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  • New York Film Academy Cinematography Students See Latest Projection Technology at Dolby Cinema With Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC

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    Graduating Cinematography students in the New York Film Academy Los Angeles MFA and 1-Year programs participated in a recent field trip to Dolby Laboratories to see the cutting-edge of theatrical projection. NYFA Los Angeles Cinematography department chair Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC set up the visit.  

    During the trip, NYFA Cinematography students were introduced to some of the technical aspects of Dolby Vision, and had a chance to see the color correction process in Dolby’s state of the art theater. Students asked questions of the Dolby staff, and got to see some of the possibilities available to shape the look and finish their images.

    The trip gave these recent graduates a look at some of the latest innovations that they will be seeing in the industry very soon.

    Best known for their work in the audio field, Dolby has recently introduced a new system for high-dynamic-range (HDR) projection in the cinema. Dolby Vision makes it possible to project images with a dramatic 1,000,000-to-1 contrast ratio, creating a far bigger range of brightness than previous projection standards.

    Dolby simultaneously introduced a proprietary color correction system, creating a pipeline that will optimize films to take advantage of these new projectors. Recent blockbuster films including Incredibles 2, Ocean’s 8, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Jurassic World have been early adopters of this new technology.

    Anthony Richmond recently employed Dolby’s new process in the color correction for the 4K restoration of the classic concert film The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, a film he shot for director Michael Lindsay-Hogg in December 1968. The film features performances from the Rolling Stones, The Who, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and other iconic musicians from the British music scene of the late ‘60s.  

    Speaking about his experiences, Richmond said “I think Dolby Vision is the most exciting thing that has happened in the way we color correct films. Most of the new televisions are now Dolby Vision ready, and Netflix is already broadcasting some productions in Dolby Vision.”

    Richmond advocated for using Dolby Vision for this restoration, conducting a test to demonstrate the advantages to the producers. When Richmond showed them the results, they agreed that using the Dolby process would be an essential part of the restoration. The film will be released on September 27 for both Dolby Vision blu-ray and a limited theatrical release.

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  • Anthony Richmond Leads Production Design Practicum at Laurel Canyon Stages

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) has just completed its annual MFA Production Design and Cinematography Practicum, as a three-day production at the Laurel Canyon Stages.

     

    Throughout the practicum, NYFA Instructor Anthony Cook stepped in to offer guidance and support as the students worked through the many problems that can arise on set. Color theory, storytelling, and layout were all discussed throughout the class. Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond oversaw the production.

    “Production designers work hand in hand with the cinematographers,” Cook said. “Production Design is really another character in the film. It should be as carefully considered as the actors. It’s an unbelievably important component of crafting a good story.”  

    The New York Film Academy had created the Production Design Practicum for Cinematographers largely to help rising producers understand, through hands-on experience, the vital importance and intricacies of production design.

    The three-day shoot took place at the Laurel Canyon Stages. The New York Film Academy has been working with the studio for several years.

    “They’re always friendly and supportive,” said Associate Chair of Cinematography Mike Williamson.

    Students were involved in every aspect of filming.  They raised flats, designed the interior, directed the scene, and filmed the project.

    “They did everything. Right down to picking the sheets on the bed,” Cook said.

    NYFA alumna Natalie Whittle and actor Shamar Sanders were brought in by Cook to act for the student scenes.  Once the set was wrapped, the students were then able to edit the footage.

    The New York Film Academy Practicums are an opportunity for students to hone their skills in a real-world environment, under the conditions of a professional set.

    Cook was proud of his students stating, “The students did a really good job. It was a great experience. They handled themselves just like I would expect them to.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank all of the students who participated in this practicum as well as the instructors who made it possible.

     

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  • Cinematography Chair Anthony Richmond Remembers David Bowie from “The Man Who Fell to Earth”

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    “I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human.” Over the span of sixty nine years, the recently deceased legend of music, art, film, theatre and pop culture, David Bowie was indeed as extraordinary as he set out to be. Always setting the trends and breaking the boundaries as an artist, the entertainment icon and pioneer of glam rock’s legacy will live on forever.

    david bowie

    David Bowie on set of “The Man Who Fell to Earth”

    “He was a major, major artist,” said New York Film Academy Cinematography Chair, Anthony Richmond, who was Director of Photography on the Nicolas Roeg film The Man Who Fell to Earth, which starred Bowie as a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. “He just kept reinventing himself.”

