For the second season of the Marvel series Loki, cinematographer Isaac Bauman decided to bring his own unique look to the show, especially when it came to the lighting design. Loki Season 1 DP Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC brought a lot of herself and her own unique look to the show. But Isaac feels that his approach to cinematography is very different from Autumn’s, and he wanted to creatively stick his neck out to define his own voice for season two. During his initial interview for Loki, Isaac presented a detailed vision to directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead of how he would have shot scenes differently for season one. Once he was hired for season two, Isaac created an extremely detailed bible for the lighting and look of Loki. Season 2 is a mix of 1970’s-inspired lighting and color palette, with warm browns, yellows and oranges within the TVA, shifting to cooler blues and greens with rainbow hues further down in the control room as the timelines begin to collapse.
Loki Season 2 utilizes wide angles, handheld camerawork and monochromatic colors. As with season one, the sets are often full 360-degree builds, so that every possible environment has four walls and a ceiling. The lighting was also achieved with all practicals on set, with a lighting rig built into the ceiling. Isaac had to learn to work with the scenes being lit from overhead, which is not a very flattering look for the actors. He introduced a lot of handheld camera movement into season two, which would have made it challenging to have lights on the set. Instead, for a little extra light on the actors’ faces, they often used a battery powered gem ball LED on the eyeline of the actors. The shoot for season two was more dynamic, as the actors were allowed to move more freely around the set, with the cameras just following and panning between the characters, using wide spherical lenses. Isaac loves shooting on a stage, because he loves being able to control all of the lighting.
Isaac went to USC Film School where he met his friend, director Lee Roy Kunz, who convinced him to drop out and shoot their first feature film, A Beer Tale. He then started shooting low budget rap videos, which led to bigger music videos, which led to commercials and feature films. Growing up, he made his own video projects at home using a camcorder, but it wasn’t until film school that Isaac realized that working with the camera, image and lighting was his true passion.
Find Issac Bauman: https://www.isaacbauman.com/
Loki Season 2 is currently available on Disney+.
Hear our interview with Loki Season 1 cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC. https://www.camnoir.com/ep193/
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The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com