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Cinematographer Craig Kief on ‘7 Days in Hell’ with Andy Samberg

DP Tells IndieWire about mockumentary's fast shoot under grueling conditions.

The 42-minute “mockumentary” for HBO, 7 Days in Hell, looks at a single, 7-day-long tennis match at Wimbeldon. Starring Andy Samberg, Game of Throne’s Kit Harington and cameras by Will Forte, Fred Armisen, Mary Steenburgen and many others, the show’s four-day shoot in blistering heat required someone highly-skilled and super fast behind the camera. Cinematographer Craig Kief spoke to IndieWire’s Valentina Valentini about the task.

Throughout the process, the DP held to a basic concept: “My goal was to make it as real as possible. This was the core of my strategy when choosing cameras, lighting and techniques.”

Andy Samberg. Photo by John P. Fleenor.

“Since it’s Wimbledon, we needed a grass tennis court and there are very few in southern California. The only one that could work for our small budget and had the wide range of other locations to shoot all on one campus was a resort in Palm Desert,” he says. “…it meant we were shooting our tennis footage in 110-degree heat. Plus, our schedule was so tight we had to shoot two full days of it, working right through the worst parts of the afternoon. It was brutal.”