Exclusive: ‘Life of Pi’ Cinematographer Claudio Miranda Tapped For Star Trek 2016 – Film To Shoot Digitally


While the crew seen on screen for the 2016 Star Trek movie will remain the same, there are going to be some changes to the crew behind the camera. TrekMovie can now exclusively report on a couple of key new members of director Roberto Orci’s team. More details below.

Oscar-winning Cinematographer Claudio Miranda Joins Star Trek 2016 Team

Unlike Star Trek Into Darkness, which retained most of the behind-the-scenes team from the 2009 Star Trek movie, Roberto Orci’s 2016 Star Trek film will feature some new faces. Part of this is Bob putting his signature on the film and part of it is due to how some of the people who worked the last two Trek films are working with JJ Abrams on Star Wars: Episode VII, including cinematographer Daniel Mindel.

Cinematographer Claudio Miranda on the set of "TRON: Legacy" with director Joseph Kosinsky

Now sources have confirmed with Trekmovie that director Roberto Orci and his fellow Star Trek producers have picked Claudio Miranda to be the Director of Photography. Miranda won an Academy Award for his work on Life of Pi in 2012. He also picked up a BAFTA, a Critics Choice Award and a number of local critics awards for Life of Pi. Miranda also has an additional Academy Award nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, along with a number of other award nominations, including two from the American Society of Cinematographers.

A shot from "Life of Pi" – a film which garnered Miranda an Oscar

Star Trek will not be Miranda’s first time in genre films as he was the DP on TRON: Legacy in 2010, Oblivion in 2013, and (if you count it as genre) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008. And earlier this year Miranda wrapped up production on the Disney genre film Tomorrowland (written and produced by Trek vet Damon Lindelof).

"Oblivion" featurette includes comments from Miranda

Star Trek 2016 To Be Shot Digitally

TrekMovie has also learned that Miranda and Orci are planning on shooting the new Star Trek film digitally. JJ Abrams shot both of his Trek films on film, but shooting on film is becoming rarer these days. In 2013 only three of the top ten grossing live-action movies were shot on film (one of which was Into Darkness). And so far in 2014 only two of the top ten were shot on film. Miranda is an expert in the technology, shooting his last five films with digital cameras (including the Oscar-nominated Benjamin Button and Oscar-winning Life of Pi).

Claudio Miranda with a digital camera on the set of "Life of Pi" with director Ang Lee

Kim Winther Joining As First AD + More New People Being Added

Another new person behind the camera will be Kim Winther who is coming on board as First Assistant Director, the position Tommy Gormley held for the last two Trek films (but he too is working with JJ on Star Wars). Winther worked with Orci as First AD on last year’s Ender’s Game (which Orci produced). She has a long history as first and second assistant director dating back to the 80s and has worked on a number of big genre films including Stargate, Independence Day, The Day After TomorrowX-Men First Class, and this year’s Edge of Tomorrow.

TrekMovie is currently working on additional stories on the team Roberto Orci is putting into shape, which will include some of the people who worked on the 2009 Star Trek and/or Star Trek Into Darkness

Stay tuned to TrekMovie for more updates on the development of the upcoming Star Trek film.


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And this is AWESOME. Can’t wait to see it on the Blu Ray at home! I hope they also mix the audio in 7.1 again.

He looks like a cross between Jim Steinman and Jimmy Savile.

If he is going to be doing more in the OBLIVION vein visually (the sky tower stuff), that could be awesome (getting it in-camera instead of a ton of post vfx.)

I’ve interviewed him before, about OBLIVION, LIFE OF PI and BENJAMIN BUTTON. He’s a good guy, knows a lot, but has worked with visual directors who already know what they want to do with the camera (fincher, kosinki, Lee in most instances), so perhaps a strange choice for somebody who isn’t a visual stylist.

Great choice, he’ll give the movie a great “look”…Life of Pi was gorgeous.

Man, I wish I worked in show biz….and lived in Vancouver. This is going to be an awesome production.

3. kmart
How do you know Bob isn’t a visual stylist?

Somebody is really taking good care of Trek right now.. :) Thank you. And thanks for the info also!

That’s something that evolves and develops, usually with a strong commercial directing background, like Kosinski and Ridley Scott and Fincer all possess. Writer/director hyphenates who start as writer don’t usually develop that, and not all that quickly either (John Huston would be an exception) … Nicholas Meyer was very up front about how uncomfortable he was with the camera and how dissatisfied he was with his work on TIME AFTER TIME and TWOK.

