Vinyl's Cinematographer Reed Morano, A.S.C. is a Superhero

It is a rare feat to be able to peek into the future, but I am pretty positive that we will see Reed Morano, ASC receive an Oscar in not too many years. Whether it is for directing or cinematography remains to be seen. But talent alone is not what makes Reed heroic; she approaches her art, craft, and life with humility, grace, and introspection, and her insights about being an accomplished woman in a male-dominated field are profound.

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Talking about her trailblazing reminded me of the day I watched my two young sons cheer for a 5 foot tall gymnast named Kacy Catanzaro as she became the first female finalist on American Ninja Warrior: on the one hand, breaking that glass ceiling is, in and of itself, a tremendous achievement, but, on the other hand, it is something to behold when a fierce bad-ass woman becomes a hero and role model to boys and men as much as girls and other women.

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Reed is not only such a role model and hero, but she is able to articulate the almost ambivalence between being "one of the guys" and a woman breaking new ground for women.

Cinematographer Reed Morano is the Director of Photography for HBO’s hit new show Vinyl, executive produced by Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger.

In early 2013, Reed was invited to become the youngest member of the American Society of Cinematographers; she is one of very few women out of approximately 340 active members in the organization. She has been named one of Variety's"10 Cinematographers to Watch", one of's "American New Wave 25", and one of five innovative cinematographers in icg magazine's "generation next" spotlight. In 2012, reed's work was featured in Indiewire's "On the Rise '12: 5 Cinematographers Lighting Up Screens in Recent Years" and "Heroines of Cinema: An A-Z of Women in Film in 2012." Some of Reed's thoughts on the digital revolution and how it has affected filmmaking are featured in Keanu Reeves' acclaimed documentary Side by Side. She was honored to be featured in Kodak's long-running OnFilm series.

Reed's work appears regularly at the Sundance Film Festival including the premieres of Little BirdsShut Up and Play the Hits, and For EllenFrozen River won the Grand Jury prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and went on to be nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Actress for Melissa Leo and Best Screenplay) and seven Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Picture; Reed's work on the film was the subject of an article in American Cinematographer. In 2013, Kill Your Darlings, a 35mm period piece about the beat poets set in 1943, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Jason Leigh was released theatrically and premiered at Sundance, as well as the Toronto and Venice film festivals. Also in 2013, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete, premiered at Sundance and was released theatrically that fall; the drama was directed by George Tillman Jr. and stars Jennifer Hudson, Anthony Mackie, and Jeffrey Wright.

In January of 2014, HBO premiered the first season of its new original series, Looking, shot by Reed. Reed's other theatrical premieres of 2014 include The Skeleton Twins, War Story, Autumn Blood, and Rob Reiner's latest feature, And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, written by Mark Andrus of As Good As It Gets.

In the summer of 2014, Reed began production on her first feature as both the director and DP; Cinedigm's dark drama Meadowland stars Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, Elisabeth Moss, Juno Temple and John Leguizamo. Reed is currently leading the charge on a movement to control motion interpolation a.k.a. "the soap opera effect" on our HDTVs; Reed's petition is supported by nearly 10,000 signatures and has gained momentum, attracting the attention of both the film and technology communities.

Reed currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two children.

Notes from the show:

Her dad suggested NYU film school to her because of her love of photography.

All DPs develop an intuition so they can tell from a script how it wants to be shot.

No one teaches you in film school what the etiquette is for a cinematographer.

It takes years and years to find the right combination of your style, the director's ideas, and what's right for the story.

Vinyl's pilot had already been shot before Reed's interview for the HBO series.

Reed likes to light a whole space and yield to amazing spontaneous moments more than planning every shot.

There's a fear of not having enough light.

Reed left film school in no rush to direct.

Reed started working in the grip and electric departments on local shoots. Her first "big" film was Returning Mickey Stern, shot on Fire Island, NY.

Fellow filmmaker and college buddy Toshiro Yamaguchi invited Reed to join the crew of Mickey Stern.

Gripping gave Reed a real understanding of the set. It also provided a paycheck while she shot films on the side.

You build up stamina and muscle memory over time.

She feels like "just one of the guys"- you have to "have a trucker's mentality... you have to be chill."

That time she saw Conrad Hall, ASC speak.

The moment she found out she had been invited into the ASC.

How she got into the ASC.

Her partnership with Olivia Wilde.

The American Cinematographer Manual

The photography of Philip-lorca diCorcia

Find Reed on Instagram at ReedMorano

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