July 28, 2021

Cinematographer Adam Bricker on shooting the Emmy-nominated series Hacks, Chef’s Table and more

One of Adam Bricker’s favorite things about being a cinematographer is the opportunity to collaborate with different filmmakers, try something new and make each project the best it can be. His most recent project is the HBO Max comedy series Hacks, which just earned him an Emmy nomination for best cinematography. Adam was given the scripts for the first two episodes, and loved the pilot script, which opens with a long Steadicam single shot following behind the main character, Deborah Vance, played by Jean Smart, for two minutes, until her character is finally revealed in the dressing room vanity mirror. Adam knew it’s a rare thing to find a half-hour comedy with that level of cinema, and he was excited to shoot the show. Hacks takes place in Las Vegas, about a legendary comedian who is losing relevance and fading from the spotlight. Adam and show creator Lucia Aniello used vintage Las Vegas movies and photos as a reference point, as well as films such as Soderberg’s Behind The Candelabra and Judy with Renée Zellweger. Adam likes to set the look based on how the viewer is supposed to feel, and he makes notes in his scripts about what emotions should be felt in each scene. Most of Hacks is filmed on tripods and dollies, but for the verbal duels between characters Deborah Vance and Ava, her young comedy writer/protégé, Adam chose to shoot handheld, which gives those scenes more energy and naturalism. Lighting on the show goes from naturalistic, when Deborah is at home or when Ava is in Los Angeles, contrasted with vintage glamorous stage lighting when Deborah performs her comedy act.

Adam grew up in Chicago and attended film school there before attending the USC summer cinema program, which inspired him to transfer to USC and continue studying cinematography. After college, Adam began taking as many jobs as he could, and planned to work his way up through the camera department, before a DP mentor suggested he buy a camera and take as many cinematography jobs as possible. He and a group of friends invested in a Red One digital camera, and Adam shot dozens of music videos and low-budget films.

The Netflix series Chef’s Table has taken Adam all over the world. As one of the primary DPs of Chef’s Table, Adam and show creator David Gelb have established the artistic look of the modern cuisine documentary, which has since been imitated by countless other food shows. When the show began, Adam had never shot a documentary before, so he had a more cinematic approach to the show, only using prime lenses and no zoom lenses. For him, it’s been a dream job to explore new places, eat amazing food at excellent restaurants and work with good friends on the crew.

Find Adam Bricker: https://adambricker.com
Instagram: @realadambricker

You can see Hacks on HBO Max.

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep133/

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 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

July 24, 2019

Ep 40 – Oscar Winner Russell Carpenter, ASC – On Titanic, True Lies, James Cameron, Hard Target, John Woo, Ant-Man and more!

Academy Award winner Russell Carpenter, ASC has a huge Hollywood career that’s spanned decades, though he got his start working in public television and didn’t even go to film school. He discusses his early experience on films like the cult classic “The Wizard of Speed and Time,” “Cameron’s Closet,” and “The Lawnmower Man,” and still enjoys shooting small films like the Indian movie “Parched.” For “Hard Target” with director John Woo, each scene was meticulously timed and shot with multiple cameras. Russell first worked with director James Cameron in 1994 on the film “True Lies” and then again on “Titanic,” which won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. He tells a few stories about the movie tricks he and James Cameron used on “Titanic.” Russell is currently working again with Jim Cameron on Avatar 2 and 3.