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IFTA Focus: Q&A With ‘What Richard Did’ DoP David Grennan
31 Jan 2013 : David Grennan was in conversation with Eva Hall
David Grennan
Nominated in Director of Photography Film/Drama category

What camera did you use to shoot ‘What Richard Did’?
We shot ‘What Richard Did’ on the Red Camera.

What do you prefer to use, digital or film? And why?
I think it really depends on the film. When I started shooting digital, the new cameras had just started to arrive, like Red and now Alexa, so I feel very comfortable with digital cameras, the quality of the image can be really quite stunning.

Can you give an example where your cinematography alone was used to tell a part of the story in ‘WRD’?
There are a few specific examples, but really the overall feel and look to ‘WRD’ was a layer to telling the story of Richard. As the narrative changed so did the cinematography in sometimes quite subtle ways. Lenny Abrahamson has a great eye for cinematography and framing and how that can effect an audience.

Can you tell us one trick of the trade that only cinematographers might know of that you used on the ‘WRD’ shoot?
We didn’t really use any, we underexposed the red quite a lot on ‘WRD’, and that worked for the digital image in this case really well.

Did you have any idea ‘WRD’ would be as successful as it has been, not just in Ireland but all over the world? It’s nominated for 10 IFTA Awards in total.
I don't think it’s possible to know how successful a film can be, but you do get a feeling about something when you are on the set, there were many moments when we were filming scenes, especially with Jack Reynor, you just felt the passion, and strength of his performance in the film.

Many people refer to cinematography as being an art form. What does that reference mean to you and do you agree with it?
I think definitely cinematography and film can be and art form, but for me it’s more an element or layer of the story, like production design, sound, costume etc, everything is so important to realising the directors vision.

What new technological developments are you looking forward to in the field of cinematography, and what new developments would you like to see?
I spent quite a while as a camera assistant, surrounded by the technical and that was great, and being able to fall back on that is a fantastic help now as a DoP, but to be honest the technical doesn't concern me as much as it did. It’s really about the storytelling. Digital is getting so good now, it is interesting to see where the cameras go next.

What other profession in the film & TV industry would you like to try?
I’m a big fan of the work a production designer does.

What would winning the IFTA Award for Best Cinematography mean to you?
It would be a great honour to win the IFTA, especially being nominated with such talented cinematographers as Seamus, Tim and PJ, and just like everyone I watched the Oscars when I was a kid...so yeah it would be pretty cool.

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Blood writer Sophie Petzal talks with IFTN
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