Andrew Lesnie

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Andrew Lesnie

ACS, ASC
Andrew Lesnie.jpg
Born1 January 1956
Died27 April 2015(2015-04-27) (aged 59)
Sydney, Australia
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active1978–2014
Awards Academy Award for Best Cinematography
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Andrew Lesnie ACS ASC (1 January 1956 – 27 April 2015) was an Australian cinematographer. He was best known as the cinematographer for The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–2003) and its prequel The Hobbit trilogy (2012–2014), both directed by New Zealand director Peter Jackson. He received the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2002.

Australian Cinematographers Society organization

The Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1958 for the purpose of providing a forum for Australian Cinematographers to further develop their skills through mutual co-operation.

American Society of Cinematographers

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), founded in Hollywood in 1919, is a cultural, educational, and professional organization that is neither a labor union nor a guild. The society was organized with a purpose to not only progress and advance the science and art of cinematography, but also gather a wide range of cinematographers together to collaboratively discuss and exchange techniques and ideas and to advocate for motion pictures as a type of art form. This mission is still ongoing. Currently, the president of the ASC is Kees van Oostrum.

Cinematographer chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film

A cinematographer or director of photography is the chief over the camera and light crews working on a film, television production or other live action piece and is responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography.

Contents

Early life and career

Lesnie was born in Sydney, Australia, the son of Shirley (Lithgow) and Allan Lesnie, who worked for the family's company, butcher suppliers Harry Lesnie Pty Ltd.

He was educated at Sydney Grammar School. Andrew was well liked and popular at school. Lesnie finished 6th form and his Higher School Certificate in 1974. [1] He started his career in 1978 as an assistant camera operator on the film Patrick (1978) while he was still in school at Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). [2] sd

Sydney Grammar School grammar school in Sydney, Australia

Sydney Grammar School is an independent, fee-paying, non-denominational, day school for boys, located in Darlinghurst, Edgecliff and St Ives, which are all suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

The Higher School Certificate (HSC) is the credential awarded to secondary school students who successfully complete senior high school level studies in New South Wales, Australia. It was first introduced in 1967, with the last major revision coming into effect in 2001. It is currently developed and managed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

<i>Patrick</i> (1978 film) 1978 Australian horror film directed by Richard Franklin

Patrick is a 1978 Australian science fiction horror film directed by Richard Franklin and written by Everett De Roche. The film popularised Ozploitation films in other territories. A remake, Patrick, was released in 2013.

His first job after graduation in 1979 was as a cameraman on the Logie Award-winning Australian magazine-style afternoon TV show Simon Townsend's Wonder World . Simon Townsend gave Lesnie almost daily opportunities to develop his craft with little restriction over a wide variety of stories and situations, and to experiment with camera and lighting techniques in hundreds of locations and situations. After two years of working on the show, Lesnie moved on to numerous Australian film and television productions, including the mini-series Bodyline . [3]

Simon Townsend's Wonder World! was an Australian children's television show that aired on Network Ten from 1979 until 1987. It was hosted by journalist Simon Townsend.

<i>Bodyline</i> (miniseries) 1984 film directed by Carl Schultz

Bodyline is an Australian 1984 television miniseries which dramatised the events of the 1932–1933 English Ashes cricket tour of Australia. The title refers to the bodyline cricketing tactic devised by the English cricket team during their 1932–33 Ashes tour of Australia.

Later, he worked as a second camera assistant on the film The Killing of Angel Street (1981). [2]

The Killing of Angel Street is a 1981 Australian thriller film loosely based on the BLF green bans against development in inner Sydney city waterside suburbs. It briefly touches on the real life disappearance of Juanita Nielsen, an activist against mass development in Sydney in the late 1970s. The film is directed by Donald Crombie and was shot in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Lesnie would then go on to develop his craft as he photographed films such as Stations (1983), The Delinquents (1989), Temptation of the Monk (1993), and Spider and Rose (1994). [2]

The Delinquents is a 1989 Australian drama film directed by Chris Thomson and stars Kylie Minogue and Charlie Schlatter as the main characters Lola and Brownie, and was filmed in Brisbane, Maryborough and Bundaberg, Queensland. The film's screenplay by Clayton Frohman and Mac Gudgeon is based on Criena Rohan's book of the same name. The film was released internationally, including the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, and West Germany.

<i>Temptation of a Monk</i> 1993 film by Clara Law

Temptation of a Monk is a 1993 Hong Kong period drama film directed by Clara Law based on Pik Wah Lee's novel of the same name.The film had Joan Chen and Hsing-Kuo Wu in the lead roles. The film is about a monk named Jing-yi and his haunting past, and a lady assassin who was sent to kill him. The film was banned in China.

Spider and Rose is a 1994 Australian film directed by Bill Bennett and starring Ruth Cracknell, Simon Bossell, and Max Cullen. It is about the relationship between an elderly lady and a young ambulance driver.

Career

His work began receiving major attention after the release of the anthropomorphic pig story Babe (1995) and its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City . He was director of photography on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and received an Oscar for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2002. Since then, he filmed several other Jackson-directed films, including King Kong and The Lovely Bones , and also filmed The Hobbit films directed by Jackson.

<i>Babe</i> (film) 1995 film by Chris Noonan

Babe is a 1995 Australian-American comedy-drama film directed by Chris Noonan, produced by George Miller, and written by both. It is an adaptation of Dick King-Smith's 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, also known as Babe: The Gallant Pig in the US, which tells the story of a pig raised as livestock who wants to do the work of a sheepdog. The main animal characters are played by a combination of real and animatronic pigs and Border Collies.

