The Goop Lab: Chatting with cinematographer Yamit Shimonovitz about the sexuality episode and more

GOOP.. Courtesy of Netflix
GOOP.. Courtesy of Netflix /

Gwyneth Paltrow’s docuseries, The Goop Lab, hit Netflix recently and we had the chance to chat with the show’s cinematographer, Yamit Shimonovitz.

The Goop Lab is a new Netflix docuseries about Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle and wellness brand, Goop. The series and the brand have received a lot of criticism from the media over the years and the docuseries aims to shed light on the core values of the brand by exploring alternative methods of healing and more through things like energy healing, usage of psychedelics, and female sexuality.

We chatted with the show’s cinematographer, Yamit Shimonovitz, about how she went about filming the show, particularly the sexuality episode which features an orgasm shown in real-time. Shnimonovitz previously worked as the cinematographer on Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly Part II.

Hidden Remote: Did you want to begin by telling us about how you got involved with this project?

Yamit Shimonovitz: I had a meeting with the executive producer, Shauna Minoprio, and she chose me to come and work with them on it.

HR: Were you already familiar with the lifestyle brand of Goop before you started on the docuseries?

YS: A little bit, not super aware of it, but I knew about Gwyneth and Goop.

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HR: Did you work with Gwyneth at all?

YS: My work was mostly with Shauna, we talked about the look, and we did a bunch of location scouting to figure out everything that we needed for the shoot. She was the contact who spoke more with Gwyneth and Elise [Loehnen].

HR: Which episode was your favorite? 

YS: I liked all of them but “The Pleasure Is Ours,” I  think it came out great and I think people can learn a lot from it and I think it’s very empowering. “Cold Comfort” was amazing to learn about energy healing. All of them were great, but those were two of my favorites.

HR: I was impressed with “The Pleasure Is Ours,” I thought you guys did a fantastic job with that episode. How did you approach talking about female sexuality?

YS: Betty Dodson, we got to meet with her. My sensibility was to be very sensual, we are actually showing a vulva, but we wanted to find out a way to shoot it so it was more sensual.

The same with filming the orgasm, it’s very heavy, so we wanted to focus on the emotions going on in the head and being more suggestive rather than explicit.

We had a very small crew on this project and on that particular day it was a whole female crew, it was mostly a fully female crew, we came into the apartment, and I had to work with the daylight coming in and thinking about what would be the best order to film things. We started with a lighter, airier, feel, and then it became a little darker for the later part of the day when we got a little bit less light from outside.

HR: How did you feel about the overall philosophies presented by the show?

YS: I think it was shown with a lot of integrity, even with the energy experience. I’m personally a skeptic — I’m a cinematographer I deal with cameras and physics — but I was blown away by John Amaral because I’ve never experienced someone who can channel energies.

I remember when I was shooting with him, I thought someone was cueing him from outside the camera but it was real, and he can truly channel energy through his body which is quite amazing. I’ve seen a lot of posts saying we’re creating “pseudoscience,” and I don’t necessarily agree with that, personally. I think some people just enjoy giving Gwyneth Paltrow a hard time.

The Goop Lab
GOOP.. Courtesy of Netflix /

HR: I felt like a lot of The Goop Lab episodes had some great factual information and gave their viewers a different side of things, and they introduced subjects that I’ve never heard of before and found interesting. 

YS: I think they did and, separate from the brand, it was more about alternative healing and general stuff like “are you a medium?” I’m not sure what I think about it, but it was very interesting to learn about.

HR: Did you guys have a certain vibe or tone you wanted to create with the cinematography?

YS: Yes, from the beginning, I wanted it to feel airy and light. A lot of times, we were shooting in situations where I had to shoot 360, and the crew was very small, so I always had to think about where the sunlight was going to be and where the windows are.

The sun was mostly my key light, so I had to work around that. I chose the look when we started. I had a very clear idea, I had two LUTs I was using, that I was going back and forth between from the beginning and that’s why I think it has such a unified look.

HR: I  think you guys established that intimate feeling well, especially in the sexuality episode.

YS: Yes, and I think that is the one we got the most contrast in, like the orgasm scene, which actually happened in real-time while we were shooting.

The Goop Lab
GOOP.. Courtesy of Netflix /

HR:  What do you hope audiences take away from The Goop Lab?

YS: I  hope people can be open-minded,  I think people are coming in with a lot of other info, and I hope they can look at this with an open mind, and maybe find some things they can take into their lives. Like maybe a particular breathing technique or being able to look in the mirror at their vulvas without thinking it should look one way or another.

HR:  What kind of cameras did you guys use to film it?

YS: I  used the Sony VENICE, we shot mostly with two cameras. It was important that the talent could do what they wanted, so we wanted to shoot 360  degrees in the space. We had to hide the light in a very inventive way.

The color palette was made very bright. We also tried to keep movement in everything either on a slider; I also had tripods with me to keep things moving and create soft energy.

HR: Thank you so much for chatting with me. I hope people give the show a chance!

YS: Right, I think a lot of people are watching, and I  think the latest reviews we’re getting are good/ We recently got a good LA Times review.

HR: I’d like to see what you guys can tackle in another season of The Goop Lab.

YS: Yes, that would be great!

Next. Gwyneth Paltrow's top 10 movies of all time. dark

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Season 1 of The Goop Lab is now streaming on Netflix.