The Walking Dead’s Swear Director Michael Satrazemis Says Walkers Are Photogenic


Michael Satrazemis has created masterful filmography since the early 1990s, when he spent his days working on films like My Cousin Vinny and Super Mario Brothers. Moving from grip to second assistant camera to now director, the man’s film career spans a long history.

On The Walking Dead, Satrazemis has now directed seven episodes of the hit AMC series, which include the most recent episode “Swear.” In this episode, we’re introduced to the Oceanside character, Cyndie, and we see a new side of Tara.

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC
The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Michael Satrazemis on The Walking Dead

In an interview on AMC, Satrazemis discusses his work as a cinematographer on the show and how to deal with walker herds. “The way [Executive Producer and Special FX Makeup Designer Greg] Nicotero does the walkers, they’re very photogenic. Especially the full-time walkers, because we have three levels of walkers and not all of them can be shot. But the ones that Greg designs are highly photogenic.”

When it comes to shooting herds of walkers, the filmmaker discusses wide shots. “We can put on the widest lens we have and fill it with information — people and walkers. And it’s crazy to see that many walkers.

The amount of work that Greg and those guys had to do this season to get it together is pretty mind-blowing. But yeah we have some massive herds, and it becomes pretty overwhelming.”

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC
The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Telling Story During the Apocalypse

With seven episodes under his belt, it’s likely he’ll continue to expand on his resume within the series. “I’ve always been attracted to the show because of the story. So any time we isolate a couple of characters and get to tell the story that’s underneath this comic book apocalyptic show, that’s fun for me.”

This is certainly true with the introduction of Oceanside. These badass women are certainly new to the story, but they’re even new to the plot overall, as “Swear” was much different than the Oceanside version we’ve seen in the comics. Cyndie is perhaps the most intriguing character on the show this season.

Through the director’s work on The Crow, he has found a way to create a dark and powerful shot. “We always try to find graphic frames, like close-ups with a wider lens. There’s a lot of references in the way we frame things. And as far as lighting, I’m trying to go a lot darker than the comic books. A lot of the show is set in the daytime, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a bright sunny day everywhere. There are very few bright sunny days for our characters.”

Satrazemis is excited to work on The Walking Dead because of the show’s visually creative atmosphere. Hopefully, viewers are still appreciating the beauty of the show, despite the decline in ratings this season.

What do you think about the way The Walking Dead uses camera angles on the show?

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