The Cinematography Podcast Episode 263: Florian Hoffmeister, BSC

HBO’s True Detective: Night Country has captivated audiences with its chilling atmosphere and compelling narrative. Cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister, BSC worked with director Issa López to craft the haunting visuals for the supernatural whodunit. “The detective procedural is part of the brand and it’s part of the show, but it should not affect the cinematography,” says Florian. “The cinematography is never motivated just in terms of solving the mystery. We must be sure to show every important fact or clue, to understand the mystery or to build up a bigger mystery. But it’s important to follow the characters and their internal struggles and secrets, the relationships, the darkness, the supernatural as the case unfolds.”

When he first met with Lopez to discuss shooting True Detective: Night Country, Florian liked the feeling of eerie isolation and darkness of the location. The influence of nature adds to the supernatural and to the characters’ fragmentation from each other. Florian found inspirational images by photographer Alexander Gronsky, who took photos of Russian workers in mines near the Arctic Circle. John Carpenter’s The Thing and the movie Sicario were also influences for the look of the series.

True Detective: Night Country takes place in Alaska near the Arctic Circle, with Iceland as the filming location. Most of the show was shot outside during the winter months, although it happened to be the coldest winter in Iceland in a hundred years. They used a soundstage only for the scenes where characters had to be outside in the snow naked or barefoot. Florian enjoys shooting in extreme climates, noting that proper clothing for the temperature is what matters the most. Even with the extreme cold, the ARRI Alexa 35 cameras all functioned just fine. The filming was over a period of 112 days, starting in October on the soundstage. Once winter really hit after Christmas, they began shooting in the snow and darkness. Each day provided about four hours of light, with just about five minutes of sunlight, then a few blue hours of sunrise and sunset.

True Detective: Night Country is available on Max.

Hear our previous interview with Florian Hoffmeister discussing his work on TÁR.

Find Florian Hoffmeister: Instagram: @florian.hoffmeister

Close Focus: A remembrance of Roger Corman who died this week.

Nikon acquired RED for just $85 million.

Ben’s short end: A YouTube channel called Finzar puts the world’s most expensive editing software, Flame by Autodesk, to the test.

Illya’s short end: Hacks Season 3 on Max.

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