If you, like me, left Blade Runner 2049 slack-jawed and in awe of its beautiful cinematography, there’re two people you should know about.
The first is the director of photography, also known as the cinematographer. He’s Roger Deakins. His is the eye that directs what the camera sees. He plays in color, shadow, angle, zoom. He creates photography of what the production designer dreams up. He’s painting in your mind.
His credits: Sicario, Skyfall, True Grit, A Serious Man, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country For Old Men, Jarhead, A Beautiful Mind, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski, and more.
The other, the one who envisioned the stunning scenery so beautifully shot by Roger Deakins, is production designer Dennis Gassner. He’s the idea guy. He’s the one who, given 2049’s scripted scene where Luv calls out aerial bombardment of the trashman army as she has her nails done, has her gaze at the results through virtual reality glasses as she looks up, chin jutting at an angle just so. He envisioned the colors, the setting, the furnishings, the mood conveyed by light dancing yellow and watery upon the walls, floor, actors. He’s the guy setting the scene.
Look at Gassner’s credits. They’re a veritable connect-the-dots of beautifully arranged scenes, which were then well-shot by the cinematographer: Spectre, Into the Woods, Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, The Golden Compass, Jarhead, Big Fish, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Truman Show. This is the guy who sees the magic before it happens.
Like what you saw in Blade Runner 2049? Follow Gassner’s and Deakins’ careers.
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