Oh, the dilemma! What film gear should I use for my film? Which camera will give me the look I want for my project? What gear can I afford? Well as I’ve said before:
“Film gear does not make a movie, the story does. No one ever won Sundance or an Oscar® because they used the latest and greatest film gear. They won because of, you guessed it, story.”
With that said choosing the right film gear for your project is important. You need to have the right paintbrush and not necessarily the most expensive or newest paintbrush to create your opus.
I thought it would be interesting to have cinematographer Ernesto Lomeli on the show. He’s one of the most technical film geeks I know. Ernesto shares a bunch of knowledge bombs with us in this interview and discusses what film gear to get and what you really need to make your project sing!
Right-click here to download the MP3
Alex Ferrari 2:20
Now today's special guest is Ernesto Lomeli. He is a cinematographer and has an amazing story of how he's become a cinematographer who he's working with who his business partners are. The kind of gear he works with. He is easily one of the more gear heavy, extensive gear freaks that I know of. But yet he understand that it's just gear, but he loves his new gear. And he knows and plays with all of it. So he gets to play with all the toys. I've shot with Ernesto on multiple projects over the years. And I just love his energy. He's one of the most mellow guys you've ever met in your life. He is super awesome and extremely talented cinematographer. He does a lot of work, a lot of commercial work short form work music videos, and he travels the frickin world. I mean, every time I see him on Facebook somewhere, he's somewhere else in the world like and you know, seeing a passport or seeing out a window of an airplane. He's always traveling and he's a very worldly, cinematographer has done a lot, a lot of good work. So I thought he'd be a really nice guest to have on the show and really explain to you guys a little bit about gear a little bit about the process of cinematography and working with low budgets, which he does do often. And he's just a wealth of knowledge. So I wanted to bring him on the show for you guys. So sit back and enjoy my conversation with Ernesto Lomeli. I would like to welcome to the show Ernesto a good friend of mine and the most knowledgeable, gearhead, I know in regards to film gear and all things cinematography. Welcome to the show, sir.
Ernesto Lomeli 3:55
Alex Ferrari 3:57
He's very quiet. Hopefully he will live in up as the interview goes on. Now I'm joking. So our guests and I go way back we've shot a bunch of projects together a couple music video, one music video and a few a bunch of commercials and stuff like that. So I know how to I love working with Ernesto. He's awesome. And every time that we have always worked together, we always brings out a lot of his toys. And then he tells me about all his other toys back at home. So I wanted to bring him on the show to kind of talk about his his perspective on being a cinematographer and all that kind of good stuff and gear, gear gear gear. I wanted to talk about gear cuz there's nobody, honestly that I know better, especially the dog in the background. know more about gear than Ernesto. So are you ready, sir?
Ernesto Lomeli 4:39
Alex Ferrari 4:41
All right. So what what made you become a cinematographer in the first place,Ernesto?
Ernesto Lomeli 4:45
Um, Um, well, I kind of decided to do this freshman year of college. I was a big computer geek and at the same time, I was a big, still photographer. So I spent a lot of time in the darkroom and They used to geek out on cameras and lenses and, and at the same time, you know, build my little Pentium computer and geek out on that and log on to BBs systems, and all kinds of stuff like that. So I think they kind of just went hand in hand. And when I actually decided to go to, I graduated high school year early, and then I kind of spent that year kind of traveling and working and making money. And then eventually, when I had enough money for, for art school, I ended up going thinking I do photography, but it's just kind of boring, because you kind of just work by yourself, I remember the first assignments were like, go do this and go do that, and didn't really have anybody to work with and didn't really think that was fun. And I took some indie film, intro to filmmaking classes, and they were really cool because it was our group stuff. And it was super techie and really relied on your knowledge of the technology and filmmaking at the same time. So it was kind of cool, it was creative and technical. And you get to collaborate with people. And that's kind of I'm kind of a people person, too. So it kind of just kind of fit.
Nice and you went to asi right.
Went to asi, but first went to. I actually went to the Academy of Art in San Francisco, which at the time, was one of the better film schools back 15 years ago. They had a really good inventory of 35 millimeter cameras, and there just wasn't that many schools shooting 35 it was kind of the new big deal. school. It was before New York Film Academy. I mean, at that time, it was a sci fi which but that was a graduate school only. There was Chapman. Or no, I live it was before Chapman really had a film program. It was Brooks. There was the film school in Cuba, there was NYU. And then there was the watch Film Academy.
Alex Ferrari 6:57
Now the film school in Cuba, I've heard is insane.
Ernesto Lomeli 6:59
Yeah, it is. And but for some reason I was attracted to San Francisco. At the time I was I did High School in San Diego. And my older brother had graduated from San Francisco State. I had friends that lived up there. So it just seemed like a, like a good transition to move up there as a you know, 18 year old by yourself, and not be too far from anything. So
Alex Ferrari 7:26
You're kind of like a vagabond and in a lot of ways.
Ernesto Lomeli 7:29
Yeah. So it's pretty cool.
What was your experience at ASI? Because that's obviously such a prestigious school.
You know, it was funny, the whole time I was at the Academy of Art, all I was looking forward to was finishing so that I could have a portfolio prepared enough to be able to apply to ami. But at the time, in hindsight, I didn't realize how hard our little year of people at the Academy of Art Believe it or not in my because you know, especially in art school, and like art center and things like that. Your your freshman classes 400 deep, but you know, I remember in our film program, actually walking at graduation, there was only 30 of us, 35 of us. So it was a very close knit incestuous very competitive class that ended up graduating and I'll be honest with you, a lot of the people I graduated are very good working cinematographers right now. Nice. I think maybe I lucked out. But the year I went there, I feel like we were we were one of those classes that just one of those outlier classes it just kind of kicked butt and it was great because every single week, all we would do is try to up each other's projects and we would just jump from each other's jobs back and forth and everybody everybody would just work on everybody's projects non stop. And we were always trying to one up each other with how cool and how crazy in the lighting and you know how many favors we were able to pool and you know, how far we were able to bullshit our permit and this and that and, and by the time I finally got admitted to a phi i realized that most of the people I had already gone to school with and all these things that I had worked so hard for for the last few years. If I kind of felt like I had already done that, myself so hard, right, right. So so so hard by the time I made it to a fi It was kind of redundant. Don't get me wrong, there were still some amazing things like Steven Knight Hill was an amazing chair. Bill Dale is the man even to this day, I will always place an eyeline because I'm scared of Bill Daley yelling at me.
Alex Ferrari 9:55
I know I noticed that when we work together that you actually put an eye light on everything.
Ernesto Lomeli 10:00
Yeah, I mean, it's it's just one of those things, you know, you get yelled at it about it so hard. But um, you know, I lines, I lights, things like that were things I learned that if I but the reality is, after my first year I just, I didn't really see the need to continue and my teachers themselves even told me they're like, Hey, you know, you're good you're getting if you're getting offers for work, you should go work, don't spend another year and another, you know 60 something $1,000 here, they're like, go do it. It's like, all right, you're right. And so that's what I did. I never went back for my thesis. I basically finished everything except my thesis.
Alex Ferrari 10:43
So the the one fascinating thing he told me a story that you told me is that you actually partnered up with the academy award winning Gizmo Nevado as a partner, and I'd love for you to tell everybody that story because it's a fascinating story.
