Interview with Cinematographer Michael Simmonds (Nerve, Vice Principals)

Although there is a romance and nostalgia for film negative, digital imaging has really improved lighting for movies. We are much more comfortable with underexposing now than in the past. Of course Savidis, Khondji and Willis did great underexposing and making bold lighting choices, but now you see modestly budgeted TV shows that look bold and interesting.

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Interview with Cinematographer Trent Opaloch (Captain America: Civil War)

Trent Opaloch is easily the most talented and sought after cinematographers in the world today. He has DP’d for director Neil Blomkamp on “District 9”, “Elysium”, and “Chappie”, and director’s Anthony & Joe Russo on “Captain America: Winter Soldier”, and the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War”. It was an honor to sit down with him to chat about his career and the art of cinematography.

Interview with Cinematographer Julio Macat (Home Alone, Wedding Crashers, The Boss)

The biggest change in our industry has been the choice of material that studios and most independent financing companies green light, as what films are made. It used to be that a film like ORDINARY PEOPLE would have no problem going forward, especially with a good director attached. Now, great films like that rarely get made anymore. I miss that.

Interview with Cinematographer Adam Kimmel (Capote, Lars and the Real Girl)

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)

Interview with Cinematographer Checco Varese (The 33, Miracles From Heaven)

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.

Interview with Cinematographer Jeff Cutter (10 Cloverfield Lane)

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.

Interview with Cinematographer Natasha Braier (The Neon Demon, The Rover)

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.

Interview with Cinematographer Mitesh Mirchandani (NEERJA)

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)

Cinematography Interviews and Production Notes

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

Interview with Cinematographer Albert Arthur (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad)

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.