By Arun Fulara. Posted on September 08, 2015
Technology has changed the face of Cinema in the last few decades. Films like Jurassic Park, Terminator, Alien used the utility of computer generated imagery and the magic of post production to create what was impossible just a few years back. However, not all films need extensive technical work. In a short interview with NPR (National Public Radio, USA), master Cinematographer Roger Deakins simply said, "If it's used correctly, it's a fantastic technique." Deakins, is a 12 time Academy Award nominee for Best Cinematography and has shot iconic films such as The Shawshank Redemption, Sid and Nancy, A Beautiful Mind, Skyfall and over 10 films with the Coen Brothers (including Barton Fink, Fargo and No Country For Old Men).
Elaborating further, Deakins explains that In the Coens' O Brother, Where Art Thou?, there's a scene where a car full of convicts hits a cow in the road. The sequence was so convincing, Deakins recalls, that animal-cruelty watchdogs cried foul. The filmmakers invited the activists to visit the Digital Domain special-effects lab, "and the effects guys had to take them through the stages of how they'd animated this cow so it looked like it had been run over by the car." The conversation then moves to Roger Deakins' favorite shots and his love for lighting.
An avid still photographer himself, Roger Deakins also confesses to his love for simplistic shots and that "it's really about the content. It's not about making great images." In The Shawshank Redemption (dir. Frank Darabont), the shot where the guys are drinking beer in the sunset, right after the confrontation between the guard and Andy Dufrense (Tim Robbins), which finally pans to Red (Morgan Freeman) along with his slow voiceover, is one of Deakins personal favorite shot and he stresses again that 'there's nothing worse than an ostentatious shot' and that he prefers using natural sources of light.
In the case of No Country For Old Men (dir. Coen Brothers), Roger Deakins goes into the detail, breaking down the shots for the penultimate scene where the Sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) returns to the motel where Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is hiding. Towards the end of the video, Deakins laughingly says, "I love light; it's the little things." Do watch this mesmerising scene. to see how Deakins plays with lights.