145 episodes

The Cinematography Podcast is the program about the art, craft and philosophy of the moving image and the people who make it happen. Your job title doesn't have to be cinematographer to be featured on the show. We interview a wide variety of filmmakers including, actors, directors, producers, production designers, editors, storyboard artists and those in related filmmaking careers. This is not a film school, more like a professionally produced radio program found on NPR, each episode brings an interesting perspective to an often overlooked and widely misunderstood craft. Recorded in Hollywood, California at the world headquarters of Hot Rod Cameras. Hosted by Ben Rock and Illya Friedman.

The Cinematography Podcast The Cinematography Podcast

    • TV & Film

The Cinematography Podcast is the program about the art, craft and philosophy of the moving image and the people who make it happen. Your job title doesn't have to be cinematographer to be featured on the show. We interview a wide variety of filmmakers including, actors, directors, producers, production designers, editors, storyboard artists and those in related filmmaking careers. This is not a film school, more like a professionally produced radio program found on NPR, each episode brings an interesting perspective to an often overlooked and widely misunderstood craft. Recorded in Hollywood, California at the world headquarters of Hot Rod Cameras. Hosted by Ben Rock and Illya Friedman.

    Tami Reiker, ASC on One Night in Miami, working with director Regina King, The Old Guard, early career on High Art, Pieces of April

    Tami Reiker, ASC on One Night in Miami, working with director Regina King, The Old Guard, early career on High Art, Pieces of April

    The Cinematography Podcast Episode 109: Tami Reiker



    Tami Reiker, ASC focuses on how to make beautiful, authentic performances while maintaining the director's vision. Her most recent film, One Night in Miami, is full of amazing performances. Directed by Academy Award winning actress Regina King, One Night in Miami is based on real events, when Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown met in a hotel room to celebrate Ali's fight victory over Sonny Liston. The film is based on a play by Kemp Powers, which presented a challenge for Tami since most of it takes place in one hotel room and it's almost entirely dialog. All the actors had very busy schedules, so she and Regina King had only four days for rehearsal. King had very specific ideas about the type of film she wanted to make, and they planned the blocking and the shots together. It was also important for King for Tami to reproduce some of the scenes from historic reference photos, such as the original Hampton House hotel, Cassius Clay working out in the swimming pool, the diner, and the fight scenes. To give One Night in Miami a less static feel, Tami kept the camera moving, hiding some in walls on the set and using a jib arm, keeping her shots fluid so that the camera feels like a fly on the wall during the men's conversations. Tami chose an Alexa 65 and used Prime DNA lenses with Bronze Glimmerglass to give the movie a vintage look.



    Growing up, Tami was always interested in photography. She attended NYU film school, where she worked on several student films and met director Lisa Cholodenko, with whom she later shot the film High Art. The 1990's to the early 2000's was the heyday of indie filmmaking and with the advent of digital cinema, Tami was excited to be involved with independent production companies such as InDigEnt, which produced Pieces of April in 2003 starring Katie Holmes. InDigEnt's business model allowed each person on the crew to own a percentage of the movie. Tami shot the film on a mini DV camera, and she still gets a residual check for Pieces of April today.



    One Night in Miami can be seen at drive in theaters in Los Angeles and is available to stream on Friday, January 15 on Amazon Prime.



    Find Tami Reiker



    Instagram: @tamireiker123



    Close Focus: The board game Risk is becoming a TV series, which seems to be a trend- there's also movies and TV series based on Dungeons and Dragons, Monopoly and a remake of Clue.



    Ben's short end: The podcast Dead Eyes. In 2001, actor Connor Ratliff is fired by Tom Hanks from the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers for supposedly having “dead eyes.”



    Illya's short end: Tokina Cinema Vista lenses are a super premium lens. Now the series will have a 65mm focal length available. You can buy Tokina Lenses at Hot Rod Cameras and pre-order the 65mm Vista.



    Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras



    LIKE AND FOLLOW US, send fan mail or suggestions!



    Facebook:@cinepod



    Instagram: @thecinepod



    Twitter: @ShortEndz



    Podcast Credits:



    Editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman@hotrodcameras



    Instagram: @illyafriedman



    a href="http://benrockonline.

