Jacob Møller is a cinematographer based out of Copenhagen, Denmark. He has been shooting for eight years and has already worked on projects for clients such as Major Lazer, BMW, Sony, and Nike.
How did you first begin your cinematography career?
I started assisting other DP's like Kasper Tuxen And Sebastian Winterø. They were just out of Danish film school, and I was setting lights on music videos and short films for them. We did a lot of films for Martin De thurah and art director Jesper Just. They taught me all the basics and showed me interesting ways of working. Then when the 5D came out I teamed up with my friend Martin Skovbjerg, who was a production designer. We started shooting music videos and documentaries. Music videos were a fun place to find a visual language, and play around with ideas.
“Lean On” by Major Lazer & DJ Snake has incredible lighting. Can you walk us through the lighting on the project, and how much of it was planned or in the moment?
The "Lean On" video, was a super fun and crazy video to shoot. We had a day and a half to shoot it - Palace location for one day and the bus for a half day. A big part of the crew and equipment came 4 hours late to the location, so the scenes that were planned for the day had to be shoot at night.
For the day exteriors we used an 18K HMI with diffusion. For the big dance since we hanged a bunch of 2k blondes through 20 x 20 frames. For the exterior nights we used a mix of HMI and tungsten and different colored gels. It was a mixture of planing the light setup and adding lights to fit the scene. The idea was to go with a Bollywood vibe - cranes, depth in focus, and have a lot of movement.
If you had to chose one style or aesthetic to shoot for the rest of your career what would it be and why?
I don’t think I will ever get tired of shooting handheld. Handheld with minimal lightning. I like that you can feel the person behind the camera, and you can move on intuition. I also like the freedom it gives you when filming an actor.
Do you prefer to shoot music videos, commercials, or narrative most?
For me, it’s all about the project and the dedication of the director. If they want to do something they really believe in and convince me to do it, then I think all types of projects can be equally fun or great to do.
A lot of your exteriors look very naturalistic. How often are you using only natural light vs artificial? Do you use a lot of modifiers such as negative fill?
I try to avoid using lamps on exterior day scenes, just bring in negative fill once we are doing closer shots. But then of course you have to wait a bit longer for sun or clouds, and be at a location when the light is right for the scene.
What was the most challenging project that you’ve worked on?
I did a project for an art museum where we did 7 scenes on 7 continents. It was about birth, life, love and death. It was a really exiting project but also tough because we went to so many extreme places. We went to Antarctica living on a research base, and Papua New Guinea where we stayed with a tribe living on the river in the middle of nowhere. This project was also one of the best experiences I've had making a film.
I’m also shooting my first feature in January. It’s a noir crime film called "Department Q." That will probably be my next big challenge.
The neon set in “Ego” by Tove Stryke was beautiful (1:03). Where was that? Was it built for the set? If so, how difficult was it to light?
The scene was shot in a place called Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It's a spot where people go and eat and see robots dance. Most of the lights were house lights, we just added some colored kinoflo.
What camera is your all around favorite to use? And why?
I like the Alexa mini, because of it's organic-ness and light sensitivity. It's a really diverse camera with a nice size for handheld. After that I think it more about finding lenses you like.
Do you have an ultimate goal you would like to achieve by the end your career?
My goal is just to keep on getting better and keep having fun shooting.