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

July 13, 2022

Cinematographer Chris Teague on the Hulu series Only Murders in the Building

Cinematographer Chris Teague has shot many acclaimed television series and films such as Obvious Child, GLOW, Russian Doll and Mrs. America. His latest work is on the Hulu series, Only Murders in the Building, both Season One and Season Two, and he also directed episodes seven and eight of Season Two.

Only Murders in the Building has many different tones, ranging from funny to dark, dramatic and even scary. The show manages to strike a balance to keep the darkness from undermining the comedy. As the DP, Chris created a very cinematic and timeless look and feel for the show, which is mainly shot on sets that are meticulously built and planned. Each episode takes about 6 ½ days to shoot, and Chris and the crew are able to create visually interesting shots that feel very natural because of having such well built sets with excellent lighting. Actors Martin Short and Steve Martin have such a rapport, and their friend dynamic is baked into the script- the two actually don’t do very much improv or riffing. If they do come up with something, Martin and Short run the line changes through for the crew to see how they play. Chris has enjoyed coming back to work on a second season of the show, because he has a body of work to reference and the crew knows the look of the show really well.

As a kid, Chris made lots of short movies with friends growing up, and always loved photography and writing. It seemed a natural fit to go to film school and he decided to pursue cinematography full time after the film he shot, Obvious Child, went to Sundance in 2014.

Find Chris Teague: http://www.christeaguefilm.com
Instagram @_christeague

Only Murders in the Building Season 2 is currently airing on Hulu.

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep174/

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

May 25, 2022

Filmmakers James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte on their new documentary series, The Big Conn

James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte are Emmy-nominated documentary directors and producers for the HBO documentary series, McMillion$. Brian and James return to Cinepod to talk about their latest documentary, The Big Conn, now airing on Apple TV+.

The Big Conn is a four-part documentary series that tells the unbelievable true story of larger-than-life attorney, Eric C. Conn. Conn stole over half a billion dollars from the government and taxpayers in the largest Social Security fraud case in United States history. Conn got away with it for more than 10 years before two whistleblowers told the FBI what he was doing and Conn went on the run.

Documentary filmmaking has grown and elevated as an art over the years, and James and Brian take a cinematic approach to the form. Their previous documentary series, McMillion$ had a thread of comedy throughout, with such interesting characters that it reminded them of a Coen brothers movie. For The Big Conn, Brian and James took a similar approach. They dive deep into Eric Conn’s life, using comedy to hold the audience’s interest, but underneath it’s a very serious exposé about the broken American Social Security system.

To put together such sprawling stories, James and Brian create a story outline, determine who the interviewees should be, interview the characters, write a script and then decide where they need to put in animated graphics, archival footage and recreations during the editing process. Talented cinematographer Jeff Dolan has worked with the team for years, shooting both interviews and recreations on The Big Conn and McMillion$. Brian and James planned out and put together a guide for lighting and shot composition for the look of the interviews, based on shots from scripted movies they love.

The Big Conn is a 4-part documentary series currently airing on Apple TV+.

James and Brian have a podcast to accompany The Big Conn, diving deeper into the story and subject matter. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-big-conn-the-official-podcast/id1621583098

Fun Meter, James and Brian’s production company: https://www.funmetermedia.com/
Instagram: @funmeterofficial

James Lee Hernandez: @iamthejlh
Brian Lazarte: @bdlazarte

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep169/

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

April 27, 2022

Cinematographer Eliot Rockett on the period horror film X, working with director Ti West, techniques of shooting horror

Cinematographer Eliot Rockett is a frequent collaborator with Ti West, who is a well known director/writer/editor for horror fans. West and Eliot’s latest film, X, is a classic slasher/horror movie set in 1979, at the time when the popularity of porn movies and slasher films were at their height. With X, West decided to write an erotic horror film that combines elements of both genres. The film is about a group of aspiring filmmakers who head to a remote farm to shoot a porno, but aren’t completely transparent with the elderly couple who owns the property what kind of movie they’re making. Then the bloodbath begins.

Interestingly, Eliot is actually not a big horror fan- he dislikes feeling anxious and tense. But after shooting so many films in this genre, he genuinely appreciates how important the cinematographer is to making a horror movie. In horror, the camera is the instrument that takes the audience through the experience. The camera setups, angles, and lighting choices are incredibly important to setting the tone- more than any other genre. The characters and dialog are usually secondary, unlike dramas or romantic comedies. Eliot first learned some tips about how to shoot a horror film on the movie Crocodile with director Toby Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Hooper explained some of the finer points to creating “seat jumper” moments, based on keeping the camera static and not cutting away.

Eliot and director Ti West also worked together on The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. West is known for creating a suspenseful slow burn, starting off at a normal pace, then progressively building into a manic frenzy of blood and guts to the end. Eliot has always been involved in the filmmaking process early on, and the two share similar ideas about aesthetics and cinema. They discuss far in advance how the drama is going to unfold and figure out how to achieve those goals. Once shooting begins, Eliot and West work smoothly together because the movie is well understood.

