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cinematographer or videographer


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#41 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 08:36 PM

I can see we'll be at this until the cows come home.

Video shooters can call themselves any thing they want, but if you want the title of cinematographer, you'll have to shoot film. Period end of story.

I wish some one like Steven Spielberg could chime in here. Since he has publically stated he will never shoot HD, I have a suspicion he would agree with me.

R,
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#42 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 08:43 PM

Video shooters can call themselves any thing they want, but if you want the title of cinematographer, you'll have to shoot film.


What if you shoot both in the same movie? You get two job titles? What if you shoot digitally but don't encode it into a video format but keep it as data? Then is it "Digitalographer"? "Digital-Data-Capturer"? Is a photographer who picks up a digital still camera no longer a photographer? I mean, these 4K cameras like the Dalsa are not "video" cameras in the strictest sense.

This whole issue is just another way of beating up on people who shoot with a video camera -- it smacks of eliticism.

Cinema and cinematography have evolved to incorporate more than film technology. Besides, the root "cine" doesn't even refer to film emulsion technology, but to motion.

Language is a living thing and we've already moved to the point where someone shooting a movie on a video camera is called a cinematographer, whether you like it or not, and it will only continue to become more and more common. You might as well be arguing for us to go back to using Old English.
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#43 Nathan Chaszeyka

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 08:47 PM

I can see we'll be at this until the cows come home.

Video shooters can call themselves any thing they want, but if you want the title of cinematographer, you'll have to shoot film. Period end of story.

I wish some one like Steven Spielberg could chime in here. Since he has publically stated he will never shoot HD, I have a suspicion he would agree with me.

R,


Spielberg won't, but other excellent directors have chosen to shoot HD, as well as other cinematographers therefore he is not the definitive answer. The point/counter-point will never end.

For what it's worth, I'll chime in on the side of the discussion that the title has more to do with the creative role of the person behind the camera and not the format.

You may call me whatever you want, I've been called worse before. :D
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#44 Keneu Luca

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 08:49 PM

VIDEOGRAPHER
responsible for the technical operation of a video camera

CINEMATOGRAPHER
responsible for the artistic visual design of any motion picture that incorporates elements such as lighting, camera placement & movement, lenses, filtration, etc.
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#45 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 09:21 PM

"This whole issue is just another way of beating up on people who shoot with a video camera -- it smacks of eliticism."

Sorry David but it doesn't. I have already said that when I shoot video I'm not a cinematographer. So now I'm elitist against my self?
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#46 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 09:33 PM

This whole issue is just another way of beating up on people who shoot with a video camera -- it smacks of eliticism.

Cinema and cinematography have evolved to incorporate more than film technology. Besides, the root "cine" doesn't even refer to film emulsion technology, but to motion.


Thank you David, always the voice of reason.
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#47 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 09:50 PM

"This whole issue is just another way of beating up on people who shoot with a video camera -- it smacks of eliticism."

Sorry David but it doesn't. I have already said that when I shoot video I'm not a cinematographer. So now I'm elitist against my self?


Yes, most obviously.

You can choose not to call yourself a cinematographer when you shoot stuff that would traditionally be shot on film, like narrative, but use a video camera instead -- but what does that prove?

It doesn't change the fact that someone shooting on video can rightly call themselves a cinematographer if they are shooting the sort of material a cinematographer traditionally shoots. The format doesn't make you a cinematographer.

This train has left the station. I've been hearing this "videographer" argument for a decade now and it gets fainter and fainter all the time, and more and more ridiculous as digital cinematography becomes more and more common. Digital cameras are just another type of camera. You might as well be trying to say that people who shoot Fuji film are not cinematographers -- it makes almost as much sense.

So if you want to call Dion Beebe a "videographer" because he shot part of "Collateral" on video, that's your choice. Not many people will go along with you, but if you want to make a futile effort at pushing language in a direction it doesn't want to go, go ahead, but personally, I'd save your energy for things that actually matter, like making your movie.

I suspect that "videographer" will become an archaic term eventually, except maybe in non-narrative applications like news work. Even travel shows mix film and video formats all the time, but are shot by the same person. Again, does that mean he gets two credits? Robert Richardson used some betacam cameras for part of "Natural Born Killers", part of a huge arsenal of cameras that included Super-8 and 35mm -- does that mean he gets two credits? Or the DP who shot "Silent Hill" with its HD scene? Or the DP who shot "Mission Impossible III" with its HD footage? Cinematography's defining feature is not that it is shot on film, but that it involves shooting moving images. It's not the "opposite" word to "videography" -- it's a more general term that can encompass videography, which is a very specific term.

