The Cinematography Podcast Episode 92: Ben Kutchins

Cinematographer Ben Kutchins feels that in filmmaking, you have to be fully committed to believing the story you’re telling, and your focus must be unwavering when shooting. There is no other story happening in the world other than the story you’re telling. This single-mindedness has served Ben well when shooting the series Ozark for Netflix, which is shot with very controlled light sources and camera movements. Every scene in the show is planned out carefully to reveal more about the story or the character. He and director/producer Jason Bateman wanted it to always look dark and shadowy, and many of the shots in the show are done as “oners,” or one long take. It might take seven to ten takes to get the oner, depending on how intricate it is. Before Ozark, Ben started off exploring still photography as a teen, then landed an internship at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), which led to a production assistant job at ILM. He had the opportunity to use the lab at Lucasfilm to experiment and process film to understand how it could look. But Ben knew his passion was film, so he enrolled at NYU Film School in order to learn more and work with other young filmmakers such as Rachel Morrison and Reed Morano. He shot about 60 short films in two years, then worked on several indie films before getting hired to shoot the Veronica Mars movie and then the Amazon series, Mozart in the Jungle. Shooting Mozart in the Jungle gave Ben the opportunity to work with and learn from very seasoned directors. He thinks working in television has been an amazing opportunity to collaborate with other DPs and that television has helped him develop a style and hone his craft.

You can find Ozark season three streaming on Netflix.

Find Ben Kutchins

Instagram: @benkutchins

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Close Focus: Emmy Awards 2020: Congrats to our former guests and Emmy winners M. David Mullen and Greig Fraser. The 2020 Emmy awards was a close competition between HBO and Netflix more than anything else.

Ben’s short end: Grizzly II: Revenge, shot in 1983 in communist Hungary by famous cinematographer Lazlo Kovacs and featuring performances by George Clooney, Charlie Sheen and Laura Dern. The film was never finished because the executive producer disappeared with the money. It was finally finished in 2018 and was recently released. This article in The Ringer tells the crazy story behind the movie.

Illya’s short end: The Amazon Prime series The Boys takes the idea of what the modern superhero genre would actually look like: all-powerful psychopaths controlled by publicists and corporate overlords, and the group of renegades who want to expose the Supes for who they really are. Season 2 is now streaming.

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Facebook:@cinepod

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Podcast Credits:

Editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman@hotrodcameras

Instagram: @illyafriedman

Ben Rock:  Twitter: @neptunesalad

Instagram: @bejamin_rock

Producer: Alana Kode

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Alatractchi

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