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#21 john Spear

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:37 PM

Yeaaaah, but quoting Janusz Kaminski and Michael doesn't really make any sense in your assessment of the situation. You just have a very European (I'll say) view of the way a Camera Man and a DP should be seperate people. In America, however, that's normally not at all the case. I've seen Operators very involved with productions, but not to where they're making decisions over the DP. I just personally know I wouldn't want to be involved with a whole feature that that would be the case. A short might be a nice experiment, but jeez, what a frustrating experience that would be... Just one man's opinion...


Cool... That's cool... I guess you've got a right to your opinion and that's O.K. I didn't say they should be separate people but often times they are and have been, and in very visually striking productions. I stand behind the finished product as the proof of what or who is right about this or that, and not trivial or personal opinions... which are always welcome anyway... Not a nationalistic trait... European or American... Even though Robert Rodriguez, I guess the hero of every DP who wants to "do everything" pays homage to Sergio Leone , an Italian who made the westerns closer in truth to what they were, people who didn't shave for weeks with sweaty stench and who would kill anyone for a "fist full of dollars"... as opposed to Bonanza with their ironed shirts and spotless hats and gilette shaven smooth as silk faces. And even though it is tough, admit it. It was the french who invented motion pictures, and russians that developed continuity... I could go on
Yes, America has developed and invested in film and deserves its place, but without disregarding the artistry of others who contribute to the creative process, so often disregarded for mere self agrandisement... and that is not what it is about. It is not a multicoorporation, It's a teamwork where people work together to achieve a desired end, that of the Director's. And yes, it boils down to one man's opinion, his.
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#22 john Spear

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 12:12 AM

John, sounds like a fun project. I am interested in the job and would love to come out for it. Please take a look at my site and reels, (which are in the process of being updated with additional work.) I have some questions for you about the project, and would love to discuss them with you, should you be interested in working together. Either way, good luck on your project and drop me a line if you would like to talk. thanks.
-andy


Nice reel... and nice Cinematography. I like your tonalities and the crisp brightness on faces and skin. Sometimes the cuts are too quick to appreciate a completed scene with continuity, ( or a take). I like India and the look it offers.
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#23 Bruce Greene

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 12:21 AM

Cool... That's cool... I guess you've got a right to your opinion and that's O.K. I didn't say they should be separate people but often times they are and have been, and in very visually striking productions. I stand behind the finished product as the proof of what or who is right about this or that, and not trivial or personal opinions... which are always welcome anyway... Not a nationalistic trait... European or American... Even though Robert Rodriguez, I guess the hero of every DP who wants to "do everything" pays homage to Sergio Leone , an Italian who made the westerns closer in truth to what they were, people who didn't shave for weeks with sweaty stench and who would kill anyone for a "fist full of dollars"... as opposed to Bonanza with their ironed shirts and spotless hats and gilette shaven smooth as silk faces. And even though it is tough, admit it. It was the french who invented motion pictures, and russians that developed continuity... I could go on
Yes, America has developed and invested in film and deserves its place, but without disregarding the artistry of others who contribute to the creative process, so often disregarded for mere self agrandisement... and that is not what it is about. It is not a multicoorporation, It's a teamwork where people work together to achieve a desired end, that of the Director's. And yes, it boils down to one man's opinion, his.


Following this discussion...

You know, it might be quite liberating to concentrate on the lighting part of the photography without getting too distracted by the blocking part of puzzle. It would be an interesting experience, and quite possibly very productive.

I think the trick here is to have very good communication between the operating cameraperson and the lighting camera person to insure that the blocking allows a good chance that the scene can be lit within the limitations of the set and lighting equipment and time allowed.
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#24 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:34 AM

...but in the case of the way your original post sounded, it sounded like there was a Camera Operator and a Lighting Cameraman, as in the British system, as Saul referred to above.


Yes!
It seems that John uses British system of role division in camera/lighting department on an American shoot.
That's what's confusing everyone.
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#25 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:39 AM

And even though it is tough, admit it. It was the french who invented motion pictures, and russians that developed continuity...


... and Americans who have established the industry.
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#26 John Brawley

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 01:43 PM

The DP rarely, if ever, actually operates the camera.



I think Roger Deakins and Wally Pfister would beg to differ.

Sorry but you're wrong.

I think there's also an assumption that an operator, if one was employed, would somehow be better at coverage and blocking decisions. I don't think this is necessarily the case either. I usually operate on my most of my work, and it seems to me that it's more common in the US that the culture of *the operator* exists. Of course larger productions with multiple cameras mean operator's are required.

