The Cinematography of Bond 26 (and beyond)

edited May 2022 in Bond 26 & Beyond Posts: 3,226
Don't think there's a thread specifically for this, although I've seen many people discuss the cinematography of the Craig era. Anyway, who would you like to see as the Cinematographer of a future Bond film and/or what direction do you think the cinematography should take creatively?

I generally think the cinematography of the Craig era has been technically strong, particularly Skyfall. I wasn't as much a fan of Spectre or No Time To Die's visuals - the latter especially looked beautiful but for me lacked that purposefulness of storytelling and emotional resonance that draws me in. I generally think Bond films should have a vibrancy and colour to them, especially when depicting secondary locations (the Matera and Cuba sequences in NTTD had this for me), although I also like when there's some sort of juxtaposition (I liked the fact that London looked a bit more flat/grey in SF for example, especially when compared to how Shanghai is depicted later as being more colourful/full of contrast).

There are certain trends in cinematography nowadays I don't want to see in Bond. No purple neon lighting like in John Wicks and many of Nicholas Winding-Refn's films (among many others). I also don't want Bond 26 to look like The Batman which is essentially an entire film of very low key lighting. That said, one thing I think a future Bond film can take away from that film are the more Hitchcockian elements in the cinematography (ie. the opening POV shot with Riddler's binoculars giving off that voyeuristic feel, many shots where the camera is mounted closely and right in front of Batman's face when he's using his grappling hook or flying etc.) Just a bit of creativity and visual strategy to give the cinematography that extra something would be nice, ideally without being too flashy or resorting to things like 'long takes' during fight scenes.

As for who could do the cinematography, I'd nominate Charlotte Bruus-Christensen (A Quiet Place, Molly's Game, The Girl on the Train, Far From The Madding Crowd, The Hunt, various episodes of the 2020 Black Narcissus). Watched her give a talk at a Cinematography festival in 2017. Most of the festival itself wasn't for me (I saw a panel with a world famous cinematographer and couldn't understand a word of what they said) but her interview was a highlight and her approach to cinematography was well explained and showed a lot of depth. With a strong director I'd like to see someone like this for a future Bond film.

What about you guys? What are your thoughts on the cinematography of Bond 26 and beyond?

Comments

  • LucknFateLucknFate 007 In New York
    edited May 2022 Posts: 1,489
    I think it's guaranteed we see Bond utilize The Batman's and Mandalorian's new digital sound stage, and I'd love to see Bond go for the cinemascope look again like they did in NTTD. The digitial-to-film transfer The Batman did also resulted in a good-looking movie imo, that had the character of film still, so I'd be down for that.

    Haven't had a movie's cinematography blow me away in years, so I'm afraid I don't have many names to offer. Just not Hoyte Van Hoytema again.
  • Junglist_1985Junglist_1985 Los Angeles
    edited May 2022 Posts: 1,007
    I think most Bond films should look like QOS, personally - Bold and colorful with a gritty realism.

    Yes Deakins did amazing work in SF, but I don’t think Bond needs to look quite so artistic every time.

    So, I’m going with Roberto Shaeffer.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 2,571
    I liked the cinematography on NTTD, but at times it did look almost like a dream, which was a bit odd for Bond I thought. It looked a bit surreal, which might have been the intention

    But I loved most of the cinematography of Matera and Jamaica, I'd love it if the next film looks similar to that. You could almost feel the heat of the place coming off the screen, like you were there, which was a treat coming after the pandemic
  • Posts: 3,226
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I liked the cinematography on NTTD, but at times it did look almost like a dream, which was a bit odd for Bond I thought. It looked a bit surreal, which might have been the intention

