In Zeferino Professional Lighting we want to share our interview with the director of photography Pau Català. Born in Barcelona, he studied film at ESCAC , specializing as Director of Photography. In 2004, Wim Wenders chose him as director of photography to shoot «Barcelona asleep», a commercial of the European Film Awards. Already in 2006 he participated in the Camerimage Lodz Film Festival with the short film «I do not want the night». Her deep knowledge of the filmmaking process and technical skills are based on direct experience at all levels of the photography process, having first worked as an electrician and then as a camera in commercials of brands such as Mercedes, Heineken, Vodafone or Movistar, among much others. As director of photography, Pau has developed a marked visual style and an empathy for the personal visions and the multiple needs that the directors encounter during the cinematographic process.
Which were your beginnings in the direction of photography?
The truth is that the beginning was a search through intuition and friendships. We were a group of friends at the ESCAC. Particularly moviegoers and we gave great importance to discover new aesthetic looks. We were very interested in the new narratives of the moment. We looked at directors as different as; Won Kar Wai, Abel Ferrara, Martin Scorcese, Wim Wenders, Ignmar Bergman, Paul Verhoven, David Cronenberg. And many others as well as their cinematographers Gordon Willis, Cristopher Doyle, Sven Nykvist, Robert Richardson or Harris. Savides, among many.
At the same time we traveled annually to Lodz (Poland) to Camerimage among other festivals where we could enjoy interviews with our idols, watch countless movies, play like kids with a crankshaft and go to the Lodz Kaliska party to continue talking about movies. With those dreams, that experience and our friendship; we used it to experiment and replicate with more or less success in our practices rolled in U-Matic 16mm and finally 35mm.
What has been your most relevant work or with which you have been most proud?
I do not think I can decide for one. The truth is that in all the jobs I am very involved and they bring me many new experiences. I remember my first short films because I was experimenting and because of the magic of shooting them in a chemical photo frame.
I remember with great affection «Sewing» a short film that we filmed with Iván Tomas. That we managed to pull forward by asking the film and advertising producers of Barcelona for a negative left over. With all that negative memory I lock myself in the bathroom of my house, using it as a camera obscura, cut and reenlatar a meter of each can to realize sensitometric wedges. With the negative in good condition and the script we were able to organize the filming plan based on the sensitivity and the stock numbers. In the end everything was great but it was a huge effort.
Later I had the opportunity to work with a multitude of directors with exceptional concepts or photographic visions, with whom I have learned a lot and entered into a proactive and proactive relationship. I always try to translate the director’s vision into images, in addition to suggesting new options.
What device do you always take to a shooting? Why?
I do not think there is a certain projector. I think that each project requires special needs. Even so I agree with my colleagues that both the Kinoflood, Celeb and the M series have a very good performance for power and lightness, but I also consider myself a lover of projectors with Fresnel lens, dedolights or fluorescent tubes. I do not decide for one. It all depends on how you have to use that projector, particularly if you use it against the light or in favor, for funds or for the character and also for the useable light of the locations themselves. Work the quality of that light blurring it or not, playing with more flood or more spot. On the projectors I always watch a lot with unwanted light escapes.
Do you have any audiovisual referent or cinematographer that has marked you?
The truth is that today there are so many audiovisual productions of all kinds that one is fascinated daily with new proposals. I believe that our work is present in different types of cinematographic; Productions, advertising, documentaries, video clips, series, video art. etc
Of course, cinematographers such as; Roger Deakins, Harris Savides, Gordon Willis, Jordan Cronenweth, José Luis Alcaine, Néstor Almendros, Xavi Jiménez or Oscar Faura. Among many others have been references for me. Also Santi Peyrona or Mario Montero have taught me a lot personally.
I feel to enjoy a good movie waiting for the title of director of photography to appear, I applaud him in my heart and I think how good you are, how you have worked.
How do you think the position of the director of photography will evolve?
Today our profession is required in many sectors and our own is in constant evolution. Both cameras, projectors or contents are modified daily. It is very important to be aware of these changes and know how we can apply them in our productions. I believe that our figure will always be a necessary reference to know how to apply technology and get to tell the story in the best way.
In this sense, our responsibility is to be aware of all this technology; From the filters, the objectives, the cameras, the formats, the seals, the color treatment and the supports. From how to get a gimball, with a steady or with a dolly with an iphone, finally know what each situation requires.
If you could ask for a custom projector, what characteristics would you ask for?
I guess I would ask it to be a projector that predicted how the day will dawn and what day it will do. In addition to adapting as much as possible to my needs. Now seriously, I think that we are getting closer and closer to projectors that save us time. For example with many projectors you can decide what color temperature or even the color you want. This brings us closer to a freer world of colored gelatins. Which is a great step forward in terms of the time we consume on the set, filtering appliances. Widening our nuances and palette of colors. We also have more efficient projectors at the level of energy / performance, weight, etc. Thing that saves on pulling heavier sleeves to our electric and faster.