Every production is different and every director wants something different from their DP relationship. I've worked on shows where the director wants the actors to have free reign in staging / blocking and we then adapt the coverage to them. I've done shows where the director has very specific ideas about how the actors would be staged, tailoring the blocking to a specific visual idea. I did a motion control sequence recently that meant the actors had 2.3 seconds to hit a certain mark from one side of the frame and do their *acting* before moving off in a certain direction to the other side for 1.4 seconds before leaving, because the shot had been pre-visualised months before.

Coverage and blocking are two separate things and different productions will make decisions based on the individual personality's of the leadership team and the required outcome for the shot. One thing though that never ceases to amaze me, is how little coverage is talked about compared with the other more obvious elements of cinematography such as lighting.

In my part of the world, it's only the largest productions that would have operators (out of logistical necessity), and even then, the DP will often operate one of the cameras.

jb
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#27 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 10:13 PM

Wouldn't you just call that position "Lighting Director?"
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#28 john Spear

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 12:34 AM

... and Americans who have established the industry.


REALLY?

Life IS stranger than fiction... :blink:



1 William Fox, born in Tulchva, Hungary in 1879, dominated the movie industry of the 1920's. He began a leading production company and he owned various movie theaters, both in America and abroad. This is impressive for a Hungarian immigrant who was formerly in the garment industry.

Fox's empire began, when he bought a nickelodeon and turned it into a chain if movie theaters. This did not prove as lucrative an enterprise as Fox expected, so he began to form a production company. By 1915 Fox had a monopoly over film production and was strong-arming the movie industry. This was such a beautiful monopoly because Fox pictures made the films, and they were viewed in Fox-owned theaters.

Fox was most successful because he was a visionary. He saw a place for sound in the movies when other producers and production companies did not. Even during the Great Depression, Fox retrofitted over a thousand theaters with equipment to make this possible.

Fox's domination of the movie industry could not remain long before it attracted attention, jealousy, and a desire to make Fox and Fox Pictures tumble. Fox Pictures suffered anti-trust litigation,


2 Paramount Pictures can trace its beginning to the creation in May, 1912, of the Famous Players Film Company. Founder Hungarian-born Adolph Zukor, who had been an early investor in nickelodeons, saw that movies appealed mainly to working-class immigrants. With partners Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman he planned to offer feature-length films that would appeal to the middle class by featuring the leading theatrical players of the time (leading to the slogan "famous players in famous plays"). By mid-1913, Famous Players had completed five films, and Zukor was on his way to success.

That same year, another aspiring producer, Jesse L. Lasky, opened his Lasky Feature Play Company with money borrowed from his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish, later known as Samuel Goldwyn. The Lasky company hired as their first employee a stage director with virtually no film experience, Cecil B. DeMille, who would find a suitable location site in Hollywood, near Los Angeles, for his first film, The Squaw Man.

3 The founder of Universal was Carl Laemmle pronounced|ˈlɛmliː}}), a German Jewish immigrant from Laupheim who settled in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he managed a clothing store. On a 1905 buying trip to Chicago, Illinois, he was struck by the popularity of nickelodeons. One story has Laemmle watching a box office for hours, counting patrons and calculating the take for the day. Within weeks of his Chicago trip, he gave up dry goods to buy the first of several nickelodeons. For Laemmle and other such entrepreneurs, the creation in 1908 of the Edison-backed Motion Picture Trust meant that exhibitors were expected to pay fees for any Trust-produced film they showed. On the basis of Edison's patent on the electric motor used in cameras and projectors, along with other patents, the Trust collected fees on all aspects of movie production and exhibition, and attempted to enforce a monopoly on distribution. It was believed that the productions were meant to be used for another company but they turned it down.

4 Goldwyn was born Schmuel Gelbfisz in Warsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire to a Polish Jewish family. At an early age he left Warsaw on foot and penniless. He made his way to Birmingham, England, where he remained with relatives for a few years using the Anglicized name Samuel Goldfish (later to become Goldwyn). In 1898, he emigrated to the United States, but fearing refusal of entry, he got off the boat in Nova Scotia, Canada before moving on to New York in January 1899. He found work in upstate Gloversville, New York, in the bustling garment business. Soon his innate marketing skills made him a very successful salesman. After four years, as vice-president for sales, he moved back to New York City.

All I'm saying is... "Can't we all just get along" Rodney King.

