Drool Over This Conversation About Ex Machina’s Cinematography

By  · Published on June 30th, 2015

Ex Machina Shoot

This is a bit wonky, but never so technical that you go cross-eyed. It’s a fascinating talk from DP Rob Hardy about his start as a feature film cinematography as well as the methods he and Alex Garland used to bring Ex Machina to digital life.

“What I was seeing with my eye is what I wanted the camera to see,” Hardy says. “It wasn’t a question of looking through the camera and re-inventing the look of the movie by applying a lot that’s irrelevant to what you’re seeing. We’re gonna light the set, photograph the set and that should then carry on through the whole process into editorial, and it should feel very natural. . . We wanted to have enclosed sets. So everything had a ceiling, the doors were sealed so there would only be one entrance in and out of the set. So when that door was closed, you really felt like you were in this environment.”

At 36 minutes, the conversation is substantial, touching on a range of topics: from mirroring megalomaniacal antics in your shot style to shooting 360 degrees to allow actors to explore their environment freely to the manufactured despair of not feeling like you made the movie you set out to make. “Let’s go further, fuck it up, and then come back,” should be the hot new tattoo for filmmakers this year.

This is a stirring talk for filmmakers of every stripe, but it should also be illuminating for fans as well, diving deep into the recipe for crafting one of the best films of the year so far. For such an alienating film, Hardy discusses the process as familial, warm and experimental. He also talks about wanting a natural look for a world of non-natural beings, so little, pleasing contradictions abound.

Sadly, Hardy never busts into a super rad disco dance out of nowhere.

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