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

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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 »

Quotes

Vittorio Storaro: I understood at that moment that cinema really has no nationality.
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Connections

Edited from The Birth of a Nation (1915) 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)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The best documentary on film-making out there
19 November 2001 | by (Huntington, NY) – See all my reviews

The magical glow Marlene Dietrich gave off in her vintage exotic films, the almost news-coverage like grit of DOG DAY AFTERNOON, the realistic look of JAWS- all the secrets of how to make a film look it's best possible are here in this excellent American Film Institute produced documentary. VISIONS OF LIGHT traces the history of cinematography in simple, everyman terms (No, we don't have cameramen using jargon like "f stops, ground glass, neutral density.") The film clips from such beautifully lensed films as SUNRISE, GRAPES OF WRATH, REBECCA, T-MEN, PICNIC, IN COLD BLOOD, TAXI DRIVER and BLADERUNNER) perfectly highlight the film. A true must see.


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