Eliot shot Pearl, the prequel to X, directly after they wrapped X. The production was based in New Zealand in early 2021, still during the height of the COVID pandemic, and it made sense to roll right into pre-production on Pearl and stay longer to shoot the movie, using production crews in New Zealand for both films. Pearl is a completely different sort of horror movie and is almost a musical, with dance numbers and lots of color saturation. Eliot calls it “the best feel bad movie you’ll ever see.”

Eliot Rockett is currently shooting Season 2 of Perry Mason for HBO.

Find Eliot Rockett: https://www.eliotrockett.com/
Instagram: @elrockett and @eliotrockett

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep166/

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

March 16, 2022

Director Mariama Diallo and cinematographer Charlotte Hornsby on the horror film Master

The horror film Master explores the idea of institutional and historic racism at an elite, mostly white college campus, as two Black women are stalked by evil spirits. Director and screenwriter Mariama Diallo is a lifelong horror fan, and sees the horror genre as an expression of anxiety. She feels that horror frees you to talk about ideas that are disturbing and unsettling at their core.

Master incorporates some of Mariama’s personal experiences as an undergrad at Yale, where the advisors/mentors were called Master. As an African American, Mariama later found it bizarre and perverse to have referred to someone in this way. She knew she wanted to make a film called Master, and examine the scary realities of what that word means. Once she began to write, Mariama found that accessing her memories of being a Black woman at an elite university felt painful and horrifying, so she knew this was where the script needed to go. She started imagining how to picture the school- orderly, controlled, static and a looming presence. When the malevolent spirit appears, it is a jarring, violent rupture to the polite presentation of the school.

Mariama and cinematographer Charlotte Hornsby worked together on her short film Hair Wolf, and they knew they shared the same ideas and influences. As they got into preproduction on Master, they watched movies, had long discussions about the look of the film, and shotlisted the film together. Prior to becoming a DP, Charlotte was an art director, so she has a deep understanding of using color in her work. Charlotte was definitely influenced by the color palette in Suspira and chose to use shades of red and experimented with using shadows for a haunted feel. Charlotte also liked the use of zoom lenses in movies such as Rosemary’s Baby, and used a long slow zoom in Master to key into the pace of the scene. She chose to represent the POV of the supernatural forces watching from a distance with a zoom lens, while putting the camera on a dolly to act as the character’s perspective.

Find Mariama Diallo: Instagram: @diallogiallo

Find Charlotte Hornsby: https://charlottehornsby.com/
Instagram: @charlottehornsby_

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep163/

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

February 16, 2022

Catch The Fair One director Josef Kubota Wladyka and actor/screenwriter Kali Reis

Catch the Fair One is about Kaylee “K.O.” Uppashaw, a mixed Indigenous boxer who is searching for her sister, Weeta, who has been missing for two years. K.O. sets off on a dark and dangerous journey as she willingly allows herself to be exploited by a sex trafficking ring to find out what happened to her sister. Catch the Fair One is the second feature for Josef Kubota Wladyka, who has also directed episodes of Narcos, Fear the Walking Dead and The Terror. It’s the acting debut for Kali Reis, who is an Indigenous/Cape Verdean world champion boxer and activist for missing and murdered Indigenous women of North America.

Josef met Kali through a friend’s boxing gym. Watching her train and box helped Josef form an idea for the story of Catch the Fair One and he wanted a collaborative partner who could help shine a light on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. With such dark subject matter, Kali and Josef knew they wanted the film to be a thriller, with themes of pain, loss, and regret that intentionally draws the audience in. Kali enjoyed being a part of the creative writing process. Though she had never written a script before, she feels she drew on her ancestors’ tradition of storytelling and it felt natural. Kali was able to write her own character, building Kaylee from the ground up. Josef and Kali shoot a lot of rough footage, working out different character and script ideas. Kali also trained at an acting boot camp to help her learn acting and character work. Josef felt fortunate to work with Darren Aronofsky, who came on board as executive producer, and he gave Josef feedback on the movie to help bring it into focus.

Find Kali Reis: Instagram: @ko_ndnbxr
Twitter: @KO_Reis86

Catch The Fair One opened February 11th in theaters and on demand. https://www.catchthefairone.movie/

Learn more about Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women: https://www.nativewomenswilderness.org/mmiw

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep159/

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

January 26, 2022

Cinematographer Ari Wegner, ACS on shooting The Power of the Dog, working with director Jane Campion

Ari Wegner, ACS became a fan of director Jane Campion after seeing her short films in high school. Seeing those films opened Ari’s eyes to the possibilities of choosing filmmaking as a career. Several years later, she had an opportunity to work with Campion on a commercial in Sydney, Australia and found they shared a similar working aesthetic. Campion contacted her next about shooting The Power of the Dog, and wanted to work closely with Ari on prepping the film over the course of a year. Most DPs only have a few weeks to meet with the director, location scout, and prep the film. They began with location scouting in New Zealand, Campion’s home country, searching for the right mountains as the backdrop. The Power of the Dog takes place in 1920’s Montana, so finding the right location to build an entire ranch set was also important. Ari and Campion agreed that the colors in the film should reflect the natural environment of cattle, sun, dust, golden grass, and brown leather. The color palette was key to unifying the look of the film, from the costumes to even the color of the cows.

