Here is a slice of a much bigger interview done by CW Sonderoptic with The Wedding Ringer DoP Bradford Lipson…
Cinematographer Bradford Lipson is best known for his television work, including the FX show WILFRED, which earned him the American Society of Cinematographer’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography.
Lipson brings extensive lighting experience and a keen eye to his cinematography. His recent feature, THE WEDDING RINGER, shows healthy doses of both as he challenged some of the conventional wisdom about shooting comedy.
In this interview with CW Sonderoptic’s Seth Emmons, Lipson elaborates on the challenges, techniques and creative choices that influenced this production.
Seth Emmons: The first thing I noticed about THE WEDDING RINGER is that the look and feel is somewhat different from most comedies. How did you arrive at the look for this film?
Bradford Lipson: From my earliest discussions with Jeremy Garelick, director and co-writer of the film, we knew that it would be based and shot in Los Angeles. That helped us arrive at the look in a number of different ways. Firstly, Jeremy wanted the city to be one of the characters in the film. To that end we found some great locations that would allow us to show off the city.
Secondly, even though THE WEDDING RINGER was a relatively small budget film, we wanted to go for a big budget look. And thirdly, we wanted to try and limit the size and scope of our lighting package so we could maximize our time at locations through shorter setup and strike times, and avoiding generators and long cable runs when possible. I also discussed with Jeremy about not going with a high-key look, which is common with comedies. I took the opportunities where it made sense to give the scenes some nice texture with color contrast and lighting.
A few examples would be Jimmy’s (Kevin Hart) office, and especially the scene on that set where Doris (Jenifer Lewis) and Jimmy have a heart-to-heart moment. Another would be a night scene where I motivated the light from the pool when Jimmy and Doug (Josh Gad) open up to each other. I also chose to often shoot at shallow stops, so there was nice fall off.
This was especially pleasing on the smaller scenes between two characters. The scene when Jimmy drops Doug off at his condo at night and we cut to Jimmy in his car, there is beautiful bokeh behind him. That entire scene was shot on the Leica Summicron-C lenses at a T2.0.
For the full transcript of the interview with The Wedding Ringer Cinematographer Bradford Lipson, please see CW Sonderoptic.