September 15, 2020

Armando Salas, ASC, on Ozark season 3, his Emmy-nominated episode, shooting the series Mr. Mercedes, From Dusk Til Dawn, Strange Angel

Armando Salas, ASC was recently nominated for an Emmy for his work on Ozark season three. Ozark is intentionally lit and shot to be very blue and very dark, because all the characters are in the shadows, desperately hiding and scrambling to avoid exposure. Armando began working on Ozark during season two and was already a fan of the show. He worked closely with director and actor Jason Bateman and the other DP on the series, Ben Kutchins. On season three, Armando shot the last four episodes with director Alik Sakharov. (Find our interview with Alik Sakharov here.) This four hour block of the show was a lot like shooting a film, and required him to refer to a detailed shot list, make many notes and continuously refer back to the script. As a kid, Armando grew up in Miami and was drawn to cinematography as a teenager, when he started shooting skateboarding videos. He studied fine arts and did a graduate program for film school, starting off his career as a gaffer before transitioning fully into cinematography. Armando shot several indie features and worked on a few films in China before landing his first episodic show, From Dusk Till Dawn, based on the film by Robert Rodriguez. For the Stephen King series Mr. Mercedes, Armando had the opportunity to create the look of the show, traveling to locations and deciding how to shoot it. The show quickly transitions from from loose and handheld at first, to very smooth and formal framing once the vehicle arrives on the scene. On the CBS show Strange Angel, Armando shot the second season. In this case, the whole look of the show was meant to feel different from the first season, with different cameras, lenses, and lighting.

You can find Ozark season three streaming on Netflix.

Find Armando Salas:
Instagram: @cinesalas

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

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