In this informal interview, the famous cinematographer Roger Deakins shares some of his life story, how he works together with his wife, and lots of interesting details on films he has worked on. You will also see why he doesn’t really support the way most modern Hollywood films are shot.
The interview was unique not only because it featured Roger Deakins, but also because he was together with his wife, Isabella James Ellis Deakins. She turned out to be his best helper during all the movies Deakins has shot since they have been married. Although the interview seems long, it is worth every second, because the Deakins family shares inside information on how they did some of the films we know well.
Roger Deakins never intended to work in the film industry. He also notes that today’s movies are more about the aesthetics of the visuals than the story. Going back in time, he tells funny stories about films he did. One of the examples was from “The Shawshank Redemption,” which, according to him, was not visually his most favorite work. On the set, they used tons of HMIs that had to light the interior of the real prison they shot in. After the movie was screened in theaters, he overheard a comment from an ASC cinematographer that they voted for the film, but they regretted there was no artificial light in it. Another interesting story is about working with multiple cameras and how modern producers expect to work with several camera crews, while Deakins is comfortable with just one camera. That is the case with “Blade Runner 2049,” where they used only one camera. For those that are asking themselves about the film “1917,” yes, you will hear a lot of interesting insider information about it as well.
Last, but not least: did you notice how well and balanced Deakins’ family was lit? It looked like a film. Coincidence?