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#29 Chris Keth

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:07 AM

I don't want to contradict your post, John. It's all correct as far as I know and good information, to boot. I want to add that none of those people would have been able to do what they did in their home countries. The people may have been immigrants, but I do think it took the entertainment culture and the economic structure of America to allow the business to take off like it did.
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#30 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:57 AM

I've worked as a DP in this sort of situation before on several small projects. This happened because the camera owner/operator was a friend of mine who wasn't very confident in his lighting ability (unjustified IMO, but that's another story) so he asked me to step in for him as a lighting cameraman. We've also done several projects with him working under me as strictly a camera op. in the traditional American style, and also several projects with me gaffing for him. Personally, the latter two arrangements were more comfortable for me - we both knew where we stood in terms of who had the final authority so things went more smoothly.

It sounds to me like your situation is somewhat similar, please correct if I'm wrong. You're not confident in your lighting skill, but you and the director have a working relationship already as director/DP. So you want someone to step in and fill the gap but who will also defer to you in terms of blocking, camera placement and lens choice. In which case I would recommend that you should be the DP and hire a talented gaffer who will agree to work under you.

But if you still want to hire a DP and just operate the camera, then I'd recommend that you and the "DP" come to an arrangement during the job interview of exactly how much authority he has and in what areas. Just don't hire anyone who does not agree to the rules you've laid out, and things should go smoothly. The thing is, you can't be too upset that many DPs will not accept this arrangement because it's simply not what most of us are used to in the US. But I think if you're honest beforehand during the interview, you should be able to find somebody who will agree to this. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
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#31 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:41 PM

REALLY?

Life IS stranger than fiction... :blink:

1 William Fox, born in Tulchva, Hungary in 1879, dominated the movie industry of the 1920's.

Came to America at the age of 9 month.

2 Paramount Pictures can trace its beginning to the creation in May, 1912, of the Famous Players Film Company.

Came to America at the age of 19.

3 The founder of Universal was Carl Laemmle pronounced|ˈlɛmliː}}), a German Jewish immigrant from Laupheim who settled in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he managed a clothing store.

Came to America at the age of 21.

4 Goldwyn was born Schmuel Gelbfisz in Warsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire to a Polish Jewish family.

Came to America at the age of 19.

They do have something in common, don't they?
I am not arguing with you John.
Of course, you can always say that Hollywood wasn't established by Americans, but by immigrants.
But this has nothing to do with the point I was trying to get across in my previous post, and I'm sure you understand it.

Edited by Edgar Dubrovskiy, 19 November 2008 - 03:44 PM.

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#32 john Spear

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 10:40 PM

Came to America at the age of 9 month.

Came to America at the age of 19.

Came to America at the age of 21.

Came to America at the age of 19.

They do have something in common, don't they?
I am not arguing with you John.
Of course, you can always say that Hollywood wasn't established by Americans, but by immigrants.
But this has nothing to do with the point I was trying to get across in my previous post, and I'm sure you understand it.


Sure... and I appreciate what you suggest... but I didn't know if to take it literally, because the word "established" implies:

es·tab·lish
1.
1. To set up; found. See Synonyms at found1.
2. To bring about; generate: establish goodwill in the neighborhood.
3. To place or settle in a secure position or condition; install: They established me in my own business.
4. To make firm or secure.
5. To cause to be recognized and accepted: a discovery that established his reputation.
6. To introduce and put (a law, for example) into force.


And that is what these people had the balls to do. Establish, introduce, make firm and secure, and made a business out of in spite of the tremendous odds against them. They truly are an example of "the American dream" Then yes, as long as it worked, and proved to be profitable, this country was wise enough to invest money and resources behind, but as you can appreciate it didn't come easy as the popular myth likes to make of it. Ask Robert Rodriguez, who was not accepted in the school of cinematography in Texas, and who carried on and made his movie, because a "filmmaker" is what the word implies, and not the criteria of those who conceptualize the term into snippets or slapstick cliches.

Whatever...

Edited by john Spear, 19 November 2008 - 10:44 PM.

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#33 john Spear

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 10:54 PM

I don't want to contradict your post, John. It's all correct as far as I know and good information, to boot. I want to add that none of those people would have been able to do what they did in their home countries. The people may have been immigrants, but I do think it took the entertainment culture and the economic structure of America to allow the business to take off like it did.


