Robert Yeoman is an award-winning cinematographer, who has been working in Hollywood since the early 1980s.
He has worked on more than 40 films in various capacities and is famous for shooting nearly every one of Wes Anderson’s films.
Robert Yeoman Cinematography
Who Is Cinematographer robert yeoman?
Robert Yeoman is an American cinematographer who is best known for his work with filmmakers Wes Anderson and Paul Feig.
Yeoman’s first feature film, Bottle Rocket, was directed by Wes Anderson in 1996.
Since then, he has worked on nearly every feature-length project directed by Anderson including Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), among others.
He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Who Is Robert Yeoman?
While he’s been working with Anderson for many years, the two met in 1986 while they were both students at the University of Texas. Yeoman has a degree in radio-TV-film and was shooting Super 8mm film shorts at the time.
One day, Anderson called him up at 2:30 pm to see if he wanted to shoot a short that evening. Yeoman agreed, and they shot the movie “Bottle Rocket”, with Anderson playing a barber and Owen Wilson playing a customer who asks him to cut his hair. The short was later expanded into their first feature film of the same name.
Yeoman has been working with Anderson ever since, shooting all of his movies, including “Rushmore”, “The Royal Tenenbaums”, and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”.
What Is Robert Yeoman Known For?
Robert Yeoman has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood for more than three decades. His impressive resume includes credits on “The Big Lebowski”, and “Fargo”.
Sitting down with Collider, Yeoman discussed his early career in the film industry and how he went from being a projectionist to a top-level cinematographer.
He also talked about working on iconic films such as “Fargo”, as well as his interest in shooting movies digitally while working with directors like Wes Anderson and the Coen brothers.
Yeoman has never shot a movie in his native country of Australia (although he’s been tempted to shoot a movie back home). He told Collider that he didn’t want to work on any Australian productions because they wouldn’t have afforded him the opportunity to work alongside such talented filmmakers as Martin Scorsese and David Fincher.
Although Yeoman has shot several TV shows, including “Oz”, “Better Call Saul”, and “The X-Files”, he’s primarily known for his work on feature films. One of those movie credits is “The Big Lebowski”, which is considered by many cinephiles.
Robert Yeoman Keeps His Comedies Light
Robert Yeoman has worked in Hollywood for almost 40 years as a cinematographer and director of photography. This year, he shot the Netflix comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which is nominated for three Emmy Awards, including best direction of a comedy series (written by Tina Fey).
The cinematographer talks about his career and his work on the show.
Q: You’ve been in the business for more than four decades. How has it changed?
A: It’s changed because of technology. The cameras are lighter, they’re smaller, they’re quieter. They shoot quicker and it’s easier to edit with them.
Also, I think the quality of the images is better because there’s more light available for shooting. Also, I think directors have more control over what happens to their images now.
Q: What does that mean?
A: The camera operator used to be the person who operated the camera and that person would then hand those images over to whoever else — maybe the cinematographer or maybe a producer — who would decide how to put them together. Now directors are making decisions about how to shoot things themselves, so I think you get a more personal flavor from their work because they’re making choices directly instead of delegating them.
Robert Yeoman Developing Wes Anderson’s Quirky Aesthetic
Director and writer Wes Anderson have a distinct style that permeates his films. His sets, costumes, and camera angles all have a very particular feel to them.
In fact, it is not uncommon for parodies of him to use the same camera angles and set designs. This is possible because Anderson’s style is very specific, which means that it is also very easy to achieve.
This is an interesting case study because it shows how a director’s look can be developed by one key person. When you are just starting out as a filmmaker, you will likely be making a lot of your own decisions from the outset.
Even in the big leagues, some directors still like to handle many of their own special effects or props themselves. However, in the film industry, there are always going to be some things that have to get done by specialists.
Directors are limited by time, money, and sometimes even talent. Wherever this happens, you will need to find people who can do those jobs well and consistently bring your vision to life.
Robert Yeoman has been the director of photography on all of Wes Anderson’s films since “The Royal Tenenbaums” in 2001. That means that he has been adapting Andersen’s style throughout his journey in the film industry with him.
Robert Yeoman And Wes Anderson
One of the most recognizable names in cinematography is Robert Yeoman, ASC.
Over his 25-year collaboration with writer/director Wes Anderson, his work has become as essential to the visual style of Anderson’s films as the actors who play the parts.
“Wes and I usually have a conversation right at the beginning,” says Yeoman. “He’ll show me a few storyboards or photographs that he likes or we’ll talk about other movies we like. Then I’ll start making sketches of ideas.”
After setting a plan and budget in motion, they begin scouting locations, which are chosen based on practicality (“the real estate agent factor”) as well as aesthetics.
Robert Yeoman Cinematography
I remember reading an interview with Robert Yeoman a few years ago where he revealed that in order to be hired on a film, he had to have his own 35mm still camera, lenses, tripod, and lights. This was back in the 1970s when most cinematographers were using large format black and white film cameras.
The norm for a cameraman at the time was to shoot with one of three or four specific types of large format film cameras. He didn’t want to be pigeonholed into using only those types of cameras, and he did not want to be told what lenses or lights he could use.
He wanted to use whatever tools would best serve the story. And it worked.
Today he has shot more than 150 feature films. He has won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography for “Groundhog Day”, “As Good as It Gets”, “Sideways”, and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.
His approach is refreshing, seeing how many cinematographers are stuck in their ways. I’ve heard stories of some who won’t even film with digital cameras because they don’t allow enough control over the image.
Examples Of Robert Yeoman Cinematography
In the early part of his career, Robert Yeoman was a camera operator on such films as “The Man Who Fell To Earth” (1976), “Heaven Can Wait” (1978), and “Popeye” (1980).
He then transitioned to cinematographer, working with director David O. Russell on “Flirting With Disaster” (1996), “Three Kings” (1999), and “I Heart Huckabees” (2004). His filmography also includes works with directors Martin Brest, Oliver Stone, and George Clooney.
Yeoman has been nominated for an Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Cinematography for “The Great Budapest” (2014). He became a member of the American Society of Cinematographers on 2009.