Manuel started as a Lighting Designer for Theater & Concert Lighting. After a year in the Lighting Department of Paramount he returned to Germany. After four years with a camera support manufacturer in Munich, he decided to change back into freelance work and started his career as DoP. He has now shot more than 200 commercials, music videos and corporate films. He and Director/Compositing Artist Richard Caesar utilized Lens Distortions in some of their recent commercials, so we reached out to ask a few questions.
“The aim of an illusionist is to convince the audience that the impossible has just happened. I have the same objective in my work as Director of Photography; the technique must be sufficiently skillful to hide the fabrication of reality from the audience and create motion pictures that drive the audience emotionally.”
LD: How would you describe your visual style?
I am very dedicated to lighting, since I come from a very dramatic theater lighting background. It’s amazing how you can drive a scene in an emotional direction with the right lighting mood. I adore the work of Christopher Doyle and Vittorio Storaro, who literally paint with light. Besides lighting, I am a little kid when it comes to new toys. I love experimenting with new gear be it a camera, a way to move the camera, a new lighting fixture or a new plugin like Lens Distortions.
LD: What do you feel makes Lens Distortions different from other products in the market?
First of all, I love that they are shot in 4k and that they are organic. This gives you a lot of freedom to use them how you see fit. Sometimes you just don’t have the time on-set to play around with shards and crystals to give that little extra feel to the picture, so it’s great to have these effects on your hard drive to add in post. It’s quite helpful that the template settings give you full control over the distortion itself, like you’d have when looking through real glass. This makes lens distortion to stand out.