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The Last of Us cinematographer explains the show’s extensive use of handheld cameras

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Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay as Joel and Ellie in TLOU Season 1

HBO’s new big hit The Last of Us is one of the most successful shows on the television network to date. The fourth episode arrived earlier this week, and fans are really excited about continuing the beautiful and somewhat morbid post-apocalyptic journey. One of the most amazing features that the show has received widespread praise for is its cinematography. The series’ cinematographer Eben Bolter recently talked to The Credits and explained how they made it so effective.

Bolter said, “[Cinematographer] Ksenia [Sereda] set that up in Episode One, which I think was 100 percent handheld. It was a good decision because handheld gives things a documentary-style grounding. When you suddenly put a camera on a stick, it feels like a bit more artifice so we generally defaulted to handheld unless there was a good reason to do something differently.”

“I love constraints,” he said. “Here, you’ve got daylight, you’ve got moonlight, you’ve got fire — three natural resources — and then a finite resource with electricity in certain areas that have generators or the lights are 20 years old so they’re going to be flickering. And you’ve got torches and flashlights. I wanted to lean into these imperfections and make the light feel dirty and mixed and messy and feral.”

“We didn’t want it to look like Michael Bay. Nothing against Michael Bay but with The Last of Us, you always want to dirty it up.”

What do you think of the cinematography of The Last of Us? Tell us in the comments below!

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Sayantan is a keen follower of everything pop culture; from films, shows, anime to video games and latest memes. He started writing professionally for Wiki of Thrones during the 2021 lockdown, and has been developing his writing and editing skills ever since. Sayantan has since worked for several reputed firms, such as Collider and FandomWire, gathering experience and nods from some of the best in the industry. With a growing repertoire amassing renowned websites, Sayantan is your go to guy for all things Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. When he is not hunting for headlines and theories, you can find him engrossed in fantasy shows, conspiracy theories and video games.

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