When thinking about the best cinematography in recent years, movies like “Dune,” “The Batman,” or “Arrival” may come to mind. The lead cinematographers behind these movies and more including “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Roque One” can be traced back to two main individuals—Greig Fraser and Bradford Young.
Coincidentally, both Greig Fraser and Bradford Young have the same protegee who is quickly gaining fame for his work in top films. His name is Fraser Rigg who, like in every great story, started out as a nobody.
In fact, Fraser started at the bottom of the film industry as a “runner.” In other words, when someone needed a coffee, Fraser was the guy to talk to.
After working his way up through the industry and with some of the greats such as Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Terence Nance, John Hillcoat, Matt Reeves, Patrice Vermette, Philippe Le Sourd, and Eugenio Caballero, Fraser is now working on some of the top films in the world.
He is also the creative director of Bradford Young’s film technology company TRIBE7 and is currently helping develop their new BLACKWING7 lens program.
Some of the film projects he has worked on include Iñarritu’s new film “Bardo,” the second season of “Gangs of London,” and Jenn Nkiru’s “Untitled” project which releases in 2023.
He has also worked on music videos for Jorja Smith, MUSE, Kasabian, Tendai, Loyle Carner and has won many awards including the Best Cinematography award at the Film Festival 21 for his short film “VEST.”
As a storyteller through cinematography, Fraser published his own book which primarily tells a story through pictures of his motorbike journey from London to Budapest.
One of the more recent major films Fraser worked on is “The Batman” which was directed by Matt Reeves with Greig Fraser as the primary cinematographer.
Fraser comments: “The biggest challenge I’ve faced to date was on the movie ‘The Batman,’ I was shooting a scene with Robert Pattinson that involved stunts, wires, and a techno crane, and I had two takes to nail it.”
He goes on to say: “I’d literally spent the whole day rehearsing a shot with a stunt double and I was meant to have half a day to shoot the stunt with our lead actor. But due to the main unit overrunning, I was given 30 mins to shoot a complicated shot.”
He was the last unit to shoot on that day and it was up to him and Robot to make it work in the little time they were given.
The first shot didn’t go exactly as planned. He recounts:
Robert runs, jumps, the techno crane booms up, and I operate the camera on the wheels. Robert moves differently from the stuntman I’ve been rehearsing with all day. He leans out over the edge of the drop which forces me to do a countermove as I try to keep him in frame. He thumps his chest deploying his wingsuit. Before you know it, the shot is over, and “CUT!” is called. Greig, silent, looks at me, “You can do better,” he says.
With one shot to go, the “ACTION!” was sounded with Fraser expertly moving the camera to capture Robert’s movements. It was a success. Afterward, Fraser explains that “two seasoned camera operators on the film both came over to me and told me, ‘that was a tough shot!’ ‘Yes, it was!” I reply.”
All in all, for those who may also be experiencing challenges in the cinematography industry, Fraser gives the advice to “lead with your heart and follow your intuition.” Ultimately, cinematography is a form of storytelling and one that Fraser Rigg has mastered. As for the future, he plans to continue his work on top films and grow his skills as a cinematographer by learning from the best of the best.