    The 1976 British sci-fi film, which was actually shot in New Mexico, was originally cast for Peter O’ Toole. However, those who know the movie—which maintains its strong cult following due to its use of surreal imagery and unforgettable Bowie performances—know that it wouldn’t be nearly the same without him. “I don’t think there was another person who could play that part,” said Richmond. “Bowie was a bit like an alien himself—bringing his own artistry to the film.”

    The British film was Richmond’s first film in which he spent the entire shoot in America. While on set, Richmond and director Nicolas Roeg would play some of Bowie’s hits, especially “Young Americans,” which was one of his more recent songs that Richmond was quite fond of.

    Bowie would spend almost eight hours each morning getting into his alien costume. In fact, it was Richmond’s wife at the time who spent all morning dolling up Bowie.

    “Unlike most rock stars, Bowie was incredibly professional,” said Richmond, a man who is no stranger to working with rock legends. Richmond was responsible for photography on the seminal British music scene of the late 60’s. He shot The Rolling Stones classic, “Sympathy For The Devil” for Jean-Luc Godard, and then collaborated with Michael Lindsey Hogg on The Rolling Stones’ “Rock And Roll Circus” and the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” His other rock and roll credits include: The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright,” as well as the Documentary “Glastonbury Fayre.”

    bowie and richmond

    David Bowie, Nicolas Roeg and Anthony Richmond

    Like most of us, Richmond was a huge fan of Bowie’s work and would frequently see him in concert and listen to his music whenever he could.

    “I was deeply saddened when I read the news this morning. We lost one of the most extraordinary artists of our time.”

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  • Anthony Richmond Holds Crane and Jib Workshop

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    During their third semester, the MFA Cinematography students at New York Film Academy have a full schedule of workshops to keep them busy. With the Master’s Lighting Workshop, the Underwater Camera Workshop and the Alexa Workshop, the students are given an opportunity work with advanced professional tools and learn how to integrate them into a narrative film production.

    anthony richmond

    NYFA Cinematography Chair Anthony Richmond with his students

    In addition to these courses, the week-long Crane & Jib Workshop gives students the opportunity to work with a variety of camera movement systems from a broad range of the top manufacturers including J.L Fisher, Chapman/Leonard, and Service Vision. Cinematography department chair Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC led the class, introducing the students to a range of practical techniques for using both remote cranes and jib arms to construct powerful, dynamic shots. Richmond pushed the students to develop their operating skills using both the traditional geared head and the remote crane heads that are based on this classic design.

    crane

    For the last day of the workshop, the class put their new set of skills to work on the Crane & Jib Practicum. They used the 45-foot Scorpion Crane, equipped with a Scorpion Remote Head, a RED Epic Dragon digital cinema camera, a Cooke zoom lens and a remote focus and iris system. With the camera flying on the crane throughout the shoot, the class captured a wide variety of moving shots designed to tell the story in a dynamic style.

    By the end of the workshop, the MFA Cinematography students had a greater understanding of how to design visually stunning shots, and how to use professional tools to execute their ideas. As they look forward to next semester, these cinematographers will have a new set of skills to take their films thesis films to the next level.

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    January 7, 2016 • Cinematography, Community Highlights • Views: 3807

  • New York Film Academy to Host Second Annual Young Saudi Film Festival

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) in Los Angeles recently announced the second annual Young Saudi Film Festival (YSFF), which is slated for Feb. 18, 2018, at the Harmony Gold Theater on Sunset Boulevard. A showcase of recent Saudi films, YSFF is currently accepting submissions from filmmakers.

    Director of NYFA Los Angeles Dan Mackler greets YSFF President Rakan Anneghaimshi.

    “Last year Saudi filmmakers didn’t have any theaters where they could show their films and creative productions. With hope and consistent effort, cinema is now back again in Saudi Arabia,” said YSFF President and NYFA student Rakan Anneghaimshi (Spring 2016 BFA Acting). “Our goal since Abdulaziz Almutari (YSFF Vice President, Fall 2015 MFA Cinematography) and I started YSFF was to have a platform to link filmmakers to each other so they can exchange experiences, knowledge, and connections. It’s going to be the same case this year.”

