The Cinematography Podcast Episode 82: John Brawley

John Brawley began his career shooting television series in his native Australia, coming to the U.S. to shoot the USA series, Queen of the South. John approaches each project with a “visual manifesto,” or a set of rules for yourself and the crew to follow with the camera, lenses, lighting, and color story defining what you’re doing. John’s recent project, The Great, stars Elle Fanning as Catherine The Great and Nicholas Hoult as Peter, the (not great) king of Russia. John worked closely with series creator Tony McNamara, a fellow Aussie who also received an Oscar nod for writing The Favourite. While shooting, John, Tony and the production designer determined that all the light sources be consistently candlelight, daylight, or firelight. Since it was Catherine’s story, she was always in the center of the frame and her close-ups were always just a little closer. The UK is the home of period drama, but Tony McNamara wanted The Great to be “punk history” or satire, taking liberties with the Catherine The Great story, both in costuming and language. He and John also resisted the urge to do period cliché visuals- for example, they did not use any “sweeping” crane shots and avoided using excess smoke for atmosphere.

The Great was just renewed for a second season.

Find John Brawley

See some tech tests from John’s projects

Instagram: @johnbrawley

See The Great on Hulu

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Aputure: The Aputure Spotlight Mount Set offers a high degree of control, and is a versatile light modifier with an included 26° lens for producing a dramatic, yet clean, beam of light. You can buy it now at Hot Rod Cameras.

Close Focus: The first feature film featuring an actual robot as the lead is coming in 2021. “Erica” is an AI robot, who is set to star in “b,” a $70 million science fiction film. Ben also gives an update on working with the collaborative whiteboard program Miro.

Illya’s short end: There’s a new $300 plug in app from Sound Devices called Noise Assist. Noise assist takes away background noise and can recognize different unwanted sounds. You can dial it out even while recording sound on set.

Ben’s short end: Film Courage features deep dive video interviews with screenwriters, filmmakers, actors and more, on both their website and YouTube channel.

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Podcast Credits:

Editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman@hotrodcameras instagram@illyafriedman instagram

Ben Rock:  @neptunesalad twitter@bejamin_rock instagram

Producer: Alana Kode

Editor: Ben KatzComposer: Kays Alatractchi

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