Ernesto Lomeli 10:58
Um, yeah, it's actually quite funny. I was working as a camera assistant, here in LA for a few years. And a producer I was working with we were doing a we're shooting a Bushmills commercial, and producer was Cuban. And believe it or not, I mean, there's just although you see a lot of, you know, Mexican cinematographers winning Academy Awards. There's not really that many, you know, Hispanic, Latino, or Mexicans that are actually working in the film industry. Trust me, I know, in proper positions, right, that security crappy. The truth is, I mean, when people say that, you know, when you say you're in camera department, or you know, you're the DP people are like, Oh, really, like, Oh, that's interesting. So at the time, so it, people really do kind of want to help each other out. It's like a whole, it's like a immigrant, kind of just mentality of everybody, you know, a rising, rising tide lifts all ships kind of thing. So, producer I did that job with he was doing a job up in San Francisco with Guillermo, and Guillermo just had a hernia operation, he needed an operator. And he's like, hey, if you want to come up and do this job, he's like, the money sucks. But, you know, you might get to work with somebody really cool. And he told me who it was. And I was like, Yeah, dude, you don't even have to pay me. I'll be there. You know? Of course, of course, always, you know, he won the Academy Award for Pan's Labyrinth, but I'll be honest with you one of the most amazingly shot movies I've ever seen as the devil's backbone. And just those sequences with those kids in that orphanage, mom in the courtyard is just
Alex Ferrari 12:47
Gorgeous. It's gorgeous, gorgeous stuff.
Ernesto Lomeli 12:49
It really is. It really really is so
Alex Ferrari 12:53
And for, for those people who don't know who we're talking about, again, Guillermo Navarro has worked a lot with Guillermo Del Torro he's done most of his movies, right?
Ernesto Lomeli 13:00
Yes. Yeah. So he shot his first film.
Alex Ferrari 13:04
Exactly. So that's who we're talking about when we say get one of our for those who are not in the know. So continue sir.
Ernesto Lomeli 13:11
Um, so anyways, we ended up going up to San Francisco at the time, I had already been working in LA working as an assistant working as a low budget indie cinematographer. And at that time, I had already had always liked to own equipment because I'm kind of a techie geek
Alex Ferrari 13:32
Do you the ultimate sir I've been I've been in I've been in your place sir. I just drool every time
Ernesto Lomeli 13:41
And you know through film school besides working on set, I had worked at a rental house there for years so it was just one of those things that everything just went hand in hand was just you know, you want to learn how to get the shot you know, you asked to borrow that lens through that adapter. So gear for me was just you know, it's like I always looked at it, at least in my head and maybe this is how I justified it. But I always thought of it as you know, being a carpenter and knowing your tools. It's having pause different every chisels different you know, everything is everything has its purpose and I never understood people that would just always go out and read something different all the time. It's like you have to use it 5678 times before you like really get a feel for it. Like you really really get a feel with how that lens is gonna flare. How does it really look on the face How does it contrast You know, when does it lose contrast? You know, and and every lens on every camera on every sensor on every film sight, black, completely different and, and it's just this it's like being a chef and you know, being asked to cook with a spice rack, you know, set a spices for the first time and you're expecting to be fantastic at it. It's like no, you have to know how to use everything.
Alex Ferrari 14:57
You have to know how to use those spices because a little bit too much of this. Little not enough of that won't make it work
Ernesto Lomeli 15:02
That and you know it, the dynamic of the film industry is changing. Everybody wants a deal. So you know, you being able to come out as a package with equipment and you know, as a starving cinematographer, obviously, you know, they never have money for your labor and they barely have any money for gear. So when you combine those two, you kind of always work, we got a living. Now you're not really making a profit, but at least you know, you're just working. And somebody's literally paying you to practice your craft. Right? Right. And I found that invaluable. So that was my approach. I worked through camera department, but at the same time in parallel, I was doing the indie film hustle. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 15:48
Exactly. Nice plug, sir, I appreciate that. So you and get more partners in a company and you guys work together. And I like to have a ton of cameras that you work with together, correct?
Ernesto Lomeli 15:58
Yes, so. So gamma, and a lot of film cameras, I owned a couple of digital cameras, and we decided to team up, right, as kind of digital revolution was really happening. The Reds, the reds, you know, we were about to transition into the epics, the Alexa was just about to come out. And so we started working together in news. Now he has a world of knowledge, storytelling, wise and visually, and I got lucky enough to be kind of the guy who knows, you know, my breadth of knowledge visually is good, but obviously nowhere near as good as a master like him. But I did have a pretty good bridge towards that. And, you know, technically what is coming out and, and I think we made really good partners. And over the last few years, we've, you know, we've been kicking butt nice, him doing his movies and, and me working my way through a commercial roster. And once again, you know, he had that same mentality of like, why am I going to make other people money? I could, I could get a loan or hustling hard or do this, and then it's like, well, I'm gonna, I'm gonna have my own tools. You know, we both came from that. From that same world, maybe it's like a pull yourself up from your bootstraps kind of immigrant mentality, or some
Alex Ferrari 17:28
You know what I'll tell you, I think, you know, being being the guy who's hustled all his life, you know, and coming from market like Miami, which is I'm sure you've shot in Miami, so it's not LA, as far as a market is concerned. So in order to be able to make a living, you've got to do things that you're not, you know, you're not, you're not normal, it's not taught that way. So like with you with your gear, mine with my gear, my gear was post. So I would, I would have all the gear for posts and then sell myself out or sell the suite out, and they wouldn't pay my time, but they'd pay for the suite and so on and so forth. Because that was kind of the way everything was going. But it's it's a special mentality. So hustle, no question.
Ernesto Lomeli 18:08
So but at the same time, it's like you never really trying to make money you're trying to make enough to pay for everything, but you really want to do is just get the next cool project.
Alex Ferrari 18:20
Right, exactly. And sometimes that knowledge in that gear will help you get to that point, which which leads me right to my next question. You got to shoot some second unit on Pacific Rim. Is that correct?
Ernesto Lomeli 18:30
I actually did the epilogue and the title sequence.
Alex Ferrari 18:36
Right. And that was that must have been amazing to work on such a huge budget.
Ernesto Lomeli 18:41
Yeah, it was pretty cool. Um, as they were finishing up the film. They needed a way to explain this world. Yeah. And my friend, Matthew Collin. partners with Guillermo del Toro is a production company called Murata they tasked Marotta and Matt to direct this this is prologue as to how we got to this world Pacific Rim in two or three minutes and explain the kaiju and explain how it How did it happen and what worked and what didn't work and you know why we are where we are now and trying to do it in a graphic beautiful, intense way that's not just text in two to three minutes It wasn't easy. The film was being market tested and as they were screening it and asking them you know, the studio was asking for changes and this and that because certain story aspects when making sense all of a sudden we would be sent out you know, fly around the world and shoot you know, recreation of a riot sequence somewhere in Thailand or you know, Shoot slums in the Philippines so that later we could comp in giant robots in you know things like that and recreating basically recreating a backstory and at the same time we we got to have a really cool adventure basically
Alex Ferrari 20:18
Now is you've obviously worked on a lot of commercials, a lot of music videos and and worked on. You've never you haven't shot a feature yet, but you do. You're mostly doing commercials and music music videos at this point, correct?
Ernesto Lomeli 20:29
Yeah, it's mostly. You know, I'm 33 years old, which is still pretty young
Alex Ferrari 20:35
God, you are you and I didn't know you were that young. He pissed me off, sir. Sorry, go ahead.
Ernesto Lomeli 20:42
You know, I feel like I'm you know, as much as I would love to be somewhere else and be doing, you know, movies. And I feel like I got very lucky with circle of people that trust me very well that they themselves have come up over the years, like I am where I am. Because now as an assistant to production managers, and a coordinator, you know, we were all hustling together. And as the years went by, they moved up and I moved up, and then all of a sudden, it's like, Hey, I have a job. Do you want to do it? Yeah. Yeah. Because there's a sense of trust. And then after a few other jobs, you know, somebody else trusts you, and you're just your circles to start growing through awesome. reputation. And of course, your body of work, but it's pretty rare for somebody to hire me just from something they saw on that website. You know, that's always they heard of me, right through word of mouth. Yeah, through word of mouth, or they were a client's on a job, or they were the, you know, they were helping producer job, or they were doing something on a job. And when they got their job, they're like, Hey, are you interested? And now slowly, but surely, your Rolodex just started growing and growing and growing and growing, and it's the snowball effect, man, as long as you keep doing good work and have a good attitude. It's just gonna keep drunks, but I I'm in commercial lenders, that's my roster, right? People You know, that's my my click. What like commercials?