And you never answered my question as to how to address digital cinematography that does not involve encoding the signal into a video format but keeping it as digital data. That's not videography but by your definition, it's not cinematography either.
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#48 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:14 PM

The odd thing is David that I don't consider cinematographer to be a "high and mighty" term, or videographer to be a "lowly" term. I just see them as different terms for shooting different mediums, that's all.

But obviously many people that shoot video get offended when they are told they can't use the term cinematographer to describe themselves. Not sure why, so all I can say is, what ever.

As to this question:

"And you never answered my question as to how to address digital cinematography that does not involve encoding the signal into a video format but keeping it as digital data. That's not videography but by your definition, it's not cinematography either."

I made a joke about this in an earlier thread as I knew it would come up. Like I said he's a Diskographer.
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#49 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:54 PM

Let me throw another log on the fire. :)

I haven't always made a living as a Videographer. For about 11 years or so, I was an AC working on the lowest of low budgets to spending some time on the Titanic. Because of that, plus my running experience as a Videographer for the past 18 years, I segued into shooting behind the scenes for EPK and DVD work quite smoothly. Anyhow, as I've continued along this path, the issue of union membership has increasingly become an issue. The issue is that most, if not all, studio productions somehow manage to "require" that the Videographer be a member of IATSE Local 600, the fact is that there currently is no actual rule or contract stating that the EPK/DVD cameraman be a member of Local 600. The result is that the studio avoids getting "heat" from IATSE, the EPK vendor avoids dealing with any confrontations on set, and those of us who are Local 600 members get nothing except our dayrate out of it. No hours. No insurance. Nothing. We pay our dues and take the classes. We get a card, a pen, and a magazine subscription.

Why is this relevant to the discussion at hand? Because, it's going to be hard enough to have EPK Videographers recognized in a new contract in the same way that Unit Still Photographers are without unsubstantiated prejudice leveled against what they do. We shoot "event coverage" as part of our mission, but we also take time to carefully light and shoot A list talent, Directors, Producers, and other relevant crew. For DVD material, I've gone on set with a Steadicam as well as having to do my other work. I've DP'd four camera shoots for DVD material in which I've been flown for location scouting and extensive pre-production prep. I've had to light and shoot the likes of Michael Douglas, Frank Darabont, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and countless others that I'm just to tired right now to think of. That's what we do. We're NOT point and shoot guys like Entertainment Tonight and the news photographers are. They can get away with it, but we can't.

The EPK Vendors recognize that they are "buying" security from IATSE by hiring 600 members, but they also know that we aren't one of those "friends of the Director" who run around with a miniDV. Studios have been "burned" by those guys and are recognizing the need for quality material, not just any material.

The issue of covering EPK Videographers is a very complicated one, as my recent meeting with some of the representatives illustrated. The odds are against it happening for a variety of reasons. But one thing that I do know is that the more "anti-video" propaganda is puked out into the world, the less likely EPK will become a recognized classification in the Local which is supposed to be representing camera personnel of all makes and models.

The first step is in understanding what we do. Understanding that "video" has gone beyond the technology of the early days and in many respects, does rival film. Argue that amongst yourselves all you want (as the Genesis is used more often), but the more important issue to recognize and accept is that "we" are more than amateurs who just shoot whatever appears in front of us. It's easy to light something when you have full Grip and Electric crews, two forty footers, and everything set up specifically for you. Try reaching for that same quality when you're alone in a small space that you are expected to turn into gold in about an hour or less. That's real work.

The second step is for a little bit of respect. Narrative is only one aspect of "entertainment." Very little of that would exist today if not for the marketing which is extraordinarily frustrating for many reasons and highly rewarding when the tumblers click into place. For instance, in the We Are Marshall piece that I shot, I consider the David Straithern interview a victory. If I were one to cut a reel, I'd include that as an example of what I can do to create "something" out of virtually nothing. You should have seen that room before I got to it. In contrast, if I had any power, I would have not shot McG's interview at that time and definitely wouldn't have included it in the piece. The plan I had for the look of that specific interview was vastly different, but due to conditions beyond my control, I had to hit the button. We win some, we lose some. But then, not every shot in a movie is precisely as a DP dreamed it either. We are more alike more often than some would like to believe.

Anyhow, I'm not married to this as a career. God willing, I'll be achieving great things in other areas of life sooner than later, but for now, this is what I do. More than anything, I find the animosity toward video technology amusing. What I'm truly concerned about is that everyone gets the proper respect and the benefits that go along with it. Literally speaking, if I had earned hours for every day I've had on set since last October, I'd have full Motion Picture right now for me and my family. That goes for everyone else who steps foot on a set to shoot with a video camera so that those movies can get sold to the public so that everyone on set will have another job to go to.

