Killers of the Flower Moon DOP Rodrigo Pietro, who is also responsible for the ethereal cinematography of Barbie, revealed how he gained inspiration for the technicolored realm of Barbie Land.
Barbie and Killers of the Flower Moon DOP, Rodrigo Prieto, alum of famous Mexican film school Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, was a part of The Hollywood Reporter’s Cinematographer’s Roundtable, with the likes of Oppenheimer DOP Hoyte van Hoytema and Christina Dunlap of American Fiction.
In the informal discussion, the cinematographers shared details about their methodologies, ‘happy accidents,’ and their approaches to challenging scenes and cinema. For Rodrigo Prieto, ‘great cinematography’ was when the film’s imagery was in sync with the story and the emotional arcs of the characters.
When asked by the interviewer about the visual magic he created for Gerwig’s Barbie Land, he elaborated upon the visual imagery he wanted to unveil to the viewers, “We wanted to feel like they’re inside a box and to photograph it the way it feels when you open a box as a kid. You see the toy is presented to you, and it’s full of light, it’s innocent, and it’s frontal.”
Prieto further divulged how they carefully curated the camera to ensure its frontal placement, or sideways, or behind, but never obliquely. He also shared how they took inspiration from the films of the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s for the stage, the box, and the color palette. Then, he revealed a startling bit of information.
Apparently, it was due to Killers of the Flower Moon and its climactic radio show scenes, that Barbie Land got its own technicolor palette. Pietro explained, “We created a lookup table that emulated three-strip Technicolor. Later, I used that as a base to create Techno Barbie.”
It was Greta Gerwig who decided to call it Techno Barbie. Thanks to Pietro and his unique innovation for Killers of the Flower Moon, Barbie gained enhanced pinks and cyans and yellows and greens, and became an ethereal, visual wonderland for the audience.