Michael Bernard's work as a director and cinematographer represents an interesting mix of cultures. Born in Southern California, he was raised and educated in Britain, hence his unmistakable accent and refined frame of artistic and visual references. And while he worked his way up the production ladder from best boy to gaffer to D.P., he came to the film industry from a career as musician, playing bass in a rock and roll band. It's no wonder his work as a cinematographer has found a home in the visually-driven world of music videos, where he's shot for some of the biggest directors and some of the biggest artists in the music business. Others have recognized his work, too: Michael was nominated for an AICP award in 2004, and for an MTV Music Video award in 2003 and 2005.
The list of directors he's collaborated with includes cYclops founder Albert Watson, as well as David La Chapelle, Dave Meyer, Frank Budgen, Marcus Nispel, Rocky Morton and others. Now, after having worked with talents such as these for the past dozen years, Michael has taken the next logical step in his career and begun directing commercials himself.
His love of photography and lighting guides Michael's work as a cinematographer. "I try to create an emotion visually, and capture that through composition," he says. "The best photographs are able to evoke an emotion through a single image, and that's what I strive for in my film work, that single frame or scene that sparks a response in audiences."
His musical background continues to have an influence on his work as a director and cinematographer as well. "I try to capture images lyrically, to bring things to the camera with a sense of rhythm between the composition and the lighting and how it works with the editing," he says. "Every element is important; what's key is how they all play together."