The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry
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Presidents Desk
The Affair
Page 2
Power Rangers
ASC Close-Up

Rehearsal time was especially important, in large part because of the complexity of the script, which required that everyone always be aware of whose point of view each scene represented. “There’s a lot of depth in the writing,” Fierberg says. “Sometimes it referenced a scene we hadn’t shot yet, or something that would become important three episodes later. So, there was a need for very careful analysis of what was happening in a given scene.”

As a result of the dedicated rehearsal and blocking time on set, it wasn’t uncommon for Fierberg to shoot a scene in a single shot. “The scene might be rehearsed and figured out for an hour, and we might do a lot of takes, but then that was it,” he explains. “Having very little coverage requires really knowing the scene and rehearsing until it’s great.” On an average day, he adds, the crew might not tackle many scenes, but the page count would be high — eight to 10, sometimes more. The cinematographer credits A-camera/Steadicam operator George Bianchini and camera operator Chris Hayes for their skill and ability, which helped to make this approach work.

With regard to his lighting, Fierberg reports that he was going for a look of “heightened realism” as well as sensuality. “It looks real and it doesn’t look ‘lit,’ but it is lit,” he says. “My cinematography should never call attention to itself, and I hope it doesn’t, but I certainly put a lot of effort into making the actors look their best.

“I’m a soft-light guy, especially with digital,” he continues. “When I light directly, I’ll push Blondes, Babies, Mini-Brutes or HMIs through 6-by-6 or 8-by-8 butterflies with Full Grid and Lighttools egg crates. For a smaller direct light, I use the Chimera medium Video Pro strip [bank] with the bare-bulb Triolet fixture and egg crate. When I bounce, I frequently tape or clip raw bleached muslin to walls or ceilings and then hit it with Tweenies, Blondes or Source Fours. For a small soft light in close proximity, I use either 2-by-2 or ‘fat boy’ [2-foot four-bank] Kino Flos with bleached muslin clipped on the front. And I will always light a night car scene with the exceptional LiteGear LED lighting kit.”

Fierberg notes that gaffer Scott Ramsey (whose company, Xeno Lights, supplied the lighting package) and key grip Gary Martone made all the difference to the production. “They’re phenomenal and so creative,” he says.

The “sensual” aspect of the show’s visual style, he adds, helps create an emotional connection to what the characters experience. For example, he says, “Alison remembers her child jumping into the pool, or how the waves touched her feet.” One technique the cinematographer employed was to undercrank the camera. “By playing with the frame rate, you can get something very poetic and not achievable any other way.”

Fierberg calls The Affair “one of the most satisfying projects I’ve worked on. The writing is phenomenal. It’s good because it’s subtle; it doesn’t hit you in the face. I love working with these great scripts and great actors. I always want to work on projects where the directing, writing and acting are all of one piece, so I’m very satisfied with what we’ve done on this show. We’ve been able to achieve a style that’s rare in television: to take the time to rehearse and stage, then shoot masters and not do coverage. I love that.”


TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

1.78:1

Digital Capture

Arri Alexa

Panavision PVintage Series


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