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Visions of Light (1992)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,345 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 28 critic

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself (as Ernest Dickerson)
Michael Chapman ...
Himself
Allen Daviau ...
Himself
...
Himself
Lisa Rinzler ...
Herself
Conrad L. Hall ...
Himself (as Conrad Hall)
William A. Fraker ...
Himself
John Bailey ...
Himself
Néstor Almendros ...
Himself (as Nestor Almendros)
Charles Rosher Jr. ...
Himself (as Charles D. Rosher)
...
Himself
Stephen H. Burum ...
Himself
Harry L. Wolf ...
Himself (as Harry Wolf)
Charles Lang ...
Himself (as Charles B. Lang)
...
Himself
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Storyline

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to Do the Right Thing. Themes: the DP tells people where to look; changes in movies (the arrival of sound, color, and wide screens) required creative responses from DPs; and, these artisans constantly invent new equipment and try new things, with wonderful results. The narration takes us through the identifiable studio styles of the 30s, the emergence of noir, the New York look, and the impact of Europeans. Citizen Kane, The Conformist, and Gordon Willis get special attention. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$799,856 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Todd McCarthy had hoped to include an interview with the legendary cinematographer, John Alton, whose work is highlighted in the film, but could not locate him. Alton had quit the movie business after working on Elmer Gantry (1960), and for many years, even close friends didn't know his whereabouts, or if he was still alive. In 1992, McCarthy was shocked to receive a phone call from the now 91-year-old Alton, who had heard about Visions of Light (1992), and wanted to attend the premiere. Alton insisted that there was nothing mysterious in his disappearance, that he and his wife had simply decided to give up the movie business and travel a bit. They had lived in France, Germany, and Argentina, and had a great time. Alton died in 1996 at the age of 95. See more »

Connections

Edited from The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Shadow Waltz
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Played and sung during a clip from Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A great introduction to cinematography
6 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was a film student in college, but my primary interest was in the story/writing end. While I wasn't totally into the directing and cinematography aspects, I did have a lot of exposure to it, being that the University of Utah film program forces you to have a well-rounded background in all the basics of film-making.

I was also a teacher's assistant in college to a great film professor, who made it a habit of showing this documentary to his classes to introduce them to the field they were getting into. After the three times I was "forced" to watch this piece, I can truly say I gained a treasured respect and appreciation for the mechanics of film. Yes it's story..yes it's acting...but really, the story is conveyed through images--and best conveyed through images captured by those who know what they're doing. There is so much thought that goes into being a good DP--being aware of your surroundings, lighting, being innovative enough to solve problems (because they come up a lot), and how to make an actor look good or how to get the best shot of something.

Rather than explaining like a text book "how to be a good DP," the film is composed of a series of documentary type interviews and clips from influential films over the years--films like "Sunrise" from the silent era, to modern films like "Days of Heaven," "Raging Bull," and "The Godfather." They give a good summary of the best examples of DP work, as well as highlighting why a particular cinematographer was viewed as a master in his field.

This is a well put -together piece, and I'd definitely recommend it.


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