The Cinematography Podcast Episode 137: Mark Doering-Powell

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.

Close Focus: Some of the industry’s top cinematographers have signed a letter decrying long working hours on movie sets, in contract talks between IATSE and producers. It’s been an ongoing issue for years. In fact, the late cinematographer Haskell Wexler made a documentary called Who Needs Sleep? about the issue back in 2006.

Ben’s short end: For the first time ever, there is a new Joel Coen movie coming out, which was made without Ethan Coen, called The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Illya’s short end: BlackMagic released the URSA Mini Pro, a new super high resolution 12K camera that originally cost $10,000, but now it’s 40% off at $5,995.00. You can buy one at Hot Rod Cameras.

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras

Sponsored by DZO FILM: DZO FILM makes lenses for PL mount cameras, such as the Vespid Prime as a seven lens set, at just over $1,000 per lens. If you’re in the market for small, inexpensive cinema lenses give them a try. You can buy DZO FILM lenses at Hod Rod Cameras. See a video on Hot Rod Cameras’ YouTube channel testing lenses, including DZO lenses.

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Podcast Credits:

Editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman.  Email: editor@camnoir.com
Instagram: @illyafriedman @hotrodcameras

Ben Rock

@neptunesalad twitter

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Producer: Alana Kode

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Al-Atrakchi

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