with Parkinson's Disease. Fox's story is told with personal interviews, archival footage and reenactments. Cinematographers C. Kim Miles, Julia Liu and Clair Popkin all worked separately on different portions of Still, and all three are Emmy-nominated for their work on the documentary. Julia served as the primary DP for the interviews with Fox, discussing the look with director Davis Guggenheim. They storyboarded the interviews, including shots and lighting, with ideas for moods to evoke different parts of Michael's life. Guggenheim wanted most of the interviews to feel like they were locked off, just like the title. It provided a contrast to the archival footage, where Fox is incredibly acrobatic and frenetic.The interview and b-roll of present-day portions of Fox's life were not completely verite- Julia would approach each action with a plan, and do a few takes. DP Clair Popkin joined the team when Still already had edited raw assemblies of scenes with archival footage cut in. It provided him with a clear idea of how to match and transition interview scenes in and out of the archival video clips. Clair had worked with Guggenheim on several documentary projects in the past, and he was able to step in and shoot the interview portions Julia wasn't available for. Finally, cinematographer C. Kim Miles shot all of the reenactment portions of Still. He met with Guggenheim, who he considers to be the king of planning, but also flexible enough to shoot off the cuff on the day. Since the reenactments came in at the end of the process, Kim found it tremendously helpful to see the rough cut and match the look. He was able to create a softer, more idyllic look for Fox's past memories. Kim and the crew spent 20 days shooting the reenactments, and Fox personally thanked everyone for their part in telling his story. For both Julia and Clair, it was very exciting to work with Fox. It was not just a job- everyone was also a fan, and Julia was thrilled to meet him. Clair felt so much joy and positivity from Michael J. Fox, who was also a consummate professional. Find Julia Liu: @jucliu Find Clair Popkin: @clairpopkin Find C. Kim Miles: @kimiles Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is currently on AppleTV+ Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/23/202342 minutes, 55 seconds
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Black Bird cinematographer Natalie Kingston

The Apple TV+ series Black Bird is cinematographer Natalie Kingston's first experience shooting a television show. As the sole DP for the 6-episode series, she enjoyed the ability to create the look of Black Bird from scratch and maintain it throughout the nearly 100 day shoot. Her hard work has paid off with an Outstanding Cinematography Emmy nomination for the episode, “Hand to Mouth.” Black Bird is based on a true story about Jimmy Keene, who is sentenced to 10 years in a high-security prison on drug dealing charges. He's given a chance of a fully commuted sentence and a clean record if he can befriend and obtain a confession from convicted serial killer and rapist Larry Hall. Acclaimed crime writer Dennis Lehane wrote all the scripts for Black Bird, and he allowed the actors and crew some creative freedom with their lines and storytelling. With multiple directors, Natalie was responsible for maintaining the integrity of the visual language in Black Bird. She chose to keep the camera work visceral, grounded and non-judgemental, with only purposeful camera movement. On other projects, she had always operated the camera as well, but because of the scope and hours of material to shoot, Natalie found it was more efficient for her to step back and allow the camera operators to handle the bulk of the camera work. It was a completely new way of working to stay behind the monitor, but it became a collaborative effort with the rest of the camera crew. Natalie grew up in Louisiana, making up her own home movies with her parent's camcorder and checking out children's stage play books from the library. She knew she definitely wanted to do something in the movies. Cinematography specifically became her passion because she enjoyed being on set and in charge of making someone think and feel a certain way. After college, she got a job at a local TV station, where she created her own documentary show, learning how to shoot, edit and build the fundamentals of telling a story. After that, Natalie began working on small local productions to pay the bills, building up to documentary films and features in Louisiana. Find Natalie Kingston: Instagram: @nataliekingston Black Bird is currently on AppleTV+ Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/16/202358 minutes, 14 seconds
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Cabinet of Curiosities cinematographer Anastas Michos, ASC, GSC

Cinematographer Anastas Michos ASC, GSC humbly calls himself a journeyman cinematographer. However, after 25 years and multiple awards, Anastas possesses expert skill and versatility that can be seen across all genres. Most recently, Anastas was nominated for an Emmy for “The Autopsy,” an episode of Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities anthology TV series on Netflix. Del Toro selected the directors for each episode of Cabinet of Curiosities, and he chose idiosyncratic directors who brought their own sensibilities to each piece. Anastas had worked with “The Autopsy” director David Prior before on a horror film called The Empty Man, and they enjoyed collaborating together again. Anastas enjoyed working on Cabinet of Curiosities because it felt like making a short film rather than a TV show, with each piece a crafted short story rather than a serialization. For a consistent look, each episode used the same production designer, Tamara Deverell,  who also did the production design for del Toro's Nightmare Alley. While shooting the episode, Anastas was always conscious that “The Autopsy” should fall under the look of del Toro's brand. Anastas has always enjoyed shooting horror films because they explore the human condition in a very specific way. The cinematographer can creatively stretch the imagination and the image in a way that can't be done as much in dramas, comedies or romances, since they're usually based in our day to day reality. But Anastas likes to switch around among genres- after working on an intense horror film such as Texas Chainsaw 3D, a light rom com might sound really good. He's interested in any project that has a great story, script, director and crew. Before finding his way behind a camera, Anastas thought he'd go into the music business since he grew up in a musical family. Instead, he became a news cameraperson, learning visual storytelling on the job. He's found that his music background has actually served him well as a cinematographer- he feels musicality is very much a part of camera movement. One memorable time early in his career, Anastas was working Steadicam for Born on the Fourth of July. Director Oliver Stone pulled him aside and had Anastas put on a walkman so that he could move the camera to the pace of the music Stone wanted. After working as a camera and Steadicam operator for several years, Anastas got to shoot his first feature as a DP for Man on the Moon. Anastas found director Milos Forman to be simultaneously generous and demanding, with the capability of recognizing someone's potential and holding them to it. Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities anthology TV series is on Netflix. Find Anastas Michos: Instagram: @anastasmichos_asc_gsc IT'S A BOOK GIVEAWAY! WIN an autographed copy of Junk Film: Why Bad Movies Matter by Katharine Coldiron. Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod, Threads @thecinepod Facebook @cinepod or Twitter @ShortEndz and comment on our post about the book giveaway! Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/10/202349 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Martian, Valiant One cinematographer Dan Stilling, DFF

With five different projects set to come out this year, Danish cinematographer Dan Stilling, DFF is finding fulfillment and pleasure in his career path. He's learned that even when working with a larger budget, you can figure out how to get the best out of very little with the right people and the right gear. As a teen, Dan played in a band and began to learn sound engineering. He got a job at a local TV station in Denmark as a sound technician and was inspired to become a Steadicam operator. After his training, Dan worked on a variety of TV shows. His first big break was working on the medical comedy Scrubs. He then transitioned from Steadicam operator to director of photography, which has informed Dan's style as a DP for framing shots. Over the years, Dan has explored many different genres: documentary, commercials, reality television, dramas, and comedies. He's found that as a cinematographer, you are asked for your opinion a thousand times a day, so it's important to have an informed opinion on everything you're responsible for. Dan was a huge fan of Andy Weir's book, The Martian. Once the movie started shooting, he was thrilled to be hired as the second unit DP. Additional photography in The Martian included footage of of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Dan shot the launch of the Orion capsule and all the background plates at Kennedy, including a beautiful time lapse of the sunrise at Cape Canaveral. Dan's film, Valiant One, shot in Vancouver and releases later this year. Find Dan Stilling: Instagram: dan_stilling_dff IT'S A BOOK GIVEAWAY! WIN an autographed copy of Junk Film: Why Bad Movies Matter by Katharine Coldiron. Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod, Threads @thecinepod Facebook @cinepod or Twitter @ShortEndz and comment on our post about the book giveaway! Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/26/202353 minutes, 40 seconds
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Junk Film: Why Bad Movies Matter author Katharine Coldiron

Author Katharine Coldiron wrote her book, Junk Film: Why Bad Movies Matter around thirteen essays exploring movies from the 1940's to the 2010's. Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Staying Alive, and the musical television show Cop Rock are just some of the disastrous projects explored in the book. Katharine feels that bad movies can be unintentional teaching tools for film students and movie aficionados- but you have to watch a ton of bad movies before you can learn anything from them. There are specific elements that all bad movies share: insufficient resources, incompetence in the basics of filmmaking, and bad acting or screenwriting that create unintentional comedy. Bad movies are actually records of ATTEMPTS at making a movie, and you can see the broken mechanics of each project discussed in Junk Film. In writing the book, Katharine chose to focus on movies she was interested in exploring. She didn't want to write about movies that have been well-covered. For example, she chose not to write about Tommy Wiseau's The Room, but instead focused on his follow-up, another stinker called Best Friends. Katharine feels that the problem with most junk films is not the cinematography, which is at least usually competent. Where these films fail is in the directing and editing process, with the director incompetently stringing along narrative logic from one scene to another. After watching so many bad movies, Katharine has a pointer for creating a good movie: if the director, editor and crew is cohesive, competent, and cares about the film's final quality, then your movie will at least be watchable. Junk Film is available on Amazon and at Barnes& Find Katharine Coldiron: Twitter: @ferrifrigida WIN an autographed copy of Junk Film: Why Bad Movies Matter. Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod, Threads @thecinepod Facebook @cinepod or Twitter @ShortEndz and comment on our post about the book giveaway for this episode! Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/19/202358 minutes, 30 seconds
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Star Trek: Picard and Schmigadoon! Cinematographer Jon Joffin, ASC

Jon Joffin, ASC has learned the importance of staying creative, committed and inspired during shoots. In his long career as a cinematographer, Jon has learned how to work on a team, manage people, and surround himself with those who really care about their craft. When he was first starting out, Jon was hired as a second unit camera operator on The X-Files. Prior to that, he had only worked on music videos and smaller films. The X-Files was a huge show at the time, and Jon quickly moved up to DP for several episodes. The dark and bold look was extremely cinematic, with its signature scenes of bobbing flashlights in the dark woods. The X-Files search for dark secrets set it apart from most high-key sitcoms and workplace dramas that were popular at the time, and it opened up many new opportunities for Jon's career. For the series Star Trek: Picard Season 3, the series creators decided they wanted a big, rich cinematic look for the show. In the previous two seasons, the ship had been lit overhead with sky panels, giving it a flatter look. Jon chose bigger, softer light sources and fewer cameras that could focus on the faces of the well-known actors who were reuniting from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He wanted to get good close-ups that would capture their performances and their ease of working together. It was also important to make it look and feel like a realistic spacecraft and not a set. The crew rebuilt the Starship Enterprise set for the show, and it needed to be lit in a similar way that people remembered from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jon brightened up the lights on that set so that it was a closer match to the original Enterprise. The Apple TV+ series Schmigadoon! is about a couple who gets lost while backpacking and find themselves in a magical world of musical theater. Season Two finds the couple trying to get back to Schmigadoon, but they end up in Schmicago instead. Jon was excited to work on Schmigadoon! Season 2, because he loves musicals and had previously shot one called Julie and the Phantoms. Schmigadoon! season 2 is based on darker musicals than season 1, such as Chicago, Cabaret and Sweeney Todd, interspersed with 70's musicals Godspell and Hair. Jon met with showrunner Cinco Paul, who wrote the Despicable Me and Minions movies and who wrote the songs and scripts for season 2. They decided to use a bright, Technicolor look, with a soft contrast, while also working in darker, vibrant tones for the more harrowing musicals. Jon Joffin just received an Emmy nomination for his work on Schmigadoon! Season 2. You can find it on Apple TV+ Star Trek: Picard is on Paramount Plus Find Jon Joffin: Instagram: @jonjoffin Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/12/202348 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Blackening cinematographer Todd A. Dos Reis, ASC

Cinematographer Todd A. Dos Reis, ASC went to USC Film School a few years ahead of The Blackening director Tim Story. There were so few Black filmmakers at school that they knew of each other. Once Todd graduated and was working professionally, he and Tim finally worked together on several different TV pilots. Todd started out as a camera assistant for Russell Carpenter and worked on a few scary movies with him such as Critters 2: The Main Course and Pet Semetary Two. But Todd is not a big fan of horror movies. As a young kid growing up in the New Bedford, Massachusetts housing projects, Todd watched The Godfather, Blackspoitation movies and Bruce Lee martial arts movies. His grandparents bought him a camera and Todd learned photography in high school. Once he started at USC, he knew he wanted to become a cinematographer. The Blackening is a horror/comedy film about a group of African-American friends who go away for the weekend to a cabin in the woods. The friends are forced to play a game as the killer stalks them. Director Tim Story is more a fan of the horror genre than Todd, and they used The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Don't Breathe as references for the look. Todd kept the lighting very dark, focusing on lighting for drama rather than for comedy. The location only had track lighting, so Todd mainly used the practical lights in the house, keeping any additional lighting to a minimum. They shot on location at a house in Brentwood, Los Angeles, where it actually felt pretty remote. The crew tented the entire house to be able to shoot during the day, since Brentwood had a 12 AM curfew for film crews. Filmed in just 20 days, both Todd and Tim's experience of working in television enabled them to move quickly between setups on The Blackening. Once the master shot was established, Todd only had to adjust the small lights for tweaking shots. Todd's advice for shooting on an accelerated schedule is to have lots of prep and preproduction planning time, and to have an experienced director who knows what they want. The Blackening is in theaters and available on VOD platforms July 7. Find Todd A. Dos Reis: Instagram: @todddosreis Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/6/202351 minutes, 54 seconds
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Jurassic Punk, Life After Pi, Midnight Son director Scott Leberecht

Director Scott Leberecht began his filmmaking career as a visual effects art director at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic. His latest documentary film, Jurassic Punk, is about his fellow ILM effects artist Steve “Spaz” Williams. A talented artist, Steve pioneered computer animation VFX in movies, creating the alien effects for The Abyss and the morphing transitions for the “T-100” in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Steve's most ambitious and revolutionary work for the movie and VFX industry was his work on the completely computer animated dinosaurs for 1993's Jurassic Park. Scott met Steve during his internship at ILM. Jurassic Punk was originally meant to be about the whole ILM ensemble at that pivotal time between The Abyss and Jurassic Park. But as Scott gathered the stories, he realized that he needed a main character who had an interesting arc, and Steve definitely fit the profile. Steve's work on Jurassic Park had never been properly acknowledged, with credit for the visual effects going mainly to Phil Tippett and Dennis Muren. Steve himself was always a notoriously difficult, hard-drinking asshole who had trouble fitting into the corporate structure of ILM. Scott found it hard to shoot Steve's interviews for Jurassic Punk, since his friend was at such a low point in his life. But Steve understood that Scott was trying to tell the story of what life can be like for a creative worker who gives their all, only to be left with little credit or money. Scott sees Jurassic Punk as telling two cautionary tales: be careful about innovating within corporate structures, and ensure that the people who create the art are properly acknowledged. Life After Pi, a documentary short Scott made with Christina Lee Storm in 2014, is also a personal story about working in the VFX industry. Shortly before winning the Oscar for their special effects in Life of Pi, the visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues filed for bankruptcy. Scott had been working for the company for about six months when everyone was fired. The doc explores what's been happening to the visual effects industry, as work is outsourced and it becomes a race to the bottom for the cheapest price. There was a very short window of time after Rhythm & Hues' collapse where effects workers could speak their mind, even staging a demonstration outside the Academy Awards that year. Today, effects workers continue to voice their need to form a union, as the quality of effects work declines while studios demand cheaper VFX done at an even faster pace. You can watch Jurassic Punk streaming on Amazon and Kanopy. Life After Pi is on YouTube. Midnight Son has just been released on Blu-Ray and features a soundtrack by Kays Al-Atrakchi Find Find Scott Leberecht: Instagram: @jurassicpunkmovie Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/29/20231 hour, 19 seconds
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Beef cinematographer Larkin Seiple

We welcome back cinematographer Larkin Seiple, who was the cinematographer for the Best Picture winner, Everything Everywhere All At Once. Larkin's most recent project was the Netflix series, Beef. Beef is about Danny Cho (Steven Yeun) and Amy Lau (Ali Wong) who clash in a parking lot, leading to a road rage chase. But it doesn't end there- both Danny and Amy continually escalate their anger and revenge towards each other, endangering their families and everyone around them. Both characters are stressed, unhappy people who do terrible things to ruin other people's lives. Larkin enjoyed exploring how the antihero characters in Beef make awful and selfish decisions that get worse and worse, like a pebble rolling downhill. He manipulated the camera to influence the audience's understanding of what's happening, so that they can identify or even sympathize with Danny and Amy. He kept the cameras very close to the main characters, using wider lenses to bring the audience into their sphere, often using handheld shots over the shoulder with medium close ups and minimal coverage. Larkin also likes keeping things dark and moody, with minimal extra lighting. This enables him to shoot fast, and actors Steven Yeun and Ali Wong had more time to really explore their performances. You can watch Beef on Netflix. Find Larkin Seiple: Instagram: @larksss Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/21/202352 minutes, 40 seconds
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Abbott Elementary, The Office, Parks and Recreation director, producer and cinematographer Randall Einhorn

Multihyphenate producer-director-cinematographer and all around talented guy Randall Einhorn is currently the executive producer and director of the award-winning ABC show, Abbott Elementary. Randall began his career in series television first as the DP of The Office, then became one of the most frequent directors of the series. He got to know the mockumentary style intimately, and carried it onto many other shows such as Parks and Recreation, The Muppets, and Modern Family. Quinta Brunson, show creator and star of Abbott Elementary, was a huge fan of The Office and pitched her idea to executive producers Randall Einhorn and Patrick Schumacker. Randall immediately knew that the mockumentary format would work well as they followed the everyday drama of teachers in an underprivileged elementary school in Philadelphia. They began shooting the pilot in August 2021, working with kids who were mostly non-actors and hadn't been inside a classroom for an entire year due to COVID. Working with kids made everything harder, but also made everything better, and Randall emphasized that they would have a good time every day. The children were so happy and excited to see each other and to be in a classroom, even if it was a set. On Abbott Elementary, Randall wanted the teachers to be treated like heroes, so they chose to use ARRI cameras and Angenieux Optimo Zoom lenses. The classrooms look inviting, with wood, warm earth tones and bright light coming in from the windows. By contrast, on The Office they would “dirty up” the frame to make it seem more spontaneous, as though something unexpected was actually caught. Randall would pan to someone, purposely defocus, then bring the actor into focus, to make it seem as though it was just caught. For Abbott Elementary, the camera crew keeps everything mostly in focus, but they will make a conscious effort to keep a piece of doorway in the shot, for example, to imply that people are having a private moment with the cameras hanging back. Randall feels that there's an honesty to using a long lens and backing up so it would look like the actors are having an intimate conversation. Randall naturally developed his mockumentary shooting style after working on reality and extreme sports shows. Executive producer Ben Silverman saw his work and thought his verite style would work well for The Office. Randall met with executive producer Greg Daniels, and they hit it off. Since he'd never worked on scripted shows before, Randall broke lots of rules that were considered “normal” for series television on The Office, such as operating himself and pulling his own focus. Blocking and planning the camera placement ahead of time was also essential- the camera crew would never put a camera where it couldn't or wouldn't be. He also figured out how to add to the improvisational comedy through the camera's movement and focus. Randall would keep one eye on the eyepiece and another on the actors to see who was going to improv. He'd lean in with the camera on an actor, stepping in closer to make a moment even more awkward. Unlike the British version of The Office, which was always carefully rehearsed, they would just shoot the scenes and reactions, in true documentary style. Randall's company, Sad Unicorn, has a multi-year first look deal at Warner Bros. and he will continue executive producing and directing Abbott Elementary. Abbot Elementary is in its second season on ABC and Hulu, and season three will likely be delayed due to the writers strike. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/14/202352 minutes, 3 seconds
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Jimmy Kimmel Live! cinematographer George Feucht

We finally welcome George Feucht, friend of the Cinepod and frequent collaborator of Ben Rock's. George has shot many of Ben's directorial projects, such as the web series, 20 Seconds To Live and the short film, Future Boyfriend. Cinematographer George Feucht grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, where the closest movie theater was about 20 miles away. Working on high school and local theater productions gave George an education in lighting. He also learned photography, getting a job as a photo journalist for the local newspaper. Once George enrolled in USC film school, he learned about storytelling and set etiquette. He realized that becoming a cinematographer brought all of these skills together. After college, George began working as an electrician and cameraman for home improvement and reality TV shows. He enjoyed working on reality shows because it's challenging work- setting up and lighting shots, yet with little to no control over the unscripted action. He then made his first feature, Dance of the Dead with his friend, director Greg Bishop. They worked together again on a horror feature called Siren. George began working on Jimmy Kimmel Live! shooting comedy bits such as “Mean Tweets” outside the studio for the field department. They often have to shoot the sketches on the same day the show airs. George says the secret to working so fast is to have a great team, with great producers who figure out all the logistics. The writers are also incredible, coming up with something brilliant that can be done in a very limited timeframe, often with very famous A-list actors. It's an unpredictable and challenging job that changes every day, but George enjoys being a part of making something funny. For the improvised, man on the street comedy bits, he has to pull his own focus and try to get the comedy timing right. Everyone on the crew feels like a family, and George enjoys watching Jimmy working during the rehearsals. Jimmy Kimmel Live! is dark for now because of the writer's strike. Fortunately, George has been able to stay employed shooting commercials. Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs every weeknight on ABC. Find George Feucht: Instagram: @georgefeucht Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/8/202356 minutes, 56 seconds
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Ted Lasso cinematographers David Rom and Vanessa Whyte

The show Ted Lasso has truly become a feel-good TV phenomenon for Apple TV+. With tons of new subscribers after its premiere in 2020, it saved the brand-new streaming service and was Apple TV+'s top comedy in 50 countries. Ted Lasso seemed to tap into what many people needed during the pandemic. It's a positive and uplifting show about Ted, a fish out of water determined to spread joy and inspire confidence while coaching the AFC Richmond football (soccer) team in England. Cinematographer David Rom has been shooting Ted Lasso since the pilot. He and co-creator/star Jason Sudeikis worked out the look of the show together with the production designers. They wanted to find a look that was clean, bright and saturated, but not look like a network comedy. It was a challenge to make so many offices and locker rooms look interesting because they had to be lit from above. David and director Tom Marshall used the sports films Moneyball and I, Tonya as references for the pilot episode. David chose to shoot with the ARRI Alexa LF with Tokina lenses to get the big, colorful look. The show frequently uses a single camera, handheld approach even though they often need several cameras to cover the action. Many of the scenes are rewritten, changed or improvised in the moment, so both David and fellow cinematographer Vanessa Whyte have to be ready to think on their feet. DOP Vanessa Whyte joined Ted Lasso in season 2. As the seasons of the show have progressed and the characters deepen, the look of Ted Lasso has also progressed, with room for experimentation in a few episodes. For example, in the episode “Beard After Hours,” Vanessa got to have fun with more psychedelic and dreamlike camera work as Coach Beard parties his way around London after a team loss. Vanessa also found that each season has a lot of episodes that refer back and tie in to previous episodes. With help from the show's DIT, she would reference these previous scenes, in order to match up the shots and storylines neatly. She finds that the fans of Ted Lasso notice and appreciate when they're able to recognize a callback. Ted Lasso IS about football, and for all of the football sequences, the show has a special second unit for shooting the games. David and Vanessa use a large crew to shoot on the field, with many extra cameras. The crew is not allowed to shoot on any actual football pitches, and all of the stadiums where the games are played are recreated with computer graphics, and a CGI crowd. Most of the practices and games are actually shot on the Hayes and Yeading Football Club pitch. A few small greenscreens are strategically placed on the field and behind the goals, and the CGI team does their magic to turn it into a stadium. For both David and Vanessa, shooting in the UK can be a nightmare with the unpredictable British weather. Vanessa says that it's definitely part of the training for any European cinematographer. The weather regularly shifts from clouds to sun to clouds and rain. They always need to build in more time to shoot, and have plenty of lights as backup with color grading in post to correct for drastic light and shadow changes. After season 1, the crew built a set instead of using a real location for Rebecca's office, since it was so difficult to control the lighting in the south-facing windows. Ted Lasso is streaming on AppleTV+. Find David Rom: Instagram: @davidrom_dop Find Vanessa Whyte: Instagram: @noodlle Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/31/202346 minutes, 22 seconds
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Evil Dead Rise cinematographer David Garbett

New Zealand cinematographer David Garbett has shot more versions of the Evil Dead franchise than any other cinematographer. These include the series Ash vs. Evil Dead and the latest movie, Evil Dead Rise. Dave has enjoyed working on Evil Dead because it's been a fun, creative, and over-the-top experience. Evil Dead Rise director Lee Cronin felt that after 10 years, the movie needed a different setting. The action takes place on the top floor of a Los Angeles apartment building. Dave felt a responsibility to get the tone just right since Evil Dead is loved around the world. Evil Dead Rise is witty, but it is more of a straight up horror movie compared to the other Evil Dead films, starring Bruce Campbell. It definitely doesn't skimp on the blood and gore. Dave thinks that the essential comedic aspect of Evil Dead is a huge part of the dynamic between director Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. He had the amazing experience of working with both of them on the series, Ash vs Evil Dead. The show is like a gory cartoon, with lots of humor and a huge performance by Bruce Campbell as Ash. One of the aspects of shooting Ash vs Evil Dead that Dave loved was getting the script every week and thinking, what the hell kind of bizarre situation am I going to find myself in this week? For the series, Dave got to use many of the low-angle, fast moving “evil force” POV shots. Every time they needed an “evil force” shot, it required a lot of thought and logistics preparation to figure out how to maneuver the camera. They would use many different techniques to get the right look and speed- the evil force has a fast-moving energy and intensity. Dave captured the “force” with the camera mounted on a variety of tools: a gimbal, a pipe, a remote controlled car, a techno crane and also just physically running handheld to give an organic nature to the movement. When Dave began going to film school in Auckland, he realized that he was drawn to a career as a director of photography, because you can be both technical and artistic. Dave's timing was good, because the film industry in New Zealand was just ramping up. The movies Once Were Warriors and The Piano were being made there, followed by Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners. Soon after, Peter Jackson put New Zealand on the map with The Lord of the Rings movies, which brought an incredible amount of work and visibility to the film scene in New Zealand. Dave also shot several episodes of the Netflix series, Sweet Tooth. Season two of Sweet Tooth is currently streaming. Evil Dead Rise is currently playing in theaters. Find Dave Garbett: Instagram: @jarbaye Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/24/202345 minutes, 3 seconds
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Dead Ringers cinematographer Laura Merians Gonçalves

Cinematographer Laura Merians Gonçalves was extremely intrigued to work on the new Prime Video series, Dead Ringers. The show is based on the 1988 David Cronenberg movie, which starred Jeremy Irons as twin gynecologists. When she read the script for the series, Laura thought changing the genders of the twins to female gave the show more interest. She liked that over six episodes, they could explore a deeper, more complicated story about women. Laura shot the bulk of the series, episodes three, four, five and six. Both Laura and DP Jody Lee Lipes, who shot episodes one and two, worked closely together to share ideas and find the look of the show. There is a restraint to the color palette, with the exception of red as a theme- just as in the movie. They used red scrubs and even red latex gloves in the operating rooms. The style of the show is very stark and elegant, making it easier to cleanly insert the twinning shots. The biggest challenge for Dead Ringers was ensuring that the twinning for actor Rachel Weisz was seamless and convincing. Jody had previous experience shooting twin shots with VFX supervisor Eric Pascarelli on the HBO series I Know This Much Is True. For Dead Ringers, the twinning shots were done with the assistance of an old motion control camera system that actually used floppy disk drives. Anything involving twinning was discussed in advance and carefully planned and blocked. A body double, Kitty Hawthorne, was also essential for the twinning effect to work. Rachel would do rehearsals and then takes for side A, with Kitty miming the other twin. Then they would switch and do side B, with Kitty now mimicking the A side twin. The motion control camera exactly synched the camera so that the scene could be composited seamlessly together in post. Laura found that with the real-time movie magic they were able to create, it was easy to forget that actor Rachel Weisz was actually just one person. She is a huge fan of motion control and doing things technically in camera, rather than relying on special effects in post. The actor can be invested in their performance as their character and they don't have to have a face replacement or deep fake special effect. Dead Ringers is currently streaming on Prime Video. Find Laura Merians Gonçalves: Instagram: @lauramelodygoncalves Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by ARRI: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/18/202357 minutes, 50 seconds
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Cinematographer Xavier Dolléans, ASF on the Peacock series, Mrs. Davis

Cinematographer Xavier Dolléans has worked extensively in France on films, commercials, music videos and the award-winning French series, Germinal. The Peacock show Mrs. Davis marks his move into working on more U.S. based productions. Xavier was the DP for the Spain unit of the show. He enjoys working in narrative storytelling, where he can tell longer stories and find a look that creates the rhythm of the story. Mrs. Davis is a humorous, dramatic and action-packed science fiction show about a powerful artificial intelligence known as Mrs. Davis. The algorithm has taken control of most people's every day lives, and they worship Mrs. Davis with cultlike devotion. An unconventional nun, Sister Simone, has made a deal with the AI to find and destroy the Holy Grail in return for it destroying itself. Xavier began five weeks of prep in Spain for Mrs. Davis, which takes place across the globe. The production shot in several different parts of Spain to stand in for other countries, such as Scotland. The northern part of Spain looked enough like Scotland and was far less cold and rainy. Xavier worked with a mix of American and Spanish crew. The production used U.S. production standards, with very little overlap between departments, but with European labor rules of working just 8-10 hours per day. When Xavier first read the script for Mrs. Davis, he could understand what was happening in each scene, but the overarching story was extremely complex, exciting and unpredictable. He enjoyed the depth of the story which is only revealed a tiny bit at a time. Xavier was able to give hints with camera framing and movement of what is really happening or what a character is thinking. A camera move can reveal a lot in each episode, and all of the visuals were intentional and carefully shotlisted. Xavier and cinematographer Joe Anderson used Caldwell anamorphic lenses, which created the flare and bokeh they were looking for. Xavier began his career in filmmaking working in visual effects. He had the opportunity to spend time on set as an assistant director, and discovered he liked the job of DOP because it combined the technical with the artistic point of view of the story. Xavier sees filmmaking as a lifestyle for the mind and the body. It's important to stay educated and up-to-date on new systems and techniques, and to keep your body healthy and well rested so you're in the best condition for the job. Find Xavier Dolléans: Instagram: @xavier_dolleans Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/10/202353 minutes, 49 seconds
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Comedian and director W. Kamau Bell on the new HBO documentary, 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed

Comedian and director W. Kamau Bell has been a fan of documentaries as much as a fan of comedy. As a kid, he would sit down with his mom and watch documentaries on PBS, since there were only a few broadcast TV channels when he was growing up. He came of age at a time when lots of documentary filmmakers were putting themselves on screen and telling personal stories. For Kamau, it's always about looking at the material and the story you want to tell.  As a comedian, he's skilled at bringing humor into more serious subjects. But there is a clear difference between something personal that happened to him that he can joke about in his standup act vs. something with more nuance and depth that can be explored as a longer-form project. 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed is very personal to Kamau, since his children are mixed race. He wanted to talk to his three daughters about their identity and experiences, something they discussed often in their household. He also included interviews with his wife, mother and mother in law. The production team cast several other kids in the San Francisco Bay Area, including friends of his daughters, to expand the focus of the documentary further. The intention was to keep it lyrical and light, and temper any intense or heavy topics with humor when possible. On set, Kamau made sure the kids were as comfortable as possible and that the cameras were always framed at their level so they could look him straight in the eye. The set was a rented house that they intentionally decorated to feel homey and welcoming, and Kamau made the children feel at ease by showing them the cameras and equipment first. The parents interviewed in the documentary found that the project led to them having deeper conversations about their racial identities with other family members. HBO and the producers decided to keep the edited time of 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed down to just one hour, so that families could sit and watch it together. Kamau thinks 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed is just the beginning of what could become a bigger project. He would love other directors to talk to kids in different parts of the country, because there's lots of kids out there with different experiences than those in the very liberal and diverse Bay Area. 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed is currently available on HBOMax. Find W. Kamau Bell: Instagram & Twitter: @wkamaubell Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/3/202352 minutes, 12 seconds
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David “Gribs” Gribble, ACS on his long career and films Cadillac Man, The World’s Fastest Indian, The Quest, Jesse Stone

David “Gribs” Gribble grew up in Brisbane, AU and began studying photography at night school. He became a photo assistant, moved to Sydney, and found a job at a local film studio making commercials and low-budget movies. At the time, in the 1970's and '80's, Australia was experiencing a resurgence of its cinema, known as the Australian New Wave. The government provided tax incentives for ordinary people to invest in movies, and established the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. The country's film industry was jump started, and the genre known as Ozploitation was born. Gribs learned camera operating on the job. His first feature film was The Man From Hong Kong, followed by the Aussie cult classic race movie, Running On Empty. The film Monkey Grip won some awards, and Gribs was asked to shoot his first American movie, Off Limits, starring Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines. He thinks that working with American actors was different than working with Australian actors- the Americans seemed to be more prone to distraction and sensitive about their appearance. Gribs learned to “light faces, not places” since that's where the dialog comes from, and flattering actors by telling them how great they look in a particular spot, to give them tools to make themselves look better on screen. He also learned that in lighting, it's better to work with a broad brush and shoot before you're ready- as a cinematographer, don't indulge yourself too much. The movie Cadillac Man was challenging to shoot for a few reasons. The movie takes place almost entirely in one location- at the car dealership. Gribs had to combat flat lighting up against the walls of the office, as well as dealing with reflections from shiny cars and large windows. Director Roger Donaldson shot take after take, because actor Robin Williams was constantly improvising off script. Gribs found him extremely funny, and says there was so much extra footage of Williams that was cut out, it could probably make another movie. Gribs also discusses working with Anthony Hopkins on The World's Fastest Indian, Jean-Claude Van Damme on The Quest and shooting the Jesse Stone movies starring Tom Selleck. Find David Gribble: Instagram @gribshott Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/27/202349 minutes, 54 seconds
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Mark H. Harris, film critic and author of The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar

Mark Harris has enjoyed watching horror movies since the age of about 10 or 12. Growing up in the 1980's with so few Black characters on TV or in movies, he always noticed when there was a person of color onscreen. It stood out even more in horror, and the Black character would inevitably end up dead since they were never the main character. As an African American horror movie fan, he decided to start keeping track of the countless ways in which Black characters were killed. In 2005, Mark started the website Black Horror Movies, where he reviews the portrayal of Black characters in genre movies all the way back to the beginnings of cinema. Mark's website provided a lot of the background information he and co-author Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman needed for their book, The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar. While the subject matter is serious, The Black Guy Dies First is a fun read, written with humor and insight. It includes lots of pop culture references, timelines, photos and concrete examples of Black representation in horror. Mark and Ben discuss many of the topics and issues raised in The Black Guy Dies First. Horror movies have always been seen as the ugly stepchild of Hollywood, and many people still think of horror as inconsequential. But this also allows horror movies to be transgressive, and push boundaries because the expectations for it to perform with mainstream audiences are low. Scary movies have a tendency to explore different avenues and reflect society's fears and anxieties. Race in America is one of the biggest touchstones as far as fear and anxiety, so it's valuable to analyze it as part of the horror genre. The trope of “the black guy dies first” is a history of how Black characters have been marginalized in movies. Since they are never the lead character, they are disposable. One of the exceptions, Night of The Living Dead, was ahead of its time, because it had a Black character in the lead. This made it an outlier in the history of black characters dying. Other cliches and stereotypes Mark sees that marginalize African Americans in horror are: The Best Friend, The Voice of Reason, The Authority Figure (such as a Black cop), The Sacrificial Negro (the character who somehow decides not to save themselves, even if they could), and The Magical Negro (who is just there to help the white main character, such as in The Shining.) Mark does see the horror genre finally changing for the better- Jordan Peele's Get Out was a runaway smash, which has allowed for more Black leads in horror movies and across all film genres. And he was genuinely surprised that Peele's NOPE got any kind of Oscar buzz in 2023 (though it did not receive any nominations.) Other recent films such as His House, Master, and Nanny actively explore the social issues and history of Black trauma. Mark agrees that the best way to increase diversity in front of the camera is to increase diversity behind the camera. When people of color are writing and directing, it empowers the development of strong characters and provides opportunities for diverse points of view. In Hollywood, there has always been the excuse that too many Black leads in a movie would make it a “Black movie” and therefore not appeal to all audiences or do well internationally. But now, a lot of blockbusters have people of color as the lead, which seems to prove that this attitude is changing. At the same time, it's important for filmmakers to not necessarily try to make the next Get Out- often, social commentary can feel wedged into the storytelling, when it didn't need to be. Mark feels that the key to Black horror is to show range in the storytelling, but it doesn't always have to be so serious. As a genre, horror is the most self-aware of its tropes and tendencies, so it is constantly challenging itself to change things up and find better ways to scare you. Find Mark Harris: Twitter @blacula
4/19/202359 minutes, 41 seconds
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Michael Zink, President, UHD Alliance discusses Filmmaker Mode for television sets

Michael Zink is president of the UHD Alliance, an industry group founded in 2015. He is also the Vice President of Emerging and Creative Technologies at WarnerMedia. The Alliance was founded to bring together consumer electronics manufacturers, film and television studios, content distributors and technology companies to have unified technical specifications for what Ultra High Definition should be. Michael has been instrumental in helping set the standards for Filmmaker Mode, an option now available on most new TVs. Most electronics manufacturers have automatic factory pre-sets on their HDTVs that include post-processing of the image, known as “motion smoothing” or “smooth motion” which makes every image onscreen look like the evening news or a videogame. It can be very difficult to figure out how to disable it or turn it off. Starting around 2014, actors, directors and cinematographers like Tom Cruise, Rian Johnson, Christopher Nolan and Reed Morano loudly decried the smooth motion default settings and were very upset that their films were not being seen at home as they had intended. Tom Cruise even went so far as to make a PSA he posted to Twitter in 2018, asking viewers to turn off motion smoothing. UHD Alliance met with industry groups such as the ASC and the DGA, and determined that preserving filmmakers' creative intent on home televisions was very important. UHD Alliance then came up with the specifications for Filmmaker Mode, which most manufacturers have adopted. Filmmaker Mode is designed to help you watch movies and TV shows at home the way that filmmakers intended AND make it very easy for consumers to use. Most people just use their electronics directly out of the box, without any special calibrations. By disabling all post-processing such as motion smoothing, and preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates, Filmmaker Mode enables your TV to display the movie or television show’s content precisely as it was intended by the filmmaker. Today, even streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video have automatic switching in the data stream that will communicate with certain brands of televisions to switch it to Filmmaker Mode. Find Michael Zink: Twitter @_MichaelZink UHD Alliance: @experienceUHD Filmmaker Mode: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/12/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 53 seconds
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Director Jon S. Baird on the new Apple TV+ movie, Tetris

The new Apple TV+ movie Tetris tells the unbelievable but true story of how the video game became a worldwide phenomenon. Entrepreneur Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) discovered Tetris in 1988 and partnered with Soviet inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) to bring the game from the USSR to the entire world. Tetris is a fast-paced, compelling Cold War–era thriller as Henk and Alexey race to outmaneuver their competitors who are determined to get to the market first with the “perfect” video game. Director Jon Baird loved the script for Tetris because it was fun, fast-paced, full of political intrigue and family drama, yet based on reality. Jon decided to shoot the film in Scotland, around his hometown of Aberdeen. Moscow in the 1980's was a very gray place, where it actually felt like someone had turned the color off. Jon worked with his DP Alwin H. Küchler, and they decided to keep the color palette desaturated in grays and browns. Aberdeen is often cloudy, with gray granite buildings, making it a great place to substitute Soviet-era Russia. Tetris producer Matthew Vaughn was very instrumental in the post-production process, and they worked with the visual effects team to put together just the right amount of video game elements in the film. Jon grew up in a fishing town in Scotland without any connection to the movie industry. His dad loved musical theater so they would often go to London to see plays. He loved the feeling seeing live theater and movies gave him, and Jon knew he wanted to pursue a career in movies. Once he was old enough, Jon moved to London and after a few years he found a job as a production assistant, that eventually led to another job at the BBC, learning as he went. His short film It's a Casual Life led to a technical advisor position on Green Street Hooligans, directed by Lexi Alexander, which became his big break. Jon has also won a BAFTA for directing the film Stan & Ollie. Tetris will be streaming on Apple TV+ on March 31. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/22/202341 minutes, 35 seconds
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Rye Lane director Raine Allen-Miller and DP Olan Collardy

