MR. ROBOT (2015-2019)
MR. ROBOT is a drama thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. The show stars Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer and hacker with social anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Elliot is recruited by an anarchist known as “Mr. Robot” (played by Christian Slater) to join a hacktivist group which aims to destroy all debt records by encrypting the data of the world’s largest financial corporation. Mr. Robot ran for four seasons on the USA Network, winning two Golden Globe Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards and one Peabody Award. While Esmail split directorial duties over the course of the first season, it was all shot by cinematographer Tod Campbell (with the exception of the pilot by Tim Ives). Esmail and Campbell created a strong rubric of rules for the visual language of season one.
The show was shot in 5K raw on the Red Epic Dragon, and every single shot with Elliot was shot with a 32mm lens. Campbell used Cooke 5/i lenses and never closed them down beyond a T2, and was constantly searching for low-angle shots to compose characters. These strong choices allowed the team to move quickly during shoots (the crew rarely had more than a week to film a one hour episode), but it also contributed to a strong, unorthodox visual language for the series. Mr. Robot has become known for its unconventional, often imbalanced framing, putting the audience into an uncomfortable state of mind reflective of the subconscious turmoil raging inside Elliot’s head. Esmail and Campbell continued to push the visual language of Mr. Robot over its following season, making it one of the most visually striking television shows in recent years.