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We say Conrad Hall & Greg Tolland were the best...


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#41 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 05:50 AM

Not neccesarily look up to them, but respect them more. Their work is amazing, if it wasn't they wouldn't be doing videos for some of the biggest rock bands around.

I mean, could anyone on this board actually do work like that?

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I'm certainly not trying to knock music video DP's, since I've worked with some really good ones, but music videos are where many DP's cut their teeth. It's a nice start. Most of them tire of shooting videos very quickly and yearn to shoot bigger and longer projects. Many of them move from videos to commercials and on to features. And many of the videos you see are actually shot by feature DP's that shoot videos when they're not doing features. Do you think that all these DP's do is shoot videos? If so, you're wrong for the most part.
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#42 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 09:20 AM

I started with videos and I'm still doing them, but more and more reluctantly. It's just not very satisfying anymore, because 99% of the ones you do are poop and even if they were good, they never get seen, never have an impact, never really say anything. I actually cringe today when I see yet another low, wide-angle "music video" shot with flares, bling-bling and debuting artists riding million dollar cars (who can not have made their money yet to show such affluence) with booty-girls in them. It's f***ing bullshit. With crap like that, record labels deserve to loose money.

For every good Björk-video, there's a thousand crap ones. I know, I know, I'm getting grumpy. But flashy visuals, cool Technocrane moves a la Bay or any other of those crappy calling-attention-to themselves shots just leaves me cold today. I'm getting very conservative when it comes to fashy stuff - it just doesn't interest me as it did some years ago.

I'm turning into the Gordon Willis school of restriction - he famously questioned Coppola's top shot when the Don gets shot and the oranges spill out on the street with a: "Well, who's point of view is that?". In this case he was wrong and Coppola was right, but it was a justified question. The shot does kind of stick out from the restrained compositions of the rest of the film.

Darius Khondji pretty much also sums it up in the article on The Interpreter in this months AC:

"Why try to find clever camera angles when you have actors like that? Just put the camera there and record, like you're going to film an anthropology study. I went in with a lot of ideas about remote angles and so forth, each one more clever than the last, but ultimately, I cleaned everything off".

I'm going to continue doing music videos, but honestly, I hope to soon be in the position where I can turn some of the most uninspiring down.

Less really is more.
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#43 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 08:24 PM

I find it strange how people say cinematographers like Conrad L. Hall are so great because they *created* a whole new look, or whatever. I mean, it's not exactly difficult to create something original, but when creating original work you're limited to creating *good original work*, unless you want to create something that's totally weird and annoying to watch.

You can only go so far when creating new styles e.t.c. I mean, at the end of the day, your lighting a scene which corresponds to the atmosphere e.t.c.

Just say for example I thought up of some shots for my film, but without knowing it, they were actually very similar to Conrad?s work in Road to Perdition. Typically people would think I'm copying automatically, but since as I didn't actually copy, I've created some of the greatest work in film history. So just because someone else created it first, doesn't 100% mean it's theirs, what have they patented it or something? Obviously if someone has copied it straight, then that's a different case.

I mean, creating original work is about the easiest damn thing to do! If you're willing to take a risk that is. Here?s an idea, why not shoot the whole movie from a subjective view from the protagonist? That would be blowing the hell out of shot conformity! No ones ever done that before!

I mean, if creating original work is what makes you so great, then I should be doing well, because I've planned all the lighting and shots out for my film without copying anything.

As far as I'm concerned feature film DP's copy music video DP's, I mean just look at all the creativity and originality in music videos, and then compare them to feature length films. When I look at films I can usually see a resemblance between it and another film, never have I seen two music videos that look the same. People say it's because of those feature films that music video DP'd have done those kinds of shots, I think thats goong a bit too far, I'd say more encouraged them.

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith, 23 April 2005 - 08:27 PM.