Rye Lane is a charming, energetic and funny romantic film that follows Dom and Yas, both twentysomethings going through bad breakups. They meet at a friend's art show and roam around South London, helping each other deal with their exes while having crazy adventures and restoring their faith in romance. The movie premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, opened wide in the UK and is set to stream on Hulu March 31. When she received the script for Rye Lane, direct Raine Allen-Miller knew she wanted to set the film in South London, a very vibrant, colorful place with lots of interesting characters. She loves movies by fellow British director Steve McQueen, and counts him as an influence on her work. Raine wanted her film to be funny and entertaining while still looking beautiful and “juicy” throughout. Rye Lane is Raine's first feature, and she creates an energetic, colorful and happy world where, once Dom and Yas meet, they simply have fun together. It was important to her that Black people be captured in a way that's positive, funny and goofy, and that people have a great time watching the film. Cinematographer Olan Collardy grew up in Nigeria and later moved to South London, where he met Raine while working on commercials. He says that Raine brings a beautiful sandbox to play in, with her love of color and interest in creating a very energetic, stylized, modern look to the film. They worked together to ensure that the camera was always in the right place to play up the humor- if it wasn't funny, it wasn't functional. Olan used extremely wide anamorphic lenses to add a touch of the surreal to the shots. They were influenced by the British comedy Peep Show, getting very close on a wide lens while the actor looks slightly above the lens so they don't break the fourth wall. Olan was influenced by Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, which is also very rich in color and about a very specific place. Rye Lane is in theaters in the UK and will be streaming on Hulu on March 31. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/16/202341 minutes, 7 seconds
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Jenelle Riley, Variety’s Deputy Awards and Features Editor, discusses the 2023 Academy Awards nominations

Long-time friend and colleague Jenelle Riley of Variety magazine chats with Ben and Illya for our fourth annual Oscar nominations special. With a focus on cinematography, they discuss what they liked, what will win, what should win, and their favorite movies of the year that may not have been recognized. Here’s a rundown of some of the nominations discussed in this episode, as well as great films that were not nominated this awards season. Listen to our interviews with the nominated DPs as well as other films of note! Tár, Florian Hoffmeister Mandy Walker, nominated for Elvis, the first woman to win an ASC Award All Quiet on the Western Front, James Friend, who won a BAFTA Everything Everywhere All At Once, Larkin Seiple who was not nominated Roger Deakins, Empire of Light Darius Khondji, Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths Greig Fraser, who won last year for Dune and also shot The Batman Women nominated for best cinematography but have never won: Rachel Morrison, Ari Wegner Banshees of Inisherin, Ben Davis Babylon, Linus Sandgren Hoyte Van Hoytema, Nope Find Jenelle Riley on Instagram and Twitter: @jenelleriley Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/8/202329 minutes, 7 seconds
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Oscar-nominated documentary Fire of Love director Sara Dosa, editors Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput

The documentary Fire of Love, directed by Sara Dosa, takes viewers on a mesmerizing journey into the world of volcanology. The film is centered around footage filmed by French volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft, who devoted their lives to studying volcanoes and capturing their stunning beauty. Fire of Love is an intimate look into the Kraffts' personal and professional lives, as well as their ultimate fate, tragically lost to a volcanic eruption. Director Sara Dosa and editors Jocelyne Chaput and Erin Casper created the story almost entirely from watching 250 hours of the Kraffts' archival footage. Fortunately, the footage was in great shape and was fun and fascinating to look through. Sara knew that she wanted to focus on the relationship between Maurice and Katia, and their love affair both with volcanoes and each other. Sara, Jocelyne and Erin also collaborated on writing the script and narration. They wanted the amazing footage to speak for itself, and kept the story tight and intimate, filling in with narration, archival interviews and stylized animation rather than shooting current interviews with those who knew them. Sara was influenced by the look of French New Wave films as a guide for the documentary. It seemed a natural fit since Maurice Krafft's footage of volcanoes from the late 1960's and early 70's also were influenced by the French New Wave. Volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft shot most of the footage themselves on 16mm film, and proved to be good cinematographers. Katia was a talented artist as well, and photographed beautiful images of volcanoes that appeared in her books. Together, they captured some of the most stunning and rare footage of volcanoes, which continue to be used by scientists to better understand them today. Fire of Love is a beautiful tribute to the Kraffts and their legacy, and a reminder of the incredible power and beauty of the natural world. Fire of Love is currently available on Hulu and Disney+ and is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Sara Dosa won the 2023 DGA Award for Outstanding Directing for Fire of Love. Editors Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput have won an ACE Eddie award for their work on the film.  Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/6/202354 minutes
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Jesse Feldman, ASC Award-nominated DP of Interview with the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire on AMC+ is based on Anne Rice's novel of the same name. The new series changes and updates the material so that the main character, Louis, is now Black and a closeted gay man who is turned into a vampire by the Frenchman Lestat. But in 1900's New Orleans, even when he's “freed” as an immortal vampire, Louis finds that his power is still limited by racism. Cinematographer Jesse M. Feldman was nominated for an ASC Award for his work on Interview with the Vampire. He found out about the series through his friend and fellow DP Brandon Trost, (also a former guest on Cinepod) and loved the strong visuals he got from the script. Jesse split the series with DP David Tattersall and they each shot alternating episodes. Each DP took creative control of their own episodes, and they had a good collaboration and visual cohesion. Interview with the Vampire is shot in a dark and moody style that perfectly suits the Gothic horror genre. Jesse leaned in to the dim and shadowy lighting, with pops of vibrant color used to highlight key moments. The series deals with two different time periods- 1900's New Orleans and modern day Dubai. It involved a combination of night shoots on location and shooting on sets, which allowed for total control of the lighting. Jesse found that the schedule was very tight but he was always open to ideas coming from the crew if a different approach became necessary. He feels that creative collaboration on set is important and one idea can lead to another, often better, idea. Jesse wanted to become a cinematographer beginning in high school, when he took photography. He learned that you could tell a story through an image, and that just a still image could communicate a great deal. After moving to L.A. and enrolling at USC, Jesse got a job as a camera assistant on a music video and learned how to load 35mm mags. After graduating, he worked on several music videos and low budget films, became a camera operator and has been a camera operator on shows such as The Madalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and The Chi. As an artist, Jesse finds that being a cinematographer has been more fulfilling. Being a director of photography vs. being a camera operator are very different jobs and involve using different skills. Lighting is a huge part of cinematography, and operators don't have time to think about lighting when they're just trying to do complex camera work at the pace of most TV schedules today. For a DP, who has to make so many decisions as you're rolling about lighting and camera tweaks, it's hard to pay attention if you're operating a camera, and you also can't watch multiple cameras. After working as a camera operator for many years, Jesse had a lot of back issues. He invented the ErgoRig, which transfers 100% of the camera weight from the operator's shoulder and back to their hips, preventing spinal compression. Interview with the Vampire is currently available on AMC+ The ASC Awards are streaming on March 5, 2023 Find Jesse Feldman: Instagram @jessemfeldman Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/1/202336 minutes, 29 seconds
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Oscar-nominated documentary All That Breathes cinematographers Ben Bernhard and Riju Das

All That Breathes follows the story of two brothers in New Delhi, India who run a home-based bird sanctuary dedicated to caring for black kites. Black kites are a common bird of prey in the city and have adapted well to living alongside humans. But as the pollution and toxic garbage in New Delhi increases, the kites, as well as other birds, fall ill from smog and other hazards in the urban environment. Muslim brothers Saud and Nadeem, along with their friend Salik, found a passion for caring for birds as kids and it seems like a thankless job as they apply for funding to expand their work. Director Shaunak Sen worked with cinematographers Ben Bernhard and Riju Das to simply follow and capture the brother's day-to-day life, and emphasize the interconnectedness of all things within a busy urban place like New Delhi. DP Ben Bernhard wanted to show the coexistence of all the animals in the city and create a perspective for the audience to see things down at their level. In fact, All That Breathes opens on a nest of rats living in a traffic circle in the city, right at a rat's-eye view. Cows, pigs, and monkeys also live alongside the people, just like the kites, and adapt to their surroundings. Cinematographer Riju Das recalls carefully getting closeups of ants and a bottle full of mosquito larvae. The whole team was rigorous and meditative about taking the time to capture the beauty of urban wildlife in the city, and they would pick up the camera to shoot any animals where they found them. They utilized long, slow pans, a narrow depth of field and extreme close-ups of animals throughout. All That Breathes is currently available on HBOMax and is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Find cinematographer Ben Bernhard: Instagram @ben_bernhard Find cinematographer Riju Das: Instagram @eyeris_4 Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/22/202342 minutes, 11 seconds
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Food and Country director Laura Gabbert, producer Ruth Reichl and cinematographer Martina Radwan

The documentary Food and Country, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance film festival, takes a close look at the broken food system in the United States through the lens of the COVID pandemic, as restaurants closed and both workers and farmers struggled. Both director Laura Gabbert and producer/chef/food writer Ruth Reichl grew concerned about their friends and colleagues in the restaurant business during the shutdown. Laura wanted to do a short piece about how restaurants and workers were being affected, so she connected with Ruth through a mutual friend. Ruth began checking in over Zoom with people she knew, originally just as research. Ruth followed her own curiosity as she spoke with dozens of people across the country. As a seasoned chef and food writer, Ruth is good at getting people to open up, and people felt safe talking to her. The shutdown also made people feel very isolated and vulnerable, so over time, they were able to record incredibly intimate conversations. Laura began to see a more comprehensive documentary taking shape: the pandemic was only exacerbating the problems that already exist in the American food system. They began widening the scope of the film, and when it was safe to travel again, Laura and cinematographer Martina Radwan went out to shoot and interview farmers, ranchers and restaurant owners in the field.  The documentary team had to watch hundreds of hours of Zoom video, which also informed what they would shoot as they traveled across the country. Cinematographer Martina Radwan kept everything naturally lit, and they shot most of the interviews outside due to the pandemic. She chose to use mainly wide shots and close ups, shooting open vistas and landscapes of the farms. It helped create more energy in the film and alleviated the monotony of the closeups from the Zoom videos. She shot with Canon cameras and lenses, because she liked how the camera renders contrast and color especially for exteriors. Martina enjoyed learning about the food system and getting a behind the scenes look at where our food comes from. As someone who has been writing and thinking about food for fifty years, Ruth thought the pandemic would finally be the turning point in the American food system. If farmers and restaurants were going to fail, people would finally realize, as they were forced to stay home and cook, how important food is to everyone. She hopes that people are awakened to the fact that we need to raise enough food to feed ourselves in this country, without relying on huge international agribusiness. The pandemic did change some things about the food system, and certainly raised awareness about working conditions and pay for restaurant workers, ranchers and farmers. Food and Country is seeking distribution. Find Laura Gabbert: Instagram: @lauragabbertfilms Find Ruth Reichl: Instagram: @ruth.reichl Find Martina Radwan: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/15/202349 minutes, 59 seconds
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Sundance 2023 films Fancy Dance and King Coal

The dramatic film Fancy Dance follows an indigenous woman named Jax, who hustles to get by on her reservation in Oklahoma. When her sister Tawi disappears, Jax is responsible for taking care of her niece Roki. The two search for Tawi and ask for help from law enforcement who does little to help. Meanwhile, they steal cars and scam people in card games, which leads to Roki being taken out of Jax's care and placed with her white grandfather. Jax kidnaps Roki, and the two road trip to get to the state powwow to find out more about Tawi's disappearance and where Roki plans to perform a dance. Fancy Dance director and writer Erica Tremblay and cinematographer Carolina Costa met when Erica was searching for a DP and Carolina was on a short list. Carolina loved the script, and felt the film was special just from reading the page- she could see all the visuals in her mind, and felt it was important to see these characters come alive on the big screen. She decided to keep the lighting natural and didn't use a lot of additional lights. They wanted the film to feel specific to the topography of Oklahoma in the summer- a hot, humid time, when the sky is a very washed out blue. Erica and Carolina had a lot of conversations about what the film would look and feel like, including using natural moonlight as a symbol of Tawi, the missing sister and mother. The moon is a symbol of matrilineal kinship which is vital to the Native American community. One of the biggest challenges facing director Erica Tremblay was finding financing for Fancy Dance. It was hard to convince the right people to fund a film whose main character is an abrasive, lawless, queer indigenous woman. Erica grew up in the Seneca Cayuga nation, and drew upon characters she knew. She wanted her script to reflect the issues faced by Native Americans today, especially the crisis of missing indigenous women who are never found. But she also includes humor, loving family connections and the celebration of joyous culture at the powwow. Fancy Dance is seeking distribution. Instagram #fancydancemovie Director Elaine Sheldon describes her movie King Coal as part documentary and part fable, as she takes a poetic and personal look at the influence of coal in Appalachia. It was once King in the region, but as the economic power of coal wanes, Elaine explores the question of what a future without coal might look like. There is no scripting in the film, and she uses two girls who act as characters to bringing the audience for the movie. People continue to celebrate coal culture in these communities, and the film documents some of the interesting rituals around coal festivals, fun runs, beauty pageants and even a coal themed amusement park. Elaine and her husband, cinematographer Curren Sheldon, wanted to tell a new story about the region- for so long, West Virginia and the surrounding areas have been seen as just a place to exploit for coal. Both Elaine and Sheldon grew up in the area, and Elaine wanted her personal storytelling and narration to heighten the feeling of what it's like to be in this place, and imagine what it would be like to exist there without coal. They wanted to show Appalachia as a beautiful, green and forested community, not as a poor, destroyed place. The land itself has meaning, so they shot images of the fog rising, textures of bison, the moss, and sunlight through the trees. Coal came from the earth, and at one time it was just sitting alongside all the other natural elements. Elaine decided to end the film looking ahead to an uncertain future. They held a “funeral” for King Coal and the community turned out, with a casket, music and impromptu eulogies. King Coal is seeking distribution. Find Elaine Sheldon: Find Curren Sheldon: Instagram @kingcoalfilm Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: https://www.growwithgreentree.
2/9/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 18 seconds
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Award-winning Sundance films Bad Press and The Persian Version

We kick off our Sundance Film Festival 2023 interviews with the documentary Bad Press and the dramatic comedy, The Persian Version. Bad Press follows the battle for a free press on the Muscogee Creek Nation reservation in Oklahoma. As a sovereign nation, the Muscogee are not bound by the U.S. Constitution to guarantee freedom of the press. When local journalists for the tribal paper Mvskoke Media discover that the tribe's “Free Press Act” will be repealed, they begin demanding that freedom of the press be written into the tribe's constitution, led by Mvskoke Media reporter Angel Ellis. The Free Press Act does get repealed, and immediately the newspaper is in danger and put under the control of the tribal government. The tribal council began censoring the news and preventing the community access to free and fair reporting, which reporter Angel Ellis knew would impact the upcoming tribal elections. Filmmaker Rebecca Landsberry-Baker is a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation and a journalist, so the people in the film are her people. Co-director and editor Joe Peeler was an acquaintance with a background in documentary filmmaking, so he came on board right away. Cinematographer Tyler Graim was brought on to the project when Joe had had enough of shooting everything himself, allowing him to focus more on what was happening as a director. They wanted the footage in the documentary to give people an accurate feeling of what it's like to be on the reservation, and the oppressive heat of an Oklahoma summer. Becca, Joe and Tyler agreed that they also wanted Bad Press to have a distinctive look, and were influenced by newspaper movies such as All the President's Men. They made a conscious choice for viewers to make the larger connections of what is happening to free press from within the microcosm of the Native American community, to the macrocosm of what's happening to media in the outside world. A free press supports tribal sovereignty, because it supports an engaged and informed electorate and the movement to ensure a free press by writing it into tribal constitutions is spreading in Indian Country. Bad Press won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Freedom of Expression at the Sundance Film Festival and is seeking distribution. Find Bad Press on social media: #BadPressFilm The Persian Version is a dramatic comedy that follows Leila, a young Iranian American woman who grew up in New York and New Jersey with 8 older brothers. Leila is determined to forge her own path and has a tumultuous relationship with her immigrant mother. When her father is hospitalized for a heart transplant, she must return home to help care for her grandmother and uncovers a secret about her mother's past. Director and writer Maryam Keshavarz chose to make The Persian Version semi-autobiographical. While much of the story is true, the film had to take artistic liberties for it to fit within two hours and also stay funny. Maryam wanted the past and present within the film to feel similar, but for all of the storytellers in the movie to have a point of view, so there is a tonal shift within the film when Leila's mother's narrative begins. Maryam felt like her cast was family, and as they rehearsed, she rewrote the script as needed. Maryam's first feature film, Circumstance, also won the Sundance audience award, and she went on to make a bigger-budget feature, Viper Club in 2018, starring Susan Sarandon. But Maryam found that she wanted to feel more personally connected to the cast and crew during the filmmaking process, so she returned to independently writing and directing with The Persian Version. She feels that films from her standpoint in the world as an Iranian-American hold a large place in her heart. Maryam enjoyed making a film that was both meaningful, funny and reflective of current and past societal and political views. The Persian Version won the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award & The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award in...
2/1/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 11 seconds
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Yule Log director Casper Kelly and cinematographer Alex Allgood

Yule Log is a crazy, surreal, comedic horror movie written and directed by Casper Kelly and with cinematography by Alex Allgood, made for Adult Swim and available on HBO Max. Even though it's a month past Christmas, fire up Yule Log if you haven't seen it already- it's bound to be one of the weirdest and most original movies you've seen in awhile. For Yule Log, Casper and cinematographer Alex Allgood decided to keep the camera locked off on the fireplace logs for as long as possible, so people might think it was just a recording of a fireplace for holiday ambiance, before introducing more action around (and inside) the fireplace and in the cabin, as people enter and events unfold. The movie takes place in a cabin, but over multiple timelines that overlap and combine different genres from comedy to horror to Lynchian-style surrealism. Alex liked the script, and felt that even though the movie leads with the long lockoff shot on the fireplace that the dialog kept everything going. He only had about three weeks to prep the movie, and they shot Yule Log in about 14 days. He enjoyed working with Casper and combining so many different creative elements into the movie. Alex always sees projects in terms of lighting first and camera second, so he tried to create a cohesive look with the lighting on the film throughout each scene, using a lot of firelight of course. Casper has always enjoyed taking risks and seeing things that he hasn't seen before vs. following a formula. His first job was on the low budget horror movie Basket Case 3, and he wrote and directed another short dark comedy spoof TV show for Adult Swim called Too Many Cooks. With his previous experience and relationship with Adult Swim, Casper pitched Yule Log and was paid to make it- he thinks if he had done it as a spec script, no one would have given him money to make such a crazy film. Casper wasn't sure the many, many ideas in Yule Log were all going to work, but he wanted to go for it and take risks. But everyone was on board through all the crazy twists and turns the story takes. You can see Yule Log on HBO Max. Find Casper's short for Adult Swim, Too Many Cooks, on YouTube. Find Casper Kelly: Twitter & Instagram: @heycasperkelly Find Alex Allgood: Instagram @alexisallgood Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/25/20231 hour, 9 minutes, 10 seconds
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Russell Carpenter, ASC on Avatar: The Way of Water, working with James Cameron, creating realistic lighting for a virtual world

Our guest Russell Carpenter, ASC comes back for a second time on the podcast to talk about Avatar: The Way of Water. When cinematographer Russell Carpenter began working on Avatar: The Way of Water, it was much different from any other film experience he'd had. Russell had previously worked with director Jim Cameron on True Lies and Titanic, which won him the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. He began working on Avatar: The Way of Water before they even rolled cameras, testing and integrating the world of live action capture with completely virtual images. The process was like a huge layer cake of world creation, with writing, concept art and production design all being developed simultaneously. As the cinematographer, Russell's primary concern was making sure that the lighting design on the live, motion captured actors looked real and played well with the CGI generated world. It's hard to fool the eye when people instinctively know what sunlight, water and shade in a forest should look like, so every scene with a live person and a Na'vi person had to be exactly right. It was important to Cameron that everything on Pandora be grounded in reality. The animals had to move realistically and the interplay of shade and light in the forests needed to feel real to an audience so that they would have an emotional connection, rather than watching an alien-feeling, fake-looking science fiction world. The entire process of making Avatar: The Way of Water was a huge puzzle, with a small army of teams working on different parts of the movie and simply trying different things. As the writing and story development continued, Cameron would decide they needed a certain scenario or plot point, and he would ask the teams to creatively figure out how to make it happen. After the locations were computer generated, several virtual cameras were used to shoot multiple angles to get an idea of the blocking, lighting and camera placement for the CGI action. Finally, the actors came in to do motion capture and read their lines. Russell thought he'd start to see scenes coming together, but everything was such a piecemeal process that he watched the virtual camera material to get an idea of how the lighting was matching and coming together. They would move lights around on automated overhead trusses in the studio to change the lighting for each scene and to keep as many lights out of the blue screen shots as possible. You can see Avatar: The Way of Water in a variety of formats in theaters everywhere. Find Russell Carpenter: Instagram @russellcarpenterasc Hear Cinepod's first interview with Russell Carpenter, ASC: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Greentree Creative: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/18/202345 minutes, 57 seconds
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Director Antoine Fuqua and cinematographer Robert Richardson on the Apple TV+ film, Emancipation

To tell the story of Emancipation, director Antoine Fuqua and cinematographer Robert Richardson were influenced by the colors in the famous photo "Whipped Peter," whose story and the photograph of his scarred back is still one of the most famous photos documenting the brutality of slavery today. They chose to desaturate the images to a sepia-tone with just hints of color. Antoine also felt the lack of color reflected the world of a slave- it's bleak and hopeless, and he wanted the film to look beautiful but brutal. The Louisiana swamps Peter must navigate through as he escapes also looked more eerie and otherworldly with a lack of color. Antoine says he and Bob spent a lot of time discussing the film, designing shots, laying out storyboards, and going over the story more than with any other cinematographer he worked with. Antoine wanted Emancipation to show that a movie about slavery could also be a taut, entertaining thriller. They both wanted to create an action movie with sustained intensity throughout, but at its heart, Bob saw the film as a love story about a man fighting against insurmountable obstacles, on the run to get back to his family. They decided to show the caring Peter has for his family in the opening scene of the film, as Peter gently washes his wife's feet. Bob chose to use long, sweeping one shots to build the tension throughout the film, rather than relying on quick cutting. This allowed the tension to build as the slaves run away into the swamps. He and Antoine didn't do multiple takes or alternate shots if they didn't think they needed it. Antoine created tension within the railroad camp scenes with many layers of action- it wasn't necessarily what was going on right in front of Will Smith's character, but also what was happening to the men and overseers behind him. As a director, Antoine always wanted to work with Bob Richardson, but at first Bob said no to shooting Emancipation. Bob says that as a white man, he didn't really feel comfortable making a story about race. Antoine points out that most human beings could feel compassion for someone else's story, and slavery exists across races. Though it wasn't Bob's personal history, Emancipation was telling the story of our history in America. Antoine Fuqua and Robert Richardson are currently shooting a second project together. Find Antoine Fuqua: Instagram @antoinefuqua Find Robert Richardson: Instagram @robertbrichardson Emancipation can be streamed on Apple TV+. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/11/202344 minutes, 46 seconds
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Linus Sandgren, ASC, FSF on shooting Babylon with director Damien Chazelle

We welcome cinematographer Linus Sandgren, ASC, FSF for his third time on the podcast. On his latest film, Babylon, Linus was happy to work with director Damien Chazelle again. The two had previously collaborated on La La Land and First Man. In all of his films, Chazelle thinks musically, and camera movement is essential to his films instead of just relying on editing. Linus liked Babylon's script- though it was long, it had many fast moving pieces, and the story was told in a refreshing, unconventional way. He thought of it as a 2.0 version of La La Land- it expressed Chazelle's love of cinema, and despite some of the dark places the story goes, he felt an affection for the characters in Babylon. Like La La Land, Linus combined long takes with complicated camera moves, while also using handheld verité techniques they developed on First Man. To prep for the film, Linus and Chazelle watched several Los Angeles-period films together, such as Chinatown, There Will Be Blood, and Boogie Nights. The movie combines absolutely maximalist wide shots to intimate closeups and tracking shots on specific characters, in order to keep the film emotional. One of the biggest and most spectacular scenes in Babylon is the 32-minute pre-title opening sequence, depicting a wild Bel Air party complete with revelers, cocaine, and an elephant. They shot it in the lobby of the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, crammed with hundreds of extras. Chazelle wanted a really high angle on the party, but they couldn't fit a crane into the space, so Linus rigged a cable cam corner to corner from above to capture the action. They spent a long time blocking and rehearsing the party sequence, filming the overhead shots, then shot with a Steadicam through the party the second day. Babylon is about the early days of cinema, when the silent movie era is transitioning to sound. The crew had to show the process of shooting film in the first days of “talkies” and the filmmaking equipment of the time had to be historically accurate. Though Linus didn't use vintage film cameras on the movie, the production designer found film cameras to use as props and they were able to use old arclights that were fitted with HMIs so they actually worked on set. Find Linus Sandgren: Instagram @linussandgren_dp Babylon can be seen in theaters nationwide. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/5/202345 minutes, 25 seconds
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Matthew Libatique, ASC on shooting Don’t Worry Darling and The Whale

We welcome cinematographer Matthew Libatique, ASC for his third time on the podcast. For this interview, Matty, Ben and Illya have a more technical discussion about lenses, LUTs and cameras used on Don't Worry Darling, A Star is Born and The Whale. For the film Don't Worry Darling, Matty found it easy to find the right mid-century modern visual style, since the production design, costumes, hair and makeup were all influenced by that distinctive look from the 50's and 60's. Director Olivia Wilde wanted to invoke the Rat Pack era of Las Vegas and Palm Springs. She also heavily referenced the 1975 movie The Stepford Wives, along with an 80's and 90's thriller element from movies like Devil's Advocate. They were able to shoot some of the exteriors at the historic Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, while all the interiors were sets. Matty chose the Arri Alexa Mini LF camera for the larger sensor, so they had more focus fall off on the wider focal lengths. He also wanted as much color in the frame as possible, and chose a LUT that accentuated the reds, oranges and yellows without affecting or oversaturating the skin tones. The lenses he used were Blackwings and Sigma Classics, because he liked the multiplicity of lens flares. Matty immediately went from shooting Don't Worry Darling into prepping and shooting The Whale with director and frequent collaborator Darren Aronofsky. They spent some time figuring out how to take a play and translate it into a film, where Charlie, the main character, spends most of his day stationary on a couch. Matty and Aronofsky realized that using 4:3 framing to hold the vertical in the foreground solved the problem. Aronofsky also wanted to block the scenes so that the camera wouldn't be stationary and static the entire time. Matty chose to use the Sony Venice camera for the first time, due to its light sensitivity, with Angenieux Optimo Prime lenses. The camera movement was dictated by the characters who come and go around Charlie, so different scenes were marked with a wide shot, then pans and forced cuts to make it more visually interesting. As for the composition of each scene, the camera had to follow the eyeline of where each character is looking. Matty also used as much minimalist, naturalistic lighting to tell the story. He used the windows as a light source to show subtle changes in the weather outside of the apartment, and while there were not a lot of windows, it helped show the passage of time and affected the mood of the film as the days pass in the story. Find Matty Libatique: Instagram @libatique Don't Worry Darling is available streaming on Hulu and HBO. The Whale is currently in theaters. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/28/202246 minutes, 14 seconds
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Cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom on the film Thirteen Lives and working with director Ron Howard

The film Thirteen Lives is about the rescue of the Thai soccer team who were trapped in an underwater cave in 2018 for 18 days. Cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, who is Thai, knew that it was important to make the film seem as realistic as possible since everyone in Thailand was very familiar with the story. He liked director Ron Howard's movie Apollo 13, which vividly dramatized a real-life event, so he was excited to work with Howard on Thirteen Lives, a true story he was familiar with. After reading the script, Thirteen Lives was a movie he could clearly see in his head, because it dealt with people against the elements. Sayombhu decided to approach the film like a documentary, as though the viewer is right there in the cave with the characters. His first task was to think about how to shoot and light underwater, and he worked closely with the second unit crew to find the best methods. When shooting, Sayombhu did a lot of handheld camerawork, operating the B camera on first unit. He would actually occasionally duck underwater with the camera, so that it looked as dynamic as possible, even though the second unit handled most of the underwater work. The caves were all a set built in Australia, except for some exterior shots of the real cave in Thailand. Because the caves had no light sources at all, Sayombhu knew all the light had to be motivated. He had to pick the color and intensity of the light, and figure out where to place lights and cameras during the cave design set build. The actors became part of his lighting crew, since much of the light had to come from their flashlights and headlamps. Sayombhu would often ask them to hold the lights and point them up or down to help illuminate the scene- actors Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell practically became a part of the lighting crew, he jokes. Sayombhu Mukdeeprom IMDB: Thirteen Lives is currently on Amazon Prime Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/21/202242 minutes, 18 seconds
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Cinematographer Abraham Martinez on Queen of the South, the Disney+ show National Treasure: Edge of History, the upcoming Netflix series Obliterated and more

On our 250th episode, we welcome returning guest and longtime friend of the show, cinematographer Abe Martinez, who catches up with Ben and Illya about his work around the world for the past few years. Most recently, Abe completed the new Disney+ show National Treasure: Edge of History and a new Netflix action-comedy series, Obliterated, by the creators of Cobra Kai. Abe has been learning and perfecting his technique of using video walls for action on big sets, creating a version of “poor man's process” to shoot cars and figuring out the exact size video walls needed. They coined the phrase “middle class process” because it looks much better than the old poor man's process. Using video walls requires a lot of math and tech setup, but it also offers plenty of opportunities for creativity without spending a lot of money to actually go to locations. Abe enjoys the challenge of trying to create realism with the proper lighting and angles. After working as a loader and camera operator on many films, Abe began working on the series Queen of the South on USA Network. Working on Queen of the South launched Abe's career into director of photography work, where he became the lead DP in season 3 and worked on the show for the next three years. As a Latino person who grew up in a rougher area, Abe felt he could really relate to the storylines about gangs. He also sees a throughline from his real life as a nomadic world traveler to the storytelling he's drawn to lately- many of the shows he has been shooting are about characters who are being displaced, or who feel displaced. Abe's passion is doing street photography everywhere he goes. He enjoys exploring color and movement and experimenting with different film stocks or digital color science. This often gives him the creative spark for shots and compositions to use in his work. You can see Abe's street photography on Instagram. Find Abe Martinez: Instagram: @abe.martinez.dp National Treasure: Edge of History is currently showing on Disney+ Obliterated is coming to Netflix in 2023. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/15/202257 minutes, 47 seconds
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Florian Hoffmeister, BSC on TÁR, working with director Todd Field and Cate Blanchett

In TÁR, Cate Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, a fictional world famous female conductor and composer whose life takes a dramatic downturn after serious allegations are made against her. Cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister and director Todd Field made a conscious choice to “not put a hat on a hat”- keeping the cinematography very restrained and still throughout most of the film. The focus remained on the music and the performances, with little camera movement save for a few orchestra scenes and the finale of the movie. Florian found Field to have a very precise visual sensitivity so he was able to light the space and still allow the actors to have freedom of movement within the scene while shaping the light more precisely as needed. Florian wanted the precision of his cinematography to reflect the precision of the orchestra. His work also aided the storytelling- carefully deciding where to place the camera and what to focus on allows TÁR to unfold in a slow burn, as the movie purposefully omits information and significant details at first. Florian feels that really good cinema leaves room for reflection and allows us to develop our own perceptions about the story. TÁR allows the audience to see itself and think about the time we're living in, and it feels both timeless and contemporary. He found it an equal privilege to work with an actor like Cate Blanchett because she has a dedication to her craft and a focus on getting the best out of every single shot. She has a good understanding of the technical elements necessary to showcase the best performances. Florian is currently shooting the new season of HBO's True Detective in Iceland. TÁR is currently playing in theaters Find Florian Hoffmeister: Instagram: @florian.hoffmeister Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/7/202253 minutes, 51 seconds
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Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Loki, and more

Unsurprisingly, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been a huge hit, and cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw was excited to join the crew. She had worked with Marvel on the Disney+ series Loki and felt her creative vision on the show was really supported there. Autumn felt ready to step into a huge movie like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever after she spoke with original Black Panther DP Rachel Morrison and meeting with director Ryan Coogler. Rachel and Autumn were friends from AFI, and Rachel was not available to shoot the sequel as she has been transitioning into directing. Director Ryan Coogler had Autumn join the Black Panther team early for storyboarding and previs for the movie. She and Coogler had lots of time to discuss the images and were on the same page visually. Even though the movie has a huge scope and a massive amount of people making the film, Autumn felt like her ideas were supported and her images were well represented on screen. Early in her career, Autumn worked on many projects for free both during and after film school, so that anyone could find her and see who she was through her visual approach. She approaches each film with passion, putting all of her creative energy into her work. Autumn's breakout early work was on director Gia Coppola's indie film, Palo Alto. The two bonded and worked together on more projects, and Autumn met director Spike Jonze through her. She worked with Jonze on Aziz Ansari: Right Now, a Netflix standup special, and Beastie Boys Story, a 2020 documentary about the band. Autumn enjoys framing her shots with symmetry and low angles, with a lower eyeline, pointing towards the ceiling rather than the floor. For the series Loki on Disney+, she shot a lot of scenes from below, but the production designer Kasra Farahani embraced it, creating visually interesting ceilings that could be rigged with controlled lighting. They worked together to create a space in the Time Variance Authority (TVA) that felt full, with motivated light. Building practical ceilings was a big part of their design discussions during production meetings. Normally on a set, the ceiling is not built and isn't ever seen, so adding it to the set design always adds to the cost. Autumn knew that shooting low in those spaces would create the desired effect of something looming over you. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently playing in theaters Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/30/202258 minutes, 10 seconds
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Ben Davis, BSC on The Banshees of Inisherin, My Policeman, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Guardians of the Galaxy, and more

Cinematographer Ben Davis enjoys working on both big budget Marvel movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange as well as smaller films such as The Banshees of Inisherin, My Policeman, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Ben feels that the challenges of shooting large scale movies vs. small intimate movies might be different, but each film speaks for itself and needs to be told in a particular visual style. Ben and The Banshees of Inisherin director Martin McDonagh have enjoyed working together regularly, beginning with Seven Psychopaths, then Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. When McDonagh called him about shooting Banshees, Ben agreed before even reading the script, because he knows McDonagh's scripts are lyrical with humor sprinkled into the drama. They were shooting during the pandemic, so the two had to spend 10 days quarantined in a house together, which was a great opportunity to talk through and visualize the film. McDonagh knew that he wanted a period piece about a remote, gray and dreary place, but he wanted to bring in a more colorful palette, so costume design became important to bring in more colors. Ben found Banshees difficult to shoot emotionally and physically, with everything shot on location on a couple of small, uninhabited islands- Inisherin is not actually a real place. They had to build all the sets for the movie from scratch on the coastal Atlantic islands, so everything had to withstand powerful winds and storms. The wide landscape vistas Ben shot were influenced by John Ford and Terrence Malick, and he enjoyed going off independently in the early morning with a camera to shoot small intimate aspects of the island. For the night exteriors using moonlight, Ben couldn't use large equipment like cranes due to high winds. He used old techniques of lighting black and white, making shapes with mesh over hard light. The Banshees of Inisherin is currently playing in theaters. My Policeman can be found on Amazon Prime. Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/16/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 1 second
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Trevor Kossack, WPA partner and commercial agent for cinematographers, production designers, editors, costume designers and more

As a partner and commercial agent at WPA- Worldwide Production Agency- Trevor Kossack represents directors, cinematographers, production designers, editors and costume designers. Trevor has a passion for those responsible for crafting the images that make movies, television shows and commercials. Trevor first studied medicine in college, but soon realized that he didn't want to be a doctor. He also had family in the entertainment industry and got an entry level job at the William Morris Agency. He found he really enjoyed working in a talent agency. As he switched agencies and worked his way up, Trevor decided he wanted to represent those below the line more than actors or writers. He appreciates what cinematographers, production designers, costume designers and editors need to do to create art, and everyone needs representation to protect their bests interests when they're up for a job. When looking for new talent, Trevor wants to fall in love with the person's work and how it makes him feel. He likes to see real, human stories that draw people in, no matter what the subject. He networks with potential clients at film festivals and industry events, and keeps his finger on the pulse of industry news to find out the latest projects and people on the rise. Trevor enjoys having a good relationship with his clients, and is always looking to create a great “marriage” between a director and a DP. As an agent, Trevor's job is to have conversations with his clients about what's available, what their brand is and how it can be adjusted, and matching the person to the right job. He always respects an artist's choice on the jobs they decide to take, or pass over. Trevor's tips on how to find an agent: Have a reel of your work and feel confident in the work you've done so far, no matter how much experience you have. Make a plan and discuss what your plans are for your career in the next year, and then the next 5 years. Figure out who your influences are, including any and all art, from fine art and photography to architecture or anything else. Remember that getting an agent is just a step along the way. Everyone in the entertainment industry still needs to network and hustle to find their next projects. He's always open to emails, phone calls or taking a look at a potential client's reel. Even if you don't get representation right away, it's always good to stay in touch. Find Trevor Kossack at WPA: Sponsored by Aputure: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/10/202259 minutes
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Checco Varese, ASC on his Emmy winning work for the Hulu series, Dopesick

This week we welcome Checco Varese, our friend of the podcast and 4th time guest! The Hulu series Dopesick tells the complex story of the opioid epidemic through multiple points of view over its eight episode arc. Cinematographer Checco Varese, ASC shot every single episode, and recently earned his first Emmy award in 2022 for Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited or Anthology Series. Checco decided to approach the story and its characters as a series of four concentric plot circles. At the center of Dopesick is the Appalachian mining town and the small town doctor (Michael Keaton) who serves the community there; then the prosecutors trying to nail Purdue Pharma; the pharmaceutical company reps who are riding high on drug sales; and finally the Sackler family, who knowingly misled everyone about the addictive nature of OxyContin. He met with showrunner Danny Strong and director of the first two episodes, Barry Levinson, to discuss the look of each section. For the small Appalachian town, Checco was influenced by the look of the film The Deer Hunter, and used the cool blues of winter light. The Insider was a reference for the storyline of the DEA and Virginia prosecutors, and they embraced the use of florescent lights and conference rooms. To symbolize the wealth and excess of the Sackler family and the Purdue Pharma sales people, Checco liked the bright colors and opulence of Eyes Wide Shut. Since it's a character-driven story dramatizing true events, Checco knew that Dopesick was about being a fly on the wall, while keeping everything engaging and compelling, so he wanted to make sure that each film reference still felt subtle, natural and realistic. Checco feels that lighting for film and television can be like poetry. Most of the mood and atmosphere is made with lighting, with the camera movements serving as the film's punctuation marks: commas, exclamation points, or periods. As a cinematographer, Checco loves to go deep into the project and usually feels passionate about what he's doing, so that his soul is on the screen. He's had the opportunity to work with his wife, director Patricia Riggen, on several projects, and they also worked together on a few episodes of Dopesick. Checco says that when they're on a show together, they get very absorbed in their work, and there's no “off” switch, but he loves having that relationship with her. For Dopesick, he was excited to work on a series that was truthful and honest, and he enjoys telling important stories that matter. Dopesick is currently on Hulu. Find Checco Varese: Instagram: @checcovarese Sponsored by Aputure: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/2/20221 hour, 9 seconds
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Cinematographer Eric Branco on the new Showtime series, Let The Right One In