    Last year’s screening was attended by over 300 guests and presented eight short films. NYFA alum Maan bin Abdulrahman of Prince of Arabia Entertainment hosted the event and moderated a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers, which included Saudi Arabian filmmaker, Meshal Al Jaser (NYFA Fall 2016 BFA Screenwriting).

    Regarding this year’s festival, Director of NYFA’s Los Angeles campus Dan Mackler said, “As an international film school and home to many Saudi Arabian alumni and students, the New York Film Academy is very happy with Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen theaters. We share Rakan’s excitement for this second event and expect it to surpass last year’s impact on bringing talented filmmakers to light.”

    While the festival focuses on the work of Saudi filmmakers, submissions from around the world will be considered, particularly those from Gulf and Arab states. A panel of NYFA faculty will select eight short films between five and 20 minutes long for the showcase. Judges include film star Miraj Grbic (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”), actress and comedienne Suzanne Kent (“Taxi,” The Groundlings), cinematographer Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC (“Don’t Look Now,” “Legally Blonde”), photographer/cinematographer Bart Mastronardi (“Tales of Poe”), director James Rowe (“Blue Ridge Fall”), and novelist Crickett Rumley (“Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell”).

    For a complete list of rules and to submit a short film, please submit via Google form here or on the NYFA Student hub. The deadline is Jan. 28th, so hurry to submit your film!

    The second annual Young Saudi Film Festival on Feb. 18 at the Harmony Gold Theater in Hollywood promises to be an inspiring event attended by both young filmmakers and Saudi esteemed officials. It is free and open to the public. In addition to the short films and a Q&A again moderated by Maan bin Abdulrahman, the event will feature a light reception and a performance by NYFA’s Improv Troupe.

    YSFF President Rakan Anneghaimshi with filmmaker Meshal Al Jaser.

    Reflecting on the upcoming festival, YSFF President Anneghaimshi complimented NYFA’s continued involvement, saying, “I would like to thank Dan Mackler for his endless support and caring, and I would like also to thank Tami Alexander, Crickett Rumley, and Brian Dillon.” He also had kind words for those submitting films: “I wish all the best for all filmmakers applying to the festival.”

    To RSVP to attend the Young Saudi Film Festival on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m., please RSVP here.

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  • MFA Cinematographers Complete Production Design Workshop

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    The Spring 2016 MFA Cinematography students at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles completed their Production Design workshop last week, spending two days building a three-room set.  They worked on a soundstage at Burbank Studios, famous as the home of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, among many NBC Studios productions. The class painted and dressed the set to incorporate a high level of detail, then rigging a 50’ translight backing of the New York skyline to complete the illusion. The translight will be seen outside the set windows, lit for both day and night at different points in the story.

    tony richmond and mike w

    This workshop was part of the Production Design course in the MFA Cinematography program, taught by instructor Francis Pezza, whose credits as an Art Director include “Outbreak,” “Dante’s Peak,” “Big Fat Liar,” and the original “Miami Vice” TV series. In addition to learning the fundamental concepts of production design, the students worked throughout the semester on designing a set that fit the needs of an original short screenplay.

    The script was written by NYFA directing instructor Anthony Cook, whose credits include writing and directing the independent feature film “Wal-Bobs,” and producing the upcoming Lionsgate series “Dead House” for actor and former NYFA student Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor and executive producer Kevin Hart. For this workshop, Cook wrote a story about an obsessive-compulsive man who must defend his carefully manicured apartment from a trespassing mouse.

    mike williamson

    Once the set was completed, the students shot for three days on stage as the final part of the Cinematography Practicum class. The project was photographed on the Red Dragon digital cinema camera, allowing the cinematographers to shoot in 6K and utilize a RAW image workflow.

