July 2, 2020

Serengeti director/producer John Downer and DP Richard Jones on the Discovery Channel series, the challenges and new technologies for shooting wildlife documentaries

The Cinematography Podcast Episode 81: John Downer and Richard Jones

Director John Downer and cinematographer Richard Jones have always had a love of animals. John went to work for the BBC after film school and quickly moved into the BBC Natural History division. Richard grew up in Kenya and started out in the film industry, then went to work with a wildlife filmmaker in Botswana, soon picking up a camera and teaching himself. They both agree that to be a good wildlife documentarian, it’s important to spend a great deal of time around the animals, in order to understand and anticipate what they are going to do and capture it on camera. For the Discovery Channel/BBC series Serengeti, John and Richard felt for the first time that all the camera technology was finally advanced enough to capture the true nature of the animal’s lives. They were able to use small, high quality hidden remote cameras that are durable and “lion proof,” as well as a special array of cameras with long lenses on a stabilization system attached to their vehicles, so Richard could shoot while the jeep was driving. While wild animals are definitely not directable, John and Richard knew what wildlife they wanted to follow as characters with the script following the changing seasons as an overarching story plotline. Serengeti follows the interconnected stories of a cast of savannah animals over one year, capturing the drama of the wildlife up close. It was important for John and producer Simon Fuller to show that animals are a lot like us and we are all in this world together.

See Serengeti on Discovery GO: https://go.discovery.com/tv-shows/serengeti/
Find John Downer: http://jdp.co.uk/
Find Richard Jones: http://rmjfilming.com/

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: http://camnoir.com/ep81/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras www.hotrodcameras.com

Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

June 18, 2020

Director Yance Ford, DP Alan Jacobsen on Oscar-nominated documentary, Strong Island and the importance of breaking your own rules

The Cinematography Podcast Episode 79: Yance Ford and Alan Jacobsen

Yance Ford’s powerful documentary, Strong Island, is about the murder of his brother, William Ford Jr. in 1992. The man who killed William, who is white, claimed self-defense when William, who was black and unarmed, confronted the man over shady car repairs. The decision by an all-white grand jury not to prosecute caused Yance’s family even more devastation. The film conveys the personal agony and visceral grief in tight closeups on family, friends and Yance himself. Interestingly, at first Yance had a set of rules for how he wanted the documentary to be shot. Number one: he did not want to be on camera. But cinematographer Alan Jacobsen broke the rules, secretly shooting Yance from a corner one day while he was absorbed in looking at old photographs. They both saw how powerful it was to have Yance take a front-and-center role in the documentary. That intimacy proved to be the most important aspect of Strong Island, but the most difficult part for Yance. A first time director at the time, Yance felt fortunate to have the luxury of working on Strong Island for ten years as a two person team with Alan, and every creative decision of what the film would look and feel like was carefully and deliberately made. Alan used the camera as a tool to maintain the intimacy of the film. He would never pan or tilt, and he kept most shots tightly framed. Every shot was held for at least 60 seconds to hold the intensity and force the audience to watch, even if it became uncomfortable. Strong Island was nominated for an Academy Award in 2018 and also won a Creative Arts Emmy.

You can stream Strong Island right now on Netflix. https://www.strongislandfilm.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h64qugj_iDg

Yance Ford is a transgender director, and he talks about his experience in Hollywood in the documentary Disclosure, on Netflix June 19. http://www.disclosurethemovie.com/about
https://www.facebook.com/netflixus/videos/disclosure-netflix/1566941396799781/

Find Yance Ford: Twitter @yford
Strong Island: @strongislandfilm

Find Alan Jacobsen: https://www.alanjax.com/ Instagram @alanjax7

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: http://camnoir.com/ep79/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras www.hotrodcameras.com
Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

May 4, 2020

BONUS Episode: Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind director/producers Natasha Gregson Wagner and Laurent Bouzereau

Illya sat down with producer Natasha Gregson Wagner and director/producer Laurent Bouzereau at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival to talk about their documentary, Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind. As the daughter of famous actress Natalie Wood, Natasha Gregson Wagner wanted to tell the story of her mother’s life, while working through her grief and loss over her mother’s tragic death at the age of 43 in 1981. Natasha and Laurent discuss their approach to the film, which is full of personal photos, home movies, and interviews with friends and family. It was important for the filmmakers to celebrate Natalie Wood’s life and work, and the documentary is an intimate look at her through the people who knew her best.