The new Showtime series Let the Right One In expands on the ideas introduced in the now-classic 2008 Swedish horror movie and the American remake. A man, Mark Kane (Demián Bichir) and his tween daughter, Ellie (Madison Taylor Baez) move in to a New York City apartment, where she befriends the lonely, bullied boy down the hall. But she has a huge secret that her father helps her keep- she is a child vampire who must survive on blood and can't go outside in the daytime. The series Let The Right One In explores the relationships and conflicts within families, the horror of vampires, and brings in new characters, crimes and mysteries to add layers to the story. Cinematographer Eric Branco had seen the original Let The Right One In, shot by legendary DP Hoyte van Hoytema, as well as the American version, Let Me In, lensed by none other than Greig Fraser, and it remains one of Eric's favorite movies. He was thrilled to have the opportunity to bring his own look and feel to the story and make it his own. Eric focused on the idea that for the young vampire girl, the indoors is safe and the outdoors is not, so the home features very warm light with lots of yellows, while outside is a shadowy, cool blue and green. He also played with the natural contrast of light between night and day. At night, it was important to play up the danger and horror elements with action taking place in shadows and tunnels, with yellow streetlights selectively showing bits and pieces, building suspense. Let The Right One In is much wider in scope than the movies, featuring many other storylines and locations, which created its own challenges. Eric and the crew had to work within the time constraints for the child actors, especially at night. Planning, blocking and rehearsal became an essential part of some shoot days. When they were shooting the pilot, they had to wait until dark, during the summer solstice- the longest day of the year. That left them with about 2 ½ hours to shoot with the lead actress, Madison Taylor Baez. The most challenging day for Eric was when they did a night shoot at Coney Island with very limited time on the Wonder Wheel with the actors. He and the camera department planned extensively and strategically placed cameras all over to cover all of the action, after several scouts and extensive rehearsals before dark. Eric says that when you have to work with that many cameras and with so much riding on timing and coordination, it becomes more like a team sport and it feels amazing to pull it all off. Eric also likes to have an open, trusting relationship with the actors and let them have more freedom of movement within the frame to explore their characters and enhance their performances. Eric thinks the trust is built on the DP's end, especially when you're shooting something in an unconventional way like on Let The Right One In. Let The Right One In is currently on Showtime. Find Eric Branco- Instagram: @ericbranco Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Hear Eric's previous interview on The Cinepod: Sponsored by ARRI: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/26/202252 minutes, 8 seconds
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Court Crandall, writer and director of the buddy comedy Bromates

The comedy Bromates is about buddies Sid (Josh Brener) and Jonesie (Lil Rel Howry) who are both going through a breakup, so the two move in together. During a night out at a bar with a group of friends, nerdy Sid meets a woman from out of town. The guys convince Sid to go after her, and head out on a road trip to Texas together, encountering crazy situations and adventure along the way. Court and writing partner Chris Kemper wanted to do a story about guys moving in together and helping each other through a breakup. The film was independently made at first, and Court says it was a hard sell to make a movie about guys behaving like jackasses, since these days, so many comedies just go straight to streaming. Luckily, musician and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg came on board as an executive producer with his new production company, Snoopadelic Films Inc. He plays himself in a few scenes of the film, and though Snoop doesn't prefer to act, he was willing to do it for Bromates. Court and the production team pursued several different comedians who could bring plenty of laughs and gags to the movie. They found comedic actors who could do a ton of improv. A good portion of the movie is ad-libbed, and Court found it easy to work with funny people who make the script stronger. Court would shoot the scene once for coverage, and then they'd start playing around. As a director, Court values time management, so he knew it was important to know when to say when, and to limit the amount of takes for each scene. They only had a five week shoot, and he found it was important to hit the main story points so that the plot stayed cohesive than just keep shooting endless jokes. Court is the found and CEO of the ad agency, Positivity, with screenwriting as just a side gig. His first script was for a movie called A Lobster Tale, which he sold and then was finally made 10 years later. Court also wrote the first draft of the movie Old School, based on his experience of being in a fraternity. He pitched the story to director Todd Phillips, sold the idea and received “story by” credit for the film. Find Court Crandall: Instagram: @courtcrandall Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Aputure: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/19/202239 minutes, 21 seconds
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Charlie Sarroff, cinematographer of the horror films Smile and Relic

Cinematographer Charlie Sarroff loves to shoot horror movies, and he knew when he read the script for the horror film, Smile, that it would be fun, gory and dark. This week (10/12/2022) Smile is still the number one movie in America, with the biggest opening of September and the highest box office take overall for its second straight week. Charlie and Smile director Parker Finn first met at a SXSW event, where each had movies showing at the festival. They found they had similar tastes and sensibilities. Finn loved Charlie's previous work on the horror film Relic and asked Charlie to be Smile's cinematographer. Movies such as The Ring, It Follows and Rosemary's Baby were big influences on their approach to Smile. Charlie chose to build a sense of suspense with camera movement, so the audience feels as though a lurking presence was there at all times. They almost exclusively used wide lenses and no over the shoulder shots so that the character of Rose would always feel isolated. Every scene Rose is in, she is meant to feel disconnected from other people. Smiles were also a big motif in the film, of course, and served as a metaphor for the masks everyone wears. As a kid, Charlie really loved skateboarding and video production became a big part of it. He had a camcorder and recorded skate videos of his friends. Charlie knew early on that he enjoyed shooting and editing more than directing, and he decided to go to film school in Melbourne. Friends in film school asked him to shoot their movies and he worked his way up, filming music videos and commercials. Charlie's biggest break came when director Natalie Erika James asked him to shoot her short film Creswick which she expanded into the feature film Relic and was picked up by IFC. At first, the film's backers wanted to go with someone more experienced to shoot Relic, but Charlie prevailed and the film ended up going to Sundance and SXSW. Find Charlie Sarroff: Instagram: @charlie_sarroff Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Arri: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/12/202258 minutes, 12 seconds
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Mike Prickett, Emmy-winning surf cinematographer of HBOs 100 Foot Wave

The six part HBO documentary 100 Foot Wave is the story of big wave surfer Garrett McNamara, as he learns about the biggest waves in the world in Nazaré, Portugal. Then, with help from the town of Nazaré, he and his team set up a safety and support system and invite surfers to come from all over the world to surf. The series captures the amazing power of the ocean, and the passion of surfers chasing big waves and putting themselves at risk of serious injury and death. Surf and ocean cinematographer Mike Prickett was the perfect DP for 100 Foot Wave. Mike has decades of experience shooting in the water, following Garrett and many other big wave surfers around the world. He's shot documentaries Riding Giants, Step Into Liquid and the biopic Chasing Mavericks. As a kid growing up on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, Mike took advantage of living in a tourist spot. He had his own camera, took pictures of the tourists, developed and printed the pictures while they did glass bottom boat tours, and then sold the photos to them when they returned. He soon figured out how to take photos underwater with his camera in a water housing, then got a 16mm Bolex camera and started shooting movies. Mike learned how to surf and began filming the top surfers around the world, developing new and better camera systems as the technology progressed. On a shoot in Tahiti in 2012, Mike saved a diver who got caught in a current that pushed him down at least 220 feet underwater. As Mike swam back up with the diver, they began to run out of air and had to surface quickly. Mike got the bends, which has left his legs partially paralyzed. But he's kept right on shooting, developing different and exciting ways to further the technology of water cinematography. Mike says that even if you can't use your legs very well, it doesn't matter when you're out there. He's able to shoot from the cliffs, use remote controlled jet skis and drones, and fly in helicopters, ride jet skis or boats on the ocean. For 100 Foot Wave, Nazaré, Portugal presented some unique challenges as a location, because the waves are so big and the area gets so foggy. The surfers and the camera crew wait all year for the big waves to come to Nazaré by November and December, and they must be ready to go and shoot at a moment's notice. Shooting is a massive undertaking, with at least 15 camera people on the waves to catch the action. The crew caught the action with long lenses from the cliffs, the beach, and with waterproof drones, but when it was foggy, they needed to have people in the water. Mike and the team built a special remote controlled electric jet ski with a gimbal system that could be controlled by an operator from the cliffs- basically inventing a way to do smooth dolly shots on the water. Mike Prickett just won a Creative Arts Emmy for episode four of 100 Foot Wave. 100 Foot Wave is streaming on HBOMax. Find Mike Prickett: Instagram: @mikeprickett_ Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by DZOFilm: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/5/202246 minutes, 56 seconds
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Cinematographer Alicia Robbins on the Netflix series Keep Breathing, Grey’s Anatomy and the upcoming season of Bridgerton

Cinematographer Alicia Robbins' work on the Netflix show, Keep Breathing, was quite challenging as they had location scouts at seven different remote forests in Vancouver, Canada near Whistler. The crew had to off-road it for miles, and they filmed in some locations that had never been shot before. Keep Breathing is about Liv Rivera, a high-powered attorney whose private plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. Alone, she must conquer her inner demons and struggle to survive while finding her way back to civilization. Liv's life is shown in flashbacks as she tramps through the forest. Alicia shot the second block of Keep Breathing while fellow cinematographer Jon Joffin shot the first block. Jon put the team together for the first half and she was happy that the key crew was already established. Due to the pandemic, Alicia had to quarantine in her apartment in Canada for two weeks. The added time gave her the chance to go over the lookbook, watch dailies from the first half, and have hours of discussion with the director about shots, colors and tone. As a DP, Alicia says so much of the time you're just thrown into prep, quickly looking at locations, without enough time to think it all through. Cinepod host Illya and Alicia first met working on a small low budget indie feature called Boppin' At the Glue Factory, written and directed by Illya's longtime friend Jeff Orgill. Alicia began her career after graduating from AFI and started shooting low budget features while working her way up. Her first big television DP job was the series Grey's Anatomy, where she worked for nearly three years. Alicia was ready to to try something new and expand her skills as a cinematographer, so she was excited to face the challenges on Keep Breathing. Alicia is currently shooting the new season of Bridgerton, which has been a delight. She enjoys working in London, with amazing, beautiful locations and lush, colorful costumes and set design. Find Alicia Robbins: Instagram: @aliciacamchick Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Aputure: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/28/202254 minutes, 15 seconds
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Kays Al-Atrakchi: director, composer, colorist, VFX artist and filmmaker of the upcoming short film, Everbliss Inn

At long last, we welcome longtime friend and multi-hyphenate filmmaker, Kays Al-Atrakchi to the Cinepod! Kays feels there are film composers who love music and composers who simply love movies. He himself absolutely loves all things film. Born in Florence, Italy, Kays started to get interested in music as a kid and picked up a soundtrack to Dario Argento's Inferno in a local record store because he liked how the cover looked. It didn't sound like anything he'd ever heard before, and he decided to listen to more movie soundtracks. Then he bought the soundtrack for John Carpenter's Escape From New York, and found he could replicate the soundtrack on his keyboard at home. His only connection to Dario Argento and John Carpenter was through the music, since he wasn't able to see their movies. As a teen, Kays' family moved from Italy to Orlando, Florida. He continued to pursue his love of film, music, and composition, and attended Berklee College of Music to learn film scoring. He began scoring student films in Orlando, where he met future friends and collaborators Ben Rock, Dan Myrick, Ben Hershleder, and many others before relocating to Los Angeles. He has composed the soundtracks for several of Ben's movies, including Alien Raiders. For Kays, composing is more about interpreting someone's vision and trying to elevate it, and to create through music an emotional connection with the audience. Kays felt unfulfilled as a filmmaker, so between film scoring jobs, he decided to make his own short, Appntmnt, followed by another short, In Lucidity. For In Lucidity, Kays simply didn't have the budget to hire someone to create all the visual effects he wanted, so he taught himself how to do all the special effects and color grading by watching YouTube videos. Filmmaking technology has progressed so much, he feels confident that with enough time and self-education, a filmmaker can learn any aspect of moviemaking. Kays loves the collaborative nature of film, but as an independent filmmaker, he finds he has to do the bulk of the work on his projects alone out of necessity rather than a desire to work solo. He enjoys sharing what he's learned and has created Right Brained Tutorials, a YouTube channel for other filmmakers to learn visual effects. Kays' latest short horror directing project, Everbliss Inn, will be streaming in November. Kays wrote, directed, composed the music, color graded, and created the VFX for the film. You can hear original theme music by Kays throughout The Cinematography Podcast. Find Kays Alatrakchi: Filmmaking: Instagram: @kaysfilmmaker YouTube channel: Right Brained Tutorials: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by ARRI: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/21/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 7 seconds
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Brendan Uegama, CSC on Moonshot, Riverdale, Truth Be Told, Child’s Play and Mike, the Hulu Mike Tyson dramatic series

Cinematographer Brendan Uegama, CSC enjoys shooting many different genres, from romantic comedies such as Moonshot, to horror movies such as Child's Play (2019). He enjoys changing his approach to each project depending on the needs of the script. Brendan feels that a good filmmaker knows that the cinematographer is there to serve the story and builds trust with the DP to create the look and feel. As a kid, Brendan was always into photography and art. He and some high school friends shot skate videos of themselves, and soon after he began making motocross videos. He knew then he wanted to get into film and went to film school in Vancouver, Canada and began working his way up. Brendan shot 26 episodes of the CW series Riverdale, including every episode of season two. Being the DP for every chapter of the show meant prep time was very short, and Brendan relied on and trusted his team to do location scouts and work ahead. Riverdale was a great show to do that was fun, creative and led to many other projects for him, such as the show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and later, Moonshot. The film Moonshot is a romantic comedy set in space, rather than just a science fiction movie. Mars has been terraformed and colonized and the two main characters are traveling to see their significant others, but fall for each other. Because of the science fiction aspect, everything was storyboarded out and had a decent amount of prep time, and much of Moonshot's science fiction aspects were done with practical effects. Brendan knew where they needed to rely on visual effects ahead of time. The most challenging part of the film to shoot was the spacewalk scene, which involved extensive wirework and visual effects. Brendan's latest project, Mike, a dramatic biography series on Hulu about heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, is currently streaming. Find Brendan Uegama: Instagram: @brendanuegama_dp Twitter: @brendanuegama Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by DZOFilm: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/14/202253 minutes, 8 seconds
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Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul director Adamma Ebo, producer Adanne Ebo, and cinematographer Alan Gwizdowski

Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul is a satirical dark comedy and mockumentary about Trinitie Childs, (Regina Hall) the “First Lady” of a Southern Baptist mega church and Lee-Curtis Childs, (Sterling K. Brown) her pastor husband. The pastor is accused of sexual misconduct and the two are struggling to relaunch their megachurch in the face of the controversy. As part of their public relations campaign, Trinitie and Lee-Curtis consent to a documentary crew following them. Adamma was the writer and director of the film, and her twin Adanne was one of the producers of the film. The sisters have been partners their entire life, and enjoy working together. They grew up southern Baptist in Georgia, immersed in the megachurch culture. Both Adamma and Adanne felt that any evangelical megachurch's messaging seemed insincere and un-Christian to get rich off of their congregants' donations. With that background, Adamma decided to write a satire about a black southern megachurch- a fresh subject that she'd never seen on screen before. Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul started out as a short film that Adamma was able to develop into a feature. Cinematographer Alan Gwizdowski (nicknamed Gwiz) took over the production when fellow DP Adam Bricker had a scheduling conflict. Adamma wanted the film to look and feel very much like a real documentary, mixed with a more cinematic, narrative film look. Gwiz knew they needed the two different worlds to be separated- the part of the documentary that the Childs want the “filmmakers” to see, vs. what the documentary filmmakers are able to capture behind the curtain. They decided to keep the more illicit documentary scenes handheld and the official documentary scenes had a more cinematic look. Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul is in theaters and also streaming on Peacock. Find Adamma Ebo: Instagram: @adamma.ebo Find Adanne Ebo: Instagram: @adanne.ebo Find Alan Gwizdowski: Instagram: @alangwiz Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/7/202242 minutes, 25 seconds
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Director Steve Pink and cinematographer Bella Gonzales on the indie film The Wheel

The Wheel is about a young couple whose marriage is in crisis. They decide to retreat to a house in the woods to try to work out their differences, where they meet another couple who seem to have it all figured out. As they get to know each other, all four characters prove to be flawed and complicated. The Wheel is the first romantic drama Steve Pink has directed. He's known for his work on comedies such as High Fidelity, Grosse Pointe Blank and Hot Tub Time Machine, and he was thrilled for the chance to direct a drama. Steve cast actor Amber Midthunder (Prey), who had worked with cinematographer Bella Gonzales a few years ago on a short film, Prayers of a Saint. Steve admired her work on the short, and asked Bella to be the DP for The Wheel. It was during the summer of 2020 and most film productions were still shut down, so it was appealing to work with a small cast and crew that could stay in a bubble together to shoot a true low-budget indie drama for 18 days. They found a summer camp location in the mountains outside Los Angeles, and after a short two week prep, Steve, Bella and the 20 person crew drove up, with their own cars packed with equipment. Steve even used some of his own furniture, with some of the female cast member's costumes provided by his wife's wardrobe. For cinematographer Bella Gonzales, the movie was about finding moments and figuring out the heart of the movie. Every visual decision was based on what emotion the characters were feeling in each scene. It wasn't about getting the perfect shot, it was all about capturing the moods of the characters and the drama of complicated relationships. They had a circle of trust with the actors and the camera crew to create intimacy. Bella and Steve embraced the limited scope of the location- being able to shoot in the small area of the woods and the house made their creative decisions very easy. The crew was so small that everyone was extremely involved and invested in making the film great. Find The Wheel on VOD such as AppleTV+ or other streaming services. Find Steve Pink: Instagram: @alsostevepink Find Bella Gonzales: Instagram: @bellagonzalesdp Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/31/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 1 second
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Cinematographer Cybel Martin on A League of Their Own, Black As Night, horror movies and more

Cinematographer Cybel Martin believes that great cinematography comes from a place of trust between the director, DP and crew. Great art can be created when someone says: this is my vision and I trust you to make it happen. Cybel especially loves horror movies, because it's the best genre for cinematographers to try out visuals that are not based in reality. The opening scene always establishes the visual rules, no matter how weird. You start from scratch and play with how you see the story, and with a good script you can naturally visualize the world. Horror films underscore symbolism and dramatize emotions even more than dramas, and good horror movies still have solid character development even without a supernatural element. Cybel had the opportunity to work in the horror genre on the show American Horror Stories (Season 1) and most recently on the Amazon Prime movie, Black As Night. Black As Night is about an African American teenage girl who battles a band of vampires who prey on the homeless and drug addicted in New Orleans. Cybel wanted to lean into the richness, color and texture of New Orleans and was inspired by the thematic colors of purple, green, and gold. The new Amazon Prime series, A League of Their Own, is an historic drama and comedy about the first women's professional baseball league in the 1940's. Though the series has the same name as the 1992 movie, the production team never wanted to replicate the film. Their reference material was all of the historical research, photographs, and real stories from the time. Cybel is interested in 1940's films, sports, and female athletes so there were many elements in the show that she was excited to explore. She shot three of the episodes and her favorite one, “Over the Rainbow” features one of the characters going to an underground speakeasy. Cybel loves the idea of speakeasies and house parties- a place that is secret, where you can be bold, naughty and intimate, but also have a place for community. They shot the speakeasy scenes in just a day and a half, with two steadicam operators, and played with shutter angles and color palette in the dance sequences, with In The Mood For Love as an inspiration for the colors. As a painter and photographer, Cybel was also grateful she could bring her own aesthetic to the project. Cybel's latest project is Beacon 23, a new futuristic sci-fi series set to air in 2023. Find Cybel Martin: Instagram & Twitter: @cybeldp Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/25/202258 minutes, 28 seconds
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Girl Picture director Alli Haapasalo and cinematographer Jarmo Kiuru, FSC

Girl Picture is a Finnish film about the friendship between three young women as they experience the emotional ups and downs of life as they transition from teenagers to women. Director Alli Haapasalo felt the English title perfectly described the finite time of girls who are trying to figure out their own life's picture and who are developing an identity as women through their friendship. The film follows the girls as they chat and hang out over a few nights together during the dark winter in Finland. Sex, sexual identity and finding pleasure is also a theme in Girl Picture. It was important to Alli to depict the young women discussing and exploring their sexuality in mature ways rather than with shame or drama. So much of coming of age is not just about finding who you are, but what you want and need. In the sex scenes, Alli worked with an intimacy coordinator, chose not to show nudity and to portray the characters asking for consent in natural, casual ways. Cinematographer Jarmo Kiuru had worked together with Alli on three previous projects. For Girl Picture, they wanted to find a way to bring the energy and movement of being a teenager, and also wanted a natural, documentary feel, so the film was shot entirely handheld. Jarmo also decided to shoot the movie in the 4:3 aspect ratio. He felt that 4:3 not only frames the face better, giving the film a more intimate feeling, but he also wanted to show how the world is limited by parents and other rules when you're a teenager. Girl Picture won the Outfest Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Performance in an International Narrative Feature and also won the World Cinema Audience Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Girl Picture is in limited theatrical release and will be available to stream in the fall. Find Alli Haapasalo: Find Jarmo Kiuru: Facebook: Instagram & Twitter: @jarmokiuru Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/18/202250 minutes, 12 seconds
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Cinematographer Larkin Seiple on shooting Everything Everywhere All At Once, Swiss Army Man, and the Emmy nominated Gaslit

When cinematographer Larkin Seiple first saw the script for Everything Everywhere All At Once he thought: This is very long and how in the world are we going to shoot this? But having worked with directing team Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known collectively as Daniels) for ten years, he knew the film would be unique, creative and fun. Larkin loves telling stories through the medium of film, and Everything Everywhere explores the multiverse concept as the most ridiculous, messy, scary, poignant, and mind-blowing place. Everything Everywhere All At Once contains many different scenes referencing dozens of films with a multitude of looks. Larkin loved creating so many mini movies, and he had specific ideas for the lighting and continuity for most of the universes- changing up the lighting, lenses and even the aspect ratios for each universe and what it was referencing. In order to keep to any kind of schedule or budget, the team needed to shoot as much as possible in one location. They shot primarily in two places- a giant empty office building with the atrium, stairway, elevator and cubicles in Simi Valley, and DC Stages in downtown LA, which gave them about 40 different sets to choose from. Principal photography was 36 days, mostly in the Simi Valley office building. The Daniels always scout things in advance and try to find the best locations for the budget, which was about $15 million- not a lot for such an ambitious movie. Larkin had to creatively and carefully compose shots so that the office location didn't seem like a big empty space, and focused on small details and transitions, shooting scenes as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, a lot of sets in the office building were already there, leftover from other film shoots, such as the elevator set and the kinky office sex room, which allowed them to add it into the movie. Directors Daniels often writes a script with just the bare bones of what they're looking for, with only a line for action, such as “fanny pack fight,” leaving it up to Larkin and the fight coordinators to decide how to shoot it. They operate as a sort of hive mind, and each Daniel really knows how the movie cuts together in their head. Once he completed film school, Larkin realized that, unlike a director, as a cinematographer he could work on many different projects per year. He enjoys the collaborative element of filmmaking and started his career as a gaffer and electrician. He realized that if he wanted to become a cinematographer, he needed to quit doing side projects as a gaffer or electrician to concentrate on only working and shooting as a DP. Larkin began shooting music videos and beauty commercials, until he was able to make a living off of shooting commercials, while picking and choosing what music videos he wanted to do. Working on music videos led him to meeting the Daniels. One of their most memorable music videos is Turn Down For What by DJ Snake and Lil Jon, which stars Dan Kwan- ½ of Daniels- as one of the main performers in the video. Another noteable video Larkin shot was This Is America by Childish Gambino (Donald Glover), directed by Hiro Murai. After working on several music videos together, Larkin shot the Daniels first feature, Swiss Army Man. Swiss Army Man is a strange and surreal movie about a man (Paul Dano) stranded on a deserted island who befriends a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe) that washes ashore. Hank is able to use the dead body to get off the island and he begins to find his way home, believing that the dead man is talking to him and helping him stay alive. They shot in Los Angeles, the woods near San Francisco, and up in Humboldt County under the giant redwoods, with a tiny crew. Actor Daniel Radcliffe was very enthusiastic about playing the dead man, and even though they had a corpse dummy for the film, he refused to let them use it. He was in every scene as the dead guy with Paul Dano, even when just playing dead. Most recently,
8/11/20221 hour, 32 minutes, 8 seconds
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Jules O’Loughlin ASC, ACS on shooting the FX series The Old Man and Disney+ series Ms. Marvel

Australian cinematographer Jules O'Loughlin's path to movie making was a long journey. After graduating from the prestigious AFTRS- Australian Film Television and Radio School- he worked steadily and shot a wide range of films and TV shows including the action movie The Hitman's Bodyguard, the series Black Sails, the horror movie Krampus and the children's film Come Away. His recent work on two series, The Old Man and Ms. Marvel, show off his ability to visually transport audiences to other worlds. The FX action spy series The Old Man began shooting in the fall of 2019. Jeff Bridges plays Dan Chase, a retired CIA agent whose old enemies are still hunting him. The series is very well acted, with great dialog scenes between Bridges and John Lithgow. Jules believes that as a cinematographer, it's important to tread softly, be respectful and give the actors space to work without technical distractions. Jules shot two episodes of the series, with a planned location shoot in Morocco which was standing in for Afghanistan. But in March of 2020 the entire production shut down because of the pandemic. After a few months, production resumed and the desert around Santa Clarita, CA became the Afghanistan location. Unfortunately, shortly after that, Jeff Bridges, who actually did a lot of the fight scenes himself, was diagnosed with lymphoma. Bridges' stunt double stepped in and the VFX team used some digital face replacement for certain parts while he was undergoing treatment. Despite all the setbacks, The Old Man has been a hit and is coming back for a second season. The Disney+ series Ms. Marvel is about young Pakistani-American teen Kamala Khan, who discovers she has super powers after putting on a magic bracelet. The show is energetic, vibrant and colorful, reflecting Kamala's personality and South Asian culture. Jules and director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy knew they could create a slightly different look for episodes four and five, since they take place in the Pakistan city of Karachi. Obaid-Chinoy is an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, and she and Jules chose to use more handheld cameras to explore the story's historic narrative as Kamala travels through time to learn more about her family's past. Ms. Marvel has brought an enthusiastic younger audience who are responding to Kamala's cultural identity. In Pakistan. Ms. Marvel is showing in movie theaters, since Disney+ is not available. Jules is currently working on Percy Jackson and the Olympians for Disney+, which involves some new challenges using LED screens on the soundstage. Find Jules O'Loughlin: Instagram: @jules.oloughlin The Old Man is on Hulu and Ms. Marvel is available on Disney+. Both shows are currently streaming all episodes. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/3/202250 minutes, 27 seconds
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Marcel The Shell With Shoes On cinematographers Bianca Cline and Eric Adkins

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On began in 2010 as a series of stop-motion shorts written and directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp and actor Jenny Slate, who also does the voice of Marcel. It's a “documentary” about Marcel, who's a hermit crab shell with one googly eye and doll shoes. What makes both the shorts and the film so charming is hearing Marcel's funny, optimistic witticisms and seeing how he uses real full-sized human objects in his miniature life, such as a piece of lint on a thread as a pet, using a spoon to catapult onto shelves, and putting honey on his shoes to walk up a wall. For the full length film, Fleischer-Camp, Slate and screenwriter Nick Paley expanded the story to include Marcel's grandmother Connie. The two live in the house alone, but they used to be part of a whole shell community. With the help of Dean, Marcel's documentarian, Marcel goes on a quest to find the rest of his family and friends. As a live-action and stop-motion movie, Marcel The Shell was extremely complicated to shoot. DP Bianca Cline, who has a documentary background, shot the principal photography on location so that cinematographer Eric Adkins, an experienced stop-motion DP, could use her footage as background plates for the stop-motion. Then, all of the stop-motion portions and live action portions were composited together into a seamless film. Eric was on set and took extensive notes, photos and measurements during the live action portion, since creating realistic, fool-the-eye stop-motion is extremely technical. All of Bianca's documentary footage was edited and animatics created before Eric's job as the stop-motion DP began, with puppeteers using interchangeable shell models of Marcel and Connie. Bianca tried to approach the film as if Marcel was a real living character. Once she began shooting, the voices and music were already fully recorded and finished along with extensive storyboards, so it helped to have a clear blueprint. She could find the best locations within the house and use naturalistic lighting for each scene. An important part of the story is to emphasize that Marcel is very small in a big world. Bianca wanted him to always be placed next to things that made him look small, and she often used one of the Marcel models as a reference. The team took care to make everything look effortless, as if they just showed up with a camera. As with a real documentary, Bianca wanted it to seem slightly imperfect with handheld movement and a little bit of jolting motion once in awhile. They were constantly brainstorming and problem solving together with the production designer, VFX supervisor and animation director on set. For Eric, the most complex scenes to replicate in stop-motion were the driving portions, shot with GoPros mounted inside the car, as Marcel gets driven around looking for his family. All the lighting in stop motion is strictly controlled on a set, so using flickering and moving light in scenes is rare. But complex problems just inspire Eric to find more creative solutions, and he enjoyed the challenge of making sure that the stop-motion shadows matched the movements of the real car. Find Bianca Cline: Instagram @biancaclinedp Find Eric Adkins: Instagram @eradop Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is currently playing in theaters and is proving to be another indie hit for A24. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Arri: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/27/202246 minutes, 23 seconds
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Cinematographer Paula Huidobro on CODA, Pam & Tommy, Physical

Our returning guest is Paula Huidobro, who has been very busy the past few years shooting the 2022 Best Picture winning film CODA, the Hulu series Pam & Tommy, and the AppleTV+ series Physical, just to name a few. Paula and CODA director Siân Heder knew each other as grad students at AFI, and have worked together on four other projects including the film Tallulah and the show Little America. For Paula, shooting CODA was definitely a different process. There were interpreters for each of the actors on set, and most shots had to be framed as medium shots so that their hands could be seen while they were talking. There could be few over the shoulder shots, or someone saying lines with their back to the other person. Siân Heder and Paula wanted to make sure that a deaf person watching the movie could understand exactly what the actors were saying. CODA is set in a New England fishing village, and Paula found it was a very visual environment to shoot, and extra challenging going out on a fishing boat in the ocean. The Hulu show Pam & Tommy is about the 1990's stolen sex tape of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Paula served as DP for every episode of the 8-part series, and she watched Pamela's film Barb Wire and Tommy's Mötley Crüe performances for the references. It was hard work to shoot every single episode- she felt she never had enough prep time with the director, location scouting or script. She enjoyed working with director Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya, Cruella) who also was the pilot director on Physical. He wanted to give complete freedom to the actors to move within the scene, so Paula would light the whole space and would start with her camera all the way wide, then push in for a close up. It was like a dance between the actors and they would explore the scene as they filmed it. Paula would shoot in nearly one take then just pick up whatever was missing. Pam & Tommy has a very aggressive style, using a lot of shots pushing in closer and closer, as the release of the sex tape and the fallout for Pamela's career becomes an unstoppable freight train. It also has elements of humor and absurdity, and Paula enjoyed the novelty of shooting scenes with Tommy's talking penis (an animatronic). Pam & Tommy had an excellent makeup and prosthetics department, and actors Lily James and Sebastian Stan are made up to be remarkable likenesses of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Paula found the makeup to be so good that it wasn't difficult to light the actors. Most of all, Paula and each of the directors wanted to be thoughtful in how they portrayed Pamela Anderson and how her world and entire career had been shattered by illegally releasing this tape. Physical explores the troubled interior life of Sheila Rubin, an extremely unhappy 1980's suburban housewife with an eating disorder. But once she finds aerobics, things begin to change for her. Paula finds Physical to be a very dark show, but she really likes how they portray Sheila's inner thoughts. The character almost always says one thing but in her mind she's thinking dark thoughts about herself or someone else. Paula would hold shots on actor Rose Byrne a bit longer so that later, her inner thoughts are added in voiceover. The show has great production design- a mix of drab and dark 70's interiors with big splashes of 80's color saturation on the set, especially during the workout scenes. Paula enjoyed being able to do some fun and playful things with lighting and camera work for the aerobics sequences. Find Paula Huidobro: Instagram @paulahuidobro CODA is streaming on AppleTV+. Physical Season 2 is currently streaming on AppleTV+. You can find Pam & Tommy, a limited series, on Hulu. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by DZOFilm: The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.
7/20/202240 minutes, 50 seconds
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Cinematographer Chris Teague on the Hulu series Only Murders in the Building

Cinematographer Chris Teague has shot many acclaimed television series and films such as Obvious Child, GLOW, Russian Doll and Mrs. America. His latest work is on the Hulu series, Only Murders in the Building, both Season One and Season Two, and he also directed episodes seven and eight of Season Two. Only Murders in the Building has many different tones, ranging from funny to dark, dramatic and even scary. The show manages to strike a balance to keep the darkness from undermining the comedy. As the DP, Chris created a very cinematic and timeless look and feel for the show, which is mainly shot on sets that are meticulously built and planned. Each episode takes about 6 ½ days to shoot, and Chris and the crew are able to create visually interesting shots that feel very natural because of having such well built sets with excellent lighting. Actors Martin Short and Steve Martin have such a rapport, and their friend dynamic is baked into the script- the two actually don't do very much improv or riffing. If they do come up with something, Martin and Short run the line changes through for the crew to see how they play. Chris has enjoyed coming back to work on a second season of the show, because he has a body of work to reference and the crew knows the look of the show really well. As a kid, Chris made lots of short movies with friends growing up, and always loved photography and writing. It seemed a natural fit to go to film school and he decided to pursue cinematography full time after the film he shot, Obvious Child, went to Sundance in 2014. Find Chris Teague: Instagram @_christeague Only Murders in the Building Season 2 is currently airing on Hulu. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/13/202255 minutes, 45 seconds
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Director Jim Archer, actors and writers David Earl and Chris Hayward on the offbeat film, Brian and Charles

Brian and Charles is about an awkward and lonely inventor, Brian, who lives in rural Wales. He rarely makes contraptions that are useful or work right, but one day, he finally creates a robot. Charles Petrescu, built out of an old washing machine and a mannequin, becomes Brian's friend. But as Charles becomes more and more curious and self-aware, he decides he wants to explore the world on his own. Actor David Earl is a comedian and came up with the eccentric character of Brian as a bit on the stand up circuit in the UK. One day on an internet radio call in show, a friend called in to interact with David's character using computer voice simulation software. Fellow actor and comedian Chris Hayward heard it, came up with the idea of Charles as Brian's robot sidekick, and the two took it on the road as a live show. Chris built the Charles robot character as a costume, and another friend would type in what Charles would say into the voice simulator to interact with the audience. In 2017, the two teamed up with director Jim Archer to make a short film about the characters, and it did well at festivals. After that, the UK production company Film4 backed developing the script into a feature film. For the feature version of Brian and Charles, director Jim Archer decided to expand on the mockumentary style. He wanted it to look like a real documentary, with a serious dramatic and cinematic look rather than as a wink and a nod to other mockumentaries. The friends were inspired by the documentaries American Movie and Monster Road – true stories about lonely people desperate for their dream to come true. Brian and Charles premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is currently playing in theaters. Jim Archer: Instagram & Twitter: @alrightjim David Earl: Instagram @davidearlhello Chris Hayward: Charles Petrescu has his own twitter account: @CharlesPetrescu Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Arri: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/22/202239 minutes, 2 seconds
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Director Chloe Okuno and DP Benjamin Kirk Nielsen, DFF on directing and shooting the film Watcher

Watcher is a psychological thriller about a young actress, Julia, who has just moved to Romania from the U.S. with her boyfriend. A serial killer is on the loose in the city, and Julia begins to feel like she is being followed and watched from the apartment across the street. She has trouble convincing her boyfriend and the police that she's being stalked, and the film builds on her increasing sense of dread. Director Chloe Okuno and DP Benjamin Kirk Nielsen first met at American Film Institute, and collaborated on their thesis film, a short horror movie called Slut. They both believe in extensive organization, preparation, shotlisting and planning for their projects. Chloe was hired to direct Watcher in 2017, and it took some time to get the movie off the ground. They ended up shooting in Romania during the summer of 2021 under strict COVID protocols. Chloe liked that the script was a simple thriller that could be told from one character's point of view. Chloe and Benjamin looked at Rosemary's Baby, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, and David Fincher films Seven and Gone Girl as references to impart the sense of terror Julia feels. Benjamin wanted to find a simple, straightforward way to portray Julia's isolation in a foreign city as her fear escalates. He chose to start with longer camera focal lengths and longer shots, then progressively move closer and closer as the Watcher creeps closer and closer to Julia. Watcher premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is currently playing in theaters. Chloe Okuno: Twitter @cokuno_san Benjamin Kirk Nielsen: Instagram: @b_kirk Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by DZOFilm: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/15/202239 minutes, 28 seconds
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Director Carey Williams and DP Mike Dallatorre on directing and shooting the film Emergency

Emergency is a comedy about three men of color- college roommates Kunle, Sean, and Carlos, who are about to go out for an epic night of spring break partying when they find a white girl has accidentally stumbled in and passed out on their apartment floor. Concerned about what might happen if they call the police, they decide to take the semi-conscious girl in their van and drive around town for hours, trying to find a safe place to leave her and not get in trouble. Meanwhile, the girl's friends chase after the men as they track her phone and call the police. Director Carey Williams and cinematographer Mike Dallatorre met about twenty years ago and have worked together on several music videos and other projects. Emergency began as a 2018 short film directed by Carey and shot by Mike. The short won a jury award at the Sundance Film Festival and Best Narrative Short at SXSW. Carey and writer KD Dávila worked together to expand the story into a feature, and Temple Hill Entertainment and Amazon Studios produced it before the feature premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. As two men of color themselves, both Carey and Mike have had personal experience with being profiled and detained by police officers. In Emergency, once the roommates are caught and detained by the police, Mike and Carey decided to make the film feel extremely terrifying, shooting the encounter in slow motion and selectively out of focus. Mike deliberately kept the police officer's faces out of frame so that they feel like scary monsters in a horror movie. Having worked together for so long, Mike and Carey had an easy shorthand way of talking through the shotlist and visual feel for each scene, and put together a look book as a reference. Emergency is Carey's biggest movie to date, while Mike brought a lot of experience with seven other features under his belt. As a visual director, Carey always wanted to know what the movie would look like and feel like. The most important piece of the movie for Carey was to show the relationship between the friends, their emotions and vulnerability as they go through a crisis together. Emergency is currently playing in theaters and on Amazon Prime. Carey Williams Instagram @cdubig Mike Dallatorre: Instagram @dp_miked Hear our previous Cinepod interview with Mike Dallatorre: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/8/202235 minutes, 57 seconds
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Michael FitzMaurice, aerial cinematographer for Top Gun Maverick, shooting second unit on The Dark Knight, and more

Cinematographer Michael FitzMaurice is known for his aerial and second unit cinematography on huge films such as The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and now Top Gun Maverick. In the film business, second unit and aerial cinematography are involved in all of the action shots, and as a more technically-oriented DP, Michael has been able to combine his two loves- flying and shooting movies. Michael started out learning about photography in seventh grade, and then got a job out of high school working as a PA for a production company, eventually working his way up shooting music videos and commercials. It was hard to get into aerial cinematography, but with a love of flying and a pilot's license, he was able to prove he could shoot while flying, and pilots would recommend him for aerial cinematography jobs. Aerial cinematography is a very small and select group of people, requiring a very special skill set. When shooting film in a helicopter or plane, it's tough for most DPs to focus on composing a shot in a small space that is also moving quickly and unpredictably, and not get airsick. Top Gun Maverick was hugely dependent on its aerial unit, with most of the action done as a real, practical effect. The aerial unit used two jets, a helicopter and also shot from mountaintops to capture the action as the fighter jets flew past. As a trained pilot himself, Tom Cruise actually flew the jets and did many of his own stunts. Each training jet was outfitted with six cameras to capture the action of the actors in the cockpit. Michael and the aerial crew worked on the movie for over a year, developing new, special gimbal camera systems mounted on the jets. The crew had hours and hours of pre-production meetings, to get a clear idea of the shots needed and how to accomplish them with aircraft and cameras. Michael took a lot of notes and used models to act out aerobatic maneuvers for the planes before shooting them. For Michael, one of the highlights of working on Top Gun Maverick was being allowed to fly very low over a Navy aircraft carrier, although they were not allowed to land on it. Working on Top Gun Maverick was great, but Michael's craziest movie experience was working on second unit of The Dark Knight with director Christopher Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister. The movie was shot in IMAX, which is a notoriously difficult format to shoot- IMAX cameras at the time had a very faulty video tap for the monitors. For the scene, Heath Ledger as the Joker blows up a hospital and walks away, all in one take. The explosion was done on a real building, rigged up with real explosives, so there were no second takes. They began the take, but as soon as they went outside, the video tap went white and they couldn't really tell if they were actually getting anything on film at all, but they kept rolling, the building exploded, and hoped the whole thing was actually caught on film- which took about two days to get the film developed and the dailies back. Luckily, it all turned out perfectly. Top Gun Maverick is currently playing in theaters. Michael FitzMaurice: Instagram @michaelfitzmaurice Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/1/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 9 seconds
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Filmmakers James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte on their new documentary series, The Big Conn

