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It’s All About the Lens for Sketch Comedy Show ‘Documentary Now!’

The humor from IFC’s new sketch comedy series Documentary Now! is very much tied to the show’s ability to mimic the documentaries that it is parodying.

“You take [the documentary’s] aesthetic, and then put comedy in it, and the viewer is caught off guard,” star Bill Hader tells ICG Magazine. “The more serious, the better; that’s part of the joke.”

To that end, cinematographer and co-director Alex Buono, who also lenses Saturday Night Live‘s digital film unit, was most concerned with getting the lenses right when it came to each individual sketch. “Part of my job as cinematographer [at SNL] is detective work: ‘How did they shoot it? What camera and lenses did they use? What techniques were they going for?’” Buono says. “And, with these period films, the lens is such a huge part of the look – every film was different.”