    Cinematography instructors Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSCJacek Laskus, ASC, PSC and Rick Greenwood joined the class on stage for the shoot days. They offered guidance on lighting and blocking the scenes, helping the student cinematographers to realize the story and make best use of the intricate set.  Richmond showed the students one of his trademark techniques for creating transitions in camera, teaching them how to use nets and dimmers to recreate one of his signature visuals from films including “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

    With guidance from their instructors, the MFA students leave this workshop with an understanding of what it takes to build a professional set, and how to shoot it. Having completed their final Cinematography Practicum shoot at New York Film Academy, the students will incorporate these ideas in their work as they begin their MFA Thesis Films next semester.

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    May 17, 2017 • Cinematography • Views: 4224

  • “Men of Honor” Filmmakers Visit NYFA LA

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    Following a screening of Men of Honor, students at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus welcomed Director George Tillman, Jr., Producer Robert Teitel, and Cinematographer and NYFA Cinematography Chair Anthony Richmond, for a Q&A. Men of Honor, starring Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Charlize Theron, is based on the true story of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, a man who overcame racism and the amputation of his left leg to become the first U.S Navy Master Diver. NYFA’s Dean of the College, Sonny Calderon, moderated the event.

    tillman and teitel

    Director George Tillman, Jr. and Producer Robert Teitel

    George Tillman, Jr. is a director/producer/writer, best known for the Barbershop franchise, Notorious, a film about rapper Notorious B.I.G., Faster, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, The Longest Ride.” Tillman also wrote, directed and produced the award-winning film Soul Food, with his producing partner, Robert Teitel. Teitel is a producer best known for his work on Tillman’s films, as well as Jayne Mansfield’s Car, and Nothing Like the Holidays (for which he wrote the story). NYFA Cinematography Chair and Cinematographer Anthony Richmond has had a long and illustrious career, starting in the 1960s with the Rock and Roll scene, working with, Jean-Luc Goddard, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and then making his way into features on films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth, Legally Blonde, and The Sandlot, among many others. The tight-knit group reminisced about their experiences on Men of Honor, relating fascinating tales from the production, as well as invaluable words of wisdom.

    Tillman spoke very fondly of working with Robert De Niro. He related one episode on set in which the legendary actor picked up a phone while acting and the heavy prop struck him in the head. De Niro quickly regrouped and yelled for the cameras to “Keep rolling!” and to start the scene again. Without missing a beat De Niro recognized that this incident provided him an opportunity and he used the unexpected emotions to give a better performance in the next take.

    Cinematographer and NYFA Cinematography Chair Tony Richmond related a funny anecdote about his experience with the costume design for the film. A U.S. Navy ship provides the backdrop for the film, which of course means the story involves many sailors in uniform–white uniforms. Anyone who’s tried to film an actor wearing white knows that achieving proper exposure balance within the scene becomes very difficult. When Tony first got to set on the deck of the ship and saw a hundred extras wearing white under the blistering sun he said he almost had a heart attack. However, the highly skilled DP quickly found solutions to make all the shots work.

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    NYFA’s Dean of the College, Sonny Calderon, Director George Tillman, Jr., Producer Robert Teitel, and NYFA LA Cinematography Chair, Anthony Richmond

    Producer Robert Teitel related the importance of how film school supplies students with the opportunity to create a “calling card” with which to break into the business. This is what he did with his 30-minute short Paula, which won several awards, including the Student Academy Award. This is also when he forged what was to become his very successful long-term partnership with George Tillman, Jr., who directed the short. The short helped Robert and George raise $150,000 and produced Scenes for the Soul, a feature film that was shot in Chicago, using local talent and resources. Scenes for the Soul was sold to Jackson-McHenry at Savoy Pictures for $1 million.

    We thank George Tilman, Jr., and Robert Teitel for visiting our school and wish them the best of luck in their careers!

    written by Melissa Enright and Robert Cosnahan

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    June 23, 2016 • Cinematography, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 3791

  • “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” Screening & Discussion

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    Last week, students at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus spent an evening with the creators of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, one of the most celebrated films of the English rock music scene of the 1960s. Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and Cinematographer (and NYFA LA Cinematography Chair) Tony Richmond regaled the students with tales of a wild 30-hour shoot that took place in December, 1968.

    rollin stones circus

    Featuring performances by The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones themselves, The Rock and Roll Circus was a one-time event staged by the Stones to offer local fans an intimate concert experience set in a tawdry European traveling circus tent. The idea was to celebrate the music and not the trappings of the glamorous rock and roll life. The attendees of the concert were witness to music history as they watched a gathering of rock superstars playing for the fun of it to a crowd of about 300 people. The students at the film screening witnessed a document of one of the most creative and influential musical scenes—namely, London in the late ‘60s.

    Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who directed the film, is a music video and documentary pioneer. He made (with Tony Richmond), the Beatles’ final feature film, Let It Be, as well as Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park; Paul Simon, Graceland; and Neil Young in Berlin, among many others. Michael also directed many seminal music videos including videos for the Stones’ songs “Start Me Up,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Angie,” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Michael also directed many Beatles music videos, including “Paperback Writer,” “Hey Jude,” and “Revolution.” All this, in addition to directing many critically acclaimed feature films including Master Harold and the Boys, Nasty Habits, and Frankie Starlight, and television series such as “Ready Steady Go” and “Brideshead Revisited (for which he won the BAFTA award).”

    Anthony Richmond was a camera assistant on Dr. Zhivago, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, From Russia With Love, and Francois Truffaut’s Farenheit 451. Tony then went on the be the cinematographer of dozens of films, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, Don’t Look Now (for which he won the BAFTA award), The Sandlot, Stardust, Legally Blonde, and Ravenous. Tony was also responsible for lensing many seminal rock and roll films, including Sympathy for the Devil (for director Jean-Luc Goddard), The Who’s The Kids Are Alright, and Glastonbury Faire.

    NYFA Dean of the College, Sonny Calderon, who moderated the evening’s Q&A, encouraged the students in attendance to take Michael and Tony’s lead and do what they love. “After speaking with these two legends, I was impressed by just how much they love telling stories. They cannot imagine a life where they weren’t constantly creating films, videos, and shows, and they do it for the love of sharing stories.”

    When asked what he hoped NYFA students would take away from the screening, Tony responded “We were veritable kids when we filmed the show. We were inventing techniques as we went along in order to accomplish our vision. We even engaged a French camera company to fashion a system for us that enabled Michael to direct the film like a live show, thus preserving the energy of the performance. These cameras were regular TV studio cameras but had beam splitters installed into them so that 50% of the light coming in through the lens would be funneled to Michael in the control room, and 50% went to a built-in 16mm camera that served as our image capture medium. Michael was cutting on the fly like a live TV show in a control truck, calling the shots to the various camera operators. To my knowledge, this was the first time film had been used for a live show in this way.”

    rolling stones circus

    About the screening, Michael says “Under Sonny Calderon’s alert questioning, Tony and I were able to re-create for the students the making of ‘TRSRNRC’ and also about those times, the middle 1960s, when the world was changing under our feet and before our eyes. London then was a terrific place when all these extraordinary musicians were exploding and sending their shards of brilliance around the globe. But we hoped the students didn’t just see this as a trip to Lake Nostalgia, but also as something made by a group of people who were passionately involved with what they were doing, and wished to encourage them to find their own heroes and heroines and projects to go for and things which may seem at first daunting but with application and wit, will soon be theirs.”

    Many of the insights shared by Michael Lindsay-Hogg can be found in his recently-published memoir, “Luck and Circumstance,” which details his fascinating life growing up and working with many of Hollywood’s greatest talents.

    New York Film Academy thanks Michael Lindsay-Hogg for speaking with our students, and we very much look forward to more conversations with him to come.

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    March 11, 2016 • Cinematography, Guest Speakers • Views: 3494

  • ‘Don’t Look Now’ Gets 4K Digital Restoration from Criterion Collection 

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    Forty-six years after its release, Don’t Look Now, the drama/thriller/horror directed by Nicolas Roeg and shot by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Chair of Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond, BSC, ASC, is still held up as a cinematic classic, so it’s no surprise that Criterion Collection has released a 4K digital restoration of the film.

    With the new restoration, many in the film world are taking another look at the beloved 1973 film, which stars Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as a couple who’ve recently lost their daughter and come across a pair of elderly sisters—one of which claims to be a psychic in touch with the spirit of their child.

