As a producer I’m constantly searching for new ways to innovate and create the best content possible for The Elevator. A crucial aspect of a good video production is getting the right cinematographer, and that’s why I was fascinated by this latest episode of Ben Consoli’s Go Creative podcast, in which he interviews House of Cards’ fourth season’s cinematographer, Pete Konczal.
I’ve been following Go Creative for a bit over a year, ever since a friend showed it to me in a meetup in New York, and I particularly enjoy how Ben Consoli and I share a mutual admiration for House Of Cards. It’s not the first time Ben covers the hit Netflix show, but after listening to his interview with Pete Konczal I was inspired by this talented cinematographer’s dedication to his art.
What impressed me most is how Pete, after all his success, continues to be a chill, down-to-earth guy who knows the importance of hard work, and who recognizes flexibility as his biggest asset. Pete has worked in almost anything you can imagine. From art films, to tv commercials, to music videos, he is the embodiment of versatility, which is what allowed him to truly shine as the Director of Photography in the fourth season of House of Cards.
If you’re a producer like me, or just really into cinematography, you’ll be fascinated to listen to this Go Creative podcast, and dive into all the ways Pete had to use his wide array of tools to get the shots he needed while still maintaining the show’s consistent aesthetics. They go really in depth about the type of lenses, color, lighting and camera movements, and how such a large crew is able to piece everything together and turn a single shot into a perfect moment. Of course, shooting 5K and 6K and a Red Dragon camera will definitely do the right job, but Pete Konczal proves that talent is just as important (or even more so) than having the proper equipment.
Without giving away any spoilers, Pete mentions his favorite moments in House of Cards’ season 4, like a scene where Claire Underwood and Tom Yates (the “ghost writer” in season 3) are sharing a moment with Claire’s mom, played by Ellen Burstyn. We see how everything comes to play in a scene like this, where the right frame, the right lighting and the right technique are able to make a moment truly land.
Another thing that stood out for me is how a great cinematographer doesn’t stop working, because that’s how they continue to stay ahead of the game. Pete mentions Willem Dafoe, who states in an interview that he’s never felt like he’s super hot or super cold, just always happy with the amount of work he’s doing. That’s what I like to take away from this podcast, keep working and hustling and always be happy with your final product.
For more episodes of Go Creative visit their site here.
For Pete Konczal’s website and reel, visit his site here.
Here are some of his commercials and his other work.
(Photo: Creative Commons)