Alex Ferrari 22:14
Well, what I find fascinating about you is you probably the most mellow man I know. And onset no matter how crazy it is, you are the most mellow so it's, it's fascinating to to work with you. And that's because a lot of people aren't like that on film sets, as I'm sure you know.
Ernesto Lomeli 22:36
It's funny because I, I've worked for other DPS that were kind of crazy. And after one job, I just kind of even not consciously you just kind of go I don't know if I want to do that job again with you. Yeah, right now they call you for a job and you know, like, anything that I could you know, especially before you know, I was in the union has always been like, well, how much money is there? And what is it? I don't really want to do this with you. I am all right. I think I'd rather not be sad all day. kill myself after you know, you feel dirty after doing a job as somebody mistreats you right breast out that's mistreating other people. It's just like, why am I even here? And it's like, you know, it goes back to that same, you know, same mentality is like, why are you doing this is because you love it because you want to have fun. And, you know, when you when you want to achieve a certain position and a certain job title, like you're responsible, like you want to be a cinematographer, but you're pulling focus, or you're loading magazines, or you're downloading cards. You, you can't help but feel, especially when you're working with somebody don't respect you're like, man, I could do their job. And I could hit so much better. No more frustrating thought that could enter your mind to ruin your day. Yep, then that. And I was very careful not to put myself in those positions, because I saw myself my own mental state being poisoned, and I didn't like that. So I got lucky enough to work with really cool people. Even in low positions, I didn't really fucking care. Because in the end, I was working with some of the people that I really respected. And the bigger and the bigger and the bigger the DPS and the directors I got to work under the more and more I realized they're really cool. And they're confident because this is like the 500th commercial they shot. Yeah, and they have a sweet commercial 20 times, you know, last 40 years or 30 years and like, it's just it's just another day in the office. You know, it's like an athlete going out to play a game you know, it's just the big game. They're like, yeah, it is but It's what I do you know it's and it's it really changes people's attitude on set it's like oh wow we're really behind and we're waiting on our department and the truck hasn't landed and the lights in the wrong place because we're three hours behind and originally This is going to be backlit but now it's frontlit and you know and and the mentality from all these people that I would work with who is just like whoa, figure it out It's not my fault so I'm just gonna figure out the best way to just do it and and not lose sleep over it you know and it's and it's a great mentality and you know, attitude if you've ever been on a bad film shoot if you've ever been on yeah attitude is all you have you know, it really carries along the entire job and it trickles from the top you know, it doesn't good attitude doesn't trickle a trickle up it trickles down to
Alex Ferrari 25:58
The PA with a good attitude is not gonna it's not gonna make James Cameron not do what he does
Ernesto Lomeli 26:03
Not gonna change the shoot but a director or a dp with a shitty attitude will definitely poison a department or a whole crew and make a lot of people really angry or frustrated or not even want to be there
Alex Ferrari 26:17
Because it's a tough it's a tough business in general just to do the job sometimes being on set for 12 hours 14 hours and having to do it's a high stress high pressure situation sometimes and having you know toxic
Ernesto Lomeli 26:30
Because eventually it just kind of turns into a routine it's just another day
Alex Ferrari 26:33
But when you have the right people when you don't have the right people
Ernesto Lomeli 26:37
Yeah it's it's all about perspective correct projecting an attitude and sometimes you just got to let stuff not get to you and and if you are lucky enough to realize that you're actually making a living doing this and people are hiring you you realize you're kind of in a really good position so it's like so what if the sun really isn't where you want it to be? You know what we'll just figure it out maybe I could talk to the director into shooting it on tight lenses or no maybe we can just wait a little bit longer and get that nice beautiful light and sunset or they pack it ask them to turn it around the other way right right right.
Alex Ferrari 27:16
You just figure it out, just figure it out
Ernesto Lomeli 27:17
You always got yeah i mean that's that's just the thing you got to just figure it out.
Alex Ferrari 27:22
Now what is your favorite camera if Do you have a favorite camera and to shoot and why
Ernesto Lomeli 27:29
You know what I get asked this a lot I'm sure there is this inherent bias
Alex Ferrari 27:36
Yes yes I'm waiting for it go for it
Ernesto Lomeli 27:41
People are camera racist
Alex Ferrari 27:45
That's the best terminology have ever heard camera racism I
Ernesto Lomeli 27:51
Oh my god well especially agency camera department assistant directors before camera racist and it's because reason to believe other people's propaganda and bought it right right.
Alex Ferrari 28:09
It's like computer races like computer Mac versus PC or it's or editing racism.
Ernesto Lomeli 28:15
Like, like Chevy Ford. Yeah, I know. stuff kind of mentalities. It's like they do the same thing it gets you
Alex Ferrari 28:25
From different they have different flavors but are different flavors
Ernesto Lomeli 28:29
You know so I mean I'm obviously in a very unique position in that we own everything so but you know most people they rent everything so it doesn't matter there's there's just this thing that happens where people saw the end it all started I think with the behind the scenes featurettes on DVDs You know, it wasn't just American cinematographer and things like that it was it became mainstream when you would see the behind the scenes movies that being shot and you know you'd get the commentary but more and more people were watching it because it was you know, is part of these beautiful DVD feature at the bonus features and be like oh we're shooting on this with these lenses and we're shooting on this with with this film stock or these lenses and all of a sudden you guys asking you like well I want to shoot on this
Alex Ferrari 29:26
Right oh no and let's not even get into the genius marketing that is red camera
Ernesto Lomeli 29:31
I'll be honest with you they're all the same and I know the red noise pretty well No no, I'm
Alex Ferrari 29:36
Not talking about the cameras. I'm talking about the genius marketing. Like what red did they kind of ambush the film industry?
Ernesto Lomeli 29:44
Yeah, yeah, cuz they really were doing something but we'll get into that. Okay. I you know, there's many times where I get asked from a client to shoot a project on something that is completely the wrong because that's
Alex Ferrari 29:59
Yeah, yeah. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor and now back to the show
Ernesto Lomeli 30:11
Oh yeah like oh you know we need to run in gun a lot we're going to be jumping through different countries we're going to be kind of just landing and scouting maybe we could shoot some sunset plates while we're there and then we're going to need to do this and that like okay, I can I want to shoot it on anamorphic on Alexa asked for an 80 pound camera everything and you know just as the batteries to power that for the day because we're not going to have access to power we're going to be hauling around 200 pounds with a batteries if it's not the right tool for that job
Alex Ferrari 30:49
It's like tell and I always tell people it's like telling your plumber what plunger to use like it's his job to know what tools to do the job with
Ernesto Lomeli 30:59
Tell me what you want it to look like right and it's like I'm gonna be the asshole who's gonna have to have it on my shoulder for 12 hours right there's a whole there's there's that you know and it's it's so silly
Alex Ferrari 31:13
It is and I look I get it I get it on my into like before like a Final Cut versus avid versus premiere. Now the Vinci versus baseline I'm like guys just please you know let me What do you want to do want to look Do you want pretty pictures? I'll make them pretty just you know
Ernesto Lomeli 31:32
Obviously you know sometimes there are certain requirements
Alex Ferrari 31:35
Ofcourse get you either workflow issues or things like that. That's understand emotion right
Ernesto Lomeli 31:41
Right. frame rate size and yeah, there's always something but I feel a lot of people are like hardcore read users hardcore Alexa users, they would not even dare you know, yeah, use the other one it's like it's here's something that people don't realize that beautiful set of lenses that you know they used to shoot x movie on x camera is gonna look completely different if you use those same lenses on a different sensor Of course, you know and and the way you
Alex Ferrari 32:18
Like it, or in a film plane for that matter
Ernesto Lomeli 32:21
Every single lens sees CCD combo gives completely different images. A set of cooks are gonna flare one way Lexa another way on the Phantom another way on film and then another way on red it's just the way it is. certain characteristics will be there right but just different
Alex Ferrari 32:45
It's just a tip just it's completely different you know I've been I've been a red guy for a while but I know and I jump on I jump on a live shot on election I've worked with Alexa project worked on black magic you know there's so many different cameras DSLRs all sorts of different things you just kind of have to if you hire a good dp just let them choose the proper tool as long as it works for the workflow and that you're able to handle that workflow and that conversation is had because I'm coming from the post then you know if you're if you're working on a laptop and they give you 8k probably not a good idea.
