Hell in Paradise: An Interview With Gabriel Beristain, ASC, BSC
This weekend, ahead of his upcoming Master Class workshop at The Masters POV LA 2012, we caught up with the incredibly talented cinematographer Gabriel Beristain!
Gabriel, tell us a little bit about your recent work…
GB) 2011 was my first and very exciting television year… I started the year shooting a pilot for Antoine Fuqua and the film “Exit Strategy” with the wonderful actor Ethan Hawk. Over the summer I was shooting “Magic City” in Miami – a truly magic Starz series set in Miami in 1959 with a tremendous script from Mitch Glazer and stellar performances by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, the unique Danny Huston and a array of incredibly talented young actors, including Alex Rocco!
My latest feature film was “There Be Dragons” a very powerful film directed by the legendary director Roland Joffe.
What gave you the idea for your Masters POV Workshop topic “Hell in Paradise”?
GB) For a long time the digital revolution has been exploiting the notion that digital cameras do not need light… This advertising ploy is in part correct since the digital sensors have the possibility to be pushed and manipulated to register very low levels of light, obviously there are consequences to it, but that’s part of a longer and also very important conversation. What has been deceiving to many is the fact that some people believe that films now can be made without light fixtures, without lighting and lighting technicians and gaffers and indeed Directors of Photography.
During the shooting of my first digital project; the pilot of “Hawaii 5-0” it became clear to me that the above notion cannot be taken lightly since it is shared by producers as well as studio executives. Fortunately the very dynamic of Hawaii 5-0 immediately proved to everybody that this absurd notion could not be taken seriously and that lighting and cinematographers more than ever have to play a very vital role in the generation of images and in the process of visual story telling. In face, it was the Hawaiian experience coupled with the Miami experience that gave me the inspiration to structure a very actual and informative master class: “Hell in Paradise”.
What kind of topics/techniques will you be covering?
GB) There will be three main aspects:
The Technical one which will cover light balance: Mixed color temperature, Mixed lighting, (natural-artificial, available-film lights), Density or ways to control the shadows and highlights on a scene and finally the Quality of light.
The Artistic one which will cover Modeling and creating Mood through the understanding of lighting styles and artistic inspirations, from the classics to pop culture.
The Cinematic one which will cover Lighting as an integral part of story-telling and the way it has to be considered in the production process, since this affects schedule, shooting and acting style and even directorial choices.
What can attendees expect to learn from your workshop?
GB) I expect the attendees to join me on a ride of discovery where the technical aspects of lighting will work with the imagination in order to tell a film story, I will endeavor to guide them on this journey so that they can take home the fundamental conviction that lighting as an art and technique which is an irremovable part of the filmmaking process no matter how sensitive the digital sensors are or may be in the future.
What are you most looking forward to about Masters POV 2012?
I am so much looking forward to a Masters POV which will become not only a master class but an extended dialogue and a source of information and support for those aspiring filmmakers and those who are always seeking to improve their understanding of the ever so changing techniques and styles of filmmaking.
Tags: chief lighting technician, Cinematography, Cinemills, cinesoft, daylight, director of photography, Gabriel Beristain, Gaffer, Led, led lighting, ledz, motion picture, Studio lighting, television, tungsten
This entry was posted on Friday, February 10th, 2012 at 4:40 am
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