PROFILE

Tania Freimuth

A pink peony flower with curling petals against a black background.

When cinematographer and Canon Ambassador Tania Freimuth was given an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera as a child, the first shots she took were of flowers in her garden. The subject still inspires her today. Taken on a Canon EOS 7D (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 90D) with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens at 1/125 sec, f/2.8 and ISO500. © Tania Freimuth

A career in a visually creative field was always the likely destination for Canon Ambassador Tania Freimuth. She fell in love with photography as a child before going on to study art at university. Then, fuelled by a passion for the moving image, cinematography became the obvious choice.

It's an industry in which her artistic talents have thrived. Early in her career, she shot music videos that were shown on MTV before making the transition to film. She's now best-known for her work on the critically acclaimed short dramas Kid Gloves and Pitfall and was DoP on Little Darlings, a live-action comedy-drama miniseries for Sky Kids.

"I'm quite concerned with aesthetics," says Tania. "When I'm reading someone else's script, I'm considering all the things that move me. It could be the colours that spring to mind or visual imagery inspired by my favourite artists."

As a cinematographer, it's Tania's role to interpret somebody else's script in the way that she sees it. "It's important for me to put my identity into what I do," she says.

Tania grew up in a small village near a market town in Kent, UK. Her mother was a dancer and her father a keen amateur photographer who turned pro later in life. "There were always cameras around," she recalls. "My grandparents had a Super 8 camera that they took on safari and I remember going to their house one day to watch the film they had made, on their projector."

Tania received her first camera at the age of seven. "It was a little point-and-shoot camera with cassettes that you had to shove in and I took pictures of flowers and rabbits with it," she continues. "That was my start in photography – I liked making albums and collages with the prints."

 A female cinematographer in a black jacket and green woollen hat standing behind a Canon Cinema EOS camera.
Location: London, UK
Specialist areas: Narrative fiction, drama
Favourite kit:
Canon EOS C500 Mark II
Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 FP X
Canon CN-E50mm T1.3 FP X

This fascination with photography has continued throughout Tania's life. In early adulthood, taking pictures gave her "something to focus on" and became "a protective barrier" between her and the places she visited as she travelled the world. Cinematography is her craft, but photography is the passion that informs it.

A low fog hangs over a jetty as two birds take flight in this black and white landscape image.

A low fog hangs over a jetty as two birds take flight in this minimalist landscape. "I'm learning that less in frame can often be more," says Tania. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens at 40mm, 1/400 sec, f/6.3 and ISO200. © Tania Freimuth

A black and white image of a still body of water on a cloudy day. To the left of the frame is a small jetty covered in birds.

Tania shot this image in black and white using the red filter. "As long as I have a vision of what I want to accomplish, I know I'll find a way to do it," she says. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens at 24mm, 1/400 sec, f/11 and ISO200. © Tania Freimuth

Tania's big break as a cinematographer came when she won the Kodak Student Commercial Awards with some friends at the end of their time at university. "We won equipment, money and processing, which led to me making music videos for a few years," she explains. She made videos for English indie rock band The Mock Turtles, which started out as "scratchy time-lapses of clouds shot on Super 8, transferred to VHS and edited offline". These videos eventually got bigger when the band got signed, and included a shoot in Venice for the track And Then She Smiles, which can still be viewed on YouTube.

When her production team disbanded, Tania found herself seeking a new direction and looked for work on commercials. Starting as a clapper loader on advertising shoots, she worked her way up to become a focus puller (or 1st AC) on drama productions.

"While I was working on television dramas, I'd occasionally get asked to shoot short films for people," she recalls. "My big shift from 1st AC to DoP came because someone I'd worked with on a short film came back to me and said, 'I've got money to shoot a feature.'"

 A still from cinematographer Tania Freimuth's showreel showing outstretched hands holding a pair of pale le

Tania is now highly experienced, with over 50 cinematographer or DoP credits to her name – some examples of which you can see in the showreel above. Though her subjects change and she makes sure she adapts to the unique demands of every script, she keeps certain elements of her approach the same.