    Cinephilia & Beyond recently published an in-depth look at the film, including quotes from Roeg and Richmond. Cinephilia & Beyond started out as a small blog centered on independent film and has evolved into a community of passionate lovers of film, including A-list names like Guillermo del Toro, Ava DuVernay, and William Friedkin.

    The article, written by Jasun Horseley, takes the reader through the entire film from start to finish, with in-depth analysis on several key scenes, incorporating interviews and quotes from the filmmakers

    “It is a fabulous movie,” says Richmond, the director of photography for Don’t Look Now. “Not because I shot it, but it still stands up today. It was probably the most difficult thing I have shot, because in Venice everything goes in and out on barges. We shot it in the winter with an Italian crew, which was fantastic, because Venice in the winter is dark, cold and foreboding, which was wonderful.”

    Tony Richmond is the London-born, BAFTA-winning cinematographer who has shot numerous productions, including The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Sandlot, Legally Blonde, and Sympathy for the Devil. He is currently Chair of Cinematography at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, where he works closely with talented, hard-working students. 

    Richmond also spoke with Antonia Quirke about Don’t Look Now on BBC’s Film Programme. Among other things discussed was the film’s infamous and oft-scrutinized sex scene between Sutherland and Christie. 

    The interview, which takes place during the first 11 minutes and 30 seconds of the show, can be found here.

    Don't Look Now

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    October 15, 2019 • Cinematography, Faculty Highlights • Views: 179

  • Q&A With New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Horacio Martinez

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    Horacio Martinez graduated from New York Film Academy’s 1-Year Cinematography program last year, but the hard-working lover of film finds education everywhere he goes. That includes everything he learns whole on set, where his work ethic and passion for cinema has made him a valuable asset to any film crew.

    Martinez really spoke with NYFA about his time at the Academy’s Los Angeles campus and his work on a feature film starring Ed Asner as 2nd AC. In addition to all the technical skills he’s picked up along the way, Martinez stresses that human relationships between the crew and between fellow students and instructors are just as important when forging your career in film.Horacio Martinez

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What was the journey that lead you to the New York Film Academy? 

    Horacio Martinez (HM): Movies have been a part of my life ever since I was kid. I’ve always related episodes or experiences in my life with films. In my teenage years, I developed a curiosity about photography. At the same time, I worked as a composer for short films and various behind-the-scenes for photographers and videographers. After I moved to the USA from Venezuela, I explored my passion for photography, doing a lot of Urbex (Urban Exploration). It was a wonderful experience and I got to know every corner of the city. 

    I felt I needed something beyond urban and landscape photography. After doing some research, I decided to pursue my original dream of trying to find a place in the industry of visual storytelling. I found NYFA as my home as a professional, and also as a human being. Cinematography really changed my perception of life, my surroundings, the way I see and analyze problems to opportunities, and everyday life. 

    NYFA: Why did you choose NYFA’s 1-Year Cinematography program?

    HM: Cinematography, in my opinion, is the perfect marriage between technology and art. It is a very passionate career. We have to be chameleons and adaptable. We have to get into people’s minds (in most cases, the director’s) and meticulously dissect their thoughts and ideas, and then translate them into reality with the use of wonderful, amazing tools. Technology can help us in solving problems and achieving a unique look for each film. 

    I looked at the instructors, all the subjects and the approaches to cinematography, and found that the 1-Year Cinematography program was a great match. I needed to formalize my education, and open my eyes professionally about the craft itself. Since I’m in my 30s, I am hungry to go out and explore the world of filmmaking and find the right path to success. 

    NYFA: What were your favorite moments at NYFA?

    HM: Getting to know all of my classmates and people from other departments that share the same passion as me about storytelling. Forging relationships and earning people’s respect one day at a time.

    I loved all of my classes, so it is very hard for me to choose one specific favorite instructor or class. They were all shaping my life as a cinematographer and making me a different person since the day I started. All the classes are of equal importance. All the instructors are very passionate professionals that really care about teaching not only their knowledge, but also personal experiences that really helped me to have a better understanding about the craft of cinematography, and the protocol and relationships in the industry. 

    NYFA: Shortly after graduating, you had the opportunity to work on an independent feature film as the 2nd Assistant Camera (2nd AC). Can you tell us about that?

