Award-Winning Kiwi Mandalorian Cinematographer – Baz Idoine
Did you know… that the award winning cinematographer behind many episodes of The Mandalorian is a kiwi? Barry “Baz” Idoine is a New Zealand-born cinematographer who has been working as the Director of Photography (DoP) on The Mandalorian streaming series since the start of the first season (and Additional Director of Photography for selected episodes). Last year he won an Emmy Award for his contribution to The Mandalorian in the category of Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (specifically for Chapter 7: The Reckoning, in conjunction with Greig Fraser). He has also received an award for his work on The Mandalorian from the American Society of Cinematographers (Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Episode of a Half-Hour Television Series, for Chapter 13: The Jedi), and a nomination in the Visual Effects Society Awards (Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project) for Chapter 6: The Prisoner.
Idoine started his film and TV career straight out of high school – at the bottom of the ladder, working photocopying machines at Television New Zealand. It was his certainty that he wanted to work in the industry that meant he was keen to take whatever role helped him get a foot in the door. Since that time, Iodine ascended through the roles of clapper loader and various camera operator positions (including on Ocean’s Eleven, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and The Bourne Legacy), before entering the Star Wars universe in 2016 as second unit DoP on Rogue One: A Star Was Story, and ultimately moving in to director of photography roles on The Mandalorian.
The role of the cinematographer/director of photography is to control the use of cameras, lenses, and lighting, to craft the artistic rendering of the director’s vision. Although the director is responsible for managing the action and performance of the actors, the DoP contributes significantly to the visual storytelling through their task of capturing a scene digitally or on film.
In an interview with Stuff.co.nz late last year, Baz talks about his first encounter with Star Wars:
The original Star Wars, I’m pretty sure I saw that at the Starlight (Cinema) in Papatoetoe and like the rest of the world I thought it was fantastic. I was a young teenager and I didn’t understand anything about film theory then, but I knew it was a great rollicking adventure and I loved it. I then watched every single other Star Wars movie that came out and loved that universe.
He goes on to discuss the topic of The Mandalorian series, and its obligations to the Star Wars legacy:
It is a fervent fan base and a massive proportion of the population loves the films. It wasn’t a concern or a worry, but in Mandalorian we really wanted to be faithful to the idea of Star Wars, the ideology of Star Wars, the canon of Star Wars, so that was part of that story, that it could slot in, that you could watch it and feel like it wasn’t a weird remake or spin-off or something like that. When you pay respect and homage like that to the original films, it keeps that fan base quite happy.
Not to mention, of course, Grogu:
When I was shooting the Child (aka Baby Yoda) I knew that character was special but we didn’t realise how it would explode around the world, that everybody would love it the way they did. It’s fantastic that it’s so popular because it’s such a good story.
Hopefully we will see more of Baz Idoine’s work in upcoming Star Wars projects, but either way, we love to celebrate any example of local talent contributing to the Star Wars franchise in any way, and congratulate him on the awards he has earned from lending his artistry and knowledge to The Mandalorian.