August 3, 2022

Jules O’Loughlin ASC, ACS on shooting the FX series The Old Man and Disney+ series Ms. Marvel

Australian cinematographer Jules O’Loughlin’s path to movie making was a long journey. After graduating from the prestigious AFTRS- Australian Film Television and Radio School- he worked steadily and shot a wide range of films and TV shows including the action movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard, the series Black Sails, the horror movie Krampus and the children’s film Come Away. His recent work on two series, The Old Man and Ms. Marvel, show off his ability to visually transport audiences to other worlds.

The FX action spy series The Old Man began shooting in the fall of 2019. Jeff Bridges plays Dan Chase, a retired CIA agent whose old enemies are still hunting him. The series is very well acted, with great dialog scenes between Bridges and John Lithgow. Jules believes that as a cinematographer, it’s important to tread softly, be respectful and give the actors space to work without technical distractions. Jules shot two episodes of the series, with a planned location shoot in Morocco which was standing in for Afghanistan. But in March of 2020 the entire production shut down because of the pandemic. After a few months, production resumed and the desert around Santa Clarita, CA became the Afghanistan location. Unfortunately, shortly after that, Jeff Bridges, who actually did a lot of the fight scenes himself, was diagnosed with lymphoma. Bridges’ stunt double stepped in and the VFX team used some digital face replacement for certain parts while he was undergoing treatment. Despite all the setbacks, The Old Man has been a hit and is coming back for a second season.

The Disney+ series Ms. Marvel is about young Pakistani-American teen Kamala Khan, who discovers she has super powers after putting on a magic bracelet. The show is energetic, vibrant and colorful, reflecting Kamala’s personality and South Asian culture. Jules and director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy knew they could create a slightly different look for episodes four and five, since they take place in the Pakistan city of Karachi. Obaid-Chinoy is an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, and she and Jules chose to use more handheld cameras to explore the story’s historic narrative as Kamala travels through time to learn more about her family’s past. Ms. Marvel has brought an enthusiastic younger audience who are responding to Kamala’s cultural identity. In Pakistan. Ms. Marvel is showing in movie theaters, since Disney+ is not available.

Jules is currently working on Percy Jackson and the Olympians for Disney+, which involves some new challenges using LED screens on the soundstage.

Find Jules O’Loughlin: https://www.julesoloughlin.com/
Instagram: @jules.oloughlin

The Old Man is on Hulu and Ms. Marvel is available on Disney+. Both shows are currently streaming all episodes.

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep177/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com
Sponsored by Aputure: https://www.aputure.com/

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

June 8, 2022

Director Carey Williams and DP Mike Dallatorre on directing and shooting the film Emergency

Emergency is a comedy about three men of color- college roommates Kunle, Sean, and Carlos, who are about to go out for an epic night of spring break partying when they find a white girl has accidentally stumbled in and passed out on their apartment floor. Concerned about what might happen if they call the police, they decide to take the semi-conscious girl in their van and drive around town for hours, trying to find a safe place to leave her and not get in trouble. Meanwhile, the girl’s friends chase after the men as they track her phone and call the police.

Director Carey Williams and cinematographer Mike Dallatorre met about twenty years ago and have worked together on several music videos and other projects. Emergency began as a 2018 short film directed by Carey and shot by Mike. The short won a jury award at the Sundance Film Festival and Best Narrative Short at SXSW. Carey and writer KD Dávila worked together to expand the story into a feature, and Temple Hill Entertainment and Amazon Studios produced it before the feature premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

As two men of color themselves, both Carey and Mike have had personal experience with being profiled and detained by police officers. In Emergency, once the roommates are caught and detained by the police, Mike and Carey decided to make the film feel extremely terrifying, shooting the encounter in slow motion and selectively out of focus. Mike deliberately kept the police officer’s faces out of frame so that they feel like scary monsters in a horror movie.

Having worked together for so long, Mike and Carey had an easy shorthand way of talking through the shotlist and visual feel for each scene, and put together a look book as a reference. Emergency is Carey’s biggest movie to date, while Mike brought a lot of experience with seven other features under his belt. As a visual director, Carey always wanted to know what the movie would look like and feel like. The most important piece of the movie for Carey was to show the relationship between the friends, their emotions and vulnerability as they go through a crisis together.

Emergency is currently playing in theaters and on Amazon Prime.

