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Team Deakins

Team Deakins

Author: James Ellis Deakins, Roger Deakins

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The Team Deakins podcast is an ongoing conversation between acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins and James Deakins, his collaborator, about cinematography, the film business and whatever other questions are submitted. We start with a specific question and end....who knows where! We are joined by guests periodically. Followup questions can be posted in the forums at www.rogerdeakins.com.
126 Episodes
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EPISODE 126 - DAVID GROPMAN - Production Designer Team Deakins speaks with production designer, David Gropman (FENCES, LIFE OF PI, THE SHIPPING NEWS). He tells us why he loves shooting on location vs sets, his reaction to specific colors, his relationship to the producer, and the challenge of working within the budget. He talks about his experiences with directors Lasse Hallström, James Ivory, and Ang Lee. Since he worked with Ang Lee on the movies Taking Woodstock and Life of Pi (two very different movies!), he talks about his approaches to the films and talks about designing for a 3D project. And we learn some specifics about the shooting of Life of Pi, such as the tank work and working as a production designer with the VFX team! We also touch on the differences between working on big budgets vs smaller budgets as well as the differences between working on long-form TV vs feature films.
Scott Cooper - Director

Scott Cooper - Director

2021-06-2001:09:41

EPISODE 125 - SCOTT COOPER - Director Team Deakins has a great talk with director, Scott Cooper (HOSTILES, BLACK MASS, CRAZY HEART). We learn that he started out as an actor and how that has helped him when he became a director. He talks about the immediate recognition, on his first directed film Crazy Heart, that directing was his path and not acting. He shares his belief that you make a film 3 times: when writing it, when shooting it and when editing it. He talks about shooting with a single camera, how he works with actors, and how he wants to create space for the actors to take big chances. He tells about the experiences of working on each of his films and says he likes to push himself in unsafe places. A very interesting look into the process of a director!
EPISODE 124 - SEAN BOBBITT - Cinematographer Team Deakins has an interesting conversation with cinematographer, Sean Bobbitt (JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, WIDOWS, 12 YEARS A SLAVE). We cover a lot of ground, starting with his beginnings in news coverage. We learn how cinematographer Billy Williams set him on his path and he shares his experience of shooting the film Wonderland and working with director, Michael Winterbottom. We also talk about his experiences with directors Steve Mcqueen and Neil Jordan. He also shares how he mixes color temperatures to create depth and interest, how he works in prep and how he lights a set. An in-depth conversation with a talented DP!
EPISODE 123 - DION BEEBE - Cinematographer In this episode, Team Deakins speaks with cinematographer, Dion Beebe (CHICAGO, COLLATERAL, INTO THE WOODS, MARY POPPINS RETURNS). He starts by telling us about his failure as a focus puller and then shooting a film as a DP for the first time at age 24! We talk about how it’s hard when you are starting out to consider compromising, but as you learn more about the collaborative nature of filmmaking, it becomes easier, as well as the idea that getting worked up on a set will never help you achieve your goal. Dion speaks about the difficult balance of knowing when and how you need to work with what you’re given and when to stand firm. We also cover learning to light, prepping for a film, and setting the look with the director. Dion also shares his experiences of working with Rob Marshall who taught him a lot about musicals and Ang Lee, shooting with a high frame rate. We cover a lot of ground in this episode!
EPISODE 122 - CHRIS CORBOULD - Special Effects Team Deakins has a great conversation with Special Effects wizard, Chris Corbould (SKYFALL, INCEPTION, STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI). We start by learning of his first experience - working on the movie TOMMY - quite a way to begin! He also walks us through some of the bigger special effects he’s been responsible for. We learn how it is decided whether to use SFX or VFX, the amount of testing necessary for each SPF, the difference of working on SPF for small and large films, and the biggest challenges he’s ever faced. He also shares his experience of working with Sam Mendes and Chris Nolan. We also discover that he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest explosion on set! An in-depth conversation with a real master! RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Skyfall, Inception
EPISODE 121 - JOSHUA JAMES RICHARDS - Cinematographer Team Deakins has a lot of laughs in their conversation with cinematographer, Josh Richards (NOMADLAND, GOD’S OWN COUNTRY, THE RIDER). He shares with us his struggles in film school and what it gave to him ultimately. We also learn about how he started with director Chloé Zhao and how their working relationship developed and how they work together now. We talk about the shooting of Nomadland and God’s Own Country. He frankly tells us of his journey in finding cinematography and his path. A fascinating, open conversation with a talented DP.
Mike Radford - Director

Mike Radford - Director

2021-06-0201:20:14

EPISODE 120 - MIKE RADFORD - Director Team Deakins speaks with long-time friend, director Mike Radford (ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE, IL POSTINO, MERCHANT OF VENICE). He shares his film school experiences and how he came to direct his first film ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE, on which he worked with Roger. He and Roger share memories of that film as well as 1984, which was another film on which they worked together. Mike tells us about the huge controversy he started with what he said at the British Film awards show for 1984 and the experience of working with actors John Hurt and Richard Burton. We talk about his experiences with actors Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons on MERCHANT OF VENICE and we learn a lot about IL POSTINO and the challenges that entailed. A refreshing and very frank conversation with a talented director!
Lee Smith - Editor