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#44 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 08:46 PM

As far as I'm concerned feature film DP's copy music video DP's, I mean just look at all the creativity and originality in music videos, and then compare them to feature length films. When I look at films I can usually see a resemblance between it and another film, never have I seen two music videos that look the same. People say it's because of those feature films that music video DP'd have done those kinds of shots, I think thats goong a bit too far, I'd say more encouraged them.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


We must watch completely different music channels. Every RnB and Hip Hop act have the exact same video - they're interchangeable. When was the last time you saw a Popstar-dropouts video that was any good? When was the last time you saw an R.Kelly video that was any good? JLo? Mary J. Blige? Beyonce? Eve? Pink? The list can be made endless.

Once in a while a good music video comes along. But they're as far and few between as a really good feature and often even more generic. Many DP's come from that background in music videos - Mathison, Acord, Khondji, Cronenweth and so on, so of course they influence films. But the exact opposite is also true - can't count how many times I've seen a MV that steals the whole look, concept and idea from a feature.
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#45 Louis

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 08:48 PM

If I may completely ignore any points of argument in your post and just refute one simple fact: there was a movie in the 1950s based on some Raymond Chandler book that was shot subjectively from the protagonist's POV. I saw some of it but I have forgotten what it was called.

I have enjoyed reading this thread.
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#46 Josh Bass

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 09:39 PM

There might be more than one, but apparently "Lady of the Lake" was done like that, with the first person all the way through.

I don't want anyone to think I'm well versed in film history; I got that out of the "5 C's of Cinematograpy."

So there you go, NOT an original idea, been done. See? Not so easy, is it?

Yes, this thread continues to amuse me.
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#47 Louis

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 10:11 PM

There might be more than one, but apparently "Lady of the Lake" was done like that, with the first person all the way through.

I don't want anyone to think I'm well versed in film history; I got that out of the "5 C's of Cinematograpy."

So there you go, NOT an original idea, been done. See? Not so easy, is it?

Yes, this thread continues to amuse me.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yeah, that was the one I was thinking of.
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#48 Rik Andino

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 11:04 PM

I'm one of these kids sitting at home watching these music videos and films, I was honestly more impressed with the cinematography in the music videos. And when you think about it, in a way (and forgive me, I feel realy arrogant saying this) but it's actually my opinion that counts overall, considering I'm pretty much an average consumer of this work. And as an average consumer I thought that the music videos looked better.

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Wait! Now I get it! :)

This is the reason why most of the movies in the cineplex suck
Because they're gear to the youth--and the youth like stuff like these Music Videos

See the problem here is not Dan's opinions...
It's that his young opinions are now becoming society's standard.

Our society is being geared to the really really young & inexperienced...
And what they usually like is crap (because they've not experience anything
and what can you expect from folks who haven't even graduated HS)
& so what the rest of us get to see is crap

{Pardon my harsh opinions but I really think most of the stuff on MTV is crap
as is The Fast & the Furious, Charlie's Angel, Triple X, The Ring 2 etc...}

And when one of us oldtimers (and I'm just in my mid-20's)
Mentions that someone some 20 years ago did something good
Everyone groans and complains about how it's just archiac or outdated

We should really be angry with the studio producers and network execs...
That just cater to the youth and tell the rest of us to "f*#k off & die"
It's thems who are ruining our already ruined society...

Okay so I said my piece and that's it.

Hope I didn't offend any young peopl who like to watch MTV
And crummy cineplex blockbuster films.
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#49 Rik Andino

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 11:05 PM

This is going to be a 7 page thread.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Give us three more days we'll probably beat that projection... :)
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#50 Shaun Joye

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 12:41 AM

So its your opinion that matters because your the average consumer, eh?

Do you know what the highest grossing movie of all time, worldwide was?

Titanic

... Now ask yourself was Titanic the greatest movie ever made? Does McDonalds make the best cheeseburger? Does Coca Cola, taste significantly better than any generic brand?

What I'm saying is that just because something is popular or makes a lot of money does not mean its the best, it just means that many people have bad taste, or the capitalist system has managed to market the hell out of something that isn't that good.
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#51 Boone Hudgins

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 01:33 AM

Not neccesarily look up to them, but respect them more. Their work is amazing, if it wasn't they wouldn't be doing videos for some of the biggest rock bands around.

