The Last Of Us Cinematographer Reveals The Key To Those Joel And Ellie Car Scenes [Exclusive]

In an interview with /Film’s Valerie Ettenhofer, cinematographer Eben Bolter spoke in detail about shooting the Joel and Ellie car scenes. Bolter would explain that the setting of a car limits what angles could be used, so framing became the most straightforward part of the task at hand. All that mattered was making sure that Joel and Ellie could be seen:

“I did a whole movie in a car. Shooting in cars is difficult as a cinematographer. First of all, there are only a few places the camera can be to see people’s faces talking. It’s very hard to be interesting visually. And it’s very hard to innovate because everyone’s tried everything, and certain things just work. So we didn’t want to overcomplicate it; we wanted the cameras just to be in the right positions to tell the story and see the characters.”

The biggest challenge for Joel and Ellie’s scenes in a moving vehicle was continuity. While some of these moments could be shot on location, Bolter had to do a convincing job of making sure the viewers wouldn’t be able to tell when soundstage work was also implemented:

“Where it was complicated for me was certain scenes we did out on the road, driving a real car, everything’s real, everything’s good, Boom. Put a camera on it. Great. In other scenes, we were in a studio, blue screen. Then my job becomes, how do I make this feel like we’re not shooting on a soundstage?”

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