    Yes, lots of lighting flares and a bit of blurring around the edges when Bond and Madeline are driving up to Mantera to give off that 'romantic' feel (looks like they spread some Vaseline or something over the anamorphic lenses to my eye). I personally don't like it. A bit too overt and gooey for me. I always notice the cinematography in NTTD which is not my preference for a Bond movie. If Bond is surreal or fantastical I think it should be in stuff like the script, the villains, their lairs, the scenarios (albeit in a way that makes it plausible) and not necessarily the cinematography. I think it should be more purposeful from a storytelling perspective (again, having a visual strategy and things like juxtaposition/interesting shot compositions are fine, but I don't think it should take me out of the film even to admire how beautiful or cool that shot is).
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    Posts: 660
    Cinematography that gets noticed isn't good cinematography. If the audience is thinking, "wow this is a really beautiful shot" as opposed to, "wow, this is a really beautiful scene," the director isn't doing his job.

    I never thought Skyfall was a beautiful-looking film, I always thought it looked stagey. Deakins' cinematography is technically well-done but it's over-dramatic and doesn't tell the silly story Skyfall is telling. Spectre is the most visually-bland entry in the entire series, with every scene looking flat and muddy. It makes AVTAK look like a Baz Lurhmann movie.

    Going forward I'd like to see a return to a stripped-down, unpretentious approach to this series' cinematography. Not a bunch of pretty images but something that's conducive to action-adventure storytelling. GE, TND, CR, and QOS are good examples of how Bond movies should be shot: competent but not showy.
  • edited May 2022 Posts: 3,226
    slide_99 wrote: »
    Cinematography that gets noticed isn't good cinematography. If the audience is thinking, "wow this is a really beautiful shot" as opposed to, "wow, this is a really beautiful scene," the director isn't doing his job.

    I never thought Skyfall was a beautiful-looking film, I always thought it looked stagey. Deakins' cinematography is technically well-done but it's over-dramatic and doesn't tell the silly story Skyfall is telling. Spectre is the most visually-bland entry in the entire series, with every scene looking flat and muddy. It makes AVTAK look like a Baz Lurhmann movie.

    Going forward I'd like to see a return to a stripped-down, unpretentious approach to this series' cinematography. Not a bunch of pretty images but something that's conducive to action-adventure storytelling. GE, TND, CR, and QOS are good examples of how Bond movies should be shot: competent but not showy.

    I very much agree with the first paragraph but disagree with the second! At least your thoughts on Skyfall anyway. I find it pretty effective and some of the best cinematography of the series, but these things are subjective. Spectre can be an ugly looking movie in places though, I completely agree.

    Yes, ultimately Bond cinematography shouldn't take you out of the film. As beautiful as the purple neon lighting and long takes are in John Wick/many modern movies I don't think it has any place in Bond. Again, I'd personally like to see a more Hitchcokian approach going forward more akin to DN or FRWL (things like subjectivity, POV shots, how characters are framed/shot etc.) insofar as it'd work with the story.
  • Posts: 523
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I liked the cinematography on NTTD, but at times it did look almost like a dream, which was a bit odd for Bond I thought. It looked a bit surreal, which might have been the intention

    But I loved most of the cinematography of Matera and Jamaica, I'd love it if the next film looks similar to that. You could almost feel the heat of the place coming off the screen, like you were there, which was a treat coming after the pandemic

    Yeah the dream thing is entirely intentional. Sandgren talks about it in the Making Of book — it's to give it this spiritual/religious quality. Especially when Madeleine is on screen. All the stuff with light surrounding her.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 2,571
    BMB007 wrote: »
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I liked the cinematography on NTTD, but at times it did look almost like a dream, which was a bit odd for Bond I thought. It looked a bit surreal, which might have been the intention

    But I loved most of the cinematography of Matera and Jamaica, I'd love it if the next film looks similar to that. You could almost feel the heat of the place coming off the screen, like you were there, which was a treat coming after the pandemic

    Yeah the dream thing is entirely intentional. Sandgren talks about it in the Making Of book — it's to give it this spiritual/religious quality. Especially when Madeleine is on screen. All the stuff with light surrounding her.

