Coffee Mate

Meet the New Wave / Ed Moore

Coffee Mate

Meet the New Wave / Ed Moore

Filmography (so far):

Comedy-drama series Common Ground (Sky Atlantic); national TV commercials; tons of shorts and promos, and the feature Turbulence (2011).


When did you discover you wanted to be a cinematographer?

I was ten and watching Jurassic Park (1993, DP Dean Cundey) in the cinema. During the credits it clicked that films were things ‘people made’, not just stories you watched. And directors don’t get as many toys to play with.

Where did you train?

I spent years lighting in theatre then some time in film lighting rental. That led to four years running a corporate production company shooting hundreds of projects and eventually going freelance as a DP in 2009. On the way I’ve worked as a camera operator on shows like Red Dwarf and Doctor Who.

What are your favourite films?

Persona (1966, DP Sven Nykvist) for opening my eyes to what cinema’s capable of; The Red Shoes (1948, DP Jack Cardiff) for a masterclass in colour; Aliens (1986, Adrian Biddle BSC) as a thrilling exercise in creating a world; and I can’t not mention 2001:A Space Oddysey (1968, DP Geoffrey Unsworth BSC).

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

My father always told me to aim to be a ‘low-maintenance genius’. That stuck with me.

Who are your DP/industry heroes?

Put it this way, we named our cat Deakins. Not only are his (the human version’s) results sensational, I love his simple, calm and intelligent approach. And I find David Mullen ASC’s indefatigable efforts in educating others very inspirational.

Have you won any awards or received any nomination?

You’re looking at the winner of the ‘Nicest Person On Set’ award at the wrap party for my first feature. Sadly there was no cash prize.

What’s your proudest moment?

At the end of the first day of my first TV drama as DP, being told by the producer that I’d exceeded their expectations for both how good it looked and how fast I did it.

What’s the worst knock-back/rejection you ever had?

When I first went freelance as a DP it was hard not to take every rejection personally, but I’ve since realised it’s more important to get the right jobs and not simply every job.

Tell us your best and worst moments on set?

Best was the first time we rolled on Red Dwarf X. I was the 2nd unit DP and B-camera operator and it was my first big TV credit. I’d watched the show since I was a kid, so to be pointing a camera at those characters represented a huge journey for me.

Worst was shouting at people on location for repeatedly plugging in hairdryers etc into the same circuits as the lights due to the danger of tripping out the power, resulting in a long wait for the venue electrician to reset it. Then I forgot and decided to make myself some toast. Bang!

What was your biggest challenge on your latest production?

Shooting 11-pages a day of drama, whilst maintaining a glossy, cinematic look. Keeping the camera and lighting blocking one step ahead of the schedule was like playing a lightning-paced game of 3D chess in your head.

"[greatest passion] Tragically, I’m both an aviation and a sci-fi geek. Hello, ladies!"

- Ed Moore

Tell us your most hilarious faux pas?

Shooting for a GT racing team I was expecting to meet our French tracking vehicle tech in the garage. Someone was in there speaking rapid French to the team manager so I interrupted and launched into a long, long speech about what we were about to shoot in vast technical detail. It turned out to be Formula 1 driver Olivier Panis.

Away from work, what are your greatest passions?

Tragically, I’m both an aviation and a sci-fi geek. Hello, ladies!

What one piece of kit could you not live without?

I try not to get too attached to any particular kit but without a doubt the thing that makes me look good are my wonderful regular crew. I couldn’t do it without them.

Which films are you most proud of to date?

The new series Common Ground – 10 episodes with some of the cream of British comedy.

What’s weirdest place you’ve ever shot in?

I spent a week in the WWII submarine HMS Alliance for a short film, including crawling backwards with the camera into a very long, dark torpedo tube.

What’s the hardest shot/thing you’ve had to light/frame?

A short film where the director wanted a “child’s POV” throughout, meaning all the adults’ heads would be framed out. Finding good compositions was extremely challenging.

Tell us your hidden talent/party trick?

I make exceptionally good cappuccinos, complete with poured rosetta patterns.

In the entire history of filmmaking, which film would you love to have shot?

Probably Back To The Future (1985, DP Dean Cundey) – the perfect combination of sci-fi, comedy and solid, unpretentious filmmaking.

What are your current top albums?

Soul Vaccination by the unstoppable Tower of Power and anything by film composer Hans Zimmer.

Can you tell us your greatest extravagance?

Learning to fly.

What’s the best thing about being a DP?

The moments when a director turns from the monitor and says, “That looks amazing!”, are worth all the years of practice, weeks of prep and hours of careful planning. It makes me smile when they say it, as though it’s all a happy accident!

What’s the worst thing about being a DP?

The unpredictability of my diary and all the time spent away from home.

Give us three adjectives that best describe you and your approach to cinematography?

Enthusiastic. Knowledgable. Relaxed.

If you weren’t a DP, what job would you be doing now?

I’d be an air ambulance helicopter pilot – saving lives with the best machine ever invented. That’s the closest you get to living on Tracy Island.

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