Cinematographer Adriano Goldman shot almost half of all the episodes of Netflix's royal hit, The Crown. He's won Emmys, ASC Awards, and BAFTA TV Craft awards, and his other credits include Andor and Sin Nombre.

Goldman crafted a grounded visual style for The Crown that was carried throughout its six seasons but also grew with its changing timelines, casts, and storylines. He resisted flashiness and relied, as we'll see, on the show's considerable talent to help build the series' tone.

In The Crown's final season, Goldman brought some incredibly famous moments to the screen—including paparazzi shots of Diana with her new beau and the car crash that took her life—but he did so while also focusing on the royals as people and telling their stories sensitively. He also shot the series finale, which featured all three iterations of the show's Queen Elizabeth in a poignant last sequence.

Goldman told us how he came up as a DP, what it was like working on the series, and what his most important advice to beginning DPs is. Enjoy.

The Crown: Season 6 | Part 2 Trailer |

Editor's note: The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

NFS: I would love to hear you talk about how you got into cinematography and what your path has been.

Goldman: It's been a long journey. My father was an architect, so I think initially I thought maybe architecture would be the path to follow. But I always loved cinema in general. I was a film buff from the age of 12 onwards. I used to watch, there's this French documentarian, Jacques Cousteau, and I used to watch his documentaries on Brazilian television.

It was, of course, very much about the wildlife and the sea life, et cetera. He used to design the diving equipment. As part of the documentary, there was always a little bit of a clip of the behind the scenes, basically the divers getting ready to dive, because it was very much about the cylinders that he designed.

And then of course I saw the divers grabbing a camera and jumping in the water, and I remember thinking, "Oh yeah, of course there's someone behind the camera doing all that stuff." So I remember vividly that's when I thought that's more interesting than photography, for me, because it's motion images. Not because I was specifically interested in documentaries, but it was a kind of realization. Of course there's camera operators, there's people that actually are behind the camera framing the wildlife. ... I started seeing movies in a different way. I mean, trying to break down lighting and composition and lenses and why lenses would be so different from movie to movie, and who was the cinematographer doing this?

Aside from watching movies, I started researching. Who are the artists involved? I think that's when I realized that that was something I really wanted to do.

The Brazilian film industry, when I was growing up, was not something solid and big enough for you to actually envision as a proper career, something you can make a living from. So it was kind of a dilemma at first. This is what I feel like I want to do. Then I went to university and I did journalism for two and a half years. I didn't graduate, because in the second year, I joined a small production company in Sao Paulo, where I professionally grew up. I started as a PA and I went all the way up with my focus always on the camera work.

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This is in the '80s and '90s, and if you started on the video side of the industry, it was very, very hard to jump and move to the film side of the industry. There was always this kind of aura behind the cinematographer and the alchemist aspect behind the film, and the exposure, and developing the film. It felt really difficult.

One of the options was abandoning the video side of the industry and starting all over again, climbing all the steps. So you start as a trainee on the camera crew, and then you become a focus puller, and then eventually a camera operator, and then eventually a DoP. But during my trajectory with that production company, I grew up thinking that being a director would be a little bit easier for me.

I started ADing for high-end commercials. ... I was naturally becoming a director from being a 1st AD, then getting to know the agencies and the creative people, especially around the advertising world. But always, always more interested in the camera work, being behind the camera. Then I started shooting corporate videos for the same company. ... Then I moved to Portugal in '92, when I codirected a sitcom for Portuguese television, where I was also lighting. I stayed in Portugal for two and a half years.

On my way back to Brazil, I said, "Look, I don't want to go back and reintroduce myself as a director. I want to be seen and considered and embraced as a cinematographer." I went to workshops in Maine in the U.S. to learn from the masters and also to give myself enough confidence that the technicalities behind the artistry and the job were less concerning, less spooky than I thought first.

When I went back to Brazil, MTV was booming. Music videos were a thing. Aside from doing commercials, feature films, and short films, you could actually exercise your creativity and the technical aspects of shooting for film in 16mm and 35mm for music videos. Lucky me, that I had that kind of a journey through music videos, because you're supposed to be bold and creative and brave about everything you do. I think that gave me, throughout three or four years where I shot more than 50 music videos, it gave me enough confidence.

