Channel 5 wanted the tight, head type of shot initially, which developed into a slightly pulled-back version which they’re now using with Grey’s Anatomy. I wanted a vibe which would be identified with their heavyweight, quality drama.
What we wanted to do was create a slightly hyperreal effect. We crunched everything up in the retouch to give everything a gritty realism. Grey’s Anatomy wasn’t such a hard-hitting program – a little more light relief than CSI, House and Prison Break.
We’d get to the back lot at nine o’clock in the morning. Then we waited and waited and waited, getting each cast member for one or two minutes and I’d shoot six sheets of 5x4, then the assistant director would pull them back on set. Then we’d wait another three hours. Then they’d come back. We had minutes to shoot each of them.
It wasn’t about the actors – it’s all about the character they portray. When I did the stills, I directed the actors to go through a series of emotions that we could then shoot on 5x4. The whole idea was to get a realism which was a bit out of kilter.
Shooting on 5x4, I’ve minimum depth of field. If they move a centimeter, it’s out of focus. They have to hold that expression, that eye contact. That in itself puts people slightly on edge, which I like, because it makes it a little bit edgier. Some of the actors were finding it very difficult to hold that intensity.
The reality with these actors is they are cast because they only usually play one type of person. When we got to David Caruso we just tried to get him to give us different looks and they were not forthcoming. That character in CSI: Miami, he has about two looks and that’s it.
WILLIAM PETERSEN, CSI
Directing him, I’d say, “I want haunted, I want traumatized, I want desperate, I want thrilled” – it’s just these imperceptible movements of the face. You’re looking at the contact sheet and saying, “Where is it? Oh, there it is, we’ve found it.”
GARY SINISE, CSI: NY
Gary Sinise absolutely hates being photographed. His character is a very uptight character. The CSI franchises are so successful, you are just given less and less time with the actors.
HUGH LAURIE, House
We knew he was missing home, but he stays in character superbly. He talked to us in an American accent, and he came limping in with a cane. He’d got totally locked into his character. When he stood in front of the lens, his presence was amazing. And his eyes. We haven’t enhanced that eye color. His eyes are mesmerizing. I was thinking, “Where’s the geek from years ago?”
PATRICK DEMPSEY, Grey’s Anatomy
All the guys from Grey’s Anatomy were pretty chilled. The show is an upbeat show and they have funny lines so they seem a little bit more relaxed. Patrick was very charming. All the women on the shoot with us were saying, “Isn’t he gorgeous?”
STACY KEACH, Prison Break
The Prison Break guys were very, very easy. Their show was a big hit in America. It was the end of the first series and they were going to get a second series. They were very accommodating and really got with the program.
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