Carey Williams http://cdubfilms.com/
Instagram @cdubig

Mike Dallatorre: https://www.michaeldallatorre.com/
Instagram @dp_miked

Hear our previous Cinepod interview with Mike Dallatorre: https://www.camnoir.com/ep70/

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep171/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com
Sponsored by Aputure: https://www.aputure.com/

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

December 8, 2021

Jeff Cronenweth, ASC on Being the Ricardos, working with Aaron Sorkin, shooting a 1950s period film

Jeff Cronenweth, ASC understands that creating a period piece such as the film, Being the Ricardos, involves lighting and set design, period costumes, hair and makeup styles, and of course, positioning the camera. For today’s more sophisticated and contemporary audiences, everything must be shot in a more dynamic way than in the staid 1950’s style. Jeff and director Aaron Sorkin had the TV show I Love Lucy to work from as well as photographs from the I Love Lucy set, which were invaluable for recreating scenes for the movie. They also watched films that take place in the 1950’s such as LA Confidential, Carol, and Peggy Sue Got Married, to see how those filmmakers approached the time period, while carefully crafting their own unique vision of what 1952 looked like. Jeff created four looks for the time periods within Being the Ricardos: 1952, where most of the story takes place; contemporary interviews from the mid-90’s by the story’s narrators; the 1940’s with flashbacks to when Lucy and Desi first met; and then black and white footage paying homage to I Love Lucy that represents what is going on in Lucy’s imagination. For the black and white sequences, Jeff embraced the theatrical “fashion noir” look using a starlight/hard light method for portrait photography from that time period.

Jeff and director Aaron Sorkin had previously worked together on The Social Network for just one scene. Being the Ricardos was their first real opportunity to collaborate for a longer amount of time. Aaron Sorkin is known for crafting fast and complex back and forth dialog, and his writing style was similar for Being the Ricardos- tight, structured, and well thought out with brilliant dialog. Jeff found Sorkin’s script created a sturdy framework for the entire movie- when the script is really confident and solid, everyone else on the film has a clear map of how and where they can be creative within those parameters. As the cinematographer, Jeff knew the actors would have fast, overlapping lines and were on an emotional roller coaster as they navigate through a crisis. He used lenses with a very close focus to give the feel that the characters were in a world that made them feel vulnerable and alone. He decided to use as much contrast as possible, balancing light and dark throughout the movie while still creating richness and depth with points of light in the background.

Being the Ricardos is in theaters December 10 and will be on Amazon Prime Video December 21, 2021

Find Jeff Cronenweth: https://www.ddatalent.com/client/jeff-cronenweth-asc-narrative

Instagram: #jeffcronenweth

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep150/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! https://www.assemble.tv/
Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! https://youtu.be/IlpismVjab8

Sponsored by Arri: https://www.arri.com/en

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

August 17, 2021

Checco Varese, ASC on THEM and working in the horror genre

Our returning guest Checco Varese, ASC talks to The Cinepod about his latest work on the Amazon Prime show, THEM. As a trained architect, Checco finds some of the same techniques are useful in cinematography, such as understanding the use of space, flow, color, art and construction. Having spatial awareness as a cinematographer helps in understanding physically where the camera can go to allow it enough room during set design.

THEM is a period piece about a Black family that moves to an all-white neighborhood in 1950’s Southern California, and the terror they experience at the hands of their neighbors and a supernatural force. Checco and showrunner/creator Little Marvin discussed at length how they wanted THEM to look. Little Marvin described it as taking the classic look of a 1950’s movie with the camera language of 1970’s films like The French Connection and The Deer Hunter, using the tricks of 1990’s music videos and the technology of 2021. Checco and fellow DP Xavier Grobet traded off shooting episodes, and they both really enjoyed prepping and collaborating together. They decided to avoid the color red in the set and costume design, so that when red does appear in the show, it’s shocking and more frightening.

Checco has been the director of photography on a few horror films and series, but he is choosy about what kind of frightening subject he wants to work on, and considers what the subtext is beneath each story. Humanity has always tried to make social injustice or social advancement digestible through a medium, and the horror genre is a great way to push the envelope. Checco sees a common thread in three of the scary projects he’s shot. The Strain was about vampire creatures that take over the world, which are a metaphor for outsiders, or even immigrants. IT Chapter Two is a drama about outsiders who have to deal with their past, and THEM is about the horrors of racism, redlining and injustice.

You can watch THEM on Amazon Prime.

Checco’s latest show, Dopesick, a drama series about the opioid crisis, will be streaming on Hulu in October.

