Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Cinematographer on AR Wall and Honoring Canon [Exclusive Interview] – /Movie

What were some of those conversations like? Was there anything you learned about the “Trek” canon, either story-wise or photographically, that you’ve learned since taking the job?

Specific cases? God, there’s so much. Little things, like on the bridge gates in the original series, there was a lighting effect where they would throw light through some kind of metal grid and create a pattern of shadows around the gates. And I don’t know if that was really… I guess it was intentional, because they were creating a kind of visual interest. But the way it was done was using kind of old fashioned lighting techniques. And a lot of effort went into recreating that exact shadow pattern on the wall through the grill.

But we didn’t want it to splash all over the actor’s face because it looks like an old form of lighting, very somber and a bit harsh. So they blocked the middle of the entrance so it wouldn’t hit people. But he was banging on doors. And that was a canon lighting effect at the entrance because if you look at this bridge, it needs to transition into the bridge from the original series. There are things like that that they wanted to keep in honor.

Older “Trek” shows were filled with lots of light, making for bright, even lighting. However, the newer “Trek” shows seem to be dark and gloomy. Can you talk about that tendency towards darkness in sci-fi television, or is it just too oblique?

Not absolutely. So recently I was asked the question: What are we doing in “Strange New Worlds?” Are we aware of this, of trying to make it stand the test of time, aesthetically? And my answer to that is “no.” Because I don’t think I do. Every decade the aesthetic changes, and that’s why we feel whether things feel contemporary or not. And I’m not worried about someone saying, “That looks dated,” because that’s really a mark of the industry in general; the zeitgeist of the world in a way, creatively. But we are very concerned and put a lot of energy into the story to stand the test of time. So when I spent a few decades watching “Star Trek,” everyone has a changing aesthetic that tries to mimic what audiences are doing at the time.

And I would say that the light-bombed aesthetic was a mark of the low sensitivity of film at the time, and also that the lenses they used were, what we call slower, that they couldn’t accept more light.

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