Interview: Russian Doll cinematographer Chris Teague


Chris Teague (Obvious Child, Landline) talks going back to Red for Russian Doll, futzing with split diopters, and the difficulty of balancing a personal life with a TV series schedule in my latest interview for Filmmaker Magazine.

Here’s an excerpt, with Teague discussing his use of Leica Summilux lenses.

Filmmaker: You owned a set of Cooke Speed Panchros for years, but for Russian Doll you went with Leica Summilux lenses.

Teague: Yeah, I shot almost everything on vintage lenses before Russian Doll. They didn’t feel appropriate for this except for the flashback sequences in episode seven, which we shot on Super Baltars. This felt like a modern, contemporary, hyper-real landscape and I loved the idea of having super fast lenses that I could shoot wide open all the time. The concept in my head, which is maybe too literal, was that Nadia was out of step with her world, and if we used fast lenses with very shallow depth of field she’d always feel like she was popping out of her background. I really fell in love with how those lenses look. The wide lenses [have minimal distortion], so we could do some things on super wide lenses. I shot a couple of scenes on a 16mm lens and I never would’ve done something like that before. I love a wide lens where you have that incredible open field of view, but you’re not so distracted by the way it’s warping the space. The Leicas are fantastic lenses. They’re also small and light, so we could keep the camera’s [footprint] smaller. That was a plus when shooting in tiny New York locations.

Cinematographer Sean Porter on shooting Green Book

Here’s my interview with Green Book director of photography Sean Porter (Green Room, 20th Century Women) from Filmmaker Magazine. This is actually my 100th interview piece for Filmmakerall of which you can find here.

As for the Porter piece, here’s a little preview with Sean talking about his shift from old Cooke lenses to newer Leica glass.

Deep Fried Interview: The Wedding Ringer cinematographer Bradford Lipson

When The Wedding Ringer hits wide release today, it will conclude a long, detour-laden journey to the altar. Miramax’s Dimension label bought the film under the title The Golden Tux back in 2002 and nearly made it with Vince Vaughn in the lead, but Vaughn opted for Wedding Crashers instead and by the time Disney sold off Miramax to a consortium in 2010, The Golden Tux was just one of more than 600 unproduced scripts included in the sale.

Producer Adam Fields rescued the script from limbo, brought back on original co-writer Jeremy Garelick to direct and sold the film to Screen Gems, who will release it in more than 3,000 theaters this weekend.

The film marks the first theatrical feature shot by cinematographer Bradford Lipson, who also had a long journey to The Wedding Ringer. Lipson started out as an electrician in the early 1980s, climbed the ladder to gaffer in the 1990s and graduated to Direct of Photography on series television in the aughts – a run topped by an American Society of Cinematographers award for his work on FX’s Wilfred.

Lipson spoke to Deep Fried Movies about using Sony’s F65 and F55, shooting in Los Angeles and how his introduction to the world of entertainment was literally magic. Continue Reading ›