The HoloFiles

Celebrating Cinematographer Greig Fraser’s Contributions to Star Wars

By George Bate

Greig Fraser recently won an Academy Award for his work as cinematographer on Dune, the sprawling sci-fi epic that earned a number of awards at this year’s Oscars. Over the last several years, Fraser has become one of the most sought-after cinematographers in the industry, with his singular vision and breathtaking visuals a highlight of some of the most popular films and television shows. The Australian cinematographer is behind the stunning visuals of films such as The Batman, Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher, Vice, and Let Me In, but he’s also played a significant role behind the scenes in a galaxy far, far away.

Greig Fraser served as director of photography on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a film that is arguably the most visually stunning of the Disney-era Star Wars films. Fraser brilliantly evokes the visual language of the original trilogy in Rogue One, in particular A New Hope. Fraser goes above and beyond mere superficial similarities and callbacks to the 1977 original as he brings a depth and clarity to Rogue One that emotionally matches the aesthetic of the Star Wars people grew up with. Fraser used the AARI ALEXA 65 camera, coupled with old and worn lenses to give the film its distinct look. Showcasing his love for cinema more broadly, Fraser also leans on films like The French Connection, Lawrence of Arabia, and Black Hawk Down in capturing the visuals of Rogue One. His meticulous dedication to the craft is evident in every single frame of Rogue One. From the beaches of Scarif to the streets of Jedha to the darkness of Vader’s castle, Rogue One is a beautiful film, in large part due to the work of Greig Fraser.

Fraser’s contributions to Rogue One led to his involvement in The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars television series. Highlighting his ever-growing talent as a cinematographer, Fraser took on a novel task with The Mandalorian in using a piece of visual production technology that will remain a staple for years to come. Fraser’s work on Rogue One involved the use of LED screens, but this was very much a precursor to The Volume used on The Mandalorian and subsequently on The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. With the use of this new technology, Fraser helped craft the visual style of The Mandalorian. His work on Chapters 1, 3, and 7 saw him collaborate with directors Dave Filoni and Deborah Chow to bring up about the beautiful landscapes of Nevarro, the icy planet Pagodon, and the desert world of Arvala-7. Although Fraser served as director of photography on three of 16 episodes of the series so far, it’s clear his visual style helped set the standard for the aesthetic and feel of The Mandalorian and other live-action Star Wars shows.

Fresh off of his Academy Award win, it’s more evident than ever that Greig Fraser’s immense contributions to Star Wars warrant attention. In helping pioneer the novel use of The Volume and helming the visuals of the first Star Wars spin-off film and live-action television series, one can only hope that Fraser’s cinema journey takes him back to a galaxy far, far away soon.

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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