Q&A with DANIELLE FEINBERG

Entertainment

DANIELLE FEINBERG

 (Director of Photography – Lighting)

 began her career at Pixar Animation Studios in February 1997, and in the 18 years since then, she has worked on nine of Pixar’s feature films, including “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2” and “Monsters, Inc.,” as well as the Academy Award®-winning films “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Cars,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL•E” and “Brave.”

At the age of 23, Feinberg’s first role at Pixar was as lead render technical director on “A Bug’s Life.” She was in charge of a team of nine people—eight who were older than 23. Feinberg soon discovered her love for lighting because of the unique combination of technology and art.

Feinberg went on to work as a lighting artist on many of Pixar’s feature films, where she quickly moved up in the ranks – from master lighting artist on “Toy Story 2” and “Monsters, Inc.” to lead lighting artist on the “The Incredibles.” On “Finding Nemo,” Feinberg took on the role of ocean unit CG supervisor, where she was responsible for the teams creating the scenes in the depths of the ocean, the field of pink jellyfish and the rollercoaster ride with the turtles.

For “WALL•E,” Feinberg returned to lighting as the director of photography-lighting. She led a team of more than 30 lighting artists to design and execute the photo-real “filmic” look envisioned by the film’s director.

Feinberg also served as director of photography-lighting for “Brave.”

A native of Boulder, Colo., Feinberg’s love of combining computers and art began when she was 8 years old, and first programmed a Logo turtle to create images. This eventually led her to a Bachelor of Arts in computer science from Harvard University. Now, in addition to her Pixar work, she enjoys photographing the real world with its ornery, non-virtual light, and works with teenage girls, encouraging them to pursue math and science by demonstrating to them the same beautiful simplicity she found with the programmed art of the Logo turtle.

Q.What is the process in Pizar? in the movies, or your job.

A.When I got promoted to director for lighting, which was 2005 you start interviewing for the position but doesn’t mean you are out Pizar, you just help on other projects. When Coco came up,  you don’t get to hear a lot at the beginning, is a secret in the hallways whats happening. I knew it was the day of the dead, and I always been fascinating about this subject. Visually I couldn’t imagine a much cooler to work on, I interview for it and the enthusiasm may have shown, so that’s kind of we do it, being there for 21 years!

Q.Your passion, how you got in the lighting work?

A.I fell in love with the lighting art in Pixar and learned everything there!

Q.Now that you do this, Do you go around and look things and ask how I can recreate that?

A.Totally, because we are recreating stuff on the computer, we are using total real world physics. Because if you get that wrong we can pull the audience and will be a bad movie. I spend a lot of time observing the real world. When I’m deep in a movie I’m like talking to someone, been thinking your eye move to the right, you iris have more color, is like another voice in my head. There is that part of the brain working overthinking in those details.

Q.What do you think about “Coco” is being the first movie to have all latin voice cast?

A.I think is totally awesome, Pixar doesn’t shy of things like that, we are making a movie about Mexico we need all Latin speakers, and we didn’t go to get a big actor, we went to get the right cast, Latin actors, and actresses. And I guess that’s why I love Pixar, that’s what they care about and that’s the priorities they put on. I’m particularly proud of that in this movie.

Q. As far as lighting in animation how much crossover between animation and live action.

There are the same exact principles involved, in terms of I’m guarding the audience with the light, so you can look at the right thing and not at the shiny thing at the corner and I’m getting the character look appealing, the same an actress that needs the light. The difference is how we executed is different, our lights are invisible we can put lights anywhere we want.

Q. What was the biggest challenge of making COCO in terms of lighting?

A. Is a huge film, visually complex, and the land of the dead it was a designed problem, how is going to look like, it took a long time to get there. In the trailer, as you enter the land of the dead, when you see it, that shot has 7 million lights on it. It was a challenge!

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