Videographers are cameramen, just like anyone else who holds a box which captures motion-pictures. The purposes may vary, but it all comes down to knowing about composition, lighting, and exposure. Those are things that we all have to do no matter what the Producers toss in front of the frame.
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#50 Thomas James

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:55 PM

I don't think that videographer accurately describes the work I do. When I think of videographer I think of someone with a blurry 480i interlaced video camera that just shoots away wildly panning the camera. When i shoot I have to compose my shots sometimes just like a still photographer if I just want to capture subtle motion. I shoot full progressive high definition 720p video at the film like 30 frames per second. I capture far more resolution and color fidelity than your typical 480i video camera. And I wouldn't call my work super video either. Super video is what you get when you buy a 1080i interlaced video camera. My camera is fully progressive high definition with lower temporal 30p resolution for that film look. So cinematographer more accurately describes my work even though I do not have to pay for film developing costs.
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#51 Brian Wells

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 12:03 AM

There are currently Still Photographers and Motion Photographers. I suspect that will change as soon as we have cameras that perform both functions well. Then, there will only be Photographers once again.
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#52 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 02:09 AM

Here's the concern I have about including video shooters in with Cinematographers. David and Brian wisely point out that there are some seriously talented people shooting on digital. No doubt about it. I agree whole heartedly. But despite what Brian says, the vast majority of digital shooters are NOT like that. The talent is a minority in the digital realm. Go to youtube and look at some "Cinematographer" reels. You will shutter at the number of hacks that have the nerve to call themselves Cinematographers. Also, as a test, I decided to email one of them and ask what their rate was and they replied with $500.00 a day! Can you imagine paying that kind of money for someone who looks like they've only used a camera for less than a year? Look at your sites like Youtube, DVXUser, DVtalk, Indie forum, and etc and see just how many digital shooters are calling themselves DPs and Cinematographers, yet their work is extremely subpar.

Big deal? I wish I could be so cavalier about dropping a hundred grand. Might as well buy two, eh? ;)


That was hilarious!
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#53 Stephen Williams

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 02:27 AM

Hi,

Just a thought, but videographer's shoot in fields, when they choose to shoot in frames they become cinematographer's.

Stephen :D
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#54 Keneu Luca

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 04:44 AM

VIDEOGRAPHER
responsible for the technical operation of a video camera

CINEMATOGRAPHER
responsible for the artistic visual design of any motion picture that incorporates elements such as lighting, camera placement & movement, lenses, filtration, etc.


I think this is pretty simple.
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#55 Richard Boddington

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 08:53 AM

Well it seems the debate over what to call what is not limited to the film industry.

Pluto just got demoted, now it's not a planet. But I'm sure many will insist that it is one.....

http://news.yahoo.co...c/planet_mutiny
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#56 Justin Hayward

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 12:03 PM

But obviously many people that shoot video get offended when they are told they can't use the term cinematographer to describe themselves.


Are you offended when people who shoot video disobey you're rule and call themselves cinematographers? It sounds like you?re talking about children.
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#57 Richard Boddington

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 12:24 PM

Are you offended when people who shoot video disobey you're rule and call themselves cinematographers? It sounds like you?re talking about children.


Reality is I don't give a flying *blank* what people call themselves. How does it effect me? It doesn't.

R,
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#58 Nathan Chaszeyka

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 12:41 PM

Reality is I don't give a flying *blank* what people call themselves. How does it effect me? It doesn't.

R,


You've spent a lot of time on this thread proving your feelings to be the opposite.
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#59 Richard Boddington

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 12:50 PM

You've spent a lot of time on this thread proving your feelings to be the opposite.



Exactly, but it's pointless trying to point out that the sun shines at noon to some people.

R,
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#60 Joe Taylor

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 04:24 PM

When you're stuck shooting low end projects like I am still doing (even though I deserve better, but that's the nature of the beast) being a "cinematographer" and "videographer" goes with whatever project you happen to be "filming" at the moment. My film and video work are about 50/50 right now. My resume and vitae reflect whatever position I was hired for. My last footage was purchased by Warner Bros. for their new movie, "The Reaping." I was hired out for several desert shots that I filmed with my beater of an Arri IIC. For that job I proudly considered myself to be a "cinematographer." Next I am shooting DV for a dreaded infomercial. I'll take just as much pride in my work for that job, but then I'll be a "videographer."

If you're really a cinematographer who shoots features and highend commercials, then you'll probably want to call yourself a "cinematographer." If you're just scaping by, you're just happy to be working.

that's my .03 cents.
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