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Immersed in Movies: Talking 'Argo' with Cinematographer Prieto

Features
by Bill Desowitz
November 19, 2012 2:38 PM
2 Comments
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Argo

However, scenes shot in Istanbul's historic Hagia Sofia locale were carefully done with the Alexa digital camera because of low light situations. But Prieto didn't like the fluorescent bulbs in the chandeliers, which gave off an ugly green hue, so he got permission to change them to tiny 7-watt incandescent bulbs to create golden points of light. The Turkish government was so impressed that it decided not to replace them afterward.

Meanwhile, they filmed the sequence at the Canadian Ambassador's home at a residence in Hancock Park, with Affleck encouraging the actors to stay there together for two weeks prior to the shoot. He used that familiarity to let them improvise.

But the location posed challenges for Prieto. "Ben wanted constantly to be rolling with two cameras to catch them improvising. However, the lighting was tricky because I had to make it look good in any direction and have it still be realistic. Also, the ceilings weren't high and Ben is tall, so it was hard keeping his lighting out of frame. I had to devise lighting instruments that were tight to the ceiling and still be able to control the lights so they weren't going all over the place."

Now Prieto has segued to another presumptive Oscar contender: Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," which takes place in the late '80s and utilizes the cinematographer's trademark naturalism. "Maybe I should do sci-fi next," he quips.

2 Comments

  • VCQ | November 21, 2012 10:26 AMReply

    Prieto's great cinematography in ARGO has really captured the very essence of the 70's and the Middle East. It has given this marvelous film credence to what it is all about! With its top-notch ensemble, adaptation, editing and award caliber direction of Ben Affleck, it is, to me, the movie of the year which is being embraced by critics and audiences all over.

  • Sebastian Flores | November 19, 2012 4:30 PMReply

    It's Prieto, no Pietro

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