James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte are Emmy-nominated documentary directors and producers for the HBO documentary series, McMillion$. Brian and James return to Cinepod to talk about their latest documentary, The Big Conn, now airing on Apple TV+. The Big Conn is a four-part documentary series that tells the unbelievable true story of larger-than-life attorney, Eric C. Conn. Conn stole over half a billion dollars from the government and taxpayers in the largest Social Security fraud case in United States history. Conn got away with it for more than 10 years before two whistleblowers told the FBI what he was doing and Conn went on the run. Documentary filmmaking has grown and elevated as an art over the years, and James and Brian take a cinematic approach to the form. Their previous documentary series, McMillion$ had a thread of comedy throughout, with such interesting characters that it reminded them of a Coen brothers movie. For The Big Conn, Brian and James took a similar approach. They dive deep into Eric Conn's life, using comedy to hold the audience's interest, but underneath it's a very serious exposé about the broken American Social Security system. To put together such sprawling stories, James and Brian create a story outline, determine who the interviewees should be, interview the characters, write a script and then decide where they need to put in animated graphics, archival footage and recreations during the editing process. Talented cinematographer Jeff Dolan has worked with the team for years, shooting both interviews and recreations on The Big Conn and McMillion$. Brian and James planned out and put together a guide for lighting and shot composition for the look of the interviews, based on shots from scripted movies they love. The Big Conn is a 4-part documentary series currently airing on Apple TV+. James and Brian have a podcast to accompany The Big Conn, diving deeper into the story and subject matter. Fun Meter, James and Brian's production company: Instagram: @funmeterofficial James Lee Hernandez: @iamthejlh Brian Lazarte: @bdlazarte Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/25/202259 minutes, 11 seconds
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Cinematographer Eric Koretz on shooting the last season of Ozark and more

Cinematographer Eric Koretz and our host Illya Friedman have known each other a long time, going back to when Eric blogged about the latest camera gear. Since then, Eric has become a very successful DP. His current work can be seen on the last and final season of the Netflix series, Ozark. Eric shot 4 episodes of the last half of the final season, including the show finale, “A Hard Way to Go” directed by Jason Bateman. Eric loved the look of Ozark, and knew he would have to adapt to the established shooting style of the show. However, he knew that he wanted to bring his own look to it too. Anytime the crew is shooting outside, they begin blocking out the sun, keeping the outdoors very shadowy using negative fill techniques. Eric felt Ozark was a cinematographer's dream to shoot- they use every tool to tell the story, and the producers allow the cinematographers to do what they wish within the style parameters. The show is shot more like a movie than a TV show, with time allowed to let scenes have space and play out, allowing the DP to shoot a closeup on a glass of whiskey or shoot a long shot out a window as a car pulls up, creating tension. Eric found that Jason Bateman as a director and producer knows exactly what he wants and is very technical and precise as a craftsman. Eric first went to college for graphic design. He started making animated videos and applied to American Film Institute to learn more about shooting. While at AFI, he discovered that he really enjoyed cinematography and after graduation, began working in commercials. But the idea of storytelling through longer forms of film and television really appealed to Eric. His first feature was Comet with director Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot), and his second feature, Frank & Lola,  went to Sundance. Eric still shoots commercials as well, which is a great place to learn- commercial shoots tend to have a lot more resources, and these days commercials tend to be very creative, artistic and cinematic, with more crossover from film. Find Eric Koretz: Instagram: @erickoretz_dp See all of the seasons of Ozark on Netflix. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by DZOFilm: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/18/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 4 seconds
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Gregory Middleton, ASC, CSC on Moon Knight, shooting reflections and lighting for imaginary characters, Watchmen, Game of Thrones

Cinematographer Greg Middleton's intention in his work is never to make viewers think, “Oh wow, cool shot!” He wants them to be able to experience the movies or television series he shoots without drawing attention to the cinematography or lighting. For him, the art of cinematography is about making illusions, and convincing audiences that they are actually somewhere else. Greg was excited to work on episodes 1, 3, 5, and 6 of the series Moon Knight  on Disney+ because it's more of a personal and emotional journey for the character Marc/Stephen, rather than just the action and the superhero elements. He didn't know anyone involved in the project before he was hired, which is unusual, but director Mohamed Diab liked Greg's Emmy-winning work on HBO's Watchmen, particularly episode 6: “This Extraordinary Being” which dives into the past of Hooded Justice. For Moon Knight, episode 5 needed someone who could handle seamless transitions through multiple scenes in Marc/Stephen's past life. Greg also had experience from Game of Thrones working quickly in multiple foreign locations with large cast and crews. There were many challenges for shooting a show like Moon Knight- location work, virtual sets, twinning, and animated characters interacting with real characters. Greg also had to play a lot with reflections and light. Because Marc/Stephen has a form of mental illness called dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder), his personalities often interact through reflective surfaces. Greg and director Mohamed Diab discussed and did extensive testing to figure out how they would make the reflections and successfully shoot them. Greg would move the camera, shoot the reflection one way, then later shoot it again to match it, or do a nodal camera pan, so that the perspective of the character doesn't really change, but the reflection does. For the museum bathroom scene with infinity mirrors, the visual effects team needed to paint out the camera and boom mic later. Because actor Oscar Issac was playing two different characters with different body language and accents, it was easier for him to play first one character and then the other, and he didn't usually switch quickly from one character to another. For Marc/Stephen's interactions with the god Khonshu, they used an actor in costume, adding a pole to make him seem 9 feet tall. Greg also used a very real-looking maquette of Khonshu's head to establish the proper lighting for the visual effects team to reference. The sets also incorporated small hints of Marc/Stephen's reality and dream world, so that deciding what is real is always in question. Find Greg Middleton: Instagram: @middlecam Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by ARRI: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/11/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 16 seconds
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Special Episode: Directors of festival docs To The End, TikTok, Boom. TV pilot Chiqui and short film Daddy’s Girl

It's been a busy few months and we finally bring you our interviews with four directors of documentaries and shorts from Sundance 2022. To The End is director and cinematographer Rachel Lears' follow up to her 2019 documentary, Knock Down the House. It once again follows representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three women environmental activists pushing hard for climate change legislation- first with the Green New Deal, then with President Biden's Build Back Better plan. Rachel wants people to watch the film and become inspired to engage in politics in the United States in order to build a better world. To The End is currently playing at the Hot Docs film festival in Canada and is seeking distribution. Find Rachel Lears: Twitter: @jubileefilms Instagram: @racheliplears As the title suggests, TikTok, Boom. is about how the social media app TikTok has exploded for both viewers and content makers. Shalini Kantayya’s documentary explores the phenomenon, from the young people who consume it to the influencers who are now themselves a brand. But the Chinese company behind TikTok, Bytedance, uses the app for data mining, restricts certain content deemed too political, and could pose security risks for anyone watching or using TikTok. Shalini researched, found the TikTok influencers and shot the documentary very quickly. TikTok, Boom. also played at SXSW this year and has yet to be released. Shalini's previous film, 2020's Coded Bias is critically acclaimed and won several awards. Find Shalini Kantayya: Instagram @shalinikantayya Chiqui was inspired by director and writer Carlos Cardona's parents' immigration story. The television pilot takes place in 1980's New Jersey as the vivacious Chiqui and her husband Carlos have just arrived from Colombia and are looking for work. Carlos set out to make it as a feature film, but decided to develop the story into a television series instead. To keep it true to the look of the 1980's he decided to shoot it on super 16mm and used Zeiss super speed lenses. Carlos is currently developing Chiqui into a television series. Find Carlos Cardona: Instagram @carlos.cardona The comedic short film Daddy's Girl is writer and director Lena Hudson's third short film. Alison is a young woman in her 20's who is a bit aimless, and her father comes to help her move out of her wealthy older boyfriend's apartment. Lena had been playing around with the idea of a father/daughter movie that would be short and filmable, especially during COVID. Daddy's Girl also screened at SXSW this year and Lena is developing it into a longer feature film. Find Lena Hudson: Instagram @lenahudson Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: All web and social media content written by Alana Kode Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/4/202253 minutes
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Cinematographer Eliot Rockett on the period horror film X, working with director Ti West, techniques of shooting horror

Cinematographer Eliot Rockett is a frequent collaborator with Ti West, who is a well known director/writer/editor for horror fans. West and Eliot's latest film, X, is a classic slasher/horror movie set in 1979, at the time when the popularity of porn movies and slasher films were at their height. With X, West decided to write an erotic horror film that combines elements of both genres. The film is about a group of aspiring filmmakers who head to a remote farm to shoot a porno, but aren't completely transparent with the elderly couple who owns the property what kind of movie they're making. Then the bloodbath begins. Interestingly, Eliot is actually not a big horror fan- he dislikes feeling anxious and tense. But after shooting so many films in this genre, he genuinely appreciates how important the cinematographer is to making a horror movie. In horror, the camera is the instrument that takes the audience through the experience. The camera setups, angles, and lighting choices are incredibly important to setting the tone- more than any other genre. The characters and dialog are usually secondary, unlike dramas or romantic comedies. Eliot first learned some tips about how to shoot a horror film on the movie Crocodile with director Toby Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Hooper explained some of the finer points to creating “seat jumper” moments, based on keeping the camera static and not cutting away. Eliot and director Ti West also worked together on The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. West is known for creating a suspenseful slow burn, starting off at a normal pace, then progressively building into a manic frenzy of blood and guts to the end. Eliot has always been involved in the filmmaking process early on, and the two share similar ideas about aesthetics and cinema. They discuss far in advance how the drama is going to unfold and figure out how to achieve those goals. Once shooting begins, Eliot and West work smoothly together because the movie is well understood. Eliot shot Pearl, the prequel to X, directly after they wrapped X. The production was based in New Zealand in early 2021, still during the height of the COVID pandemic, and it made sense to roll right into pre-production on Pearl and stay longer to shoot the movie, using production crews in New Zealand for both films. Pearl is a completely different sort of horror movie and is almost a musical, with dance numbers and lots of color saturation. Eliot calls it “the best feel bad movie you'll ever see.” Eliot Rockett is currently shooting Season 2 of Perry Mason for HBO. Find Eliot Rockett: Instagram: @elrockett and @eliotrockett Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/27/20221 hour, 1 minute, 4 seconds
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DP Jendra Jarnagin on the film Asking For It, tips on working with short prep time, developing a DP/director bond, how to light for women

Jendra Jarnagin returns to The Cinematography Podcast after 7 years to talk about her latest movie, Asking For It, a female vigilante revenge thriller, about women who exact revenge on men who have abused women. First-time director Eamon O'Rourke wanted it to be a female exploitation-style movie without the exploitation, and he and Jendra were influenced by films such as Switchblade Sisters, Belly, True Romance, and Natural Born Killers. Jendra was hired to work on the low-budget film only three weeks before the shoot, so she had to hit the ground running with a very short amount of prep time. O'Rourke had made a look book, so Jendra used what he created to get herself up to speed. The days were full of casting and scouts, but the evenings were spent as sacred one-on-one time to discuss the film and create the DP/director collaborative bond. O'Rourke was concerned about the fact that he is a white man telling a story with women of color and their experience with sexual assault. He was open to handling the material with sensitivity and listened to Jendra and the female cast and crew members about how to shoot certain scenes. They gave careful consideration to what the film wanted to say and how to portray the feeling of emotional overwhelm visually. Jendra also discusses her recent work on a 2020 commercial featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama. It was shot soon after production started returning after COVID lockdowns, and the directors had to work remotely. One of Jendra's skills is understanding how to light women, and she is very proud of her work on this commercial. She had limited time with Mrs. Obama and knew she would not be able to tweak the lighting again once they were rolling. Find Jendra Jarnagin: Instagram: @jendradp See Asking For It in select theaters and VOD. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by DZOFilm: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/20/20221 hour, 6 seconds
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Special Episode: Snehal Patel, head of cinema sales for ZEISS lenses, on the ZEISS lens line and their new lenses

Snehal Patel manages sales for the entire line of ZEISS cinema lenses in North and South America. He works with many cinematographers such as Reed Morano, Jon Joffin, Alicia Robbins and several of our Cinematography Podcast guests like Quyen Tran, Robert McLachlan and Checco Varese. ZEISS has their own Cinema Lens Demo Center in Sherman Oaks, CA for DPs to come and try out lenses by appointment. The brand-new 15 mm Supreme Prime wide angle lens from ZEISS will be available to try at this year's NAB show in Las Vegas. With this new lens, ZEISS' Supreme Prime line is now a 14 lens set. ZEISS also offers the Radiance line of lenses that have different optical coatings to create more flare. Looking to the future, Snehal sees even more choices available for lenses. The best cinematographers are constantly learning, so it's important to excite them with something new and different, and to continue to innovate and develop new technology. The new 15 mm Supreme Prime is available to pre-order from Hot Rod Cameras. If you'd like to schedule a demo at the ZEISS Cinema Lens Demo Center, email Snehal Patel: [email protected] ZEISS representatives and lenses will be available to see and demo in North America at: -NAB Apr 23-Apr 27, 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. -2022 Pacific Northwest Lens Summit May 13-May 14, 2022 at Koerner Camera -Cine Gear Expo June 9-12, 2022 at the LA Convention Center Sponsored by ZEISS: ZEISS Cinema Lens Demo Center: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/13/202240 minutes, 3 seconds
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Cinematographer Jessica Lee Gagné on Severance, working with Ben Stiller, Escape at Dannemora, Mrs. America

Severance, a trippy, mind-bending thriller on Apple TV+, takes the idea of work/life balance to an extreme. Certain employees working for the mysterious corporation, Lumon, undergo a surgical procedure called severance that plants a chip in their brain. Severed employees can't remember anything from their personal lives while at work, and outside of work, they can't access their memories of their office life. This creates two separate people, known as “innies” at work and “outies” at home. Cinematographer Jessica Lee Gagné grew up in Quebec City, Canada, surrounded by movies from her father's video stores which sparked her love of film. She took photography in school, then enrolled in a film program in Montreal. Jessica first began working with director Ben Stiller on the Showtime series, Escape at Dannemora. The two enjoyed working together, and while shooting Escape at Dannemora, Stiller was already talking about directing Severance. Jessica didn't particularly like the idea of shooting an office show with absolutely no windows, with the same lighting setups over and over. However, during the preproduction process, she was able to find references that allowed her to find ways to shoot the Lumon offices in a cinematic way. The production design team also created a very strange and surreal world within the gigantic building, whose brutalist exterior is a real location at the former Bell Works in Holmdel, New Jersey. Jessica crafted a unique camera style for Severance. Most of the scenes that take place in the Lumon offices are done with tracking dollies on remote heads, rather than with Steadicam. She enjoyed playing with camera height, often showing the ceiling and choosing wide, surveillance-like angles from corners or above. The office workers are often physically “severed” in shots- by cubicle walls, computers or doorways. In the elevator up or down from the office, the office workers transition from their “innies” to their “outies,” with a dolly in and zoom out on their faces to create a morphing effect. Find Jessica Lee Gagné: Instagram: @jessicaleegagne See Severance on AppleTV+: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Arri: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/6/202254 minutes, 12 seconds
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Cinematographer Panel Discussion: Fernando Argüelles, ASC, AEC, Tom Magill and Greg Middleton, ASC, CSC discuss their creative processes, challenges and careers

In our second panel series, Ben and Illya speak to cinematographers Fernando Argüelles, ASC, AEC (Fear the Walking Dead, Swamp Thing, Hemlock Grove), Tom Magill (Atypical, Saved by the Bell, Parks and Recreation) and Gregory Middleton, ASC, CSC (Moon Knight, Watchmen, Slither) as they discuss their current work, career journeys, creative processes, challenges and career goals. Be sure to check out the video panel on YouTube! Produced in partnership with Impact24 Public Relations. Find our guests: Fernando Argüelles: Instagram: @fernandoarguellesasc Twitter: @fernanradikal Tom Magill: Greg Middleton: Instagram: @middlecam Twitter: @middlecam Impact24 PR Instagram: @impact24pr Twitter: @impact24pr Facebook: @impact24pr Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/30/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 7 seconds
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Jenelle Riley, Variety’s Deputy Awards and Features Editor, discusses the 2022 Academy Awards nominations

Long-time friend and colleague Jenelle Riley of Variety magazine chats with Ben and Illya for our third annual Oscar nominations special. They discuss what they liked, what will win, what should win, and their favorite movies of the year that may not have been recognized. Here's a rundown of some of the nominations discussed in this episode, as well as great films that were not nominated this awards season. Listen to our interviews with some of the nominated DPs and other noteable films of the year! Annette The Sparks Brothers The Power of the Dog, Ari Wegner Jane Campion Zola Dune, Greig Fraser Denis Villeneuve Nightmare Alley, Dan Laustsen The Tragedy of Macbeth, Bruno Delbonnel Westside Story, Janusz Kominski Steven Spielberg King Richard, Robert Elswit Cyrano, Seamus McGarvey Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson Belfast, Haris Zambarloukos Find Jenelle Riley on Instagram and Twitter: @jenelleriley and Variety: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/23/202243 minutes, 55 seconds
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Director Mariama Diallo and cinematographer Charlotte Hornsby on the horror film Master

The horror film Master explores the idea of institutional and historic racism at an elite, mostly white college campus, as two Black women are stalked by evil spirits. Director and screenwriter Mariama Diallo is a lifelong horror fan, and sees the horror genre as an expression of anxiety. She feels that horror frees you to talk about ideas that are disturbing and unsettling at their core. Master incorporates some of Mariama's personal experiences as an undergrad at Yale, where the advisors/mentors were called Master. As an African American, Mariama later found it bizarre and perverse to have referred to someone in this way. She knew she wanted to make a film called Master, and examine the scary realities of what that word means. Once she began to write, Mariama found that accessing her memories of being a Black woman at an elite university felt painful and horrifying, so she knew this was where the script needed to go. She started imagining how to picture the school- orderly, controlled, static and a looming presence. When the malevolent spirit appears, it is a jarring, violent rupture to the polite presentation of the school. Mariama and cinematographer Charlotte Hornsby worked together on her short film Hair Wolf, and they knew they shared the same ideas and influences. As they got into preproduction on Master, they watched movies, had long discussions about the look of the film, and shotlisted the film together. Prior to becoming a DP, Charlotte was an art director, so she has a deep understanding of using color in her work. Charlotte was definitely influenced by the color palette in Suspira and chose to use shades of red and experimented with using shadows for a haunted feel. Charlotte also liked the use of zoom lenses in movies such as Rosemary's Baby, and used a long slow zoom in Master to key into the pace of the scene. She chose to represent the POV of the supernatural forces watching from a distance with a zoom lens, while putting the camera on a dolly to act as the character's perspective. Find Mariama Diallo: Instagram: @diallogiallo Find Charlotte Hornsby: Instagram: @charlottehornsby_ Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/16/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 24 seconds
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Haris Zambarloukos, BSC, GSC on Belfast, working with Kenneth Branagh, Death on the Nile, Locke and more

Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos enjoys using filmmaking to study the human condition. As a Greek who grew up in Cyprus, Haris was immersed in the history of Greek tragedy from a young age. He went to art school and studied painting, but found he was more interested in the visual storytelling that filmmaking can do. Haris' background in portraiture painting carries over into his cinematography today- he favors using closeups in his work, because he finds that the human face is the landscape of our emotions. Haris' current film, Belfast, is his eighth collaboration with director Kenneth Branagh. It's a deeply personal story about Branagh's childhood experience growing up in Northern Ireland during the civil war between the Catholics and Protestants known as The Troubles. Haris and Branagh chose to shoot the movie almost entirely in black-and-white. The two both love the format, and Haris felt using black and white provided less distraction from the character's emotions than using color would. They also decided to use extremely limited additional lighting in the movie, relying heavily on natural light in most scenes. Every scene was thought out with depth of field and depth of action, and not just shot for coverage. For the 2013 film Locke starring Tom Hardy, Haris' friend, cinematographer Chris Menges, had tested the new Alexa Mini and found that it was possible to shoot with just available light in small spaces. This gave director/writer Steven Knight the idea to write a script that takes place entirely in a car, with only one character, and he asked Haris to be his director of photography. Haris had just wrapped Jack Ryan:Shadow Recruit and was about to shoot Cinderella, so Locke seemed like an interesting challenge to take on. Knight had planned for only a 9 day shoot, with the entire script shot beginning to end each night for three nights. The additional actors, never seen on camera, all phoned in their vocal performances live during the shoot. Capturing the intimate and emotional performances in Locke gave Haris a deep satisfaction about his decision to become a filmmaker. Find Haris Zambarloukos: Instagram: @zambagram WIN an autographed copy of Directing Actors, 25th Anniversary Edition! Follow us on Instagram (if you don’t already!) @thecinepod and comment on our Judith Weston post! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Arri: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/9/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 25 seconds
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Judith Weston, author of Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television, 25th Anniversary edition

Judith Weston has coached and taught directing classes to several now renowned directors, such as David Chase, Ava DuVernay and Taika Waititi. She has updated her book, Directing Actors for its 25th anniversary edition, revising nearly every chapter and adding two new ones. Judith teaches that a director must have a vision. It's the director's job to be the shepherd of the story and have it mean something. The director must also go deeper to figure out what matters to the story, and listen, communicate and collaborate with the actor on the ideas they are trying to convey. A key chapter in Directing Actors discusses how a director must find the “emotional event” or the key dynamics in each scene. This is something both the cinematographer and the editor must understand as well to make a good movie great. Finding the essential emotional event in a scene is what changes someone from simply wanting to be a director into actually thinking like a director. Find Judith Weston: Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television, 25th Anniversary Edition is available on Amazon WIN an autographed copy of Directing Actors, 25th Anniversary Edition! Follow us on Instagram (if you don’t already!) @thecinepod and comment on our post for this episode! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by DZOFilm: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/2/20221 hour, 1 minute, 14 seconds
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Martin Ruhe, ASC on The Tender Bar, working with George Clooney, Catch-22, The Midnight Sky, and Counterpart

Cinematographer Martin Ruhe's latest film is The Tender Bar, a coming-of-age movie about J.R., a boy growing up in 1970's Long Island, N.Y. He and his mother move in to his grandparent's house, filled with noisy extended family, including his uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck) who runs the local bar. Charlie acts as a father figure to him, sharing books and knowledge, influencing J.R. to become a writer. Martin and George Clooney have worked together on several films and TV shows, including The American, the Hulu series Catch-22 and The Midnight Sky. For The Tender Bar, Clooney wanted to direct a warmly nostalgic movie. Together, they worked with the production designer and costume designer to create a look reminiscent of 1970's films. The production team wanted to show a thoroughly lived-in house and bar that don't change much over time as J.R. grows up. It was shot digitally, but Martin wanted the film to have a Kodachrome quality. The family home was a real location, and Martin kept the lighting simple- mainly placing lights outside the windows so that the actors could move freely inside. As the lead DP for the series Counterpart, Martin spent eight months establishing the look and shooting several episodes of the first 10 episode season, and setting up the show for his fellow cinematographers. It was a new experience for him to work on a complex 10 hour show, but he loved the writing and craft of creating the series. Find Martin Ruhe: Instagram: @martinruhedp The Tender Bar is on Amazon Prime Video. Martin's next project is The Boys in the Boat directed by George Clooney. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/23/202247 minutes, 23 seconds
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Special Episode: Sundance 2022- Sirens director Rita Baghdadi

The Cinematography Podcast Sundance 2022 Special: Sirens Sirens is an intimate coming of age documentary focused on Lilas Mayassi and Shery Bechara, guitarists and co-founders of Slave to Sirens, the Middle East's first all-female thrash metal band. The documentary follows the band as they rehearse and play concerts, rebelling against the country's criticisms and stereotypes about women and heavy metal music. The relationships between bandmates is complicated, but they find an outlet in their music amid violent protests, fires and bombings in Beirut, Lebanon. Documentarian Rita Baghdadi had set out to find a story based in the Middle East or North Africa because her family background is Morrocan. In 2018 she found Slave to Sirens' EP online, saw photos of the band, and felt drawn to tell a story about the five women. The band was looking for press opportunities, and they welcomed Rita and her camera. None of them, including Rita, were sure Sirens would become a feature length documentary. Rita made several trips to Beirut from the U.S. to shoot and direct the documentary on her own, with just one camera, over a period of three years. She enjoys making intimate verite films, and unobtrusively focuses on the emotions in each scene. Rita was able to spend enough time with the band to weave a compelling documentary about independent women in the agony and ecstasy of their 20's, creating their own world to escape the chaos of their reality. Sirens premiered at the Sundance 2022 Film Festival and is seeking sales and distribution. Find director Rita Baghdadi Instagram: @ritaamal Instagram: @sirensdocumentary Find the band, Slave to Sirens: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/20/202219 minutes, 55 seconds
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Catch The Fair One director Josef Kubota Wladyka and actor/screenwriter Kali Reis

Catch the Fair One is about Kaylee “K.O.” Uppashaw, a mixed Indigenous boxer who is searching for her sister, Weeta, who has been missing for two years. K.O. sets off on a dark and dangerous journey as she willingly allows herself to be exploited by a sex trafficking ring to find out what happened to her sister. Catch the Fair One is the second feature for Josef Kubota Wladyka, who has also directed episodes of Narcos, Fear the Walking Dead and The Terror. It's the acting debut for Kali Reis, who is an Indigenous/Cape Verdean world champion boxer and activist for missing and murdered Indigenous women of North America. Josef met Kali through a friend's boxing gym. Watching her train and box helped Josef form an idea for the story of Catch the Fair One and he wanted a collaborative partner who could help shine a light on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. With such dark subject matter, Kali and Josef knew they wanted the film to be a thriller, with themes of pain, loss, and regret that intentionally draws the audience in. Kali enjoyed being a part of the creative writing process. Though she had never written a script before, she feels she drew on her ancestors' tradition of storytelling and it felt natural. Kali was able to write her own character, building Kaylee from the ground up. Josef and Kali shoot a lot of rough footage, working out different character and script ideas. Kali also trained at an acting boot camp to help her learn acting and character work. Josef felt fortunate to work with Darren Aronofsky, who came on board as executive producer, and he gave Josef feedback on the movie to help bring it into focus. Find Kali Reis: Instagram: @ko_ndnbxr Twitter: @KO_Reis86 Catch The Fair One opened February 11th in theaters and on demand. Learn more about Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/16/202247 minutes, 13 seconds
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Academy award winning cinematographer Linus Sandgren, FSF, ASC on No Time To Die and Don’t Look Up

Acclaimed cinematographer Linus Sandgren just happens to have two Oscar nominated films out right now- the new James Bond movie, No Time to Die and the Adam McKay satire, Don't Look Up. Both films are extremely different from each other, and Linus was excited to work on both. Linus says that working on a Bond film is about creating a heightened reality, escapist adventure that romanticizes action and espionage. Don't Look Up is also about creating a type of heightened reality, but in an absurd, satirical way that tells the truth. Linus was very excited to shoot No Time to Die with director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Linus always tries to find a story and script that he hasn't done before, and it was a new challenge for him to take on a film with so much action. They focused on making it their own Bond, rather than looking at previous James Bond films. No Time to Die even begins differently from past Bond films- instead of an action set piece, Linus and Fukunaga chose to create a horror movie feeling in the opening. For the opening sequences of No Time to Die, Linus set the creepy tone, choosing monochromatic grays and icy blue skies, and a very isolated location. By contrast, the very next action sequence featuring Bond is full of harsh bright sun washed in yellows and browns. For every film Linus shoots, he likes to have keywords for the emotions in the script to guide him in prep for different scenes, such as horror, grief, loss, humor, etc. and decides how to address those emotions visually. Linus and Fukunaga also discussed the expectations of a Bond film: an entertaining action-packed joyride, but still have No Time To Die act as a final chapter wrapping up Daniel Craig's arc as James Bond. Don't Look Up is a disaster-movie satire film directed by Adam McKay. Linus felt the script was terrific and horrific at the same time, and it was clear to him that McKay wanted to comment on how people's personal and political agendas cause them to ignore glaring problems, such as climate change, and hijack the actual solution that could save lives. Linus felt like it was an important and hilarious film to shoot. He decided that the visuals should feel like a political thriller, because the comedy and satire would come through in the writing. Linus would dolly in to create tension, use longer zooms to compress the shots, then go close up with a macro lens in order to get right on a character's eyes. The shoot required a lot of extras, which was made even more challenging with COVID protocols. Linus had to be creative to figure out how to shoot with fewer extras, using longer lenses so the physical distancing wouldn't be as apparent, and they often re-used the same actors in different scenes since they were in a quarantine bubble together. Find Linus Sandgren: Instagram @linussandgren_dp You can purchase and stream No Time to Die on AppleTV, Amazon, Vudu, or your preferred service. Don't Look Up is available on Netflix. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Arri: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/9/202254 minutes, 32 seconds
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Special Episode: Sundance 2022- Blood director Bradley Rust Gray and cinematographer Eric Lin

The film Blood is about Chloe, a woman who travels to Japan for her work as a photographer, just a couple of years after the death of her husband. She meets up with her Japanese friend Toshi who is interested in turning their friendship into a relationship, and she needs to decide if she is ready to welcome romantic love back into her life. Blood is a quiet and contemplative movie about human relationships, and unfolds slowly through Chloe's conversations, interactions and dreams. Director Bradley Rust Gray and cinematographer Eric Lin had worked together before on Brad's film, The Exploding Girl. A lot of Blood was improvised, and Brad used the script mainly as an outline short of a few scenes needed for exposition. They found opportunities to weave in the dreams Chloe has about her past with her husband in Iceland. Eric and Brad wanted everything to feel very naturalistic, as if the camera is eavesdropping. Eric chose to shoot much of it on very long lenses, as though shooting a nature documentary. They wanted Blood to feel like the audience is present with Chloe the whole time, peering in on moments in her life. Blood premiered at the Sundance 2022 Film Festival and was the Special Jury Award winner for Uncompromising Artistic Vision. Blood is seeking sales and distribution. Find director Bradley Rust Gray: Find cinematographer Eric Lin: Instagram @holdtheframe Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/9/202223 minutes, 16 seconds
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Special Episode: Sundance 2022- Gentle directors Anna Eszter Nemes and László Csuja

Gentle tells the story of Edina, a Hungarian woman bodybuilder pushing her body to the limit. Her relentless trainer is also her boyfriend, determined to make her a world champion, and he controls her entire life. Edina secretly turns to a specialty escort service to earn enough money for all her supplements and special drugs, where she finds comfort and begins falling for one client in particular. Real-life bodybuilder Eszter Csonka does an excellent job of expressing the emotional state of Edina as her feelings awaken. Directors Anna Eszter Nemes and László Csuja wanted Gentle's message to be that love makes you human and free. Bodybuilding takes a huge physical and emotional toll on Edina's life, and becoming an escort enables her to find a new kind of freedom and intimacy in her life. Anna and László wanted the movie to be very still and methodical in its pacing, because bodybuilding is not about words, it's about making the body into a work of art. As a painter, Anna had explored the world of female bodybuilders and it intrigued her enough to start writing the film with co-director László. They worked closely with their DP, Zágon Nagy and decided to visually separate her gym life from her personal life as an escort, using more color and camera movement when she begins to get in touch with her feelings, versus a locked-off camera with extreme close ups when she is working out or competing. Gentle premiered at the Sundance 2022 Film Festival and is seeking sales and U.S. distribution. Find director Anna Eszter Nemes: Find director László Csuja: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/8/202212 minutes, 33 seconds
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Cinematographers Daniel Grant, CSC and Steve Cosens, CSC on shooting the series Station Eleven on HBOMax

Station Eleven is an HBOMax series based on the book by Emily St. John Mandel. The story focuses on several characters who are survivors of a devastating flu pandemic that wipes out most of the human population, completely collapsing modern civilization. The series mixes together the storylines of characters whose past and present timelines interconnect, weaving together the time during the pandemic, the days and months afterward, and then how the characters have adapted twenty years into the future. Art, music and theater have thrived in a small band of actors and musicians known as the Traveling Symphony. Kirsten, played by Mackenzie Davis, is the main character and a lead actor in the Traveling Symphony, going from settlement to settlement performing Shakespeare. Each community still remains under threat of hostile invaders, and a dangerous cult whose beliefs are based on a story from a graphic novel written before the pandemic appears to be on the rise. Daniel Grant, CSC and Steve Cosens, CSC, both Canadian cinematographers, were hired as DPs for four episodes apiece for Station Eleven. They were happy to know that they'd be working closely together because they were familiar with each other's work and comfortable with each other's aesthetic. Executive producer Hiro Murai directed the first block of episodes- Episodes 1 and 3- with Christian Sprenger as the director of photography, and they established the initial look of the show. Murai and Sprenger shot two episodes in Chicago as COVID hit, and then production shut down for several months. Daniel and Steve were brought on to shoot the next blocks in Toronto, Canada, which felt weird and surreal as they developed the look and feel of a fictional post-pandemic world, while living through a real global pandemic. As Daniel and Steve began prep, they were able to contribute their own ideas for the look and feel of Year 20 in Station Eleven's post-pandemic world. Steve noted that the pacing of the show was very deliberate, and they would purposefully let shots hold for several beats. Each shot was nicely framed and the lighting was very naturalistic and organic- it was not a slick show with fast edits. With less humans around, they wanted to depict the earth returning to the natural world in the future, instead of the typical post-apocalyptic barren scorched landscape look. They wanted Station Eleven to feel positive and life-affirming, although still fraught with potential dangers. Since the main storyline follows a roving band of theatrical performers, the show was always on the move with many different locations, and Daniel and Steve had to fuse the challenges of the logistics with the creative. Many episodes required different seasons or the same location dressed for different years. The hardest episodes and locations to shoot took place at the airport, set during Station Eleven's pre-pandemic and then twenty years after the pandemic. The two cinematographers stayed in close contact and were true collaborators, sharing information and communicating to make it easier for each other as they switched off shooting in the airport location. Steve and Daniel would often have early morning phone calls to constantly feed each other information about the shoot day, and would watch each other's dailies to match each other's shots. Find Daniel Grant: Instagram: @danielgrant_dp Find Steve Cosens: Instagram: @cosenssteve You can see all episodes of Station Eleven on HBOMax Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works!
2/2/202248 minutes, 31 seconds
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Special Episode: Sundance 2022- My Old School documentary director Jono McLeod

Director Jono McLeod's stranger-than-fiction documentary My Old School tells the story of his former classmate, Brandon Lee. In 1993, a new kid joined Jono McLeod's high school class at Bearsden Academy in Glasgow, Scotland. 16-year-old Brandon claimed to have been privately tutored in Canada and was incredibly smart, getting great grades and setting his sights on going to medical school. He befriended several of his classmates and became quite popular, even starring in the school play. But two years later, it was discovered that Brandon was not everything he appeared to be, and his secret identity became a national scandal in Scotland. Jono had regaled friends with the tale of Brandon Lee and his old school for years before he decided it would make a good documentary subject. Brandon consented to being interviewed for the movie, but on the condition that he was not shown. Jono decided to use an actor to stand in for the real Brandon Lee and have the actor lip synch Brandon's actual words. Years before, Alan Cumming was slated to star in a fictionalized film about Brandon Lee, but the movie had fallen through. Fortunately, Jono is also friends with Cumming, so he asked him if he would like to be in the documentary, albeit without using his own voice. Cumming was happy to accept the challenge and they used a method of reverse-ADR to record his lip synch of Brandon's words with perfect accuracy. For My Old School, Jono re-built his old classroom as a set for the interviews and invited his former high school classmates to participate. He knew he wanted to tell the story from the perspective of the people who were there and for My Old School to have a sense of humor and lightness to it, so Jono decided to use animation sequences for depicting any flashback scenes. He wanted to evoke the look of popular animation styles from high school shows of the 1990's and he used the popular MTV series Daria as an inspiration. My Old School premiered at the Sundance 2022 Film Festival and is seeking sales and distribution. Find director Jono McLeod: #jonomcleod Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/1/202222 minutes, 53 seconds
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Special Episode: Sundance 2022- God’s Country director Julian Higgins, writer Shaye Ogbonna and cinematographer Andrew Wheeler

God's Country, starring Thandiwe Newton, is about Sandra, a Black woman college professor living alone who is dealing with the recent loss of her mother and the subtle and not-so-subtle racism and sexism in a cold, remote Western town. Two hunters boldly start trespassing on her property, and when she asks them to stop, it begins a tense and escalating clash of uncompromising aggression by both parties. Director Julian Higgins and cinematographer Andrew Wheeler had previously made God's Country as a short in 2014, based on the short story Winter Light by James Lee Burke. When Julian began thinking about turning the story into a feature, he connected with writer and fellow AFI graduate Shaye Ogbonna to reimagine the story with a Black woman rather than a white man as the central character. As co-writers, Shaye and Julian had long conversations about what they valued and cared about in their own lives. They wanted to take a big bite out of contemporary themes of racism and sexism and still tell a contained thriller story. Together, they wrote and reworked the script for months, knowing they wanted to show everything on the screen with little dialog. They wanted the audience to feel the tension escalate as the movie builds to what feels like its inevitable conclusion. Envisioning this inevitability and seeing everything happen rather than telling through dialog meant knowing exactly where to place the camera. Cinematographer Andrew Wheeler was involved right from the beginning, which helped everyone maintain the same vision. Julian listened to Andrew's instincts and suggestions, so the whole process was very collaborative. Andrew also lives in Montana, where the film was shot, so he is intimately familiar with how to photograph those surroundings. He expressed Sandra's extreme aloneness in long shots against the mountains and snow, or gazing out from her house onto the vastness of the landscape. Andrew felt that he was able to put his time and best work on the screen. God's Country premiered at the Sundance 2022 Film Festival and is seeking sales and distribution. Find director Julian Higgins: Instagram: @filmjulian Find writer Shaye Ogbonna Twitter: @ShizzleObizzle Find cinematographer Andrew Wheeler: Instagram: @wheels41215 Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/31/202232 minutes, 30 seconds
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Cinematographer Ari Wegner, ACS on shooting The Power of the Dog, working with director Jane Campion

Ari Wegner, ACS became a fan of director Jane Campion after seeing her short films in high school. Seeing those films opened Ari's eyes to the possibilities of choosing filmmaking as a career. Several years later, she had an opportunity to work with Campion on a commercial in Sydney, Australia and found they shared a similar working aesthetic. Campion contacted her next about shooting The Power of the Dog, and wanted to work closely with Ari on prepping the film over the course of a year. Most DPs only have a few weeks to meet with the director, location scout, and prep the film. They began with location scouting in New Zealand, Campion's home country, searching for the right mountains as the backdrop. The Power of the Dog takes place in 1920's Montana, so finding the right location to build an entire ranch set was also important. Ari and Campion agreed that the colors in the film should reflect the natural environment of cattle, sun, dust, golden grass, and brown leather. The color palette was key to unifying the look of the film, from the costumes to even the color of the cows. Ari and Campion spent the last month before the shoot storyboarding every scene, in a cabin closer to the set. As the set was being built, they would go to the location and walk through it to figure out if the shots were going to work. The ranch house exterior was built on location, while the interiors were built on a stage. The script also required knowing exactly where the actor's eyelines would be as the characters stalk and spy on each other, so Ari needed to know the layout of the house very well so that the shots lined up just right. Campion always uses storyboards as plan A, and is open to things changing once the actors physically embody the characters and find their own unique moments and flow. Ari often filmed handheld in order to move in on the actor's faces to capture the quiet moments, expressions and unsaid private thoughts of each character. Ari's work on The Power of the Dog was just nominated for an ASC Award. Find Ari Wegner: Instagram: @ariwegner You can see The Power of the Dog on Netflix Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/26/202244 minutes, 47 seconds
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Quyen Tran, ASC, on directing and shooting episodes of the Netflix limited series Maid

