Por Global Cinematography Institute
Interview with GCI July Session Guest Instructor: Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC
Brazilian Director of Photography Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC talks about his career, award-winning work on films such as The Queen, and what advice he has for the next generation of cinematographers.
Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC is known for his work on such films as The Queen and Love in the Time of Cholera, but he also has been a frequent collaborator with esteemed Director Pedro Almodovar (All About My Mother, Live Flesh, The Flower of my Secret). Affonso is also an expert in the fields of Digital and 3D Cinematography, having developed many mobile applications for use by Cinematographers on-set to help simplify some of the complexity of shooting digital – a great resource for students studying Expanded Cinematography.
Global Cinematography Institute Founder Yuri Neyman, ASC recently had a chance to ask Affonso about his career, work on specific films, his thoughts on “cinematographer’s style”, and more. Read the complete “rapid fire” interview here.
Yuri Neyman, ASC: In The Queen, how did the choice to shoot some on 35mm and some on 16mm come about?
Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC: Designing a look unity to The Queen, I divided it in two parts. “The Royalty, was shot in 35mm Film with the camera always on the dolly, geared head for smooth movements, framing traditionally composed, fixed lenses, and saturating primary colors in the DI. “The Administration” part of the film was shot in 16mm Film, handheld with some zoom movements, more of an ENG approach, with the primary colors saturated.
How the visual design of the film Love in the Time of Cholera developed?
Since its story takes place before electricity, candle light was used as reference until the 1900, after which the look becomes a bit more cold. The primary colors were accentuated to increase the tropical feeling of Colombia.
When you were teenager / young man, what film made the strongest impression on you?
TOUCH OF EVIL
Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most admire?
Giuseppe Rotunno, Jordan Cronenweth and Hoyte Van Hoytema
Who were your early teachers or mentors?
Ricardo Aronovich, AFC, ABC
What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
Always listen to the most experienced.
What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?
Color Grading after Sound Mixing.
How did you get your first break in the business?
I was invited to shoot a short about a decadent Circus in Brazil, the movie and its Cinematography, received the most important film prizes at that time. I’ve never stopped shooting since then.
What are some of your key artistic influences?
Modern Painting – I have a BFA in Fine Arts Film History.
What would you call the style of cinematographer?
Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC: I believe of the Cinematographer more as a Designer, serving the script and the Director’s vision, than a stylist, that brings only his vision to a project. Cinematography is a collaborative, creative, environment where the key players serve a designed function, based on a script, with a director’s, production designer’s and cinematographer’s input.
What is the key to success?
First – Reputation. Second – when a project is offered, study it deeply, looking for proper references and propose a design for it, with an analytical documentation.
What advice would you give to anyone wishing to get into cinematography?
Cinematography is a complex Art. It is important to maintain a good balance between the artistic and technological knowledge and development, by following both actual achievements all the time.