Cinematographers Suzie Lavelle, BSC, ISC and Bobby Shore, CSC are joined by ASC associate member and AC technical editor Jay Holben in a 54-minute episode to discuss this 12-episode Hulu drama, based on the novel of the same name by Irish author Sally Rooney.
In Conversations with Friends, two couples — Bobbi and Frances (Sasha Lane and Alison Oliver), still close after a romantic relationship, and Melissa and Nick (Jemima Kirke and Joe Alwyn), married and more experienced in life — become entangled, leading to an emotional breakdown.
In the interview, Lavelle discusses how in prep she helped craft a distinctly different visual style from her previous project, Normal People, also executive produced and largely directed by Lenny Abrahamson and based on a novel by Rooney. This naturalistic, “quiet filmmaking approach” was in part accomplished by shooting on two-perf Kodak Vision3 500T 5219 35mm film with Arricam LT cameras and vintage Canon K35 lenses, seeking a “European art-house look.”
Further discussed was bringing Shore aboard the project, their film-to-digital workflow, shooting on locations in Ireland and Croatia, Lavelle’s love for tungsten lighting, and managing the storytelling and production process while making their schedule.
Based in London, Lavelle studied at the National Film and Television School, learning her craft by rising up the ranks. She worked as a camera assistant, clapper/loader and operator while shooting dozens of short films and documentaries as the features The Other Side of Sleep and Wonder House before breaking into television. Her first TV credit was “Cold War,” an episode of the seminal BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who, and three more would follow. He other series credits include Jekyll & Hyde, Sherlock (for which she earned an Emmy nomination), The Living and the Dead, Curfew, Queers, Vikings, World on Fire, His Dark Materials (for which she earned BAFTA TV Craft and BSC Award nominations) and Normal People.
Shore has worked on award-winning feature films, commercials, and music videos. Upon graduating from the cinematography program at the American Film Institute, his talent was in demand — enabling him to shoot in the USA, Canada, and Europe. His other credits include the critically acclaimed Anne with an E, directed by Niki Caro, and more than 10 features, including Karyn Kusama's cult classic The Invitation, Pink Wall, directed by Tom Cullen (which premiered at SXSW 2019), and Castle in the Ground (which premiered at TIFF in 2019). Equally interested in music videos and commercials, Shore has shot for such artists as Austra, SIA, Halsey, Majid Jordan, and Drake, and for clients including Adidas, Johnnie Walker, Derek Lam, Target, Wiser's, McDonald's, and Mercedes. He splits his time between Toronto, Los Angeles, and London.
Holben is an independent director and producer in Los Angeles. A former (“recovering”) cinematographer, he is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the chair of the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council’s Lens Committee, and a technical contributing editor for American Cinematographer. He has authored over 500 articles on the art and science of cinematography and is an international lecturer on the subject as well as serving as a faculty instructor for the Global Cinematography Institute, a school stated by Academy Award winner Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, HSC. He is the author of three books on cinematography: A Shot in the Dark: A Creative DIY Guide to Cinematic Lighting on (Almost) No Budget, Behind the Lens: Dispatches from the Cinematographic Trenches, and the newly released reference The Cine Lens Manual (co-authored by Christopher Probst, ASC). He is also the director and producer of Before the Dawn.