I mean, could anyone on this board actually do work like that?

Nobody's disrespecting these cinematographers. Quite a few music videos look great. You're the one disrespecting the work of people who paved the way for them. The people that, no doubt, most modern cinematographers look up to.

And yeah, there are people on this board that could do work like that. The aforementioned Claudio Miranda. Check Adam Frisch's website, he rocks. David Mullen probably could if he felt like it. In fact, I think most feature film cinematographers could do amazing work on a music video if they wanted to work on one. Didn't Allen Daviau do that A Perfect Circle video "Judith" with David Fincher? Better than most of those kind of videos.

Most of the interesting videos right now are ones that are more subdued, in my opinion. Take, for example, a video for the song "Telescope Eyes," by Eisley. Pretty video, not a lot of tricks. http://www.eisley.co...eos.php?video=2 (and if not for the work of people like Hall, this style of lighting may not exist)

I mean, creating original work is about the easiest damn thing to do!

Tell that to the many people around the world with writer's block.

Now it just seems like you're calling these people bad cinematographers. As if you're saying "Sure, they were innovators, but they innovated crappy ideas." But the cinematographers you mentioned were among the founders of quite a few of the techniques cinematographer's use today. If you use hard light and deep focus, thank Tolland. If you enjoy soft, naturalistic photography and shallow focus, thank Conrad Hall. Not only did they help define these styles, but they showed people how to do them right.
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#52 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 01:48 AM

If you want to know why someone is good, study who they learned from. Go to the source. You want to understand Spielberg and how to direct like him, study the people HE learned from, like Michael Curtiz or John Frankenheimer or Alfred Hitchcock. You want to learn how the current great DP's work, study who inspired them in the first place. If you admire some music video DP and he tells you "Gordon Willis was my biggest influence" or "I watched everything Storaro ever shot" then that must mean something, like you should respect their opinion if you respect their work. And then study Storaro. And then study Storaro's influences, like DiVenanzo or Toland. Then study Toland's influences, like George Barnes...

Go to the sources, study the history of the artform, or else all you will be doing is blindly copying something currently trendy without any depth to your work...
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#53 Max Jacoby

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 03:39 AM

I find it strange how people say cinematographers like Conrad L. Hall are so great because they *created* a whole new look, or whatever. I mean, it's not exactly difficult to create something original, but when creating original work you're limited to creating *good original work*, unless you want to create something that's totally weird and annoying to watch.


To be honest Daniel, and I am not alone in thinking this, you really should learn to think things over before you open your mouth. Because most of your statements end up reflecting very badly on you.
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#54 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 04:54 AM

""To be honest Daniel, and I am not alone in thinking this, you really should learn to think things over before you open your mouth. Because most of your statements end up reflecting very badly on you""

No they don't.
He's a newbie, like myself and many others on this board.
It's threads like these that yeild the best answers and most interesting opinions.

Besides, who the hell are you to judge anyone?

Edited by TSM, 24 April 2005 - 04:59 AM.

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#55 Max Jacoby

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 07:56 AM

No they don't.

Yes they do. Just read the answers that Daniel has been getting to his statments. And quite frankly if I were a producer or director looking for a Dop and I came accross his comments, then I'd wouldn't even think of hiring him.

Besides, who the hell are you to judge anyone?

I am just pointing out the obvious.
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#56 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 08:28 AM

We must watch completely different music channels. Every RnB and Hip Hop act have the exact same video

Rap videos are probably the same, most likely because all rap sounds the same. But rock videos vary so much.

If I may completely ignore any points of argument in your post and just refute one simple fact: there was a movie in the 1950s based on some Raymond Chandler book that was shot subjectively from the protagonist's POV. I saw some of it but I have forgotten what it was called.

Well, not that it's a good idea atall, but I thought of that idea without copying anything and in the space of a minute, literally.

