Claudio Miranda (‘Top Gun: Maverick’ cinematographer) on the breathtaking in-camera flight sequences: ‘I didn’t want to be on a volume or on a blue screen’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I’m trying to get it in-camera as much as possible,” declares declares Oscar-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda A.S.C. (“Life of Pi”) about the desire to shoot the breathtaking action sequences in “Top Gun: Maverick” practically, rather than surrounded by LED video-wall “volumes” or blue screen stages. For our recent webchat he adds, “I didn’t want to be on a volume or on a blue screen,” he says. “If we did the aircraft launch on a volume or blue screen, the guy would do that and you just wouldn’t feel the ‘bam’ that he gets that throws him when he gets off the carrier or any of the stuff that throws, or the G’s, or the face being distorted, or the people pushing themselves personally, which you really see on the screen.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Joseph Kosinski (‘Top Gun: Maverick’ director)

“Top Gun: Maverick” is the sequel to the 1986 Tony Scott-directed and Jerry Bruckheimer-produced classic “Top Gun,” with Tom Cruise reprising his starring role as naval aviator Maverick. The action drama, which sees director Kosinski reunite with Cruise following his 2013 sci-fi drama “Oblivion,” was written by Ehren KrugerEric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie from a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks, based on the characters in the original film created by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. The blockbuster also stars Val Kilmer (reprising his role as Iceman from the original), Miles Teller, Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly, Emmy winner Jon HammGlen PowellLewis Pullman and Oscar and Emmy nominee Ed Harris.

The film follows Maverick, who after more than 30 years as a top aviator is confronted with his past and deepest fears while training a team of younger Top Gun graduates that includes Rooster (Teller), the son of his deceased best friend. The team is on a perilous special assignment that will see them advance into enemy territory where only the very best will survive. Following its premiere last spring, “Top Gun: Maverick” has gone on to gross $1.5 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2022 and the highest-grossing film of Cruise’s career to date.

One of the many highlights in “Top Gun: Maverick” is how immersive and photo-realistic the flight sequences are, which would not have been so effective without Miranda’s innovative and ambitious camerawork, employing dozens of cameras rigged throughout each of the planes used in the shoot. “We had a lot. One day we had a above 26! There was two planes and each plane had six cameras for the internal shots,” he proudly explains. “So there’s 12 there and then there was additional exterior mounted cameras that could have anywhere between three and four cameras to get rear views and front views. On the wings there was actually one that can go where they put a fuel tanks or other accessories, and then we had this dorsal fin which is another one that was on the top. That took a long while to engineer and make.”

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