I am most proud of my latest film, 10 Cloverfield Lane, because the photography is very close to what I had hoped we could achieve, and in some scenes, better than I hoped. My favorite experience was receiving an email from JJ Abrams about 2 weeks into principal photography, telling me how great he thought everything looked.
I think working with Nicolas Winding Refn is a gift for any cinematographer, because he is interested in visual story telling, in poetry, in suggesting rather than narrating. He doesn’t care about the conventional established representational mode of film story telling, he goes beyond, and for me thats what always been exiting in film making. I always tend to look for directors that are working in this direction, but Nic is probably the most extreme of them, and that’s what I love about him. He pushes me to get the bravest part of myself, to jump the abyss, he doesn’t care if we fall and crash while trying, he would rather try and fail than to stay in a safe territory. So, I love jumping with him, and most of the time, we don’t fall but we fly.
Mitesh Mirchandani is a rising cinematographer in the industry who is currently based in based in Mumbai. Only 26, he DP’d the feature film Neerja, which could be the sleeper hit movie of 2016. From here on out, his future is bright. http://www.miteshdop.com/ Interview with Mitesh Mirchandani: Matthew Toffolo: How is the film scene in India? What… Continue reading Interview with Cinematographer Mitesh Mirchandani (NEERJA)
QUESTIONS TO ASK:
-What is the best viewpoint for filming this position of the event?
-How much area should be included in this shot?
SCENE defines the place or setting where the action is laid
SHOT defines a continuous view filmed by one camera without
SEQUENCE A series of scenes or shots complete in itself.
Read the best of Director of Photography interviews and Cinematography notes from the to people working in the industry today: Interview with Cinematographer Chad Griepentrog (The Bachelor Reality TV Series) https://matthewtoffolo.com/2016/02/17/interview-with-cinemtographer-chad-griepentrog-the-bachelor-reality-tv-series/ Interview with Cinematographer Albert Arthur (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad) https://matthewtoffolo.com/2016/02/16/interview-with-cinematographer-albert-arthur-better-call-saul-breaking-bad/ Notes on CINEMATOGRAPHY – SHOTS AND CAMERA ANGLES https://matthewtoffolo.com/2015/06/01/notes-on-cinematography-shots-and-camera-angles/ Photography in Film. The art of Cinematography https://matthewtoffolo.com/2015/05/14/photography-in-film-the-art-of-cinematography/… Continue reading Cinematography Interviews and Production Notes
Most include something related to the cool locations we get to visit- like animals attacking our gear in Africa, or scaring the crap out of each other in a dungeon in Prague. Or the time I was bucked off a horse and broke my hand because we thought it would be a good idea to shoot on horseback, or jumping off waterfalls with the cast in Hawaii, or getting stuck on a glacier in Iceland, or the scouts where we get to do all the things the cast does, but a week earlier. My favorite though is when I flew over my tiny hometown in Colorado in the Playboy private jet with only a producer, Hugh Hefner and his Playmate girlfriends. I wish my high school guidance counselor could see me then! One time I ordered pizza and hot wings for my crew. We were so hungry and excited to eat, but had to wait until after the interview we were shooting. During that time, one of the female Bachelor cast members ate our entire pizza and wings! Then she purged! Thanks a lot lady!
I started prep three weeks before the first day of shooting. I asked Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould if the wanted to continue the style of Breaking Bad, and their answer was that they did not want a complete break, but they wanted it to be different as well. They stressed repeatedly that they felt TV shows were all starting to look the same, and that they wanted “Saul” to look like nothing else on television. They showed me stills from “The Conformist” and from Kubrick’s work. Our first day of shooting was in bright sunlight in a skate park. I kept looking for Jean-Louis Trintignant in a period tuxedo, but he was nowhere to be found.
One point of departure was that they didn’t want the handheld look that gave ”Breaking Bad” its’ nervous energy. In fact they did not want any camera movement that was unmotivated. This was quite a departure from my last few shows, where the producers would start twitching if the camera wasn’t moving at all times. It required retraining my operators to avoid movement unless absolutely necessary.
Vince kept pushing the look darker and darker, saying “we know who they are, we don’t need to see them all the time”, which is a departure from what is essentially a comedy.
I think that practical special effects will always be required for many situations in movies but there is a fast growing technology which allows many practical fx to be recreated in post production by the visual effects team. From explosions to squibs, there are many
visuals that now can replace to a good degree our practical fx. There will always be challenges but also innovations with new technologies, practical special effects are developing with them and are always sharing more with visual effects.
There really is no normal to my job anymore. Every project seems to be different and now and asks for different. A film project could call on a storyboard artist at any stage from pre-pre production, ( when the film is trying to get funding) right the way through to post production for VFX, (after principal photography has been completed). The bulk of my work tends to be early in the pre-production taking the first pass at sequences to get the ball rolling on them. Usually I’d start with a chat with a Director, though it could be VFX supervisor, production designer and then work on from there. I use to expect to finish when filming starts but now i might stay almost to the end of shooting then be called back for reshoots and post production.
It was nice to hear that the audio design was appreciated, particularly that knee stomp (Hi Stewart!). We spent a lot of time making it ‘wetter’, so it’s nice to hear it specifically mentioned. It was also nice to hear the production design was appreciated. The mention of that shot where everything is swept off the table got me particularly, as watching playback for that on set was the first moment I felt we really had something cool in the making.