Acclaimed cinematographer Claudio Miranda achieved notoriety working at the forefront of filmmaking technology alongside several of Hollywood's more respected directors. After receiving his start as p...
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The son of a Chilean architect and an interior designer, Miranda was born in South America but raised in Southern California. Though drawn to the world of film from an early age, Miranda's career began tangentially in the music industry, where he served as a lighting technician on the U2 concert film "Rattle and Hum" (1988) before lending his eye for lush visuals to videos for such superstars as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Velvet Revolver. Continuing to gain experience, Miranda performed duties as an electrician, gaffer and lighting engineer on such features as "After Dark, My Sweet" (1990), "The Crow" (1994) and "Crimson Tide" (1995), the latter film with future frequent employer Tony Scott. And while working under cinematographer Darius Wolski on the latter film provided Miranda with an invaluable education, it was his collaboration with director David Fincher - who legend has it Miranda first met while the future director was working as a stage manager at SIR Studios in Hollywood - that would prove to be the most fruitful. The film was Fincher's "Se7en" (1995) on which Miranda served as a gaffer. Also given the opportunity by Fincher to shoot some additional photography for the gritty thriller involving a deadly cat-and-mouse game between two detectives (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) and a fiendish serial killer (Kevin Spacey), it was the start of a mutually beneficial collaborative relationship between the two men.
After alternating between work under directors Scott and Fincher as a lighting technician and gaffer on "The Fan" (1996), "The Game" (1997), "Enemy of the State" (1998) and "Fight Club" (1999), Miranda made his debut as a motion picture cinematographer on several shorts, including "Mute" (2003). Within three years, he had graduated to his first project as a director of photography on a feature film with the romantic comedy "Failure to Launch" (2006). In tandem with these larger endeavors, Miranda's work as a cinematographer on commercials for Nike, Motorola and Hummer allowed him to collaborate with several of the industry's more innovative directors, Fincher and Joseph Kosinski, among them. Miranda's work was frequently singled out for major awards and nominations, including a Clio for a spot for Xelibri and an AICP Honoree for his work with Fincher on a 90-second ad for Heineken featuring Brad Pitt and directed by Fincher. The following year, Miranda provided additional photography for Fincher's chilling fact-based drama "Zodiac" (2007) before becoming the primary DP on the director's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008). The mind-boggling visuals of the film - which starred Pitt as a man who, born old, ages in reverse over the course of his remarkable life - were initially captured on Fincher's favorite camera, the Thomson Viper FilmStream, and influenced heavily by the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. A challenging learning experience, his work on the film earned Miranda a slew of award nominations in 2008 and 2009, including Best Cinematography from both the BAFTA and Academy awards.
Having enjoyed his collaborations on various commercial jobs with the director, Miranda signed on as cinematographer on Kosinki's "TRON: Legacy" (2010), the long-awaited sequel to the groundbreaking 1982 sci-fi fantasy. Filmed largely in 3-D over a 60-day period, it followed the adventures of Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), who follows his father (Jeff Bridges) into the virtual world into which he disappeared more than a decade earlier. Like its predecessor, "TRON: Legacy" failed to live up to the lofty box office expectations of Walt Disney Pictures and critics were less than impressed. One positive note all agreed upon, however, was the stunning visuals of the film, much of which were directly attributable to Miranda. Having gained a reputation as an innovator unafraid of technical challenges, it was no surprise that director Ang Lee approached Miranda to act as cinematographer on his next film, "Life of Pi" (2012). Based on the novel by Yann Martel, it was an adventure tale of self-discovery about a young boy (Suraj Sharma) who, after being the sole survivor of a harrowing shipwreck, finds himself stranded in the middle of the Pacific on a lifeboat alongside a Bengal tiger. Shooting the extensive ocean scenes at the world's largest wave tank located in Taiwan, Miranda delivered to Lee richly textured visuals that left audiences completely immersed in the world the filmmakers had created. Justifiably, Miranda garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography for his efforts.
By Bryce P. Coleman
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.