Ernesto Lomeli 33:21
Yeah, and I mean I've done jobs where I've been really lucky to sometimes work on these like video installation wall pieces like we did we did the centennial with AI for IBM this beautiful installation piece at Lincoln Center a few years ago. Last year we shot the film that's the headquarters of visa so we shot this beautiful around the world peace but like the visa job I think the deliver the final deliverable one that was 12k and you see to one aspect ratio Oh Jesus you know at the time we want to shoot as xcite it's like
Alex Ferrari 34:05
No not happening not today
Ernesto Lomeli 34:09
The wrong tool for the job because you have such a such a specific post requirement. So we ended up shooting 6k Dragon with a custom resolution ratio to use every single pixel we did in a three to one ratio knowing that it was going to be tile stacked and and even then they were going to have to duplicate pixels and stuff but
Alex Ferrari 34:32
Yeah, now you're getting into a whole other conversation.
Ernesto Lomeli 34:34
Yeah, I mean, obviously I'm pretty techie with sure of course of course. But those you know, that's one of those things. It's like the right tool for the top.
Alex Ferrari 34:45
Now do you have a favorite lens package that you use? There's like it do is a preferred lens package you use
Ernesto Lomeli 34:51
Right now I think for the last two years I've kind of really been in love with my set of uncoated cooks.
Alex Ferrari 34:57
Oh uncoded cooks. Okay, nice. Can you explain Can you play Everybody want a coated a coated cookies and I'm not code because I remember when you were, I was in your place when we were talking about it, or he used to just gotten them one of the two. And they're gorgeous
Ernesto Lomeli 35:12
Cooks are obviously these beautiful handmade lenses with this long lineage. There are a set of optics that have been around since they were telescopes in England as well as a Tyler Tyler cook, Heather cook. You know, it's if you ever hear old, old movies, the old Pancras people, you know, they would call it the one inch the two inch. That's how we used to do focal lengths based on the length of the actual lens, because there was only one set of lenses in Hollywood, you know, right. So bring out the one inch lens bring out the right, you know, 25 5075, that kind of thing. So they have this very classic, classic look. But they tend to be quite warm. And on digital sensors, I find them to be overly warm. So cook did this brilliant thing with a set of their mini as far as where they sold the front element with the coatings on the front elements before they apply the anti reflective coating on it. So if you shoot with a set of slices, or if you shoot with a set of cannons or whatever, especially on devices, you know, I remember when we were coming up like the super speeds were were still kind of the lenses, they would have the T coatings on right now. And that was a really big, big deal because you know, they would flare a certain way you could shoot, you know, into the sun, you could shoot headlights, you could do things like that, and the image would fall apart. And it was these these amazing coatings that sys had designed that hold contrast really well in high contrast situations. Or would it hold a flare and keep contrast? The problem that happens is you know, as light overwhelms lens, you tend to lose contrast, which you know, makes the image look soft, or you lose any detail in the image, they just, the light just bounces back and forth in between all the all the different elements of glass, and it just creates pollution basically. So they coat these lenses with these special coatings. So the light kind of only travels in one direction when it wants to bounce back, it gets absorbed or deflected. And it doesn't really pollute the image very much. So that's where you get these beautiful sharp flares. But cook decided to try doing an Amash to an older look. When they first marketed these lenses they marketed as the rebirth of the Pancras, which was their first generation of cinema lenses. So they decided to sell a version with the front elements without coatings to kind of give it that softer kind of more, Larry, classic look. And I really liked them because it's new lenses with kind of a middle ground old look. And I don't know, I just, I've really fallen in love with them. But at the same time I shoot with everything. Right? Alright, but those are kind of the ones I they're just always on the truck. Always with me, you know, well, that's one of the beauty of owning gear too. It's like, you know, sometimes you know, you're going to need a big long, you know, the way the day is going to go, you're going to be on a dolly on a long zoom, and you're just going to spray down every scene because you have you know, celebrity talent, you're going to do the lines three times, whatever and you just need to shoot the wide, medium and tight with, you know, your schedule is so tight. You can't afford to, you know, five minutes to flip a lens and recalibrate everything. You just gotta go go, go, go go. Now what, when you you'll have a big zoom. But I always keep a case of primes in the back, you know, just in case.
Alex Ferrari 38:56
Now what's a good zoom? Like if you were going to rent or zoom or something like that, in your opinion.
Ernesto Lomeli 39:02
I know there's so many once again, your flavor your flavor, sir. I'm an optimal guy. Okay, so this I think everybody in the industry, I think 90% of everything you see on television is shot on a set of outcomes.
Alex Ferrari 39:15
Got it. And that's a pretty expensive lens if I'm not mistaken.
Ernesto Lomeli 39:19
Oh, well, they make a quite a big variety. But yes, they are very expensive because they're very complicated, very precise, and they're workhorses.
Alex Ferrari 39:29
They just last,
Ernesto Lomeli 39:30
They just freakin it's a precision piece of equipment that gets thrown in a case tossed in the back of a van. slammed onto a camera, handheld, run around, push the places you're in the forest, you're in the jungle, you're dead, it's hot, it's cold. Yeah, it's hot, it's cold. Some idiot doesn't know how to use it. Some other guy really knows how to use it. Like it's just one of the things that it's just they're just so well made, but I'll be honest with you Almost all lenses are pretty darn durable.
Alex Ferrari 40:03
The pandemic obviously depends on if you're looking at the higher end stuff like I mean, I have a set of a broken ons, which is just a, you know, a little little set that I bought for my, my little shooting that I do here and there nothing that I would do for a client. But and those I always look at they're kind of they're metal, but they're not, I wouldn't rent them out, let's just put it that way they're not gonna last.
Ernesto Lomeli 40:26
I mean, you it's the thing with filming equipment is you just have to understand, you get what you pay for. Yep. And this is no six unit not being screwed. You know, people aren't charging you five times as much as the Chinese version just because they're trying to make a profit. Believe it or not, a lot of equipment is still you know, even though it's CMC, it's all batches. And it took somebody a long time to figure out how to make it and it's a company with very few employees, things like that. And no matter how expensive you think it is, it's barely making them any money. They're doing it out of passion like Zeiss. Their cinema division is less than 1% of the company.
Alex Ferrari 41:16
Yeah, cuz they do so many other kinds of optics.
Ernesto Lomeli 41:20
If you if you just if you just take into account microscopes that they make for the medical industry. Yeah, I mean, just there alone, just optics for telescopes, optics for military use. I mean, it's so much bigger yet, they still keep their cinema division, because I love it. Obviously division. It's kind of like a race car.
Alex Ferrari 41:41
Right, right. It's not a profitable thing. But it's a prestige thing.
