March 7, 2016

'There Are No Rules': Behind the Scenes of 'Game of Thrones' Season 6

Behind the scenes Game of Thrones Season 6
With Game of Thrones' April 26 Season 6 premiere date fast approaching, there's still no trailer to speak of. But HBO did throw us a meaty bone today.

In the below behind-the-scenes featurette, three cinematographers detail the major challenges they faced depicting the world of Westeros. As we learned from speaking to two GOT cinematographers at Berlinale this year, the show operates on a rotating schedule of DPs; depending on the variety of locations, the final cut of an episode can feature the intercut work of many different DPs. This makes working on the show a uniquely collaborative experience.

"It's completely different from working on a single drama, where you're working with the same DP and director for months," David Worley, B camera operator, explains in the video. "It's much more interesting, because everyone's got a different approach." 

The common threads? Rough terrain and no rules.

Two DPs admit that "there are no hard and fast rules" to shooting this show. Many times, the crew embarks on a process of trial and error to cope with challenging environments and complex shot sequences.

"The biggest challenge has been the terrain," says A camera operator Sean Savage. "Yes, we shoot some very beautiful photographs, but to get the cameras into those positions and still make it look fantastic, that's a challenge."

Behind the scenes Game of Thrones Season 6
Credit: HBO

According to A camera operator David Wilson, the crew often shoots in wind, rain, heat, and dust. "And whatever the environment is, we tend to enhance it  to make it more exciting visually, adding snow, fire, horses, or a fight sequence, and those always generate more dust. It's quite punishing on the crews." 

"We work a lot of the time in rain and mud with the camera covered up in plastic," adds David Morgan, B camera operator. "Little things like changing a filter become a major deal."

"It takes absolutely every member of the crew to create what you see in the frame," added Wilson.

Behind the scenes Game of Thrones Season 6
Credit: HBO

Despite its challenges, many of the cinematographers have found Game of Thrones to be a career highlight. "Over the six seasons of GOT, I've had an extraordinary amount of challenges crane work, Steadicam, handheld," says Savage. "I've been very lucky and I'll look back on it in years to come with great pride."      

Your Comment

8 Comments

I always wondered how they got their cameras working right in such terrains.

March 7, 2016 at 1:47PM

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Bluedart Parcels
Director of Photography, BlueDart Parcels
99

Just some good assistant.

March 8, 2016 at 3:36AM

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Martin Flament
Director of Photography
189

That is not a problem, first of all: its Alexa and that camera is built to withstand all kinds of bad weather. There is a story that one AD accidentally pored hot tea in the cameras cooling opening and it went straight trough. The fan was dead of course but the camera had no problems. Secondly the camera assistants are keeping the gear covered, and protected all the time. Rain gear is never more that 10 meters away :)

March 8, 2016 at 3:24AM

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Vladimir Miketa
Cinematographer & Editor
252

So you're saying these two DPs don't know what they're talking about? "Little things like changing a filter become a major deal."The DP just said it was a problem, I would assume he knows from experience that its a real challenge. Did you shoot anything on GoT? Also - hate to break it to ya, but if your cooling fan is broken, it might cause overheating issues, so, tea wold actually cause major image issues even though the rest of the body might have been okay from the tea incident.

March 8, 2016 at 11:22AM, Edited March 8, 11:24AM

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Devin Pickering
Cinematographer/Editor/Composer
196

Well, the truth is somewhere in between... professional cameras and lenses are relatively weather-proof, and there is also good rain protection for cameras, so once you have it all covered up, shooting is not much of a problem.
The problems arise when, as the dp in the interview said, when you have to open up something, like change a filter, change a lens or a memory card. If you don't have a tent or a bus where you can take the camera to do that, it is going to be hard.

btw. I do not work on anything like got, by I shoot for tv and documentaries a lot, and I have been lugging around a broadcast camcorder in the rain and snow more than once. It's not exactly the same, but the principle is the same: as long as you can keep everything packed up in its raincover, then it's not such a big problem.

March 11, 2016 at 2:51PM

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Wow! Now i see why this movie is so great! Good JOB! :)

March 8, 2016 at 9:18AM

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I'd love to be on set for the shooting of Game of Thrones. The whole environment behind the scenes is just magnificent!

March 8, 2016 at 3:44PM

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I'd love to shoot a making-of and behind the scenes documentary for game of thrones. That would be awesome! :)

March 11, 2016 at 3:05PM, Edited March 11, 3:05PM

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