The Idol Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye Episode 3
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Tv ‘The Idol’ relies on natural light, zooms and 1970s paranoid thrillers to achieve its unforgettable look

‘The Idol’ relies on natural light, zooms and 1970s paranoid thrillers to achieve its unforgettable look

The Idol Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye Episode 3

When cinematographer Marcell Rév and director Sam Levinson reunite to work on HBO’s “Euphoria,” they usually have months of preparation to discuss the guiding principles of visual style and plan elaborate and meticulously choreographed camera moves. Their latest collaboration, ‘The Idol’ was a little different. “It was pretty quick,” Rév told IndieWire. “Sam called to tell me that he was doing it, and I had to finish another show while he started shooting. I think he shot two or three weeks with Arseni Khachaturan before I came along.” (A third cinematographer, Drew Daniels, arrived to finish the project when Rev had to leave on a pre-existing commitment.)

Jumping on a train that had already left the station led to significant changes in Rév and Levinson’s approach, but it also provided a sense of liberation. “In a way, it was a comfortable place to be because I felt free to experiment,” Rév said. “I felt like we could explore that right now.”

Levinson had already adopted a new way of shooting to accommodate co-creator and star Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, who had never acted before; instead of working with a single camera and deliberately designed shots as was customary for “Euphoria,” he used three cameras and let them capture the action in a way influenced by reality TV to give Tesfaye maximum freedom and minimum self-awareness.

“In ‘Euphoria’ we work on our block around the camera,” said Rév. “This time it was more like we were working the camera around the actors. The approach was to create something real and film it instead of setting up shots.” This more naturalistic method manifested itself in a heavy reliance on natural light, particularly in the show’s many wide shots with lots of people and action. “When you go for close-ups, you have a little more control and that’s more traditional cinematic lighting,” said Rév. “The most challenging part is when you cover a lot of space with a lot of movement.”

“The Idol”

Luckily, many of the locations provided favorable lighting conditions, starting with Lily-Rose Depp’s Jocelyn’s home, which appears to be Tesfaye’s real home, chosen after an earlier version of the show led to noise reduction measures. costs. “That house had great architecture and was very attentive to the light,” Rév said. “We had a lot of light available there and we took advantage of it a lot.”

For the music video shoot that takes place in the show’s second episode, the filmmakers chose a club that already had a nifty built-in lighting system for Rév to take advantage of. “You see certain lights as props, but we’re also lighting up, using them as key lights. We changed a few things, but overall we kept the core look of the nightclub.”

In addition to locking and lighting, Rév and Levinson took a new approach to lenses, relying heavily on zooms. This allowed the camera operators to be more flexible in following the action, but it also helped Rév delve into the more menacing aspects of the series’ history. “It was great for these wide shots that cover a lot of space and connect the wide shots to the close-ups,” Rév said. “But there’s also a thriller aspect to it when you slowly zoom in on a face from a distance. I was watching a lot of voyeuristic thrillers like ‘Klute’ and ‘The Parallax View’, those kinds of movies about paranoia. Those 1970s classics also influenced Rév’s choices on occasions when he used prime lenses, as he opted for vintage glass from that era. “I used older Zeiss MK1 B-speed lenses, which are softer and have a bit more texture.”

The additional storyline came from the decision to shoot in 35mm, one of the areas where “The Idol” and “Euphoria” are on the same page. For Rév, if one can choose, cinema is always the way to go. “With digital, you’re always trying to fight this cold, distant gaze,” he said. “You try to fill it with life and the film already has it. Film just looks better, especially with something like this, where we’re using a lot of available light. I like the atmosphere it creates on set – it’s a more focused environment – and I like its unpredictable nature, that you have to wait a day to see how it turns out. I’ve been shooting movies for at least 10 years and it surprises me every time… and it’s usually a very good surprise.”

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