04 Dic An interview with Danni Ma, cinematographer of “More”
After completing my fine art studies in Australia, I pursued my passion for filmmaking by enrolling in the film and television major at SCAD Atlanta. Eager to explore various facets of filmmaking, I took on different roles in several projects. I tried my hand at directing comedy short films and also took on the role of a producer for various projects. However, it was in the realms of camera and lighting that I discovered my true passion.
The art of using color and lighting, combined with intricate camera movements and composition, captivates me. I find the process of weaving these elements together to tell a compelling story to be truly fascinating.
Upon first listening to the music, a vivid imagery of a dark, moody abandoned church immediately formed in my mind. This initial vision became the foundation for our mood board and color palette. Drawing inspiration from Michael Bay’s iconic use of blue and orange contrast, I opted for a cyan and orange color scheme to infuse the visuals with a vibrant energy that mirrors the music.
In terms of camera movements, I aimed for dynamic and fluid sequences. Leveraging the editing process, we synchronized the camera movements with the rhythm, incorporating jump cuts, quick clips, and speed ramps during post-production to enhance the overall visual experience.
To maintain visual consistency and complement the chosen Dutch angle for most frames, I avoided exaggerated camera lens distortions. For the close-ups of the band members, a telephoto lens was exclusively employed to capture the desired aesthetic.
What work did you and director Zhen Guo do to find common ground in the writing and storyboarding of this video?
Upon conceptualizing the idea inspired by Michael Bay’s distinctive color palette, I immediately shared it with Zhen. Much to my delight, she shared the same enthusiasm for the cyan and orange combination along with the dutch angle. Together, we immersed ourselves in watching numerous rock and roll band music videos, drawing inspiration from the dynamic visuals.
Zhen’s exceptional skills in storyboarding played a crucial role in translating our vision into a tangible plan. This paved the way for our talented production designer to seamlessly bring our ideas to life, creating the perfect set for both the abandoned church and warehouse. The final result exceeded our expectations, perfectly capturing the envisioned vibe, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.