Cinematographer Quyen Tran, ASC enjoys telling stories that are compelling and have impact and meaning. Q's previous work on the show Unbelievable led showrunner Molly Smith Metzler and executive producer John Wells to ask her to shoot Maid, a limited series for Netflix. Maid deals with the complex issues of poverty, domestic abuse, the working poor, addiction, single parenthood and mental health. With amazing performances by Margaret Qualley, Andi McDowell and young actor Rylea Nevaeh Whittet, the series handles all of these heavy and heartbreaking issues with sensitivity, peppered with moments of levity and joy. For Q, shooting Maid was incredible, and incredibly challenging. It was her first job during the pandemic, beginning in August of 2020, and the crew had to quarantine for two weeks in Victoria, British Columbia, wear masks, get frequent COVID tests and follow strict COVID protocols. Quyen thought she would only do the pre-production and shoot the pilot because she didn't want to leave her family for very long. Quyen shot extensive tests for the look of Maid. She knew it would be primarily handheld, which creates intimacy and forces a personal perspective on the viewer. Q decided she wanted to use the Alexa Mini and Panaspeed lenses because of the vintage, soft look, and they allow for close camera to subject distance. As part of the pre-production process, Q created a look book for the whole series that the other DPs could pick up and reference. After shooting the pilot, Q returned to Los Angeles. Then, right after the holidays, director/executive producer John Wells asked Quyen to come back and direct episode eight of Maid. Although Q had a little bit of experience directing, it was very scary for her to even think about directing in a narrative format. She never went into filmmaking to become a director, and never had the desire to be one. But she knew she could do it because she was so familiar with the characters and the story. As both DP and operator on the show, Q already had a rapport with the actors, but now as a director, it was about discussing the motivation of why their characters were doing certain actions. She also had to keep three year old actor Rylea Whittet engaged with the action. As Maddy, single mom Alex's daughter, Rylea is in nearly every scene and Q often entertained her with piggyback rides and games. For her directorial episode, Quyen camera prepped everything and storyboarded the entire episode. One of the most visually interesting and challenging elements in the episode Q directed is the couch that literally pulls Alex in and swallows her. Q and the production designer worked together for about three weeks to create the couch that Alex could sink right into and disappear. During the pandemic and in their down time, Quyen and her friend and fellow DP, Jeanne Tyson, found a passion for making sourdough bread. They started Doughrectors of Photography and in exchange for a donation to the LA Food Bank or other charity, patrons receive bread, cookies or other goodies. You can check out Doughrectors of Photography and find out how you can donate and get some delicious baked goods on Instagram at @doughrectorsofphotography Find Quyen Tran: Instagram: @qgar You can see Maid on Netflix Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by DZOFilm: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/19/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 1 second
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Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS on Dune, using digital technology, working with director Denis Villeneuve and director Kathryn Bigelow

Director of photography Greig Fraser says that cinematographers always strive to create images with dimension, so that audiences are able to experience almost feeling and touching what they are seeing. Film has always had the dimensional and realistic feel that filmmakers appreciate, such as grain and color. But with today's advances in digital filmmaking technology, Greig understands and embraces using the tools that are appropriate to the project he's working on, and the technology just keeps improving. For Greig, no matter what he's shooting or how technical it can be, what draws him to every film project is the characters in the movie. On Dune, Greig and director Denis Villeneuve tested on film and also on digital, but they didn't like either look that much. They decided to take a hybrid approach: the film was shot on digital, then output to film, and then back out to digital, which gave it the look they wanted. Villeneuve was a huge fan of Dune the novel, and had a clear vision of what his version of the Dune story should be. He extensively storyboarded the film in pre-production, and they did not reference the previous Dune movie at all. During the shoot, Greig and the VFX supervisor Paul Lambert championed getting the lighting exactly correct with the blue or green screen background so that the shots and perspective would look the most realistic and there would be very little adjustments needed in post production. Greig also talks about using the iPhone 13 ProMax to shoot a demo film with director Kathryn Bigelow. The phone has several camera options that make it cinematic, and he finds that phones are getting better and better to shoot with. Greig's next film is The Batman which will be released in March. Find Greig Fraser: Instagram @greigfraser_dp Twitter: @GreigFraser_dp You can see Dune in theaters now, on Blu-ray, or soon returning to HBOMax. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by Arri: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/13/202256 minutes, 14 seconds
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Seamus McGarvey ASC, BSC on the musical adaptation of Cyrano, shooting in Sicily during the pandemic and on an active volcano

Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey is very happy about being a DP, and his love of the job always takes him through the difficult times. When he sees a movie that actually works beautifully on screen, it makes everything worthwhile. The new musical Cyrano is based on the stage play by Erica Schmidt, which caught the attention of director Joe Wright, who knew he wanted to adapt it into a film. Stars Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett also reprise their roles in the movie as Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxanne. Wright used the stage play as a guide for what the film should look like, and hired his frequent collaborator, Seamus McGarvey as the cinematographer. The two have now worked on five films together. Seamus wanted the film to feel more intimate than a play, so he chose close up portraiture of the actor's faces, capturing sensitive performances. Because of the pandemic, Wright felt even more strongly about the story of Cyrano being an outsider, craving love and human connection. They began shooting in the fall of 2020, creating a bubble of performers in the town of Noto, Sicily, with many background actors playing a few different parts. Since Sicily was still locked down for COVID with no tourism and few people out and about, most of the town became the entire set- the locations were all real houses and buildings. The crew was able to shoot with little distraction or interference, and with no bars or restaurants open, they became a tight-knit group. In his adaptation of Cyrano, Wright was guided by the musical and wanted the dialog to roll naturally into song, which were recorded live during the shoot. Playback had to be done through earpieces for all of the performers so they knew when to sing and dance. Fortunately, all of the actors were such good singers that they didn't have to do a lot of takes, and they had time to focus on rehearsals and blocking first. Seamus had previously shot the musical The Greatest Showman, and he enjoyed the experience on Cyrano of playing with the rhythm of photography with song, creating a beat to the pictures themselves. The “Every Letter” song sequence in Cyrano reminded him of working on music videos in his early career, and he and the crew had fun creating lens flares with flashlights throughout the scene. They worked with lots of candles and torches, with some LED torches with CGI flames for a nighttime staircase fight scene in the film. The filming of Cyrano literally ended with a bang. Mount Etna is an active volcano, and Wright chose to film the final battle sequences up the side of it. The weather had turned unseasonably cold and it started snowing, creating a real problem for the set which had to be relocated. The snow would start to melt because the earth beneath was hot with molten lava. Finally, within days of completing shooting and beginning to wrap out of the location, Mt. Etna erupted and the sets were covered in ash. The entire crew quickly evacuated. Find Seamus McGarvey: Instagram @seamiemc Twitter: @mcseamus You can see Cyrano opening in theaters December 31. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/29/202145 minutes, 22 seconds
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Dan Laustsen, ASC, DFF on Nightmare Alley, working with director Guillermo del Toro

Cinematographer Dan Laustsen's latest movie with director Guillermo del Toro is the film noir psychological thriller, Nightmare Alley. Unlike many of del Toro's previous films, Nightmare Alley features no monsters or creatures, exploring instead the drama of the monsters within humans. Dan and del Toro had extensive prep and discussion about how to tell the story in a classic film noir way, except with lush vibrant colors instead of in black and white. Part of the movie takes place in the carnival world, so del Toro and Dan had extensive discussions about the color palette. Del Toro had a very precise idea of what colors he wanted and he uses very little color correction in post. Dan decided to paint with light, and draw attention to the beautiful sets as much as possible. The movie was shot mainly at night and indoors so they were able to carefully control the lighting. They chose to light using mainly a single source, and lit the character of Lilith Ritter, played by Cate Blanchett, like a classic movie star. Her lighting was important to the storytelling so the audience sees her as a powerful force in the film. In fact, the lights would also move on a dolly track with Blanchett, or Dan would use a small 1K as a follow spot. For the camerawork, Dan and del Toro wanted all of the shots in Nightmare Alley to be on the move-everything is shot either on a dolly, with a Steadicam or from a crane. Del Toro & Dan first began working together on Mimic, and they found what Dan considers a similar European sensibility of lighting with a single source, keeping things very dark and having the courage to not show everything. The two didn't work together again until Crimson Peak but del Toro and Dan have a great rapport, and Dan found that they could pick right back up again. Find Dan Laustsen: Instagram @dan.laustsen You can see Nightmare Alley in theaters. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by DZOFilm: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/22/202143 minutes, 55 seconds
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Oscar winning cinematographer Robert Elswit, ASC on King Richard, Nightcrawler, Boogie Nights and Magnolia

Legendary cinematographer Robert Elswit has shot a wide range of movies, including Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood- which won him the Academy Award for Best Cinematography- Magnolia, Good Night and Good Luck, Tomorrow Never Dies, The Bourne Legacy, two Mission Impossible movies, and of course Return of the Living Dead Part 2. Robert's latest film is King Richard, a biopic that tells the story of how Richard Williams, the father of tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, was determined to shape his daughters into champions. From the beginning, Robert and director Reinaldo Marcus Green wanted the tennis to be realistic. They watched many other tennis movies and didn't find the speed and athleticism of the actors to be believable. They knew it was going to be tricky dealing with actors pretending to be tennis players. Fortunately, the story was about Venus and Serena developing and honing their tennis skills, so the playing didn't have to look perfect. The matches were carefully designed around scripted beats that moved the story forward. Robert and Green decided to show only specific moments of the matches, including how Venus and Serena interacted with other players, how the parents interacted with their kids, and how Richard interacted with the coaches and his kids. They were careful in thinking about how to shoot the match, keeping it as interesting and as believable as it could be in terms of speed and athleticism but also making sure that the audience understands what is happening emotionally with the characters. For the look of King Richard, Robert chose several different types of filters and diffusion to represent the light in Compton, but didn't use as many for Florida, so that the sun could feel more bright and harsh. Robert's throughline for Los Angeles for the film Nightcrawler was shooting the ribbons of freeways that run through the Valley, as the main character Louis Bloom drives around LA looking for crime as a news stringer. It was impossible to fake it with a green screen. Robert, the cast and crew had to literally drive around and shoot Los Angeles at night. They had no time or budget to light things, so they scouted locations that were already lit. He took advantage of the street lights and the ambient light from billboards and stores. This approach gave the movie its distinctly seedy look, and Robert felt it was clearly the only approach that fit the script. You can see King Richard on HBO Max. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/15/202146 minutes, 50 seconds
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Jeff Cronenweth, ASC on Being the Ricardos, working with Aaron Sorkin, shooting a 1950s period film

Jeff Cronenweth, ASC understands that creating a period piece such as the film, Being the Ricardos, involves lighting and set design, period costumes, hair and makeup styles, and of course, positioning the camera. For today's more sophisticated and contemporary audiences, everything must be shot in a more dynamic way than in the staid 1950's style. Jeff and director Aaron Sorkin had the TV show I Love Lucy to work from as well as photographs from the I Love Lucy set, which were invaluable for recreating scenes for the movie. They also watched films that take place in the 1950's such as LA Confidential, Carol, and Peggy Sue Got Married, to see how those filmmakers approached the time period, while carefully crafting their own unique vision of what 1952 looked like. Jeff created four looks for the time periods within Being the Ricardos: 1952, where most of the story takes place; contemporary interviews from the mid-90's by the story's narrators; the 1940's with flashbacks to when Lucy and Desi first met; and then black and white footage paying homage to I Love Lucy that represents what is going on in Lucy's imagination. For the black and white sequences, Jeff embraced the theatrical “fashion noir” look using a starlight/hard light method for portrait photography from that time period. Jeff and director Aaron Sorkin had previously worked together on The Social Network for just one scene. Being the Ricardos was their first real opportunity to collaborate for a longer amount of time. Aaron Sorkin is known for crafting fast and complex back and forth dialog, and his writing style was similar for Being the Ricardos- tight, structured, and well thought out with brilliant dialog. Jeff found Sorkin's script created a sturdy framework for the entire movie- when the script is really confident and solid, everyone else on the film has a clear map of how and where they can be creative within those parameters. As the cinematographer, Jeff knew the actors would have fast, overlapping lines and were on an emotional roller coaster as they navigate through a crisis. He used lenses with a very close focus to give the feel that the characters were in a world that made them feel vulnerable and alone. He decided to use as much contrast as possible, balancing light and dark throughout the movie while still creating richness and depth with points of light in the background. Being the Ricardos is in theaters December 10 and will be on Amazon Prime Video December 21, 2021 Find Jeff Cronenweth: Instagram: #jeffcronenweth Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by Arri: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/8/202152 minutes, 58 seconds
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Eduard Grau, ASC on shooting Passing, working with director Rebecca Hall, A Single Man with director Tom Ford, shooting Buried

Cinematographer Eduard Grau, ASC thinks it's important to take risks in filmmaking because it sparks creativity and passion for what you're doing. Passing director Rebecca Hall had worked with Edu on several films as an actor, and trusted him to bring his creative skill to her first directorial project. Based on the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, Hall had been trying to get the movie made for several years. She held firm on her vision from the beginning that Passing would be a black and white film, and she wanted it to be in the square 4:3 aspect ratio as a throwback to the movies of the 1930's time period, so that the characters were more intimately centered in the frame. Edu was excited to work on such an exceptional film, in which cinematography is so integral to both the look of the film and the storytelling narrative. Passing explores race and identity in the lives of two former friends who reconnect in late 1920's Harlem. Ruth Negga's character Clare is passing as white while Tessa Thompson's character Irene is a respected member of the black community. Hall wanted the film to feel very restrained, as the characters are feeling under constant scrutiny, and the story is told mainly through the women's faces. Edu kept the shots close and intimate, with very natural lighting. Edu grew up in Spain and became interested in cinematography in high school. He went to film school in Barcelona and the UK. He made a short film that went to Cannes, then had a chance meeting with a producer at the Edinburg Film Festival. She passed his reel to Tom Ford who needed just the right DP to shoot A Single Man. Ford saw exactly what he was looking for in Edu's reel and asked him to fly out to the U.S. It was Edu's first movie on 35mm, his first movie in the United States, and his first movie with such big movie stars. After A Single Man, Edu went on to shoot Buried starring Ryan Reynolds, whose character is buried alive. He loved the challenge of shooting Buried in an interesting way with such extremely limited space constraints. You can watch Passing on Netflix. Find Edu Grau: Instagram: @eduardgrau Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/1/202158 minutes, 42 seconds
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Cinematographer Mihai Mălaimare Jr. on shooting the stylized Western film, The Harder They Fall

Cinematographer Miahi Mălaimare Jr. understands the power of images to communicate a feeling right away, and in a more straightforward way than with spoken language. For The Harder They Fall, Mihai discovered that as both a director and a singer-songwriter, Jeymes Samuel communicates through music, and the two enjoyed working together to find the visual language of the film. The Harder They Fall is a mashup of blaxploitation, spaghetti Western and musical in one sprawling and stylish package. Samuel had previously made a shorter Western called They Die By Dawn, but Mihai had never shot a Western before. They were prepping to shoot in March of 2020 in New Mexico, then everything was halted due to the pandemic. Finally, in July of 2020 Jeymes called up Mihai to see if he could be ready to shoot within a few weeks. They headed out to New Mexico and shot the film while under strict COVID protocols. Both Mihai and Samuel took visual ideas for The Harder They Fall from The Wild Bunch and several Sergio Leone movies. Finding the rhythm within a scene was a huge part of the film. Samuel had a few songs written into the script and would often play music on set. The script was very challenging with several complicated shots, a large cast, dealing with horses, guns, set pieces and period costumes, but Jeymes Samuel and Mihai were able to achieve Samuel's vision with prep, discussions every night, and many, many rehearsals. You can watch The Harder They Fall on Netflix. Mihai recently wrapped the currently untitled HBO drama series about the Lakers in the 1980's. Find Mihai Mălaimare Jr. Instagram: @malaimarejr_photography @malaimarejr_cinematography WIN an autographed copy of Directing Great Television by our recent guest, director Dan Attias! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and comment on our post for this episode! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/17/202143 minutes, 20 seconds
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Jay Rosenblatt, independent filmmaker, artist and professor on being a jury member of CamerImage

Our host Illya Friedman had the opportunity to speak to one of his former film instructors, Jay Rosenblatt at CamerImage back in 2019. Jay taught Super 8 Filmmaking at San Francisco State University and has made over 30 short films. As a member of the jury for the Energa CamerImage film festival in Poland for the past several years, Jay looks for innovative storytelling in the films they screen. Jay's latest short film is When We Were Bullies, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and will be screening at CamerImage next week. The 2021 CamerImage film festival begins in Torun, Poland next week. Find Jay Rosenblatt: WIN an autographed copy of Directing Great Television by last week's guest, director Dan Attias! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and comment on our post for this episode! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by DZOFilm: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/10/202137 minutes, 46 seconds
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Dan Attias, Emmy-nominated director and author of Directing Great Television: Inside TV’s New Golden Age

Dan Attias has directed dozens of episodes of critically acclaimed television shows such as The Wire, The Sopranos, Homeland, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Americans, Billions, and many more. His years of experience led him to write the book, Directing Great Television: Inside TV's New Golden Age. The book is not only for those who want to direct, but also for fans who want to know how these shows are made. In college, Dan studied acting and had to make a short film as part of his film studies. He found he enjoyed being behind the camera as a director, and continued to study film with an eye to directing. Dan started working on several big movies as an assistant director, such as E.T., One From the Heart, Airplane! and Twilight Zone: The Movie. His first directing job was on Stephen King's Silver Bullet, a werewolf horror movie produced by Dino De Laurentiis. Dan finds the best way to approach directing a television show is to get invested in the story by finding what interests you in the script. In series television, directors often don't even get the script until a few days before they're going to direct it. If the show already exists, Dan likes to immerse himself in the show, watching several episodes and asking the production to send over past scripts. Directing one episode of a long-running show is like writing just one chapter of a novel- it needs to fit in seamlessly to the entire story, while still feeling compelling and propelling the story forward. A director of episodic TV has to balance making it their story while still executing the showrunner's vision and honoring the intention of the writers. Dan also likes to explore every scene of the episode he's directing with the writers during a tone meeting. He often asks, what is the story being told? The story isn't simply what happens, but the meaning that you give to what happens- where you're directing the audience's focus. Make sure you keep asking yourself, how does it make me feel? The director must be able to dig down with the actors and come up with an interesting subtext to the story if the scene needs a boost. Find Dan Attias: Directing Great Television: Inside TV's New Golden Age is available on Amazon. WIN an autographed copy of Directing Great Television! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and comment on our post for this episode! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/3/20211 hour, 10 seconds
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Ruth Platt, director of Martyrs Lane on writing and directing the horror thriller

When director Ruth Platt first wrote and developed Martyrs Lane, it started off as much more of a horror film rather than a psychological thriller. She had the opportunity to develop the film into a feature from a short through BFI, the British Film Institute. In its feature form, Ruth pulled Martyrs Lane into a more unsettling ghost story that's told from the point of view of Leah, a 10 year old girl, who lives in a large old house with her family. Her mother always seems very sad and distant, and Leah doesn't know why, until a strange nightly visitor gives her a new clue to unlock every night. The visual palette of Martyrs Lane has a timeless and impressionistic feel, creating an atmosphere of hovering between the conscious and unconscious world. The house Leah and her family lives in is a reflection of the interior and exterior world of the family. Ruth knew that finding the perfect “haunted house” was key, and they were lucky to have found the perfect location. With two inexperienced child actors as the leads in the movie, Ruth focused on trying to keep the lines sounding natural instead of scripted, and kept the kids energy up in between takes and setups. Because she and the crew only had a short amount of prep time for the movie, they had to creatively problem solve for a few issues and were able to do almost all the special effects in camera. You can see Martyrs Lane on Shudder. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/27/202159 minutes, 49 seconds
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Robert Yeoman, ASC on The French Dispatch, working with director Wes Anderson for 25 years, Drugstore Cowboy, Bridesmaids and more

After working together for 25 years, cinematographer Robert Yeoman, ASC and director Wes Anderson share a similar aesthetic and creative process. Bob finds he can anticipate what Anderson wants to see and exactly how he wants to shoot things. The trademark of a Wes Anderson movie is a sense of humor and whimsy, and each film has a distinct color palette that deliberately tells a story. Both Bob and Anderson love the symmetrical style of Kubrick movies, but the symmetry in the frame of Anderson's films draw on comic elements rather than those of horror. Anderson is involved in all the decisions on art direction, choices of textures, colors, costume, hair and makeup, testing many of his choices on film before making a decision. During their very long prep period, Anderson will make an animatic of the entire movie before the shoot, and try to match the reality to the animatic as much as possible. Bob finds this incredibly helpful, since Anderson's movies are very complex- many shots are oners and use complicated dolly movies. In the movie The French Dispatch, Bob and Anderson had planned on shooting at least one section in black and white. They fell in love with the black and white stock, so Bob ended up shooting a lot more than they had originally planned. Anderson also decided to mix three aspect ratios in the film to delineate different time periods and different stories, which Bob thought wouldn't work very well, but ended up liking the end result. On every movie he makes, Anderson has a library of DVDs, photo books and research books that are available for the cast and crew to borrow. Naturally, for The French Dispatch, French movies were often referenced. It made it easy for Bob to have a shorthand way to communicate with Anderson on which French film they were emulating for framing, lighting and aspect ratio. The 1989 film, Drugstore Cowboy, directed by Gus Van Sant, helped Bob make his name as a cinematographer. He used a much looser style, with the camera reacting to the actors rather than carefully planned out movements such as those favored by Wes Anderson. Bob found it a pleasure working with Van Sant, who is more of an experimental filmmaker, and from the moment he read the script for Drugstore Cowboy, he loved it. Bob's work on the comedies Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters (2016), and Get Him to the Greek also presented him with a different challenge- everything is cross shot with multiple cameras because so much of those movies are improvised. On both Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters, director Paul Feig's style is to allow the actors freedom to do what they like, and as the cinematographer, Bob let them have the space and simply moved with them, lighting in a more generalized way. The French Dispatch opens in theaters on October 22. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/20/20211 hour, 12 minutes, 6 seconds
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Old Henry director Potsy Ponciroli and cinematographer John Matysiak

Director and writer Potsy Ponciroli was scouting a location for another movie in the countryside just outside Nashville, Tennessee when he saw a historic old house built in the early 1900's at the bottom of a valley. He began thinking about how lonely and isolated a person living in that house might be, and it planted the seed of an idea to write Old Henry. Potsy ended up using that exact location, shooting in that house and the surrounding area. He and cinematographer John Matysiak set out to capture the feel of a classic western- a simple story taking place in the old west, showing how hard life was at that time. Old Henry is an action western starring Tim Blake Nelson as a farmer with a teen son living alone on their farm. Against his better judgement, Henry takes in a wounded stranger with a bag full of cash. Soon enough, a posse comes looking for the wanted man and Henry and his son must defend their homestead. Potsy approached Tim Blake Nelson to star in the film, and the two met several times over Zoom to discuss ideas from their favorite westerns. Soon, Nelson was also on board as an executive producer. During preproduction, Potsy and DP John Matysiak walked around the location, reading the scenes from the script, checking out different angles and shotlisting each moment. Shooting in a real homestead built in the 1900's was very challenging due to the small rooms with low ceilings and small windows that didn't let in much natural light. To keep the look fresh in such a limited space, they carefully figured out what scenes would be in what rooms and made sure they weren't shot back-to-back. John first met Potsy when they were working on a television show in Nashville together. When Potsy showed him the Old Henry script, John liked the ideas he had for keeping the film small and plot driven until it builds to the finale. John is passionate about finding a visual language for the world he's creating with the art of cinematography. He did as much research as he could for that time period, looking at old photographs and paintings from the early 1900's Old West to get a feel for how people lived at that time. He was influenced by more recent westerns such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Hostiles. John Matysiak and Ben Rock actually met through the group Filmmakers Alliance and John worked on Ben's short film, Conversations as a gaffer back in 2003. Find Potsy Ponciroli: Instagram @getpotsy Find John Matysiak: Instagram @john_matysiak Old Henry premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is currently playing in theaters and will be on demand on October 15th. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! Sponsored by DZO Film: DZO Film makes professional high quality, short zoom lenses for smaller cameras, such as the 20-70mm T2.9 MFT lens and the 10-24mm T2.9 MFT. You can buy them at Hot Rod Cameras. The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
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Cinematographer Maz Makhani on the Netflix film The Guilty, directed by Antoine Fuqua

The new Netflix movie, The Guilty follows Jake Gyllenhaal as Joe Baylor, an LAPD police detective who has been demoted to working at a call center as a 911 dispatcher. The film was shot during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in November of 2020 in just 11 days with a very small cast and crew on a controlled soundstage. Additional actors remotely voiced their roles as 911 callers seeking help. Cinematographer Maz Makhani and director Antoine Fuqua had about one day of prep together before they started shooting. Maz and Fuqua walked through the set with Gyllenhaal for rehearsal while working out the blocking and coverage. Once the shoot day arrived, Fuqua could not physically be present as he had to quarantine after a COVID scare. He ended up directing the film remotely from a van parked outside. They wanted the film to have a “God's Eye” perspective, so Maz used a very wide lens that showed the entire room. Antoine and Maz both favor a high-contrast lighting style that helped the dark subject matter, making the film feel real and raw. They mainly used the ambient light from the screens on the set and three digital cameras so that it had a more live and urgent feel. Since Antoine could not be on set, it was fortunate they chose digital so that he could see what was happening via a remote feed in real time and could communicate via text, cell phone and radio. Find Maz Makhani: Instagram @mazmakhani_dp You can see The Guilty on Netflix Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
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Special Episode: Project management tools for content collaboration with Nate Watkin, CEO of Assemble

Using content collaboration tools and being able to share assets remotely has certainly become essential these days. Guest Nate Watkin walks us through his new software, Assemble, which is a complete project management platform for video production teams, from pre-production all the way through post-production. The software is very easy to use and very affordable- even non-production members can access projects as needed, and at no extra cost. Assemble includes: -a shared production calendar that stays in sync and shifts if deadlines change -a trackable task list for each team member -an asset management feature for sharing what's in your production binder- casting information, location scout photos, inspiration lookbooks, etc. file sharing all in one place -frame-specific feedback ability for videos Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate showing how Assemble works! If you're interested in Assemble, use the code cinepod to try a month for free! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
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DP Panel Discussion: Ana Amortegui, Byron Kopman, Bryant Fisher and Julia Swain discuss their creative processes, challenges and careers

In our first ever panel series, Ben and Illya speak to cinematographers Ana Amortegui (Resident Alien), Byron Kopman (Demonic), Bryant Fisher (Lenox Hill), and Julia Swain (Lucky) as they discuss their current work, career journeys, creative processes, challenges and career goals. Be sure to check out the video panel on YouTube! Produced in partnership with Impact24 Public Relations. Find our guests: Byron Kopman Instagram: @bryonkopman Twitter: @ByronKopman Bryant Fisher Instagram: @bryantfisherdp Twitter: @bryantfisher Ana Amortegui Instagram: @mile9 Julia Swain Instagram: @juliaswain Impact24 PR Instagram: @impact24pr Twitter: @impact24pr Facebook: @impact24pr Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/29/202150 minutes, 58 seconds
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Cinematographer John Guleserian on Candyman, working with director Nia DaCosta, Like Crazy, About Time, An American Pickle

Cinematographer John Guleserian has never liked to be pigeonholed into one genre. He's shot several romantic films, comedy movies and TV series, and with his latest film, Candyman, he can add horror movies to his skill set. After attending film school at Columbia College in Chicago and then AFI, John worked on several small films and web series before the film Like Crazy launched his career. Most of the characters' lines were improvised- director Drake Doremus worked from an outline rather than a script, and he had actors Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin improvise their blocking as well. John and Doremus went through the film chronologically in preproduction, deciding on the basic shots they wanted for the film, shooting it mostly in sequence. Like Crazy went to the Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury prize. John ended up doing several romantic movies after Like Crazy. Director Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) saw the film, flew John to London and asked him to shoot About Time- John's favorite movie that he's worked on so far. On About Time, John felt he learned about keeping the camera balanced between taking in the scope of a beautiful location and set, while still maintaining the intimacy of the characters. For Candyman, John was directly influenced by the 1992 movie and wanted it to look like the original. John began working on the movie with only about four or five weeks of prep, but he and director Nia daCosta storyboarded and completely previsualized many of the sequences before shooting. In Candyman, reflections play a very important role and most of the art, windows and mirrors were prevised and carefully placed so that the reflections could be picked up by the camera. The visual effects team could then paint out the camera and adjust the Candyman's movement in the reflections. Find John Guleserian: Instagram @johnguels You can watch Candyman currently in theaters. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/23/20211 hour, 9 minutes, 45 seconds
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Director Wyatt Rockefeller and cinematographer Willie Nel, SASC on the indie science fiction movie Settlers

The film Settlers is a blend of science fiction and western, about a mother, father and little girl who have created a peaceful homestead on a desolate part of Mars until another band of colonists invade their land and take everything. The girl, Remmy, must grow up fast under difficult circumstances. Her only friend is a small non-verbal robot called Steve. Wyatt Rockefeller both wrote and directed the film, which is also his first feature. Wyatt found the perfect place to create the Mars setting for Settlers in a remote part of the northern cape of South Africa, in one of the hottest places on the planet. His South African producer introduced him to cinematographer Willie Nel, and the two immediately began figuring out the look of the film, using some images from Mars as references. Willie found that the dry reddish landscape of their location naturally informed both the look of the film and how the characters dealt with surviving in a difficult place. Wyatt and Willie were able to spend lots of time in prep, discussing how they wanted to shoot the film and what the story needed to be. When it came to actually shooting, it went very smoothly since they were each so familiar with the script and shots they'd discussed ahead of time. But the crew couldn't foresee everything- they had to deal with rolling power outages in South Africa due to the heat and a crazy rainstorm that nearly ruined the set. Remmy's companion is Steve the farming robot, which gives Settlers one of its few science fiction visuals. Wyatt wanted Steve to exist as a practical creature for the actors to interact with, while keeping it simple so as not to break the budget. He also wanted Steve to seem like a real, functional piece of equipment that Mars settlers would need and use, so he based Steve's boxy design on the Mars Curiosity rover, but with legs. Wyatt began working with the production designer, the VFX team, creature builders and the lead puppeteer William Todd-Jones in the early stages of planning and prep to create a puppet version of Steve with visual effects used for some of his more complex motions. Find Wyatt Rockefeller: @wrockefeller Twitter Find Willie Nel: @willie_nel_sasc Instagram You can watch Settlers streaming on VOD platforms and on Hulu in October. Read more about the design of Steve the robot by the Settlers team: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
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Emmy-nominated cinematographer Donald A. Morgan, ASC on The Upshaws, The Conners, Last Man Standing, shooting multi-camera television shows

Cinematographer Donald A. Morgan, ASC has won 10 Emmys and is nominated this year for three more for his work on Netflix's The Upshaws, Fox's Last Man Standing, and ABC's The Conners. Like a few cinematographers, Donald had some experience studying architecture in college, which enabled him to take two dimensional drawings and visualize them in three dimensions. He also thought he'd be a professional baseball player or a musician- his father was a musician who played in Cab Calloway's band, so Donald grew up around musicians and stages. By his mid-20's he had a job working at KTTV in Los Angeles in the mailroom while trying to make it with his own band in the 1970's, and was soon offered a position in the lighting department. He found his experience reading architectural plans made it easy to understand electrical schematics. Donald worked on the lighting crews for several different shows produced by the legendary Norman Lear, such as Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Diff'rent Strokes, plus many other shows. Donald knew working on shows produced by Lear were progressive and groundbreaking for the time, telling stories about people of color like himself, and Lear made it a point to hire a diverse workforce for his shows. Soon, Donald was offered a union job as a DP on two shows on the Universal lot- Silver Spoons and Gloria. Donald was able to learn more about cinematography while working on the Universal lot by visiting several different film stages and making notes on how different DPs worked. Working on three camera shows, the whole set can be lit before there's any blocking, because typically, comedies use very high-key lighting. Donald notes where the walls and doors are, and then most sets can be lit with standard three point lighting.  For The Conners, as the show becomes a bit darker, Donald subtly shades the room for more drama, and brightens the room as the mood lightens. Most multi-camera shows use three to four fixed cameras, and dolly in for shots rather than just panning. Donald also uses a jib arm camera on the show Last Man Standing, a technique he began using back on Home Improvement. The jib arm came into use on Home Improvement because the character Mr. Wilson, Tim Allen's neighbor, was never seen over the fence, and the camera crew had to get creative with how to shoot those scenes. Donald enjoys working on multi-camera studio shows because it keeps him local, and he's been able to spend more time with his family with three weeks on and one week off, with the longest days about 10-12 hours. He tries to keep the work as creative as possible, always watching and learning about new techniques he can bring to the shows he shoots. Though Donald is very experienced with shooting multi-camera shows, he will often shoot single-camera short films to keep his skills fresh. You can see Donald A. Morgan's work: You can watch The Upshaws on Netflix and find episodes of The Conners and Last Man Standing on Hulu. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/9/202154 minutes, 7 seconds
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Director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino and DP Sayombhu Mukdeeprom discuss the Netflix film, Beckett and their close collaboration

Director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino and cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom have worked together on Call Me By Your Name and Suspira. Ferdinando served as the second unit director on both films. Beckett is the second feature Ferdinando has written and directed. Sayombhu also shot Ferdinando's first feature, Antonia, and was Oscar-nominated for his cinematography on Call Me By Your Name. Prior to his experience working with Ferdinando and director Luca Guadagnino, Sayombhu built his cinematography career in Thailand, shooting films such as the Cannes festival winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Beckett is a thriller, reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock films, starring John David Washington as an American vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend, played by Alicia Vikander. After a tragic accident, Beckett is pursued by the police and drawn into a political conspiracy while being chased across the country. Ferdinando intended to have the film nod at Hitchcock, but he wanted to stay away from the heightened, perfectly choreographed elements of Hitchcock movies such as North By Northwest, where every scene is a spectacle, with amazing set pieces following one after the other. For Beckett, Ferdinando liked the idea of shooting everything with very natural light, keeping the movie grounded and not quite so heightened. As a hero, Beckett is relatable and believable- when he fights or runs, he sweats, gets out of breath and becomes seriously injured, and all of the action sequences are grounded in reality. Sayombhu enjoys shooting films using natural light, preferring to reshape or bounce sunlight. If he has to use lights, he uses as few as possible, and in a way that's almost invisible. He also prefers to light the environment rather than the actor, to give them space to move around, so that they can live in the moment and he can capture it as it happens. When Sayombhu scouts locations, he uses his eyes and his gut feeling to explore the place and memorizes the kind of natural light available, noticing potential issues before figuring out how to overcome them. To have a good rapport with a director, Sayombhu suggests listening to the director first, and only then make a suggestion that would make it better. Ferdinando enjoys collaborating with Sayombhu because they both understand the importance of preparation during pre-production and research, and they have similar taste in filmmaking and visual language. You can watch Beckett on Netflix. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/1/202147 minutes, 21 seconds
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Emmy-nominated Mark Doering-Powell, ASC on grown-ish, challenges of single camera comedies, lighting setup tips, the early days of HD video

When Mark Doering-Powell, ASC was hired as the DP of Freeform's grown-ish after season one, he knew the show had to expand the storylines of each character's college experience. He was excited to take more of an anthology approach to some of the episodes, and get creative shooting each chapter with multiple looks. A single camera half-hour comedy such as grown-ish takes about four days to shoot, creating an extremely tight schedule between prepping and shooting. Mark thinks it's imperative to be in touch with post and the dailies colorist at the end of each day, so everyone can stay on top of the workload. On a rapid schedule it can be challenging to make the show look cinematic, but finding each character's point of view helps consolidate the work and keeps each shot economical. Mark favors using “swingles” on grown-ish, where the camera swings back and forth between characters on single shots, saving setup times. With a focus on each college-age character's personal life and position on social issues as they navigate their early 20's, the lighting on grown-ish is intended to make the cast look their best, and sometimes Mark employs classic Hollywood portrait lighting techniques using crisp, controllable hard light. Mark also likes to splash hard light onto the set, letting it naturally bounce off of something that is already in the room. He's learned to focus on lighting the people and then the space- lighting the space can aid lighting the people. Mark went to art school in New York, studying painting and graphic design until he found the film department and changed his major to film. He then worked as a Photo-sonics technician, which is a special high speed camera for shooting slow motion, on several commercials in the 1980's and 90's. But Mark wanted to focus more on filmmaking, so he quit, moved out to L.A. and started working for Roger Corman's studio in Venice, including camera assisting on Corman's famously unreleased 1994 version of The Fantastic Four. A documentary about the production called Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four was made in 2015.  Find Mark Doering-Powell: Instagram: @instamdp You can watch grown-ish Season 4 on Freeform: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by DZO FILM: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/25/20211 hour, 1 second
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Checco Varese, ASC on THEM and working in the horror genre

Our returning guest Checco Varese, ASC talks to The Cinepod about his latest work on the Amazon Prime show, THEM. As a trained architect, Checco finds some of the same techniques are useful in cinematography, such as understanding the use of space, flow, color, art and construction. Having spatial awareness as a cinematographer helps in understanding physically where the camera can go to allow it enough room during set design. THEM is a period piece about a Black family that moves to an all-white neighborhood in 1950's Southern California, and the terror they experience at the hands of their neighbors and a supernatural force. Checco and showrunner/creator Little Marvin discussed at length how they wanted THEM to look. Little Marvin described it as taking the classic look of a 1950's movie with the camera language of 1970's films like The French Connection and The Deer Hunter, using the tricks of 1990's music videos and the technology of 2021. Checco and fellow DP Xavier Grobet traded off shooting episodes, and they both really enjoyed prepping and collaborating together. They decided to avoid the color red in the set and costume design, so that when red does appear in the show, it's shocking and more frightening. Checco has been the director of photography on a few horror films and series, but he is choosy about what kind of frightening subject he wants to work on, and considers what the subtext is beneath each story. Humanity has always tried to make social injustice or social advancement digestible through a medium, and the horror genre is a great way to push the envelope. Checco sees a common thread in three of the scary projects he's shot. The Strain was about vampire creatures that take over the world, which are a metaphor for outsiders, or even immigrants. IT Chapter Two is a drama about outsiders who have to deal with their past, and THEM is about the horrors of racism, redlining and injustice. You can watch THEM on Amazon Prime. Checco's latest show, Dopesick, a drama series about the opioid crisis, will be streaming on Hulu in October. Find Checco Varese: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/18/202154 minutes, 52 seconds
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Special Episode: A tribute to DP Dan Kneece- on Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Scream, and the early days of Steadicam

The Cinematography Podcast Special Episode: A tribute to cinematographer Dan Kneece We were incredibly saddened by the loss of cinematographer and Steadicam expert Dan Kneece. He was a friend and previous guest of The Cinematography Podcast. Here we have re-posted his 2018 episode in memorial and tribute to his long career. Dan Kneece spent nearly 3 decades as a Steadicam Operator on several David Lynch movies such as Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive. He shot the opening sequence to Wes Craven's Scream, one of the most memorable opening sequences of any film, and worked with Quentin Tarantino on Jackie Brown. Dan began his career during the advent of the Steadicam, and he co-founded the Steadicam Guild in 2002. He moved out of operating and Steadicam work and had established himself as a DP in his own right. Dan was one of the nicest and most genuine people you'd ever meet. His kindness and goofy sense of humor will be sorely missed. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/13/20211 hour, 25 minutes, 53 seconds
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Cinematographer Flavio Labiano on Jungle Cruise, Timecrimes, Day of the Beast, and more