    Thanks mate I thought it might have been intentional, I haven't read the book yet.

    I liked it but I felt like I was watching a dream sequence and Bond was about to wake up, which took me out of the film a bit. It looked almost too perfect
    It remind me of Mission Impossible Fallout, when Ethan is having the dream about his wife and then he wakes up suddenly
  • Posts: 2,099
    I dont know much about the artistic and technical delivery of cinematography, except that I prefer it when the first and second units are stylistically aligned. i.e not an obvious switching of styles between the two (steady v shaky handheld camera).

    I would like to see a lot more use of the IMAX format in Bond going forward. The IMAX shot sequences in NTTD were fantastic but extremely limited (the whole PTS, a single Jamaica shot and the second half of the Cuba sequence).
  • The producers have a wide selection of choices in this department and should keep the quality standards high because cinematography makes a huge difference:


    Roberto Schaefer
    Roger Deakins
    Hoyte van Hoytema

    You can't go wrong with these guys to keep up the quality of the films.
  • edited May 2022 Posts: 784
    I think more variation in all aspects makes the film feel fuller. If you compare Casino Royale to Skyfall, the latter is a bit too stylish, with too many seconds on each shot. To create suspense you have to alternate between lenses, angles, framings and camera movement, especially in dialogue scenes. Otherwise you make the film feel like a tv show, staged performance or a photograph. I think a lot of new-age cinematographers haven’t fully grasped this yet.

    Unless you specifically decide to keep it simple, like Wes Anderson. But then everything else has to complement that decision.
  • edited May 2022 Posts: 3,226
    I think more variation in all aspects makes the film feel fuller. If you compare Casino Royale to Skyfall, the latter is a bit too stylish, with too many seconds on each shot. To create suspense you have to alternate between lenses, angles, framings and camera movement, especially in dialogue scenes. Otherwise you make the film feel like a tv show, staged performance or a photograph. I think a lot of new-age cinematographers haven’t fully grasped this yet.

    Unless you specifically decide to keep it simple, like Wes Anderson. But then everything else has to complement that decision.

    I agree with you, save for the idea that Skyfall is a bit too stylish (compared to NTTD and SP it's rather subtle in terms of cinematography I'd say). Also too many seconds on each shot is more an editing thing, potentially.

    But otherwise, agreed. I mentioned Hitchcock in my initial post, and his films had a lot of cinematography contrasts within dialogue scenes. Take the 'We all go a little mad sometimes' scene from Psycho. The angle changes on Norman to that lower shot with the taxidermy birds in the background as soon as he begins to become a bit unhinged. It's subtle but brilliantly effective at giving the viewer a sense that something has changed. Again, some of this sense of creativity and attention to detail would be great to see in Bond.
  • I personally think Skyfall is the pinnacle of cinematography in this franchise followed by NTTD and OHMSS. I don't find Skyfall to be too stylish, I think that many of the frames are just so beautiful that they draw attention to themseslves, but I don't think it's in a way that's flashy or overstylized.

    Some DP's I'd like to see do Bond 26 and samples of their work;

    Adriano Goldman


    Christopher Doyle


    Bradford Young


    Anthony Dod Mantle
  • Posts: 60
    I would love to see Robert Elswit as cinematographer. Although at age 72 now I don't think it's very likely.

    Jonathan Sela would be someone I think would be under consideration. Although with the OP, I agree that I wouldn't want the Bond films to resemble "John Wicks".

    With the success of Top Gun: Maverick, how about Claudio Miranda?
  • Posts: 60
    These days many directors work with a preferred cinematographer.

    So it's likely whoever helms the directors chair will decide who will be the cinematographer.
  • Posts: 2,099
    I would love to see Robert Elswit as cinematographer. Although at age 72 now I don't think it's very likely.

    Jonathan Sela would be someone I think would be under consideration. Although with the OP, I agree that I wouldn't want the Bond films to resemble "John Wicks".