"If I'm being subjective, I try to get quite close in on the action, which I do with a wide lens like a 35mm (or sometimes even a 14mm) and with the camera mounted on my shoulder," she says. "I like being able to get closer to the person, and holding the camera has a little bit more of an organic feel to it. If I'm being objective and need to give an overview of a scene, I'll stand further back and use a 50mm, with the camera mounted on a tripod."

Tania has acquired technical knowledge and developed a signature style over the years, but her passion and enthusiasm for adding artistic flair to her work has always been present. Curiosity drives her, and despite having already led a full and varied career, she's excited about new directions and the opportunities that lie ahead.

What inspired you to pursue a career in cinematography?

"It's a marriage of two things I enjoy: photography and motion. As a child, a summer holiday treat for me and my brother was a bus ride to the local cinema in the next village. I took myself there to see Grease five times! At that time I also discovered movies by Billy Wilder – Sunset Boulevard is still in my top ten – and Citizen Kane fascinated me. I'd often stay up late watching them and others on TV when I should've been in bed."



What has been your proudest moment so far?

"Shooting Little Darlings, a TV drama which aired in February 2022, is my proudest moment because it's the culmination of my work on indie films and the beginning of another journey, one that will take me to where I want to be."



Your website bio says, "I aim to work as I like to live; with compassion, passion, humour and style." Could you tell us more about how this translates on and off-set?

"It means that I have an open mind, which allows me to take on new ideas. I'm not holding onto one way of doing things – if there's a new bit of kit or somebody in the team comes along with a fresh idea, I'm open to taking those things on board. Away from set, it means I'm loyal, faithful and a good friend."



What are the unique challenges of filming drama, as opposed to other types of filmmaking?

"It's a fast-paced, intense and demanding environment. As well as liaising with the director, which can result in making on the spot creative decisions, I have a large camera and lighting crew to manage. All of which means one needs to be highly adaptable, responsive, understanding and good at listening."



You're a skilled photographer as well as a cinematographer. How do these two visual forms complement each other creatively? For example, do you carry learnings from a photo project to a film?

"Photography keeps my eye in, and allows me to explore different kinds of framing. I've moved away from street photography, which I used to do obsessively when travelling, and now I'm becoming a bit more project-based. Taking time over my images is changing how I look at light, and that's transmitting through to how I shoot films. I've recently shot a series of flower images, which has taught me that less is ultimately more within the frame."

One thing I know

Tania Freimuth



"I think it's really important to be open-minded in life and at work, and remain curious about what you do. Feed your passion. Indulge in whatever stokes that fire and keeps it burning. At the end of the day, it's passion that drives you."

Instagram: @taniafdop
Website: www.taniafreimuth.com

Tania Freimuth's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use

Cameras

Canon EOS C500 Mark II

With a 5.9K full-frame sensor packed into a compact and reliable Cinema EOS body, this camera provides new inspiration and great flexibility for all cinematographers. Tania says: "This is my go-to camera because it's full-frame and gives me Cinema RAW Light, which I have to say is fantastic when it comes to fast post-production."

Canon EOS R

A full-frame 30.3MP sensor with impressive detail, ISO performance and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. "I had the Canon EOS 7D until I bought this camera, and it felt like a huge leap forward," says Tania.

Lenses

Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 FP X

One of a range of full-frame cinema prime lenses named Sumire, with a specially designed 'cinematic look' and interchangeable PL mount. "A 35mm allows me to get closer and make the scene more intimate," says Tania.

Canon CN-E50mm T1.3 FP X

The Sumire Primes' unique optical design offers a nuanced look at the lens' wider aperture settings, subtly modifying textural renderings for pleasing bokeh with superb expressiveness. "I might use a 50mm on a tripod and take a few steps back to isolate my subject," says Tania.

Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM

Capture your subject's true spirit with a lens offering subtle telephoto perspective for flattering portraits, plus macro close focusing and a 5-stop Image Stabilizer for excellent versatility.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM

A highly versatile 24-105mm zoom lens offering photographers and filmmakers an ideal balance between performance, portability and image quality. "I favour being wide and close to things – that's my thing," says Tania. "Photography feeds into what I do as a cinematographer, and 24mm is wide enough."

Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego

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