January 16th, 2019

Cinematography of “Terminal” – interview with Christopher Ross

Continuing the ongoing series of interviews with creative artists working on various aspects of movie and TV productions, it is my pleasure to welcome Christopher Ross. In this interview he talks about the beginning of his career and technical changes in the last 15 years as the industry has shifted from film to digital, the various facets of cinematographer’s responsibilities on and off the set, and on what still surprises him in his chosen profession. Around these topics and more, Christopher dives deep into his work on the post-apocalyptic neo-noir world of last year’s “Terminal”, a story of deceit, betrayal and vengeance that stars Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg and Mike Myers.

Kirill: Please tell us about yourself and your path so far.

Christopher: I’ve been actively employed as a cinematographer since about 2007, but prior to that I’ve been an unemployed one, going back to 2000 when I started doing my first short film.

When I went to the university in mid-90s, I wanted to be a director. At the time I didn’t know that there was anyone else involved in making films, except for the director, the writers and the producers. When I was at the university studying physics, I worked alongside some writers who wanted to direct the same as me. Through the process of osmosis, I ended up being the cameraman for most of those other directors, shooting on VHS tapes.

After university, I started working in the film industry as a driver for various rental companies. That’s when I realized that there was this role of cinematographer that I could aim towards. It took about a decade to go from being an unemployed cinematographer to an employed one, and then another decade to work out where to go next.

Kirill: Looking back at the last 15 years or so from the technical perspective, do you think it’s becoming easier to get into the field as the equipment is much more affordable these days?

Christopher: It’s a complex scenario. Speaking from my experience, when I first began working in the industry trying to become a cinematographer, the equipment that was trusted by the producers and the industry itself was 16mm and 35mm film. The only way for you to be given the role of the cinematographer on a budgeted motion picture of any kind was to show a great deal of experience with celluloid.

That was the difficult thing. You had to find somebody who had one of those cameras and borrow it, or rent it for a period of time, and then pay for the stock. It was a very expensive way of proving yourself. I worked with directors that wanted to push their short films as high as they could, and we ended up generally going 50/50. I would get hired to do a job, and I would use money from my day job to supplement making short films, in the hope that it would give me enough experience.

But today you can buy a digital SLR that records 4K video, with an SQN mixer and some stereo sound equipment. The access to technology is far higher, but there is another difference.

When I began, you were shooting on 100 or 200 ASA film stock. You had to light interiors, and now you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. You can effectively shoot your films without putting forth yourself into the material. And if your self doesn’t come over in the material, that’s what the producers and the directors are going to see. They want to see what you brought to the thing.

Actually, I’d say that it’s much harder these days to make yourself any different to 200 other aspiring cinematographers of all ages that are trying to make their way. But when I was younger, you still had to stand above others in order to be seen.

The one thing that I would say about the advent of digital cinema is that has allowed filmmakers to take far bigger risks in the worlds of short film and music videos. There’s a safety net of digital that allows you to be much more experimental, in a knowingly-successful way, whereas previously you had the fear of celluloid on your back.

Kirill: Is it about not worrying about how much money you’re spending on the physical spools of film?

Christopher: It’s the duality of it. I’ve had times shooting on celluloid when you’re risking the exposure at the end of the day. The sun is low in the sky, you take your meter reading and it says that it’s gone. If you shoot with a digital camera, you can see what you’re getting. Your waveform explains exactly whether you’re losing someone’s face or eyes in the shadows. It may be the sequence that becomes the most beautiful thing in the movie, and you may not have embraced it before.

You may want to shoot an entire scene as a silhouette, with two characters against a lit background, rather than trying to light the actors. Generally, in the world of digital cinema, when you present that to a production team on an A1-grade monitor, you’re far more likely to be given the thumbs-up. You look back at the days of SD monitors where everything was grainy and gnarly, and so much noise because it was only getting 10% of the image luminance. You were trying to explain that it was going to be beautiful, but they would want to see it with their own eyes.

Everybody feels more confident around a digital camera, particularly in the first 5 years of a cinematographer’s career. You earn the faith from directors as you pass up the experience level. Some will get that faith early, and some would earn it later.

Kirill: Every once in a while I hear the complaints, so to speak, of cinematographers from older generations that they miss the magic of film. They would be the only ones looking through that eye-piece, and then everybody would wait until the next morning to see the dailies and how it turned out to be. Now that everybody can see it immediately on the monitor, does it diminish or enhance what you do?

