In this video, CookeOpticsTV sits down with the acclaimed cinematographer to discuss his process.
Matthew Libatique is one of my favorite directors of photography. I was first introduced to his work after seeing the amazing Darren Aronofsky directed “Requiem For a Dream” in 2000, and I’ve quickly learned that it is worth looking for his name in a film’s credits the way many people may look for the name of an A-list star.
Since then, he’s gone on to lens some truly beautiful images in films such as "Tigerland," "She Hate Me," "The Inside Man," and "Straight Outta Compton." His latest effort, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, “A Star Is Born,” sees Libatique nominated for an Academy Award.
He recently say down with Cooke Optics to discuss his process of working on that film as well as some of the practical situations that influence his decision making.
On “A Star Is Born,” knowing he’d be working with a first-time director, Libatique tried whenever possible to keep the lighting simple. He used a broader lighting pattern with a simpler color palette. This allowed for both kinetic movement among his actors but also reduced unnecessary complications for the first time helmer.
Also, being a musical, “A Star Is Born” is filled with concert scenes. Due to production schedule, most of the concert scenes were shot in the initial weeks of production. In the interview, Libatique discusses how these early shots helped to set the tone for the entire production, including the more intimate dramatic scenes that would be filmed later. It's a good lesson in creating an aesthetic early in your production and carrying it through the process to create a cohesive whole.
Check out the video to learn more about Libatique’s choices for the film, like shooting anamorphic, or his choice of 25mm, 32mm, and 75mm primes. This is a good lesson from a huge talent.