EMMY SPECIAL PRODUC T I ON .
VISUAL SUCCESSION ADRIANO GOLDMAN, THE CROWN
We have followed Adriano Goldman throughout his six-year tenure on Netflix’s The Crown – and as the show has transitioned through five decades and two cast changes. We’ve also witnessed an evolution of the visuals. The biggest change, something the crew had little control over, were the locations. “Even in Season 2, when Princess Margaret leaves the palace to meet Tony Armstrong at his London studio – that signalled to me the show was evolving. There was nothing I, nor anyone else, could do to change that, because we’re making something based on real events,” explains Goldman. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this episode [Beryl] did so well at the awards. It’s likely to do with the way we mixed royalty with the real world.” In Season 4 this is even more obvious, as the show tackles the unmaking of the working class under Margaret Thatcher’s “I lit from the outside in, so it still feels elegant, precise and very much The Crown ”
rule of state. Episode 5 even retells the story of Michael Fagan – the man who broke into the palace and allegedly had a conversation about the prime minister’s severe policies at the Queen’s bedside – and opens up with his backstory. “He’s an impoverished man, a victim of Thatcher’s cuts to benefits and services, and the council house that he’s living in is falling apart around him,” says Goldman. “It’s a location unlike any other we’ve seen on The Crown . Nonetheless, my approach to lighting and framing remained the same. I lit from the outside in, so it still feels elegant, precise and very much The Crown – it’s just the location and characters that are different.” Goldman notes, however, that the lighting was slightly toned down, and he relied on natural light instead of sources to help separate the two stories. It also made sense from a practical perspective, since the location was much smaller than usual – and several blocks high. Another cinematography change enhanced by fresh locations is the ability to move the camera in more animated ways. In episode 3, for example, we see a young and carefree Diana Spencer in a nightclub with friends, and the camera dances with her. “We’ve never done that before. But we’re always trying to shake things up a little bit – never resting or settling into the idea we know how to
shoot, because the show evolves with each season,” he explains. GEAR FOR THE ERA As part of the transition through decades and casts, Goldman also changed glass. For Seasons 1 and 2, set in the late-forties, fifties and sixties, he used Cooke Panchros, rehoused by TLS UK. Plus, Tiffen Glimmerglass filters to add glow in the highlights and haze to the atmosphere, helping make the visuals less naturalistic and a tiny bit more romantic. For Seasons 3 and 4, set in the seventies and eighties, he switched to Zeiss Super Speeds, which are still vintage, but a bit sharper than the Panchros. There will be one more cast change before the series draws to a close and, presumably, one more lens change. He explains: “If I want to alter something, I need to present my reasoning for the decision. It influences the look of the cast, set design, costume and makeup. I have to research and test – it’s a long process.” For Seasons 1, 2 and 3, the lenses were attached to a Sony F55 camera, rated at 500 ISO for day shots and 1000 ISO for night shots. While he doesn’t describe himself as a technical DOP, Goldman says, “The 500 ISO base preferred a little underexposure, whereas the 1000 ISO base wanted to be overexposed by a stop and a half, to kill any noise.” From the beginning, the vision for The Crown has always been to look less like TV and more like film, taking an elegant and minimalist approach – and avoiding unnecessary cuts and camera movements. “It should feel, and be watched, like a single-camera show, an authorial sort of filmmaking style. It’s just me, my camera and my cast, as this helps deliver a different quality of product, and distinguishes it from other period dramas,” says Goldman. He has an A and B camera on-set, but the B camera doesn’t act in a traditional way. “It’s not a tool for the editors, to help increase the pace, it has a purpose. It either opens or closes a sequence, or captures a profile moment. For example, in a scene with a lot of dialogue, the A camera will shoot over the shoulder, while the B camera captures the profile. And if you save the profile shot until the end of the scene, it looks more like a dedicated shot than a B camera shot.” He adds: “They should all look like dedicated shots, and I think the editors on The Crown celebrate the fact they have another angle – but resist using them unless it’s appropriate.”
HIGH AND MIGHTY Season 4 of The Crown highlighted the deep divide between the British royal family (left) and a young Princess Diana, played by Emma Corrin (below)
09. OCTOBER 2021
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