Martin Ruhe

10 Cinematographers to Watch

For cinematographer Martin Ruhe, going from shooting a few days at a time on musicvideos and blurbs to seven weeks on location for “Control” took some getting used to. “Commercials are a sprint and features are more like a marathon,” quips the German d.p. “What surprised me is that I found it quite relaxing because you find the chance to get into the content.”

Ruhe wasn’t the only one making the adjustment; “Control,” about Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, also repped director Anton Corbijn’s feature debut. Corbijn and Ruhe had teamed on videos for Coldplay and Depeche Mode before. With “Control,” Corbijn “had to fight for me a little,” Ruhe explains, “because I had only done one feature before and because he was a first-time director.”

Corbijn and Ruhe were extremely conscious of avoiding the familiar biopic tropes.

This meant attempting an objective filmmaking style that manages to be both realistic and meticulously crafted. “Black-and-white is tempting because it’s so easy to stylize things,” Ruhe explains, “but we wanted to be more subtle and let the actors step forward and do their thing.”

“Martin is able to make anything anywhere look strong on film,” says Corbijn. “He really is what you used to call a ‘lighting cameraman’ as his lighting is beautiful.”

Fave tool: “We bought quite a lot of cheap Ikea muslin and we used it in front of Kinoflows or exterior daylights to soften the light and get this beautiful cool quality to it.”

Preferred film stock: “We used two films stocks, Kodak Vision2 5218 for the concert scenes and 5217 for the rest of the story. I use a lot the 5218 because it’s such a universal stock.”

Inspiration: “There are three or four really great d.p.s who I adore: Emmanuel Lubezki, Roger Deakins, (the late) Conrad Hall. If they shoot a film, I’ll watch it.”

Up next: “A commercial for a mobile phone company in Germany. And Anton might want to do something next year.”

Rep: Dattner Dispoto and Associates