Interview: Killing Lincoln’s Jeremy Benning

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Photo Credit: Kent Eanes

We’re very fortunate to have had people like Jeremy Benning, csc as a contributor to our blog. Jeremy is a prolific Cinematographer whose work has been seen in a number of films and documentaries, most notably National Geographic Channel’s Killing Lincoln, for which he won an ASC award for TV Movie/Miniseries.

Jeremy took the time to discuss his work and achievements with us, as well as his membership in the CSC and ASC.

Photo Credit: Kent Eanes

Photo Credit: Kent Eanes

1) There are many organizations for cinematographers out there. What separates CSC from the rest?

I would say that in Canada, the CSC is one of a kind. As cinematographers we usually work alone, so having an organization where its members can share ideas, learn about new technology and appreciate each other’s work is what it makes it invaluable. What we do is quite specialized as image makers who deal with motion – so having a peer group that is also a knowledge base is what makes it unique to cinematography across Canada.

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Captured on a Red Epic

2) What does this award mean to you?

This award for me is like validation… its a stamp of approval that validates the creative energies of all the people here in Toronto where I cut my teeth. My crew, production designers, directors, producers and colourists – it proves that collectively our aesthetics and creative instincts have been judged to be on a high level – it represents a great many people here in Toronto who I think share in this honour. This award is from your peers, and in this case, from some of the best of the best in our industry.

Photo Credit: Kent Eanes

Photo Credit: Kent Eanes

3) What were your top 3 moments from shooting Killing Lincoln?

  1. Shooting Jesse Johnson hand-held (playing JW Booth) at night in a rowboat in a pond in rural Virginia – having him light himself with a candle and a helium balloon in the deep b/g for ambience.
  2.  Shooting the infamous assassination in our version of Ford Theatre and on the exterior period street in Petersburg, making all the elements work together and be historically accurate. It was a very tight schedule and we really nailed it. It was intense, emotional and rewarding all at the same time,
  3.  Photographing Tom Hanks on our story teller set in LA. He was a real pro and such a down to earth guy, I was very impressed.

4) What was some of your go-to gear on set?

My Cooke S5 T1.4 lenses allowed me to shoot in virtual candle light. My Sony OLED Monitor allowed us to see the richest blacks and really judge our scenes where darkness was the dominant factor of the frame. We shot with a Red Epic and Scarlet.
Photo Credit: Kent Eanes

Photo Credit: Kent Eanes

5) What projects do you currently have on the go?

I have a commercial for Home Depot coming up in Florida at the end of Feb, and will begin prepping for a feature in Perry Sound that shoots all of April. Ruba Nadda is directing and Daniel Iron is producing.

Killing Lincoln is now available on DVD and Bluray. Thanks very much to Jeremy for providing these incredible on-set shots!

See more of Jeremy’s work and learn about his storied career here.

Captured on a Red Epic

Captured on a Red Epic

 

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