American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 72

◗

Crime Family

Right: Cast and
crew work
through one of
the show's
dinner scenes,
which are a
cornerstone of
each episode.
Below: Engels
and director
Dave Barrett
plan their
coverage.

cial care of his family and crew than he
could as a cinematographer - another
way in which Engels' sensibilities seem
to reflect Blue Bloods' family-oriented
themes.
When cinematographer Donald
E. Thorin Jr. left Blue Bloods to direct on
The Blacklist, Engels moved into the
director of photography position and
never looked back. The transition
occurred at the behest of executive
producer David M. Barrett, who has
72

July 2018

directed more episodes of Blue Bloods
than any other helmer - and who
recognized Engels' contributions to the
show early on.
"Blue Bloods had several terrific
cinematographers, and as a gaffer Gene
was able to adapt to all of those different
styles and still keep the look consistent
and cohesive from episode to episode,"
Barrett says. "He also made the actors
extremely comfortable, which is an
important attribute for a director of
American Cinematographer

photography. I think he's taken the best
things from every cinematographer he's
ever worked with to create his own style
that's both very precise and very flexible.
There's no ego with Gene, which is
remarkable considering how talented he
is."
Blue Bloods is shot almost entirely
on zoom lenses, which Engels prefers
for flexibility. "The 11:1 [24-275mm
(T2.8) Panavision Primo Zoom] is still
my favorite," he says. "I could use that all
day long. We rely on it, and the 1990mm [(T2.8) Panavision Primo
Zoom], around 80-percent of the time.
In features, primes are fine, but in TV
you need to be able to adapt quickly.
With primes you get too locked into the
framing, and you can be less intimidating to the actors with zooms - they
don't need to feel like I'm right on top of
them."
Engels takes a cue from two of his
mentors, however, when shooting the
younger cops played by Will Estes and
Vanessa Ray. "Bill Pope [ASC] once
told me he liked the 27mm lens, and
Gordon Willis shot just about everything on a 40mm," he says. "That's how



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2018

Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover1
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American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 1
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American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Contents
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