Jordan Peele Praises Nope Cinematographer, Teases New Filmmaking Technology

ytsfreeSeptember 14, 2022

Nope was an interesting take on UFO films, with twists and turns that only Jordan Peele could pull off. The symbolism, themes, and cinematography are top-notch in the acclaimed director’s latest outing, and Peele recognizes whom much of the thanks should be going toward.

Hoyte van Hoytema is the cinematographer for Nope, the man responsible for the dazzling shots throughout the film that audiences are blessed with. Hoytema is a veteran in Hollywood, working on huge blockbuster films, including Dunkirk, Tenet, Interstellar, and Ad Astra. Peele recently spoke with attendees at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 12 and discussed his work with Hoytema on Nope. Variety was there to catch the conversation, and Peele says, “I haven’t wanted to ruin the illusion, but I’ll ruin it for you today. The night shots, for the most part, were shot in the day, which is due to a technological and strategic thing that [Hoytema] brought to the table.”


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Hoytema has received one Oscar nomination for his work on Dunkirk, with frequent collaborator Christopher Nolan in the director’s chair. In addition, the cinematographer received three BAFTA award nominations for Dunkirk, Interstellar, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Hoytema hopes for similar results here, as he was forced to do something different with Nope, which may carry over to his future films.

Hoyte van Hoytema Discusses the Technology Involved With Nope

A common theme in Nope is the idea of the impossible shot and taming predators, which simply can’t be turned domestic. However, Hoyte van Hoytema decided against taming the conditions in Agua Dulce, where Nope is based, and instead crafted the surrounding weather with his photography techniques and technology. According to Variety, Hoytema had conversations about how to photograph the night scenes, which displayed the beauty and vastness of the sky and stars. But, unfortunately, he didn’t think it would be possible to capture it.

“There’s no way to photograph this, this feeling of vastness, and grandeur of the sky, which was such a big part of our story. We kind of immediately started thinking ‘How can we portray exactly that feeling that we have when we were out there in the field?’ I started very much exploring the technology, how can we do this? How can we photograph in the way eyes see it or the way that we experience it?”

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The new technology involves two cameras: one that shot infrared light with a narrow bandwidth and another that captured on 70mm film. The two would then be overlayed, with the infrared capturing how we perceive nighttime and all its beauty and the 70mm capturing the color and grain they wanted for the shot. Peele said, “It’s really cool s**t. This thing really pushes film forward, and was difficult and it’s something that I’m excited to work with in the future and continue to push.”

Nope released in theaters earlier this summer in July, so we will have to wait a bit to see the next time this technique is used. However, if the overlaying cameras become even more popular in the film industry, we may have some of the most beautiful nights in cinema ahead.


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