Christopher: To be honest, the withholding of the final image until the following day is something that has led to the great mystery of cinematographers. It contributed to the image of a cinematographer as an alchemist. You would shoot something with one light, loads of smoke on a soundstage, and the following day you would sit in the rushes theater to see if it turned to be the opening credits of “Brief Encounter”. Everybody would be amazed because it didn’t look like that to the eye on the stage, because that’s what we do.

There was a 24-hour period where the cinematographer was apprehensive whether everything was going to fall into place as planned, and then applauded on a daily basis in the morning. A part of the celebrity of cinematography comes from that daily epiphany of the morning rushes.

As much as I love the concept of a cinematographer being applauded on a daily basis and treated like an alchemist, in the world of today we should be treated as great artists and technicians that are trying to do their best work every day. It doesn’t matter if the gratification is immediate or removed by 24 hours. I’m not a believer in the hype, as it were. I believe in whether it works in the end.

Kirill: You mentioned two aspects of what you do – the technical part and the artistic part. Would you say that you also are a people manager, or a nanny on the set in a sense. There’s so many people, and so much that needs to be aligned for that shot to happen.

Christopher: The role of who you are as a cinematographer is interesting. It changes with every director that you work with, and on every film that you do. Working with the same director multiple times can speed the process. You have the relationship with the director. The director has the relationship with the production designer, the editor, the AD. Those relationships are different on every production. The fabric of the team may be skewed in any one of the directions, depending on what the restrictions are.

A general working methodology is to have hundreds of working meetings with the director, trying to get into their head. You’re trying to figure out what you can bring to enhance what the director is attempting to do, and how to do this in a timely and a cost-effective fashion for the production that you’re working on.

Sometimes you have lots of time, even if it doesn’t happen often. Sometimes you don’t have lots of money. The amount of time for prep and shoot varies. The balance of time and money affects how you work with the director.

Generally, I try to get into a director’s head. I try to work out how I can embellish on their thoughts. I tend to operate the A camera myself. I try to work my idea of how the director would want to shoot that scene. More frequently than not, the directors that I work with are spontaneous. They don’t produce shot lists in advance. They might make the shot list on the day, or use storyboards only for communication purposes, or not strictly adhere to them on the day.

I try to make two or three versions of the film in my head, and then deliver those versions on the day to be interchangeable with what the director wants to do on the day. The idea is to have the least amount of stress on set as possible, so that the director and the actors can turn up and do whatever it is that they do. I want my plans to flow around them, as best as possible.

Kirill: When you are looking to choose your next production, do you want your sensibilities to be aligned with those of the director and the production designer?

Christopher: The way it works for me, usually my agent sends me the script. It’s a strange process. You get the script delivered, and very rarely you have anything that backs it up. It would be something like “Vaughn Stein [the director] wants to send you a copy of ‘Terminal'”. You get that copy, and you sit and read the script. As it happens, Vaughn and I were friends before he asked me to shoot that film with him, so that’s not a great example.

The way I approach the first meeting after reading the script is to break it down. I try to think of visual ideas relating to pivotal scenes and characters. I might frame-grab some elements of “Michael Clayton” with George Clooney. I might grab some polaroids from Andrei Tarkovsky or Wim Wenders. It’s basically collating what you think might fit together, and presenting that at the meeting.

Sometimes it goes badly, and the director is coming at it from a completely different direction. But then they might see what you’re trying to do and they invite you along for the ride. Sometimes it goes well, and the director only puts a lookbook together after they’ve assembled a team that includes the production designer and the editor. It’s by bringing those people together that such a film finds its look.

Kirill: Talking specifically about “Terminal”, was it clear from the beginning that the idea was to have a sort of graphical novel kind of look, with saturated neons and hard shadows?

Christopher: Vaughn and I worked together on “Dad’s Army”. I was the cinematographer, and he was the assistant director. After we worked together on it, Vaughn sent me a 12-page script for a short film that is a bit “Terminal”. The idea was to shoot a bit of the film to raise finance and to prove his worth as a director to the executives. As it turns out, we didn’t have to make that film. I became unavailable to shoot that short, and Vaughn didn’t need to prove himself. He had other short films that he already did.

When the financing came through, he got in touch. I was just finishing a project in Prague, and we started talking about making it in London. He’d been out scouting with the production designer, and they were trying to go for this industrial-gothic thing. It is quite hard to do in London. It’s easier to do in Liverpool or Newcastle, up North where the industrial heartland has stayed industrial for longer. London has basically turned into an enormous bank, and anything that was heavy industry has long since retired.

