August 25, 2021

Emmy-nominated Mark Doering-Powell, ASC on grown-ish, challenges of single camera comedies, lighting setup tips, the early days of HD video

When Mark Doering-Powell, ASC was hired as the DP of Freeform’s grown-ish after season one, he knew the show had to expand the storylines of each character’s college experience. He was excited to take more of an anthology approach to some of the episodes, and get creative shooting each chapter with multiple looks.

A single camera half-hour comedy such as grown-ish takes about four days to shoot, creating an extremely tight schedule between prepping and shooting. Mark thinks it’s imperative to be in touch with post and the dailies colorist at the end of each day, so everyone can stay on top of the workload. On a rapid schedule it can be challenging to make the show look cinematic, but finding each character’s point of view helps consolidate the work and keeps each shot economical. Mark favors using “swingles” on grown-ish, where the camera swings back and forth between characters on single shots, saving setup times.

With a focus on each college-age character’s personal life and position on social issues as they navigate their early 20’s, the lighting on grown-ish is intended to make the cast look their best, and sometimes Mark employs classic Hollywood portrait lighting techniques using crisp, controllable hard light. Mark also likes to splash hard light onto the set, letting it naturally bounce off of something that is already in the room. He’s learned to focus on lighting the people and then the space- lighting the space can aid lighting the people.

Mark went to art school in New York, studying painting and graphic design until he found the film department and changed his major to film. He then worked as a Photo-sonics technician, which is a special high speed camera for shooting slow motion, on several commercials in the 1980’s and 90’s. But Mark wanted to focus more on filmmaking, so he quit, moved out to L.A. and started working for Roger Corman’s studio in Venice, including camera assisting on Corman’s famously unreleased 1994 version of The Fantastic Four. A documentary about the production called Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four was made in 2015. 

Find Mark Doering-Powell:
Instagram: @instamdp

You can watch grown-ish Season 4 on Freeform:

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April 29, 2020

Carlos González, SVC on working for Roger Corman, Raw Justice, Mutant Species, shooting films vs. TV series, Grey’s Anatomy, Party of Five and becoming a director

The Cinematography Podcast Episode 73: Carlos González

Venezuelan-born cinematographer Carlos González graduated with a degree in architecture before attending film school at AFI in Los Angeles. While attending architecture school, he designed some film sets, and still enjoys collaborating closely with production designers. Carlos says that the experience of discovery when walking into a room as a cinematographer is very similar to the way an architect thinks, but focused on lighting placement and camera movements rather than walls and doors. Carlos started out making low-budget films for Roger Corman with director David Prior such as Raw Justice and Mutant Species. Working on low-budget films enabled him to become “the fast guy” and to develop a quick, basic lighting scheme for each film, a skill he was able to take with him into television series work. He’s shot many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and the remake of Party of Five on Freeform. In the past few years, Carlos has moved into directing, and he is currently in postproduction on a family-friendly movie, The Kid Who Only Hit Homers.

You can see the new Party of Five on Freeform.

Find Carlos González:

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links:

Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz