American Cinematographer interviews cinematographers, directors and other filmmakers to take you behind the scenes on major studio movies, independent films and popular television series.Subscribe on iTunes
’71 / Tat Radcliffe
Cinematographer Tat Radcliffe connects with AC via Skype to discuss the gritty period thriller ’71, which he calls “a political piece, a documentary piece and a psychodrama.”
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Black or White / Russ Alsobrook, ASC
Russ Alsobrook, ASC, discusses his approach to the drama Black or White, in which a grieving widower struggles to retain custody of his young granddaughter in the wake of his wife’s death. Alsobrook explains why the filmmakers made last-minute decisions to go digital and to shoot widescreen, how they made the most of the 2.40:1 frame, and how he used lighting to illuminate the story’s complicated emotional terrain.
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Ordinary People (1980) / John Bailey, ASC
Cinematographer John Bailey, ASC discusses his work on the acclaimed drama Ordinary People, which marked Robert Redford’s directorial debut and was one of Bailey’s earliest feature credits.
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From Camerimage 2014
AC correspondent Iain Marcks surveys the scene at the 22nd annual Camerimage International Film Festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland. One of the largest gatherings of cinematographers in the world, Camerimage features several categories of competition, honors select filmmakers for their career achievements, includes seminars and panel discussions, and showcases some of the latest cinematography equipment. Featured in this podcast are cinematographer Michael Neubauer, BVK; director David Scott Smith; Phil Greenstreet of Rosco Laboratories; Sarah Priestnall of Codex; Mike Hibarger of Panavision; and AC correspondents Benjamin B and David Heuring.
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Angel Heart (1987) / Michael Seresin, BSC
Michael Seresin, BSC, connects with AC via Skype to revisit his work on Alan Parker’s Angel Heart, a dark, atmospheric thriller that has gained iconic status in cinematography circles since its theatrical release in 1987. Sharing several anecdotes about the shoot, Seresin reveals how an early wardrobe test for lead actor Mickey Rourke became one of the film’s signature images, how he captured one of Robert De Niro’s most memorable scenes, and how he approached the infamous, blood-drenched sex scene that leads to the story’s denouement.
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The Crow (1994) / Dariusz Wolski, ASC
To mark the 20th anniversary of the release of The Crow, Dariusz Wolski, ASC, revisits his work on the film, which helped launch his and director Alex Proyas’ careers in Hollywood. Wolski explains how he and his collaborators worked with a “shoestring” budget to create the picture’s now iconic look, which is marked by an expressionistic use of light and shadow and a unique desaturated palette punctuated with boldly colored flashbacks. Wolski says, “We were trying to find a new look — not new, really, but a response to what was going on in cinema at the time.” He also discusses how the filmmakers approached some scenes after lead actor Brandon Lee died in an accident on set.
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Hell on Wheels / Marvin V. Rush, ASC
Director of photography Marvin V. Rush, ASC, describes his work on Hell on Wheels, a drama set in the aftermath of the Civil War that is currently in its fourth season on AMC. Among the topics he discusses are the importance of embracing the natural world in his overall approach to the show, which is shot on location in Alberta, Canada; how MacTech LEDs have transformed his day-interior lighting; why he prefers to reserve the close-up for important storytelling moments; and how he approached directing an episode for the first time.
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Twin Peaks Pilot (1990) / Ron Garcia, ASC
Cinematographer Ron Garcia, ASC recalls shooting the Twin Peaks pilot for director David Lynch. He discusses why he was an unlikely choice for the project, how he coaxed the desired warm tones out of his Fuji negative, and the importance of working with a great gaffer.
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes / Michael Seresin, BSC
Director of photography Michael Seresin, BSC, discusses the new film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, detailing how he and director Matt Reeves strove to bring “a film aesthetic” to the native 3-D digital production. Among the topics Seresin covers are the challenges presented by the short prep, why he chose to use Leica lenses, his collaboration with the seasoned visual-effects crew from Weta, and how he matched disparate light in Vancouver and New Orleans.
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The Girl and Death / Goert Giltay, NSC, and Jos Stelling
Cinematographer Goert Giltay, NSC, and director Jos Stelling join AC’s Iain Marcks on a Skype call from the Netherlands to discuss their approach to the drama The Girl and Death. The longtime collaborators cover the choice of shooting digitally with an Arri Alexa, how they achieved the expressionistic visuals, and the flexible lighting approach that was necessitated by the actors’ availability.
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