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NYFA Chair of Cinematography (LA) is DP for The Beatles Docu-Series

April 18, 2022

NYFA Cinematography Chair (LA) Anthony Richmond, ASC has worked on films of varying genres; Don’t Look Now, a horror film for which Richmond won a BAFTA Award, The Man Who Fell from Earth a sci-fi film starring David Bowie, the horror-thriller Candyman, and the iconic rom-com Legally Blonde all form part of his eclectic portfolio. In addition to his extensive work behind the camera and his invaluable time in the classroom, Richmond is also a member of the Academy Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (A.M.P.A.S), British Academy of Film & Television Arts (B.A.F.T.A), American Society of Cinematographers (A.S.C), and British Society of Cinematographers (B.S.C).

Anthony Richmond’s career was covered in the April 2022 issue of American Cinematographer wherein the legendary magazine celebrates Richmond six-decade career and the way he’s captured rock-and-roll royalty throughout the years.

In January 1969, only two short years after becoming a cinematographer and five years after beginning his career in the film industry without any formal training, Richmond was entrusted with filming The Beatles as they prepared their 12th studio album and rehearsed for a world tour in under three weeks.

The initial release of Richmond’s Beatle footage was seen in Let It Be, a documentary that followed the Beatles through a “fly on the wall” perspective, devoid of narration and interviews from the band mates. In the first half of the film, the audience sees the band toil over songs, trying to make them better and rehearsing at Twickenham Film Studios in London. The Fab Four were not fond of Twickenham Studios and neither was Richmond who told American Cinematographer, “It was very boring — a big, old stage with a huge white cyc.” The colorful background we now recognize in the rehearsal space was Richmond’s doing. “There were a lot of lights rigged up in the gantry, so I had gaffer Jim Powell introduce different gel colors onto the cyc every day to get rid of the horribleness of the white.”

Whereas the first half of the film is focused on the band's collaboration, the last part of the film is all about the Beatles’ performance on the rooftop of Apple corps headquarters. The impromptu performance would be the Bealtes’ last live performance together but Richmond maintains that it was a good experience. “Let It Be was a really dark piece about the Beatles breaking up,” he says, “but it certainly wasn’t an unpleasant experience for me. It’s always fun shooting.”

Richmond also says of the Beatles “[I] never thought of [the Beatles] as stars. I saw them as guys in a band. To me, stars were movie stars.” Perhaps it was best that Richmond was not starstruck by the most influential band of all time. Richmond's footage is the gift that keeps giving and it’s the kind of footage that insists on the humanity of the Fab Four. It is why Peter Jackson and Jabez Olssen were able to edit almost 60 hours of footage for four years to bring us The Beatles: Get Back on Disney +.

The new footage in Get Back redirects the attention to what made the band so dynamic. Get Back gives Beatles fans a front row seat into the band's process and provides rock band novices a thorough introduction into the dynamics and mechanics of the legendary band.

Richmond spoke with NYFA 20/20 host Liz Hilein about his career, acknowledging that while it was easier in the 60’s to learn on the job, these days, the film industry moves at such a rapid pace there is less time to teach onset and highlights the importance of studying the greats.

The New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Chair of Cinematography (LA) Anthony Richmond, ASC on all of his success and his timeless films!

Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.

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