Cinematographers Roundtable + Quentin Tarantino & Roger Deakins and Christopher Nolan & Hoyte van Hoytema

The annual roundtable discussions curated by The Hollywood Reporter are conducted in this pandemic year via Zoom, rather than the participants being seated at an actual table. There’s an intimacy that’s lost by this physical separation. It’s a different vibe, but I think it still works. The first of these that I’m posting is a cinematographers roundtable, which I think is fascinating and informative. This will be followed by a video of Quentin Tarantino and cinematographer Roger Deakins debating shooting on film vs. digital. And finally, a video of Christopher Nolan and his cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema speaking on, among other things, how they strive to shoot as much in-camera as possible, with a minimal use of CGI effects.


Cinematographer Roundtable (Running time: 47:31)

The six cinematographers taking part are listed below, along with titles and streaming availability of their most recent films.

Dariusz Wolski  – News of the World (Amazon Prime)

Erik Messerschmidt – Mank (Netflix)

Mandy Walker – Mulan (Amazon Prime)

Tami Reiker – One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime) & The Old Guard (Netflix)

Joshua James Richards – Nomadland (Hulu)

Damián García – I’m No Longer Here (Netflix)

The discussion is moderated by Carolyn Giardino of The Hollywood Reporter.

These are very sharp people who know what they’re doing, and this comes across. Something that Erik Messerschmidt says particularly got my attention: “I think cinematographers are over-credited for how movies look and under-credited for how the stories are told…Cinematographers end up taking a lot of credit for things that belong to the production designer or the costume designer.”

And now the full discussion.


Quentin Tarantino & Roger Deakins on Digital vs. Film (10:04)

Tarantino sounds a little crazy in his delivery, like Daffy Duck blowing a fuse in a Warner Bros. cartoon. But he always seems excitable and very enthusiastic. That’s who he is. Roger Deakins is definitely the calmer of the two, and also more realistic on the issue.


Christopher Nolan & Hoyte van Hoytema on shooting in-camera (10:15)

Hoyte van Hoytema & Christopher Nolan by IMAX camera.

It’s interesting that in this video Christopher Nolan holds a view similar to Tarantino’s regarding the value of film over digital, but he explains his views rationally and technically. He’s much less emotional than Tarantino.


Roundtables on directors, producers, writers, documentary film, and more will follow shortly. Meanwhile, stay safe. — Ted Hicks

About Ted Hicks

Iowa farm boy; have lived in NYC for 40 years; worked in motion picture labs, film/video distribution, subtitling, media-awards program; obsessive film-goer all my life.
This entry was posted in Feature films, History, Home Video, Streaming, TV & Cable. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cinematographers Roundtable + Quentin Tarantino & Roger Deakins and Christopher Nolan & Hoyte van Hoytema

  1. David M Fromm says:

    This is quite interesting !

  2. Fritz Basgen says:

    Tarantino is a provocative, sweaty, genius commentator/director but I don’t buy the “digital is the death of cinema” idea. Deakins is probably the finest cinematographer working today and his view that the technology is just a tool is right on, just look at his work.

    • Ted Hicks says:

      I totally agree. Deakins has done amazing work for years. My advice to Tarantino and all his hand wringing over digital filming is to get over it and move on. Christopher Nolan remains a staunch advocate of shooting on film, which for him means 70mm and IMAX, but doesn’t sound like a crazy person (i.e. Tarantino) when he talks about it.

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