The great cinematographer Roger Deakins has seen it all: the sprawling existential wastelands of the Coen brothers, the sleek nocturnal worlds of Denis Villeneuve, the assorted adventures of Sam Mendes. At age 70, the Oscar-winner has a lifetime of wisdom and experience to share with we grubby denizens of the Internet, and now he’s doing just that.
Last week saw the launch of Team Deakins, a new podcast featuring the peerless director of photography in conversation with one James Ellis Deakins, his regular collaborator and wife since 1991. Together, the Deakinses share musings on the nuts and bolts of their shared profession for the edification and amusement of professionals and amateurs alike.
It’s lovely stuff, with each episode (some a half-hour, some a full hour, the latest ninety minutes) digging in to a particular topic in film production. One sees Deakins and Deakins going through the basics of practical lighting, another delves into location scouting, a third is all about composing a frame for maximum dramatic and artistic effect. It’s a virtual masterclass, for free and at home.
The rapport between the two hosts ends up being one of the podcast’s secondary treats, as a pair of experts with plenty of familiarity comfortably banter between substantive hands-off lessons. And of course, this allows for plenty of colorful anecdotes from Deakins’ rich CV, whether that’s a fond recollection from the set of The Village or The Shawshank Redemption.
With everyone cooped up at home, famous types have busied themselves keeping the general public diverted, and for cinephiles, no one’s contribution to this effort will have more value than this one. Where else can a person learn how to deploy a dolly shot for maximum artistic impact while savoring the arch, reedy tones of Roger Deakins?
Published 6 May 2020
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