One of the main DPs on Game of Thrones discusses the secrets of his craft.
"I remember walking on set—into the throne room—and thinking, 'I’ve got no idea how to light this,'" said Fabian Wagner, a cinematographer on Game of Thrones. "It’s so big. It’s such a different scale. And then, as it always does, it just happens."
Wagner was hired for his first episode, Season 4's "The Law of Gods and Men," after the GOT writers watched his previous work on Sherlock. Since then, he's lensed some of GOT's most daunting episodes, including "Hardhome," which he describes as one of the most difficult set-ups he has experienced to date. "It’s almost a military organizational project," Wagner says of the GOT on-set process. "You have to really know what you’re doing every day for 16 days to achieve everything you need to achieve."
In a new video below from Cooke Optics, Wagner discusses more of his technique; he frequently lights night for day, avoids lighting exteriors ("I try to just use negative fill and bounce boards "), and shoots on an Arri Alexa with Cooke S4/i lenses.