Cinematographers do not stand in the spotlight the way a film’s stars or director does, and that is just what Feixue Tang enjoys about her job. She never has to worry about how she looks or sounds on camera or being the center of attention. Instead, she lets her work speak for itself. She can focus solely on executing her craft to perfection, understanding that a cinematographer is one of the most important roles when putting together a production.
“I love that it’s a job in which you utilize your creativity, your aesthetic taste, your personal visual library to create visuals and imagery from scratch to bring an idea into life and onto the screen,” said Tang. “It’s an extremely satisfying creative experience, as you will constantly seek inspiration from not only other fellow filmmakers, but also in your personal experience, and in all kinds of other forms of arts – photography, painting, music, literature, etc.”
As a renowned cinematographer in her home country of China and abroad, Tang is a true artist behind the camera. She has worked on many award-winning films, such as Here & Beyond, The Elephant in the Room, Who We Are, and Lumpkin, GA, always aiming to tell the story as beautifully as she can.
It isn’t just film that Tang has mastered. The cinematographer knows how to create a captivating commercial, evident with her work in a series of commercial spots for Union Pay in China. The three commercials were created for TV and aired December 2018 on TV and online, including WeChat, China’s most popular messaging service. Union Pay is the biggest financial organization in China, so the commercials provided the entire country to be exposed to Tang’s work on a regular basis for an instantly recognizable client.
“It feels good to see your work on TV and I’m happy that the client feels satisfied with the spots as well,” she said.
The three commercials were designed to promote the QuickPass feature of Union Pay. The new feature allows users to use their debit cards, credit cards, metro cards and other Union Pay services by swiping their phones over the POS machine or other devices to make payment within a second.
“China just entirely moved into the cell phone payment era last year, and this product is another step forward in making it even faster. I think it’s another step forward in how new technology changes people’s daily life in China,” said Tang.
Tang worked alongside famous Chinese Director Yiyuan Liao on the commercials, who approached the cinematographer after being vastly impressed by her work. Each commercial took place in a different location, showcasing the versatility of the product. They built three different sets on stage, including a set of a subway, a metro bus and a supermarket. Tang’s work started from the very early stages of the pre-production, talking with the production designer on the designs of the space because they were building everything from scratch. She presented a look book with very thorough references and lighting plan so the entire team could be on the same page before starting to build the sets. Camera positions, movements and lighting plans were all involved in this process, and Tang wanted everything to be as efficient as possible when it came time for filming. They were on a tight schedule with a very fast turnaround, so she decided for the sets of the subway and supermarket to light the space from above, creating an overall high key, tech, futuristic look to the commercial, which is what the product is representing – the fastest mobile payment representing the future of technology and financing, which is artistically accurate to the product and also with production-efficiency.
“Commercials are a different game. It’s entirely a different creature than fictional films or documentaries. If the cinematography of films is about subtlety, it’s all about straight forward being visually punchy and striking in commercial. It’s challenging and fun in the way that you really need your imagery to have the strength and intensity, playing with colors, shapes and movements. In ways it is very cinematography heavy and I really liked the experience,” Tang concluded.