Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lebezki is simply one of the best in his field working today. He’s an innovative, experimental, and highly skilled director of photography, having worked with Terrence Malick, Michael Mann, Mike Nichols, the Coen Brothers, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and especially with his childhood friend Alfonso Cuarón. (And along with Roger Deakins, he’s one of the most glaring oversights in the history of the Best Cinematography Academy Award.) In the aftermath of Gravity’s runaway success with critics and at the box office, much of the credit for the breathtaking visuals has been justly shared between Cuarón and his cinematographer, the former for the expansive vision, and the latter for pristine and breathtaking execution. In an interview with The Credits, Lubezki talked about all of the intricate new technology built for the film, and the behind-the-scenes process used during production to capture the film. The most incredible invention was the 20-foot-high Light Box, an enclosure affixed with over 4,000 LED bulbs for programming different projections of earth and space so that the apparatus and robotic cameras could rotate around Bullock to approximate spinning through space, instead of needing to create a nauseating stunt. But Lubezki also describes difficulties building rigs on time for the production, choosing to shoot in digital over film because of the depth of film grain in 3D, and his working relationship with Cuarón, which spans the director’s entire career.
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