    • 50 min
    Jake Swantko, DP and producer of The Dissident, on working with director Bryan Fogel and shooting the controversial documentary

    Jake Swantko, DP and producer of The Dissident, on working with director Bryan Fogel and shooting the controversial documentary

    The Cinematography Podcast Episode 108: Jake Swantko



    Cinematographer Jake Swantko spoke with us last year at the Sundance Film Festival after the premiere of The Dissident, the documentary he shot with director Bryan Fogel. Jake and Bryan had previously collaborated on the Oscar-winning film, Icarus. The Dissident explores the assassination and international coverup of outspoken Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.



    Once director Bryan Fogel learned more about the circumstances surrounding the death of Khashoggi, he knew this was another important- and dangerous- subject to film for his next documentary. Bryan took the idea to Jake, who also worked as a producer on the film, and they began the grueling process, traveling to Canada and Turkey multiple times to interview Khashoggi's close friend and Saudi insurgent Omar Abdulaziz, speaking to Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice Cengiz, spending a year digging into the case and meeting with the Turkish government. The Dissident team knew they had to have the cooperation of Turkey to shoot the story, since Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and they eventually scored an interview with Irfan Fidan, the chief prosecutor in Istanbul who investigated the murder. Since The Dissident was so huge in scope, Jake knew he wanted to elevate the production value of the film and shot it like a dark thriller. He set up most interviews formally instead of run-and-gun style, with three cameras and one on dolly track to push in on the subject's face.



    Despite being well received at Sundance, The Dissident struggled to find a distributor, even from Netflix, who had championed Icarus. Amazon Prime also would not buy the film, despite Jeff Bezos briefly being in The Dissident- Jamal Kashoggi wrote for his newspaper, The Washington Post and Bezos' phone was hacked by Saudi Arabian government hackers. It seems the streaming services feared retaliation by the Saudi government and didn't want to risk losing viewers in that market. Briarcliff Entertainment finally championed The Dissident, and it is currently available on VOD.



    The Dissident is available to stream now on video on demand services.



    You can hear our past interview with Jake Swantko talking to us about the Oscar winning documentary, Icarus.



    Find Jake Swantko



    Instagram @swantko



    IT'S A GIVEAWAY! Last chance to enter to win Bruce Van Dusen's book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (or Maybe Just Part of It). Like and comment on our Bruce Van Dusen post on Facebook and we'll choose a winner from the comments.



    Close Focus: A little of this, a little of that- productions asked by guilds to shut down due to coronavirus spike; China exceeded the U.S. box office in 2020 for the first time, which isn't a big surprise since many theaters across the U.S. have been closed; the film Minari placed in the a href="https://deadline.

    • 49 min
    Best Of 2020 featuring Bradford Young, Kira Kelly, Greig Fraser, Anthony Dod Mantle, Wally Pfister, Brendan Davis, Don Coscarelli, Frederick Wiseman, Iris Ng, Bruce Van Dusen, Julie Taymor and Ron Howard

    Best Of 2020 featuring Bradford Young, Kira Kelly, Greig Fraser, Anthony Dod Mantle, Wally Pfister, Brendan Davis, Don Coscarelli, Frederick Wiseman, Iris Ng, Bruce Van Dusen, Julie Taymor and Ron Howard

    Special: The Cinematography Podcast Best of 2020



    In our first-ever Best Of compilation episode, we have a dozen clips of listener favorites from 2020 and some of our selects as well.



    Cinematographer Bradford Young goes deep into his filmmaking philosophy and influences, such as on Selma; Kira Kelly talks about making the documentary 13th with director Ava DuVernay; Greig Fraser on Lion, Star Wars and The Mandalorian; Anthony Dod Mantle describes exploring New York City for The Undoing; Wally Pfister on his early career working on Roger Corman movies; Brendan Davis on leaving China as the pandemic hit; director Don Coscarelli remembers working with cinematographer John Alcott on The Beastmaster; legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman talks about his process of assembling his films; cinematographer Iris Ng on making documentaries that are personal narratives; commercial director Bruce Van Dusen tells an anecdote from an Ex-Lax commercial; director Julie Taymor on the visual language of The Glorias; and finally director Ron Howard on directing the documentary Rebuilding Paradise versus his approach to narrative films.



    Be sure to check out the full episodes, and let us know what you think!



    IT'S A GIVEAWAY! Enter to win Bruce Van Dusen's book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (or Maybe Just Part of It). Like and comment on our Bruce Van Dusen post on Facebook and we'll choose a winner from the comments.



    Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras



    LIKE AND FOLLOW US, send fan mail or suggestions!



