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The career of cinematographer Ross Emery, ACS, includes a large number of major effects-heavy science fiction films. His latest project, the HBO Max series Raised by Wolves, is his latest venture into sci-fi territory.
Produced under the Scott Free banner and featuring the first episodic TV work by director Ridley Scott, we talked with Emery about rethinking the sci-fi genre, making room for VFX, and post-production during COVID.

While ‘free will is not free’ sounds like an exhortation from Patrick McGoohan’s ‘Number Six’ character in The Prisoner TV series, it actually serves as the tagline for season 3 of HBO’s Westworld. Continuing to defy expectations and eschew easy answers, showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have taken the characters – human and otherwise – out of the wish-fulfillment theme parks of Delos Inc. and into the (apparently) real world of Earth 2058.

Generally, the words “what did you shoot this on” are frowned upon around Musicbed. We’re generally a bit more interested in the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’. But, when you get a film like The Lighthouse, it’s nearly impossible to separate the two. Its visuals are haunting, mystifying, and incredibly intentional according to cinematographer Jarin Blaschke.

Chayse Irvin is defined by contradiction: “I’ll shoot black and white. I’ll shoot color. I’m mixing things. I’m breaking the rules of image continuity,” he told us. But, the more you learn about him, the more you see that he’s not contradicting for the sake of contradiction. He’s disciplined and methodical, which makes him less a man of contradiction and more a man of paradox. There’s real meaning in it.

Whether it’s documentaries, mockumentaries, feature films, or wildly popular television shows, you can probably find it somewhere on Alex Buono’s résumé. Although he’s primarily known as a cinematographer, he’s also a successful writer, director, producer, and workshop instructor. Oh, and he’s been nominated for an Academy Award.

The most interesting things in life happen on the edges. So it’s not surprising that great films are made there too. Weirdly, it’s by exploring extremes that we come to better understand our day-to-day lives and selves. You have to travel far away to fully appreciate being home. At least that’s the operating philosophy for filmmaker Thibaut Grevet, whose film Coste Contemplation not only got him a Vimeo Staff Pick, but also caught the eye of Apple’s marketing department and the ear of our film team when he licensed Musicbed track ‘Speak, We’re Listening’ to score his film.

What’s that thing real estate agents always say? Location, location, location? Well, the same could be said about film. Knowing how to find great locations is an essential element of filmmaking — and it is equal parts vigilance, thoroughness, organization, and plain old luck. In our last conversation with Casey and Danielle of MINDCASTLE, they talked briefly about their, shall we say, exhaustive scouting methods. So we thought we’d call them up again and dig into their process.

Some images are great because they capture the world we all recognize. Others are great because they show us the world like we’ve never seen it. Mike Olbinski, storm photographer and time-lapse filmmaker, falls firmly into the second category. His work seems in this world but not of it. Clouds inflate to colossal heights in seconds. Rain falls like water squeezed out of a sponge. These storms have character. They have drama. Olbinski’s films show us our world but with a super-human perspective of time. Maybe this is what storms look like to God.

You don’t need a reason to make films, but it helps. Case in point: Paul Pryor, director and cinematographer best known for his work with TOMS Shoes, Charity: Water, and The Adventure Project. Paul makes films for a very simple reason: to help people. His work has helped raise awareness and funds for some of the most important issues facing our world today. (Thanks, Paul!)