Dawn of the Planet of the Apes / Michael Seresin, BSC

Episode #59

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes / Michael Seresin, BSC


Director of photography Michael Seresin, BSC discusses his work in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, detailing how he and director Matt Reeves strove to bring “a film aesthetic” to the native 3D digital production. Among the topics Seresin covers are the challenges presented by the short prep, why he chose to use Leica lenses, his collaboration with the seasoned visual-effects crew from Weta, and how he matched disparate light in Vancouver and New Orleans.

Also see this archival article on the making of the original Planet of the Apes (1968), shot by Leon Shamroy, ASC.

  • Director of photography Michael Seresin, BSC, on the set.
  • With the actors portraying the apes wearing motion-capture suits, the cast runs through a scene.
  • Caesar (Andy Serkis) prepares for a confrontation.
  • Malcolm (Jason Clarke, foreground) tries to make peace with Caesar (Andy Serkis, left), Koba (Toby Kebbell) and Maurice (Karin Konoval).
  • Caesar (Andy Serkis) is the leader of the ape nation.

About the Film

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes finds a growing nation of genetically evolved apes encamped outside San Francisco while humans struggle to survive in the dying metropolis in the wake of a devastating virus. The fragile peace between the species is soon shattered, setting the stage for an epic battle.

The film was directed by Matt Reeves (Let Me In) and shot by Michael Seresin, BSC, whose credits include All Good Things, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Angel Heart and Midnight Express. 

Seresin also did extensive additional photography on the Oscar- and ASC Award-winner Gravity.

American Cinematographer interviews cinematographers, directors and other filmmakers to take you behind the scenes on major studio movies, independent films and popular television series.

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