It was hard was for sure. It's such a powerful moment, and I remember thinking at times, This could be a lot simpler if we changed out shooting format to be something small just for this one shot.
The birthing scene is so monumental for the film, and it seems like it would be fairly difficult to shoot. I probably would've approached it in a very different way where it would be what happens when it's a pitch black scene. For Moonlight, I remember going to Miami for the first time and not taking pictures for the first three or four weeks. Regina King in the Puerto Rico scene is definitely one of them. Laxton says he looked at still photography from Roy Decarava, a photographer from Harlem, for inspiration and, of course, James Baldwin's words.
Sometimes, a person arrives in a space, and the first thing they do is pick up a camera and start taking photos and try to capture the spaces.
You became kind of known for the deep, cool blue palette from Moonlight, and I feel like Beale Street is very much the antithesis to that. Would you say that it's the scene that you're most proud of? What kind of work went into that? New York definitely influenced us in how we sdx choices about lighting and color in a of ways.
Does it take them time to lazton up to those scenes? But we chose to hold on to our visual integrity and our visual language.
Laxton, who's white, says that he's never consciously thought much about making sure black actors look, well, like themselves onscreen; it's just something he's always done. But in New York, you can allow and motivate light from the streets that's unique to city. Laxton worked with Barry Jenkins on the film Moonlight and has teamed up with him again on the stellar If Beale Street Could Talk, but their friendship goes back to college, where the two met.
So, it's important to me to spend time in a space before I start to dictate what I think it should look like. There's a past tense and a present tense; in Beale Street, the past tense being the date that Fonny and Tish are on.
So, we ended up having to do a of things technically to do that. We know in those moments we're asking quite a lot from the actors, and it's something that I think Barry wouldn't be asking for if he didn't think they could do it. So, to try to find ways to fit this camera in the bathtub, and push it up underneath and have it floating up to the surface of the water and reach that surface and come up, and find Tish in the bathtub That's kind of where these tones in the film come from—the strength of the romance and the strength of the love part of the story.
One scene that stood out to me was the sex scene. I would spend the day just walking around Harlem. The first half of that shot—technically it's two shots lzxton together—is I believe in a pool, in I wanna say the Bronx somewhere, where we're having to use the underwater crane to get underneath a floating baby at the surface.
And when we think of love, when I think of love anyway, I think of warmth and romance. So, in some ways, we're moving the camera in a romantic fashion and then some ways we're being a bit more still. For Moonlight, you used different film treatments for each period of Chiron's life. Yeah, the movie's about a lot of different things, as you know—the prison system, racism in Nnow at the core of this is a love story between Tish and Fonny.
I think, yes.
We shot that whole thing on a stage. It never felt as if I had to re-learn something or I chat sex now laxton to re-apply a technique when I was lighting white people, for example. While albeit technically a challenging thing for these actors to do at times, they do a great job and really step up to give us quite a lot in these moments. And that was to help try to find ways to not have them just look into nothing, but—even in a technical way—to look at the other actor. In the specific-ness of it anyway, which is exciting for us and, hopefully, helps the story root itself in a period.
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It's what we Singles match in Massachusetts call large-format cinematography, and it has a larger chip size than most cameras generally. We actually found a lot of photography, still photography from Harlem from this particular era, and he reversed-engineered and found a way to emulate these particular film stocks that film photographers were using at the time.
And I think we try to make choices based upon that. And it was something that I tried very hard to make sure kept a place within some of the lighting choices. This is the first time our colorist, Alex Bickel, was brought on before we started production.
It's not a very conventional way of filming for the actors. And nw were used in the prison scenes specifically, but we didn't do that in all the other ones, laxon we still had to find ways to ask some of these performers to take on the task of looking into ssex lens and still perform a great performance. I think we did a good job to continue to use the same visual language that we used in the rest of the film in a scene that could've been shot in a much simpler way. If you did that in Los Angeles, Horny dating in Muatechimbundo if you did that in Oklahoma, it would be very different.
Something that Barry and I are constantly trying to find ways to do is put the audience inside a character's perspective. As we boom up and crest the water, we bridge those digital effects to a hand-held shot where we had some struggles holding this large camera and following this child into Tish's arms.
So technically it was quite elaborate in terms of swx creation, but I think for good reason cause it held on to the integrity of the moment in a way that I think is very powerful, and, hopefully, audiences feel the same way. If we can get that part to reach people that maybe aren't from Harlem or maybe aren't black, that there's a way to reach other audiences through that sort of avenue—through that tunnel of love.
For example, the scene with Daniel and Fonny, when they're talking about Daniel being in prison, the camera moved in a much different way—even though we're panning back-and-forth between those characters. laxgon
Especially because we shot the film on a camera called the Alexa 65, which is a camera that's only been out for a couple of years. If Beale Street Could Talk is out in theaters now. It's to npw to really engage with our audience, ask them to open lxaton, and to maybe empathize or try to at least understand a little bit more about what these characters are feeling in a way that hopefully is quite powerful.
I mean, I'm not from New York, I'm from the West Coast, but when I visit New York what I love ,axton, when I turn all srx lights off in maybe a hotel room or the apartment I'm staying in, there's still quite a lot of things bleeding off the street into the space that I might be in. For those scenes, there's quite a lot more sort of graceful, Im looking for a women adult lonelys face fucker, slower-paced camera movements.
The shots, like the movie itself, are romantic and whimsical, warm and inviting. I know it's not such a spectacular, visual thing, but it's quite challenging, especially when chxt trying to do what Barry and I always try and ssx, which is bring the camera inside of conversations and follow action in a way that there's some perspective and not just, for example, place the camera in a corner of the room and pan around the space and observe the moment, but to try to find ways to take the photography inside of conversations.
Cause that's what happens in New York, you have these little alleyway chasms between buildings where the sun only reaches things for a certain part of the day.