Definition August 2024 - Web


Lead DOP on The Handmaid’s Tale Nicola Daley discusses the show’s optics – Canon K35s – which were masterfully rehoused by True Lens Services Dystopian design

light speaks to religious iconography,” says Daley. “This is also representative of June being trapped in Gilead; the beam of light is the possibility of what is outside. The sunbeams are a signature of the series, and the K35s help that lens flare and that look.” The Handmaid’s Tale also juxtaposes ‘big, wide, often symmetrical Kubrick- esque frames’ with close-up shots to capture what the characters are thinking and feeling. “It’s the contrast – you get that emotion versus thinking ‘oh my god, her character’s so small in this big world of Gilead’,” Daley summarises. “There are many close-ups of Elisabeth Moss and other actors in the show – handheld, emotive close-ups. The Canon K35s are great for that.” Popular in the seventies and eighties, the K35s are nearly 50 years old. Thanks to TLS, the lenses are ‘workable on modern sets’, according to Daley, who has used them in their original housing. “The focus pullers and camera assistants always say: ‘These are hard to work with’. They’re trying to pull focus and are tricky, so when they get rehoused, it makes them workable and simple,” she shares. “TLS makes old glass DOPs like – that vintage, beautiful look – usable today.” Daley is currently in prep for Season 6 and will be responsible for bringing The Handmaid’s Tale to an end. “There’s a lot to do,” she admits, but with TLS’ rehoused lenses, her job is a little easier.

N ow in its fifth season, The – is a dystopian story which takes place in a near-future New England, renamed the Republic of Gilead. Starring Elisabeth Moss, who also executive produces and directs, the series maintains a ‘creamy, Handmaid’s Tale – adapted from Margaret Atwood’s novel

snowy look’ according to DOP Nicola Daley – blending the setting’s climate with the story’s bleak themes. Serving as lead cinematographer on Season 5, Daley worked alongside directors Moss, Eva Vives and Bradley Whitford on six episodes, while Stuart Campbell shot the other four. “The producers always say to the DOPs that we are like the guardians of the image,” begins Daley, who filmed both the season opener ( Morning ) and finale ( Safe ). “The DOPs make sure the whole season looks consistent.” Picking up where cinematographer Colin Watkinson left off, Daley used the ARRI Mini camera with Canon K35 lenses, rehoused by True Lens Services (TLS). “The show has always been shot on the same camera and the same lenses; they’re beautiful lenses,” she describes, touting the vintage glass for its ability to capture highlights and light beams. “As The Handmaid’s Tale is about the religious right having overtaken America, and it’s a dystopian future, the beam of

EYES WIDE OPEN The Handmaid’s Tale was shot in wide open the majority of the time

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