September 14, 2022

Brendan Uegama, CSC on Moonshot, Riverdale, Truth Be Told, Child’s Play and Mike, the Hulu Mike Tyson dramatic series

Cinematographer Brendan Uegama, CSC enjoys shooting many different genres, from romantic comedies such as Moonshot, to horror movies such as Child’s Play (2019). He enjoys changing his approach to each project depending on the needs of the script. Brendan feels that a good filmmaker knows that the cinematographer is there to serve the story and builds trust with the DP to create the look and feel.

As a kid, Brendan was always into photography and art. He and some high school friends shot skate videos of themselves, and soon after he began making motocross videos. He knew then he wanted to get into film and went to film school in Vancouver, Canada and began working his way up.

Brendan shot 26 episodes of the CW series Riverdale, including every episode of season two. Being the DP for every chapter of the show meant prep time was very short, and Brendan relied on and trusted his team to do location scouts and work ahead. Riverdale was a great show to do that was fun, creative and led to many other projects for him, such as the show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and later, Moonshot.

The film Moonshot is a romantic comedy set in space, rather than just a science fiction movie. Mars has been terraformed and colonized and the two main characters are traveling to see their significant others, but fall for each other. Because of the science fiction aspect, everything was storyboarded out and had a decent amount of prep time, and much of Moonshot’s science fiction aspects were done with practical effects. Brendan knew where they needed to rely on visual effects ahead of time. The most challenging part of the film to shoot was the spacewalk scene, which involved extensive wirework and visual effects.

Brendan’s latest project, Mike, a dramatic biography series on Hulu about heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, is currently streaming.

Find Brendan Uegama: https://www.brendanuegama.com/
Instagram: @brendanuegama_dp
Twitter: @brendanuegama

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep183/

Sponsored by DZOFilm: https://www.dzofilm.com/
Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

September 15, 2021

Director Wyatt Rockefeller and cinematographer Willie Nel, SASC on the indie science fiction movie Settlers

The film Settlers is a blend of science fiction and western, about a mother, father and little girl who have created a peaceful homestead on a desolate part of Mars until another band of colonists invade their land and take everything. The girl, Remmy, must grow up fast under difficult circumstances. Her only friend is a small non-verbal robot called Steve. Wyatt Rockefeller both wrote and directed the film, which is also his first feature.

Wyatt found the perfect place to create the Mars setting for Settlers in a remote part of the northern cape of South Africa, in one of the hottest places on the planet. His South African producer introduced him to cinematographer Willie Nel, and the two immediately began figuring out the look of the film, using some images from Mars as references. Willie found that the dry reddish landscape of their location naturally informed both the look of the film and how the characters dealt with surviving in a difficult place. Wyatt and Willie were able to spend lots of time in prep, discussing how they wanted to shoot the film and what the story needed to be. When it came to actually shooting, it went very smoothly since they were each so familiar with the script and shots they’d discussed ahead of time. But the crew couldn’t foresee everything- they had to deal with rolling power outages in South Africa due to the heat and a crazy rainstorm that nearly ruined the set.

Remmy’s companion is Steve the farming robot, which gives Settlers one of its few science fiction visuals. Wyatt wanted Steve to exist as a practical creature for the actors to interact with, while keeping it simple so as not to break the budget. He also wanted Steve to seem like a real, functional piece of equipment that Mars settlers would need and use, so he based Steve’s boxy design on the Mars Curiosity rover, but with legs. Wyatt began working with the production designer, the VFX team, creature builders and the lead puppeteer William Todd-Jones in the early stages of planning and prep to create a puppet version of Steve with visual effects used for some of his more complex motions.

Find Wyatt Rockefeller: @wrockefeller Twitter
Find Willie Nel: https://www.willienel.com/ @willie_nel_sasc Instagram

You can watch Settlers streaming on VOD platforms and on Hulu in October. https://www.ifcfilms.com/films/settlers

Read more about the design of Steve the robot by the Settlers team: https://www.talkhouse.com/designing-steve/

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep140/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz