Welcome back to the Art of the Shot podcast!
I took a little mid-season break because of the pandemic, but rest assured that the Art of the Shot is alive and well. The past few months have been fruitful and I’m happy to bring you some great new episodes in the coming weeks.
This episode features Oscar-nominated cinematographer, Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC, the man responsible for lensing modern classics like The Usual Suspects and Drive, as well as Three Kings, 4 movies in the X-Men series, Bohemian Rhapsody, and the recent Netflix hit film, Extraction—the most watched Netflix film yet.
Tom and I have a really deep conversation that delves into some of his amazing life experiences, his approach to lighting, thoughts on the art and craft of cinematography, and many details on shooting his latest film, Da 5 Bloods, for director Spike Lee.
Listen and you will discover:
—Tom's thoughts on this time we're in, having grown up in Detroit during a similar period of American history. (00:04:30)
—How Tom got his career started. (00:17:40)
—How Tom became the first person to film the Contras in Nicaragua and then became mentored by Haskell Wexler, ASC. (00:24:41)
—Difference between a pro and a master and Tom's thoughts on what it takes to become a master of the craft. (00:29:47)
—Tom's general approach to lighting and some lighting techniques. (00:45:06)
—Difference between natural lighting and realistic lighting. (00:50:07)
—Film vs digital and why digital is much more forgiving. (00:55:35)
—The state of the art today and the challenge of making great images when it's increasingly easy for anyone to make good images. (00:57:30)
—Democratization of visual storytelling and making an impact amidst overwhelming noise. (01:01:02)
—Tom’s process of manipulating light to create the impression of naturalism. (01:03:38)
—How some of the shots were created in Da 5 Bloods. (01:06:12)
—How Tom got involved with Da 5 Bloods. (01:09:17)
—Tom's experience of shooting in Vietnam, having grown up during the Vietnam War era and how that informed his visual choices. (01:14:14)
—Reasons for choice of shooting 16mm reversal film. (01:17:57)
—Camera and lenses used on Da 5 Bloods. (01:25:52)
—Why the aspect ratio changes multiple times in the film. (01:26:47)
—Use of the Arri Trinity over Steadicam. (01:28:52)
—What it's like working with Spike Lee, Spike's process as a director, and what Tom has learned from him. (01:30:22)
—How Tom played a role in the casting of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men. (01:39:26)
—Tom's favorite shot from his career thus far. (01:44:16)
—The importance of being present on set and always looking for ways to serve the film. (01:47:31)
—Advice for up-and-coming filmmakers and cinematographers. (01:50:07)
If you haven't yet, please subscribe to be notified of future episodes, and share this podcast with others to help grow the show and spread the knowledge! And if you're on Apple Podcasts, a review would be very appreciated!
Follow Art of the Shot:
Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC:
Da 5 Bloods trailer audio copyright Netflix, Inc. Used with permission courtesy of Netflix.
Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/art-of-the-shot/support