“Once we got onto the set, it was like no one had ever left,” reveals cinematographer Gary Baum about the revival of “Will & Grace.” The Emmy-winning cameraman has been with the series since the very first episode, starting as an operator before moving up to DP in season eight, which was the original run’s farewell year. Baum spoke about the successful revamp, now in its second year, at Gold Derby’s Meet the BTL Experts panel, moderated by managing editor Chris Beachum. The event took place at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 30. Watch our exclusive video interview with Baum above.
He spoke at length about his Emmy submission episode, “Family, Trip,” in which Will (Eric McCormack), Jack (Sean Hayes), and Karen (Megan Mullally) unwittingly take hallucinogens. It was a unique challenge given there were “a lot of visual effects,” including psychedelic butterflies and Jack drawing in the air, that need to be added later. There was also an opportunity to get out of Will’s apartment and into nature. “We don’t get a chance to get off the stage much,” Baum divulges. “So every time we break that situation it’s more fun for me.”
The episode ends with Karen belting out “The Man That Got Away,” Judy Garland‘s signature tune from “A Star Is Born” (1954). Baum wanted to create “a little music video” of the song, set in a nightclub and shot with a single camera. “They wanted to make it a cabaret style look,” he adds, “so I was able to go places where the show wouldn’t go normally as far as the depth of darkness, and the depth of camera angles and camera movements.”
Baum is the reigning Emmys champ in Best Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series. He won for “Will & Grace” in 2018, previously prevailing for “Mike and Molly” in 2015. He competed seven more times for “Gary Unmarried,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Mike and Molly” (three more times), “The Millers” and “Superior Donuts.”
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