“There is a technical aspect to what cinematographers do, and it is important. But the most important thing is capturing the emotional state of the characters from the actors. Risk-taking is also really important. I think it’s a magical thing. If you take a chance, it might turn out even better than you imagined. If you’re getting too comfortable with what you’re doing, you’re probably going to lose a chance to explore. There are many factors in the choice of format. But to me, the primary thing is the gut feeling. So far, for all the movies that I’ve done, I felt that film was the right choice.”
Masanobu Takayanagi took prizes at the Palm Springs International Short Fest and ASC Awards as a student at AFI, and went on to shoot second unit for Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC on Babel and State of Play. His credits as a director of photography include more than a dozen shorts, as well as the features Warrior, The Grey, Silver Linings Playbook, Out of the Furnace, and the forthcoming True Story.
"I try to approach shooting not from a purely technical standpoint, but also from an emotional one, letting narrative inform the technique. I’m driven by the desire to capture human emotion in its raw, pure form, to decisively freeze a moment in time that might take on its own life and live forever. Great photographers can distill the human spirit to one moment, the single most poignant moment representing the lifetime of a story. There’s something really special about chance, as opposed to the rigidity of the known and the calculated. Life is random. Film echoes that randomness.”
Rachel Morrison lensed Fruitvale Station, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards at Sundance in 2013. She also photographed Any Day Now, which won the Audience Award at Tribeca and eight other film festivals. She earned an Emmy® nomination for the Showtime documentary Riker’s High. Her other feature credits include Palo Alto, CA; Sound of My Voice; Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; Some Girl(s) and The Harvest. Women In Film honored Morrison with the 2013 Kodak Vision Award for her outstanding achievements in cinematography.
“I don’t believe in playing it safe. And on Breaking Bad, we were all encouraged to take chances. I was constantly stretching the limits of film with my lighting. The storytelling business is a representational art form, not a reproductive art form. Throughout the history of filmmaking, cinematographers have been there to visually represent the emotional moments of the stories that we’re telling. We’re expected to use poetic license, to create. Nobody’s house is as dark during the day as Walter White’s at the end of Breaking Bad. But that was the right look to support the story at that moment. That’s where the DP’s skills and sensibility come in. The film stocks today are tremendous–the best they’ve ever been–and the transferring technology is incredible. Right now, they’re bumping every frame of Breaking Bad up to 4K. It looks just amazing.”
Michael Slovis, ASC photographed the final five seasons of Breaking Bad, earning three Emmy nominations along the way. His previous credits include CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, for which he won an Emmy, as well as episodes of 30 Rock, Rubicon and Fringe. He also directed four episodes of Breaking Bad, and episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Chicago Fire.
“Love is a source of freedom, which emerges through one’s metaphysical response. It is an invisible force that makes the world around me fascinating. Hence, I continue to explore the hidden mystical beauty through mediums like painting, writing, observing and filmmaking.
“From its inception to today, filmmaking has set its profound identity, and in the process, it is considered to be the best metaphysician – ahead of common sense, philosophy and even the disciplines of physics.
“Film handles the subtleties and range of natural light beautifully with a wonderfully smooth rendering of highlights and shadows. And the process is entirely simple and direct. Shots are composed looking through a high-quality optical viewfinder that shows color, contrast and the qualities of light exactly as they exist in nature without any electronic intermediary. There is a direct connection between one’s brain and an image coming through the lens and off of a mirror. For work that should last through the ages, I love film and I intend to keep shooting it for a long time.”
Buddy Squires is an Oscar®-nominated filmmaker and Emmy®-winning director of photography best known for his cinematography on the films of Ken Burns. Squires’ cinematography credits include seven Oscar®-nominated films with two Academy Award® winners. He has 10 Primetime Emmy® nominations to his name. In 2007, Squires was awarded the International Documentary Association’s Career Achievement Award. His credits include The Civil War, Jazz, The Central Park Five, The National Parks, Ethel, New York, The Donner Party, Ansel Adams, Mark Twain, Nanking, The War, Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, Strangers No More, Baseball, Prohibition, The Dust Bowl, and the upcoming Salinger.
Download as PDF