The Cinematography Podcast Episode 113: Cinematographer Lachlan Milne, ACS, NZCS
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
Close Focus: Illya and Ben give advice to a listener who is considering switching careers and going into the film industry.
Ben’s short end: Our composer, Kays Al-Atrakchi, has put together his visual effects reel. He started out as a composer and works professionally as a colorist. Lately, he has taught himself how to use special effects in his own projects. Check out Kays’ reel.
Illya’s short end: Framing Britney Spears documentary on Hulu explores the controversy over the legal conservatorship her father has over her estate.
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Composer: Kays Al-Atrakchi