Cinematographer Flavio Labiano doesn't consider himself an artist with a capital “A” but more of a craftsperson. To him, cinematography is a craft that you learn by making mistakes and taking risks, like any other craft that you hone and improve over time. On Disney's Jungle Cruise, Flavio found the planning and pre-production stages of the huge-scale movie to be especially challenging. It was about 100 days of planning, with two different sets- one in Hawaii and one in Atlanta, Georgia, and with the second unit shooting footage in the Amazon to use as background plates. All the exterior tank work was done in front of a blue screen in a parking lot in Atlanta. The town of Porto Velho, where the jungle cruise adventure begins, was mainly shot in Hawaii. Flavio paid close attention to the orientation of the sun in order to match the set in Hawaii with the set in Atlanta. He also had to match the hard sunlight in the South to the sunlight in Hawaii, and the crew had to deal with the constant interruptions of summer afternoon rainstorms in Georgia. Flavio and Jungle Cruise director, Jaume Collet-Serra, have worked together on several films including The Shallows, another movie that takes place mostly in water. Flavio grew up in Spain, then moved to Los Angeles to attend AFI. He found his first film jobs working for Roger Corman's studio alongside Wally Pfister, Phedon Papamichael, and Janusz Kaminski. Flavio moved back to Spain for film work and has made most of his career there with movies such as The Day of the Beast, which was a huge commercial success in Spain, and Timecrimes, an exciting and mind-bending thriller. Shortly after Timecrimes, he and fellow Spaniard, director Jaume Collet-Serra began working together. Influenced by director Alfred Hitchcock, who enjoyed making thrillers with characters who are celebrities, the two made Nonstop and Unknown with Liam Neeson. You can watch Jungle Cruise on Disney+ Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/11/202138 minutes, 46 seconds
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Director Braden King and cinematographer Declan Quinn, ASC on The Evening Hour

In the film The Evening Hour, director Braden King wanted to immerse the viewer in a fully formed world, with spare dialog and little exposition. This approach appealed to cinematographer Declan Quinn, ASC. With such little dialog, Declan paid close attention to finding the right camera placement, how each scene was composed and how the images told the story, with natural and motivated lighting. The Evening Hour tells the story of Cole Freeman, a health aid at a nursing home who lives in a fictional rural West Virginia town. He makes a little extra money on the side selling his client's prescription medication, until an old friend comes back to the Appalachian town and tries to convince Cole to get further involved in the drug trade. The film was shot entirely on location in Kentucky. Braden specifically wanted to shoot in autumn in order to capture the beauty of that time of year and show in images the collapse of these rural towns due to the opioid epidemic and the risk of environmental destruction by mining companies. Declan enjoyed actually shooting on location in the real Appalachia, instead of having to fake it on a soundstage or in a different area. He was able to freely capture everything in the environment, letting the art of cinematography work its magic in the film. The Evening Hour is screening in limited release in New York at the IFC Center and Los Angeles at the Laemmle Monica on August 6th. Twitter & Instagram: @eveninghourfilm Braden King: Twitter:@bradenking Instagram: @truckstop Find Declan Quinn: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/4/202152 minutes, 24 seconds
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Cinematographer Adam Bricker on shooting the Emmy-nominated series Hacks, Chef’s Table and more

One of Adam Bricker's favorite things about being a cinematographer is the opportunity to collaborate with different filmmakers, try something new and make each project the best it can be. His most recent project is the HBO Max comedy series Hacks, which just earned him an Emmy nomination for best cinematography. Adam was given the scripts for the first two episodes, and loved the pilot script, which opens with a long Steadicam single shot following behind the main character, Deborah Vance, played by Jean Smart, for two minutes, until her character is finally revealed in the dressing room vanity mirror. Adam knew it's a rare thing to find a half-hour comedy with that level of cinema, and he was excited to shoot the show. Hacks takes place in Las Vegas, about a legendary comedian who is losing relevance and fading from the spotlight. Adam and show creator Lucia Aniello used vintage Las Vegas movies and photos as a reference point, as well as films such as Soderberg's Behind The Candelabra and Judy with Renée Zellweger. Adam likes to set the look based on how the viewer is supposed to feel, and he makes notes in his scripts about what emotions should be felt in each scene. Most of Hacks is filmed on tripods and dollies, but for the verbal duels between characters Deborah Vance and Ava, her young comedy writer/protégé, Adam chose to shoot handheld, which gives those scenes more energy and naturalism. Lighting on the show goes from naturalistic, when Deborah is at home or when Ava is in Los Angeles, contrasted with vintage glamorous stage lighting when Deborah performs her comedy act. Adam grew up in Chicago and attended film school there before attending the USC summer cinema program, which inspired him to transfer to USC and continue studying cinematography. After college, Adam began taking as many jobs as he could, and planned to work his way up through the camera department, before a DP mentor suggested he buy a camera and take as many cinematography jobs as possible. He and a group of friends invested in a Red One digital camera, and Adam shot dozens of music videos and low-budget films. The Netflix series Chef's Table has taken Adam all over the world. As one of the primary DPs of Chef's Table, Adam and show creator David Gelb have established the artistic look of the modern cuisine documentary, which has since been imitated by countless other food shows. When the show began, Adam had never shot a documentary before, so he had a more cinematic approach to the show, only using prime lenses and no zoom lenses. For him, it's been a dream job to explore new places, eat amazing food at excellent restaurants and work with good friends on the crew. Find Adam Bricker: Instagram: @realadambricker You can see Hacks on HBO Max. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/28/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 14 seconds
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War Stories Vol. 7: Tales from the Set featuring Wally Pfister, Phedon Papamichael, Ross Emery, Shane Hurlbut, Alice Brooks, Robbie Ryan, Christian Sebaldt, Lachlan Milne, Armando Salas, Jas Shelton, and Brandon Trost

Special: The Cinematography Podcast- War Stories Vol. 7 In our seventh War Stories Special, we feature eleven guest's harrowing, hilarious, heartbreaking or heartwarming stories they had while on set, or a formative career experience that led them to the film industry. Find full interviews with each of our featured guests in our archives! Both cinematographers Wally Pfister, ASC and Phedon Papamichael, ASC have war stories about working on Roger Corman films in their early careers; Ross Emery, ACS talks about the groundbreaking experience of shooting bullet time for The Matrix; Shane Hurlbut, ASC on how he was convinced to shoot Drumline; Alice Brooks on how she made her decision to become a DP; Robbie Ryan, BSC, ISC reflects on experiencing personal tragedy while working on The Favourite; Christian Sebaldt, ASC had to get extremely creative with lighting a dim military barracks; Lachlan Milne, ACS, NZCS, on shooting Minari in extreme summer heat; Armando Salas, ASC also has a story on filming in high temperatures; cinematographer Jas Shelton talks about working with actor John C. Reilly on Cyrus; and finally, director and cinematographer Brandon Trost's story about meeting Lorne Michaels in a pre-production meeting for MacGruber. Do you have a War Story you'd like to share? Send us an email or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: YouTube: Instagram: @thecinepod Facebook: @cinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/22/202143 minutes, 30 seconds
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Jake Polonsky, BSC on The Sparks Brothers documentary, working with director Edgar Wright, The World’s End, Black Mirror and Billions

Director of photography Jake Polonsky was a fan of the band Sparks for several years, a love he developed after seeing the band perform at a music festival. Jake had frequently worked with director Edgar Wright, shooting commercials and music videos in the early 2000's, and then as the second unit DP on Wright's movie, The World's End. Both Jake and Wright shared a love of music, and in 2018 he saw Wright had posted a photo of himself with Sparks. He congratulated Wright on finally meeting the band. Wright let Jake know he was going to make a documentary on Sparks and asked if he would be the cinematographer. The Sparks Brothers documentary combines interviews, live and archival concert footage and collage-style animation in an eclectic style that reflects the aesthetic of Ron and Russell Mael, the Sparks Brothers themselves. In spite of putting out 25 albums over the past 50 years, Sparks has remained under the radar for most of the public. The brothers had some success at the beginning of their careers, mainly in the UK, writing and creating an unusual sound admired and imitated by many other bands. Sparks continues to reinvent themselves and has never stopped touring, building an incredibly devoted fan base. Both Jake and Wright knew that all the interviews for the documentary needed to have a certain look and visual continuity. They settled on a photograph from the cover of the 1976 Sparks album, Big Beat. The photo was taken in black and white with a large format camera, so Jake decided to shoot all of the interviews in black and white, using several large format Red Monstro cameras. Everyone would wear black so that each interview had a consistent look, no matter where it was shot, and each interviewee spoke directly to the lens, using an Eyedirect teleprompter. When Jake heard Wright was getting ready to make The World's End in 2013 with DP Bill Pope, he was eager to work on his first feature film, and asked if Wright needed anyone to shoot second unit. Wright was happy to give Jake the opportunity. Jake saw that even with a comedy such as The World's End, Wright found it important to have even the smallest scenes exactly right for comedic timing. Jake went on to work on several other UK based television shows, such as the Black Mirror episode, The National Anthem, and the interactive Black Mirror special, Bandersnatch. The executive producers of the Showtime series Billions noticed Jake's work on Black Mirror, and he became the cinematographer for 27 episodes of the show, as well as directing one. Jake was able to learn from many different directors on Billions, and loved working with actors Damien Lewis and Paul Giamatti. He thinks that as a DP, it's much more stimulating to work with a director you like and respect. It becomes easy to deliver what they want to achieve because you know it's going to be great. Find Jake Polonsky: Instagram: @jakepolonsky You can see The Sparks Brothers in theaters and streaming on VOD. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/14/202151 minutes, 34 seconds
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Cinematographer Stuart Biddlecombe on The Handmaid’s Tale Season Four

As a filmmaker, director of photography Stuart Biddlecombe wants to visually put his ideas on screen, telling stories that he genuinely connects to with true creative collaborators who listen and contribute. When Stuart came aboard to shoot part of season three of The Handmaid's Tale, he knew he was taking on the mantle of what has become an iconic show. He had read the book in high school, and feels that the television series does an incredible job of putting the book into pictures, continuing to tell a meaningful and important story. Stuart was fortunate enough to begin working on the show with former cinematographer and Emmy winner Colin Watkinson, who had moved into directing. He was able to learn the ropes from Watkinson and continue the look of The Handmaid's Tale smoothly into season four. Stuart was very involved in the production of the fourth season of The Handmaid's Tale, and he loved the extraordinary creative input he's had on the show. He would meet with lead actor and executive producer Elisabeth Moss and showrunner Bruce Miller to talk though each episode, discussing with them what they wanted to shoot and what direction each episode should go. Color on The Handmaid's Tale plays a very important role- Gilead is presented with strong red, blue and black costumes while the colors and tones representing Canada are muted and softer. In season 4, as the story follows the main character, June (Elisabeth Moss) as she escapes to Canada, Stuart knew they needed to change the color palette, shifting into stronger colors and contrasts to push the look forward. Stuart began working in television in the UK before he went to film school, on game shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, but felt no love for the job. He decided to attend college at the National Film and Television School in order to learn more about the art of telling stories using a camera. He was in a very small film class with fellow cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen. After film school, he shot several episodes of Call the Midwife and Doctor Who. Working in television taught Stuart how to shoot quickly, creating storytelling in the purest form, without the need for a lot of coverage. Stuart finds working on many of today's television shows such as The Handmaid's Tale to be very satisfying, as the lines of quality storytelling are blurring between television and film, with many television shows matching or even exceeding much of what can be seen in the cinema. Find Stuart Biddlecombe: Instagram: @stuartdop You can see The Handmaid's Tale season four streaming on Hulu Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
7/7/202146 minutes, 58 seconds
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Cinematographer Alice Brooks on shooting In The Heights, Home Before Dark, working with director Jon M. Chu

Alice Brooks grew up on Broadway musical theater and movies as a kid, and loves shooting music and dance oriented films and TV shows. Alice has always been in awe of dancers, and though she isn't a dancer herself, she is inspired by their work ethic and loves that she can capture dance with her camera. Working on In The Heights has fulfilled a lifelong dream for Alice. She and director Jon M. Chu have known each other since college at USC. The two bonded over musicals- she shot his she shot his student short, a musical called When The Kids Are Away in 2002 and worked together again on the film Jem and the Holograms. Alice and Jon were shooting the Apple TV+ series Home Before Dark when he asked her to shoot In The Heights. Jon, choreographer Christopher Scott and Alice had also worked together on a Hulu series called The LXD: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers for three seasons, and they got used to working together and working quickly, figuring out how tell a story and develop characters through dance. Jon, Alice and Chris Scott felt their whole careers came together to make a musical like In The Heights. The characters' hopes, dreams, fears and anxieties can be played out not only through song and dance but in the environment around them, which sometimes shifts to where they are emotionally. With just 49 shoot days, preproduction for In The Heights was essential. Alice and Jon Chu would location scout in the mornings and then spend afternoons in the dance rehearsal space with Chris Scott. They would share their input and make suggestions from each location scout on how to face and orient the dance. Alice and Jon thought at first many more locations would be done on a soundstage, but they found that shooting in real places on the streets looked and felt so true- even the theater and the subway station were real locations. During shooting, every Sunday they would meet and go through the coming week because the schedule was so tight and the camerawork so complex, looking at videos from dance rehearsal to discuss the shots and angles to use, deciding if a crane shot was needed, and how many cameras to use for each scene. Jon made animatics detailing each scene from storyboards and dance rehearsal footage. With 17 song and dance scenes in In The Heights, Jon had huge goals for the musical numbers, and Alice, the dancers and the entire film crew were able to pull it off. Alice grew up in New York and got into acting at a young age. She and her family then moved to Los Angles, and she realized as a teen that she did not want to be an actor. Being on set around the camera crew made her realize that she wanted to shoot movies, and that being a DP was her true dream. After graduating from USC Film School, Alice asked many of the graduate students if she could shoot their projects, knowing that the key to honing her craft was practice, practice, practice. She shot about 20 shorts, including Jon M. Chu's musical short, When The Kids Are Away. Alice thinks it's important to find the right people to work with, since you're spending so much time together, and forming that bond helps everyone. She wants to make movies that inspire her daughter. For anyone with a family, it's important to pick the projects that are worth it, since filming can take so much time away from loved ones. Find Alice Brooks: Instagram: @_alicebrooks_ You can see In The Heights in theaters, the best place to experience the film's immersive sound design and visuals. You can also find it streaming on HBO Max. Alice's new musical film directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda is tick, tick...Boom! releasing in the fall. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: The Cinematography Podcast website: YouTube:
6/30/202155 minutes, 32 seconds
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Cinematographer Dan Stoloff on shooting The Boys on Amazon Prime, The Americans and Suits

Over his long career, cinematographer Dan Stoloff feels he's always learning as a DP. Every job, even if it seems small, is an opportunity to meet people and build relationships. Dan's latest project, The Boys season two on Amazon Prime, plays with the idea that superheroes in that world are actually just corrupt and possibly psychotic people with special powers, who behave in ways that are anything but super. They have celebrity, play politics, and use publicists and the media to manipulate their image. A small group of people- “The Boys” in the show's title- band together to expose the superheroes and the corporation they work for. Dan likes that the show stays relatable and not to fantastical. When he came on board for the second season of The Boys, Dan knew he wanted to change the look as the story moves forward. The first season presented a slick, neatly packaged corporate world for the superheroes which was shot with a Steadicam, while the grittier world of the regular guys who are trying to expose and take down the supers was done handheld. For the second season, the two worlds have started to clash and unravel, so Dan gave everything a more ragged look. He decided to adhere more closely to the graphic novel of The Boys, sometimes using black silhouettes and contrasts such as subtractive lighting, positioning the actors against a dark background. Dan also enjoyed that season two presented a variety of scenes to shoot with different cameras, equipment, lighting scenarios and lenses, such as a big-budget hero movie, newscasts, an awards show, a country farmhouse and a gritty basement. In Dan's early career, he moved from Boston to New York, after having shot several claymation films. He began shooting comedy projects for Broadway Video, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michael's production company, and got a call to shoot The State, a 1990's MTV sketch comedy show shot on 16mm. But Dan hadn't considered television as a serious place for artistic expression until The Sopranos opened his eyes to the possibilities of a quality series. By then, the mid-budget independent features that Dan had worked on started to dry up, and he began seeking out jobs on television series. After landing his first television series, Memphis Beat, Dan found he likes the precision, continuity, and security of TV. He went on to DP the show Fairly Legal and then worked for nearly five seasons as the cinematographer of the USA show Suits. On Suits, Dan learned a lot about shooting through multiple levels of glass, playing with reflections and bouncing outdoor light to make it look more natural even within an office building or conference room. Prior to The Boys, Dan shot season six of The Americans on FX. In season six, more of The Americans takes place in Russia, and some of the street scenes and exteriors were actually shot there, though most of the interiors were shot on a soundstage. Dan wanted to differentiate between the two countries, keeping the colors to a green and cyan palette for Russia so that it felt cold, while in contrast the American scenes were shot in full, rich color. You can find Dan Stoloff: You can watch Season Two of The Boys streaming on Amazon Prime. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/23/202153 minutes, 21 seconds
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Jeffrey Jur, ASC on shooting Bridgerton, working with Shonda Rhimes, Dirty Dancing, The Big Picture, The Last Seduction, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and more

Cinematographer Jeffrey Jur chose the path of filmmaker not just as a job, but to put something out into the world that he finds personally wonderful and amazing. He sees filmmaking as a way to express what he says to the world visually and photographically. Jeff always tries to find projects that reflect a part of him and keep him creatively inspired. For the Netflix series Bridgerton, executive producer Shonda Rhimes and the series directors knew the show needed to have a “female gaze” when it came to the sex scenes, emphasizing female pleasure and desire, bringing the series a refreshing, contemporary feel in spite of the historic setting. Jeff had shot several Shondaland projects over the past 20 years, beginning with the pilot for Grey's Anatomy and the pilot for How To Get Away With Murder. As the DP of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Dirty Dancing, Jeff also had experience with shooting movies from a more feminine perspective. He likes what Shonda Rhimes has to say to the world about relationships and race, and the colorblind alternate history of 1813 presented in Bridgerton. The scripts are written with modern language, and the show had to feel modern but keep true to the Regency-era romantic beauty. He found it very exciting to shoot in England, where the streets and historic houses needed very little alteration to fit the time period, especially around Bath. Jeff's inspirations for the vibrant, colorful look of Bridgerton included Pride and Prejudice and Stanley Kubrick's historic movie Barry Lyndon. In fact, one of the locations Bridgerton used, Wilton House, was also used in Barry Lyndon. Much of Bridgerton was lit by candles, natural light, and balloon lights. It was necessary to shoot in historic buildings without touching the ceiling or moving the furniture. Fortunately, the UK crew was used to shooting in many of the locations and knew how to manage the restrictions. In the mid-1980's, Jeff had just moved to L.A. from Chicago, getting by shooting shorts and a few dramatic films, when one of the producers for Dirty Dancing saw his work on American Playhouse and hired him as the cinematographer. Jeff had no idea that 1987's Dirty Dancing would become his big break, and he's honored to have been a part of something that has become so iconic. It was shot on a very low budget and no one had very high expectations for how successful Dirty Dancing would become. Dance films such as Flashdance and Footloose had done well, but everyone involved in Dirty Dancing wanted the dancing in the movie to be authentic, performed by the actors, not with professional dance doubles, as the audience follows the main character's journey as she learns how to dance. Soon after Dirty Dancing, Jeff shot The Big Picture, Christopher Guest's directorial debut. The Big Picture was a huge flop, but it ended up having a following once it reached home video. The story follows Nick Chapman, a recent film school grad whose short film wins an award- but breaking into Hollywood is not that easy. Jeff loved the film because the plot really spoke to him. Growing up in Chicago, he always had a passion for filmmaking and while in high school, his film won him a scholarship to Columbia Film School. The Big Picture includes many short films, fantasy sequences and student films within the movie which were great fun to shoot. Jeff switched gears creatively to shoot The Last Seduction, an indie film from the 1990's that was an homage and reinvention of film noir directed by John Dahl. He went on to shoot romantic comedies How Stella Got Her Groove Back and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which is still the highest grossing romantic comedy in U.S. history. Jeff began shooting television on the HBO series, Carnivale and he's found working in TV to be very rewarding. The mid-budget features Jeff used to work on have disappeared, and many of the directors he's worked with have moved into television, like John Dahl,
6/16/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 35 seconds
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Polly Morgan ASC, BSC on shooting A Quiet Place Part II, Legion, working with John Krasinski, Ellen Kuras, Wally Pfister and more

When cinematographer Polly Morgan reads a script for the first time, she finds herself immersed in images. Her cinematography draws inspiration from art and art history and she finds visuals speak to her on a fundamental level. For A Quiet Place Part II, Polly knew it was important to reference Charlotte Bruus Christensen's previous work on A Quiet Place and blend it seamlessly with her own style. Each DP has their own cinematic look, and she was able to settle into her cinematographic method once the family leaves the farmhouse in the film. From the very beginning, Polly talked with director John Krasinski about making the film as immersive and subjective to the characters' experience as possible. A Quiet Place achieved that look with Charlotte's primarily handheld, tightly eye-level and over-the-shoulder camerawork. With A Quiet Place Part II, Polly wanted to expand the feel of the camera as the Abbot family's world grows a bit larger. At its heart, the film is still a family drama about a mother and her children, although there's a lot more action in Part II compared to the first movie. She included many long oners that start wide and then push into a closeup, combining a slow methodic camera with fast paced, quick cuts to create a push and pull with the viewer's emotions to keep them on the edge of their seats. Polly and Krasinski decided to never cut away separately to the creatures or the source of the danger- they always keep the danger within the character's frame, with no escape from what is happening, which keeps it as close and immersive as possible. She and Krasinski prepped for a few weeks in New York City to discuss the look of the film, before going to Buffalo to shoot. They talked about the movie's rhythm, starting with a slower pace for the prologue, giving the audience a feel for the Abbot's town and the community before the monsters arrive. Polly found the script very descriptive, providing a roadmap for the composition. Krasinski was also clear on how much coverage for each scene was needed, and they would often shoot a scene in one shot, then move on. Polly grew up in the countryside in England and loved watching movies as a child. As a teen, a film crew used their farmhouse as basecamp, and she was fascinated to see how movies get made. She knew then that she wanted to pursue a film career. After university in England, she came to Los Angeles to attend AFI, but needed a job between semesters to afford school. Polly learned that Inception was going into production in England, found Wally Pfister's email, and he hired her as a camera assistant on the film, which served as a great learning experience. When she was first starting out, Polly found it hard to find steady work, but she was able to work on projects in the UK and bounce back and forth until she was hired to shoot season three of Legion on FX. Polly loved the visual surrealistic storytelling of Legion, where the camera plays such an important role in creating the practical visual effects for the show. She was also pleased to have the opportunity to DP for director and cinematographer Ellen Kuras who directed an episode of Legion. Polly is currently shooting the film, Where The Crawdads Sing. You can watch A Quiet Place Part II currently playing in theaters. Find Polly Morgan: Instagram @pollymorgan Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/9/202153 minutes, 51 seconds
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Jess Hall, ASC, BSC: Marvel’s WandaVision, Hot Fuzz, working with Edgar Wright, Wally Pfister and more

For the Disney+ series WandaVision, cinematographer Jess Hall had the opportunity to create the most avant-garde looking project in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jess explored every era of sitcom television to create seven different looks for WandaVision, ranging from the 1950's all the way through the 2000's. Each episode's look came down to researching the film stock, lenses, aspect ratio, the lighting, and whether it was shot with three cameras or a single camera. WandaVision director Matt Shakman was able to give Jess plenty of sitcom television research material and ideas, since Jess did not grow up around American T.V. One of the biggest visual touchstones for Jess for the earliest episodes of WandaVision was viewing a print from the original negative of the 1960's show, Bewitched. He found the black and white image to look warmer than modern day black and white- the contrast in the whites weren't quite as cold. Jess tested a number of vintage lenses and ended up using 47 different lenses over nine episodes, even having Panavision create a set of lenses reconstructed from older lens elements. He also used lighting technology that fit each time period, including early diffusion techniques over the lights to create the look. Jess grew up in England and studied film at St. Martins School of Art, embracing film more as an expressive art form. After graduating, he began shooting shorts and commercials, and then had the opportunity to shoot his first feature film, Stander, with director Bronwen Hughes. Stander is a biopic about a police officer in apartheid South Africa who becomes a bank robber. Jess' next film was Son of Rambow, a coming-of-age story about two boys making a home movie. Jess and Son of Rambow director Garth Jennings went to St. Martins together. Jennings carefully storyboarded the whole movie, but once they were actually shooting, they did not strictly follow the storyboards. Jess credits director Edgar Wright with being the most accurate storyboard-to-execution director he's ever worked with, which is important because Wright likes to work fast with many setups and quick cuts. On the movie Hot Fuzz, Jess accomplished over 30 setups per day, and famously did 50 setups in one day. He would try to light the room simply, and worked with camera operators who were used to shooting fast action movies. For the film Transcendence, cinematographer turned director Wally Pfister asked Jess to shoot his first film as a director, after seeing Jess' work on Brideshead Revisited. Jess was flattered, and found it wonderful to be able to communicate in a technical shorthand and to see up close how another DP works and thinks. Find Jess Hall: Instagram @metrorat You can watch WandaVision streaming on Disney+ Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
6/2/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 15 seconds
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War Stories Vol. 6: Tales from the Set featuring Jim Frohna, Bruce Van Dusen, Randy Thom, Adam Somner, Paul Cameron, Xavier Grobet, Eric Branco, Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, Maryse Alberti, John Benam, Roberto Schaefer and Ben Rock

Special: The Cinematography Podcast- War Stories Vol. 6 In our sixth War Stories Special, we feature twelve guest's harrowing, hilarious, heartbreaking or heartwarming stories they had while on set, or a formative career experience that led them to the film industry. Find full interviews with each of our featured guests in our archives! Cinematographer Jim Frohna was thrown into the DP position at the last minute on a commercial; director Bruce Van Dusen on getting his first big Crazy Eddie commercial; sound designer Randy Thom on gathering sound in the field for The Right Stuff; 1st AD Adam Somner's story about his footrace with Russell Crowe while horsing around on the Gladiator set; cinematographer Paul Cameron on shooting the ending of Tony Scott's Man on Fire; Xavier Grobet talks about one of his first film experiences working on Total Recall; DP Eric Branco's crazy job working on a music video in Tanzania; cinematographer Tommy Maddox-Upshaw and the American crew get deported from Canada; Maryse Alberti on shooting the documentary Me & Isaac Newton with director Michael Apted and their emotional experience at an AIDS clinic in Africa; John Benam on his harrowing adventures in Sudan as a National Geographic wildlife cinematographer; one of Roberto Schaefer's shoot days on Quantum of Solace got spectacularly interrupted; and finally, Ben Rock talks about an early experience as an art department production assistant. Do you have a War Story you'd like to share? Send us an email or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/26/202153 minutes, 59 seconds
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Adam Somner, first assistant director, on Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson, Alejandro González Iñárritu, movies Black Hawk Down, War of the Worlds, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Revenant, and more

The job of the assistant director is to work in concert with the director and the DP to get everything done on a movie set. As a 1st AD, Adam Somner is trusted by the industry's top directors to anticipate their needs, motivate the crew, figure out the schedule, and drive the entire production forward to finish each day on time. He finds the best way to keep everything moving smoothly on set is though humor, high energy and uniting everyone as a group, persuading people to do things on the schedule and timeline needed to complete the job. Adam's father, Basil Somner, worked for MGM Studios in England, and through him, Adam got a job as a runner/production assistant at age 17. He began working on movies in the late '80's, like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Superman IV, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He worked under many assistant directors, observed how they took charge on set, and decided he was really interested in becoming an AD. Adam has worked on eight Ridley Scott films to date, as well as several of the late Tony Scott's films. He was first hired on a Ridley Scott film as a third assistant director on 1492: Conquest of Paradise and White Squall, then moved up to second assistant director on Gladiator, where he learned how to manage a huge crew of extras and background action from the 1st AD, Terry Needham. On Black Hawk Down, Adam was promoted to first assistant director for the second unit. Black Hawk Down was shooting in Morocco, and the second unit was responsible for most of the helicopter sequences, with lots of moving parts and extras, involving real Black Hawk helicopters and real U.S. military soldiers. After Black Hawk Down, Adam got the call to begin working with Steven Spielberg on War of the Worlds, where he quickly learned to read Spielberg's mind and keep an eye on the details. He's worked with Spielberg on ten films now, including Munich, Lincoln, and Ready Player One. A 1st AD is responsible for coordinating most of the background action. Adam's ability to work on big sets with lots of action, extras and special effects led director Paul Thomas Anderson to hire him for There Will Be Blood, and Anderson has since become a personal friend. Adam finds Anderson's on-set approach to be very thoughtful and measured. Unlike the action-heavy films Adam has worked on, he knew it was important to keep the crew and background actors quiet and subdued on Anderson's films with heavy dialog, such as The Master and Phantom Thread. For The Wolf of Wall Street, Adam was thrilled to work with director Martin Scorsese. Scorsese and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto had Adam sit in during their preproduction shotlisting process, so they were all thoroughly prepared. Scorsese loves shooting scenes with complex background action, and Adam delivered. He carefully rehearsed all the extras in different stages of panic as the brokers watched the stock market crash. For the famous in-flight orgy scene, Adam wasn't totally sure how he wanted to deal with not just one sex scene, which is hard enough, but several at once. So he decided to hire a choreographer to help rehearse and plan all the action, making sure each background player knew exactly what they were doing and taking care that everyone was comfortable with their role in front of the camera. Adam was excited to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu on some of Birdman, and as the 1st AD on one of the may units shooting The Revenant, where Iñárritu and the DP Emmanuel Lubezki “Chivo” wanted everything shot and rehearsed during magic hour. Rehearsals were incredibly important on both Birdman and The Revenant, since Iñárritu and Chivo shot many scenes in one single shot. Adam is currently working on Killers of the Flower Moon with director Martin Scorsese. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: https://www.
5/20/20211 hour, 10 minutes, 17 seconds
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Seamus McGarvey, ASC on HBO’s The Nevers, Flying Saucer Rock ‘n’ Roll, Bad Times at the El Royale, Harry Dean Stanton, Oliver Stone and more

Seamus McGarvey is drawn to character-driven stories and loves how the camera studies the face in a very particular way. Even when shooting action-packed shows such as The Nevers, Marvel's The Avengers, or the Oliver Stone film, World Trade Center, Seamus stays focused on the characters and uses a naturalistic approach to his composition. The Nevers was Seamus' first extensive experience working on a television series. He had only shot TV episodes here and there, such as “Nosedive,” a favorite episode of Black Mirror, starring Bryce Dallas Howard. For Seamus, shooting a television series was a much faster production schedule and made him think with economy. The Nevers creator Joss Whedon wanted the show to have a contemporary edge, but set in Victorian times, about people known as “The Touched” who suddenly develop supernatural, superhero-like abilities. Fortunately, they had a long preproduction prep time for the action-packed series, which made for a close-knit, collaborative and well-prepared crew. Seamus also worked closely with the second unit, who shot the numerous stunts in The Nevers. He was also able to use some old-school camera tricks for Primrose, a character who's a giant. Seamus had to double the actor's actual height with forced perspective, used a slightly slow-motion camera, and the aid of some special effects, making sure that the lighting stayed consistent between the normal-sized shots and the giant shots. From an early age, cinema as an art form always fascinated Seamus. He was excited to work on a tiny throwback short film in the late 1990's called Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll, which is a spoof of black and white sci-fi B movies. It's still his favorite film, because it's so full of invention, charm and joy. Seamus went back home to shoot it in Ireland, even after he'd already established his career with several feature films, and they shot it for no money. Steven Spielberg even saw it, loved it, and invited the director, Enda Hughes to meet with him to develop something at Amblin. Seamus also enjoyed working with director and writer Drew Goddard on Bad Times at the El Royale. The set for the movies was completely built from scratch, which enabled the crew to build in practical light sources and be involved in the design from the beginning. The camera was able to move all over the set and look in all directions. Bad Times is a mystery puzzle movie that all fits together in the end, and Seamus used many visual cues of double images, mirrors and the camera peering through the lattice work to hint at all the character's hidden secrets. Because of his love of natural photography, Seamus also enjoys shooting documentaries, such as Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, about the legendary actor Harry Dean Stanton. He occasionally uses documentary sensibilities in narrative film as well. In We Need To Talk About Kevin, director Lynn Ramsay and Seamus went with actor Tilda Swinton's idea to spontaneously shoot in the rain as part of a flashback scene. Seamus is currently in post-production on Cyrano, his latest production with director Joe Wright. You can see The Nevers streaming on HBOMax. Find Seamus on Instagram @seamiemc & Twitter:@mcseamus Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Hear our previous interview with Seamus McGarvey: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
5/12/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 2 seconds
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Randy Thom, Oscar-winning Director of Sound Design at Skywalker Sound, on The Midnight Sky, Apocalypse Now, The Right Stuff, The Empire Strikes Back, and more

Randy Thom feels it's important for the sound elements of a film to be present right from the start, at the script writing stage. Sound is an important tool for a filmmaker because it “sneaks into the side door to your brain” and enhances the emotional impact of the film. As George Lucas once told Randy, sound is 50% of the movie experience. After working in the sound department on over 150 projects and winning two Oscars, Randy has helped elevate motion picture sound into an art form, and is often involved in the creative process right from the beginning. He thinks it's important for the sound production mixer to be as involved in preproduction with the director as the DP and production designer are, in order to think about the sound possibilities within the movie. Randy stumbled into sound design later in life, starting out in college radio, then moving to the Bay Area in the 1970's to work professionally in public radio. Once he saw the movie Star Wars, it changed his life, and Randy decided he really wanted to transition from radio into film. Through a friend, he managed to get in touch with Walter Murch, who worked as a sound designer at Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope Studios. He sat in on a remixing session of American Graffiti, and Walter Murch next hired him to work on Apocalypse Now as a field sound recordist, where he spent his time recording sound for a year and a half. Randy began working in sound at a time when Northern California filmmakers George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Phil Kaufman had a shared philosophy that fresh sounds should be collected for each project. Each movie should have its own sound style, which can be difficult to articulate to a director, much as a cinematographer talks to the director about the visual style. Sound styles are audio look books for your ears. For example, when Randy created the auditory experience for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he had to think about what elements would create the sounds of magic, which had to be based in the natural world. Things disappear and reappear through the transporter in a Star Trek movie as well, but the sound style is distinctly electronic and digital. The sounds used for a transporter would be jarring in a Harry Potter movie. After Apocalypse Now, Randy was asked to record sound effects for Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back with supervising sound editor Ben Burtt. They needed to find the right sound elements for the Imperial Walkers. Randy found metal factories through the phone book, and was able to go record metal sheer noise from the factory in person. The metal noises Randy recorded comprise about 90% of the Imperial Walker sound effect. For the Robert Zemeckis movie Contact, sound plays an important role. Jodie Foster's character, a scientist listening for alien life in the universe, finally hears an alien signal. Randy and Zemeckis had to decide what that extraterrestrial signal would sound like. As the sound designer, Randy had input in preproduction early on and gave Zemeckis his take on how much sound to use in the visual sequences traveling through space. There was little dialog in the film The Midnight Sky, so Randy could collaborate closely with composer Alexandre Desplat. Randy integrated radio signal sounds with the score, so that it would sound interesting but not conflict harmonically with the music. For the dramatic ice breaking sequence in the film, they knew they needed an organic, natural sound, so he accessed the sound library at Skywalker Sound, using several types of ice breaking, even reaching out through contacts to find sound recordists who could get the raw recordings of breaking ice that were then layered and pitch manipulated to help them stand out and not just become background noise. You can see The Midnight Sky streaming on Netflix. Read Randy Thom's tips for sound design on his blog:
5/5/20211 hour, 30 minutes, 7 seconds
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Dana Gonzales, ASC, director and cinematographer of Fargo and Legion, on creatively rich television, moving into directing, and more

Dana Gonzales, ASC loves pushing himself to use creative lighting, lenses and camera moves to transport the audience into the story. While working on the mind-bendingly surreal television series Legion and the cinematic, character-driven crime stories of the series Fargo, Dana found a true creative home with producer and showrunner Noah Hawley. With Hawley, Dana has been able to explore how to create and maintain an image that challenges himself and makes an audience feel differently than they've ever felt before. Audiences today are more sophisticated and crave good visuals and storytelling. Dana sees many of today's television series leading the way in artistic expression, which is why huge actors and directors are getting involved. Writers can tell a 10-hour story, fully developing characters and plot, while the director and camera crew can build a world with a strong visual foundation to hold it up. Dana finds today's TV is certainly still challenging- shooting on tight schedules requires staying sharp all the time, and strong visionary showrunners and producers keep everyone motivated. For season four of the FX series Fargo, Dana shot three of the episodes and directed four, including the season finale. Being involved with Fargo since season one helped Dana confidently bring a point of view to the story. He thinks one of the most important aspects of directing is offering an interesting perspective that makes the most of the story, characters and tone. Working with cinematographers Erik Messerschmidt and Pete Konczal, they changed the look of the show to a small degree, using different lenses and framing, and departed from a strict adherence to the visual LUT of the first seasons. They instead decided on a Kodachrome look, which was also the first color film used in season four's time period. The biggest challenge of season 4 was shooting the tornado sequence- partly shot in black and white as a callback to The Wizard of Oz, the complex storylines leading up to and in the aftermath of the tornado all had to seamlessly weave together. As a kid, Dana grew up in L.A. He was always naturally attracted to cameras and began taking photos at a young age. He found jobs on film sets as a driver, set PA, loader and camera assistant, and worked his way up while shooting small side projects. Just working on low budget movies, where Dana was able to be bold and experiment, served as his film school. He maintains the philosophy that every single job needs to be an artistic statement better than the last one, with each script informing his approach differently. After several years working on features and television, Dana moved into directing, where he feels you're even more the author of a show than as a cinematographer. He continues to enjoy working as both a cinematographer and as a director. Dana loved working on the series Legion, where producer Noah Hawley gave him the freedom to be extremely bold and experimental. For Legion, Hawley wanted surreal, elevated images with beautiful and dramatic lighting, that both embraced and reimagined the comic book/graphic novel look. If they tried something and it didn't work visually, they would simply reshoot it. Even though they had access to a visual effects team, Dana chose to build most practical effects in camera, such as stacking several filters onto the lens to create a super surreal look for some scenes, knowing he would be satisfied with the results instead of leaving it up to post production or visual effects to create his vision. You can see season four of Fargo on FX and on Hulu. Find Dana Gonzales: Instagram: @dana_gonzales_asc Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: Website: YouTube:
4/28/20211 hour, 18 minutes, 38 seconds
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Bonus Episode: The Truffle Hunters documentary filmmakers Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw

In case you missed it, we are re-releasing our interview with filmmakers Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw on their documentary, The Truffle Hunters from 2020's Sundance Film Festival. The film recently received the ASC Documentary Award. Filmmakers Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw ventured deep in the forests near Alba, Italy for their documentary, The Truffle Hunters. This region is known for its rare white truffles, fetching thousands of dollars for the acclaimed delicacy. The methods of where and how to find truffles is a closely guarded secret. This small group of elderly men seek them in darkness, hiking for miles with their dogs and covering their tracks so no one knows where they go. The film is beautifully composed and uses mostly natural light. The filmmakers chose to keep the camera on a tripod and to observe the subjects at a distance, except for special leather harness rigs for POV doggy-cams that Dweck and Kershaw had specially made. You can find The Truffle Hunters in select theaters and available to rent on video on demand in the coming weeks. Instagram: @thetrufflehuntersfilm Find Michael Dweck: Twitter @michaeldweck Instagram @michaeldweckstudio Find Gregory Kershaw: Instagram @gregorykershaw Find out even more about this episode, with show notes and links: ‎ LIKE AND FOLLOW US, send fan mail or suggestions! Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/23/202118 minutes, 47 seconds
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Jenelle Riley, Variety’s Deputy Awards and Features Editor, discusses the 2021 Academy Awards nominations

Jenelle Riley, Variety's Deputy Awards and Features Editor, discusses the 2021 Academy Awards nominations Long-time friend and colleague Jenelle Riley of Variety magazine chats with Ben and Illya about Oscar nominations for this very unusual year. They discuss what they liked, what will win, what should win, and their favorite movies of the year that may not have been recognized. Some of the nominations discussed in this episode: Judas and the Black Messiah, Sound of Metal, Nomadland, News of the World, The Trial of the Chicago Seven, Mank, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Minari, Promising Young Woman, The Father, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Hillbilly Elegy Jenelle Riley on Twitter, Instagram: @jenelleriley LIKE AND FOLLOW US, send fan mail or suggestions! Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/21/202142 minutes, 36 seconds
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Matthew Libatique, ASC, PART 2: Tigerland, The Fountain, working with Spike Lee, Straight Outta Compton, Iron Man, A Star is Born