    With the success of Top Gun: Maverick, how about Claudio Miranda?

    Elswit did TND.
  • Posts: 60
    Mallory wrote: »
    I would love to see Robert Elswit as cinematographer. Although at age 72 now I don't think it's very likely.

    Jonathan Sela would be someone I think would be under consideration. Although with the OP, I agree that I wouldn't want the Bond films to resemble "John Wicks".

    With the success of Top Gun: Maverick, how about Claudio Miranda?

    Elswit did TND.

    @Mallory You're right. And I never ever knew that (somewhat inexplicably) I'm also very surprised he didn't do anymore. He worked with Spottiswoode on the TV show "Prince Street". So I guess this is the reason he did TND?

    He's still working and did the cinematography for "King Richard" so I guess it's still possible he comes back.

    But it's likely the next cinematographer comes with the director.
  • Posts: 2,099
    Just thinking about who I would like to be cinematographer on Bond 26... if the go down a more action orientated route, I would nominate Dan Laustsen. He has been DP for the John Wick films and I think his ability to shoot beautiful, glossy, exciting yet focused action, clearly filmed and well staged, would be a real benefit to Bond 26.

    I also hope that they utilise the IMAX format more. Its becoming more and more popular and recent films such as Dune Part 2 and Oppenheimer have really pushed the IMAX of it to great effect. NTTD did 40 mins of IMAX photography and it was gorgeous, though they never made much marketing fact of it oddly.

    Bond presented in 15/70mm IMAX film would be a great selling point.
  • sandbagger1sandbagger1 Sussex
    Posts: 803
    ...if you live somewhere near an IMAX cinema. I don't.
  • DenbighDenbigh UK
    edited March 30 Posts: 5,872
    If they can get Greig Fraser after he’s finished The Batman Part II, I’ll be very happy.



  • sandbagger1sandbagger1 Sussex
    Posts: 803
    The Batman looked amazing. I'd love to see him do a Bond film. Ditto for Christopher Doyle, though I know he often left Wong Kar-Wai's films before they were finished, which might make Eon a bit wary of him.
  • Posts: 3,226
    The Batman looked amazing. I'd love to see him do a Bond film. Ditto for Christopher Doyle, though I know he often left Wong Kar-Wai's films before they were finished, which might make Eon a bit wary of him.

    I'm a big fan of Doyle's work (I've actually seen him speak at a Cinematography festival - very interesting guy, and obviously a great artist). That said I've met at least three people in the film industry who've met/worked with him in some way and they all say the same thing: he's an alcoholic and a bit of a wild card. I'm not sure his method of working suits the schedules and demands of something like Bond.
  • sandbagger1sandbagger1 Sussex
    edited March 30 Posts: 803
    007HallY wrote: »
    The Batman looked amazing. I'd love to see him do a Bond film. Ditto for Christopher Doyle, though I know he often left Wong Kar-Wai's films before they were finished, which might make Eon a bit wary of him.

    I'm a big fan of Doyle's work (I've actually seen him speak at a Cinematography festival - very interesting guy, and obviously a great artist). That said I've met at least three people in the film industry who've met/worked with him in some way and they all say the same thing: he's an alcoholic and a bit of a wild card. I'm not sure his method of working suits the schedules and demands of something like Bond.

    Yeah, I've heard the same. His work is amazing, though. Even with problems stemming from damaged film and Wong Kar-Wai's tinkering with colour saturation, Ashes of Time Redux blows me away every viewing; Fallen Angels makes Hong Kong a gloriously trippy neon-soaked night-time world; and In the Mood for Love is just gorgeous. By contrast, The Grandmaster surprised me with how lacklustre I found the whole experience, even with Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang starring.
  • Posts: 3,226
    007HallY wrote: »
    The Batman looked amazing. I'd love to see him do a Bond film. Ditto for Christopher Doyle, though I know he often left Wong Kar-Wai's films before they were finished, which might make Eon a bit wary of him.