I never would confront that fact. I love the way this country has crafted a world wide respect for this business, no matter what position within it, an actor, a Director a Cinematographer, etc.. It could not have happened anywhere else. I love Orson Wells... and others...
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#34 john Spear

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 11:21 PM

I've worked as a DP in this sort of situation before on several small projects. This happened because the camera owner/operator was a friend of mine who wasn't very confident in his lighting ability (unjustified IMO, but that's another story) so he asked me to step in for him as a lighting cameraman. We've also done several projects with him working under me as strictly a camera op. in the traditional American style, and also several projects with me gaffing for him. Personally, the latter two arrangements were more comfortable for me - we both knew where we stood in terms of who had the final authority so things went more smoothly.

It sounds to me like your situation is somewhat similar, please correct if I'm wrong. You're not confident in your lighting skill, but you and the director have a working relationship already as director/DP. So you want someone to step in and fill the gap but who will also defer to you in terms of blocking, camera placement and lens choice. In which case I would recommend that you should be the DP and hire a talented gaffer who will agree to work under you.

But if you still want to hire a DP and just operate the camera, then I'd recommend that you and the "DP" come to an arrangement during the job interview of exactly how much authority he has and in what areas. Just don't hire anyone who does not agree to the rules you've laid out, and things should go smoothly. The thing is, you can't be too upset that many DPs will not accept this arrangement because it's simply not what most of us are used to in the US. But I think if you're honest beforehand during the interview, you should be able to find somebody who will agree to this. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.


It's not a matter of feeling secure or not to light a scene, since wanting to work with other artists is at the core of film making and not a question of "capacities".
I feel I am very much capable of DPing my own movie, apart from the fact that I wrote it, and envision it from the perspective of the creator. But I would very much like to work with OTHER artists who have their OWN vision and who might therefore either contrast mine or refresh it. Humility is a virtue as opposed to false pride. I for one do not have a problem with that, maibe the "competition" mentality so engraved in modern culture imposes limits which you cannot detect... That does not mean that others exercise their choice in a different manner. I like to work with others and yes, learn from and with others, since they are learning too... Do not fool yourself into thinking you are "better" because you are called upon. Man's ego is a sad thing when it believes itself...
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#35 Gus Sacks

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 01:14 AM

It's not a matter of feeling secure or not to light a scene, since wanting to work with other artists is at the core of film making and not a question of "capacities".
I feel I am very much capable of DPing my own movie, apart from the fact that I wrote it, and envision it from the perspective of the creator. But I would very much like to work with OTHER artists who have their OWN vision and who might therefore either contrast mine or refresh it. Humility is a virtue as opposed to false pride. I for one do not have a problem with that, maibe the "competition" mentality so engraved in modern culture imposes limits which you cannot detect... That does not mean that others exercise their choice in a different manner. I like to work with others and yes, learn from and with others, since they are learning too... Do not fool yourself into thinking you are "better" because you are called upon. Man's ego is a sad thing when it believes itself...


I don't think anyone said anything about "competition." Films have been Co-DPd in the past (though I haven't seen a recent example of a pure collaboration). My humungous problem with the scenario you've laid out thusfar is just imagining how LONG it would take to shoot this film. If you have the luxury of time and resources I guess you could just sit around and appreciate each other's ideas, but when decisions have to be made (like on most film sets) efficiently and with direction... one man doing the job seems to be the best way to do it.
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#36 john Spear

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 12:35 PM

I don't think anyone said anything about "competition." Films have been Co-DPd in the past (though I haven't seen a recent example of a pure collaboration). My humungous problem with the scenario you've laid out thusfar is just imagining how LONG it would take to shoot this film. If you have the luxury of time and resources I guess you could just sit around and appreciate each other's ideas, but when decisions have to be made (like on most film sets) efficiently and with direction... one man doing the job seems to be the best way to do it.


It seems to me that you are trying to speculate about everybody else and generalizing your concept of what would take long to acheive. Perhaps you are looking at it from your perspective and this is what you see... I don't know of anyone who "sits around contemplating ideas" unless this is done in pre production on a brainstorming session between the parties involved. About being efficient, it is a fact that if you're not you can and will be replaced facing rejection and intermittent employment About direction I insist that this is not the turf of a DP but the Director. If you mean direction to point out to your crew duties, that is only part of your job, not a big deal. It seems like you think I am inventing some strange set up, when it is in your own country that you find this descriptions of your work as a professional. I quote the department of labor whose source is the Union of Cinematographers and the Department of Motion Pictures and Film Arts and Sciences... I don't think these people are European or don't know what they are talking abou. It is a different matter if you disagree... You are entitled to do whatever you want. Here is the quote and the link to it:


"Cinematographers, camera operators, and gaffers work together to capture the scenes in the script on film. Cinematographers compose the film shots to reflect the mood the director wishes to create. They do not usually operate the camera; instead, they plan and coordinate the actual filming. Camera operators handle all camera movements and perform the actual shooting. Assistant camera operators check the equipment, load and position cameras, run the film to a lab or darkroom, and take care of the equipment. Commercial camera operators specialize in shooting commercials. This experience translates easily into filming documentaries or working on smaller-budget independent films. Gaffers, or lighting technicians, set up the different kinds of lighting needed for filming. They work for the director of photography, who plans all lighting needs."