I don’t see ANY directing credits for Orci yet … if somebody could point me to his commercial reel, or even some Super-8 stuff, maybe we could get an enhanced perspective … ?

8. kmart
I fully understand what you are saying, but why not give Orci the benefit of doubt until you see the final product in 2016? Maybe Orci will be the second coming of someone like Huston.

You know, I bet this was Brad Bird’s idea. Miranda shot TOMORROWLAND for him, and there’s already the Bird/BR connect with M:I, and Bird was talked up for TREK at least one time I can recall.

And yeah, event hough Bird has only done a couple live-action films, I most definitely WOULD consider him something of a visual stylist. Geez, THE INCREDIBLES is an awesome piece of work, the only animated pic in decades I wished I’d seen in the theater.

Benefit of the doubt is already used up on the writing end for me in this case, as with the exception of the S31 stuff in ID, I have been seriously unimpressed with what I’ve managed to sit through with his name on it.

When Orci is involved with something that has the pedigree and esteem of, say, THE MALTESE FALCON (written AND directed by Huston at age 35), lemme know and I’ll reconsider.

Plus these movies are not big stylistic exercises anyway. Probably why they couldn’t get Scott interested in doing FIRST CONTACT. If marc forster did a trek, I bet we’d get beamups and phaser hits seen as reflections and every other oblique stylistic thing, but then again I don’t imagine Paramount is going anywhere near Forster after WWZ’s problems.

…interesting ;-)

50th anniversary
Shatner and Nimoy
Oscar winning cinematographer
5 Year mission

Bob! Awesome so far

He may very well be a good DP, but it doesn’t take a genius to make a Fincher movie look good. And he won an Oscar for Life of Pi, but let’s be honest, a computer shot that movie. Weirdest Oscar win in recent memory.

Fantastic addition to the team! Another positive sign for Star Trek 3.0

I work in the business and it isn’t becoming “rarer” to shoot on film. Most movies are still shot on film. Movies distributed on film is becoming rarer, shooting on film is not.

This move is likely intended as a cost cutting measure. It seems unlikely that Paramount will throw quite as much money on this third installment as was spent on Into Darkness.

Any word on the editor?

“Life of Pi” was beautifully crafted. I have no doubt this guy has the right talent.

Really disappointed they are planning to shoot digitally.

White digital cameras have come a long way in recent years, nothing compares aesthetically to the quality of 35mm anamorphic film. Its beautiful. It’s been tradition for all the Trek films (sans VI) to be shot this way… I was hoping they’d continue this, especially since this film will mark the 50th anniversary.

Personally, I hope they reconsider and make the effort to keep in with film.

Tron Legacy and Oblivion are both visually stunning films. This is great news.

@ 21 Darren

I’m also a big fan of film and anamorphic, but digital offers a number of advantages including being able to shoot in 3-D, which this DP was plenty of experience with.

Life of Pi, Oblivion, Tron:Legacy — Three visual masterpieces to say the least…technically Trek III is in good hands now…we can rely on that guy…
yeah, it’s going to be the Reliant…you know, a Miranda-Class blockbuster :-)

@9: WOW…you’re so right… he is Efrosian…he’s President of the UFP… and he’s called Miranda… it all makes sense now… the Miranda-Class wasn’t named after Shakespeare, it’s named after the first Efrosian UFP president to become Director of Photography…

Anyway, I already love the guy… he’s been involved in classic genre masterworks, he bears a classic Trek-related name and he looks like the UFP president…:-))

Awesome choice, well done!

Your disregard for a DP work (wether is in a Fincher movie or in CGI-heavy movie) makes me think you don’t really know what a Director of Photographt does…

Looking more and more forward to this movie! Every new newstidbit seems to go in a great direction! Make it a giant Star Trek Celebration, Bob! :)

If they should digital I really hope they won’t use the Arri Alexa like a lot of other features do right now. Yes, a lot of cinematographers like it because of it’s film-like look, but the cameras maximal resolution is 2.8k. So if they shoot with the Alexa the movie will forever be stuck at Full-HD resolution basically. Star Trek 2009 and Into Darkness on the other hand can always be rescanned in 4k because the filmmaterial it was shot on actually offers that resolution. I don’t mind shooting digital. But please use a camera that offers more than Full-HD like the Red Epic or Sony F65. Both cameras allow for a much higher resolution. The Alexa does not.