I found a way to bridge myself from video to film by going to the U.S. first and by taking a few workshops, then coming back to Brazil and shooting lots of music videos. So that's how I got my credentials without having to go through all the steps that were the usual journey for every Brazilian DoP. They were all focus pullers first, and then camera operators, and then DoPs. ... So I found another way to become a cinematographer.

NFS: Let's talk aboutThe Crown. Obviously a lot of amazing work throughout the seasons. There are some key moments in the episodes that you DPed for the last season. What process did you bring to capture your version of these famous moments?

Goldman: Good question. To be honest with you, especially on the sixth season, I didn't feel any need to come with preconceived ideas. Also, it was the first time for me on The Crown that I was working with Christian Schwochow, the director of episodes two, three, and four. I knew enough about the show and the look and the pace and who was who, specifically my relationship with the production designer and the trust between us. So I knew it was going to be an amazing season because it was the last, and we were also very excited about the fact that Stephen Daldry was going to come back to direct the last episode.

For me, it was, first of all, trying to read Christian's style and mindset and how he wanted to tell the story. What I remember discussing very, very much was the difference in pace between episodes two, three, and four.

Episode two is more a classic sort of storytelling, although you start with unusual characters. He really made an interesting journey. By comparing the two styles that first, to be honest on the pre-title sequence, is kind of confusing. Why am I seeing these two guys? And then throughout the episode, you understand the difference in terms of what is it like to cover Diana's life and what is it like to cover the Prince of Wales' life and lifestyle? So I think it was an interesting parallel that it told not only me, but also I think the audience, a lot about the period and a lot about the royal family life and the difference between characters. Diana [and Charles], they were already separated by then, and she was living this high society jet-set life, and he was still very much located in the U.K. and taking care of the kids.

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The conversations I had with Christian were very much about the difference between his episodes, and how to specifically frame Diana's last days on the third episode, and how pace-ier that episode was going to be and should be in relation to specifically episode two and episode four, "The Aftermath," which is still a very rich and cutty episode, but it's so much sadder and so much more melancholic. The discussions were much more about that journey, Christian's journey, throughout three episodes, and the differences between his episodes.

In terms of style and rhythm, the third episode is super pace-y, and there's a very clear use of long lenses to mimic the paparazzi approach. Watching Diana from a distance, there's a very clear observational tone to the third episode that you don't really see frequently on The Crown. Even the use of active zoom work, et cetera, which is very rare.

There's a natural progression. There was no way that we were going to keep shooting The Crown the same way we shot Seasons 1 and 2. If you back and rewatch episodes from Season 1, they are way slower and way more romantic in a way than the episodes you see on Seasons 4, 5 and 6, for instance.

There was always this discussion about how the show look should progress. I mean, Peter Morgan was really almost obsessed about discussing the progression. And I remember that I never felt concerned. My approach was always like, I don't think we need to overthink this. I think this is going to happen naturally in a way that costumes evolve, furniture evolves, locations change, the characters change.

For me, it was always going to be a natural progression. There's stuff that we wanted to keep consistent in terms of saturation levels and how to frame faces, and the fact that I always pursue some a logical justification for camera movements. I always need a reason to push the camera. Do you know what I mean? It's not just for the sake of it. So there's always a meaning for the camera moves in general. I think there was a lot of consistency.

I think the audience somehow appreciates that ... I think there's overall consistencies throughout 60 episodes, although they can vary in pace and rhythm, especially depending on who directs them.

Episodes two, three, and four—they are on the same timeline around Diana's last days. I think Season 3, the first three episodes, they make a proper block. But aside from those two blocks, every episode tells individual stories. There was always a little bit of a conversation with the newcomers, the new directors and the new DoPs, about those basic rules in terms of how to frame faces, please don't move the camera just for the sake of it. We don't want "unjustifiable" angles. I always have a very strong resistance to drone shots or something that is epic just for the sake of it.

If there's a reason to be flying over a palace, maybe that's okay, but if not, let's do the establisher shots from the ground. I think the intention was always to keep it very grounded and realistic. I think that is consistent throughout six seasons with a little bit of variation, because it's not formulaic. It's not as rigid as saying you have to follow a specific formula.