In Part 2 of our interview, we continue our conversation with cinematographer Matty Libatique. After Pi, Matty couldn't believe that such a small movie shot on 16mm black and white film opened so many doors for him. He began to get calls for large Hollywood movies, such as Tigerland with director Joel Schumacher. Schumacher, known for big-budget, glossy films like Batman and Robin, was looking for a new look for the gritty Vietnam training camp film, starring an up and coming Colin Farrell. Matty and Schumacher decided to shoot hand-held 16 mm for Tigerland so that it would amplify the anger, stress and pain of preparing for war. Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing influenced Matty's path to a career in cinema, and he had the honor to work with Lee on four films, including Inside Man. Matty found Lee's approach to film to be incredibly unique. Lee would decide scenes with multiple cameras could become one camera done in one shot, or plan that a single camera scene should be done with multiple cameras and angles. Matty thinks that as a DP you are a collaborator and need to be present as a fellow filmmaker and not as a fanboy, so he resisted telling Lee that Do The Right Thing was the reason why he went into film. Matty also got the chance to work with another hero of his, director and cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, who shot Do The Right Thing, on the film Never Die Alone. Matty teamed up again with director Darren Aronofsky on The Fountain, an incredibly surreal sci-fi love story that takes place across space and time. It was a big challenge for Matty to bring Aronofsky's vision of The Fountain to life, bouncing ideas off Aronofsky's astrophysicist collaborator, who described what other universes might look like. By contrast, their next movie together, Black Swan, was a stripped down thriller, focused on taught performances and choreography. Black Swan earned Matty his first Academy Award nomination for cinematography. Surprisingly, working on the first Iron Man movie felt to Matty just like working on a giant independent film. With a comedic star like Robert Downey Jr. and an experienced comedic director like Jon Favereau, the two often reworked the script before shooting scenes. Matty had never worked on a project with such a large budget, and he helped create the look of the Marvel cinematic universe. When Matty heard Straight Outta Compton was in developement, he immediately asked his agent for a meeting with director F. Gary Gray, because he was such a big fan of the hip-hop group NWA. The film is about the origins of NWA's generation-defining album and the story of the band, but it was not a straightforward biopic, and Matty wanted to make sure the movie had the right look and feel for the era. For 2018's A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, Matty and Cooper, who also directed the film, wanted to pay homage to the other two versions but Cooper's take on the story was definitely different. They decided to feature more musical performance in their version, and early into shooting, Cooper changed the ending so that the main character, Jackson Maine, doesn't die in a motorcycle accident. Matty found that Bradley Cooper has the ability to clearly explain what he sees in his imagination, and his acting experience enabled him to be aware of where the camera was positioned so he didn't have to watch playback of his scenes. Matty's film, The Prom, can be streamed on Netflix. He is currently shooting the film, Don't Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde. Hear Part 1 of our interview with Matty Libatique: Hear our 2019 interview with Matty Libatique: Find Matty Libatique: Instagram @libatique Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: YouTube:
4/14/20211 hour, 12 minutes, 30 seconds
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Matthew Libatique, ASC, PART 1: The Prom, Pi, working with director Darren Aronofsky and his early career

Cinematographer Matty Libatique's work ranges from mind-bending features like Pi, Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream to huge Marvel movies such as Iron Man and Birds of Prey. He enjoys balancing his work on both large films and smaller indies in order to feel satisfied and to keep his craft sharp. For his latest film, The Prom, Matty met with director Ryan Murphy about the project. The star-studded cast and the message about gay acceptance appealed to him. But once Matty saw the Broadway play he was concerned- he had never shot a musical before, and he wasn't quite sure how to translate a big Broadway musical into a movie. Matty had worked on several music videos and was the cinematographer of 2018's A Star is Born, which featured musical performances, but it was incredibly gritty and grounded in reality compared to The Prom's bubbly feel-good fantasy world. He and director Ryan Murphy met and knew they wanted to keep it big and colorful while not going too over the top. Murphy loves working with color, and the two decided The Prom had to feature two distinct palettes of colors- the yellow/browns of normal Indiana contrasted with the bright pastels of “the prom” and the theater people who descend on the town. For the final scene in the movie where all the characters go to the all-inclusive prom, Matty and his team utilized a full array of lights on stage that they programmed on the fly. Growing up, Matty was always attracted to light, camera and composition in movies, but he didn't understand what anybody did on a film set until he saw Do The Right Thing. The Spike Lee film made him realize he wanted to make movies. He went to AFI film school along with director Darren Aronofsky and the two bonded right away. They began making movies together in a partnership that continues today. Matty says of his long relationship with Darren Aronofsky that when you keep working with the same directors, it's a sign you're doing the right thing and dedicating your craft to the right ideas. Their first feature together, Pi, had to be created within the parameters of an incredibly low budget. Aronofsky couldn't afford to shoot color film, only Super 16mm black and white reversal, so Pi had a grainy, gritty look and style immediately. A few scenes in Pi use a body-mounted rig to give it a first-person perspective. Matty and Aranofsky first saw the rig used by Icelandic cinematographers Eidur and Einar Snorri, now known as a Snorricam, and knew they wanted to use it in Pi- but the key was to use it sparingly. Matty's film, The Prom, is currently on Netflix. He is currently shooting the film, Don't Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde. Hear our 2019 interview with Matty Libatique: Listen for Matty Libatique, Part 2, coming next week! He talks about Tigerland, The Fountain, working with Spike Lee, Iron Man and more. Find Matty Libatique: Instagram @libatique Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
4/7/202157 minutes, 22 seconds
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Cinematographer Maryse Alberti on Hillbilly Elegy, working with Ron Howard, Velvet Goldmine, Happiness, The Wrestler, Creed, documentaries, Michael Apted

Maryse Alberti is a very eclectic and prolific cinematographer, shooting documentaries, indie films, television shows, commercials and large films over the course of her career. She prefers films that deal with something real- they don't have to revolutionize the world, but the characters have to be interesting and grounded in reality. On her latest film, Hillbilly Elegy, Maryse and director Ron Howard discussed how to treat the different time periods and places in the film. They wanted to juxtapose the character of J.D. at Yale against rural Kentucky and Ohio, while also making the flashbacks to his childhood stand out. The early childhood scenes are color rich and shot handheld, while Maryse used a Steadicam and normal color saturation for the more sedate and polite atmosphere at Yale. Hillbilly Elegy is about strong characters, requiring committed performances from actors Glenn Close and Amy Adams. Maryse made sure to give the actors and director the space to immerse themselves by devising unobtrusive lighting, coming in from windows outside and using lamps on the inside. Her  documentary experience of keeping it simple and natural also translates to her narrative work, and she's discovered that it is now second nature to find the best camera placement for a scene. Growing up in the South of France, Maryse didn't see many movies or television shows until she moved to New York as an au pair in the 1970's. She also worked in the art world, and had jobs as a performance trapeze artist, musician, assistant on small film sets, and took photos as a hobby. In 1990, she shot her first feature length documentary, H2 Worker, an expose of working conditions in the Florida sugar cane industry, which won Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary launched her career as a cinematographer. Maryse next worked with director Todd Haynes on several films including Poison and Velvet Goldmine. She jumped at the chance to work on the visually rich Velvet Goldmine, loosely based on David Bowie's early career of the 70's. At the time, Maryse had just finished working with Bowie on a Michael Apted documentary called Inspirations, and was a huge fan of the glam rock era. She and Haynes spent a great deal of time in pre-production and Maryse found his storyboards to be amazing works of art. Maryse continued to work on indie films in the 1990's, never shying away from difficult subject matter, such as the controversial Todd Solondz movie Happiness, which includes a storyline with a character who is a pedophile. Maryse found Happiness to be a tough movie since it was so out of the mainstream, dealing with volatile and sexual subject matter that would be almost impossible to find today. But in spite of it all, the crew found ways to have fun with some of the absurd special effects props for the film. Director Darren Aronofsky wanted his film The Wrestler to be entirely hand-held. As a shorter woman, Maryse knew it would be difficult and physically demanding to shoot entirely herself, so they hired camera operator Peter Nolan. Maryse and Aronofsky decided to shoot the entire movie on a single 12mm lens. They committed to a naturalistic approach for shooting it and stuck to it. They used a real location for the wrestling ring, including the real wrestling crowd and real wrestlers. After The Wrestler, Maryse was able to use some of what she learned to shoot Creed, with the exception of the crowd. Maryse kept the camera on the action the entire time, to emphasize that a boxer is truly alone in the ring, rather than relying on any reaction shots from the audience. In her documentary career, Maryse has worked with director Alex Gibney on several films, such as The Armstong Lie, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Taxi to the Dark Side. She also had the good fortune to work with the late documentarian Michael Apted on several films, such as Incident at Ogala and Moving the Mountain,
4/1/20211 hour, 21 minutes, 47 seconds
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Dariusz Wolski, ASC on News of the World, working with Paul Greengrass, music videos, The Crow, Dark City, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more

Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski prefers to take a realistic, documentary approach to most of the movies he shoots. His latest film, the western News of the World, is primarily shot outside using natural light, in a style Dariusz likes to call “well-observed” documentary. As with many of director Paul Greengrass's films, News of the World relies on a Steadicam and hand-held cameras to give it a more realistic and intimate feel. Daruisz watched a few Westerns to get ideas for his approach to News of the World, such as The Searchers and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Dariusz got his start after film school shooting music videos back in the 1980's and 90's, such as Suzanne Vega's “My Name is Luka.”  One of his influences was the late cinematographer Harris Sevides, whose approach to music videos for Madonna and R.E.M. was softer and more cinematic. Daruisz and several future icons of cinema were all working on music videos at the time, and he worked with directors David Fincher, Alex Proyas and Gore Verbinski. They all wanted to make movies and were just making music videos to stay employed. As trained filmmakers, Dariusz feels they elevated the music video to an art, bringing a film sensibility to it with longer shots and cinematic lighting. Though Daruisz found it hard to break into film at first, his work on music videos and commercials eventually got him there. Director Alex Proyas hired Dariusz as director of photography for the films Romeo is Bleeding, The Crow, and Dark City. The two used a dark and gritty music video aesthetic for shooting 1994's The Crow. Tragically, star Brandon Lee was killed by a faulty blank bullet during filming and the movie was finished without him, using early face replacement digital technology. For Dark City, Dariusz's next film with Proyas, he was influenced by films such as Metropolis and German expressionist art. He used sodium vapor lights on the set, which created a very orange and surreal glow. To add to the sickly green colors in the film, they decided not to use the correct fluorescent tubes in the automat scenes, or color correct the result. Dariusz went on to work with director Gore Verbinski on The Mexican and Pirates of the Caribbean. At the time, Pirates was anything but a sure thing. It was up against the biggest stigma in Hollywood- every pirate movie that had been made up until that point was a huge flop. Plus, the character Captain Jack Sparrow was a complete antihero, and though Johnny Depp was a known actor, he wasn't yet a huge movie star. After shooting several Pirates movies, Dariusz went on to work with Tim Burton on Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland, then with Ridley Scott on Prometheus , The Martian, and Raised By Wolves, all science fiction movies or series that are heavy on special effects. For Dariusz, even if a film is science fiction, it needs to feel as though it is grounded in its own reality, so it was important to be in constant communication with the VFX supervisor to figure out how they would collaborate on set. News of the World is playing in some theaters and is available to stream on VOD. Find Dariusz Wolski: @dariusz_wolski_official Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: YouTube: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/24/202151 minutes, 40 seconds
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Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, ASC on Snowfall, working with the late John Singleton, Spike Lee, Straight Outta Compton, Tales, Kalushi and more

Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, ASC uses light and color to help emphasize the drama and power of each scene on the FX series Snowfall. He enjoys putting opposing colors in the scenes to subtly suggest any underlying subtext and shifts in power between the characters. Tommy knows that understanding light and knowing how to photograph dark skin is important in a series revolving around primarily African American and Latino characters. Snowfall, created by the late John Singleton, is a period drama that takes place in 1980's Los Angeles during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. For Tommy, Snowfall feels personal after growing up in the 1980's and 90's in the inner city neighborhood of Mattapan in Boston. Mattapan got the nickname of “Murderpan,” and crack addiction personally affected his own family. As the lead cinematographer on season four of Snowfall, Tommy reads each script, meets with the showrunners, and even goes into the writer's room to talk to them about the subtext in certain scenes to devise a color schematic for each storyline. He develops an idea of his approach and watching the blocking on set allows him to try different things. Snowfall is pretty collaborative- John Singleton helped develop an African American cultural understanding on set, often taking suggestions from people's lived experiences. Tommy says many cultural nuances come from behind the lens, and Black actors, crew members, and people from the neighborhood make the show. Tommy first got into the business as a production assistant in New York, moving up to grip/electric while going to college in Massachusetts. He started working with Spike Lee on commercials as a gaffer and as an operator on Lee's miniseries, When the Levees Broke. After attending AFI (American Film Institute), Tommy met fellow cinematographer and mentor Matty Libatique, who brought him on to Iron Man 2 and Straight Outta Compton. Tommy went on to shoot Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu in South Africa, and television series such as Tales, On My Block and Empire. Several years ago, Spike Lee had introduced Tommy to John Singleton at Singleton's birthday party. Singleton stayed in touch and later saw Tommy's work on the BET anthology series Tales, and approached him to shoot Snowfall. You can see Snowfall on FX on Hulu. Find Tommy Maddox-Upshaw: Instagram: @themaddoxdp Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/17/20211 hour, 8 minutes, 11 seconds
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Benjamin Kracun, cinematographer of Promising Young Woman, on shooting the dark comedy and working with director/writer Emerald Fennell

The film Promising Young Woman is many things: a dark comedy-noir-thriller-revenge fantasy, and even part romantic comedy. The film centers on Cassie, a smart and complicated character seeking revenge on men who prey on drunk women. Cinematographer Benjamin Kračun first met director and writer Emerald Fennell while working on a short video project together. Fennell mentioned she was working on a feature project, and she eventually contacted Ben to let him know she had funding and was ready to shoot. Fennell had seen one of Ben's previous films, Beast, which she felt had a similar sensibility. Once Fennell sent the script, Ben read it and found himself completely hooked. He found it very exciting because it was so unlike any Hollywood script he'd seen- a taut thriller, but a fun and enjoyable popcorn movie with elements of romantic comedy. He could see that the film would spark a cultural discussion afterward. For their first meeting, Ben put together images and ideas of what he thought the movie would look like- very dark, dramatic looks from films such as Gone Girl and Magnolia. Fennell came with a look book for a film full of pastel colors and the main character, Cassie, would dress in bright, happy colors. Ben was surprised at first, but Emerald had a very specific point of view for what she wanted. It was very clear from the beginning that it was Emerald's vision and her voice, even though it was her first feature film. Ben likes having specificity at all times from the director, and you can see when a movie has carefully thought through everything. Cassie is in disguise, working at a bright coffee shop by day, and playing different drunk girl roles at night, planning for something bigger. Using the pastel palette in the film takes Promising Young Woman a step away from reality, and hides the darkest undertones of what is really going on, and the audience doesn't see what's coming. You can pay to see Promising Young Woman streaming on VOD services. Find Benjamin Kračun: Instagram: @benkracun Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/10/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 9 seconds
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Andrew Dunn, BSC, on The United States vs. Billie Holiday and his past work on The Bodyguard, Precious, Monkeybone, L.A. Story

Andrew Dunn always tries to transport the audience into the screen, setting the right tone to capture the time and place of the film. He's drawn to character-driven movies in particular, and he likes to make the viewer feel like they are the person's friend. The United States vs. Billie Holiday is an intimate look at the singer during the latter part of her career, when she was battling drug addiction and under constant scrutiny by the FBI, who had targeted her over her controversial song, “Strange Fruit.” Andrew and director Lee Daniels really wanted to capture the emotional journey Billie Holiday was going through, especially in the scene where actress Andra Day sings “Strange Fruit.” Andrew held on her face with an extreme close up as she sings the song and connects with the camera. The moment is transporting, and the entire cast and crew realized that particular scene was something extraordinary. Andrew had previously shot another film featuring a singer: the 1992 film The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. He remembers her performing “I Will Always Love You” in a beautiful single take, and the entire room was transfixed. The Bodyguard was the biggest movie of that year, and Andrew's career as a cinematographer took off. As a kid, Andrew always wanted to be a cinematographer. He grew up around cinema, as his father worked for MGM studios outside of London. Hungry and desperate to get into the business, he began working for the BBC as an editor, and was able to shoot on documentaries and in local news. Andrew's first “Hollywood” movie was the epitome of Los Angeles- the 1991 movie L.A. Story, starring Steve Martin. It is a movie so about L.A.- a warm love letter and a biting satire at the same time. Andrew thinks coming from the UK to shoot a movie about a place he'd never been before brought a fresh perspective. He always wants to bring a sense of wide-eyed wonder to the world, and L.A. Story perfectly blends absurdity, wonder and magic. You can watch The United States vs. Billie Holiday currently streaming on Hulu. Find Andrew Dunn: Instagram @andrewdunn.dp Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
3/3/202153 minutes, 18 seconds
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Sean Bobbitt, BSC, on Judas and the Black Messiah, working with director Shaka King, working with director Steve McQueen on Hunger and Shame

Sean Bobbitt thinks good cinematography is composed of a series of very carefully crafted and decided upon images. He began his career as a news camera shooter, but once he began to work on documentaries and features, Sean learned that each shot is not just coverage to edit together. After working in news and documentary for several years, Sean decided he wanted to transition into working on dramatic films, so he took a cinematography class with acclaimed cinematographer Billy Williams, and it changed his life. He knew he wanted to become a cinematographer. He soon got his first feature film job working on Wonderland, directed by Michael Winterbottom. Judas and the Black Messiah is a gripping biographical drama about FBI informant William O'Neal and Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton. O'Neil is a small-time criminal who agrees to go undercover for the FBI and infiltrate the Chicago headquarters of the Black Panthers. O'Neal's tips directly result in Chairman Hampton's assassination in his bed by police in 1969. Sean found the script gripping and incredibly relevant to today's ongoing issues of racial inequality. He realized he knew little about the Black Panthers and this chapter of racial injustice in America, and he needed to help tell the story. After reading the script, Sean met with director Shaka King, who brought hundreds of stills of the Black Panthers and talked Sean through the screenplay. Together, Sean and King began to explore what they wanted to visually create. The photographs became the basis for the look and color palette of the film. All the color photos were Kodachrome or Ektachrome, so they had a slightly faded look. Sean wanted high contrasts with punchy primary colors and worked closely with the DIT to get the color grade for the look he wanted. Previously, Sean had worked on a few biopics with director Steve McQueen, such as 12 Years a Slave and Hunger. Sean finds McQueen a very unique artist and a fantastic collaborator. They've worked together for so long that they are very good at communicating on set. McQueen loves long takes, and really began exploring those with Hunger- the film features a 16 and a half minute take, based on the idealogical concept that if you simply hold the frame, the audience begins to project themselves into the action. If there's no cut, the audience can't be reminded it's a film and can't be let off the hook. Sean learned to compose very considered frames where the action happens. One of the main concepts of the movie Shame was that most New Yorkers live their lives in high rises in the air, and the characters in the film only came down for sordid reasons. Most of the takes in Shame are also very long and purposefully make the viewer feel uncomfortable. You can watch Judas and the Black Messiah in select theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/25/202154 minutes, 24 seconds
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Lachlan Milne, ACS, NZCS, cinematographer of Minari, Stranger Things, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and more

Lachlan Milne believes that finding a connection and building a friendship with the director of a film is the key to making great art. Growing up in Adelaide, Australia, Lachlan had a clear idea of what he wanted to do from an early age, since his father was a director and his mother was an editor. He got his foot in the door as an assistant prop master, but knew his calling was in the camera department. At first he was barely scraping by from job to job before getting more established as a cinematographer on small movies such as Uninhabited and Not Suitable for Children. His big breakout movie was 2016's Hunt for the Wilderpeople with director Taika Waititi. Lachlan soon found a niche on challenging but fun supernatural movies such as Little Monsters, Martha the Monster, and Love and Monsters (coming soon to the U.S.) and then began work on the hit series, Stranger Things. Working on a big budget show like Stranger Things was weird for Lachlan, who was used to making do on small budget movies. Stranger Things has the luxury of shooting on a stage, and everything is a built set, with walls and ceilings that could be removed for ease of shooting and lighting. The crew was even able to customize and control all the neon and lighting in Episode 8- The Battle of Starcourt to make the entire mall flicker on demand. On his latest film, Minari, Lachlan and director Lee Isaac Chung decided the film needed to be one camera, that the pacing should be languid, simply and naturalistically shot. Lachlan feels that having a low budget actually worked to Minari's advantage, because the best version of the movie was a film that relied more on capturing the performances rather than big showy shots. He favors holding out for a closeup until it's emotionally warranted rather than doing it just for the sake of having closeups. Minari was a great opportunity for Lachlan to move back into shooting simple indie films. He and Isaac spent time together carefully shotlisting all the scenes. One of the most challenging aspects of shooting Minari was scenes in the trailer the family lives in. They used an actual trailer, and it was hard to cram sometimes up to 15 people into it, with no air conditioning and a limited range for camera motion and angles. Lachlan Milne is currently shooting season four of Stranger Things. You can watch Minari in theaters and streaming on VOD beginning February 26. Find Lachlan Milne: Instagram: @lachlanmilne Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Aputure: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/17/20211 hour, 30 minutes, 53 seconds
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Director Barry Alexander Brown on his film Son of the South, a civil rights movie inspired by the life of activist Bob Zellner

For many years, Barry Alexander Brown labored over bringing his film, Son of the South to the big screen. Barry is best known for his editing work with director Spike Lee, and was nominated for an Academy Award for BlacKkKlansman. Growing up in Alabama, Barry was familiar with civil rights activist Bob Zellner, and he knew he wanted to make a movie about Zellner's life. Zellner, whose grandfather was in the Ku Klux Klan, became an activist in the civil rights movement while a college student in 1961. His autobiography, The Wrong Side Of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement gave Barry a starting point for his screenplay, which made the rounds and was well received, but no one would commit to making the film. After nearly ten years, Barry gave up on ever being able to make the movie. Then at the end of 2017, Barry got a call from actor Daniel Radcliffe, who really loved the script, but was unable to star in it. This gave Son of the South some heat again, and Barry was able to get more producers on board and raise the money to make the film. Barry wrote some of his personal experiences with segregation into the script, and he hopes Son of the South inspires people to continue to fight for civil rights. You can watch Son of the South streaming now in select theaters and on VOD. Hear Barry Alexander Brown's previous interview with us in 2019, discussing BlacKkKlansman: Find Barry Alexander Brown- Instagram: @barryalexanderbrown Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/10/202149 minutes, 40 seconds
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Director Ryan White and cinematographer John Benam on the documentary Assassins

When filmmaker Ryan White first heard about the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in early 2017, he paid little attention to the story until a reporter called to let him know that it might make an interesting documentary. Kim Jong-nam was poisoned in the middle of a crowded Malaysian airport by two young women who smeared a highly poisonous nerve agent on his face. On the surface, these women seemed like bold, cold-blooded killers. But once Ryan and cinematographer John Benam flew to Malaysia to find out more about the story, they soon realized that the political assassination plot went deep, the women might be innocent, and were likely duped by North Korean operatives. The two women, Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, were put on trial for murder in Malaysia. Ryan was able to speak with their lawyers and eventually interview Siti and Doan. With help from the women's defense lawyers, the Assassins editorial team painstakingly pieced together all the security footage from the airport and put together the entire sequence of events during the assassination. They were also able to see and use within the film many of the text messages the women exchanged with their handlers, which clearly pointed to their complete ignorance of what they were getting into. Ryan feels Assassins became controversial and had trouble finding distribution not because of the political content, but because big online companies feared retribution, as occurred with Sony Pictures getting hacked by North Korea when they released the film The Interview. Cinematographer John Benam has worked on several documentaries with director Ryan White, beginning with the the Netflix series The Keepers, about the murder of a nun and the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Baltimore Catholic Church. When John first decided to make a career out of filmmaking, he knew he wanted to stay in Baltimore, and started working in a camera shop during the switch from film to video. Luckily, Baltimore has a bit of a film industry and he was able to work locally on several TV shows, then got a job working for National Geographic shooting nature documentaries. For Assassins, John and Ryan dove deep into Siti and Doan's story, exploring where they came from and what brought them to Malaysia. They felt it was important to have the women tell their own story, and it required patience and sensitivity. John is a mission-oriented, emotional cinematographer, and shooting nature documentaries taught him the skill to sit still, keep a low profile, and watch a story unfold. John had to travel light and nimble, taking dozens of trips to Malaysia for the story over the course of two years while the trial was going on. He used two Canon EOS C300 Mark II cameras for shooting, because of its lightness and small size, staying under the radar from the general public. As he learned about the intricacies of the Malaysian legal system and shot the trial, John felt very emotional about the outcome of a guilty verdict for the women, which would mean execution by hanging. You can watch Assassins streaming now in virtual cinemas: Find Ryan White: Find John Benam: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/3/20211 hour, 19 minutes, 54 seconds
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BONUS Episode: Director and cinematographer John Bailey, ASC on Groundhog Day, Ordinary People, and his past tenure as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

It's Groundhog Day! Director and cinematographer John Bailey, ASC sat down with us before the pandemic to discuss his work on the film, Groundhog Day, and briefly touched on his other work. John Bailey feels that the screenplay is the most important part of a film. It can be a leap of faith to work with a first time director, when they don't have a body of work, so a good script is always a solid starting point. As the DP of Ordinary People, John noticed the craftsmanship of that particular screenplay, which was carefully written and structured for several years by screenwriter Alvin Sargent and first-time director Robert Redford. He knew right away it would become a meaningful and important film. Both Sargent and Redford won Academy Awards for their work as screenwriter and director, respectively, and Ordinary People won the Best Picture Oscar. Groundhog Day grabbed John immediately as an interesting and offbeat idea for a film, but no one guessed that it would actually become part of the film canon and popular culture. To this day, John is surprised when people tell him how much they like that film and how much it has touched people. The movie famously had its own chaos, since star Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis had a very combative relationship on set. John spent two years as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His passion was in furthering the Academy Film Archive, the Margaret Herrick Library, and other AMPAS charitable projects. He became frustrated with the industry's focus on the Academy's role in the Oscars and how much punditry went into how to fix the awards process. Currently, John continues to work as a cinematographer and director. You can watch Groundhog Day all day long on Feb. 2 on AMC, or stream it (for a fee) on Amazon, Sling TV, or YouTube. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
2/2/202118 minutes, 22 seconds
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Cinematographer Quyen Tran on Palm Springs, Unbelievable, A Teacher, baking for charity, shooting during the pandemic, and more

With a background in photojournalism and documentary, cinematographer Quyen Tran is drawn to emotional stories and giving voice to victims. But she also has a talent for shooting comedies, such as The Little Hours, the series Camping, and most recently the hit movie Palm Springs. Palm Springs is a comedy about two people trying to escape a time loop, reliving the same day over and over, like Groundhog Day. The film became hugely popular and critically acclaimed during the pandemic, probably because it resonated with everyone locked down and feeling like each day was the same. Palm Springs was shot on a relatively small budget and a pretty fast schedule, so Q was able to call in a few favors to help stretch the budget. She enjoyed working with Cristin Milioti, Andy Samberg and JK Simmons, who was a great foil for Andy Samberg's character. A great deal of the movie was actually improvised- while it was definitely scripted, there were many alternate takes that made it into the movie. Since the film is about a constantly repeating day, the actors improvising different takes kept the story fresh and each take could be a bit different each time. Q also shot a few episodes of the Netflix series Unbelievable, a true story about a young woman who is raped and then recants her story. Years later, two female detectives track the serial rapist and prove her story true. The series won a Peabody Award for showing a humanized exploration of rape survival. Q and director Lisa Cholodenko knew they wanted very literal and subjective camerawork, making the camera seem like it was always from the character Marie's point of view of being sexually assaulted. They had the actress Kaitlyn Dever block scenes in pre-production so that she could help contribute and feel comfortable in the environment. Q chose to place a camera under a table in the interrogation scene so that it could still get a close up on her face, and give a feeling of disembodiment and detachment from her body. The FX/Hulu series A Teacher explores grooming and sexual abuse, but this time with a male victim. Quyen shot the show in a naturalistic way as she did with Unbelievable. She wanted to stay true to the material and help the viewer emphasize with the victim. One of Q's passions in life is cooking and baking, and during the pandemic in her down time, Q and her friend and fellow DP, Jeanne Tyson, decided to start Doughrectors of Photography. In exchange for a donation to the LA Food Bank or other charity such as Vote Blue, patrons receive a loaf of homemade sourdough and/or cookies. Doughrectors has now donated over 100,000 meals to the L.A. Food Bank, and they continue to bake and raise money. Most recently, Quyen was shooting Maid with director John Wells in Victoria, BC. They had to follow strict COVID protocols, including quarantining for two weeks before shooting. She was able to have a lot of prep time over Zoom with the director. The crew had to have masks on at all times of course, and were tested 3 times per week, taking their time and limiting the amount of people in the space. You can check out Doughrectors of Photography and find out how you can donate and get some delicious baked goods on Instagram at @doughrectorsofphotography You can hear our previous interview with Quyen Tran: Find Quyen Tran: Instagram: @qgar Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Sponsored by Aputure: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/27/202153 minutes, 29 seconds
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War Stories Vol. 5: Tales from the Set featuring Newton Thomas Sigel, Lije Sarki, Dan Kneece, Jeff Cronenweth, Tony Liberatore, Trevor Forrest, Iris Ng, Bill Totolo, Johnny Derango and Alex Winter

Special: The Cinematography Podcast- War Stories Vol. 5 In our fifth War Stories Special, we feature ten guest's harrowing, hilarious or heartwarming stories they had while on set, or a formative career experience that led them to cinematography. Find full interviews with each of our featured cinematographers in our archives! Cinematographer Tom Sigel experiences a fight on the set of Three Kings; producer Lije Sarki and the horror film that never saw the light of day; Dan Kneece on working in Chile for a job; Jeff Cronenweth figured out an elaborate ruse to steal a shot while shooting The Social Network; storyboard artist Tony Liberatore on finding his career path; Trevor Forrest talks about one of his more unusual and life-affirming gigs; Iris Ng on the bureaucracy in Iraq to shoot at Shanidar Cave; Bill Totolo experiences the Survivor reality show shoot from hell; Johnny Derango races to get a shot; and finally, Alex Winter on shooting with a wind-up Bolex in a mosh pit. Do you have a War Story you'd like to share? Send us an email or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/20/202137 minutes, 39 seconds
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Tami Reiker, ASC on One Night in Miami, working with director Regina King, The Old Guard, early career on High Art, Pieces of April

Tami Reiker, ASC focuses on how to make beautiful, authentic performances while maintaining the director's vision. Her most recent film, One Night in Miami, is full of amazing performances. Directed by Academy Award winning actress Regina King, One Night in Miami is based on real events, when Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown met in a hotel room to celebrate Ali's fight victory over Sonny Liston. The film is based on a play by Kemp Powers, which presented a challenge for Tami since most of it takes place in one hotel room and it's almost entirely dialog. All the actors had very busy schedules, so she and Regina King had only four days for rehearsal. King had very specific ideas about the type of film she wanted to make, and they planned the blocking and the shots together. It was also important for King for Tami to reproduce some of the scenes from historic reference photos, such as the original Hampton House hotel, Cassius Clay working out in the swimming pool, the diner, and the fight scenes. To give One Night in Miami a less static feel, Tami kept the camera moving, hiding some in walls on the set and using a jib arm, keeping her shots fluid so that the camera feels like a fly on the wall during the men's conversations. Tami chose an Alexa 65 and used Prime DNA lenses with Bronze Glimmerglass to give the movie a vintage look. Growing up, Tami was always interested in photography. She attended NYU film school, where she worked on several student films and met director Lisa Cholodenko, with whom she later shot the film High Art. The 1990's to the early 2000's was the heyday of indie filmmaking and with the advent of digital cinema, Tami was excited to be involved with independent production companies such as InDigEnt, which produced Pieces of April in 2003 starring Katie Holmes. InDigEnt's business model allowed each person on the crew to own a percentage of the movie. Tami shot the film on a mini DV camera, and she still gets a residual check for Pieces of April today. One Night in Miami can be seen at drive in theaters in Los Angeles and is available to stream on Friday, January 15 on Amazon Prime. Find Tami Reiker: Instagram: @tamireiker123 Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/13/202150 minutes, 18 seconds
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Jake Swantko, DP and producer of The Dissident, on working with director Bryan Fogel and shooting the controversial documentary

Cinematographer Jake Swantko spoke with us last year at the Sundance Film Festival after the premiere of The Dissident, the documentary he shot with director Bryan Fogel. Jake and Bryan had previously collaborated on the Oscar-winning film, Icarus. The Dissident explores the assassination and international coverup of outspoken Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Once director Bryan Fogel learned more about the circumstances surrounding the death of Khashoggi, he knew this was another important- and dangerous- subject to film for his next documentary. Bryan took the idea to Jake, who also worked as a producer on the film, and they began the grueling process, traveling to Canada and Turkey multiple times to interview Khashoggi's close friend and Saudi insurgent Omar Abdulaziz, speaking to Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice Cengiz, spending a year digging into the case and meeting with the Turkish government. The Dissident team knew they had to have the cooperation of Turkey to shoot the story, since Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and they eventually scored an interview with Irfan Fidan, the chief prosecutor in Istanbul who investigated the murder. Since The Dissident was so huge in scope, Jake knew he wanted to elevate the production value of the film and shot it like a dark thriller. He set up most interviews formally instead of run-and-gun style, with three cameras and one on dolly track to push in on the subject's face. Despite being well received at Sundance, The Dissident struggled to find a distributor, even from Netflix, who had championed Icarus. Amazon Prime also would not buy the film, despite Jeff Bezos briefly being in The Dissident- Jamal Kashoggi wrote for his newspaper, The Washington Post and Bezos' phone was hacked by Saudi Arabian government hackers. It seems the streaming services feared retaliation by the Saudi government and didn't want to risk losing viewers in that market. Briarcliff Entertainment finally championed The Dissident, and it is currently available on VOD. The Dissident is available to stream now on video on demand services. You can hear our past interview with Jake Swantko in 2018 talking to us about the Oscar winning documentary, Icarus. Find Jake Swantko: Instagram @swantko IT'S A GIVEAWAY! Last week to enter to win Bruce Van Dusen's book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (or Maybe Just Part of It). Like and comment on our Bruce Van Dusen post on Facebook and we'll choose a winner from the comments. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/10/202149 minutes, 22 seconds
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Best Of 2020 featuring Bradford Young, Kira Kelly, Greig Fraser, Anthony Dod Mantle, Wally Pfister, Brendan Davis, Don Coscarelli, Frederick Wiseman, Iris Ng, Bruce Van Dusen, Julie Taymor and Ron Howard

In our first-ever Best Of compilation episode, we have a dozen clips of listener favorites from 2020 and some of our selects as well. Cinematographer Bradford Young goes deep into his filmmaking philosophy and influences, such as on Selma; Kira Kelly talks about making the documentary 13th with director Ava DuVernay; Greig Fraser on Lion, Star Wars and The Mandalorian; Anthony Dod Mantle describes exploring New York City for The Undoing; Wally Pfister on his early career working on Roger Corman movies; Brendan Davis on leaving China as the pandemic hit; director Don Coscarelli remembers working with cinematographer John Alcott on The Beastmaster; legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman talks about his process of assembling his films; cinematographer Iris Ng on making documentaries that are personal narratives; commercial director Bruce Van Dusen tells an anecdote from an Ex-Lax commercial; director Julie Taymor on the visual language of The Glorias; and finally director Ron Howard on directing the documentary Rebuilding Paradise versus his approach to narrative films. Be sure to check out the full episodes, and let us know what you think! IT'S A GIVEAWAY! Enter to win Bruce Van Dusen's book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (or Maybe Just Part of It). Like and comment on our Bruce Van Dusen post on Facebook and we'll choose a winner from the comments. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
1/6/20211 hour, 33 minutes, 36 seconds
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Erik Messerschmidt, ASC: Mank, Mindhunter, Legion, Raised By Wolves, working with David Fincher

Erik Messerschmidt, ASC believes that cinematographers get too much credit for how a movie looks and not enough for how the story is told. When you break a scene apart and assemble a sequence, the cinematographer has a huge part to play in the process of deciding when to move the camera, what lenses are used, how it flows and when it moves. Erik thinks when you look at it that way, cinematography has a lot more in common with editing rather than photography. Erik's most recent project, Mank- which is currently streaming on Netflix- was shot entirely in black and white. The look was the result of lots of conversations with director David Fincher. They both had a clear idea of what they wanted it to look like and also exactly what they did not want- too much heavy handed, contrast-heavy black and white cinematography in a film-noir style would take the viewers out of the experience, so it needed a lighter touch. Erik used fine art photography from the '30's to the mid '40's as a reference, and he and David Fincher wanted an homage to Citizen Kane without it actually looking like the film. Fincher was clear that he wished to transport the audience so they would lose their awareness of watching a black and white movie, and feel as though they are in the world of Herman J. Mankiewicz as he writes the script for Citizen Kane in the 1940's. Erik has worked with director David Fincher on several projects, first working as a gaffer on Gone Girl, then moving into the camera department on the series Mindhunter. Erik and David have become very close collaborators, and he enjoys working with him. Fincher likes a sense of hyper reality to his movies, and Erik sees it as his job as the cinematographer to learn what the director responds to, figure out how best to support their process and bring something to the party. Before moving into the camera department, Erik worked for several years as a gaffer. After working with David Fincher on two seasons of Mindhunter, Erik needed more work since he was a newly minted director of photography. He got the opportunity to shoot second unit on Sicario: Day of the Soledado with cinematographer Dariusz Wolski as the lead DP. He then worked on a few episodes of the TV series Legion with producer/director Noah Hawley and DP-turned-director Dana Gonzales, which was visually fun to work on. Legion's look was whimsical yet dark, as it explored the main character's mental illness and possible superpowers. He had the opportunity to work with Dana again on the finale of season four of Fargo. Erik also shot several episodes of the Ridley Scott series, Raised By Wolves, splitting the series with DP Ross Emery. Mank is available to watch right now on Netflix. Find Erik Messerschmidt: Instagram @emesserschmidt IT'S A GIVEAWAY! Enter to win Bruce Van Dusen's book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (or Maybe Just Part of It). Like and comment on our Bruce Van Dusen post on Facebook and we'll choose a winner from the comments. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/31/20201 hour, 11 minutes, 12 seconds
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Bruce Van Dusen, director of over a thousand TV commercials, three films and a documentary, on his career and new book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds

Director Bruce Van Dusen has had a long career making commercials, which is extremely rare. He's discovered that making a good commercial is finding a balance between art and commerce, and the end product must be exactly what the client wants while getting the viewer to pay attention. Working in commercials doesn't necessarily bring out the best in people- unlike a movie or TV show, there's even less time and more pressure on a commercial shoot. The crew must gel instantly, work quickly and create a spot that's going to be usable at the end of the day. A commercial director is in the unique position of not necessarily being completely in charge on set. The client is always present and is able to tell the director exactly what they want, even without any authority or experience. The director has to listen even if it seems stupid, or they get blamed for a bad result. Straight out of film school, Bruce first wanted to make serious documentaries. He greatly admired Frederick Wiseman's films, and Frederick happened to be listed in the phone book, so Bruce called him up. Frederick gave him a piece of advice- you'll spend a lot of your time trying to raise money for your film rather than making the documentary. This set Bruce down a completely different path, and he decided he would do anything to get a job working in movies. He started working as a production assistant, and saw how much money some of the big names in the movie business made making commercials on the side. At age 23, he quickly found some local clients, started his own business in New York and established himself as the king of low-budget commercials by undercutting all the other directors' rates. Over time, Bruce became an established name, doing bigger and longer commercials, and he was able to find a niche in longer-format emotional commercial “stories” dealing with actors. Once he created a rapport working with the same clients, there was more trust, more art, and more confidence in his work. He finally made a documentary, The Surge: The Whole Story, and directed three films, including Cold Feet, a small 1983 indie that made it to the Sundance Film Festival. Most recently, besides writing a book about his experiences, Bruce made a spot for The Lincoln Project. Find Bruce Van Dusen: Instagram: @brucevandusen1 IT'S A GIVEAWAY! Enter to win Bruce Van Dusen's book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (or Maybe Just Part of It). Like and comment on our Bruce Van Dusen post on Facebook and we'll choose a winner from the comments. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/23/20201 hour, 23 minutes, 43 seconds
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Frederick Wiseman, acclaimed documentary filmmaker of City Hall, Titticut Follies, High School, Hospital, and more

