“The Good, the Bad, and the Not-So-Ugly”
No matter how much new technology we see every month, and it’s quite a bit, the important thing to remember is that everybody on a Local 600 camera team, whether it’s a Tier One indie or a giant blockbuster, is completely dedicated to one goal: creating images to tell stories. Technology is only there to service that goal. Read more
I woke up this morning to a pair of email messages that I wanted to share.
The first was from a retired ICG member, Bernie Dresner, who, writing to me in his 97th year, recounted going to a Local 644 executive board meeting (many years ago) and reporting back to the committee about a New York City lab, where he had seen a Bolex camera mounted in front of a cathode ray tube to record images. Read more
“Shout Out Loud”
How often do we hear, “We couldn’t do it without them”? But, in certain cases, like those of unit publicists and unit still photographers, it really is true, and many of us don’t realize it. Read more
As I write this editorial, my head and heart are still brimming over with creative energy from one of the most incredible gatherings of cinematographers and production crewmembers I’ve ever experienced. Read more
“Pen and Ink”
To all my next-generation friends, I want to send a short love letter:
With my many (fill in the blank) years of experience working in motion pictures, television and commercials, I started my career in Chicago, working non-union, where directors of photography never used operators. In fact, it wasn’t until I came to Los Angeles, years later, and began working at the studios, that I discovered the joy of true collaboration – working with the industry’s best camera operators. Read more
About a week ago I visited the set of a young cinematographer’s first feature film. What I saw was a hard-working, happy crew, and a director, a producer and department heads all working in seamless unison. I was asked to sit with the director and executive producer in video village while this young DP was setting up and executing a shot. Afterward, the producer turned to me and said: “That camera is fantastic! It makes such great images.” I turned to him and said: “No. Your director of photography is the one who makes great images. That camera is just a tool.” Read more
Things are not as they seem. And because our industry is constantly changing, things are never as they seem, especially in this new digital age.
The role of the director of photography had stayed fairly consistent for generations, and yet we see that changing for a number of reasons, even though the DP’s role – as a loyal partner with the director – demands the consistency we’ve had for generations. Read more
At the risk of repeating last month’s introduction, I’d like to start with another famous quote that urges us all to “go confidently in the direction of [our] dreams; live the life [we] have imagined.” Great stuff, to be sure. Yet in the auditorium where I recently heard it were 100 young filmmakers. When the speaker asked if anyone knew who Henry David Thoreau was, not a single hand was raised. Read more
Be Careful What You Wish For
“2K, 4K, 8K, a dollar. All those who want it: stand up and holler!” A cheer heard on the floor at NAB 2013.
When the “K” wars started back in the mid-90s, I was part of a group of vested image-makers who insisted that 4K be the standard to one day replace film (with conventional wisdom at that time being that film had an equivalent resolution to 4K). Read more
As this is our yearly Interview issue, and I’ve been having external and internal conversations for many years about the past, present and future of cinematography, I thought it was an appropriate time to get some answers to those many questions I’ve often asked myself. Blame the copy editor for any typographical errors, but the following opinions are solely those of subject and interrogator, who happen to be one in the same! Read more