Shutter Angles

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

  • When A Wide Shot is 12 Inches from the Lens: DPs Bianca Cline and Eric Adkins on Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

    There’s a saying that a movie is made three times: once when it’s written, once when it’s shot and once when it’s edited. To create the new A24 release Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, that maxim had to expand to accommodate an additional creative cycle. Marcel, the story of a chatty one-inch tall seashell searching for his family, was in essence shot twice. First, cinematographer Bianca Cline captured the live-action components, leaving a Marcel-sized space in the compositions. Months later, armed with copious notes to match lighting, lensing, focus, etc., stop motion director of photography Eric Adkins brought Marcel…  Read more

    On Jul 20, 2022
    By on Jul 20, 2022 Cinematographers
  • Ethan Hawke in The Black Phone Super 8 Dream Sequences and Jump Scares: DP Brett Jutkiewicz on The Black Phone

    It’s fitting that The Black Phone, an adaptation of Joe Hill’s short story, was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina. Forty years ago, it was the fertile imagination of Hill’s father—Stephen King—that birthed the city’s film industry. Needing a sprawling estate for an adaptation of King’s novel Firestarter, Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis settled on an antebellum plantation in Wilmington. Pleased with the experience, De Laurentiis made the coastal town his America base of operations, shooting three more King films there (Silver Bullet, Maximum Overdrive and Cat’s Eye) and constructing what is now EUE/Screen Gems Studios—the very soundstages that The Black…  Read more

    On Jul 11, 2022
    By on Jul 11, 2022 Cinematographers
  • “Elvis’s Eyes Were Very Special”: DP Mandy Walker on Elvis

    While the use of larger format sensors like the Alexa LF and the Sony Venice has continued to accelerate—increasingly eclipsing Super35 as the default for robustly budgeted digital cinematography—the sprawling canvas offered by the Alexa 65 has remained more of a specialty, employed by projects seeking a scope of particularly monumental proportions. That’s exactly how cinematographer Mandy Walker envisioned Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. “I remember Baz and I talking about the film really early on and thinking, ‘This character is larger than life,’” said Walker, who also used the Alexa 65 on Mulan and The Mountain Between Us. “Elvis was epic,…  Read more

    On Jul 1, 2022
    By on Jul 1, 2022 Cinematographers
  • Juancho Hernangomez and Adam Sandler on the set of Hustle “It Was More Akin to Shooting Dance than Shooting a Live Sporting Event”: DP Zak Mulligan on Hustle

    In Hustle, a burned out Philadelphia 76ers scout (Adam Sandler) discovers a raw talent (pro hooper Juancho Hernangómez) in a Spanish pick-up game and attempts to put him on the NBA’s draft radar. It’s got the familiar structural bones of the underdog sports drama—complete with epic training montage—but Hustle is like a perfectly run play. Even if you know what’s coming, you’re defenseless when it’s executed properly. The plot mechanics may be recognizable, but the approach to shooting the basketball scenes is novel. As Hustle cinematographer Zak Mulligan points out, televised presentations of the sport—and most basketball movies—offer the action…  Read more

    On Jun 29, 2022
    By on Jun 29, 2022 Cinematographers
  • Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight “A Final Hurrah for Sodium Vapor”: DP Andrew Droz Palermo on Moon Knight

    When I last spoke to cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo for The Green Knight, he detailed the learning curve for creating that film’s all-CGI fox. On his latest project, Moon Knight, the degree of difficulty has been raised from small woodland creature to towering, vaguely avian mummified Egyptian god. The Marvel adaptation stars Oscar Isaac in dual roles as a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder who oscillates between a meek museum gift shop employee and a mercenary serving as the human avatar of Khonshu, the aforementioned god of the moon. With the full series now streaming on Disney+, Palermo talked…  Read more

    On Jun 15, 2022
    By on Jun 15, 2022 Cinematographers
  • “They Referred to a Letter They’d Gotten from Spielberg”: DP Caleb Heymann on Stranger Things‘s Season 4

    In the penultimate season of Stranger Things, the characters find themselves scattered beyond the small town confines of Hawkins, Indiana for the first time, spread out to different, countries and cliques. Winds of change swept into the camera department as well. After three seasons of Red cameras and Leica lenses, the latest batch of episodes employed the Alexa LF paired with rehoused vintage 1960s glass. The cinematographers wielding those tools have changed too. With original series cinematographer Tim Ives not returning, Caleb Heymann shot seven of the nine episodes, sharing the season’s work with Brett Jutkiewicz (Scream and the upcoming…  Read more

    On Jun 9, 2022
    By on Jun 9, 2022 Cinematographers
  • Daniels on the set of Everything Everywhere All at Once “The Silliest Use of IMAX in the History of IMAX”: DP Larkin Seiple on Everything Everywhere All at Once

    “A messy but fun way to make something very stupid but very beautiful.” That’s how cinematographer Larkin Seiple describes the process of creating the multiverse-jumping singularity that is Everything Everywhere All at Once, a mixture of the silly and profound that careens through alternate realities populated with hot dog fingers, butt plugs and raccoon versions of Ratatouille while imploring us to embrace the fleeting moments of grace offered up by the universe in the face of our cosmic insignificance. Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn, a harried laundromat owner whose marriage, mother-daughter relationship and IIRS audit all crater simultaneously. Into that personal…  Read more

    On May 23, 2022
    By on May 23, 2022 Cinematographers
  • Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent “Contrast is the Toughest Thing to Shift”: DP Nigel Bluck on the Two Nicolas Cages of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

    One of New Zealand cinematographer Nigel Bluck’s first breaks as a young DP came shooting 2nd unit on the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. He had one feature film under his belt and little visual effects experience, but Bluck learned on the job and persevered through nine months of bluescreen-draped soundstage work. Two decades later, the now-seasoned Bluck faced another new challenge with The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. “I’m not a comedy guy, normally,” said Bluck. “This is the warmest and funniest movie I’ve ever shot.” It’s definitely the Nicolas Cage-iest movie anyone has ever shot. The Oscar winner plays…  Read more

    On May 13, 2022
    By on May 13, 2022 Cinematographers
  • Ozu on Wheels: DP Florian Hoffmeister on Shooting Kogonada’s Half of Pachinko

    The pilot of a series is typically its true north, the aesthetic guiding light of all that follows. However, in the new Apple TV+ series Pachinko, two very different director/cinematographer teams have both been given their own creative compass. Based on the 2017 bestseller, the familial epic unfolds over 70 years, tracing the story of four generations of a Korean immigrant family that settles in Japan following an oppressive occupation. The season’s eight episodes were split evenly between directors Kogonada (Columbus, After Yang) and Justin Chon (Blue Bayou). The filmmakers shared the same crew, camera, sets, costumes and locations, yet…  Read more

    On May 9, 2022
    By on May 9, 2022 Cinematographers
  • Season four, episode three of Ozark “I Think of the Digital Chip as a Film Stock”: DP Shawn Kim on Shooting Ozark‘s Final Season

    After four seasons of financial and familial duplicity, the winding saga of Missouri drug launderers Wendy and Marty Byrde comes to an end tomorrow as Netflix releases the final half of its 14-episode swan song. I have no idea yet whether the karmic scales will finally tilt towards a comeuppance for the couple but  am certain that whatever awaits the Byrdes will unfold in the murky depths of low-key interiors and the cool cyan of perpetually overcast exteriors. It’s a well-defined aesthetic that has earned three Emmy nominations for the show’s cinematographers. For the climactic season, a new team of…  Read more

    On Apr 28, 2022
    By on Apr 28, 2022 Cinematographers
© 2024 Filmmaker Magazine. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of The Gotham