We started talking about things, and bouncing around references. We talked about the original “Blade Runner” shot by Jordan Cronenweth, “Klute” shot by Gordon Willis, “Barfly” directed by Barbet Schroeder and shot by Robby Müller, “The American Friend” shot by Robby Müller as well. We wanted to do a neo-noir. There were a lot of those in the ’90s, and a lot of them were kind of Texas / Nevada-based, like “Blood Simple”, “Red Rock West” or “One False Move”. Later on Kathryn Bigelow made “Strange Days” with Ralph Fiennes, which was sort of a forerunner to “The Matrix”.

We wanted to put those ideas together, sort of a Dashiell Hammett novel mixed with a bit of “Sin City” and “Blade Runner”. That city and that terminal do not really exist. It’s a post-apocalyptic, imagined version of New York meets Hong Kong meets Moscow. It’s an amalgamation of three huge cities in the world. That was the brief, and you have that crazy story happening in the middle of it.

The idea behind the colors came from “Alice in Wonderland”. You have neon-themed lights on every sign and surface. It felt right when we were doing tests. I started off testing on a relatively monochrome palette, and by the end of it I pushed the colors to double the intensity of their normal brightness.

Kirill: There’s no daylight or natural light in the movie. Was it planned like that from the beginning?

Christopher: The entire script is written as if it is one perpetual night. The two guys that are boarded up in the apartment see an element of daylight, at least in theory.

The shooting schedule and schematic structure on “Terminal” were hard. We shot the whole film in 25 days, and the script had 105 pages. That meant that we shot a 105-minute film, even though it was later reduced to 90 minutes. 25 days just doesn’t go that far. It was almost entirely shot at night.

We would shoot scenes on the cafe with Margot and Simon from about 5pm. It was summer in Budapest, and we would start shooting those scenes in a makeshift studio space, and by 10pm we would shift to the main terminal building. It was about half-a-mile long, and we couldn’t black it out. So we moved in and out every day.

The same goes for the apartment. We found an apartment in the middle of Budapest, and we blacked it out. We tented the whole light well outside the apartment, and lit the interior. At night we would go out and shoot various scenes that happened outside. It was quite tricky schedule-wise. Also, from the script perspective, it was impossible for us to know where the apartment scenes would intercut with Margot and Simon in the cafe.

I decided to try to make bigger differences in the cafe, and smaller differences within the apartment – to show time passing.

Kirill: Specifically for this production that explores so much of the color palette, is it exciting for you as a cinematographer?

Christopher: Absolutely. When you work on a film that is entirely set at night, you don’t get a second of peace. Normally you have a sequence that you can’t possibly light, and you wait for the sun to hit the right spot before you can start shooting. But on “Terminal”, if there wasn’t a light in a particular place aimed at a particular angle, it wasn’t there. From the constructivist perspective, it was amazing.

I could choose every color. I could make set-specific colors. I could bring in anything that I wanted. It was quite freeing. If you get it wrong, it is alarming. There were so many lights. The main terminal set had around 150kW of light, just accenting around that big space. We had a glass, V-shaped roof that ran the length of the terminal. We needed all those lights to get to the level where you can start recording it. We had two 48-bulb d-nose [???] at either end of the building where the light skims along the length of it. That was a lot of kilowatts. It was a great adventure.

Kirill: Was the intent to only show the cones of light coming in, and not the lights themselves?

Christopher: We shot digitally with two Alexas. The most important element of photography was this incredible set of anamorphic lenses that are known as Cooke Xtal Express. The original set was the lens of choice for studios in the 1950s, and these particular anamorphics were made using those lenses later in the 1980s. The front of the lens is Japanese anamorphic lens, and the back is the 1950s British studio prime lens.

They are incredible, and you will find many cinematographers that adore them, like Rob Hardy. We had two sets, one of Cooke Xtal Express and one of Canon Xtal Express. The later are very fast, but very out of focus. The Cookes are made out of Cooke Speed Panchros, and the Canons are made out of Canon k-35s. Those Canons have the T-stop of 1.5, and when it’s combined with a souped-up anamorphic glass, it becomes incredibly soft. There are impressionistic shots in “Terminal” made using those lenses.