You can see Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind right now on HBO. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JRzLBVxWik

Natasha Gregson Wagner: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0906031/
Find Laurent Bouzereau: https://www.nedlandmedia.com/
@laurent_bouzereau

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: http://camnoir.com/bonusnataliewood/

Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

March 18, 2020

DP Kira Kelly on working with director Ava DuVernay, her Netflix series Self Made, 13th, Queen Sugar, East Los High

Cinematographer Kira Kelly had years of experience before director Ava DuVernay approached her to shoot her documentary, 13th. For 13th, DuVernay was interested in creating artful, composed shots rather than the typical “talking heads” of most documentaries, and pushed Kira and the team to get creative about how it was framed. The film examines the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery, yet the mass incarceration of African-Americans continues to this day as its own kind of slavery. 13th was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2017. Kira collaborated with DuVernay again on the second season of the critically-acclaimed series, Queen Sugar. When she was first starting out, Kira worked as a gaffer before moving into the camera department and establishing herself as a cinematographer, shooting a small independent film called Were the World Mine. Producer/director Carlos Portugal noticed her work and hired her to shoot four seasons of Hulu’s Emmy-nominated series, East Los High.

Kira Kelly’s latest show is a limited series for Netflix called Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame C.J. Walker, starring Octavia Spencer. The series is based on the real-life story of an African American washerwoman who builds a hair product empire to become the first female self-made millionaire. Self-Made is on Netflix beginning March 20. https://www.netflix.com/title/80202462

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: http://camnoir.com/ep67/

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Website: www.camnoir.com
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Brought to you by Hot Rod Cameras: Find your next camera, lens, light or accessory at https://hotrodcameras.com/

Hot Rod Cameras is giving away TWO professional, cinema quality Aputure MC lights! One for you AND a friend you tag! Go to http://hotrodcameras.com/giveaway to enter. Contest ends March 30, 2020.

February 26, 2020

Sundance 2020-Documentary: Ron Howard: Rebuilding Paradise; Michael Dweck & Gregory Kershaw: The Truffle Hunters; Ron Cicero & Kimo Easterwood: Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story

The Cinematography Podcast interviews the filmmakers for three documentaries at Sundance 2020. First up- Ron Howard, who talked about shooting his first documentary, Rebuilding Paradise. We present some selected soundbites of the conversation. Next, filmmakers Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw ventured deep in the forests near Alba, Italy for their documentary, The Truffle Hunters. The filmmakers chose to keep the camera on a tripod and to observe the subjects at a distance, except for special leather harness rigs for POV doggy-cams that Dweck and Kershaw had specially made. Finally, Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story is both a story that will please fans of the beloved cartoon Ren & Stimpy, but it’s also a critical look at the cartoon’s volatile creator, John Kricfalusi.

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: http://camnoir.com/sundance2020docs/

LIKE AND FOLLOW US, send fan mail or suggestions!
Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

Brought to you by Hot Rod Cameras: Find your next camera, lens, light or accessory at https://hotrodcameras.com/

Hot Rod Cameras is giving away TWO professional, cinema quality Aputure MC lights! One for you AND a friend you tag! Go to http://hotrodcameras.com/giveaway to enter. Contest ends March 30, 2020.

February 10, 2020

McMillion$: Filmmakers James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte on their new six-part HBO doc series uncovering fraud behind the McDonald’s Monopoly game

McDonald’s Monopoly Game ran from 1989-2001, netting $24 million in cash and prizes for the winners. But the biggest prize “winners” were actually all part of a crime ring recruited by a mysterious figure called “Uncle Jerry” to cheat the game. Filmmakers James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte got the FBI on board along with a cast of quirky real characters to tell a fun, engaging and fascinating story about the fraud.

McMillion$ is a six-part documentary series currently airing on HBO. You can also listen to The McMillion$ Podcast each week.

James Lee Hernandez: @iamthejlh

Brian Lazarte: @blazarte

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Website: www.camnoir.com
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Twitter: @ShortEndz

October 23, 2018

Ep 25 – Claudia Raschke, cinematographer for “RBG” talks about her latest project, and 3+ decades of television and feature films.

The Cinematography Podcast Episode 25 – Claudia Raschke Director of Photography Claudia Raschke Cinematographer Claudia Raschke is world-renowned for her work on several Oscar nominated documentaries. She sits down with host Illya Friedman during NAB 2018 to talk about her latest project, “RBG.” The story of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, legendary Supreme Court Justice, presented special

September 27, 2018

Ep 24 – Robert McLachlan, ASC, CSC – The cinematographer behind Game of Thrones, Westworld, Ray Donovan gives us stories from the set of “The Affair.”

The Cinematography Podcast Episode 24 – Robert McLachlan, ASC, CSC Director of Photography Robert Mclachlan ASC, CSC Host Illya Friedman sits down with cinematographer Robert McLachlan, ASC, CSC, on the set of Showtime’s The Affair. Robert talks about his illustrious career on shows such as Game of Thrones, Ray Donovan, Westworld, and even his early