Our society is being geared to the really really young & inexperienced...
And what they usually like is crap (because they've not experience anything
and what can you expect from folks who haven't even graduated HS)
& so what the rest of us get to see is crap

Actually if you started creating movies for the older generation, you'd destroy cinema. The average movie go-ers are young, it's young people that fund your movies. If you suddenly only started showing films for the older generation, the younger generation would get bored and stop going to the cinemas. And considering most adults don't have time to go to the cinemas anyway, that's cinema gone and finished. So, can't say I like that idea.

{Pardon my harsh opinions but I really think most of the stuff on MTV is crap
as is The Fast & the Furious, Charlie's Angel, Triple X, The Ring 2 etc...}

Most of the stuff.. cinematography wise? Because the fast and the furious was actually a well shot film believe it or not, I think what your saying is that you hate the film because it's aimed at a young audience, so therefore you hate anything about it. Personally I didn't like any of the films in that list that I had watched, but that's because I don't like a lot of modern cinema. Not neccesarily because they are bad films. But on the other hand, a lot of modern cinema beats any of the older films by far. I mean, just look at:

Road to Perdition
Titanic
Gladiator
The Pianist
The Aviator
Lemony Snickets A Series of Unfortunate Events
Saving Private Ryan

I mean, cinemas never been so good! Unless you want to disagree of course and say those films were *crap* just because they are modern. I mean, films like Road to Perdition and Gladiator are considered to be some of the greatest films ever made!

What I'm saying is that just because something is popular or makes a lot of money does not mean its the best, it just means that many people have bad taste, or the capitalist system has managed to market the hell out of something that isn't that good.

Ok, so your saying that because *you* don't think Titanic is a good film, that everyone else has bad taste? Titanic was actually very good film, like it or not, and just wonder WHY it was so popular. It appealed to so many people, that's why it got so popular. Are you saying we should all make films that are good, but don't appeal to a viewing public atall? It's like suicide!

To be honest Daniel, and I am not alone in thinking this, you really should learn to think things over before you open your mouth. Because most of your statements end up reflecting very badly on you.

Well atleast you didn't give me your trademark "You don't know what you are talking about" statement. Reflecting bad on me? At the end of the day, this is a discussion, I'm not asking for help, so that's why I'm putting my opinion in. If I was asking for help obviously I'd do it with more respect and I'd leave opinions out of it, but considering this is a debate, you post whatever your opinion is. I mean, it doesn't seem like it, but all were having is a civilised debate.
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#57 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 08:30 AM

Yes they do. Just read the answers that Daniel has been getting to his statments. And quite frankly if I were a producer or director looking for a Dop and I came accross his comments, then I'd wouldn't even think of hiring him.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeh well whats the chances of that, besides, as soon as I start getting some descent sized jobs I'll most likely start this account again and delete all the messages.
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#58 Sam Wells

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 10:34 AM

I mean, creating original work is about the easiest damn thing to do! If you're willing to take a risk that is. Here?s an idea, why not shoot the whole movie from a subjective view from the protagonist? That would be blowing the hell out of shot conformity! No ones ever done that before!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


This has been done in experimental cinema by various people for the last 50 years.

Before you reply with a diatribe about avant-garde/experimental film make sure you're aware how that history permeates a history of commercial filmmaking (absoluetly including MTV).

-Sam
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#59 Sam Wells

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 10:42 AM

If you want to know why someone is good, study who they learned from.
...

Go to the sources, study the history of the artform, or else all you will be doing is blindly copying something currently trendy without any depth to your work...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Or to paraphrase T.S. Eliot "if we can know more than them it's because THEY are what we know"

-Sam
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#60 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 11:01 AM

...I find it strange how people say cinematographers like Conrad L. Hall are so great because they *created* a whole new look....

...I mean, creating original work is about the easiest damn thing to do!

...As far as I'm concerned feature film DP's copy music video DP's...

...never have I seen two music videos that look the same.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Please, somebody tell me he's winding us up...Please.
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