What is amazing about those lenses is their neutral contrast. If you light the set to your normal contrast ratio of 2:1 on somebody’s face, the lenses will flatten that off like a thick soft-effect filter. If that’s what you want to do, you need to use a much harder light, as if it’s a black-and-white movie. You know that if you aim the light anywhere near the lens, the black level will lift right up. Instead of lighting your actors, you can fill their faces using the back light that hits the lens.

The idea was to have those cones of light coming everywhere. As we were moving the camera around, the lights eventually get in the shot. Hopefully they are far enough away to look cool, so that you forgive the conceit of it. It feels industrial.

The only significantly artificial lighting technique that we used was the red corridor. The idea that she stepped into a fairytale of “Alice in Wonderland” at that moment, and is playing a hybrid between Queen of Hearts and Cheshire Cat. But the rest of the time we follow a fairly thriller-style lighting.

Kirill: You mentioned the cafe set that you evolved as the story progressed. If you look at such a heavily recurring set, do you want to find different takes and angles to keep it from becoming repetitive?

Christopher: Absolutely. There were around 18 pages of the script with just Annie [Margot Robbie] and Bill [Simon Pegg] talking across the table. It’s a huge proportion, really, that we spend in that place. They have a long conversation about the suicide attempt, and it allows us to take the table and place it in each of those places, before the last scene when they sit at the breakfast bar.

It’s a constant battle to keep an audience engaged with one environment. One of the scenes was photographed on very long lenses. One was photographed on very wide lenses. Quite often we mixed profile and front-on, clean profiles with dirty over-the-shoulder. We jumped the line from one of the scenes across to the other side. It was hard to have that much fun with the scenes, because of the page count.

We only shot in that cafe for 5 days. On average it was about 6 pages a day for three days, and the other two days we did the rest of the scenes with two hitmen. It was a complex construction. There were logistical battles that we had to fight in order to achieve shooting material. You have to try to not show that you’re doing that to the actors. When the actors are going to do three 6-page scenes one after the other, and they are there for half a day before going to shoot outside, you get the idea of how little time we had to photograph those elements.

You’re trying to absorb the smallest amount of time possible with the lighting. Sadly, we didn’t have time to pre-light the set. We came in early on the first morning, set up the lights for the first scene, and then over the time built in the rest of the lighting as we worked through the day.

Kirill: There’s a lot of dialog in the movie, from the cafe to the confession booth to the hitman apartment, and it feels like the camera is right there in their face. Do you try to minimize the disruption your crew and equipment introduce into the actors’ space?

Christopher: It depends on the director you’re working with. “Terminal” was mostly photographed on 40, 50 and 75mm anamorphic, with a few bits on 24 and 35mm. We frequently found ourselves within 3-4 feet of the actors.

You try to make your camera and operating profile as small as possible. It’s one of the reasons that I like to operate. It allows me to be in control of the volume of the set, and how I’m dealing with moving around that space. You do things without the actors up to a certain point. At some point I’d use a crew member to stand in for me. Then when you have 3-4 minutes worth of work left to do, the actors are invited back on.

Margot was amazing. She would always stand in for me whenever I needed to set a light based on her height, head turn or position so that I could get the shadow in the right place.

The very last few tweaks are done with the actors there, and then you calmly proceed with the scene. The idea is to create an atmosphere that is relaxed, friendly and conducive to experimentation. When you’re operating and something went wrong with lighting or props, it’s important to have a neutral game face at the end of the take. The actor catches your eye almost immediately, and they need to feel that there’s zero judgment.

You’re trying to create a free-flowing, relaxed, yet emotionally inclusive environment. Sometimes you have a lot of fun. Everyone jokes, and it’s laid back. That’s the atmosphere that you’re creating on the set, because everyone wants to chill out. Other times, it’s incredibly serious. You can hear a pin drop, and it’s a quiet, efficient working environment. It changes scene to scene, director to director, film to film.

Kirill: The nightclub was another big set, with lots of lights and a slightly less industrial feel to it.

Christopher: It’s a strange place. It’s a real nightclub in Budapest that stays open til 10AM on Sundays. It’s the light well in the middle of an apartment block. People live above that nightclub, and move out every weekend because it gets raucous. We loved it for its shape, but there were very few lights in there.

I’ve shot a lot of urban dramas and thrillers that require nightclubs being photographed. Invariably, you re-light the nightclub. The person that controls the lighting might not be there when you need them to. Having shot short films in nightclubs, it can go disastrously because of the lack of personnel. Unless it has lighting in place that is perfectly controllable, you want to remove what’s there and replace it.