When you do a series, for instance, Game of Thrones, you're telling a 10-hour story or a seven-hour story within a specific series. Whoever comes to the show, new directors and new DoPs, there is the need for continuity. Visual continuity is a real thing, and on The Crown is less of an imposition toward people that are coming to the show for a couple of episodes only.

So yeah, follow basic rules, but also there is a lot of freedom for you to be creative and bold and find your own style.

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NFS: I love that you brought up the resistance to those shots, because I do feel with some DPs or directors, they just go, "We have this gear, so let's do this thing."

Goldman: That depends very much on your style as a DoP and your background. I'm used to embracing the big toys. It's part of my life these days. But in a way, I still resist, regardless of the size of the project and the budget.

I know DoPs [who] can even use the crane as a dolly. Use the crane as the main tool for shooting days. I mean, repeatedly. I struggle with a little bit of that. I think the crane itself becomes the star of the day. It changes the flow, and I want to keep the flow consistent and keep shooting, and I try to avoid making the actors wait for too long or the director wait for too long.

So even when I have a crane, there's always a specific reason for that crane shot. And also, I plan my day in a way that we don't have to necessarily wait too much for the crane shot. I'm going to be shooting that way, and the crane preps just behind me. So when we have a moment, we jump to the crane, we do that shot, and we abandon the crane again, and carry on with a more practical way of shooting. I think everything I do, I kind of resist a little bit with too much equipment, too much technicality, if you know what I mean.

NFS: Is there a moment on the series that you're most proud of as a DP?

Goldman: I'm incredibly proud of the finale, the last episode. I'm super proud of my whole journey on The Crown.

I love the first two episodes. For someone coming from where I come from, my background, where the royal family history was something very distant. I think my less deferential approach, because I'm not British ... I don't want to frame this in a fairytale way.

There was very clear input about, especially the first season—we started in 1951 when London was in really bad shape after the Second World War, and I remember Steven and Peter saying even the royal palaces were run down, smoky outside, and there was this anti-glossy approach.

There was this doubt. "Really? Another royal family drama?" I think we found a fresh approach to humanize the royals. Make them feel like real people. I still credit Claire Foy a lot for what she delivered. The kind of anxiety and angst that she very subtly delivers. This very conflicted young queen, it was not her choice, and she was really struggling to enjoy what was happening. Losing her father and trying to embrace this new role. So I think I really credit Claire for this specific tone that she found. We had to find a very realistic and believable approach that would fit her performance. I think it was an interesting combination, and I think that's part of the success that The Crown has, because there's this new texture that we found. So I love the first episodes, because for me, it was just such a discovery, and it literally changed my life and my career, and especially the first two seasons.

And then the joy of having Stephen direct the very last episode. So full circle for me and him, because we did the first two and the very last together. That was the most perfect way to finish this long journey on The Crown. I'm really proud. I think the fact that he managed to convince Peter to deliver a longer episode that feels like a proper movie—and the luxury of having the three queens on the same episode. So I'm really proud of that.

I know there's just a few episodes that I love. I love Churchill's portrait in Season 1, Episode 9. I love "Beryl" on Season 2. I love "Fairytale" on Season 4. I love "Mou Mou" on Season 5. I love almost every single episode I did.

This solid team that we made kept coming back to The Crown. From the gaffer to the focus puller, 80 percent of the crew remained the same throughout almost eight years that we had on The Crown. It was a very gentle work environment. It's not just about the project, but the pleasure of being surrounded by really talented people. It was such a gig for all of us.

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NFS: If there were one thing that you could say to a beginning DoP, what advice would you give?

Goldman: I'd say see yourself as a collaborator.

See yourself as a soldier, someone that needs to show up and have a good attitude and motivate people around you.

I'd say fight for a long prep. Get involved in the story, trying to improve the story with your director and your producers and your production designer. Focus not only on your job as a cinematographer in terms of lighting and framing. Try to improve the story.

There's no good cinematography that can save a bad movie, so we have to make the piece strong. The best way to do it is to get deeply involved in the script. Have a strong opinion about the story, and try to help drive it in a way to make it more sophisticated, more elaborate, more interesting, because then you are going to feel enough motivation yourself to tell that story. There's no other way. I mean, you have to love the story you're telling to actually be able to deliver something that is special, that is unique.

So I think my advice is just dive in as much as you can.