Love Thy Keepers (2018)
001Lithium X (2018)
Role: Adam Bird
Das Boot (TV series 2018)
Official Site. Photos. IMDb
The Snowman (2017)
Role: Filip Becker
Release: Oct. 13 2017
Role: Colonel Winnant
Release: May 2017
Chicken/Egg (short film 2016)
Release: Febr. 2017
Role: Henry Howell
Release: 26 April 2016
Agent Carter (TV Series 2016, S.2)
Role: Edwin Jarvis
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Thrilling Adventures: 'Marvel’s Agent Carter' Combines Classic and Contemporary Visual Styles
Veteran cinematographer Gabriel Beristain sought to combine the seemingly endless possibilities afforded by digital technology with the invitingly familiar elements of those black-and-white analog fi
Creative Planet Network 2/19/2015 11:45 AM Eastern
By: John Merli
Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) finds herself doing administrative work when she would rather be back out in the field, putting her vast skills into play and taking down bad guys.
Counting on Marvel’s deft touch when it comes to the commercial success of its stable of superheroes that includes Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, and franchises including the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, ABC Television is keeping its fingers crossed for the comic book empire’s recent small-screen entry, Marvel’s Agent Carter, which takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 1946. This Marvel series is unusual in that it features a female lead who has no superpowers.
The challenge for the show’s executives and the network is making an independent woman facing a surge of job competition from men returning from service in World War II both relevant and watch-worthy in 2015. The fact that the post-war era has more than its share of sinister characters means Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and her very few trusted compatriots have their work cut out for them.
Besides Atwell, who appeared in both Captain America movies, principal cast for the eight-episode season includes James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, Chad Michael Murray as Agent Jack Thompson, Enver Gjokaj as Agent Daniel Sousa, and Shea Whigham as Police Chief Roger Dooley
Cinematographer Gabriel Beristain with Atwell. Photo by Bradley Inaba/ABC.
Veteran cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, ASC, BSC, seeking to combine the seemingly endless possibilities afforded by digital technology with the invitingly familiar elements of those black-and-white analog films of 70 years ago, knew there were several methods by which to choose a visual style for the series. Beristain (Blade II, S.W.A.T., Blade: Trinity, The Strain, Magic City), director of photography for several Carter episodes, says it was helpful that the 1940s was a “particularly evocative time,” with abundant source material still easily retrievable today.
“From Hopper’s [1942 painting] Nighthawks to James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic illustrations, the work of Raymond Chandler, and the masterful idol of mine, Dashiell Hammett, and his adapted The Maltese Falcon—which was the most inspirational film for me—I started the process of making the film noir genre the guide and inspiration of my vision,” Beristain says. “In that respect, Peggy Carter is my Sam Spade. Yet it was Sandy [Alexander] Mackendrick, my film mentor in England, who showed me, with his fabulous Sweet Smell of Success, the tremendous value of great staging, or mise-en-scène, to depict the period.
There were many more great films and filmmakers who were revisited and re-enjoyed, [like] the great master cinematographer John Alonzo and what he showed me in Chinatown,” Beristain adds.Once he had fully analyzed the genre—following an exhaustive voyage that included German Expressionism, Michael Curtiz, Jean-Pierre Melville and Akira Kurosawa—he says he still needed to examine the visual characteristics of the style: the deep shadows, low-angle camera work and low-key lighting, and the all-important high-contrast chiaroscuro treatment of shadows. “Once this is mastered in my mind, the trick is to adapt it to a language that new audiences will relate to,” says the Mexican-born cinematographer.“Faithful to my desire to embrace digital technology, but pairing it with analog elements that can enhance it and help it abandon that dreadful ultra-sharp look of reality television, I have been looking always for the best cameras,” he says. For Agent Carter, Beristain tapped the ARRI Alexa XT camera and Leica Summilux lenses. With the goal of achieving the highest resolution possible, he says he captures ARRIRAW format footage.
Atwell as Agent Carter and James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis. Photo by Matt Kennedy/ABC.
Considering the sophistication of emerging digital formats, Beristain remains critical of television’s lingering technical limitations. “Transmission is still determined by networks and commercial needs, and they’re not taking full advantage of the best resolution offered by the new digital technology. The same happens with the use of the sensor. We still are not using the full image—the ‘open gate’ of the sensor—except, in our case, for visual effects purposes.
Combined with other fabulous image capture devices, I use vintage silk stockings stretched on the back element of the camera, a [diffusion] technique which Alexa and [others] welcome by providing rings and other accessories which allow easy removal and maintenance of such delicate materials,” Beristain says. Among other effects, the stockings tend to soften images, affecting the skin tones of the actors and enhancing the architectural highlights of the sets and locations, he explains.
On one hand, I shot Marvel’s Agent Carter as a black-and-white film in my mind. Yet I also shot it as a comic book or graphic novel from the Marvel universe … not as a period piece with the graphics of the time, but with the language of this century,” says Beristain. “My mind was totally attuned to black and white, and my lighting followed that state of mind by creating strong backlights or halo lights. Separating the visual planes by contrast helped me to enhance the colors and textures of the fabulous costumes that costume designer Giovanna Ottobre-Melton created for the show, and that our adorable Hayley Atwell wore with so much grace and power. Even the pastel colors characteristic of the period, which our production designer reproduced so faithfully, were not an inconvenience to the power of chiaroscuro lighting,” he says.
Carter and Jarvis. Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC.
To enhance production values and add postproduction options later in a tight eight-days-per-episode shoot schedule, Beristain went with a three-camera configuration for virtually every setup. “What started out as a little help to cover an action scene quickly became our secret weapon to efficiently cover any scene, giving the directors and editors ample editing options and, above all, producing angles which otherwise would have been impossible to shoot—angles that make the show unique and allow the audience to look at our show from an unconventional perspective.”
Beristain worked closely with visual effects supervisor Sheena Duggal (Mission: Impossible, The Hunger Games, Iron Man 3), who also designed the Agent Carter title sequence. “Sheena and I have mastered a common language, and with her talent, Marvel’s muscle, and our passion to make those [special] effects count where they need to count, I think we use them very creatively for the benefit of the drama and the narrative of our episodes,” he says. “None of our fabulous writers went home without us having made alive for them their deepest fantasies and their dearest dreams.”