It is a four-story building, and we put the lights on the four corners of that light well on three floors. They were all red to give a red glow to the whole place. Richard Bullock the production designer built a catwalk that was lit from those positions. At the lowest level we placed one laser provider, and four Viper moving lights that spin to create lens flares. The neon bunny was drawn by Richard around Margot as she stood against the wall.

The idea was to hide as much. We didn’t want to show much of dancing. We didn’t want to show much of Margot. We wanted to tantalize and tease, rather than being graphic about things. There’s a spotlight that was always backlighting Margot, and the moving lights were backlighting as well. The only times when you see Margot, other actors or the dancers is when the lens flares because of the moving lights, and it raises the exposure just enough to see a little something.

It was all about mystery. We were able to make it look like a coolest-looking nightclub that you could find yourself in. It’s a nightclub that doesn’t exist in real life, where Margot Robbie is a pole-dancer.

Kirill: And the last big scene happens in this almost clinical environment, where you step away from all the colors and find yourself in something that feels like an operating theater. How was that setup for you?

Christopher: It was probably the most technically challenging set of all them. You can see that set in quite a few movies, actually. It’s a control room of a derelict power station, and it’s probably the most shot room in Budapest.

It sits at the very top, and the glass ceiling that you see looks up to another glass roof above it. We had our strange night-and-day split shooting, we had to work out a way to make that space feel consistent. When Vaughn was writing the script, he wanted the space in the finale to feel like it was lit by an operating theater spotlight. When Richard the production designer and I were wondering in that space, we were talking about it as a lair that is hiding the identity of the janitor. We wanted to keep it dark and mysterious, and have the light from the bank of monitors illuminate the set. Then, as it transitions to Annie and Bonnie’s house, it should become this clinical environment.

We blacked out the sky so that we could shoot day and night, and stay consistent. And we placed a ring of 80 fluorescent Kino Flo fixtures around to maintain the overall ambience. Part of it was to deliver the clinical feel to the imagery. And part of it was to facilitate the motion control work, given that we had double Margot Robbies in there. Some of those shots are standard lock-off shots, and we had others where the camera moves with one of the Margots, and then transitions to move with the other.

Motion control is an incredibly slow and time consuming process. If you want to replicate somebody in a lock-off shot, as long as they don’t cross each other, it’s an easy split screen. And if they do cross each other, you do rotoscoping which is what VFX is good at. But when you have a 12-minute scene with 3 people in it, and two of those people are the same person, we felt that we couldn’t get away with simple tricks.

The budget was small, and we teamed up with Mark Roberts Motion Control. They have an array of motion control equipment. At its most cost-effective, you can lock off the camera and track it on a dolly. You can track and pan. You can track and pan and tilt. You can do a 3D move in the same way as a robot that welds cars together moves in a car factory. It’s the same kind of machine to move the camera in infinitely small increments to replicate itself.

But you don’t want it to feel like a robot. You program the move with levels of finesse that don’t exist in the world of robotics. The first thing you want to do is to find out how fast somebody walks across the room. Then you program the speed of how it starts and moves with that person. All of the elements need to be programmed for each shot, and that was the main logistical challenge of the finale set. I was thankful that it was a soft, white, clinical top light, so that we could do as many variations of those motion control shots as possible.

Kirill: Looking back at that movie, is there such a thing as your favorite set or scene, or are they all your babies, so to speak?

Christopher: They’re all kind of my babies. I love the scene with Bill’s dumping spot. That is a disused water treatment plant, and that hole is real. If you fall through the hole, you land in a tube that takes you to the Pest river. We built a tower with a screen underneath the thing to make it safe for everybody.

That set was conceived by Richard and myself. We put in tubes that run outside the set. The single light in the middle of it is an infrequently used, but amazing ARRI Ruby 7. As soon as I walked into that space, I felt that that shaft of light was appropriate. So we had to find a Ruby 7, as there are not a lot of them in the world. We found one in Paris, and one of our Hungarian drivers went to pick it.

I’m proud of all of it. It was an incredible team effort. There are so many people that make it work. Margot produced the film, along with Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr. If there was any way that we could make it work, if it sounded like an adventurous concept and it wouldn’t break the bank, it was met with a positive response. Danny Gulliver was a line producer, and he’s a great friend of mine. He’s an incredible, hard-working gentleman. We talked about the cost of every set that we worked on. It was about working with the money we had left and making it work to our advantage. I shot the entire film with tungsten lights which are the least expensive to rent, and I had more lights than fixtures. It was a great experience.