Ernesto Lomeli 41:45
A prestige thing. Yeah. And the truth is, they really do develop some really interesting technologies with coatings and mechanics and things like that, through their cinema division that later gets incorporated into other things. But it's, it's their race team. So what it is,
Alex Ferrari 42:02
So I always wanted to talk to I always like talking to cinematographers about this question. Because it's it's kind of a touchy subject with because you're a professional you work with, obviously, professional, high end cameras. What do you think of the DSLR movement and DSLRs? in general? I'll tell you my multicam my point of view after you tell me yours?
Ernesto Lomeli 42:23
Well, when we started working on the five D first came out Sure. And and once again, it goes back to the whole other people telling you what to do what you should do your job on, we would get agency saying we want to shoot on a pipe. She's, like, the most amazing thing.
Alex Ferrari 42:47
Just analyze, just analyze that comment again. Like we saw the most amazing thing shot on the five D on YouTube, I'm like, Really?
Ernesto Lomeli 42:54
Yes. And they go oh, and it's cheap. And it's this and that it's like, yes, but you want me to be able to shoot super show that the field running gun, you want to be able to see it, you want to be able to have the director see it, you want to have a wireless feed to 500 feet away at all times. You want to be able to feed audio into it, you want to be able to and all of a sudden, that $2,000 camera that's renting for $150 a day. That's 40 grand with the things attached to it, you know, in a $50,000 lens just to make it work, just to make it work at the temple that you need to on a professional set where time is money. Oh god, that's such a great point of view. So it was just so ridiculous. And we all knew it was ridiculous, except the client. And they were loving it. And they would eat their own. Like they would believe their own height. Right? It's like oh, yeah, that that Yeah, we want to clear for it. Yeah, we only shot that and it's just ego right package for that five D was costing you two grand a day.
Alex Ferrari 44:05
So you could have had a right you could have had a full read package or even a new package to
Ernesto Lomeli 44:09
Shoot this out around. Well, it's because they wanted to be able to say they shot it, it's like, well, we have all these motion blur issues. We have to like redesign all these shots because there's no global shutter and refresh rate on the center. Or like, you know, it's it's just all these little things, and there's
Alex Ferrari 44:29
A whole movement, you know, I know Shawn, or Shane Herbert, the guy, the dpu got yelled at by Christian Bale. He loves the DSLRs but I'm not sure how much of that is real or hype or he's just trying to sell stuff. But I think
Ernesto Lomeli 44:46
I mean, in all honesty, he's definitely trying to make money. He's just don't get me wrong. He is a sponsor.
Alex Ferrari 44:56
He's a real dp. I mean, he's he's just he's he's really
Ernesto Lomeli 44:59
He's very talented. Yeah. But it's his hustle. He's how he
Alex Ferrari 45:05
He's also our
Ernesto Lomeli 45:06
The reason he, you know, as much as he says he shoots with these cannons, he doesn't he, he does do a fair amount of things with them. But they're rarely his ache. Right? You know, he'll do some jobs with like 2020, c 300, things like that, because that's the kind of job for it. But you know,
Alex Ferrari 45:27
He's not shooting Terminator with that. No, he's not, he's not shooting a real movie
Ernesto Lomeli 45:32
It's part of the marketing thing you got to remember, like, for some odd reason, because of this DSLR thing, everything became the the market, the film market went from being a very obscure, tiny, very specialized, very expensive set of people to this just ballooned exponential number, because of things like YouTube and the internet being fast enough for you to be able to stream video, and there's just a market for a lot of video, like, it just, it's just exists. So the quality went down, because the quantity went up. And it's just is what it is. And so, I mean, everybody I know, that makes things for the film industry, they want to be able to say they made stuff with the red and for the Alexa and for the, you know, for whatever, but the truth is, they're really making their money selling the DSLR base plates, because they're going to sell 1000 of them, you know, as opposed to 90, you know, little Alexa cheese plates, you know, they're gonna sell 1000, you know, XLR adapters to, you know, mini trs is, that's, that's really,
Alex Ferrari 46:48
It's money, it's money. It's just money, it's all about money. So basically, obviously, my point of view from DSLRs is every every DSLR project has walked through my doors, and I've done probably four or five features shot on the DSLR which frustrates the hell out of me. Because DSLRs Yes, if you have a good dp, you have a ton of gear attached to it, you have great lighting, that you can get some good images out of it. Sure. But, and then you could do something within an imposed, but everything I've ever done has always been, you know, you know, under under hat with God, like under $200,000 $100,000 features that are, you know, just jamming it through and then they're like, Well, why can't I call her this? I'm like, because there's no latitude, and you've you've Yeah, shot at night.
Ernesto Lomeli 47:34
For some odd reason. People think that they could save money. No, they don't they hurt themselves on the year. And it's just like, just do it. Right. Do it. Right. Well, I mean, I understand there are certain projects where DSLRs are great. Yeah, I was doing, you know, around the world kind of docu job. Yep, no, I would always have a DSLR or something. Steel shot. So you could do this and that. So you could have a second unit that you can just send off and do stuff,
Alex Ferrari 48:02
You can shoot beautiful bottom lines, you can shoot some really beautiful images with a DSLR if you know what you're doing, and there's no question about that, but
Ernesto Lomeli 48:10
It's good, it's the right tool for the job, correct. You know, if you are if you want to work with, you know, see quality equipment, but one in a quality product, it's a tool for the job, and you're gonna end up paying for it, whether it's with us having to wait for for your crew onset, because they have to put, you know, a focus ring on these little SLR lenses, or the depth of field is so shallow that they just can't get this, they can't get the shot in focus. You know, the director can't really see or, you know, all these things, you're gonna pay for it later, whether it's with time or whether it's having to correct a bunch of things and post you know, it's just things cost what they cost and you're not going to you're not there's no magic doesn't exist. Yeah, exactly. could save a little here knowing you're gonna have to pay for it later. And that's fine. If you want to pass the buck home. Maybe you know, you only have so much money for your live action part of your project. You get a rough cut together, you know, you raise more funds and then you know, you'll have more money for post and that's great. You know, but I don't think most people think about it like that.
Alex Ferrari 49:22
Well, I think I also like the movie tangerine that was shot on the iPhone. Everyone's like, well, now we call make movies on the iPhone, you know, the new iPhone, and it shoots 4k and all this stuff. And I'm like, Guys, the guy who shot tangerine, he didn't he wasn't a kid that just grabbed his iPhone and shot a movie. He's a professional, who knew what he was doing. And he used it as an IT WAS a tool that he wanted to use to tell that story. the aesthetics of how to
Ernesto Lomeli 49:48
Do you remember do you remember the whole dogma kind of revolution, if you will. I remember
Alex Ferrari 49:54
I remember the Canon when God what was that one, the mini DV cameras came out the DSD VX LAN yeah the SL one those those cameras I remembered there was like a feature shot with it with Katie Holmes and like that was like oh, what was that 28 days Danny Boyle shot a whole thing on 24p on it
Ernesto Lomeli 50:15
People don't realize that they use those tools because they had a specific look right? And then you try to apply that fabric mask you know, it's just everybody wants to do everybody wants to do something for less and sometimes it's a race to the bottom I feel like the whole DSLR thing is kind of gone away I haven't been asked to shoot anything.
