Taking Flight with Top Gun: Maverick (American Cinematographer)

Iain Marcks

May 26, 2022

Thirty-six years later, Cruise’s rebellious aviator is back to mentor the next generation of young, good-looking “Top Gun” pilots. To help bring the much-anticipated sequel to the screen, cinematographer Claudio Miranda, ASC and director Joseph Kosinski have harnessed the latest advances in digital-camera technology, optics and support to raise the flight-photography bar for Top Gun: Maverick.

Claudio Miranda, ASC and director Joseph Kosinski employ the latest gear and techniques to capture genuine high-flying action.

At top, playing ace pilot Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Tom Cruise performs while actually in flight.
Images courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

When Top Gun was released in 1986, audiences hadn’t seen anything like it before. Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer wanted to make a slick, high-octane motion picture about an elite Navy fighter pilot school and fill it with young, good-looking actors and exhilarating aerial photography — and they wanted to do it with real fighter jets. With Jeffrey L. Kimball, ASC’s strong, naturalistic cinematography helping to realize director Tony Scott’s stylish vision (AC May ’86) — along with the United States Navy’s cooperation and the onscreen charisma of the film’s star, Tom Cruise, as ace pilot Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell — the filmmakers were able to do just that. The movie was a box-office smash.

Thirty-six years later, Cruise’s rebellious aviator is back to mentor the next generation of young, good-looking “Top Gun” pilots. To help bring the much-anticipated sequel to the screen, cinematographer Claudio Miranda, ASC and director Joseph Kosinski have harnessed the latest advances in digital-camera technology, optics and support to raise the flight-photography bar for Top Gun: Maverick.