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 »

Writer:

Reviews
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Documentary about the art of film editing. Clips are shown from many groundbreaking films with innovative editing styles.

Director: Wendy Apple
Stars: Kathy Bates, Zach Staenberg, Jodie Foster
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

110 of the world's top cinematographers discuss the art of how and why films look the way they do.

Director: Jon Fauer
Stars: Remi Adefarasin, Russ T. Alsobrook, Howard A. Anderson III
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 2001 Jack Cardiff (1914-2009) became the first director of photography in the history of the Academy Awards to win an Honorary Oscar. But the first time he clasped the famous statuette ... See full summary »

Director: Craig McCall
Stars: Jack Cardiff, Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A look at 1970s Hollywood when it was known as New Hollywood, and the director was the star of the movie.

Director: Kenneth Bowser
Stars: Martin Scorsese, Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

War stories and life lessons from the industry's top writers.

Director: Peter Hanson
Stars: Allison Anders, Jane Anderson, Doug Atchison
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Martin Scorsese describes his initial and growing obsession with films from the 1940s and 50s as the art form developed and grew with clips from classics and cult classics.

Directors: Martin Scorsese, Michael Henry Wilson
Stars: Martin Scorsese, Allison Anders, Kathryn Bigelow
Side by Side (2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The documentary investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation.

Director: Christopher Kenneally
Stars: Derek Ambrosi, Michael Ballhaus, Andrzej Bartkowiak
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary examining the decade of the 1970s as a turning point in American cinema. Some of today's best filmmakers interview the influential directors of that time.

Directors: Ted Demme, Richard LaGravenese
Stars: Francis Ford Coppola, William Friedkin, Robert Altman
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Tells the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself.

Directors: Paul Mariano, Kurt Norton
Stars: Jeff Adachi, James H. Billington, Robin Blaetz
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The career and life of Stanley Kubrick is explored through pictures, clips from his films, his old home movies, comments from his colleagues and a narration by Tom Cruise.

Director: Jan Harlan
Stars: Katharina Kubrick, Malcolm McDowell, Stanley Kubrick
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on the life and films of director John Ford.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: John Ford, Peter Bogdanovich, Orson Welles
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In this documentary about low-budget filmmaking in upstate New York, you'll learn how affordable digital-video technology has changed the lives of the artists behind action flicks, monster ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Hanson
Stars: David Bunce, Joe Bagnardi, Brandon Bethmann
Edit

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
Edit

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


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

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.
See more »

Connections

Features Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) 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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

You'll never look at a film the same way after seeing this!!!
22 October 1999 | by (Washington DC) – See all my reviews

This is a great, I repeat great, documentary on the history of cinematography. No film student should be without it!! It covers all the changes in technology and techniques and its impact on film.

It brilliantly shows the freedom of camera movement during the silent period and how things became more restricted when sound was added later and the transition from B/W to Color. But most importantly, clearly depicts how Directors of Photography over came these limitations and created new techniques which changed film history forever. Brilliant!!!! You'll never look at a film the same way after seeing this.

Covers many different aspects of "the Hollywood look" and the different "Studio looks" throughout time. Also uncovers the secrets of many DP's and how they made their "Stars" look so incredible!!

I especially like the section on Film Noir and the plethora of absolutely breath taking film clips!!! Included in this gem of a documentary are great clips from classics like the 1947 version of "Oliver Twist" and examples from some of the greatest DP's of all time!!! Arthur Miller...etc...

Very entertaining!! Even for non-film buffs!!! I've showed this documentary to friends and relatives and they all seem to watch with amazement!!!

I liked it so much I just had to buy it!


13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
rain/tears Maychin92
Diffusion in Days of Heaven PiranianRose
What movie is this scene from? hrg91
Other Cinematographer/DP documentaries anandare
Where can I find the version of 'the aquarium' used in this documentary? mielr
If there's ONE movie that deserves a Blu-Ray release... Shmann
Discuss Visions of Light (1992) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page