Behind the Scenes with Top Gun: Maverick’s Cinematography Team
In these brief but incredible videos, award-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda discusses behind-the-scenes footage, logistics, and shares stories from the set of the 2022 blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick.
The sequel to the massively popular 1986 original film took so long to be made because the team specifically wanted to wait until the technology was available to capture it all with practical effects. As Miranda says in the video: “This is not green screen nonsense.”
He explains how some of the cameras were rigged in “really impossible places,” which he says required the lenses involved to be of incredible quality while also being very compact. Since Top Gun was more about long lenses, Miranda opted to use the Premiere 75-400mm T2.8-3.8 “all over the place.”
While many smaller cameras and lenses like Zeiss Loxia and Voigtländer were used for the close-up and in-cockpit shots, to capture the action and fast motion of the Fighter Jets, the cinematographers wanted to keep things shot with long zoom lenses.
“We wanted to be acrobatic, we wanted to get the jet down low. We wanted to be able to bank in corners and pull all these serious Gs on everything and then just show that in the movie,” he explains.
This meant capturing ground-to-air and air-to-air all in 4K using the Sony Venice camera. Thanks to a long lens, they could build all kinds of great foreground elements coming through the frame.
Due to the size of the gimbal rigs and enclosures, the cinematography team was limited in the space they had to work with for lens choices, which they say led them to use Fujinon lenses as the primary choice. Over the course of the film, the team leveraged a variety of Cabrio, Premier, and Premista lenses from Fujinon including the Premista 28-100mm T2.9, Premier 14.5-45mm T2.0, Premier 18-85mm T2.0, Premier 24-180mm T2.6, Premier 75-400mm T2.8-3.8, Cabrio 19-90mm T2.9, Cabrio 20-120mm T3.5, Cabrio 85-300mm T2.9-4.0, and the Cabrio 25-300mm T3.5-3.85.
Miranda says he was very impressed with the lenses.
“[There is no] oddball barrel distortion when you’re zooming and there’s no vignetting, there’s no softening toward the edges. It’s all just straight and maintains its field of view throughout the zoom range,” he explains.
The team further details how the lenses also performed exceptionally well in low light scenarios where other lenses “sort of fall apart at the wide end being lit at those levels.”
When asked about maintenance and serviceability issues of the lenses, across the board the team said they had no clue about anything on that topic, as they simply didn’t have those problems with the Fujinon lenses stating they never had to stop shooting and send one back for service.
Top Gun: Maverick is a true love letter to aviation, and the behind-the-scenes video shows just how much preparation, skill, and teamwork it took to make the finished product.