June 9, 2021

Polly Morgan ASC, BSC on shooting A Quiet Place Part II, Legion, working with John Krasinski, Ellen Kuras, Wally Pfister and more

When cinematographer Polly Morgan reads a script for the first time, she finds herself immersed in images. Her cinematography draws inspiration from art and art history and she finds visuals speak to her on a fundamental level.

For A Quiet Place Part II, Polly knew it was important to reference Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s previous work on A Quiet Place and blend it seamlessly with her own style. Each DP has their own cinematic look, and she was able to settle into her cinematographic method once the family leaves the farmhouse in the film. From the very beginning, Polly talked with director John Krasinski about making the film as immersive and subjective to the characters’ experience as possible. A Quiet Place achieved that look with Charlotte’s primarily handheld, tightly eye-level and over-the-shoulder camerawork. With A Quiet Place Part II, Polly wanted to expand the feel of the camera as the Abbot family’s world grows a bit larger. At its heart, the film is still a family drama about a mother and her children, although there’s a lot more action in Part II compared to the first movie. She included many long oners that start wide and then push into a closeup, combining a slow methodic camera with fast paced, quick cuts to create a push and pull with the viewer’s emotions to keep them on the edge of their seats. Polly and Krasinski decided to never cut away separately to the creatures or the source of the danger- they always keep the danger within the character’s frame, with no escape from what is happening, which keeps it as close and immersive as possible. She and Krasinski prepped for a few weeks in New York City to discuss the look of the film, before going to Buffalo to shoot. They talked about the movie’s rhythm, starting with a slower pace for the prologue, giving the audience a feel for the Abbot’s town and the community before the monsters arrive. Polly found the script very descriptive, providing a roadmap for the composition. Krasinski was also clear on how much coverage for each scene was needed, and they would often shoot a scene in one shot, then move on.

Polly grew up in the countryside in England and loved watching movies as a child. As a teen, a film crew used their farmhouse as basecamp, and she was fascinated to see how movies get made. She knew then that she wanted to pursue a film career. After university in England, she came to Los Angeles to attend AFI, but needed a job between semesters to afford school. Polly learned that Inception was going into production in England, found Wally Pfister’s email, and he hired her as a camera assistant on the film, which served as a great learning experience. When she was first starting out, Polly found it hard to find steady work, but she was able to work on projects in the UK and bounce back and forth until she was hired to shoot season three of Legion on FX. Polly loved the visual surrealistic storytelling of Legion, where the camera plays such an important role in creating the practical visual effects for the show. She was also pleased to have the opportunity to DP for director and cinematographer Ellen Kuras who directed an episode of Legion.

Polly is currently shooting the film, Where The Crawdads Sing.

You can watch A Quiet Place Part II currently playing in theaters.

Find Polly Morgan: https://www.pollymorgan.net/
Instagram @pollymorgan

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep127/

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

April 26, 2020

War Stories Vol. 1: Tales from the Set featuring Russell Carpenter, Jakob Ihre, Ellen Kuras, David Mullen and Kira Kelly

Special: The Cinematography Podcast War Stories Vol. 1

It’s our first War Stories Special! Each of our featured guests shares an insightful, interesting, humorous or crazy story of an experience they had while on set.

Russell Carpenter talks about shooting the iconic “I’m flying” scene from Titanic, Jakob Ihre tells the sobering story about working in Lithuania while shooting HBO’s “Chernobyl,” Ellen Kuras shares a funny story from the set of The Mod Squad, David Mullen on avoiding a landslide while scouting for Big Sur, and Kira Kelly tells about how she endured a particularly difficult work experience.

Do you have a War Story you’d like to share? Send us an email or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/warstories1/

COMING SOON! War Stories Vol. 2.

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

September 2, 2019

Director and Cinematographer Ellen Kuras, ASC: Talks Swoon, I Shot Andy Warhol, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Summer of Sam, Ozark, Wormwood, Catch-22 and more

Ellen Kuras believes that following your gut and listening to your inner voice makes you a great filmmaker. Ellen got her start shooting documentary and indy movies such as “Swoon,” “I Shot Andy Warhol” and “Personal Velocity,” plus several films with Spike Lee including “Bamboozled” and “Summer of Sam.” She discusses working with Michel Gondry, the unique challenges of shooting “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” working with documentarian Errol Morris on “Wormwood” and shooting the Netflix series “Ozark.” Ellen also directed and shot her documentary “The Betrayal-Nerakhoon,” which received an Academy Award nomination. Her current work includes directing some episodes of Hulu’s “Catch-22” and directing the Netflix series “Umbrella Academy.”