<i>Babe: Pig in the City</i> 1998 film by George Miller

Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 Australian-American comedy-drama film and the sequel to the 1995 film Babe. It is co-written, produced and directed by George Miller, who co-wrote and produced the original film. Most of the actors from the first film reappeared as their respective roles, including James Cromwell, Miriam Margolyes, Hugo Weaving, Danny Mann, Roscoe Lee Browne and Magda Szubanski. However, most of them have only brief appearances, as the story focuses on the journey of Babe and the farmer's wife Esme in the fictional city of Metropolis and Elizabeth Daily replaces Christine Cavanaugh as Babe.

Peter Jackson New Zealand film director, producer, actor, and screenwriter

Sir Peter Robert Jackson is a New Zealand film director, screenwriter, and film producer. He is best known as the director, writer, and producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–03) and the Hobbit trilogy (2012–14), both of which are adapted from the novels of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. Other films include the critically lauded drama Heavenly Creatures (1994), the mockumentary film Forgotten Silver (1995), the horror comedy The Frighteners (1996), the epic monster remake film King Kong (2005), the supernatural drama film The Lovely Bones (2009), and the World War I documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old (2018). He produced District 9 (2009), The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011), West of Memphis (2012), and Mortal Engines (2018).

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–03)

Lesnie used motion picture camera company Arri's Arriflex 435, Arriflex 535, and ArriCam Studio 35mm film cameras for the trilogy. He used Carl Zeiss Ultra Prime Lenses and Kodak's 5279 (tungsten-balanced) film stock to photograph the films. [4]

Lesnie planned far ahead into the production with Peter Jackson with previsualisation programs to help establish frame sizes and angles, as well as construction of sets. [5] During filming, Lesnie emphasised earthly colours in the makeup and wardrobe of the cast and extras. [6]

At the acceptance speech for his Oscar win for Fellowship of the Ring, Lesnie dedicated his acceptance to chief lighting technician Brian Bansgrove, who he described as a major contributor to the quality of the film's cinematography. [7]

The Hobbit trilogy (2012–14)

For production, Lesnie used Red Digital Cinema's Epic cameras as well as Carl Zeiss Ultra Prime Lenses to photograph the film. Jackson and Lesnie decided to shoot the film in 3D with as many as 15 stereoscopic camera rigs (2 cameras each) with 3ality. [8] They also decided to shoot the film in an uncommon frame rate of 48 frames per second versus the industry standard of 24 frames per second. This would make Lesnie the first cinematographer to employ such a method that claims to induce more clarity, reduce motion blur, and make 3D easier to watch. [9] [10]

The Water Diviner

Lesnie's final film, The Water Diviner , directed by and starring Russell Crowe, was released in Australia in December 2014 and in America in April 2015, one week before his death.

Personal life

Lesnie lived on Sydney's north coast. He was a member of both the Australian Cinematographers Society and the American Society of Cinematographers. Lesnie died of a heart attack in his Sydney home on 27 April 2015. [11]

Filmography

YearFilmDirectorNotes
1986 Fair Game Mario Andreacchio
1987 Dark Age Arch Nicholson
1989 The Delinquents Chris Thomson
1991 The Girl Who Came Late Kathy Mueller
1993 Temptation of a Monk Clara LawWith Arthur Wong
Nominated- Hong Kong Film Award for Best Cinematography
1995 Babe Chris Noonan
1996 Two If by Sea Bill Bennett
1997 Doing Time for Patsy Cline Chris Kennedy AACTA Award for Best Cinematography
1998 Babe: Pig in the City George Miller
The Sugar Factory Robert Carter
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Peter Jackson Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Cinematography
Nominated- Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematography
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Cinematography
Nominated- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
2004 Love's Brother Jan Sardi Nominated- AACTA Award for Best Cinematography
2005 King Kong Peter JacksonNominated- American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Cinematography
Nominated- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
2006 Happy Feet George MillerLive action unit;
Cinematography by David Peers
2007 I Am Legend Francis Lawrence
2008 Shine a Light Martin Scorsese Camera operator;
Cinematography by Robert Richardson
2009 The Lovely Bones Peter Jackson Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Bran Nue Dae Rachel Perkins
2010 The Last Airbender M. Night Shyamalan
2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes Rupert Wyatt
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Peter Jackson
2013 The Turning Simon Stone Segment "Reunion" [12]
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Peter Jackson
2014 Healing Craig Monahan
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Peter Jackson
The Water Diviner Russell Crowe

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References

  1. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/acclaimed-cinematographer-andrew-lesnie-leaves-staggeringly-influential-oeuvre-20150717-giedjn.html
  2. 1 2 3 Moran, Albert and Vieth, Errol (2005).The A to Z of Australian and New Zealand Cinema Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  3. The Australian Film and Television Companion – compiled by Tony Harrison, Simon & Schuster, Australia (1994)
  4. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring". shotonwhat.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014.
  5. Gray, Simon (December 2002). "A Fellowship in Peril (p.3)"
  6. Gray, Simon (December 2002). "A Fellowship in Peril (p.2)"
  7. "The contenders: Nominees for 16th annual ASC awards. (ASC Awards).(American Society of Cinematographers)". 15 February 2002. Archived from the original on 21 March 2017.
  8. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey". shotonwhat.com.
  9. Egan, Jack (21 December 2012) "Contendor – Director of Photography Andrew Lesnie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
  10. Kilday, Gregg (13 November 2013) "Despite 'The Hobbit,' Hollywood Isn't Adopting 48 Frames Per Second"
  11. "Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie has died from a heart attack". Herald Sun. 28 April 2015.
  12. "THE TURNING" (PDF). ABC Online . Retrieved 28 April 2015.