If you’re anything like me you’ve spent more time worrying about what’s on your TV screen
than about the effort that goes into creating it. My thoughts on that are beginning to change. When I first saw Divine: The Series I realized it had a different look to it. It was darker, there were some really great camera angles and the actual visual impression it left on me felt like an extra character lurking around in my mind.
I had the pleasure of posing some questions to another of the behind-the-scenes talents who worked on Divine: The Series. Chris Kempinski is Director of Photography for Divine. He’s been involved in the production of Supernatural, Scooby Doo 2 and Martian child. I’m willing to bet we’ll be seeing more of his name in the credits soon.
AM: For our readers who aren’t so familiar with filming – what is the role of Director of photography?
CHRIS: A Director of photography is in charge of the lighting, gripping and camera departments. Basically the look of a show is dependent on them. Working very close with the art director and director to take the script from words on paper to the screen.
AM: How do you plan out how you want a scene to look?
CHRIS: It’s a careful balance between the actual physical location, time we have to light and set up difficult camera moves and what the actors may bring on the day that may change the feel or flow of what or how you yourself may have read the script.
This was a dream come true for me. When Ivan and I first sat down he said the magic words anamorphic, dark graphic novel, fighting and endless effects. I was in heaven. Then I found out who the cast was and ….. What comes after heaven? Cause that’s where I went.
AM: Was Divine: The Series a challenging project because of the elaborate special effects and fight choreography?
CHRIS: This was WAY out of my comfort zone. Riese the series was the largest fight sequences I’d tackled and thankfully Kirk was producing and fight co-ordinator on Divine as well. He is a true professional and there can’t be a more prepared person. He thinks of all the other departments when he develops his moves.
The effects we were very fortunate to have Ivan and Mark and Adelle and trusted them completely. They’re all on their A game and fun to hang around to boot.
AM: Divine has a very clear visual signature; it’s dark, there are epic splashes of color – can you talk a bit about how you accomplished that?
CHRIS: I’d love to take credit but Robert Leader did a great job art directing. The sets screamed to be moody with hits on interesting set pieces. As a graphic novel I tried to embrace the dark and mystery of both the subject matter and genre. I love the contrast in photography and this surely is contrasty.
AM: Do you have a favorite scene in Divine?
CHRIS: Because we went for such a wide angle aspect ratio I really enjoy all of the wide shots. I think they’re all stunning. Joking with Ivan I mentioned it would be a novelty to see it cut with jut the wide masters.
AM: Why did you participate in Divine? What drew you to the project?
CHRIS: I had already been working with Jason, Ivan and Kirk on other shows. I had also been working with the fabulous Dan Payne previously. The script and initial meeting with Ivan had me drooling. This was a creative dream for any budding cinematographer.
Hope you enjoy the rest of it!
A new episode of Divine: The Series will be posted Sunday, October 9 – Check it out at their website Divine:The Series