    I'm a big fan of Doyle's work (I've actually seen him speak at a Cinematography festival - very interesting guy, and obviously a great artist). That said I've met at least three people in the film industry who've met/worked with him in some way and they all say the same thing: he's an alcoholic and a bit of a wild card. I'm not sure his method of working suits the schedules and demands of something like Bond.

    Yeah, I've heard the same. His work is amazing, though. Even with problems stemming from damaged film and Wong Kar-Wai's tinkering with colour saturation, Ashes of Time Redux blows me away every viewing; Fallen Angels makes Hong Kong a gloriously trippy neon-soaked night-time world; and In the Mood for Love is just gorgeous. By contrast, The Grandmaster surprised me with how lacklustre I found the whole experience, even with Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang starring.

    Definitely an extraordinary cinematographer. Hell, an extraordinary person even. But maybe not quite suited to Bond.

    I mentioned her name before, and I actually saw her speak at the same festival that I saw Doyle - Charlotte Bruus Christensen. She's done A Girl on The Train, Far From The Madding Crowd, Fences, A Quiet Place, The Hunt, amongst others. I actually thought her talk was very good and she seems like a very adept and creative cinematographer. I think she could be good for a Bond film.

    It's a bit technical/not exciting for those not interested in cinematography potentially, but here's a video that breaks down some of her work:

  • Posts: 523
    Obviously I'm not demanding they hire anyone, but I would love to see the aesthetic Matthew Libatique (frequent collaborator of Darren Aronofsky and Bradley Cooper) would bring to Bond.
  • sandbagger1sandbagger1 Sussex
    Posts: 803
    007HallY wrote: »
    007HallY wrote: »
    The Batman looked amazing. I'd love to see him do a Bond film. Ditto for Christopher Doyle, though I know he often left Wong Kar-Wai's films before they were finished, which might make Eon a bit wary of him.

    I'm a big fan of Doyle's work (I've actually seen him speak at a Cinematography festival - very interesting guy, and obviously a great artist). That said I've met at least three people in the film industry who've met/worked with him in some way and they all say the same thing: he's an alcoholic and a bit of a wild card. I'm not sure his method of working suits the schedules and demands of something like Bond.

    Yeah, I've heard the same. His work is amazing, though. Even with problems stemming from damaged film and Wong Kar-Wai's tinkering with colour saturation, Ashes of Time Redux blows me away every viewing; Fallen Angels makes Hong Kong a gloriously trippy neon-soaked night-time world; and In the Mood for Love is just gorgeous. By contrast, The Grandmaster surprised me with how lacklustre I found the whole experience, even with Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang starring.

    Definitely an extraordinary cinematographer. Hell, an extraordinary person even. But maybe not quite suited to Bond.

    I mentioned her name before, and I actually saw her speak at the same festival that I saw Doyle - Charlotte Bruus Christensen. She's done A Girl on The Train, Far From The Madding Crowd, Fences, A Quiet Place, The Hunt, amongst others. I actually thought her talk was very good and she seems like a very adept and creative cinematographer. I think she could be good for a Bond film.

    It's a bit technical/not exciting for those not interested in cinematography potentially, but here's a video that breaks down some of her work:


    Thank you for posting that, I found it really interesting, though the latter half talking about camera lenses and cinema stock was a bit beyond me. I think my tastes run a bit more heavy-handed than yours, as I come from an art-school background inspired by an early passion for Marvel comics. I only really came to be conscious of cinematography after widescreen televisions became the norm, and I've found that I respond best to Deep Staging, with everything in shot in focus, and nice use of blocking. I think this is similar to the art direction Marvel made its trademark back when I was a kid, using contrasts in figure sizes and objects close to the virtual camera to make the panels interesting. I'm less sensitive to colour and lighting, though I'm sure they make an impact on me, just not consciously most of the time.

