Interview with cinematographer Felix Baermann


Felix developed his passion for film and photography at an early age, which eventually led the Hamburg-born photographer to study cinematography in Munich. At the beginning of 2014, he completed his film studies in the field of cinematography with the films “Schlafwandler” and “Der kleine Laden”, which were screened worldwide at festivals. In recent years he has been able to prove and develop his sense of aesthetics in his creation of images in various advertising film projects. Finding the right images to tell a story and to let the viewer immerse into a world is what drives Felix with every project and makes the profession of a cinematographer something very special for him.

  • What personality or character traits are necessary to excel in being a cinematographer/DP?

Dealing with stressful situations in a calm way that the people around you also remain calm and stay focused. Fighting for the images you really think are right for telling the story but never think your idea is the only solution, always „hear“ what someone suggests. Also not being the worst to have around helps a lot when being on a filmset 😉

  • In terms of cinematographers, who do you like?

Bradford Young, Darius Khondji, Roger Deakins

  • What makes good cinematography?

Good cinematography should not be recognized at all, because if you made the right decisions in your camerawork the story just works. And that’s all you should worry about, how you can support the story and the vision that your director has. Find the images that will make the viewer follow, without just putting the camerawork in the spotlight.

  • What makes a good camera? And what has been your favorite camera to use?

The one that just works, which you can relate on everytime, with the best color rendition possible. So Arri was always a good choice and since the Alexa Mini gives you all that in a small Camera body it has been my go to Camera the past Years.

  • Do you think that cinematographer’s work has changed when movies went from film to digital?

Since my work started in the digital times its kind of hard for me to tell, but in essence the work of the cinematographer has not changed because it is still about telling stories with images. The possibilities to create images have become much more extensive and simple and the threshold of entry is much lower, that lead to more competition, which is good because you are driven to do a better job. In times where nearly everyone can pick up a camera with a 35mm sensor you have to make sure you stand out with what you create.

  • Now that people watch films on TV, computers and even their phones, do you think about that end experience when you are shooting?

That definitely plays a role, you should always have in mind how the final product will be seen at the end. But a really well told story works on any device, no matter how big the screen is. Regardless of this, cinema will always be the best experience.

  • Which one is more important: light or shadow?

You can’t have one without the other, but a little more shadow never hurts.

  • What is the cinematographer’s involvement in pre-production, production and postproduction?

In my opinion, pre-production plays an extremely important role. The more I have discussed things with the director in advance and developed a certain language for the project, the more time we have on set, to react to unexpected events. You should have a working plan for each scene in mind and then be able to deviate from it on set with a clean conscience if necessary. In postproduction I am usually only involved in the color correction, but I always try to have an overview of the postproduction pipeline to make sure that everything arrives as it should in grading and the final film will be seen as it was intended.

  • What involvement in the production budget does the cinematographer/DP have?

You should always have the budget in mind in pre-production and consider, if there is a cheaper alternative to do a certain shot. That’s why I think it’s important, that especially in today’s fast-moving and evolving times, a cinematographer knows about technical innovations. You never have enough money for any project and therefore it is even more important to find an adequate solution for every budget, only because of that sometimes the much better shots are made.

  • What is your most valuable advice for being a Cinematographer/DP?

Believe in yourself and if you have doubts just don’t tell anyone 😉