[url="http://www.bls.gov/o...o/cg/cgs038.htm [/ur]


This is a project Executive produced by Ben Affleck, who by the way knows a bit what he's doing.

TURNING IT OVER (24p High Definition Digital - Varicam)

This short drama is financed by Ben Affleck (as executive producer). We used the "new" P+S Technik Pro35 Digital Lens Adapter combined with a set of 35mm Zeiss Super Speeds (T1.3) on a High Definition Varicam (Panasonic AJ-HDC27F). It certainly makes it look much more like it was shot on 35mm film!!!!! And we went for a relatively extreme look, very stylized, with highly de-saturated colors. I co-D.P.'ed (Lighting Director) and did the HD engineering as well. The test of the pudding is in the eating, but I get the feeling that when this movie is projected onto a full-sized cinema screen, people will really think it was shot on 35mm film. The writer and director is Josh Marchette, and the producers are the dynamic Leda Maliga and Michael Totten.
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#37 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 02:25 PM

Lets not get personal and find ourselves in a ridiculous argument over this topic.

You stated in your first post that you are looking for a DIRECTOR OH PHOTOGRAPHY (has the final word on both composition and lighting).
In fact, who you are looking for is called LIGHTING CAMERAMAN (decides on the lighting) on this shoot. With yourself being CAMERA OPERATOR (decides on composition).

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Wikipedia (responsibilities section):
The English system of camera department hierarchy sometimes firmly separates the duties of the director of photography from that of the camera operator to the point that the DP often has no say whatsoever over more purely operating-based visual elements such as framing. In this case, the DP is often credited as a lighting cameraman. This system means that the director consults the lighting cameraman for lighting and filtration and the operator for framing and lens choices.
In the American system, which is more widely adopted, the rest of the camera department is subordinate to the DP, who, along with the director, has the final word on all decisions related to both lighting and framing.

Edited by Edgar Dubrovskiy, 20 November 2008 - 02:27 PM.

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#38 john Spear

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 06:39 PM

Lets not get personal and find ourselves in a ridiculous argument over this topic.

You stated in your first post that you are looking for a DIRECTOR OH PHOTOGRAPHY (has the final word on both composition and lighting).
In fact, who you are looking for is called LIGHTING CAMERAMAN (decides on the lighting) on this shoot. With yourself being CAMERA OPERATOR (decides on composition).

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Wikipedia (responsibilities section):
The English system of camera department hierarchy sometimes firmly separates the duties of the director of photography from that of the camera operator to the point that the DP often has no say whatsoever over more purely operating-based visual elements such as framing. In this case, the DP is often credited as a lighting cameraman. This system means that the director consults the lighting cameraman for lighting and filtration and the operator for framing and lens choices.
In the American system, which is more widely adopted, the rest of the camera department is subordinate to the DP, who, along with the director, has the final word on all decisions related to both lighting and framing.


I don't think anyone is misrespecting anyone else by having an open and healthy discussion about aspects of our profession or how we feel about things related to it. I do think that coming to referee is out of place though. I deeply respect the people who are voicing their feelings about this or that, and in a way they are right... and in another way I believe I am. It's true that it is not a matter of "what paper says what" or anything like that because a seurgeon who has studied for years his theory, and how things "should be" in an operating room, when they are actually in front of an open heart seurgury, they are terrified and unable to perform all the things which "in theory" should work. So I have respect for everyone who voices their opinion and stands for what they believe id right, I just think each one of us should talk for our own experience and not for others.

Yes I think it is right about the positions and their respective duties, but many a time it doesn't work that way in the real world. Having said that, I love you all...
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#39 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 02:08 AM

To paraphrase a wise - and successful - DP: The way you make a film is you shut-up and turn the camera on.
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#40 Chris Keth

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 02:51 AM

To paraphrase a wise - and successful - DP: The way you make a film is you shut-up and turn the camera on.


That's very true in a lot of situations. One of the earliest and hardest lessons I learned was when to shut my mouth and go get coffee.;)
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