Interview with cinematographer Edwin

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We met Edwin, an upcoming cinematographer from south India for our very first interaction in the series of interviews with growing professionals in the media industry. Edwin has been part of the prestigious camera crew which made the recent blockbuster Endhiran - the robot.

How and why did you get interested in cinematography?

Once I decided to enter into cinema, I wanted to choose a department which will touch all aspects of it. Cinematography is one such very important department of film making. Right from a director who discusses his visualizations to an art director who discusses on colour aspects till an editor discusses his cuts everybody needs a cinematographer's inputs to make their contribution. So I wanted to learn filmmaking through cinematography and become a director in future.

How was your education helpful in this?

I'm basically a physics graduate, so my knowledge of science was very much helpful during my coursework in cinematography. I could understand the technical aspects of light easily

How did you get your first break in cinema?

I got the best film award for my student film in Mindscreen film institute. Director Shankar happened to watch it and called me for an interview. They were forming a crew to make "Making of Endhiran - the ROBOT". I was selected in the interview and thats how I got my place in the Endhiran crew.

Describe your experience of working in "making of Endhiran"?

It was very challenging. I had to shoot various aspects of the making of this epic which were happening simultaneously. On one side of the studio VFX crew from abroad would be working on the animatronics, meanwhile, the other side would have shankar sir and Randy sir preparing for a shot, while Rajini sir would be getting ready with his make-up on yet another corner of the studio. I had to capture all these with my crew. Then we had to edit and present this hundreds of hours of footage into a two hour informative and educative episodes. It was very exciting and I learnt a lot.

How was it to work with a legend like Director Shankar?

It was an amazing experience. I adored his punctuality and focus. He plans, manages and executes his plan to perfection. He has a great eye for detail. Once he gains confidence entrusts you with a job, he gives you complete freedom and there would be very less interference from on how you do it. He believes this delegation of responsibility brings out the best from people automatically.

What are your current projects?

I've just completed a schedule for a tamil movie.

What kind of projects do you like to work in future? Sci-fi, historical, romantic etc?

I like to work on projects which get completed and get released to audience (Smiles) I do not want to choose my projects based on the content. I believe a cinematographer should be able to present any genre in the best possible manner.

Who are your role models?

I love the works of cinematographers who have evolved into directors - Jeeva and Rajeev Menon and of course Director Shankar.

What other movies have been your inspiration?

I like Ravi K Chandran's BLACK, PC Sreeram Sir's 13B (yaavarum Nalam), Nirav Shah's Madarasapattinam, Rajeev Menon's Guru, Santhosh Sivan's Roja.

I'm surprised you didn't mention any foreign projects?

I do like some english movies also, but they can serve only as references. But, I have to work under the same conditions and limitations that the above mentioned ace cinematographers did here in India. Thats why I closely watch the paths that these veterans have treaded and try to bring out my own style by bending the rules here and there.

It is projected that by 2015 the Indian Media and entertainment industry would grow to Rs. 100,000 Crores, what is your take on this?

There could be a few huge mega budget projects here and there, but I doubt if that would push the worth of the industry as a whole.

What do you think about the corporatisation and growth of the media the industry into an organised sector?

Its a creative field ! so growing into an organised sector is going to be difficult. The few big corporates which have entered the industry today know the business well, but the creative side is still outsourced and managed by traditional players.

What do you think of Thiray? How do you think Thiray can help aspiring talents?

The whole professional networking concept of Thiray is new to media industry and this can help in building contacts. It has good scope in the future of media industry. Thiray can become a wonderful place for the amatuers to learn if it brings out informative articles on what happens behind the scenes of the media field. For instance, it can shed some light on how a beautiful sequence was actually planned and composed and shot. More real and technical information is what is expeected from Thiray.

What would be your advise to the aspiring talents?

Keep yourself updated with the advancements in technology, learn how to communicate your thoughts and ideas at the right time, be patient.

Thanks for your time Ediwin, may your dream of becoming a director come true very soon !

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