Peter Rosenfeld, SOC – “Gone Girl”

Peter has been the camera operator on award winning movies like “The Social Network”, “Chicago” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” as well as blockbusters like “X-Men: Wolverine” and “Cowboys and Aliens”.  Among the directors who Peter has operated for are Oliver Stone, Rob Marshall, Kathryn Bigelow, Nancy Meyers and David Fincher.  Early on Peter acquired knowledge working as an editor that would serve him well later as a camera operator.  His well rounded career includes extensive experience shooting news and documentaries, having worked for the BBC and CBC in foreign bureaus such as China and Russia.  Peter has covered many of the world’s hot spots and combat zones.  He was assigned to Beijing during the Tianamen Square crackdown, found himself in Baghdad for the first Gulf War and filmed the collapse of the Berlin Wall.   He speaks three foreign languages:  French, Mandarin and Russian.  He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

Gone Girl Experience

Gone Girl was my second picture with director David Fincher. All the skill sets and techniques I picked up from my experience on The Social Network (2010) came rushing back.  I’ve always said that the hardest thing for an operator is to understand exactly what the Director and DP are going for. I discovered that round two with Fincher was going to be easier.  I understood him well and knew the cinematic language that he favored.

A big part of the reason why operating for Fincher is so enjoyable for me was that the way he shoots and moves the camera is exactly what I love seeing as viewer.  These are very deliberate and precise moves that never reveal the camera.  Fincher prefers track and linear camera moves.  The frames are carefully balanced and horizontal lines are kept dead straight.   He does not use steadicam and there is only one hand held shot in the movie.  He never creates more energy with a camera than the story dictates. You will see very little or no ‘corrections’ by the operator on his pictures as actors move about.   It sometimes requires a fair bit of courage to NOT adjust the composition as a performer moves close to a frame edge.  However the end result of this technique is a very solid frame and when the camera does move it is very deliberate.

I’ve never worked with a director so confident and so much in control.  He challenges each and every one of us to be at our best every day, every shot and every take. As a camera operator, I’ve never done better work than when I operate for him.  It is and will always be a career highpoint.

In to the Storm Experience

Into The Storm is a story about a group of storm chasers.  Armed with cameras, a high tech storm chaser vehicle and weather tracking technology they find themselves with more than they bargained for when they end up in the path of a mile-wide Category 6 super tornado.  The story is told as if it was their footage being used.  Most of this picture was shot handheld.

As a camera operator the greatest gift is a director who is clear and not ambiguous with what he/she is looking for.   Storm director Steven Quale has that gift.   I needed to know precisely what VFX elements would be added later in order to compose, on the run, for things that were not there.

You could say that I was well trained for this job.  After starting my career as an assistant I moved over to shooting news and current affairs for the CBC.  This eventually led to 14 years of news and documentary work including long stints overseas including war zones and natural disasters.  I covered many events similar to the ones in this movie for real.  It was incredibly dangerous at times and the bodies that I stepped over back then were real ones.  The instincts that served me well in those hot spots were welcome on this movie.  Every now and then, as a camera operator, a picture comes along that taps into everything you have.  All your skills, instincts, courage and physical endurance get challenged everyday.  Into the Storm was definitely one of those.