Kirill: Between the technical side of things, the art of it, managing people on the set and also managing the budget, how do you convey this complexity when people ask you what do you do for a living?

Christopher: When I talk about filmmaking, I tend to focus on the logistical side of things. It’s the bit that you can most easily transfer. It’s a real-world problem. You have 100 people to move from here to there with equipment. You have 3 pages of dialog to shoot in a day, and 25 setups to achieve it. People can understand that stuff.

I talk less about the inspiration side of things. I find it an internal thing. You sit in a room and think, and that takes a lot of time. It helps if you don’t sleep very much [laughs]. You take inspiration from different places – movies, art, photography. For my latest project I’ve been looking at Russian photographers that are, themselves, referencing Tarkovsky in the way they’re framing things. I want to see how they are thinking about the world in terms of framing instead of lighting.

My operating is a spontaneous part of me. My great friend Iain MacKay was the other operator on “Terminal”. We’ve known each other since I was a camera technician and he was a clapper loader around 20 years ago. Now he’s an incredible camera operator, and he really sees the world the same way I do. He responds to it with the same thought process as I do.

You rarely get to rehearse with the actors prior to the production start. As for the lighting part of it, you sit in a dark room and think about visualizing the script.

Kirill: Is there anything that manages to surprise you professionally?

Christopher: In a good way, I’m surprised when I see an editor that found another way of telling the scene. As a camera operator and a cinematographer, what you do with your work is restricting the possibilities for the editor. When they read the script, they might get excited and think about what is coming their way. But then all you give them is one wide shot and a couple of closeups because you only had 10 minutes to shoot.

When I’m shooting, I try to think in terms of editorial opportunities. If this scene was to be moved 10 minutes this or that way, what would it collide with? How can we allow it that space? Rather than knowing where we are right now, we see a scene in a way that is vital and exciting. You want to give the editors as many opportunities to re-invent the wheel as possible.

When I watched “Terminal”, I saw it existing as a different layering to the script. I was amazed at the vibrance that Alex Marquez and Johannes Bock the editors have found in the edit. We shot as much as we could in 25 days, but there’s a limit to what you can do.

That is what I always find astonishing. It’s the re-telling in edit.

Kirill: As you spend a lot of time away from your family and friends, and there’s probably a lot of pressure involved in every production, what keeps you going in this field? What keeps you coming back to your next production?

Christopher: I haven’t given that much thought. I guess it’s the drive to continue telling stories. Every project is such an interesting collision of humans. When I work in the UK, I have a group of colleagues that I work with as frequently as I can. I found an amazing team of people to collaborate.

I love working. On “Terminal” I worked with Balázs Vákár who is an astonishing gaffer. He met my demands with such an energy. It’s the adventure of this massive group of humans that comes together to achieve something.

I worked in a few other industries prior to being in the film industry, and I think it’s a unique thing. Each time you work on a project with the same creative team, the variation of people that are working together is infinite. No two projects are ever the same. You see an amazing cross-pollination of ideas. You start with the vision of the project that needs to be delivered, and then you come across other ideas that embellish your creative thought. It’s exciting.

You think of an author writing a novel, sitting in a room for months with their typewriter or word processor. They are giving all of themselves. And then we as filmmakers take that novel, and translate it through 200 people. It’s astonishing that it comes out telling the same story as the original, to be honest. If it can contain the love, the joy and the humanity of those 200 people, you can feel that in the imagery. You can feel the craftsmanship of it.

Kirill: It’s amazing to think about how many pieces need to fit together in order for that story to shine through.

Christopher: “Terminal” was a total joy to work on. We had long days and late nights, but you do that on every film. It’s irrelevant. We had a blast. Margot and Simon were hilarious. I’d repeat it in a heartbeat. It was phenomenal. I wish we had 32 days rather than 25. I think we could have done something really astonishing. Our budget was around $4M, which was enough. But it would have been nice to have a couple more as a safety barrier.

And here I’d like to thank Christopher Ross for graciously agreeing to answer a few questions I had on the art and craft of cinematography, and on what went into creating the worlds of “Terminal”. The film is out now on BluRay, and other physical and digital formats. You can also find Christopher on Instagram.

Finally, if you want to know more about how films and TV shows are made, click here for additional in-depth interviews in this series. Stay tuned for more interviews in the near future!