OMG these are great news! I love his photography.

I disagree with your assessment of PI, though I understand your perspective. I think it would more true to contest the AVATAR DP win, given that Cameron’s movie had been capturing for something like a year before the cinematographer was even hired. On PI a significant amount of the imagery was captured live, often as separately-shot elements, and this was done while coordinating visual cues for elements that would be added in post.

A thought just occurred to me. Perhaps that “Star Trek Into Oblivion” thing on IMDB wasn’t just nonsense. Maybe someone put it there as a clue.

But can he do lens flares?!

Oblivion and Tron Legacy looked gorgeous! So he can make the new Trek look gorgeous too!

Mr. Orci, I bet this news caused JJ to make an angry phone call!

Great news! I was originally hoping for it to be shot on film, but after reading that this dude shot Life of Pi and Tron Legacy digitally, I am all for it! I just watched Tron Legacy the other night and was trully amazed at the imagery. I’m so stoked for this!

And yeah, shooting digitally is much cheaper, so another cost-saving measure that makes sense.

Any idea if ilm will return for vfx duties ?

There’s a lot of data to wrangle when capturing digital, since the tendency is to let the camera keep going, so managing that actually does add up to a different expense.

There are many thoughts about whether ultimately digital is cheaper, but the industry has really set itself up to think in terms of digital workflows (not having to scan the film before you do stuff to it, etc.), just as it did for CG over conventional miniature VFX (which was in my opinion a bad call, as you should use the right tool for the right job, not just the trendy cost-cutting one.

The shows that were a mix of miniature and digital like STARSHIP TROOPERS and APOLLO 13 and EVENT HORIZON and SPACE COWBOYS show how great miniature work really is, and often digital still doesn’t have that weight … which may be why we keep seeing so many lens flares, to keep a gauzy glitz from revealing such shortcomings.)

Magnificent choice! Life of Pi was visual splendor at its finest. Especially the India sequences.

Star Trek 3 is going to be gorgeous!

Great choice! Loved the look of ‘Oblivion’!

34, Good point! If he doesn’t use anamorphic lenses, those flares will look a lot different.

Now, I am fully amped for this next Trek!!

The actual news is starting to trickle in. I wonder how long it will be until Trek 3 gets its own tab at the top of the page. Then we’ll know we’re really underway. ;-)

This is getting interesting. It appears that BobOrci is doing something of his own thing, even with some things carried over from the first two JJ Abrams movies.

To me, this bodes well for his motion picture directorial debut.

One crew person behind the scenes I’d love to see back is Michael Giacchino as composer. He added a lot to Star Trek, and especially Into Darkness, and his somewhat old school approach is much preferred to the Hans Zimmer approach when it comes to Star Trek.

In any case, I look forward to seeing the results.

This is awesome news! Life of Pi and Tron: Legacy were among the best looking movies of the last few years. Can’t wait to see the new look for Trek!

Trek has been fortunate to have some really great DPs in the past. John Alonzo comes to mind. While the film overall may have been a mixed bag, Alonzo made Generations look nice. Similarly, Andrew Laszlo gave The Final Frontier a gorgeous look.

Its about time someone who LOVED and LOVES and KNOWS Star Trek inside and out is in the captains chair.

I love Abrams, I loved his Star Trek movies but they were clearly made by a brilliant director who wasn’t really a Star Trek fan growing up.

Even if critically and financially the movie fails to surpass Into Darkness or Star Trek, I think we can all be safe in the knowledge that this will be a movie for Star Trek fans.

Lets hope the rest of the world enjoys it enough to go and see it.

Note: Please upgrade the sounds of the Photons and other weapons!

ROBERTO, you have a FANTASTIC cinematographer to work with! Lucky man you!!


I also hope that Giacchino is back to compose the score.

# 48. TrekMadeMeWonder – October 3, 2014

” Note: Please upgrade the sounds of the Photons and other weapons!” — TrekMadeMeWonder

I don’t know. The original sound fx they copped from Pal’s WAR OF THE WORLDS was pretty fantastic. I suppose it could always be punched up with added bass and reverb, but beyond that, I can’t imagine the upgrade that you are looking for?