‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ Cinematographer Nicole Hirsch Whitaker

When Jupiter’s Legacy dropped on Netflix, one of the first things that stand out is the color palette used to elevate the film. In comes Nicole Hirsch Whitaker, the DP of the series, and I enjoyed talking to her about the project. Her work from the Apple TV+ series Truth Be Told to Cobain: Montage of Heck but this series was her first taste within the colorful land of comics.

  • First, Nicole, I want to thank you for your time today, how are you?

Great, thank you.

  • What was your first job in the movie industry? 

I worked on a Tommy Chong movie called “Far Out Man” where I helped in the art dept. rolling prop joints!

  • Jupiter’s Legacy is based on a comic book series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, what was the difference between preparing for this vs. past work?

I had never worked on a superhero or graphic novel-based show before. This was such a wonderful challenge. The visuals from the books were an amazing and great reference for us to work with. We used them for the story, framing, and color.

  • The tone changes throughout the show, what are some of the obstacles that you have to overcome in trying to find the right color palette?

Over the eight episodes, we were able to find the right color palette for both the modern and 1930s scenes. As each script progressed the look fell into place. We tried not to be too heavy-handed with either era. 

Keeping the modern color palette more based in reality with strong blacks and a desaturated yet tonal quality, while the 1930s look was meant to feel warmer and more of a tobacco look.  

Once the show was all finished, it was important that it had a consistent look across all of the episodes in order to keep the viewer rooted in the story and not distracted.

  • What was the biggest thing you took away from working on this show? 

I seriously had an amazing time shooting this show. It was a huge production with multiple units and we had so many incredible departments and tools.  

Just being able to collaborate with wonderful VFX supervisors and producers, stunts, costumes, and the art department on this project was such a joy. I also had an amazing supportive camera department and that kept me going every day.

  • What advice would you give other aspiring cinematographers? 

In terms of doing what you love, I would always tell anyone to just start working and dive in.  

There is no better school or experience than being in the field. Cinematography and the film industry, in general, can be intimidating, but there are plenty of people and mentors to support you along the way. Just find them. 

I for one love to talk to anyone who is inspired and love to help any up-and-coming DP’s achieve their dreams.

  • Are there any upcoming projects you can tell us about? 

I am about to start a new show in the UK and Ireland and I am also in prep for a Netflix show shooting this Fall. I wish I could share more, but I am very excited. 

Recently, I wrapped working on another show for Warner Bros. and Starz called “Shining Vale” with Sharon Horgan and Dearbhla Walsh. 

You can check out Nicole’s work on Jupiter’s Legacy which is streaming on Netflix now.

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