Shutter Angles

Conversations with DPs, directors and below-the-line crew by Matt Mulcahey

  • “Congratulations, That Shot was Terrible”: DP Matthew Temple on Late Night with the Devil

    I typically have two problems with found footage horror movies. First, it’s often hard to believe the characters wouldn’t simply drop their cameras once the body count begins. Just as the haunted house movie must present a sufficiently logical reason for the inhabitants to remain once the voices start whispering “get out,” the found footage horror movie must posit an acceptable rationale for why the cameras keep rolling. Second, the subgenre’s veneer of reality often means some of filmmaking’s most effective tools—score, editing, composition—are sacrificed on the altar of verisimilitude. The premise of Late Night with the Devil alleviates both…  Read more

    On Apr 11, 2024
    By on Apr 11, 2024 Cinematographers
  • A young man holding a shield with a chipped section stands on a cliff overlooking a forest. Shooting in ILM’s New StageCraft Volume Virtual Production Facility: DP Pierre Gill on Percy Jackson and the Olympians

    In the first season of Disney+’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the titular teenaged demigod and his compatriots travel across the country, with stops from St. Louis to Las Vegas, on a mission to prevent war among the Greek gods. However, cinematographer Pierre Gill and his crew never left the vicinity of Vancouver. Percy Jackson is the first show to use Industrial Light & Magic’s new 20,000-square-foot StageCraft Volume in the Canadian city. Gill estimates 30 percent of his episodes were shot in the virtual production environment on its 95-foot LED wall. With the show now streaming in its entirety…  Read more

    On Mar 28, 2024
    By on Mar 28, 2024 Cinematographers
  • “A Frankenstein Set of Lenses”: DP Matthew Libatique on Maestro

    25 years ago, Pi—a $70,000 indie about an obsessive mathematician shot on 16mm black and white reversal stock—put cinematographer Matthew Libatique on the map. In the intervening quarter century, Libatique has earned three Academy Award nominations and shot multiple films for Spike Lee, Jon Favreau, Joel Schumacher and Darren Aronofsky. He helped inaugurate the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man and dipped into the D.C. sandbox with Birds of Prey. He’s shot horror movies, westerns, sci-fi flicks, war dramas, biopics and whatever genre mother! falls into. But what Matthew Libatique hasn’t done since Pi is shoot a film in black…  Read more

    On Mar 6, 2024
    By on Mar 6, 2024 Cinematographers
  • Two women shine their flashlights while standing in a dark, snowy landscape. 112 Days in Iceland: DP Florian Hoffmeister on True Detective: Night Country

    The diversity of cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister’s output makes it difficult to typecast him. The German DP won an Emmy for his work on a BBC version of Great Expectations and followed with the Rowan Atkinson spy spoof Johnny English Strikes Again. Then, in succession, he lensed the Scott Cooper horror flick Antlers, the Apple prestige drama Pachinko and Todd Field’s Tár, picking up an Oscar nomination for the latter. But with True Detective: Night Country, Hoffmeister returns to a previous specialty–unsettling subzero horror. Hoffmeister’s work on AMC’s The Terror followed an ill-fated 19th century artic expedition. He’s back to frigid…  Read more

    On Feb 1, 2024
    By on Feb 1, 2024 Cinematographers
  • “I’ve Never Had a Director Give Me a GIF as a Reference Before”: DP Cristina Dunlap on American Fiction

    Music videos have been good to Cristina Dunlap. As a photography-obsessed high schooler, a chance meeting landed the L.A. native a gig shooting stills on a music video. It happened to be for Death Cab for Cutie, leading to a run of jobs with influential directors like Hiro Murai and Ace Norton. After working her way up to the role of cinematographer, a Coldplay video collaboration with Dakota Johnson led to Dunlap shooting a pair of features starring the actress, Am I OK? and Cha Cha Real Smooth, both of which premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. A music…  Read more