    Facebook:@cinepod



    Instagram: @thecinepod



    Twitter: @ShortEndz



    Podcast Credits:



    Editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman@hotrodcameras



    Instagram: @illyafriedman



    Ben Rock:  Twitter: @neptunesalad



    Instagram: @bejamin_rock



    Producer: Alana Kode



    Editor: Ben Katz



    Composer: Kays Alatractchi

    Subscribe to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts or click on the link below to listen here

    • 1 hr 33 min
    Erik Messerschmidt, ASC: Mank, Mindhunter, Legion, Raised By Wolves, working with David Fincher

    Erik Messerschmidt, ASC: Mank, Mindhunter, Legion, Raised By Wolves, working with David Fincher

    The Cinematography Podcast Episode 107: Erik Messerschmidt



    Erik Messerschmidt, ASC believes that cinematographers get too much credit for how a movie looks and not enough for how the story is told. When you break a scene apart and assemble a sequence, the cinematographer has a huge part to play in the process of deciding when to move the camera, what lenses are used, how it flows and when it moves. Erik thinks when you look at it that way, cinematography has a lot more in common with editing rather than photography.



    Erik's most recent project, Mank- which is currently streaming on Netflix- was shot entirely in black and white. The look was the result of lots of conversations with director David Fincher. They both had a clear idea of what they wanted it to look like and also exactly what they did not want- too much heavy handed, contrast-heavy black and white cinematography in a film-noir style would take the viewers out of the experience, so it needed a lighter touch. Erik used fine art photography from the '30's to the mid '40's as a reference, and he and David Fincher wanted an homage to Citizen Kane without it actually looking like the film. Fincher was clear that he wished to transport the audience so they would lose their awareness of watching a black and white movie, and feel as though they are in the world of Herman J. Mankiewicz as he writes the script for Citizen Kane in the 1940's.



    Erik has worked with director David Fincher on several projects, first working as a gaffer on Gone Girl, then moving into the camera department on the series Mindhunter. Erik and David have become very close collaborators, and he enjoys working with him. Fincher likes a sense of hyper reality to his movies, and Erik sees it as his job as the cinematographer to learn what the director responds to, figure out how best to support their process and bring something to the party.



    Before moving into the camera department, Erik worked for several years as a gaffer. After working with David Fincher on two seasons of Mindhunter, Erik needed more work since he was a newly minted director of photography. He got the opportunity to shoot second unit on Sicario: Day of the Soledado with cinematographer Dariusz Wolski as the lead DP. He then worked on a few episodes of the TV series Legion with producer/director Noah Hawley and DP-turned-director Dana Gonzales, which was visually fun to work on. Legion's look was whimsical yet dark, as it explored the main character's mental illness and possible superpowers. He had the opportunity to work with Dana again on the finale of season four of Fargo. Erik also shot several episodes of the Ridley Scott series, Raised By Wolves, splitting the series with DP Ross Emery.



    Mank is available to watch right now on Netflix.



    Find Erik Messerschmidt: Instagram @emesserschmidt



    IT'S A GIVEAWAY! Enter to win Bruce Van Dusen's book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (or Maybe Just Part of It). Like and comment on our Bruce Van Dusen post on Facebook and we'll choose a winner from the comments.



    Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Bruce Van Dusen, director of over a thousand TV commercials, three films and a documentary, on his career and new book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds

    Bruce Van Dusen, director of over a thousand TV commercials, three films and a documentary, on his career and new book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds

    The Cinematography Podcast Episode 106: Bruce Van Dusen



    Director Bruce Van Dusen has had a long career making commercials, which is extremely rare. He's discovered that making a good commercial is finding a balance between art and commerce, and the end product must be exactly what the client wants while getting the viewer to pay attention. Working in commercials doesn't necessarily bring out the best in people- unlike a movie or TV show, there's even less time and more pressure on a commercial shoot. The crew must gel instantly, work quickly and create a spot that's going to be usable at the end of the day. A commercial director is in the unique position of not necessarily being completely in charge on set. The client is always present and is able to tell the director exactly what they want, even without any authority or experience. The director has to listen even if it seems stupid, or they get blamed for a bad result. Bruce soon learned to inspire and protect the actors from the client's feedback by discussing any requested changes to their performance off-mic with the actors.



