No Time to Die Director of Photography on what it’s like to film James Bond with IMAX cameras [Interview]


“No Time to Die” is very much in line with the tone and style of recent films, but it also has more of the glamor and exhilaration of older Bond films. Aesthetically, did you and Cary want to go back to classic Bond movies?

Totally. That was the big deal. On our first call, for me to work with Cary on this, he talked about it a lot. It’s a combination of finding Bond’s heart as a character over the years, like the real Bond base. What is Bond for us? And we totally agree on that too, where Daniel Craig brought a deeper character to Bond. I think it’s more emotional and more raw and layered, but he still has all of those previous characteristics, like he’s got some humor.

But visually, we wanted to kind of refer to Bond’s heart. What is Bond’s heart? And for both of us, an adventure. It should be a getaway. It should be romantic action, but still brutal and larger than life, but also real. For Cary, it was very important to keep this action realistic. Anything that happens to him can happen. And also to the greatest extent, it actually happens while we’re filming it. We’re filming it in such a way that it’s actually real stunts, and people are flying motorcycles off the walls.

So it was very important to Cary that the story be founded in this way. If these are completely fantastic stunts, it’s hard to make them heightened reality on top of that. The heart of the whole story is so personal to Bond, isn’t it? Every decision he makes is personal, more than an obligation to be of service or something.

It’s more about his personal choices here in this particular movie, so everything helped him design the worlds for him in a way as if they could realistically exist, but they just happened in the middle. sunset, in this romantic scene. It’s like, oh, it just so happens to be very bright in Matera, Italy, when he’s having this getaway with his beloved wife. And then once that turns into a brutal action scene, all of a sudden this place is bright and makes it very conveniently hard and rocky and not so nice to try to get away from it all.

So we’re always trying to visually connect with the story and see what the story is really emotionally, how we might visualize it emotionally. I think it’s still important anyway. It’s a lot easier, I think, and better to think of cinematography as an emotional tool. He needs to consider what the scene is about, what she describes emotionally, and what she wants to describe. And then you describe it emotionally instead of literally what’s going on.

It would be so much better emotionally if it happened at dusk. It would be much more gloomy. So that’s one aspect of it, where we kind of designed the scenes this way, that they follow the emotion of the story and with the colors and with the lighting and with the way we let’s move the camera.

And sometimes if it was a raw action streak where Bond is really in a tough situation or situation, you want to feel with him how hard it must be, like we did with a handheld computer. And if it wasn’t handled or if it wasn’t a oneer, it might not have been so intense. I think that contributed to the intensity of this scene.

Likewise, like when we did “La La Land”, an oner would also prefer to portray, that whatever you see is actually happening. That was sort of our intention with the one for that. It is not a cut. It’s not interrupted, not technically that way. But when you see it, it feels like you’re watching what’s going on for real.

And in this case, we did these things in order to further immerse the audience and to feel like Bond might not be in total control in those moments. Whereas when people are in control, we move around much more easily. That’s why that twist shot is in the trailer too, but when they come in through that window, it’s like, we turn around, we follow very straight. We track and pan very deliberately with precision, because it is a precision operation. It was the purpose of explaining this scene because it is a precision.

It’s also suspenseful. That’s why we put it on at night. If this was a daytime scene, it might not have been so moving. We wanted it to be exaggeratedly realistic, therefore larger than life. And so the color scheme there was better suited, we thought, to look like twilight or twilight outside, or the break-in. They are still working on it for some reason. And then the contrast of the color palettes inside to sort of juice and make it juicier. It’s all in the lighting, really, and then shot on film to capture the colors more deeply.

And then some scenes, we switched to IMAX, to open up to the public. If you watch it in an IMAX theater, you are even more immersed and engulfed in the visual.

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