The Look of “Fargo”



Inspired by the Coen brothers’ 1996 film of the same name, FARGO is an Emmy® Award-winning U.S. comedy drama series about a hapless insurance salesman in northern Minnesota who gets drawn into a world of violence and crime. Director Adam Bernstein and cinematographer Matthew J. Lloyd, CSC, worked together on the first two episodes, shooting with ALEXA cameras and setting the visual tone for the rest of the season. Lloyd spoke with ARRI News about how daylight fixtures from ARRI’s M-Series and X Light range helped him create the signature look of the show. Being small and lightweight, the M40 was really easy to work with on location.

DP Matthew J. Lloyd, CSC

How did you and Adam set about crafting a look for FARGO?

The look the Coens set out in the movie was an important reference, but mainly as a stepping stone to move us into a more contemporary aesthetic, because Adam had a vision for the show that was a little bit darker. Underlying everything was the snowy bleakness that exists in the movie and would obviously have to exist in the show as well. We wanted to see as much of this world as possible and to set everything against that overcast backdrop.

What lighting challenges did the consistently overcast look present?

Ultimately it became a fairly traditional exposure question of how to balance our rather dim interior locations against the atomic white backgrounds outside. We decided early on not to have windows clipping and highlights that were out of range, but to maintain detail throughout the image. We also didn’t ever want to see the sun, which in Alberta, Canada is not an easy proposition. You end up with these massive setups where you’re shooting out of windows and using a lot of bounced light, always having to match to existing daylight, so HMI became the only way to go.

read the rest of the interview via ARRI Group: News.