American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 42
Between Heaven and Hell
Fiore go to a
travel agency in
search of tickets
center, blooming and low contrast."
Canon K-35s, 18mm to 85mm, have
"nice focus falloff " and are "the most
color-neutral." Also described were a
Canon K-35 25-120mm Macro Zoom
(T2.8) ("super warm and bendy") and a
couple of Angenieux Optimo zooms:
15-40mm (T2.6) and 28-76mm (T2.6)
("crisp and clear").
"We called Daniel 'the
Sommelier,' with the 'tasting notes' on
all the lenses," Pope recalls.
The pilot was shot in spring
2015, and in September AMC ordered
nine more episodes - a season's worth.
Tapped to shoot them was Seattlebased director of photography John
Grillo, whose recent credits include the
Toronto-based Netflix horror series
Hemlock Grove and the U.S.- and
Australia-based HBO apocalypse
drama The Leftovers.
The gig came through veteran
cinematographer Michael Slovis, ASC,
who served as a director and executive
producer on Preacher, and who had
worked with Grillo on the Fox crime
"We hit it off," says Grillo on the
line from New Orleans, where he is
prepping Preacher's second season. "He's
just the sweetest and best creative partner you could wish for." His agent
informed him he was up for the series
while the cameraman was in Spain
shooting second-unit on the forthcoming historical-drama feature The
Promise. Rogen and Goldberg hired
him following a Skype interview.
"But I had no idea about the
graphic novel," Grillo says. "I started
researching online and was blown away
by the scope of it. It's about going to
Hell and Heaven. There are a lot of
fantastical elements and I thought,
'How can you do that on a TV schedule?' They were talking about eight days
per episode. But I realized from the
pilot that it's more of an intimate, smalltown story and not that digital-effectsheavy."
The first season serves as a
preamble to the fanciful goings-on of
the comic book that will be revealed in
season two, including even more
Following the pilot, Grillo's
resources for the remainder of season
one were somewhat scaled down. He
continued the two-camera setup -
with Matt Harshbarger operating A
camera/Steadicam and Andrew Voegeli
on B - but both cameras were F55s
and he had no digital-imaging technician, whereas Pope had the help of
Slovis directed episodes five,
titled "South Will Rise Again," and
nine, "Finish the Song," the latter of
which earned Grillo an ASC Award
nomination for cinematography in a
regular series for commercial television.
Meanwhile, Guillermo Navarro, ASC
helmed episode six, "Sundowner."
Grillo assures that his fellow cinematographers did not get overly
involved in his business.
"You come in with your ideas and
they respect that," he says. "Like
Guillermo, I was raised in Mexico and
speak fluent Spanish, and even though
we'd never worked together, we have
mutual friends. We had so much fun on
set and there was never any talk about
lighting from him. It was all about
setting up shots and the usual director
collaboration. It was the same with
Slovis, who just told me, 'Go do your