Frederick Wiseman has proven that, in his words, “if you hang around long enough, you can collect enough material and cut a dramatic narrative film out of real life.” A Frederick Wiseman documentary has a very specific style- there is no narration, no identifying lower-third captions, no interviews and no camera movement. The viewer simply watches the story unfold, as a slice of life, and the subject he chooses is usually an institution many might consider mundane and everyday. Frederick feels his films are not merely observational, because he makes decisions on how to sculpt them into a narrative during the editing process. He enjoys making documentary films because he's seen that there is enough comedy and drama in ordinary life to match anything you'd find in fiction. Frederick shies away from the terms “documentary” and “cinema verité”- he thinks the term movie is good enough because “documentary” is something that sounds like it's supposed to be good for you. For Frederick's latest film, City Hall, he had the idea that what happens in a city hall might make an interesting movie and to see inside the machinery of how a city runs. Boston City Hall happened to be the only one that gave him permission. A staffer of the mayor had seen his films and liked the idea. Unlike some of Frederick's other movies, Boston mayor Marty Walsh was a central character- mainly because he is the leader of the city and he is very involved in seeing that it runs smoothly. Before he became a director, Frederick was a lawyer and taught at law school. He always wanted to be a director, but had no experience with movies. He saw an opportunity to become a producer when he optioned a novel called The Cool World and asked director Shirley Clark to helm it, which helped demystify the process for him. For his first documentary, Titticut Follies, Frederick had the idea for shooting the documentary on the Bridgewater Prison for the Criminally Insane because he knew the warden from his years as a lawyer and was able to get access and permission. The next logical progression to him after shooting in a prison for the insane seemed to be a high school, so his next film was High School. Part of Frederick's process is to find the film as he shoots, and he goes into it purposefully blind and with little preparation. For him, it all emerges in the editing process. Frederick always does his own editing and watches each piece of footage-generally about 150 hours of it- and decides how to structure each sequence. Find Frederick Wiseman: See Frederick Wiseman's latest documentary, City Hall. It's available streaming through virtual cinemas, and comes to PBS on December 22. Find a screening near you. Paying to stream it through your local arthouse cinema helps support them! You can see almost all of Wiseman's documentaries on Kanopy for free with your library card. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/16/20201 hour, 10 minutes, 55 seconds
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Anthony Dod Mantle, Academy Award winning cinematographer on the HBO series The Undoing, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire, Rush, Danny Boyle, Lars von Trier and more

Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, ASC, BSC, DFF thinks most cinematographers start out hoping and praying that the right script would come along that will spark a great film. His most recent project, the HBO series The Undoing, features New York as a central character in the story and explores the upper echelons of wealth. While Anthony loves the film format, he's become known for his pioneering style with digital cameras after working with directors Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and Harmony Korine, who all embraced the Dogme 95 film aesthetic. The collective set out to make films strictly with story, acting and theme, without the use of big budgets or special effects. Anthony had tried and tested many different digital cameras when Danny Boyle called him to shoot his film, 28 Days Later. Boyle and Anthony decided to shoot the zombie movie with the Canon XL1. Using such a small format digital camera takes advantage of the stuttering effect of the shutter, and it was easy to multi-shoot with the tiny camera and the equally minuscule indie art film budget. Slumdog Millionaire is widely known to be the first digitally shot movie to win an Oscar for cinematography. Anthony had spent a good amount of time in Mumbai, and his familiarity and ease with the city helped him and director Danny Boyle move quickly and react to a large cast of non-actors. Anthony also brought his experience to the film Rush. He had been a fan of Formula One racing ever since childhood, and he loved working with director Ron Howard, who came to him with an open heart and a collaborative spirit, since Howard had to learn about the sport. Rush was extremely technically complicated and was mainly shot with only practical effects. You can watch The Undoing on HBO Max. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: And Aputure: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/9/20201 hour, 26 minutes, 33 seconds
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Charlotte Bruus Christensen: Black Narcissus series director and cinematographer on doing both jobs, shooting A Quiet Place and The Banker

When Charlotte Bruus Christensen was approached to direct the three part series Black Narcissus, she was doubtful at first. The original 1947 film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and she was very aware of the film and did not want to remake it. But when producer and writer Amanda Coe suggested she read the original novel Black Narcissus, Charlotte was drawn to the story and saw it as not remaking the movie, but rather reinterpreting the book 70 years later with a 2020 mindset. Charlotte originally wanted to direct the series and collaborate with a DP, but as she delved more into the project, she knew how she wanted to interpret the story, how scenes should be lit and framed, and she realized that she wanted to both direct, be director of photography, and operate the camera. Even before she thought about directing, Charlotte always read scripts with a focus on performance and discussed scenes with the director to better understand where to place the camera. She feels she was most influenced by working with directors who take on multiple roles, such as actor and directors Denzel Washington and John Krasinski and writer/director Aaron Sorkin. Charlotte feels being behind the camera while directing brings the actors and the camera closer, capturing the performances as one, and she had a very skilled and supportive crew. Charlotte knew Emily Blunt and John Krasinski from The Girl on the Train, and was excited to shoot the horror movie A Quiet Place, because she had never worked in that genre before. To prepare, Charlotte studied many classic horror movies, such as Jaws and The Exorcist to get an idea of the visual language: the slower the camera moves, the more creepy and suspenseful the film becomes. It was important to her to maintain and protect the heart of the story, which is the fragile family relationship as they try to survive an alien invasion. The Banker, starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, is based on the true story of two property investors who happen to be African American men in the 1960's. They concoct risky plans to accomplish their dream in the time of segregation and redlining. Charlotte wanted to portray the partners' wealth growing through the properties they bought, such as shooting large rooms to show the ceiling height. She liked working with director George Nolfi and appreciated the humor and positive message of the film. Charlotte Bruus Christensen: Instagram @charlottebruuschristensen We’ve been lucky enough to have Charlotte on our show twice! Check out our past interview with Charlotte Bruus Christensen: See Black Narcissus, airing on FX on Hulu: See The Banker on Apple TV+ Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
12/2/202059 minutes, 11 seconds
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Wally Pfister, director/cinematographer PART 2: Inception, Moneyball, The Dark Knight Rises, winning an Oscar, moving into directing, and listener questions

We continue our conversation with Oscar winning cinematographer Wally Pfister- don't miss Part 1. When much of the film world was going digital, Christopher Nolan and Wally began to experiment with large-format IMAX cameras. They had used the IMAX format for some of the visual tricks on The Prestige, and Wally was excited to try shooting more on The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Wally did lots of tests with lighting and specially created IMAX lenses, which have a massive frame and shallow depth of field. Just after The Dark Knight, Wally was hired to DP Moneyball with director Bennett Miller. He decided to take a more dramatic and moody approach for lighting the baseball games, rather than using conventional, flat stadium lighting. After doing some tests, he was able to convince Miller that the scenes still looked like a baseball stadium, only better. Once Wally saw the script for Inception, he knew there would be several logistical challenges: shooting hand-held chase scenes in the snow, and of course, the rotating hallway scene. Christopher Nolan still preferred to do most of what was seen on-screen in camera, as a practical effect rather than with computer generated VFX added later. Nolan wanted a James Bond aesthetic for the film, with naturalistic lighting and a loose, hand-held feel. It was Wally and Nolan's sixth film as a team, so it was easy to work together during pre-production, even while working out the most technical scenes. A huge rotating rig was built for the famous gravity-defying hallway scene. Wally installed practical lighting into the rotating cylindrical set, with one camera affixed to the floor, so it does not appear to rotate, and a second camera that rotated with the set. Wally won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Inception, after being nominated four times. It was a huge honor, and he was very proud of his work on the film. Once he'd won, it changed his life- so much so, he decided to move into directing. He directed his first feature film, Trancendence, starring Johnny Depp and executive produced by Nolan. It was a huge challenge for him to let go of being in control of the photography and to find the right DP and a good camera operator. Since directing Trancendence, Wally has enjoyed directing commercials. But on set, he'll still act as director of photography, lighting the sets, and directing the actors and the camera operator while watching on the monitors. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/25/20201 hour, 26 seconds
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Wally Pfister, director/cinematographer PART 1: working with Christopher Nolan, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige and more

Wally Pfister grew up loving movies, and couldn't wait to become a filmmaker. The son of an ABC news journalist, Wally got his start as a news production assistant in Los Angeles, and he worked his way up to become a news cameraman. He attended American Film Institute, where he met fellow filmmakers Janusz Kaminski and Phedon Papamichael. Together they began working for Roger Corman's Concorde/New Horizons production company based in Venice, CA, cranking out as many as twelve B-movies per year. Wally would leave the studio literally splattered in fake blood, but he knew low-budget filmmaking work was essential for having the freedom to learn lighting and shooting while on the job. Even with his prestigious degree from AFI, Wally knew it didn't make him a filmmaker- he still needed to learn and hone his craft before moving on to bigger projects. Those opportunities came once Phedon Papamichael brought him on as a camera operator for Phenomenon and While You Were Sleeping. Wally loved the independent films of the 1990's, and was happy to work as director of photography for The Hi-Line, a well-received indie feature that won awards at several film festivals. Director Christopher Nolan saw the film, and approached Wally to shoot Memento. Memento blends black and white with color cinematography, to show the main character's broken memory as he tries to piece together who killed his wife. Nolan had purposefully scripted it so that the color sequences shown in the film are in reverse order while the black and white scenes are chronological. Wally and Chris Nolan both preferred taking a naturalistic approach to lighting and camerawork, and Wally's experience of working fast enabled them to shoot in just 25 days. Insomnia was a big jump for Wally and Christopher Nolan into a bigger budget movie, especially with stars such as Al Pacino and Robin Williams attached. This time, Wally had the budget, the time and the ability to make a great movie. Insomnia uses light rather than darkness as a way to build tension- it takes place in midsummer Alaska, when the sun never sets. Wally used key lighting in certain scenes to enhance the performance of Pacino, whose detective character is quite literally hiding from the light, as his guilt and exhaustion spirals down into madness. The next project Christopher Nolan and Wally collaborated on was a huge Hollywood movie: Batman Begins, which relaunched the Batman franchise after nearly ten years. Even though Batman is a superhero/comic book movie, Nolan still wanted to take a gritty and naturalistic approach- he never wanted the cinematography to get in the way. Wally kept the movie dark and rough, rather than glossy and stylized in contrast to the previous Batman movies. Very little of Batman Begins used computer generated visual effects- Chris Nolan prefers to do all effects in-camera when possible and used models and miniatures, as in the train derailment sequence. For The Prestige, the production crew scouted locations in Los Angeles, and found old theaters and the Universal backlot to make it seem like Europe at the turn of the century. Again, Nolan wanted The Prestige to look natural and loose, with much of the film hand-held, even when Wally was on a crane. Wally used lanterns and natural light to illuminate most scenes, and every magic trick was done in-camera, with no special effects. The Prestige earned Wally his first Academy Award nomination. Listen for Wally Pfister, Part 2, coming next week! He talks about Inception, Moneyball, The Dark Knight Rises, Trancendence and more! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/19/20201 hour, 22 minutes, 1 second
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Iris Ng, documentary cinematographer of Stories We Tell, Shirkers, Making a Murderer, and more

As primarily a documentary cinematographer, Iris Ng always asks where the camera should be at a given moment and how is it supposed to behave. She approaches a project asking about the perspective- is it supposed to be deeply personal, from within the lived experience of the person it's about, or more observational and objective, from the outside looking in? Quite a few of the documentaries Iris has worked on are deeply personal stories. Her first big feature was on fellow Canadian Sarah Polley's film, Stories We Tell. The film integrated Sarah's family home movies, shot on Super 8, into contemporary interviews with Sarah's family members, and reenactments shot on Super 8 with actors in 70's and 80's era costumes. Iris ended up using several Super 8 cameras to shoot with, since the film cartridges are so short and the cameras had to be constantly swapped out and reloaded. Stories We Tell required a great deal of sensitivity as each person told their story of Sarah's mother, Diane, a charismatic actor with many secrets who passed away in 1990. The documentary was critically acclaimed and received an Oscar nomination. Iris took a similar approach to the documentary Shirkers. Like Stories We Tell, Shirkers uses personal excavations and film material from the past to examine it for answers. As a teen, writer/director Sandi Tan and her friends had made an indie film in Singapore called Shirkers. Their film teacher disappeared with all the footage once shooting had wrapped, and Sandi wanted to tell the story about tracking down what happened to the film through interviews with friends while going back to retrace the experience. They chose interesting setups and locations for interviews, and Iris would often turn the camera on Sandi to capture her reactions as she was reliving her past. For the Netflix documentary series Making A Murderer, Iris had a different challenge. Iris came to the project on year nine of filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos' ten year process of shooting the series, and used her artistic eye to help elevate and add to the the previously shot footage. Each of the two seasons was 10 episodes long, so it was a matter of ensuring that there was enough coverage and angles, such as the exteriors of the Manitowoc County Courthouse for the filmmakers to work with. Iris Ng is currently shooting more narrative projects, such as the web series Hey Lady for CBC Gem. Find Iris Ng: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/11/20201 hour, 14 minutes, 9 seconds
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Ross Emery, ACS, on Raised By Wolves, The Matrix movies, Dark City, shooting second unit and more

Cinematographer Ross Emery believes that a director of photography can make beautiful compositions, but if the ideas aren't transferred to screen, it's not effective for telling the story. Knowing the intent of the director and the screenwriter is very important for translating the script into images, especially on movies with heavy visual effects. On his most recent project, Ross shot five episodes of the Ridley Scott sci-fi series, Raised by Wolves for HBO Max. Ross and fellow cinematographers Dariusz Wolski and Erik Messerschmidt each shot episodes of the show. The first third of the series follows the androids “Mother” and “Father” to a new planet. Ross decided to shoot those episodes in the style of an ethnographic documentary, following the inhabitants around in their environment. It seemed a strange way to approach a sci-fi show at first, but Ross felt it aided creator Ridley Scott's ability to build the world, giving the audience the feeling that they are actually on another planet. Scott wanted the planet to be a harsh and inhospitable landscape, to set it apart from anything Earth-like and chose a location about an hour outside of Cape Town, South Africa. Ross grew up in Sydney, Australia. His father was a documentary filmmaker, but he wasn't drawn to filmmaking until he was in his 20's. He began working in documentaries himself, then transitioned to shooting music videos, where he met director Alex Proyas. Alex then hired Ross to shoot second unit for the film Dark City. Ross found that working second unit was a fantastic place to be- it's a smaller crew tasked with shooting more action and visual effects sequences, with less oversight and less pressure than being the principal director of photography. After Dark City, Ross was asked to shoot second unit for The Matrix, and met with DP Bill Pope. The storyboards looked amazing, drawn by comic book artist Steve Scroce, and it became a matter of figuring out how to shoot something that hadn't been done before.  As the second unit DP of The Matrix, Ross was responsible for shooting bullet time, the helicopters, and the fight sequences. In 1998, computer visual effects were not yet advanced enough to truly capture what was shown in the movie. Most of the shots were actually practical effects done with real actors, multiple camera arrays and real bullets. The Matrix was the hardest film he'd ever worked on, and Ross wasn't even sure if the film would be any good until the crew saw the finished product. Once it was a hit, Ross had a huge budget and every tool at his disposal to shoot sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Ross Emery is currently shooting second unit for the upcoming Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings You can find all episodes of Raised By Wolves on HBO Max. Find Ross Emery: Instagram: @rossemeryacs Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: IT'S A BOOK GIVEAWAY! LAST WEEK to win Don Coscarelli's book, True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking. TO ENTER: SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel, LIKE and COMMENT on the "Don Coscarelli" video version of the podcast we just posted! We will randomly select a winner from the comments. We're expanding and adding to our YouTube channel, so look for new content there, too! Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
11/5/20201 hour, 10 minutes, 3 seconds
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Don Coscarelli, indie horror director and screenwriter of Bubba Ho-tep, Phantasm, The Beastmaster and John Dies at the End

Don Coscarelli is a master of the horror-comedy. He believes that even in the most horrifying times of your life, there are also moments of levity. His films explore the idea that there is another world, it's terrifying and dangerous, and it's also hilarious. Don has always preferred to just go ahead and make his own films, and feels you lose a sense of fun and exploration on big studio projects. The great thing about making indie movies is that anyone can pick up a camera and go make a movie over a few days or even a few years. Don shot and directed all three of his early films until The Beastmaster, which was shot by John Alcott, a frequent director of photography for Stanley Kubrick. Don wanted to make an epic “sword and sandal” movie after making his third film, Phantasm. The Beastmaster was still a low budget indie film, but he wanted to use a great cinematographer to give it a real sense of grandeur. Don felt he had to sell his soul in order to get enough money to shoot The Beastmaster, and the producers even threatened to fire him, but fortunately John Alcott stood up for him. Prior to The Beastmaster, Don directed Phantasm, about a mysterious grave robber called the Tall Man. After the first week of shooting Phantasm, he decided to shut down, choosing to only shoot on the weekends and taking the time during the week to scout, rehearse and rework scenes for about a year. Don thinks it's helpful for indie filmmakers to pad their schedule with pickup days to give enough time to go back and get better shots, special effects or reshoot scenes if necessary. For his film, John Dies at the End, Don once again decided to take his time and made the movie on an intermittent basis, which luckily worked for the actors, who were all inexperienced, with the exception of Paul Giamatti. Mike Gioulakis was the cinematographer who also acted as the gaffer. Don went on to make the sequels Phantasm II, III and IV before writing and directing Bubba Ho-Tep. Elvis, played by Bruce Campbell, actually lives in a retirement home, and a fellow resident, played by Ossie Davis, have to fight a reanimated mummy who is killing the elderly. Don had a delightful time working with Ossie Davis, especially directing him to realistically fight a rubber mummy. Part of the horror of the movie was making the old folk's home truly scary- a place where people are abandoned and alone. Currently, Don has been on a quest to find the original negative of The Beastmaster in order to remaster it, and set up a website for tips on where it might be located. Luckily, a perfect interpositive was found in the vaults of Warner Bros. which will be used for the remastered version. You can read Don Coscarelli's book about his experiences called True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking. Find Don Coscarelli: Facebook: @doncoscarelli Instagram: @don_coscarelli Twitter: @DonCoscarelli Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: IT'S A BOOK GIVEAWAY! Enter to win Don Coscarelli's book, True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking. TO WIN: SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel, LIKE and COMMENT on the "Don Coscarelli" video version of the podcast we just posted! We will randomly select a winner from the comments. We're expanding and adding to our YouTube channel, so look for new content there, too! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/27/20201 hour, 15 minutes, 18 seconds
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Director Ángel Manuel Soto on Charm City Kings, working with young actors, and directing a stunt-heavy film

When director Ángel Manuel Soto received the script for Charm City Kings, he found a connection in the story of disenfranchised youth growing up in a marginalized community like Baltimore- he himself grew up on the streets of Santurce in Puerto Rico. The movie is a coming of age story centered on a young teen named Mouse and his two buddies, who are determined to join the subculture of dirt bike stunt riders. The film, with a story by Barry Jenkins, is based on a documentary called 12 O'Clock Boys. Ángel wanted the film to be authentic to this rider culture. The bikers in the movie were all real and did their own stunts, which look amazing. His biggest inspiration for the film was Baltimore: shooting on location, working with locals as extras, and keeping it authentic. Ángel worked with cinematographer Katelin Arizmendi to create a raw and naturalistic look. He found it a pleasure to be able to work with such talented actors like Teyonah Parris, Will Catlett, and hip hop artist Meek Mill, who were proactive and prepared with what they wanted to bring to the characters. Ángel had to work within the limited hours for the young cast, but Jahi Di'Allo Winston as Mouse was very natural and intuitive, and all three child actors had chemistry from day one, which is hard to find. You can watch Charm City Kings streaming now on HBO Max Find Ángel Manuel Soto: Instagram: @alohemingway Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: IT'S A BOOK GIVEAWAY! Enter to win the Video Palace book- Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man Collected Stories- signed by our host, Ben Rock, who also authored one of the stories! The book expands the world of the Video Palace podcast that Ben directed for Shudder. TO WIN: SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel, LIKE and COMMENT on the "How To Vote" breakdown we just posted! We will randomly select a winner from the comments. We're expanding and adding to our YouTube channel, so look for new content there, too! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/20/202044 minutes, 2 seconds
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Phedon Papamichael, ASC on The Trial of the Chicago 7, working with writer/director Aaron Sorkin, and more

Phedon Papamichael's latest project is The Trial of the Chicago 7, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. The bulk of the story centers on the 1969 trial of seven men accused of inciting a riot in the park outside of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In Phedon's view, a film is actually made three times: it's conceived in the writing process, developed during principal photography, then reinvented and finalized in the editing process. When working with a director and writer like Aaron Sorkin, the way the film is scripted is exactly what he wants to see on the screen. The person speaking must be on camera, and specific shots are needed to sync with the rhythm of his words, like a poem. Sorkin is not a technical filmmaker, and after their initial meeting, Phedon knew Sorkin would rely heavily on him for creating the visuals. Since the majority of the action takes place in the courtroom, Phedon had to generate visual interest, making sure they had the right lenses and angles to enhance the drama, and to get good reaction shots of the jury and spectators. He used the lighting within the courtroom to enhance the moods and tension, and adjusted the light coming through the windows to reflect the changing seasons. When shooting the protests in the park and the violent clashes with the police, the camera crew went hand-held documentary style. Some of the footage from the protests was actually intercut with real footage taken from a film called Medium Cool, a combination documentary/fiction film by famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who shot actual footage of the riots in the park from the 1968 Democratic National Convention. You can watch The Trial of the Chicago Seven streaming now on Netflix. Find Phedon Papamichael: Instagram: @papa2 Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: IT'S A BOOK GIVEAWAY! Enter to win the Video Palace book- Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man Collected Stories- signed by our host, Ben Rock, who also authored one of the stories! The book expands the world of the Video Palace podcast that Ben directed for Shudder. TO WIN: SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel, LIKE and COMMENT on the "How To Vote" breakdown we just posted! We will randomly select a winner from the comments. We're expanding and adding to our YouTube channel, so look for new content there, too! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/17/202058 minutes, 20 seconds
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DP Eric Branco on The 40-Year-Old Version, Clemency, shooting black and white film, working with director Radha Blank, and more

Cinematographer Eric Branco discovered early on that he enjoyed translating people's stories into visuals. Eric started out as an actor in high school, but quickly realized no one had any interest in holding the camera except himself. While in film school, he developed an eye and shot several student projects, then found work on film sets in New York as a grip and gaffer while shooting short films on the side. Eric's latest film, The 40-Year-Old Version was shot almost entirely on black and white film stock. Director Radha Blank was very firm that the movie be black and white- in fact, when Eric received the script, it read “A New York tale in black and white.” So Eric came with a suitcase full of black and white photo books of New York when he and Radha met, which helped them arrive at The 40-Year-Old Version's look: a matte texture with a prominent grain. Eric ran several tests to find the perfect film stock for the movie, and shot it handheld with vintage lenses. The movie is a funny, semi-autobiographical story starring Blank as a struggling, almost-40 playwright who is determined not to sell out or compromise her artistic principles and reinvigorates her creativity by becoming a hip-hop artist. The 40-Year-Old Version won the U.S Dramatic Competition Directing Award for Blank at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020. For Eric, it was the third film he'd shot to go to Sundance in as many years. He felt honored to be the cinematographer of Clemency, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2019. Written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu, Clemency took a long time to get off the ground before Alfre Woodard was cast in the lead role. You can watch The 40-Year-Old Version streaming on Netflix. Find Eric Branco: Instagram: @ericbranco Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: IT'S A BOOK GIVEAWAY! Enter to win the Video Palace book- Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man Collected Stories- signed by our host, Ben Rock, who also authored one of the stories! The book expands the world of the Video Palace podcast that Ben directed for Shudder. TO WIN: SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel, LIKE and COMMENT on the "How To Vote" breakdown we just posted! We will randomly select a winner from the comments. We're expanding and adding to our YouTube channel, so look for new content there, too! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/13/202058 minutes, 52 seconds
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War Stories Vol. 4: Tales from the Set featuring Quyen Tran, Mike Figgis, Dan Laustsen, Abe Martinez, Bill Wages, Larry Fong, Vanja Černjul, Rachel Morrison, Linus Sandgren, Stefan Ciupek, Matty Libatique

Special: The Cinematography Podcast- War Stories Vol. 4 In our fourth War Stories Special, we feature eleven guest's harrowing, hilarious or heartwarming stories they had while on set, or a formative career experience that led them to cinematography. Find full interviews with each of our featured cinematographers in our archives! Cinematographer Quyen Tran on her life-changing experience after 9/11 in New York; Mike Figgis and a nearly disastrous screening of Timecode; Dan Laustsen tells the story of how his sister influenced him to go to film school; Abe Martinez serendipitously found the perfect house while staying in Kenya; Bill Wages was dissuaded early on from becoming a National Geographic Magazine photographer; Larry Fong talks about getting his big break with JJ Abrams on Lost; Vanja Černjul on his secret to decompressing after wrapping on a big shoot; Rachel Morrison's story of making a huge mistake as a set P.A. with Matty Libatique; Linus Sandgren on his early days working as a gaffer with a seasoned electrician; Stefan Ciupek talks about the blooper in the single-take film, Russian Ark; and finally, Matty Libatique on getting real concert footage for A Star Is Born. Do you have a War Story you'd like to share? Send us an email or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/9/202033 minutes
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Rodrigo Prieto, ASC on The Glorias, Frida, working with Julie Taymor, Martin Scorsese, Alejandro González Iñárritu

When Rodrigo Prieto meets with a director, he comes with a clean slate and a present state of mind to hear their vision. Rodrigo first met Julie Taymor in New York to talk about filming Frida. He had just finished shooting Amores Perros with director Alejandro González Iñárritu and decided to move to Los Angeles from Mexico City. For Rodrigo, Frida Kahlo's work was very influential, and he was eager to work on a film about her life. He found that Julie Taymor loves collaborating with her team on her movies and is open to other's input, but knows what she wants and pushes for it. Working with a theatrical director means her ideas tend to be more representative and symbolic, rather than the naturalistic realism seen in most movies. For The Glorias, Rodrigo and Julie had to determine how realistically they wanted to portray some of the events in Gloria Steinem's life. In one scene, Rodrigo and the crew had to recreate the tornado from The Wizard of Oz, with the four Glorias as the witches on brooms. The crew built a 70's era TV studio, rigged lights and a green screen with a camera on a crane and the actresses on wires on brooms. They also decided early on to shoot the bus scenes in black and white, with color sequences showing outside the windows. You can watch The Glorias streaming on Amazon Prime. A new color timed version of Amores Perros will be coming out from Criterion Collection. Find Rodrigo Prieto, Instagram: @rpstam Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
10/6/20201 hour, 7 minutes, 49 seconds
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Director Julie Taymor on her new biopic film, The Glorias, her work on Frida, Titus, Across the Universe and the Broadway theatrical production of The Lion King

The incredibly talented Julie Taymor is nearly an EGOT- she's won an Emmy, a Grammy, multiple Tony awards, and was Oscar-nominated for her work. She is a playwright, director, songwriter, and costume designer for both the stage and film. Julie is a rare thing- a theater director who can also helm amazing films. She thinks this is because most theater directors are really not very visual- they focus more on acting and dialog. When directing her films, Julie feels it's important to be selective and understand what you can achieve with a camera such as with lenses and lighting, vs. what can be done on a stage like The Lion King with giant set pieces, puppets, props and costumes. Julie's latest film, The Glorias, is a biopic about women's rights activist and feminist icon, Gloria Steinem. Julie worked with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and many visual effects artists to create several surrealist fantasy sequences in The Glorias. The film has a very imaginative and creative way of telling Gloria's story, through multiple actors playing Steinem at different ages, who speak and interact with each other. In some scenes, the Glorias ride a Greyhound bus together to depict Steinem's interior landscape through the stages of her life. Julie decided to use several different color motifs, working with red shoes as a wardrobe choice and sometimes black and white to help get her themes across. She took a similar approach in the film Frida, which used vibrant colors and specific materials such as chrome and steel to depict the different locations where Frida Kahlo traveled and worked. You can watch The Glorias streaming on Amazon Prime September 30. Find Julie Taymor: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: WIN a Sony A7SIII, Gitzo tripod and $100 Hot Rod Cameras gift card! Worth over $4,000, for one lucky winner! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and click on the link in bio to enter by September 29, 2020. Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/29/20201 hour, 1 minute, 16 seconds
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Ben Kutchins, Emmy-nominated cinematographer of Ozark, on creating the look of the show, working with Jason Bateman, the Veronica Mars movie, Mozart in the Jungle

Cinematographer Ben Kutchins feels that in filmmaking, you have to be fully committed to believing the story you're telling, and your focus must be unwavering when shooting. There is no other story happening in the world other than the story you're telling. This single-mindedness has served Ben well when shooting the series Ozark for Netflix, which is shot with very controlled light sources and camera movements. Every scene in the show is planned out carefully to reveal more about the story or the character. He and director/producer Jason Bateman wanted it to always look dark and shadowy, and many of the shots in the show are done as “oners,” or one long take. It might take seven to ten takes to get the oner, depending on how intricate it is. Before Ozark, Ben started off exploring still photography as a teen, then landed an internship at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), which led to a production assistant job at ILM. He had the opportunity to use the lab at Lucasfilm to experiment and process film to understand how it could look. But Ben knew his passion was film, so he enrolled at NYU Film School in order to learn more and work with other young filmmakers such as Rachel Morrison and Reed Morano. He shot about 60 short films in two years, then worked on several indie films before getting hired to shoot the Veronica Mars movie and then the Amazon series, Mozart in the Jungle. Shooting Mozart in the Jungle gave Ben the opportunity to work with and learn from very seasoned directors. He thinks working in television has been an amazing opportunity to collaborate with other DPs and that television has helped him develop a style and hone his craft. You can find Ozark season three streaming on Netflix. Find Ben Kutchins: Instagram: @benkutchins Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: WIN a Sony A7SIII, Gitzo tripod and $100 Hot Rod Cameras gift card! Worth over $4,000, for one lucky winner! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and click on the link in bio to enter by September 29, 2020. Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/22/20201 hour, 19 minutes, 1 second
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Armando Salas, ASC, on Ozark season 3, his Emmy-nominated episode, shooting the series Mr. Mercedes, From Dusk Til Dawn, Strange Angel

Armando Salas, ASC was recently nominated for an Emmy for his work on Ozark season three. Ozark is intentionally lit and shot to be very blue and very dark, because all the characters are in the shadows, desperately hiding and scrambling to avoid exposure. Armando began working on Ozark during season two and was already a fan of the show. He worked closely with director and actor Jason Bateman and the other DP on the series, Ben Kutchins. On season three, Armando shot the last four episodes with director Alik Sakharov. (Find our interview with Alik Sakharov here.) This four hour block of the show was a lot like shooting a film, and required him to refer to a detailed shot list, make many notes and continuously refer back to the script. As a kid, Armando grew up in Miami and was drawn to cinematography as a teenager, when he started shooting skateboarding videos. He studied fine arts and did a graduate program for film school, starting off his career as a gaffer before transitioning fully into cinematography. Armando shot several indie features and worked on a few films in China before landing his first episodic show, From Dusk Till Dawn, based on the film by Robert Rodriguez. For the Stephen King series Mr. Mercedes, Armando had the opportunity to create the look of the show, traveling to locations and deciding how to shoot it. The show quickly transitions from from loose and handheld at first, to very smooth and formal framing once the vehicle arrives on the scene. On the CBS show Strange Angel, Armando shot the second season. In this case, the whole look of the show was meant to feel different from the first season, with different cameras, lenses, and lighting. You can find Ozark season three streaming on Netflix. Find Armando Salas: Instagram: @cinesalas Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: WIN a Sony A7SIII, Gitzo tripod and $100 Hot Rod Cameras gift card! Worth over $4,000, for one lucky winner! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and click on the link in bio to enter by September 29, 2020. Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/15/20201 hour, 19 minutes, 32 seconds
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Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS on Mulan, Hidden Figures, Australia, Tracks, Shattered Glass, working with directors Niki Caro and Baz Luhrmann

Mandy Walker believes that her job as a cinematographer is not just to make pretty pictures, but to enhance an emotion with lenses, camera placement and lighting. She works on a gut and emotional level for films, getting across the feelings of the characters- a DP's arsenal of tricks should only help convey what's going on in the scene. For Mulan, Mandy and director Nikki Caro wanted to take a different approach from the Disney animated version, and were free to interpret the film as they wished. Mandy watched several Chinese action films such as House of Flying Daggers and went on location scouting trips to China to find the look and inspiration for the film. Mandy grew up in Australia and always loved photography, film and art, so she felt a passion to become a cinematographer right from the beginning. She skipped film school and began as a production assistant and loader in Australia, learning as she went on films such as Lantana, which was shot using almost only available light. Shattered Glass, which tells the true story of a journalist who made up the majority of his articles, was her first American film. Working with Baz Luhrmann on Australia was a huge jump into bigger budget movies, and she learned how to organize and delegate an entire camera department with multiple cameras. For the film Hidden Figures, Mandy worked closely with the costume designer and makeup artists to ensure that how the characters were dressed and what they looked like matched the feel of what each scene is meant to convey. She watched a lot of archival footage from NASA, some of which was used in the film, and was thrilled to meet Katherine Johnson, one of the real-life subjects of the film. Mandy Walker is currently working with director Baz Luhrmann again on a forthcoming biography film about Elvis Presley. See Mulan on Disney Plus Find Mandy Walker: Instagram: @mandywalkerdp Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: WIN a Sony A7SIII, Gitzo tripod and $100 Hot Rod Cameras gift card! Worth over $4,000, for one lucky winner! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and click on the link in bio to enter by September 29, 2020. Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
9/8/20201 hour, 18 minutes, 32 seconds
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Jas Shelton, Emmy-nominated cinematographer on Homecoming Season 2, working with the Duplass brothers, Keanu with Key and Peele, The Stanford Prison Experiment

Jas Shelton's career has spanned nearly every genre, from comedy to horror and suspense. Jas grew up in East Texas and attended the University of Texas in Austin. He had difficulty getting into the film program, so he started shooting music videos for bands, then began shooting student films. Austin was a hub for fairly large films at the time, where Jas found work as a gaffer or on second unit, including Miss Congeniality, Varsity Blues, and The Ladykillers. When he and director Kyle Alvarez began planning for the second season of Homecoming on Amazon, they chose to use a different color palette from season one, with darker, moodier looks for the flashback sequences vs. the present day. They were influenced by the look of 70's movies and Brian DePalma films, with slow push-in zooms on the characters, several split-screen sequences and off-center framing. Jas shot all seven episodes of the series, and has received an Emmy nomination for his work. Jas had also worked with Kyle Alvarez on The Stanford Prison Experiment, which was another challenging project since most of it was shot on a white laboratory set, but careful use of close-ups and shadow helped bring more depth to the film. Jas's tight camerawork and careful planning for Homecoming was a much different approach from Jas's previous work with the Duplass brothers on the series Togetherness, The Do-Deca-Pentathalon and Cyrus. Mark and Jay Duplass favor a rough, homemade, documentary style, with lots of improvisation, so scenes often began with close ups on long lenses, with wider shots at the end. For the film Keanu, Jas's experience with more improvisational filmmaking was useful, since Jordan Peele would often rewrite scenes right before shooting. See Homecoming season 2 on Amazon Prime Find Jas Shelton: Instagram: @jasshelton Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/31/20201 hour, 24 minutes, 21 seconds
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Emmy-nominated director and cinematographer Paul Cameron, ASC: Westworld, 21 Bridges, Man on Fire, Gone in 60 Seconds, Collateral

Paul Cameron, ASC got his start guerilla-shooting live music with borrowed equipment from film school. Starting off in the budding world of music videos and fast-paced commercials creatively prepared Paul for the action/thriller genre. Paul met cinematographer-turned-director Dominic Sena, who gave him the opportunity to shoot Paul's first feature, Gone in 60 Seconds. They were able to collaborate and communicate with a shared visual language. Later, Paul's work on the film Man on Fire with director Tony Scott allowed him to really hone his look. Though he prefers to use film cameras, Paul had the opportunity to shoot Michael Mann's Collateral with digital cameras, one of the first major films to use the technology. Jonathan Nolan, the director and producer of the HBO series, Westworld, asked Paul to shoot the pilot before there was even a script. They quickly decided to shoot on 35 mm to capture the grand scale of the western landscape. For season three of Westworld, Paul was the director of photography for the first episode, and has earned an Emmy nomination for his work. He also had the opportunity to direct episode four of the series for the very first time and really enjoyed it. Westworld will return for Season 4. Find Paul Cameron: Instagram: @paulcameron_dp See Westworld on HBO: Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz
8/24/202054 minutes, 1 second
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Director and DP Brandon Trost: directing An American Pickle, shooting Crank: High Voltage, Halloween II, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, HBO pilot for Barry, comedy films MacGruber, The Interview and The Disaster Artist

Cinematographer and director Brandon Trost enjoys exploring different genres and styles of filmmaking, trying different things that push him outside of his comfort zone. Brandon grew up around film- he is the fourth generation of his family working in the movie industry. He attended LA Film School and soon began working as a cinematographer. One of Brandon's early films, the action movie Crank: High Voltage, was shot much like a skateboarding video, with several small cameras strategically placed to capture the frenetic pace so that it would feel electric. Brandon loved working with director Rob Zombie on Halloween II, which was shot on 16 mm film for a very grainy and gritty look. Shooting the comedy film MacGruber was Brandon's first experience working in the humor genre. He and director Jorma Taccone wanted it to look like Die Hard, taking all the action movie tropes to an extreme, which is what made it funny rather than choosing to shoot it like a conventional comedy movie. MacGruber helped launch Brandon's career into shooting comedy movies This is the End, The Interview, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Neighbors and The Disaster Artist with Seth Rogan, Andy Sandberg, and James Franco. When shooting with comedians, Brandon found it's important to be prepared for improvisation and to light the space so there's flexibility for the actors to move within it, keeping shots fairly wide. For the films Diary of a Teenage Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me? Brandon had the opportunity to switch gears again, working with director Marielle Heller. They chose a camera and lenses for Can You Ever Forgive Me? that gave the film a real, naturalistic, even unflattering look to Melissa McCarthy's character. Brandon got to explore dark comedy again in the pilot for the HBO series, Barry. Creators Bill Hader and Alec Berg wanted the violence to feel very real, dark and yet funny, so Brandon chose to treat the pilot like a Coen brothers movie, using moody lighting and shooting with a single camera. An American Pickle is Brandon's first time directing a large feature film. Frequent collaborators Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg asked Brandon to take a look at the script with an eye to directing, and the story appealed to him. Directing An American Pickle was challenging since Seth Rogan plays both main characters. Much of the film had to be shot twice- once with Seth Rogan as the character Herschel and then as the character Ben. Brandon found that choosing a director of photography when you're also a cinematographer can be difficult, and he chose DP John Guleserian (Like Crazy, About Time, Love, Simon, the upcoming Candyman) to shoot the movie because he has a great sense of humor and is very collaborative. Find Brandon Trost: Twitter: @b_tro See An American Pickle on HBO Max Our interview with DP John Guleserian will be coming in October. Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: Website: Facebook: @cinepod Instagram: @thecinepod Twitter: @ShortEndz