Pushing emotional buttons
While he was shooting “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” d.p. Claudio Miranda realized he would need to take a solidly real approach to bring this strange tale about a man who ages in reverse to life.
“We tried to keep it as truthful as possible in the lighting,” says Miranda of David Fincher’s latest film. “That was a challenge because you need to believe the illusion of this performance and not think you’re looking at a bunch of puppets.”
Miranda — who has known and worked with Fincher since 1985 in various photographic capacities, mostly as a lighting technician — spent a lot of time at the locations prior to shooting.
“I tend to do a lot of homework, and that really helps,” says Miranda, who has won several Clio awards for commercials. “If you’ve done that before you’re shooting, it makes things a lot easier because you’ve already answered so many questions for yourself.”
Though his work — especially in the commercial and video realm — has varied dramatically, Miranda readily acknowledges he leans toward a certain look.
“I do like soft light and manipulating soft light with contrast,” says Miranda, who has shot videos for Beyonce, Velvet Revolver and Nickelback. “I feel like that can show a lot of emotion and can pull an audience into something quickly.”
In addition to his artistic perspective, Miranda believes he’s there to offer his director practical options.
“A d.p. has to be efficient and able to give the director options in terms of budget and time,” Miranda says. “There’s no moment when money and time are unlimited.”
The son of a Chilean architect and an interior designer, Miranda’s artistic bent stems from his upbringing. “You don’t think about it growing up how those things influence you,” says Miranda. “But I know I take a lot from my father’s ideas in his architecture about staying loose and not repeating yourself and always doing something new.”
Film that changed my life: “My references are the things I learned while working on films like ‘The Crow,’ ‘The Game’ and ‘Crimson Tide.’ ”
Mentor or inspiration: D.p.s Dariusz Wolski and Harris Savides.
Tool I can’t do without: “I don’t know if there is one, to be honest. The funny thing is that I only use a light meter now for the bluescreen to make sure it’s balanced, because we’re going digital.”
Rep: Dattner Dispoto and Associates