Over the past few years, the Game of Thrones has become something of a topic for water-cooler discussion. Based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the HBO television show has gone from being a fan-only following to a cultural sensation. Both the books and the shows have strong followings with fans being adamant about their favorite and least favorite characters. However, what goes in to making the television series? A full “making of” could take days to write and hours to read. So, since photography is kind of our thing here at Beach Camera, let’s dive into that aspect of making the Game of Thrones.
The first step of photography is probably shooting still photography of the different possible filming locations. The series generally does shooting in Northern Ireland, Iceland, Morocco, and a few other locales. Photographers visit these regions and send back photos to the directors and the producers who, after factoring in other issues (cost, temperature, weather, taxes, ability to reach the locations easily) decide where the shooting will take place.
The camera of choice for the Game of Thrones cinematographers is the ARRI Alexa camera. This is a very high-end digital video camera that rings in at close to $100,000. However, with its ability to work in a variety of climates, latitudes, and conditions, the cinematographers consider it their preferred workhorse. This camera also is all digital, allowing the footage to be stored and sent for editing and post-production very quickly. The camera controllers can mount the Alexa on a rig and use dollies to move it or they can use a body-rig that allows them to get into the action of the battle sequence shots.
While we don’t carry the Alexa in our stores, we do carry other cameras that have been used in filming for television and the silver screen. The most notable of them is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III which was used to film an episode of Criminal Minds. Even though these slightly-less-high-end cameras lack all of the bells and whistles that major rigs like the Alexa have, they are more than good enough to use to get a good start on learning how to film great footage.
— da Bird