Alex Ferrari 50:39
No because because the bigger cameras have become so affordable like I mean you can get a read so affordably now the technology has gotten so better and I think people finally figured it out that DSLRs are not
Ernesto Lomeli 50:52
You're not always the right tool for the job but sometimes they are you know absolutely absolutely some crazy body mount stuff or the things with the drones like the GH foreigner drone is beautiful and you know we've been doing a bunch of body rigged stuff and we always you know the ACE seven S is fantastic for things like that
Alex Ferrari 51:12
It's just using the right tool at the right time for the right job
Ernesto Lomeli 51:15
That's all it is. And but for some reason people are camera races this is what he This is what we should shoot on it's like no but it doesn't mean I can't love everybody I can't love all of them right I have their place
Alex Ferrari 51:30
Now this is another big question how many K's Do we really need because it's getting out of hand
Ernesto Lomeli 51:39
I mean it kind of comes down to I remember when we were still shooting film and right when he started coming around Pete we would go to a color correction the house would ask you like hey, do you want to color correct and standard def it's going to be this much right? Or do you want to color correct in HD will give you two masters you know a beta SP SD that's letterbox and we'll give you you know an HD Cam 1080 for the future just in case right and you know it's $1,000 more $2,000 more for color correct in HD because it has to scan it sure sure sure if it scanner a different this different that people would be like no no no we don't need that. And sometimes they didn't you know sometimes the project didn't really do that. You know, just like YouTube and things like that. It's like a lot of content we make notes just for the web. Right? But Vimeo and YouTube they have 4k players which are on TVs, which are on TVs no I just bought a 4k TV
Alex Ferrari 52:54
Of course you did why would why wouldn't you own a 4k TV I'm sorry I'm surprised you don't own a 6k TV sir.
Ernesto Lomeli 52:59
Well I actually didn't have a TV for like the last six years
Alex Ferrari 53:03
no I know you don't have a TV app but I just know when you said you have a 4k TV it just makes sense.
Ernesto Lomeli 53:09
For a long time that market TV is I wanted to see what some of these Netflix shows
Alex Ferrari 53:16
and how they look
Ernesto Lomeli 53:18
they look really nice even streaming Yeah, I mean obviously it's it's not DCI spec you know sure shape but it's you Hd 2160 P and it's you know it's it's more resolution it looks really nice.
Alex Ferrari 53:34
But let me ask you a question like again with the whole case I did a whole article about 4k which is one of the most controversial articles I've written and podcast I've did was about why indie filmmakers shoot and shoot 4k and the reason I said that was I wanted people to understand that there's a work there's workflow issues and if a lot of people will get themselves in trouble
Ernesto Lomeli 53:55
there is workflow issues and I mean five years ago and red first came
Alex Ferrari 53:59
out oh god that was nothing for it was very painful it was that's how I made the truth
Ernesto Lomeli 54:06
is now I mean drives are so cheap and everything is so fast. I mean my iMac just blow through footage with an integrated you know CUDA card it's fine um,
Alex Ferrari 54:19
but again for like it depends on you. You have that information you have that knowledge I have that gear that can push that kind of stuff. But sometimes filmmakers get themselves caught into like and if it's not 4k, it's 5k or 6k or 8k or whatever it is. Just understand the work most
Ernesto Lomeli 54:33
people I mean most people don't realize it but I would say two thirds of all TV are still shot 10 ADP. Oh yeah. Quick times on an Alexa on a five six year old Alexa. Yeah, and it's more than enough. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 54:52
So at a certain point, like now the 8k just came out. We're gonna be shooting.
Ernesto Lomeli 54:55
Yeah, we actually have two of those. Really excited Of course. Do one of those heavy jobs like
Alex Ferrari 55:06
yeah and also that's another thing visual effects guys do not like 4k that I know and they definitely
Ernesto Lomeli 55:11
love it well well but it's when you need it
Alex Ferrari 55:15
it's when you need it it's when you need it but also depends on like the VFX guys I work with that you know are doing Spectre and you know all the big you know, Star Wars and all these big movies, they are dealing in 4k but they're just like you know, even they're like when you're doing those frame by frame it just it's a hog and sometimes all
Ernesto Lomeli 55:35
depends on whether you have to do I think in the end, it always comes down to whether you have to do CGI 4k. Yeah, that's the thing. When you have to start actually rendering things. That's what I'm talking about 3d and 4k, and comping beast, it's ridiculous and then comping it and then we shot last year we shot the the you HD content for the new Samsung 4k. So all if you went to a best buy new sauce, Samsung TV, more than likely the little video that was playing I shot and arguments that we would get into it the client department, the engineering department had talked the marketing department into they had this thing and it made sense, but it wasn't the right tool for the job. They wanted to shoot 8k on the Sony f 65. Right which can interpolate. interpolate right and aka image based on the raw sure sensor. Sure, sure. There is an extra pixel for luminance and the ROB processor on on that computer will interpolate an 8k image out of it. And they wanted us to shoot everything aka so that they could down resit, back to 2160 GPU, you Hd 4k. So that would be the sharpest image possible, right? And guess what happened?
Alex Ferrari 57:09
Ernesto Lomeli 57:10
There was one sequence where we had to shoot 1000 frames a second, we did these things with these football players on the stage. Okay, beautiful, you know, guy catching a football with streaming stadium lights behind the gorgeous stuff. It's just gorgeous, you know, and it was to show off the ability to hold contrast between a very dark situation and holding skin tones and things like colorful and vibrant. This is day two of a four day shoot. We brought out that camera we shot that sequence. And they were just so blown away with how pretty that sensor was. And I was like, Yeah, but it's not the 8k wanted. You know, it's it's DCI spec 4k. But it's not,
Alex Ferrari 57:59
which is more than it was just more than
Ernesto Lomeli 58:00
it's slightly bigger than 2160 p you know, it's 4096 by 2308. You know, it's just slightly bigger. But you know, we did five conference calls and you specifically wanted AK. And they're like, this looks so pretty great. So we set the 65 home which nobody wanted for workflow reasons. And, of course, files are so big. Yeah, they're
Alex Ferrari 58:31
not. That's the one thing that red has above I think about a lot is their, their compression for their. Their files have been awesome all the way through all the time.
Ernesto Lomeli 58:40
We were shooting 4k on the Phantom flex, yep. And we ended up finishing the project on it. And just the way it looked was just really pretty the client fell in love with it. And they just, you know, they're like, you know what, this is still more than enough resolution and it doesn't matter because they look beautiful, and they just move forward with it. And, and it's like, Okay, cool. And you just keep moving forward with it. And in the end, it's just whatever look the previous you know, from an engineering standpoint, if you are a numbers guy, you have 65 revolutionarily, accurate, phenomenal engineered piece of equipment. From an aesthetic standpoint, it's okay.
Alex Ferrari 59:21
It's about pixels versus emotion a lot of time. Yeah,
Ernesto Lomeli 59:25
it's it's cool. But, you know, sometimes things don't have to look right to look pretty and sometimes pretty is more important. Yes, yeah. Yeah. Working marketing. I mean, we we're not in an engineering department. I mean, there's engineering involved, but our job is to make sure that pretty, you know, absolutely we're, we're artists.
