“A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.”
I walk over to Nathanael, who is sitting at his desktop computer. He’s going through footage recently shot and sent by Ethan, and is currently on the phone with him. He’s laughing because on the other side of the phone, Ethan is doubting the quality of the shots. But as I look at them, I am amazed at the quality. They are for a campaign highlighting the beauty of Gresham, and I think to myself that no one could’ve done a better job. We all occasionally get a certain apprehension when it comes to sharing work with each other, mostly because we all hold one another to a certain standard that is constantly rising. This makes for a strong motivator in growing, but in this case, Ethan’s skepticism is misplaced.
His eyes see things always as if through a lens, and working alongside him is an interesting thing. He explains to me the setup of where he is going to shoot, and my uncertainty goes out the door as soon as he lets me see the playback. I wanted to interview him to gain some insight into his process, and so sat down with him one sunny October afternoon…
(David): What are a few movies whose cinematography inspires you?
(Ethan): “No Country for Old Men” because the landscape shots are absolutely gorgeous. They gave a really good sense of loneliness. I love the look of “Book of Eli” and “The Social Network”, both have great lighting and the DP work is just awesome. And I know this sounds weird, but the camera movements in “Avatar” just blew my mind.
(D): Which Epicsode has been your favorite to shoot?
(E): “A Chalk to Remember” because it was just a fun shoot. I got to be really creative with how I filmed it and the natural lighting was perfect.
(D): Tell me about a shoot where you had to think “outside the box” in some way.
(E): I went out and shot some B-roll for a recent campaign and was having a really difficult time finding a good location that was working for me. So I decided to just start driving to random places I had never been to and listened to some classic rock and just got my mind off things. And I ended up finding this little creek that was just stunningly beautiful and ended up discovering some great shots of the creek, clouds and other things in the environment.
(D): Is there a certain process to your work? Or do you tend to do better when it’s more on the spot style?
(E): See, on the spot stuff is fun on certain projects. I prefer not to do that though, but every time I do something I learn new things that I can take over to the next shoot. But when I plan what type of look I’m going for and what I would need to bring, it usually is a lot better.