Lee Smith - Editor

2021-05-3001:22:312

EPISODE 119 - LEE SMITH - Editor Team Deakins sits down with editor, Lee Smith (1917, SPECTRE, DUNKIRK, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES). He shares with us his thoughts on a lot of subjects: how working on bad films helps you learn, that the rhythm of the cut is instinctive and how you use the cut to create the rhythm, how his approach depends on the director and the differences between directors. We talk about how “finding it in the editing room” is not our favorite approach, editors being on set, the editor being a fresh eye, and working on the fractured time structure in Dunkirk. He also speaks of his work on the films Dunkirk and 1917 as well as his thoughts on cutting action sequences, using split screens unwisely and continuity. It’s a great episode that really delves into the craft of motion picture editing. Don’t miss it!
EPISODE 118 - MANDY WALKER - Cinematographer Team Deakins has a fun conversation with cinematographer, Mandy Walker (AUSTRALIA, HIDDEN FIGURES, MULAN). We cover a lot in this episode, including the shooting of the film TRACKS and the unique challenges it presented. We also learn about her experience on Jane Got A Gun where she came in at the last minute and had to work on the fly. She shares her thoughts on static camera work vs a moving camera, how you find the right camera style for a film and her thoughts on VFX. Mandy also speaks of shooting the film Mulan and her love of the Alexa 65. A great talk with a wonderful cinematographer! RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Tracks
EPISODE 117 - PETE CAVACIUTI - Steadicam operator Team Deakins speaks with Steadicam operator, Pete Cavaciuti (1917, EYES WIDE SHUT, NOW YOU SEE ME 2). Of course, we learn a lot about what the Steadicam is, what training is needed, what you can do with it and what you can’t, and that being a Steadicam operator is a way of life! Pete also shares his experiences with Stanley Kubrick on the film EYES WIDE SHUT and talks about his most challenging shot. He also talks about his experiences on KUNDUN, SKYFALL, 1917, and BLADE RUNNER 2049. A great look into a very specific skill!
Pablo Larraín - Director

Pablo Larraín - Director

2021-05-1901:08:31

EPISODE 116 - PABLO LARRAÍN - Director Team Deakins sits down with director Pablo Larraín (JACKIE, NERUDA, NO). He shares with us the experience of his first film flopping and all that he learned from that, as well as the “rules” he sets for each individual film and the power of breaking these rules. He talks about his process, his avoidance of storyboarding, his dislike of multiple cameras, and remembering that films based on actual people are still works of fiction. According to Pablo, “when you are shooting, you’re fighting the script, when you are editing, you are fighting the shoot”. We learn a lot about the production of the movie “Jackie,” the production design, the shooting design, and why he chose to shoot in 16mm film. A fascinating look into the mind and process of a talented director!
EPISODE 115 - BILL MACDONALD - UCLA Cinematography Department Team Deakins converses with Bill McDonald of the UCLA Cinematography Department. We learn about the UCLA program and the difference between the undergraduate and graduate programs. He shares what UCLA looks for when admitting students and how they work to bring out the students’ native talents. The students learn all the different areas of film production since this increases their ability to collaborate with other departments in the future. We talk about the pricing of the school and the difference between state and private schooling in film. Bill also shares that film school is not best for everyone and the importance of finding the film school with the approach that works best for the individual. A great lesson in film schools!
John Toll - Cinematographer

John Toll - Cinematographer

2021-05-1201:21:25

EPISODE 114 - JOHN TOLL - Cinematographer Team Deakins has a great talk with cinematographer, John Toll (LEGENDS OF THE FALL, BRAVEHEART, WIND, THE THIN RED LINE, RAINMAKER). We start on a humorous note as we learn how he started in the business and learned on the job! We talk about his time as an operator and his eventual switch over to working as a DP. He recalls his time working for Conrad Hall as an operator and what he learned and also speaks of the different methods of working as an operator in England. We learn about his first big break to shoot the behind-the-scenes footage on ET which was never seen. He also shares why he chose to shoot WIND (his first feature as a DP), even though he tended to have bad seasickness! We learned about the difficulty of shooting WIND on the water and in boats, which is even more impressive when you consider it was his first time as a cinematographer! John’s humorous way of at looking things will have you laughing! RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Wind
Lázló Nemes, Director

Lázló Nemes, Director

2021-05-0901:14:56

EPISODE 113 - LÁSZLÓ NEMES - Director Team Deakins speaks with László Nemes, director of SON OF SAUL and SUNSET, in this episode. He speaks of what he learned from the Hungarian film director Béla Tarr and why he doesn’t believe in film schools, feeling it doesn’t create curiosity among students. He shares the difficulty of setting up the film, Son of Saul, and how it finally was financed. He speaks of the value of state sponsorship of movies and being able to make films that have to compromise greatly. We learn about his relationship with his DP, Mátyás Erdély, and how they work together. It’s a fascinating discussion with a passionate filmmaker! RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Son of Saul
Rodrigo Prieto

