Amazon Prime dropped the first trailer for Season 4 at ComiCon San Diego this weekend, as well as the world wide premiere date for the new season – which is December 13, 2019. Check out the new trailer below. I am very excited for our fans to see the show in HDR for the first time… we wanted to go HDR in season 3, but the budget didn’t allow for it as it was not mandated by the broadcaster. But Amazon requires HDR as a delivery spec for all their original content. My colourist Joanne Rourke (at Deluxe Toronto) and I have worked closely together to bring the show into the HDR world – which I think is such a great thing for the immersive experience of Expanse. It really creates a greater sense of depth and drama in our gritty worlds of various grades of space ships, outer space and otherworldly alien environments. To me its the most exciting new tool in image making I have seen since HD.
Its so cool that now I’m going to have to get an HDR tv! For the record, we’ve been using the LG C9 television as a home reference model for HDR viewing… its what Deluxe uses. Compared side by side to the Sony X300 $40,000 4K OLED HDR (1000 NITS) monitor that Joanne and I grade with – the LG is very good, being around 800 or 900 NITS. So in terms of intense contrast and colour – the LG competes really well with the Sony X300.
I am currently deep into principle photography of season two Condor. Its an exciting new genre for me as I have never done a spy thriller before. New looks, fresh approach to lighting and framing… its always good to change things up. With Expanse having become such a major part of my work in the last several years; I have tried to do something completely different between seasons… and this is yet another opportunity for me to do that. I am shooting four of the ten episodes, currently working with director Ali Selim.
I am co-dping with American cinematographer Evans Brown, who I met when doing Amazon’s “The Boys” season one, last year. Its always great to share an episodic project with another collaborative DP so that you can really prep well for each episode.. and develop a rapport with the incoming director, as often times it may be the first time working together. Evans and I have similar tastes, but different enough that I think we can riff off each other’s approaches to our own eps.
We are shooting in and around Toronto, using Alexa Minis with both Cooke S4 and S5 lenses.
On February 7th, 2019, we completed principle photography of season 4 of The Expanse. This season certainly was our biggest, baddest and most challenging one yet… in terms of scope of the story, ambitiousness and time frame. With Amazon stepping in to save the show last year, our ramp up time to start prep on season 4 was shorter than normal. I think this will be a great season, I start colour grading in March… it sounds like a fall or late 2019 launch on Amazon Prime world wide.
Just before I began work on The Boys last summer, my Expanse team were all waiting with baited breath as to the fate of The Expanse with our network, SyFy. As it turned out, SyFy decided not to renew us for a 4th season… but after 10 days of intense fan outcry; which included a crowd funding campaign which saw a plane fly over the Amazon HQ in Seattle with a banner reading “#savetheexpanse” behind it. Then there was also a model of our hero ship, The Rocinante, in orbit of our planet with the same hashtag slogan on it. It was a very emotional and inspiring time… to be so deep inside a world we had built for 3 years and seeing the outpouring of love and support by some of the most dedicated fans I’ve ever seen on something I’ve been part of. Eventually the stunts and tweets to Jeff Bezos worked… as he personally announced that the show would be taken on by Amazon.
One of the big things I am excited about this season is that we get to finish the show in HDR… something we wanted to do last season but there was not the budget for it. This is part of Amazon’s mandate, so now we get to do it!
What a ride, is all I can say. Our sets were being scrapped when this announcement came out. Now we are 9 weeks into principal photography at the time of this writing. This year is by far our biggest and most challenging yet. I hope the fans love it as much as we’ve loved making this show over 4 seasons. Thanks to all the support our fans have given us.
I was asked back in the spring to come aboard a new Amazon Prime Video series. Over the course of last summer, I shot two of the series’ eight episodes. Jeff Cutter shot the pilot, I co-DP’d with Evans Brown who shot the remainder. We shot with the Red Helium in 8K, using Cooke SF Anamorphics primarily. I worked with director/producer Phil Sgriccia and Stefan Schwartz. The show will be streamed in HDR 4K 2.39:1 on Amazon Prime when launched. It was a fun show with dark writing and humour.. which lead to a gritty, real, non-glam view of super heroes as normal, corrupt people.
Here’s a blurb on the series:
Amazon’s small screen streaming lineup is set to add a live-action adaptation of Garth Ennis’s notoriously dark and violent comic book, The Boys. The television project, which has been in development on and off for several years, has finally received its long-awaited greenlight, auspiciously arriving as the creation of Supernatural and Timeless visionary Eric Kripke.
The Boys has an eight-episode order from Amazon, with Kripke serving as showrunner/executive producer, adapting the 2006-2012 comic book series created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. The series will launch with directors who are experienced in adapting Ennis material in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who are credited as co-creators.
Colin Minihan directed this funky, fever-dream inspired spot for Baron Samedi spiced rum. We shot in an old mansion in Toronto, which already had a great old look to start with.
Colin really wanted the colour palette to be rich and saturated, we used a combination of Astera Pixel Tubes, Light drops, Arri SkyPanel S60 and S360 fixtures, as well as LiteGear Litemats. We shot some sequences under-cranked to get that freaky jerky look.
We had a snake and wrangler for the product shot – miraculously the snake did the perfect move around the bottle in one of the first few takes, which is what made the cut.
The spot was shot with the Arri Mini and Cooke S5 lenses.
Davin Black directed this cool spot for a new French lingerie company. What’s interesting here is that its designed to also be watched in 1/4 speed on YouTube – I never realized you can choose different playback speeds on YouTube. The edit is designed to allow for seeing different details when viewed at the slower speed – even the sound design works that way!
We shot Arri Mini 4:3 with Kowa Anamorphic lenses.
In January I had the opportunity to shoot my first robotics commercial for the team at Tendril Design in Toronto. AutoStore, a Norwegian company, is a leader in robotics designed for the future of warehousing for online retailers.
Chris Bahry, Nicolas Gerard and Rafael Ruiz directed the live action. All the live action elements with our hero girl were shot in studio with a small set. We did pre-shoot testing to determine the look of the motion graphics that would appear on monitors in the set. In some cases, the graphics needed to be interactive with our hero talent. Pieces of glass were used in front of the camera which allowed us to shoot through reflections off large monitors of some of the playback graphics.
The Tendril CGI team did an amazing job of integrating the look we achieved in camera in term of colour and lighting shape with the robotic world they created.
It was an honour to be asked by Arri to participate in the series of short interview films they made to celebrate their 100th anniversary. This was shot during the filming of season 2 of The Expanse. I was speaking about our use of the Alexa Mini and how it changed the way we were able to shoot the show.