Midnight Special is a unique movie that’s kind of hard to categorize. It’s a genre bending mash-up of a road movie and sci-fi flick that pays homage to Perfect World, Starman, and Close Encounters. The movie starts without much explanation or backstory, all we know a man is on the run with his son. As the movie progresses we learn the boy has special powers and is dying. His father must keep him alive while the government and a religious sect are in pursuit. Despite all of the characters, themes, VFX events, and unanswered plot points the film is very simple. At the core, it’s a story about a father’s love for his son and how he will do anything to save his boy.
It was a great honor to sit down with the very talented DP Adam Kimmel. His career has spanned almost 30 years, starting out as a teenager being an apprentice for Cinematographer Michael Chapman. His Cinematographer credits include: “The Ref”, “Beautiful Girls”, “Almost Heroes”, “Jesus’ Son”, “Capote”, “Lars and the Real Girl”, & “Never Let… Continue reading Interview with Cinematographer Adam Kimmel (Capote, Lars and the Real Girl)
People have a tendancy to talk about technology too much. They try to overwhelm you with tech-gargle. You can’t get caught up in this. It’s all about the result.
It’s easier to worry about the tools. It’s hard to really talk about your skills and talent. What you are capable of. The tools will only take you so far. Technology will always have its limits.
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.