    I've seen The Girl on the Train and Far From the Madding Crowd, both quality films, but I don't remember much about them. I suspect the cinematography was too subtle for me to jump out at me. I have to admit I never know what is the director and what is the cinematographer (or even the production designer) when I admire visuals. I think the last film I saw that really grabbed my conscious interest in its visuals was a film called Columbus (2017), which featured the architecture of Columbus, Ohio pretty heavily. I see the cinematographer hasn't done a lot of critically lauded films, so it might be the director's eye I appreciated, I can't tell. I don't know enough about the different disciplines to really break down who's talent I'm drawn to, or even why something appeals to me.

    I'm sure Charlotte Bruus Christensen would be a good choice for Eon, she seems very much the kind of talent they look for. I'll keep an eye out for the films she works on in future.
  • Posts: 3,226
    007HallY wrote: »
    007HallY wrote: »
    The Batman looked amazing. I'd love to see him do a Bond film. Ditto for Christopher Doyle, though I know he often left Wong Kar-Wai's films before they were finished, which might make Eon a bit wary of him.

    I'm a big fan of Doyle's work (I've actually seen him speak at a Cinematography festival - very interesting guy, and obviously a great artist). That said I've met at least three people in the film industry who've met/worked with him in some way and they all say the same thing: he's an alcoholic and a bit of a wild card. I'm not sure his method of working suits the schedules and demands of something like Bond.

    Yeah, I've heard the same. His work is amazing, though. Even with problems stemming from damaged film and Wong Kar-Wai's tinkering with colour saturation, Ashes of Time Redux blows me away every viewing; Fallen Angels makes Hong Kong a gloriously trippy neon-soaked night-time world; and In the Mood for Love is just gorgeous. By contrast, The Grandmaster surprised me with how lacklustre I found the whole experience, even with Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang starring.

    Definitely an extraordinary cinematographer. Hell, an extraordinary person even. But maybe not quite suited to Bond.

    I mentioned her name before, and I actually saw her speak at the same festival that I saw Doyle - Charlotte Bruus Christensen. She's done A Girl on The Train, Far From The Madding Crowd, Fences, A Quiet Place, The Hunt, amongst others. I actually thought her talk was very good and she seems like a very adept and creative cinematographer. I think she could be good for a Bond film.

    It's a bit technical/not exciting for those not interested in cinematography potentially, but here's a video that breaks down some of her work:


    Thank you for posting that, I found it really interesting, though the latter half talking about camera lenses and cinema stock was a bit beyond me. I think my tastes run a bit more heavy-handed than yours, as I come from an art-school background inspired by an early passion for Marvel comics. I only really came to be conscious of cinematography after widescreen televisions became the norm, and I've found that I respond best to Deep Staging, with everything in shot in focus, and nice use of blocking. I think this is similar to the art direction Marvel made its trademark back when I was a kid, using contrasts in figure sizes and objects close to the virtual camera to make the panels interesting. I'm less sensitive to colour and lighting, though I'm sure they make an impact on me, just not consciously most of the time.

    I've seen The Girl on the Train and Far From the Madding Crowd, both quality films, but I don't remember much about them. I suspect the cinematography was too subtle for me to jump out at me. I have to admit I never know what is the director and what is the cinematographer (or even the production designer) when I admire visuals. I think the last film I saw that really grabbed my conscious interest in its visuals was a film called Columbus (2017), which featured the architecture of Columbus, Ohio pretty heavily. I see the cinematographer hasn't done a lot of critically lauded films, so it might be the director's eye I appreciated, I can't tell. I don't know enough about the different disciplines to really break down who's talent I'm drawn to, or even why something appeals to me.

    I'm sure Charlotte Bruus Christensen would be a good choice for Eon, she seems very much the kind of talent they look for. I'll keep an eye out for the films she works on in future.

    She knows how to tell a story through her visuals, which is what any good if not great cinematographer should do. Again, I enjoyed her talk and admire her work. Will keep an eye out for Columbus though.
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