Alphonse Roy – Wildlife Filmmaker and Bollywood Cinematographer

Alphonse Roy – Wildlife Filmmaker  & Bollywood Cinematographer

 Wildlife cinematographer Alphonse Roy has been wandering in the wilderness for over two decades, befriending tuskers and taking shots of big cats. While he has worked on a number of wildlife documentaries such as Treasure Seekers: Tibet`s Hidden Kingdom, Man-Eaters of India, Kingdom of Cobra, Temple Tiger, Elephant Mountain, and Tiger by Night among many, he stumbled upon mainstream commercial movies, making his feature film debut with the award-winning movie Aamir in 2008. Mr. Roy is known for projects like Mai Ghat, Gulaab Gang, Raid, Aamir and Mumbai Cutting.

 Which are the cinematographers you admire and were you influenced by anyone? Which films in Bollywood and Hollywood stand out for their cinematography?

The cinematographer I admire in the UK is Roger Deakins, and my favourite film of his is The Assassination of Jesse James.  In India, my favourite cinematographer is Santosh Sivan ASC. A memorable work of his is the Chaiya Chaiya Song. Just imagine what he would have done if he had today's small Camera body from Canon, and I am talking about the form factor of Canon EOS professional cameras.

Your take on the latest trends in cinematography in 2021?

There are multiple trends that have come cinematography’s way in the recent past. Cameras are moving a lot and have now become a part of the storytelling. Earlier cameras were more just observers from a director’s point of view but now because of the development of technology and compact camera sizes, they have seamlessly become a part of the whole.

Secondly, multi-camera shooting has become the norm now. On one set there is no longer just one main camera, whereas there are multiple cameras to capture different actors and shots at various angled. Earlier we would have to sacrifice video quality for the sake of putting the camera at the edge of bike or for other such risky shots, but now innovation has enabled smaller camera bodies with higher quality, which has brought a big change in Cinematography. The democratising of filmmaking by digital technology has been another game changer. There is freedom of expression even for the common man who may not know all the nuances about the art of filmmaking but can still explore the same with the help of technology.

Lastly, the development of Artificial Intelligence has played a large role as well. IRIS was earlier used only eye doctors, but this has now shifted to cameras in the form of autofocus technology. Motion pictures are now using advanced autofocus for not just humans but even animals, making filmmaking and capturing such shoots more scientific and objective. Now an image is never out of focus!

How do you find shooting with Canon EOS Cinema Series?

I love the Canon C700 camera with Canon lenses. My film, which won an award for Best Cinematography at the Singapore International film festival, was shot on Canon C 700. The noiseless low light sensitivity and accurate colour rendition by that sensor are valuable to me. The personal Camera I am using now is the Canon R6. It is a recent acquisition and I have fallen in love with it. I had the opportunity to shoot the Taj Mahal on the 18th of November, which also happened to be the full moon night. But unfortunately, it turned out to be a cloudy night with the moon well hidden behind the clouds. In Taj Mahal you can use a tripod as the Archaeological Survey of India has an Archaic rule which says professional shooting needs special clearance from ASI.  By definition in ASI parlance, " Professional Shooting happens with a tripod".  But with R6 I shot this image at 1/30th of a second with 35mm f 1.4 Lens at an ASA of some 12000. But the beauty is even in such low light the colours are so true. This sensor has "Rods And Cones " like a Tiger.