“[As cinematographer for the film], I dictated the look of the film through lighting and camera work…[I had] the job of telling the story visually – communicating the script into a visual language through the movement of the camera, the lighting of the scene, shot size, lens choice, etc.” – Luis Trevino
There can be a misconception on what a cinematographer actually does, at least for those who have never worked with one before. Cinematography is more than getting a nice picture; often times, a cinematographer collaborates with the Director and Production Designer to find a visual aesthetic for a story.
This week, we’re talking with “EXPOSED” Cinematographer Luis Trevino, for his work on the short film The Baby Farmer!
“The way I see it, my main job is to light the scene as a form of self expression as an artist and a reflection of the story…I feel that most younger people looking to pursue camera work aren’t thinking enough about lighting or aren’t lighting at all – that doesn’t just mean with equipment, but in its simplest form, choosing the side the sun falls on a subject, and the basic manipulation of any light available to you.” – Luis Trevino
The Baby Farmer isn’t the first time that Luis Trevino has collaborated with director/writer Jaime Herrera; in fact, this is the fourth time he has been the cinematographer for one of Herrera’s films. The two discussed the inspiration for the film and the overall look they wanted to achieve. Both decided on a 40’s chiller style for the night scenes: aiming for a classic aesthetic with heavy backlights & mood. The two filmmakers had a heavy influence from 70’s cinema (think Barry Lyndon and Solaris), along with horror films of the time which helped create the effect for the bathroom scene.
“Lighting is the key element in creating a certain look or style, and the different ways we used lights helped achieve our end goal…Cinematography really is just light and shadow.” – Luis Trevino
One of the tougher scenes to shoot were the hallway scenes. Luis and his crew had a limited number of lights, and he had to push the camera in order to get the exposure where he wanted it. The team was shooting in a large space, and lit it with HMI’s at the main doors, tungsten fixtures in some class door windows, and the practical lighting that was already in the school.
“It was a dark look…I was going for a high contrast ratio [that had] just enough information in the shadows, so that talent could walk in & out of light, while maintaining an exposure that not only I was happy with, but one that served the look and feel of the story.” – Luis Trevino
Part of the reason we were so impressed with Luis‘ work, is not just because of his filmmaking eye or the “tricks of the trade” he is able to share, but also the emphasis he puts on collaboration. For him, it’s one of the main reasons he loves his job.
“One thing I wish more people understood about cinematography is that it is a collaborative effort. There is an entire team dedicated to this portion of production and you work hand in hand in order to execute the job properly. No matter how much planning you do, there’s always something that comes up on set that changes plans and makes you work then and there. Its just the way the job goes, and that’s why I love it.” – Luis Trevino
We couldn’t agree more! Thank you Luis for sharing your project with our readers this week! If you want to work with Cinematographer Luis Trevino, be sure to click the “ABOUT ME” button on his photo!
Thank you for watching this week’s Exposing the Crew “EXPOSED” indie project!
(We just want to do our part in supporting the indie community!)
We’ll See You All Next Tuesday,
Samantha George (Producer, JJack Productions)