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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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
Most of the interviews with Cinematographers were shot using early HDTV production equipment, in order to introduce HDTV to Hollywood Cinematographers. NHK-Japan provided the equipment, hoping that American Cinematographers would start using the new technology. See more »
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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