    HM: That was an amazing opportunity and I am really thankful for it. When I was at NYFA, one of my main priorities was to create strong relationships not only between my classmates and fellow students, but also between me and the instructors. In this case, Anthony B. Richmond ASC, BSC called me on a Saturday afternoon, asking me if I could join his son Gaston on a low budget feature film starring Ed Asner. I immediately said yes. At first, I couldn’t believe that I got a personal phone call from Tony himself asking me if I could work with his son.

    Everything turned out amazing, and I really learned a lot about all the duties of a 2nd AC in the real world. Of course, what I learned at NYFA was a huge influence on my workflow. 

    NYFA: As the 2nd AC and media manager, what were your responsibilities on the film? 

    HM: My first priority was to be invisible. That’s a thought that I always had with me while working on set. Invisible to the point that I had to make the 1st AC’s — Gaston Richmond’s — job easy. I had to keep the department afloat. Everything has a domino effect. If one tiny little thing breaks, falls, or is not charged, then the department could be delayed big time, so anticipation was key. 

    I also needed to keep the camera in order, keep all the batteries charged, keep track of all the rolls that we shot and what day they were shot. When things flow smoothly, it’s thanks to order, organization, and protocol. 

    I also had to change lenses in extreme situations, and change camera magazines. I had to run blocks and blocks down the street during a massive heatwave in order to back up the files to three hard drives at the same time, while keeping in constant communication with the Sound Mixer to also get the sound files and back them up in the proper way.

    Gaston was a great mentor, and I really learned a lot from him. He gave me great support, and helped me keep things in balance with the thousands of details that people assume are going to be taken care of. It is true that no one is going to tell you how to do your job at first, but I saw that as an opportunity to show them who I really was and all that I knew. 

    NYFA: Were there any specific challenges for the camera department on this film? How did you handle those issues? 

    HM: There were a lot of challenges like I mentioned before, but being a 2nd AC is a challenge itself. You are the base of the camera department, the one that keeps everything running smoothly. If you take care of the details, people will trust that you will do your job.

    My first focus was to have a great relationship with my department. We are a team, and we all wanted to have things moving forward smoothly. My relationship on set with Gaston (1st AC), was really important since he and I were working so closely. As I said, he was very reliable, incredibly supportive on set, and a great guy with a great personality. With a good attitude and always keeping our cool, we solved any challenges that we had to overcome.

    It is also extremely important to have a good relationship with every single department on the project. You never know when someone will have to help you, and basically save your life. I also offered myself as help to other departments when needed.

    Life on set is not easy, it is basically creating art out of chaos. That’s why it is extremely important to have good relationships with everyone, have a great attitude, a good sense of humor. Be humble at all times, and ask for help when you need it. These factors will help you overcome all the challenges on set. 

    1st AC Gaston Richmond and 2nd AC Horacio MartinezNYFA: Did your classes at NYFA prepare you for working on a professional set? 

    HM: Definitely. 100% of the material, cinematography practicums, and classes that I had at NYFA were of huge help, especially when it came to actually knowing my role. You have to respect the protocol of communication between members of your department, and with other departments as well.

    I never felt out of place, and I spoke the same language as the DP. This was especially helpful when we had to be very technical, with camera resolution, lenses, filters, white balance, etc. 

    NYFA: What advice would you give to current students about starting their careers? 

    HM: Never doubt yourself. Always be yourself. Be willing to learn, because one of the most exciting things about this career is learning about new technologies, developing skills to solve problems, and experimenting with different looks. This is not a 9-to-5 career, and every day is not the same. The challenge is how to adapt ourselves, and use our personality and creativity to leave our mark and identity in the visual story we are telling. 

    NYFA: What projects do you have coming up next? 

    HM: Right now, my mission is to join projects that will help me develop my skills and become a better professional. I hope to join the camera union (Local 600) in the near future. I want to learn, I want to meet people, and create bridges and relationships.

    In the meantime, I am prepping a music video and a couple of short films with great directors, all of them out of NYFA. 

     

    The New York Film Academy thanks Horacio Martinez for speaking about his experiences and looks forward to the future successes his drive, passion, and hard work will undoubtedly bring him!

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    September 17, 2018 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1141