Find Checco Varese: http://www.checcovarese.com/

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep136/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

June 23, 2021

Cinematographer Dan Stoloff on shooting The Boys on Amazon Prime, The Americans and Suits

Over his long career, cinematographer Dan Stoloff feels he’s always learning as a DP. Every job, even if it seems small, is an opportunity to meet people and build relationships.

Dan’s latest project, The Boys season two on Amazon Prime, plays with the idea that superheroes in that world are actually just corrupt and possibly psychotic people with special powers, who behave in ways that are anything but super. They have celebrity, play politics, and use publicists and the media to manipulate their image. A small group of people- “The Boys” in the show’s title- band together to expose the superheroes and the corporation they work for. Dan likes that the show stays relatable and not to fantastical. When he came on board for the second season of The Boys, Dan knew he wanted to change the look as the story moves forward. The first season presented a slick, neatly packaged corporate world for the superheroes which was shot with a Steadicam, while the grittier world of the regular guys who are trying to expose and take down the supers was done handheld. For the second season, the two worlds have started to clash and unravel, so Dan gave everything a more ragged look. He decided to adhere more closely to the graphic novel of The Boys, sometimes using black silhouettes and contrasts such as subtractive lighting, positioning the actors against a dark background. Dan also enjoyed that season two presented a variety of scenes to shoot with different cameras, equipment, lighting scenarios and lenses, such as a big-budget hero movie, newscasts, an awards show, a country farmhouse and a gritty basement.

In Dan’s early career, he moved from Boston to New York, after having shot several claymation films. He began shooting comedy projects for Broadway Video, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michael’s production company, and got a call to shoot The State, a 1990’s MTV sketch comedy show shot on 16mm. But Dan hadn’t considered television as a serious place for artistic expression until The Sopranos opened his eyes to the possibilities of a quality series. By then, the mid-budget independent features that Dan had worked on started to dry up, and he began seeking out jobs on television series. After landing his first television series, Memphis Beat, Dan found he likes the precision, continuity, and security of TV. He went on to DP the show Fairly Legal and then worked for nearly five seasons as the cinematographer of the USA show Suits. On Suits, Dan learned a lot about shooting through multiple levels of glass, playing with reflections and bouncing outdoor light to make it look more natural even within an office building or conference room.

Prior to The Boys, Dan shot season six of The Americans on FX. In season six, more of The Americans takes place in Russia, and some of the street scenes and exteriors were actually shot there, though most of the interiors were shot on a soundstage. Dan wanted to differentiate between the two countries, keeping the colors to a green and cyan palette for Russia so that it felt cold, while in contrast the American scenes were shot in full, rich color.

You can find Dan Stoloff: http://danstoloff.com/
You can watch Season Two of The Boys streaming on Amazon Prime.

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep129/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

Website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNQIhe3yjQJG72EjZJBRI1w
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

October 6, 2020

Rodrigo Prieto, ASC on The Glorias, Frida, working with Julie Taymor, Martin Scorsese, Alejandro González Iñárritu

When Rodrigo Prieto meets with a director, he comes with a clean slate and a present state of mind to hear their vision. Rodrigo first met Julie Taymor in New York to talk about filming Frida. He had just finished shooting Amores Perros with director Alejandro González Iñárritu and decided to move to Los Angeles from Mexico City. For Rodrigo, Frida Kahlo’s work was very influential, and he was eager to work on a film about her life. He found that Julie Taymor loves collaborating with her team on her movies and is open to other’s input, but knows what she wants and pushes for it. Working with a theatrical director means her ideas tend to be more representative and symbolic, rather than the naturalistic realism seen in most movies. For The Glorias, Rodrigo and Julie had to determine how realistically they wanted to portray some of the events in Gloria Steinem’s life. In one scene, Rodrigo and the crew had to recreate the tornado from The Wizard of Oz, with the four Glorias as the witches on brooms. The crew built a 70’s era TV studio, rigged lights and a green screen with a camera on a crane and the actresses on wires on brooms. They also decided early on to shoot the bus scenes in black and white, with color sequences showing outside the windows.

You can watch The Glorias streaming on Amazon Prime.

A new color timed version of Amores Perros will be coming out from Criterion Collection.

