‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘Hacks’ Are Among Cinematography Emmy Nominees With Very Different Tones but Same Visual Goal

Hacks Mandalorian Artisans
Courtesy of HBO/Disney Plus

This year the single-camera half-hour cinematography race pits action-packed episodes against tense drama and dark comedy. Despite the drastic tonal differences between series and their sometimes out-of-this-world settings, the goals of DPs on their nominated episodes were common: capturing theater-grade quality images to allow audiences stuck at home amid a pandemic a chance to escape. For example, “Made for Love” implemented a shallow depth of field to put the audience in the main character’s POV when she made her own daring escape from her locked-down house, while “The Mandalorian” relied on a lot of camera movement to make viewers feel like they were in the center of the action of a chase sequence, and “Servant” found new ways to ramp up the suspense even with the action primarily taking place in one location. At the heart of it all, collaboration between department heads was vital to the success of such storytelling.