Rodrigo Prieto

2021-05-0501:29:422

EPISODE 112 -RODRIGO PRIETO - Cinematographer Team Deakins has a great conversation with talented cinematographer, Rodrigo Prieto (THE IRISHMAN, AMORES PERROS, BABEL). We learn that he is a lover of the trickery of moviemaking and also haunted mansions! A frequent collaborator of Martin Scorsese, he shares his experiences on their various films. We talk about working with multiple cameras and the importance of taking that into account when designing the sets. He speaks of his start in Mexico, his move to LA, the importance of developing your own taste and style, and how simplicity can be so powerful. He also tells us of his collaborations with Julie Taymor, Curtis Hanson, and Pedro Almodóvar, his use of LUTS, and his thoughts on VFX. You won’t want to miss the eloquent thoughts of Rodrigo!
EPISODE 111 - PAUL SAROSSY - Cinematographer 
Team Deakins speaks with Paul Sarossy, a frequent collaborator with director Atom Egoyan, in this episode. Paul’s credits include THE SWEET HEREAFTER, REMEMBER, and AFFLICTION. We learn how Paul started by shooting news and what skills that gave him right off the bat. Of course, we speak about his collaboration with Atom Egoyan and learn how they work together. We break down a lot in the film, The Sweet Hereafter, and learn a lot! He shares that he thinks prep normally revolves around figuring out one thing and the rest “you just deal with”. We also touch on his working on two movies based on Russell Banks movies in a row, operating the camera, working with a non-linear time structure, digital technology as being subtractive vs additive, and the difference of working in TV and on features. And much, much more! A great conversation!
EPISODE 110 - KAZU HIRO - Prosthetic Makeup Team Deakins speaks with the very talented prosthetic makeup and effects designer, Kazu Hiro (BOMBSHELL, DARKEST HOUR, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON). We learn a lot in this episode. Kazu leads us through the process of prosthetic makeup and very patiently answers our many questions. He shares with us his work on the films Bombshell, Darkest Hour, and Benjamin Button. He also tells us about his experience of working with Akira Kurosawa! We now know about face casting, applying makeup on top of prosthetics, and the testing that is done before shooting. A great conversation with a great artist!
TURNING THE TABLES - 1917

TURNING THE TABLES - 1917

2021-04-2501:31:53

EPISODE 109 - TURNING THE TABLES - 1917 Team Deakins gets the tables turned on us led by esteemed still photographers, Alex Webb (Episode 30) and Rebecca Norris Webb. They ask us questions about the film 1917. We talk about the one-shot concept and how we worked to not make it a gimmick. We examine the choice of camera and lens and we compare this choice in still work and motion picture. We talk about collaboration, the last shot of 1917 and the trees that bookends the movie. We also speak of the impossibility to explain the power of a photo. We even got into a little discussion of the lighting of the film Chinatown! It’s a fun episode you won’t want to miss! RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: 1917
EPISODE 108 - PETER DEMING - Cinematographer Team Deakins has the pleasure of talking with cinematographer Peter Deming (LOST HIGHWAY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, SCREAM 2). A frequent collaborator with director David Lynch, Peter shares how he started working with David and their very particular style of working together. We learn a lot about the shooting of the film Mulholland Drive and really love having the chance to ask all our questions. He also explains what “lens whacking” is and when you might use it. Peter tells us how he works differently when shooting film or digital and talks about shooting dark scenes. We cover a lot in this episode so don’t miss it!
EPISODE 107 - PAUL LAMBERT - VFX Supervisor Team Deakins has a great conversation with Paul Lambert, VFX Supervisor (DUNE, FIRST MAN, BLADE RUNNER 2049). He walks us through the world of VFX and reveals the complexities. We talk about the VFX on Blade Runner 2049 and how some of them were achieved. He shares how he figured out the transparency of the character Joi. He also talks about his work on the film, First Man and tells us how a lot was accomplished. We talk about what makes a VFX shot work and what makes it fail. We also touch on the importance of continuity of lighting between the elements of the shot, the importance of the placement of the focus and the difficulty of scheduling the amount of time needed to create the shots. A fascinating look into the world of VFX!
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Comments (7)

Don Ross

This was one of the most interesting episodes yet - and I’ve listened to most of them. Thanks for these great insights into the world of film.

Jun 7th
Reply

Miles Kerr

Turning the tables is GOLD

Dec 7th
Reply

Amirhosein Noroozi

Deakins with lubezki thats the episode we want ❤

Sep 16th
Reply

Marū

I like how James ask some questions that us newbies would like to ask, thank you. Keep safe.

Sep 2nd
Reply

Don Flo

Couldn't contain my excitement when I saw this lineup! Four hard-working, developed artists on the one call ❤

Sep 1st
Reply

Marū

i am trying to catch up to all episodes and I hope you can get Chivo & Fincher in your podcast. This is amazing thank you.

Aug 27th
Reply

Jenoza

Awesome

May 14th
Reply
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