Find Rodrigo Prieto, Instagram: @rpstam

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep94/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

September 29, 2020

Director Julie Taymor on her new biopic film, The Glorias, her work on Frida, Titus, Across the Universe and the Broadway theatrical production of The Lion King

The incredibly talented Julie Taymor is nearly an EGOT- she’s won an Emmy, a Grammy, multiple Tony awards, and was Oscar-nominated for her work. She is a playwright, director, songwriter, and costume designer for both the stage and film. Julie is a rare thing- a theater director who can also helm amazing films. She thinks this is because most theater directors are really not very visual- they focus more on acting and dialog. When directing her films, Julie feels it’s important to be selective and understand what you can achieve with a camera such as with lenses and lighting, vs. what can be done on a stage like The Lion King with giant set pieces, puppets, props and costumes.

Julie’s latest film, The Glorias, is a biopic about women’s rights activist and feminist icon, Gloria Steinem. Julie worked with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and many visual effects artists to create several surrealist fantasy sequences in The Glorias. The film has a very imaginative and creative way of telling Gloria’s story, through multiple actors playing Steinem at different ages, who speak and interact with each other. In some scenes, the Glorias ride a Greyhound bus together to depict Steinem’s interior landscape through the stages of her life. Julie decided to use several different color motifs, working with red shoes as a wardrobe choice and sometimes black and white to help get her themes across. She took a similar approach in the film Frida, which used vibrant colors and specific materials such as chrome and steel to depict the different locations where Frida Kahlo traveled and worked.

You can watch The Glorias streaming on Amazon Prime September 30.

Find Julie Taymor: http://grandlarge.tv/directors/julie-taymor/

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep93/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

WIN a Sony A7SIII, Gitzo tripod and $100 Hot Rod Cameras gift card! Worth over $4,000, for one lucky winner! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and click on the link in bio to enter by September 29, 2020.

Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

September 21, 2020

Ben Kutchins, Emmy-nominated cinematographer of Ozark, on creating the look of the show, working with Jason Bateman, the Veronica Mars movie, Mozart in the Jungle

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: http://www.benkutchins.com/
Instagram: @benkutchins

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep92/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

WIN a Sony A7SIII, Gitzo tripod and $100 Hot Rod Cameras gift card! Worth over $4,000, for one lucky winner! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and click on the link in bio to enter by September 29, 2020.

Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

August 30, 2020

Jas Shelton, Emmy-nominated cinematographer on Homecoming Season 2, working with the Duplass brothers, Keanu with Key and Peele, The Stanford Prison Experiment

Jas Shelton’s career has spanned nearly every genre, from comedy to horror and suspense. Jas grew up in East Texas and attended the University of Texas in Austin. He had difficulty getting into the film program, so he started shooting music videos for bands, then began shooting student films. Austin was a hub for fairly large films at the time, where Jas found work as a gaffer or on second unit, including Miss Congeniality, Varsity Blues, and The Ladykillers. When he and director Kyle Alvarez began planning for the second season of Homecoming on Amazon, they chose to use a different color palette from season one, with darker, moodier looks for the flashback sequences vs. the present day. They were influenced by the look of 70’s movies and Brian DePalma films, with slow push-in zooms on the characters, several split-screen sequences and off-center framing. Jas shot all seven episodes of the series, and has received an Emmy nomination for his work. Jas had also worked with Kyle Alvarez on The Stanford Prison Experiment, which was another challenging project since most of it was shot on a white laboratory set, but careful use of close-ups and shadow helped bring more depth to the film. Jas’s tight camerawork and careful planning for Homecoming was a much different approach from Jas’s previous work with the Duplass brothers on the series Togetherness, The Do-Deca-Pentathalon and Cyrus. Mark and Jay Duplass favor a rough, homemade, documentary style, with lots of improvisation, so scenes often began with close ups on long lenses, with wider shots at the end. For the film Keanu, Jas’s experience with more improvisational filmmaking was useful, since Jordan Peele would often rewrite scenes right before shooting.

See Homecoming season 2 on Amazon Prime

Find Jas Shelton: https://www.jasshelton.com/
Instagram: @jasshelton

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep89/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com
Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

May 9, 2019

Ep 34 – Lije Sarki – The Writer, Director and Producer, discusses making the beautiful new movie, Concrete Kids

Writer, Director, Producer, Lije Sarki talks to Illya about his latest project, Concrete Kids. The movie follows two nine year old boys on one adventurous night in Los Angeles. Lije discusses wearing many hats as the writer, director, and producer of the project, willing a project like this into being and aesthetic choices that served the production .  Concrete Kids was shot in 17 nights with a budget of only $25K.  Lije talks about the challenge of the search for the two young leads, shooting with kids almost entirely at night, and then securing sales and distribution for feature film.