The Chilean-born Director of Photography Claudio Miranda (who won the Oscar for “Life of Pi”) reunites with Director Joseph Kosinski in the new film ONLY THE BRAVE, after collaborating in “Tron Legacy” and “Oblivion.”

I had the honor of speaking with the amazing cinematographer about his experience, bringing to life this powerful real-life story.

The film stars Josh Brolin, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch, Jeff Bridges, Andie MacDowell, and James Badge Dale.

ONLY THE BRAVE is now playing in theaters nationwide.


How was the experience of working in this landscape, with a harsh natural sunlight at times?

We don’t always want it to look beautiful. It would be luxurious to have firefighters in beautifully sunlit weather. It has to look hot, harsh, horrible, and ugly sometimes. Even in “Life of Pi,” when he is out in the water, I used hideous lighting at times. We shot at noon to show them working in high temperatures and very unpleasant conditions. Even Deakins did some of that in “Sicario,” when you see this bleach white building at the beginning.

You just mentioned Roger Deakins. How is the relationship, that friendly competition among top cinematographers?

We have a great relationship. I’ll probably vote for Deakins this year. His movie [Blade Runner 2049] looks amazing. I was very surprised when I won the Oscar for “Life of Pi,” I thought that he was going to take it that year. It’s more about what gets noticed in a given year.

How was it working with Joseph Kosinski again, a director associated with sci-fi blockbusters?

We both wanted to stay away from science fiction projects and the artificial environments that you have to create from time to time. We talked about this film and I said “Yes! I’ll do it.” It was very grounded and something closer to “the normal way” of making movies.

Did the practical fire make things difficult for you as a DP?

Yes, but we always kept a safe distance and we never had the crew nor the actors being surrounded by the fire. We completed the effect using some lighting techniques and a touch of CGI.

Maybe this a question more for a painter, but, do you look forward to working with certain actors that have very particular looks and faces? For example, Josh Brolin in this film?

I concentrate more on creating a mood for the actors. I don’t say “If you are this person, you need to be lit by this method.” It’s all about the specific scene, how it needs to look and how I am trying to make people feel.

Are there things that connect you with your Latino roots?

The Chilean community reaches out to me all the time. Unfortunately, I don’t even speak Spanish. My mother is Danish and I have been living in the U.S. almost my entire life. My father was there, but we didn’t speak that much.

A drama based on the elite crew of firemen from Prescott, Arizona who battled a wildfire in Yarnell, AZ in June 2013.