    On Jan 18, 2024
    By on Jan 18, 2024 Cinematographers
  • A man with a paper takeout bag from McDonald's sits on a park bench in daylight. “David Initially Said, ‘What if We Do the Whole Movie Handheld?'”: DP Erik Messerschmidt on The Killer

    The Killer begins with an assassin (Michael Fassbender) in a half-completed WeWork office awaiting the arrival of his latest target. As he waits, he details his vocational mantras for the audience in voiceover: stick to the plan. Don’t improvise. Never yield an advantage. Forbid empathy. Fassbender proceeds to miss his shot and spends the rest of the film breaking each and every one of those tenets in the chaotic aftermath. Many of the pieces written about the film have pointed out perceived similarities between the film’s methodical, detail-oriented titular character and the perfectionist reputation of its director, David Fincher. However,…  Read more

    On Jan 11, 2024
    By on Jan 11, 2024 Cinematographers
  • “If I Had Been Working in the 1970s [But With Today’s Technology], I Would Have Used Digital, I Would Have Used LED Technology”: The Holdovers Cinematographer Eigil Bryld

    In The Holdovers, a professor, a student and a grief-stricken cook are stranded together at a New England boarding school over the holidays. The story takes place in the early 1970s, an era whose films are beloved by both Holdovers director Alexander Payne and cinematographer Eigil Bryld. However, they took opposing philosophical perspectives in imbuing their movie with the spirit of that epoch. Though he looked at the work of Hal Ashby for inspiration – particularly The Landlord and The Last Detail – rather than attempt to replicate it, Payne’s approach found him imaging what kind of film he himself…  Read more

    On Dec 22, 2023
    By on Dec 22, 2023 Cinematographers
  • How to Make Nickelodeon Slime Look Like Oil: Special Effects Coordinator Brandon K. McLaughlin on Killers of the Flower Moon

    Brandon K. McLaughlin remembers the exact moment he knew he wanted to work in the movie business. It was Halloween night and McLaughlin was eight years old. His uncle—a special effects technician—had invited him to set to watch the Disney adventure The Rocketeer being made. “I got to see them blow up the zeppelin while the Rocketeer was running on top of it,” McLaughlin said. “From that point on, I never wanted to do anything else. I was fascinated with everything that went into the magic of moviemaking, and the special effects department creates that magic, tricking the audience into…  Read more

    On Nov 20, 2023
    By on Nov 20, 2023 Columns
  • “It’s Never Fun to Do Nude Work”: DP Eigil Bryld on No Hard Feelings

    Eigil Bryld must be feeling funny lately. After a career peppered with reality-based dramas (You Don’t Know Jack and The Report), thrillers (Deep Water) and romantic period pieces (Tulip Fever and Becoming Jane), the Danish cinematographer has lightened up with a trio of comedies out this year—The Machine, Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers and No Hard Feelings. In the latter, Jennifer Lawrence plays a Montauk Uber driver who agrees to seduce the son (Andrew Barth Feldman) of a wealthy couple summering in the quaint Long Island enclave in exchange for a used Buick Regal. Bryld spoke to Filmmaker about lensing the…  Read more

    On Oct 6, 2023
    By on Oct 6, 2023 Cinematographers
  • The Focus Pulling Olympics: DP Oren Soffer on The Creator

    On big budget spectacles, the tail of VFX often wags the dog of principal photography. With The Creator—an $80 million sci-fi epic about a war between mankind and humanoid AI starring John David Washington—director Gareth Edwards sought to reverse that arrangement. The Monsters and Rogue One filmmaker has described the process of meticulously recreating previs on set as painting a target on the wall and trying to fire an arrow into the bullseye. With The Creator, Edwards wanted to fire the arrow first, then paint the target around it, with VFX ideation occurring later in the pipeline after being inspired by…  Read more

    On Oct 5, 2023
    By on Oct 5, 2023 Cinematographers
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