    Straight out of film school, Bruce first wanted to make serious documentaries. He greatly admired Frederick Wiseman's films, and Frederick happened to be listed in the phone book, so Bruce called him up. Frederick gave him a piece of advice- you'll spend a lot of your time trying to raise money for your film rather than making the documentary. This set Bruce down a completely different path, and he decided he would do anything to get a job working in movies. He started working as a production assistant, and saw how much money some of the big names in the movie business made making commercials on the side. At age 23, he quickly found some local clients, started his own business in New York and established himself as the king of low-budget commercials by undercutting all the other directors' rates.



    Over time, Bruce became an established name, doing bigger and longer commercials, and he was able to find a niche in longer-format emotional commercial “stories” dealing with actors. Once he created a rapport working with the same clients, there was more trust, more art, and more confidence in his work. He finally made a documentary, The Surge: The Whole Story, and directed three films, including Cold Feet, a small 1983 indie that made it to the Sundance Film Festival.



    Find Bruce Van Dusen



    Instagram: @brucevandusen1



    Most recently, besides writing a book about his experiences, Bruce made a spot for The Lincoln Project.



    IT'S A GIVEAWAY! Enter to win Bruce Van Dusen's book, 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (or Maybe Just Part of It). Like and comment on our Bruce Van Dusen post on Facebook and we'll choose a winner from the comments.



    Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras



    Close Focus: Tom Cruise ranting at crew members while shooting the new Mission Impossible 7 movie for standing too close together. Tell us what you think.



    Ben's short end: Miracle of the White Reindeer, a 1960 film directed by Martin Nosseck, which has been considered a lost movie, was found by a friend of Ben's in their garage in Texas.



    Illya's short end: Merry Glassmas continues!

    • 1 hr 23 min
    Frederick Wiseman, acclaimed documentary filmmaker of City Hall, Titticut Follies, High School, Hospital, and more

    Frederick Wiseman, acclaimed documentary filmmaker of City Hall, Titticut Follies, High School, Hospital, and more

    The Cinematography Podcast Episode 105: Frederick Wiseman



    After making 46 documentaries, Frederick Wiseman has proven that, in his words, “if you hang around long enough, you can collect enough material and cut a dramatic narrative film out of real life.” A Frederick Wiseman documentary has a very specific style- there is no narration, no identifying lower-third captions, no interviews and no camera movement. The viewer simply watches the story unfold, as a slice of life, and the subject he chooses is usually an institution many might consider mundane and everyday. Frederick feels his films are not merely observational, because he makes decisions on how to sculpt them into a narrative during the editing process. He enjoys making documentary films because he's seen that there is enough comedy and drama in ordinary life to match anything you'd find in fiction. Frederick shies away from the terms “documentary” and “cinema verité”- he thinks the term movie is good enough because “documentary” is something that sounds like it's supposed to be good for you.



    For Frederick's latest film, City Hall, he had the idea that what happens in a city hall might make an interesting movie and to see inside the machinery of how a city runs. Boston City Hall happened to be the only one that gave him permission. A staffer of the mayor had seen his films and liked the idea. Unlike some of Frederick's other movies, Boston mayor Marty Walsh was a central character- mainly because he is the leader of the city and he is very involved in seeing that it runs smoothly.



    Before he became a director, Frederick was a lawyer and taught at law school. He always wanted to be a director, but had no experience with movies. He saw an opportunity to become a producer when he optioned a novel called The Cool World and asked director Shirley Clark to helm it, which helped demystify the process for him. For his first documentary, Titticut Follies, Frederick had the idea for shooting the documentary on the Bridgewater Prison for the Criminally Insane because he knew the warden from his years as a lawyer and was able to get access and permission. The next logical progression to him after shooting in a prison for the insane seemed to be a high school, so his next film was High School. Part of Frederick's process is to find the film as he shoots, and he goes into it purposefully blind and with little preparation. For him, it all emerges in the editing process. Frederick always does his own editing and watches each piece of footage-generally about 150 hours of it- and decides how to structure each sequence.



    Find Frederick Wiseman



    See Frederick Wiseman's latest documentary, City Hall. It's available streaming through virtual cinemas, and comes to PBS on December 22. Find a screening near you. Paying to stream it through your local arthouse cinema helps support them!



    You can see almost all of Wiseman's documentaries on Kanopy for free with your library card.



    Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras



    Close Focus: Disney announced to its investors their upcoming slate of movies and TV shows on Disney Plus and various other networks, including several Star Wars and Marvel series.



    Illya's short end: Merry Glassmas continues! Like the Canon 17-120 lens, the new Canon 25-250 is the same speed and same size, and it has a built-in doubler.

    • 1 hr 10 min

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