Peter Robertson (ISC) has worked on award winning Feature Film, TV Drama and Documentary. "Amber" was transmitted this week and has attracted huge audiences. The "look" of the drama contributed very much to it's success Cinematographer Peter Robertson (ISC) talks about his work
(Q) What format did you decide to shoot on for "Amber"?
(A) I shot 'Amber' on Red MX (1:85) with a set of Zeiss Super Speeds. The reference for ' Amber ' was the Swedish TV drama ' The Killing'. This meant that camera movement was kept to a minimum with the exception of a slider to punctuate certain moments. The frame was kept largely static letting the story unfold within the frame. Lighting was as naturalistic as possible using practical fixtures to light where possible.
(A) All the sets were on location the most difficult being the office location . This was because the offices all had glass walls that sloped away at an angle. This was helpful in getting reflections in the glass which we were trying to get where ever possible but made any sort of lighting very difficult due to the angle of the glass and the multiple layers of glass.We were also looking for depth and reflections not only in the office location but where ever possible, cars , luas, Garda station . Another difficult decision was what to put on the windows as regards ND. Both Apartments had very large windows and we wanted to be able hold the exposure with the exterior. Due to budget limitations and also the amount of time it took to gel the windows we could only make this decision once.I went for the heavier ND as I did not want burnt out exteriors in bright sunshine. As it turned out when we came to shoot the apartments it was cloudy!So the ND in one location was slightly heavy but that was preferable to the other option. We also had a lot of car work to do which were all done with a limpet mount on the bonnet/door or handheld inside the car. This was done with available light with the exception of a night driving sequence which was done by poor man's process. For this we made a pulley system of festoon lights which were moved in the deep background along with a 8ft propeller which rotated slowly over the car to simulate passing street lights. We also used a black wrapped bicycle wheel to simulate passing lights. this with a combination of rain and moving reflections gave a sense of movement.All reflections in the car windows were shot live. One particularly pleasing was of the Luas passing across Eva's face as she gazed out the window.The night exterior reflections were put in in post.
(Q) What was the look you were going for?
(A)We were going for was Scandi/modern look.
(Q) What projects are you currently working on?
(A) I have just finished shooting 'Citizen Charlie' and I am currently working on a feature film ' Traders ' a post Celtic tiger thriller set in the Irish underbelly ...... Ghost housing estates , run down pubs, quarries, toilets...... About desperate people who 'Trade ' with their lives for loot.
(Q) How do you approach shooting digitally, do you use LUT's
(A) No I tend not to use LUTs but get the look I am going for through a combination of color balance and lighting.