Ari and Campion spent the last month before the shoot storyboarding every scene, in a cabin closer to the set. As the set was being built, they would go to the location and walk through it to figure out if the shots were going to work. The ranch house exterior was built on location, while the interiors were built on a stage. The script also required knowing exactly where the actor’s eyelines would be as the characters stalk and spy on each other, so Ari needed to know the layout of the house very well so that the shots lined up just right. Campion always uses storyboards as plan A, and is open to things changing once the actors physically embody the characters and find their own unique moments and flow. Ari often filmed handheld in order to move in on the actor’s faces to capture the quiet moments, expressions and unsaid private thoughts of each character.

Ari’s work on The Power of the Dog was just nominated for an ASC Award.

Find Ari Wegner: https://luxartists.net/ari-wegner/
Instagram: @ariwegner

You can see The Power of the Dog on Netflix

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep156/

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 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 15, 2021

Oscar winning cinematographer Robert Elswit, ASC on King Richard, Nightcrawler, Boogie Nights and Magnolia

Legendary cinematographer Robert Elswit has shot a wide range of movies, including Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood- which won him the Academy Award for Best Cinematography- Magnolia, Good Night and Good Luck, Tomorrow Never Dies, The Bourne Legacy, two Mission Impossible movies, and of course Return of the Living Dead Part 2.

Robert’s latest film is King Richard, a biopic that tells the story of how Richard Williams, the father of tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, was determined to shape his daughters into champions. From the beginning, Robert and director Reinaldo Marcus Green wanted the tennis to be realistic. They watched many other tennis movies and didn’t find the speed and athleticism of the actors to be believable. They knew it was going to be tricky dealing with actors pretending to be tennis players. Fortunately, the story was about Venus and Serena developing and honing their tennis skills, so the playing didn’t have to look perfect. The matches were carefully designed around scripted beats that moved the story forward. Robert and Green decided to show only specific moments of the matches, including how Venus and Serena interacted with other players, how the parents interacted with their kids, and how Richard interacted with the coaches and his kids. They were careful in thinking about how to shoot the match, keeping it as interesting and as believable as it could be in terms of speed and athleticism but also making sure that the audience understands what is happening emotionally with the characters. For the look of King Richard, Robert chose several different types of filters and diffusion to represent the light in Compton, but didn’t use as many for Florida, so that the sun could feel more bright and harsh.

Robert’s throughline for Los Angeles for the film Nightcrawler was shooting the ribbons of freeways that run through the Valley, as the main character Louis Bloom drives around LA looking for crime as a news stringer. It was impossible to fake it with a green screen. Robert, the cast and crew had to literally drive around and shoot Los Angeles at night. They had no time or budget to light things, so they scouted locations that were already lit. He took advantage of the street lights and the ambient light from billboards and stores. This approach gave the movie its distinctly seedy look, and Robert felt it was clearly the only approach that fit the script.

You can see King Richard on HBO Max.

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep151/

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 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

November 3, 2021

Dan Attias, Emmy-nominated director and author of Directing Great Television: Inside TV’s New Golden Age

Dan Attias has directed dozens of episodes of critically acclaimed television shows such as The Wire, The Sopranos, Homeland, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Americans, Billions, and many more. His years of experience led him to write the book, Directing Great Television: Inside TV’s New Golden Age. The book is not only for those who want to direct, but also for fans who want to know how these shows are made.

In college, Dan studied acting and had to make a short film as part of his film studies. He found he enjoyed being behind the camera as a director, and continued to study film with an eye to directing. Dan started working on several big movies as an assistant director, such as E.T., One From the Heart, Airplane! and Twilight Zone: The Movie. His first directing job was on Stephen King’s Silver Bullet, a werewolf horror movie produced by Dino De Laurentiis.

Dan finds the best way to approach directing a television show is to get invested in the story by finding what interests you in the script. In series television, directors often don’t even get the script until a few days before they’re going to direct it. If the show already exists, Dan likes to immerse himself in the show, watching several episodes and asking the production to send over past scripts. Directing one episode of a long-running show is like writing just one chapter of a novel- it needs to fit in seamlessly to the entire story, while still feeling compelling and propelling the story forward. A director of episodic TV has to balance making it their story while still executing the showrunner’s vision and honoring the intention of the writers. Dan also likes to explore every scene of the episode he’s directing with the writers during a tone meeting. He often asks, what is the story being told? The story isn’t simply what happens, but the meaning that you give to what happens- where you’re directing the audience’s focus. Make sure you keep asking yourself, how does it make me feel? The director must be able to dig down with the actors and come up with an interesting subtext to the story if the scene needs a boost.

Find Dan Attias: www.danattias.com

Directing Great Television: Inside TV’s New Golden Age is available on Amazon.

WIN an autographed copy of Directing Great Television! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and comment on our post for this episode!

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep146/

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 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