- Friday, Aug. 10, 2012
- 0 Comments
- LOS ANGELES
While Pan Am was short lived on ABC, it nonetheless helped its cinematographer, John Lindley, ASC, take flight with his first career Emmy Award nomination, just months after the same pilot episode garnered him his initial ASC Award nom. The Emmy recognition comes in the Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series category.
"I'm flattered to be considered with that group of people," said Lindley of the Emmy nomination and fellow category nominees Jonathan Freeman, ASC, for Boardwalk Empire, Michael Slovis, ASC, for Breaking Bad, Michael Goi, ASC, for Glee, and Christopher Manley, ASC, for Mad Men. "I know all their work. Plus to be considered in that realm with so much great looking television out there is quite an honor."
Pam Am reunited Lindley with series executive producer Thomas Schlamme who also directed the pilot. The two had worked together years ago on a multi-camera shoot for a Bette Midler concert. "I wanted to collaborate with Tommy again, which was a treat, and I was looking to shoot a long-form digital project which I hadn't done prior to Pan Am," related Lindley who deployed ARRI's ALEXA on the series pilot. "I had shot a bunch of commercials with ALEXA. I've been an early adopter generally of digital cameras, experimenting with them extensively. I've used a fair number of those cameras and at this point the ALEXA and the RED Epic are the two I really like."
While the ALEXA performed well on Pam Am, there were other creative hurdles for Lindley to clear. "Shooting a lot of material on an airplane set is fairly limiting. It's hard to come up with new and exciting angles. But what we had going for us is that this series was from another era, back in the day when planes had a lounge in first class, a separate bar area. There were places to put the cameras that don't exist in today's airplanes.
"It's always appealing to me to work on a period show," continued Lindley. "It was set during the time when we were right on the cusp of the transition from black and white to color in terms of broadcast. That allowed us to delve into saturated colors and a heightened reality for our contemporary version of those times. It was great to do a pilot to help set the look for a series."
One part of his job on Pan Am, though, didn't entail anything all that extraordinary, quipped Lindley. "We had such an attractive cast on Pam Am with great looking women. How did I make the show look good? I turned a light on and aimed the camera."
In addition to Cinematography, Pan Am scored nominations in the Visual Effects and Music Composition categories.
Lindley's alluded to spot lensing experience is ongoing. He shot, for example, the two Hulu spots on this year's Super Bowl directed by Tim Roper who at the time was a creative at Crispin Porter+Bogusky. (Roper has since gained inclusion into SHOOT's New Directors Showcase and embarked on a full-time directing career, joining Partizan). Lindley also served as DP on the NBC promo spot, "Brotherhood of Man," also on the 2012 Super Bowl; director was Taika Waititi of Hungry Man.
At press time, Lindley--who's repped for features, TV and commercials by Dattner Dispoto and Associates--was in the midst of a long Macy's shoot directed by Hank Perlman of Hungry Man. Plus the DP has teamed assorted times with Hungry Man's Bryan Buckley, including on such work as Audi for past Super Bowls.
Another long-standing collaborator for Lindley is director Phil Alden Robinson. The two are slated to work on the feature The Angriest Man In Brooklyn. Past collaborations have seen Lindley shoot the Robinson-directed Field of Dreams, Sneakers, and The Sum of All Fears. Lindley's filmography also includes Pleasantville directed by Gary Ross, and notable collaborations with the late Nora Ephron, including You've Got Mail.
Last month, cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister earned his second career Emmy nomination, this one for PBS' Great Expectations (Part 2), a BBC/Masterpiece Theatre co-production. His first Emmy nom came two years ago--also for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie--on the strength of AMC's The Prisoner.
For Hoffmeister, Great Expectations represents a coming together of his experience--which spans his work in British television with The Hamburg Cell and in the feature arena with the Terence Davies-directed film The Deep Blue Sea starring Rachel Weisz. "Working with Terence was revisiting the starting point of my career--putting me back in a concentrated filmic, artistic atmosphere. I later re-entered the grueling reality of TV production which has a completely different pace and pressure. Great Expectations married these two--television that has to be of feature film quality, epic in scale, yet done on a very tight schedule. The expectations were high for one of the classics of literature. To get an Emmy nomination in the U.S. for this work means a great deal."
Great Expectations was also the first drama Hoffmeister shot with the ALEXA. He previously had a favorable experience shooting a couple of commercials with the ARRI digital camera and that carried over to this ambitious BBC/Masterpiece project. "There's an immediacy to the process that I enjoy," said Hoffmeister of digital cinematography. "But I still think there is something magical about film and the discipline it requires from everyone involved."
As mentioned, Hoffmeister is no stranger to short-form fare. He shot short films for writer/director Tony Grisoni, with whom he collaborated on Kingsland--The Dreamer which copped a BAFTA nomination. He also got more heavily involved in commercials in 2009, beginning a two-year run which saw him lensing in the U.K. for such directors as Saam Farahmand, Kim Gehrig, Samantha Morton, Lynn Ramsay, Walter Stern and Daniel Wolfe. He also began to shoot stateside, including an Allstate job out of a52.
Upon garnering his first Emmy nomination for The Prisoner, Hoffmeister came out to L.A., meeting with his agent Claire Best & Associates, which happens to be in the same building as commercial production house Picrow (Pictures in a Row) founded by director Peter Lang. Claire Best knows Lang and introduced him to Hoffmeister. The two struck up a rapport, resulting in Hoffmeister coming aboard Picrow for representation as a commercial director.
While he's open to gaining traction as a spot director, Hoffmeister values his work as a cinematographer in short and long form. "When you've done a feature," he observed, "you enter commercials with a different openness. You have time to focus on all the details for a :30 during a two-day shoot, for instance. It's almost like you can take the artistic sensibility of long form and dwell on the commercial because of time and resources. You can dwell on craftsmanship, explore and test the limits. Then when I return to long form, my craftsmanship is honed based on the commercialmaking experience. It's great how one feeds the other."
Great Expectations garnered a total of five Emmy nominations, the other four being for: Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special, Outstanding Main Title Design, and Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.
Editor's note: This is the fifth installment in an 11-part series that explores the field of Emmy nominees and winners spanning such disciplines as directing, cinematography, editing, animation and VFX. The series will run right through the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony and the following week's primetime Emmy Awards live telecast. In addition to appearing on SHOOTonline and in our weekly email newsletter, The SHOOT>e.dition, The Road to Emmy will also have its Part 6 installment in SHOOT's August 17 print issue (for details on the issue, please visit: www.shootonline.com/go/upcomingissues).