Alex Ferrari 59:51
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now, back to the show. Now you shoot a lot with the Phantom Can you talk a little bit about that camera because it's a camera that I know a lot of people haven't had an opportunity to shoot with and I know you love that camera even to shoot it straight even to shoot straight with it right not even it well first of all tell people what the Phantom does and what it's famous for as far as I rate frame rates and all that so
Ernesto Lomeli 1:00:18
the latest version is the 4k flex it really is a revolutionary Phantom it's the first Phantom I mean for a long time and they still are very expensive and they're very technical and the files are massive they're basically like image sequences in their own skinny wrapper. But they're pretty much only shoots uncompressed files just because there's no there's no bandwidth or processor heavy enough that could I could you know re encode these files on the fly at you know at 1000 frames a second so it's basically just pulling real raw images frame by frame off the sensor and spitting into into a solid state but whatever it is they did in order for their for their sensor is just so pretty this next gen this latest generation of sensor that they use is that they developed it's just he just has a very beautiful pretty look that doesn't look like any other camera really you can make it look like any other camera but the look it has itself is just so unique you know and for longtime people because it's so expensive and it requires a technician with a massive rig to download these huge files you know it's cost prohibitive me being really geeky and I really like it you know I trained myself on the camera so that I can just use it on normal jobs and you know we designed a little download station on a laptop so that we don't need you know full blown rig and we can make it more cost effective to clients. But there's some jobs who I just really liked the way the skin tones it's just really pretty and thankfully at the end of last year last quarter they released a firmware update that lets the camera shoot straight to progress.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:18
Ernesto Lomeli 1:02:19
At 42 Hq which is enough for a lot of projects Sure. For most projects I'll
Alex Ferrari 1:02:25
shuffle yeah I bashed her all my movies we mastered for 242 Hq and that's perfect at 4k at 2k whatever Yeah,
Ernesto Lomeli 1:02:34
yeah so it's it's a really beautiful camera and unfortunately it's you know, it's really really expensive. So the day right Right, right, right, but it's so pretty.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:47
Now could you can you we're gonna I'm gonna go back to lenses real quick. Can you talk to explain to people what bolcom is in the bokeh? Mobile lens.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:02:55
The focus, you know, it's funny because I didn't really hear the term bokeh until I was actually out of film school. Okay, we never really studied it. Well, bokeh, I think is a Japanese term that means something but it's been adapted its meaning has been I think adapted into something it's been taken out of context. So what is what is it that somebody has a word for that out of focus background playing when you're shooting in a really shallow depth of field
Alex Ferrari 1:03:29
that's basically what that is and then but I've heard so many times like the lens has this beautiful bolcom to it
Ernesto Lomeli 1:03:34
Yeah, I mean the truth is what they're saying is they really like the IRS design the out of focus elements, okay, okay. People don't realize this but the book is really has a lot to do with how many blades the IRS has and the shape that it actually makes so that's why sometimes you see out of focus lights in the background like headlights in a night scene, they'll be perfectly round although have a little hexagonal holes or if you're looking at really old film, like with the Zeiss and B Speed system like that they have little triangles. People love anamorphic because the layers or oval because of the sheer optical compression and, you know that's a bokeh but it all kind of really came about with the depth of field adapters and like the length the 35 millimeter lens adapters back in the day of mini DB and like the Red Rock micro Oh god, yes, the Red Rock then like all that stuff, because they wanted that filmic look and the way to shoot a filmic look for a long time was a shallow depth of field because the non filmic look was mini DV with a with a smaller sample size. That means more things were in focus. So everybody saw well if I want it to look like a big movie, I have to have shallow shallower depth of field shallower focus.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:02
I hated that Red Rocket, Red Rock of a sudden
Ernesto Lomeli 1:05:05
everybody, you know, everybody's, for whatever reason. It's kind of like putting spinners on a shitty car. Big rims on it, you know, pick the phone. And it's enough. And sometimes it's more than enough. You know, there's nothing wrong with a fake Gucci bag. You know, it sells look, nobody's gonna ask you to open it and look at the stitching in it, you know? Right.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:31
Right. Right. And they will.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:05:33
But it just that's where the that's where the whole bocce word was. That's kind of like the, the timeframe in our industry when that whole Cunningham came along, because they needed a way to describe that out of focus, shallow depth of field. feature in in these these 35 millimeter lens adapters, back in the day for mini DV kits.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:59
That's a very, very good explanation of what welcome was now I know a lot more than I did before. Thank you, sir. Now, this is a this is a selfish question, what do you look for in a director when you're working with
Ernesto Lomeli 1:06:11
them? Some of you that knows what they want somebody that that isn't just like a no person that, even if they don't act like somebody that knows what they want, even if they don't know how to get it, it doesn't really matter. That's my job, I'll figure out how to get it. I have a crew of really talented keys, that if I don't know how to get it, I'll ask them, because they've probably done it before. Or they're pretty smart guys, they'll help me figure out how to do it too. You know, that's part of the collaboration process. But if you get a director that goes, I want this to feel different, I want it to possible to rig a camera to hear so when they fall, they feel it gives us this vertigo effect. And you're just like, you know, I don't know, why do you want to do that. They're like, Oh, I want them to feel isolated from the background in the world. Like, I want to create this idea of separation visually in the story, because it goes with the story. And you're like, yeah, that sounds amazing. I don't know how to do that. But we can figure it out. But now I know why you want to do that. And right, like that is quite amazing.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:20
Got it. Now, do you have any advice on how how we're working cinema to like to be a working cinematographer in the business?
Ernesto Lomeli 1:07:29
Oh, geez, I'm still figuring out as I go.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:33
Anything you've picked up along the way as also advice for being a freelancer, which could kind of go hand in hand.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:07:40
Yeah, I mean, never burn a bridge, because you never know that pa might hire you for a job four years down the line. That's very true. Very true. And it has happened oh, it has. But that's just a rule of thumb in general in life. I mean, treat others as you would like to be treated. Be honest with your word. You know, always do your best. Because simple rules like no matter what the job is, if you agree to do the job, even if it's a quarter of your rate doesn't matter you agreed to do the job. Now other industries took this kind of way of thinking because it really pisses me off and other people don't but if I agreed to do a job whether it was for no money some money or all my all the money I usually charge, I'm gonna do the exact same quality of work.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:32
Yep, that's true because
Ernesto Lomeli 1:08:34
I committed to it and that's just it. And one of the secrets for me that I learned a long time ago is the moment I said yes, it's a job I never think of the money ever again. Because if you try to quantify like, how much you're making per hour and this gear and this and that forget my god, you're gonna you're just gonna, you're gonna you're going to start to devalue yourself. And it's just like, you know what? Cool and you just always do your best and that's it. Just always do your best if you could, if you know you could do something better do it the better way that's it.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:11
Yeah, regardless of what you're being paid, because it always I was when I interviewed Robert Forster he said something was so profound but so true, which is similar is do the best work you can no matter what you're doing, because nothing bad comes from doing the best work you can do. Yeah, because you never know someone might be watching. Someone might be looking so when I see
Ernesto Lomeli 1:09:35
I mean even just in life in general, it's just like, do your best you want so much out of life and it's like, Don't expect great things to happen when you don't put on percent into it. Amen, brother, if you always do your best and you're never gonna feel guilty for not trying hard, it easy.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:52
Aim, preach, answer preach on. So uh, so these last few questions I have for you, I ask of all of my guests. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life? perspective? Interesting.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:10:10
Always learning to project always trying to figure out the positive things and everything you do. That's when you learn this a lot, especially in music videos.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:26
Ernesto Lomeli 1:10:30
This director is an idiot. Oh.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:38
The artist is drunk.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:10:41
Three more scenes to shoot. I don't promise my wife I was gonna be home for dinner and I totally not gonna make it right. Just like why am I here? Yeah, and then all of a sudden,
Alex Ferrari 1:10:54
I think we both I think we both worked with that director. Who will remain nameless
Ernesto Lomeli 1:11:02
put down this horrible rabbit Yeah, you know what? I'm here I committed I gotta do it. Let's just get it done. Let's have fun All right, you want the weird ducks angle shot of the girls but with the flare, no problem I will give you the best doctor angle but flare whatever, but shot freaking rad and all of a sudden the day is done and you're just like, oh, that wasn't so bad. No, it's it's that's that's one of the most in perspective I ever learned his perspective. His perspective is just like it's the most powerful thing that you can ever learn is projecting you know finding the good things you know, there's there's no such thing as one single truth. You know, there's it doesn't exist it's all about you the angle you're looking at it from you like
Alex Ferrari 1:11:55
you like a jet. For cinematographers. It's fascinating. But
Ernesto Lomeli 1:12:01
you know, there's always something positive and try to look at that way or else you're going to be a very miserable person.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:07
Now, you we were talking about music videos, I wanted to ask you a quick question. Do you change your perspective on how you approach a music video as opposed to how you approach a commercial
Ernesto Lomeli 1:12:17
you know, what? I learned a long time ago working with under some of these big guys, they, for them, the movies they were working on was like the real job. The commercial for them was like their, their time to just cash in fun, experiment play around they didn't really care because even if they I mean, they would still try hard, of course, but they there was no pressure. No, when you when you weren't on vacation, right? And I think a lot of times you music videos are kind of the same way for a lot of us is that. It's like, well, cool. Like, there's no agency, there's no client. I mean, there's a label, but I mean, the budgets unless you're working on a very on a decently sized music video. You know, that's one of the music videos I do are kind of, there'll be a few big ones, but then, you know, I'll do music videos most of the time for friends because it's like a favor. Yep, friends are in a band director that kind of, you know, their their best friend is in a band and they want to do a music video because they haven't done one in five years. And they just kind of want to do something arty with no stress. Right? Right. Right. And that's kind of what we do now. And it's just like, Yeah, let's go have fun. Like Yeah, cares. Like, we'll make it in the end. We're going to I'm going to make sure the girl looks really pretty regardless, the band looks awesome and hot and whatever and I'm gonna make sure you we give amazing we get at least one amazing performance pass. And then the rest of the time we're gonna have fun, but but
Alex Ferrari 1:13:46
don't forget the bud Fleur.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:13:49
It's rare. You'd be surprised.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:55
Alright, right. So what are your top three favorite films of all time?
