The location shoot of “Ballers” — HBO’s sports comedy series starring Dwayne Johnson, renewed this month for a second season — presented a different kind of challenge for cinematographer Jaime Reynoso. He wasn’t daunted by the Florida humidity; “Bloodline” had already conditioned him to the state’s sticky heat. Nor was he deterred by the extremes of bright sun and darkness he had to deal with; Zeiss lenses deftly helped manage the contrasts.
But Reynoso didn’t anticipate that he would have to create imperfection.
“Ballers” is shot documentary-style with little rehearsal, so the lenser had to make the action seem spontaneous, almost improvised, with the timing a little off.
“Our goal was to make everything seem almost as if we weren’t ready,” Reynoso explains. “We worked to get the shots a little late. This brings a feeling of freshness.”
Working with a bare bones set-up for the bulk of the location shooting, Reynoso enjoyed the freedom that comes from less gear and fewer orchestrated camera moves. “The smaller footprint is great for the actors, too,” he adds. “Less equipment really frees them up.”