Twin Peaks Pilot (1990) / Ron Garcia, ASC, Episode #60

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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.


  • Agent Cooper discovers a surprising clue.
  • Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), one of Laura’s classmates, awaits some news.
  • Ron Garcia, ASC, and actress Sheryl Lee in the infamous “red room.”
  • Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle), Laura’s closest friend, begins to suspect something is amiss at school.
  • Director of photography Ron Garcia, ASC.
  • FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) arrives in Twin Peaks to investigate the death of Laura Palmer.
  • FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan, left) and Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean) prepare to examine Laura Palmer’s body.

About the Project

“She’s dead, wrapped in plastic.” With those words, one of television’s most famous murder mysteries begins to unfold. Twin Peaks was David Lynch’s first foray into television, and fans knew the director of Eraserhead and Blue Velvet would bring something unique to the small screen. Lynch recruited Ron Garcia, ASC, to shoot the pilot, and Garcia received his first ASC Award nomination for his work on the project. He collaborated with Lynch again on the feature Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and the TV series On the Air. Garcia’s credits also include the series Numb3rs, Providence and Crime Story.

American Cinematographer interviews cinematographers, directors and other filmmakers to take you behind the scenes on major studio movies, independent films and popular television series.

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