October 6, 2021

Cinematographer Maz Makhani on the Netflix film The Guilty, directed by Antoine Fuqua

The new Netflix movie, The Guilty follows Jake Gyllenhaal as Joe Baylor, an LAPD police detective who has been demoted to working at a call center as a 911 dispatcher. The film was shot during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in November of 2020 in just 11 days with a very small cast and crew on a controlled soundstage. Additional actors remotely voiced their roles as 911 callers seeking help.

Cinematographer Maz Makhani and director Antoine Fuqua had about one day of prep together before they started shooting. Maz and Fuqua walked through the set with Gyllenhaal for rehearsal while working out the blocking and coverage. Once the shoot day arrived, Fuqua could not physically be present as he had to quarantine after a COVID scare. He ended up directing the film remotely from a van parked outside. They wanted the film to have a “God’s Eye” perspective, so Maz used a very wide lens that showed the entire room. Antoine and Maz both favor a high-contrast lighting style that helped the dark subject matter, making the film feel real and raw. They mainly used the ambient light from the screens on the set and three digital cameras so that it had a more live and urgent feel. Since Antoine could not be on set, it was fortunate they chose digital so that he could see what was happening via a remote feed in real time and could communicate via text, cell phone and radio.

Find Maz Makhani: Instagram @mazmakhani_dp

You can see The Guilty on Netflix

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep142/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

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The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
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