Ernesto Lomeli 1:13:59
top three favorite films of all time,
Alex Ferrari 1:14:01
and that could be a wow, you choose Sir, your dealer's choice.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:14:10
Alex Ferrari 1:14:13
there's just so many just pick three that come to your mind that you really like.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:14:18
The Devil's backbone. Yeah, great film.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:21
Oh, yeah, it's it's beautifully shot. Oh, my direction. Oh,
Ernesto Lomeli 1:14:25
are we gorgeous? in our direction? That's what it's wardrobe just like
Alex Ferrari 1:14:31
Yeah, it's pretty top notch. No question about it. Just amazing.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:14:35
Um, and, and I'm a really big fan of magical realism and for some reason, it doesn't really exist very much in our genre anymore. I mean, it is this dude with like Chris Cunningham music videos.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:50
Oh, yeah. No, I love Chris stuff. Chris Michelle Gondry
Ernesto Lomeli 1:14:52
music videos. As far as movie goes, Pan's Labyrinth was kind of like that. Yeah, yeah, very true. I mean, pants Labyrinth is one of the is is is an amazing film. That was backbone kind of you know, it's the beginning of that trilogy. But for some odd reason a movie I've always really liked was the adventures of Baron Munchausen. Oh
Alex Ferrari 1:15:15
I love a very I love that movie. Yeah, Robin Williams things in it. Yeah,
Ernesto Lomeli 1:15:19
in and out of all of these different worlds and perspectives and it was all in the same scenario and for some reason I really gravitated towards it. I don't know why. But visually, a movie that has like haunted me forever. was done by chivo also was Lemony Snicket. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 1:15:40
that is gorgeous movie. Oh,
Ernesto Lomeli 1:15:42
I learned to light I learned to light a room and then that people interact with the room. Yeah, instead of lighting for the marks for the talent. Like, those sets are just gorgeous. And she was, you know, lit it all with these 15k saw sons 100k saw sons coming through the window, and just letting the light just play.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:07
And she was good
Ernesto Lomeli 1:16:08
while you're talking about no chivo lubezki
Alex Ferrari 1:16:11
Oh, okay, okay, David Laski. Gotcha, gotcha. Now, what is the most underrated film you've ever seen? underrated Yes. Oh, that's it. That's one of those films that no one else knows about you like why don't people love this?
Ernesto Lomeli 1:16:33
Great question. Um, there was actually a movie I saw recently. Is cafe the floor. Never heard of it. This is underrated. It's French Canadian.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:48
Ernesto Lomeli 1:16:52
The director has gone on to do much, much more amazing big Hollywood movies. But that film was just so beautiful as this whole thing about soulmates and moving back and forth and different lives. There's kind of like Atlas cloud, or cloud out, let's
Alex Ferrari 1:17:11
call that, let's call it. That was great. I love that I actually love cloud.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:17:15
I thought that movie was fantastic.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:17
I love that I got a really bad rap. I loved it. I don't care what anyone says. I
Ernesto Lomeli 1:17:22
know I feel like Like, there's not that many movies that have to do with with these elements in life about this, like just this natural beacon like search that human beings have for one and one another. And I feel you know, we pass the buck on to these ROM coms. The truth is that, you know, all my favorite novellas and amazing novels that I've read there, you know, and it's always, you know, somebody in search of something on an amazing journey. And I feel like those films, there's not that many of them represented in film because they're very hard to, to balance between a story and all this inner dialogue that people really have.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:07
Yeah, it's absolutely right. You're absolutely right. So and So where can people find you?
Ernesto Lomeli 1:18:14
My website, Ernestolomeli.com. You'll see a bunch of commercials. I feel like I mean, I've been very lucky I work a lot, but I do the most random jobs and it's amazing. Everything from full video installation walls to VR projects to the super techie, highly visual effects commercials to you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:18:42
Ernesto Lomeli 1:18:44
Cute little simple short films. No it's it's all it's all there
Alex Ferrari 1:18:49
And when you when you're shooting your next when you're going to shoot that feature man.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:18:53
I don't know when it when it comes to something soon that would be cool.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:57
When something comes along the way that tickles your fancy.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:19:01
I mean, as much as I would love that because everybody in the commercial land wants to do features and everybody in Patreon Of course says the grass is always greener on the other side of course i don't know i have a face something cool.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:14
All right, man. Dude, thank you so much for for sharing your knowledge and your wisdom and your experience with the the tribe here man, I really appreciate it.
Ernesto Lomeli 1:19:23
Yeah, of course anytime.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:26
Man I really love working with Ernesto. It's you know, the the projects that we've worked together on he has been an absolute pleasure. He keeps his head so mellow and so straight on the set that it can be hectic at times, if not at all times. But he's always been very, very cool. And I again, I wanted to bring a bunch of that information knowledge that I kind of pick his brain more on set, always asking them questions about the gear he's bringing out and why he's bringing it out and things like that. And I just really wanted to have him on the show. So I hope you guys got some value out of that because I I learned some stuff just listening to this interview. as well so remember guys that gear is not everything is just a paintbrush. It's all it is. It's nice, it's nice to have a really nice paintbrush. At the end of the day. It's always about story. Don't ever forget story story story. No one ever won an Oscar or won Sundance, because they shot on the nicest, coolest camera and use the best lenses. They won because there was a good story there. And if you want links to everything we talked about in this episode, head over to indiefilmhustle.com/073 to download the show notes. Now as always, head over to filmmakingpodcast.com that's filmmaking podcast calm and leave us an honest review of the show. It really helps us out a lot. Now we've also just relaunched our YouTube page, I plan to be uploading videos every week there. We're going to be doing segments, free segments of our courses, different different kinds of film, school courses, classes, tips, things like that, as well as all of our podcasts will be available on YouTube as well. It's free to subscribe, so just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/YouTube. And if you want to be part of the indie film hustle tribe, don't forget to go and sign up for our free Facebook group where you can connect with other filmmakers from around the world. Ask questions have direct contact with me, and get first dibs at all of our new great content that we're creating at indie film hustle. So just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/Facebook and sign up. I hope to see you there. So as always keep that hustle going keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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