Neville Kidd with a Dalek from Doctor Who.
Neville Kidd’s trip to the Creative Arts Emmys this past August might well have been subtitled “The Amazing Race.”
A nominee for outstanding cinematography for a miniseries or movie — for Sherlock: His Last Vow, seen on PBS’s Masterpiece — Kidd had been filming the Starz series Outlander in Scotland just the previous night.
“I had gotten no sleep after work,” he recalls. “I got on a plane to Amsterdam, the only way I could get to Los Angeles in time. I landed in L.A. at 1 p.m. and was at the Nokia Theatre at 3 p.m.”
The whirlwind trip paid off: Kidd, dressed in a kilt, won the Emmy, his first. “I got a second wind when I met all the Sherlock people there,” he says.
“We all had our Emmys on the table at the dinner.”
The show won four Emmys that evening and three more a week later at the primetime ceremony, including Emmys for its stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Kidd’s current job has taken him home. “Scotland is not a sunny place — you have to make your own light,” he notes. “Outlander is eighteenth-century Scotland. We bounced light off the woods to make it feel like that setting.”
Indeed, whatever the project, “I read the script and try to get into the atmosphere, to make it as natural and real as possible,” says Kidd, whose credits include the Doctor Who fiftieth episode (broadcast simultaneously in 94 countries) and many other British productions.
Next up: the Syfy miniseries Childhood’s End, filmed in Australia and based on the 1953 novel by Arthur C. Clarke.
For Sherlock, “I wanted to add a few tricks that hadn’t been used before,” he says. “One was a 360-degree spinning rig that gave it a Matrix feel. It’s the crucial moment where Sherlock [Cumberbatch] is shot. You’re telling the truth of the storyline as the viewer sees it, but also the way Sherlock sees it. You’re inside his head.”
Kidd looks to tell the truth in his work — but don’t ask him to reveal upcoming plots. “People are desperate to know what the next Sherlock or Outlander is,” he says with a laugh. ”The fun is keeping the secret. People like to be entertained.”