The Art of Cinematography with Max Brill

Max Brill is a cinematographer who has built a career on sheer hard work and perseverance. With multiple vimeo staff picks and major production credits under his belt, we decided to sit down with him to discover how he got into the business, lessons learnt along the way and future plans. 

Can you tell us a bit about what made you go into your line of work?

I think Cinematography is a perfect mix of engineering and art and in many ways it’s a distillation of my parent’s backgrounds. My father’s family are engineers and carpenters while my mother’s side are all artists. I grew up in Edinburgh and my dad was the primary care giver. Sometimes when he was on a carpentry job he would send me off to the local art cinema. I’d watch constant runs of Laurel and Hardy, Tex Avery and psychedelic European animation. Cinema was my babysitter.

Technology plays a massive part in your line of work, are you someone who embraces the future or longs for the vintage feel?

My influences certainly come from the early stages of cinematic language, however cinema is characterised and evolved by leaps in technology. Advances in digital capture, projection and distribution are forming how we create and receive the art form and to ignore that is suicide. For me is not about film vs. digital, but how you approach the creative task at hand.

If you could give advice to anyone starting out in your field, what would it be?

Buy a camera and shoot everything that you can. No one is born good at this, it takes lots of practice. Digital means you can experiment and become familiar with the medium without going bankrupt.

What have been your career highlights so far this year?

When something I shoot gets a Vimeo staff pick I'm totally psyched. This year I've had two staff picks for documentaries I've shot and it’s just awesome to see that community pour praise on something I've done.

What can we look forward to for the rest of the year, any exciting projects coming out?

This year is all about comedy and drama for me. I've been focusing on shooting short narrative films and sketch comedy and I'm waiting on seeing a few edits of those. There is also the possibility to shoot a documentary about one of my idols, Roger Deakins which I really hope happens. He is a big inspiration to me.

How have you find working at resident here?

I love having a space in HDS. There are so many people doing so many different things and everyone is approachable. I'm in the A-side B-side gallery which is mostly fine artists. I find it immensely calming to have people putting paint to surface all around me. Everything I need is here, whether is a photographic studio, grading suite, production companies or just a willing extra for the background.

A big thank you to Max for taking the time to share his experiences, knowledge and tips with us. Please all of his projects, especially this short comedy called ‘They Call Me Clifton’ he recently developed with his closest friends, about a man hunting the ‘Beast of Hackney Marshes’. 


More like this