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whats your style?


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#1 Zamir Merali

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 11:17 PM

I'm pretty new to film making but I noticed that there are a lot of opinion forums going on, ie. whats your favorite shot, your favorite lighting setup, your favorite format. I think that, whats more important than all of these things is, what's your style of filmmaking? I think that every film maker has their own uniqe style like a finger print, but you actually have to think and look back to figure out what your style of filmmaking is. I personally always end up making a movie that has a dark, deep theme to it. I like to invoke emotions like sadness, unease, fear etc. I just realised this recently because no mater where the idea for my movie comes from, I always end up subconsiously twisting the story and theme so that it suits my style. So after thinking back at the movies you have made in the past what is your style?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:03 AM

Cinematographers have to be more stylistically flexible than directors because we work on so many more projects than directors, and these directors have their own stylistic tendencies that we have to incorporate.

So we tend to base a style on the particular needs of the project rather than impose a consistent overall style to everything.

That said, personal style is something that comes from who we are, how we see the world and art, our "taste". It should occur naturally, not be mechanically applied -- it's just the product of how we have trained ourselves to think.

I have certain styles I favor when possible -- a certain love of contrasty soft lighting, for example, of chiaroscuro -- but I only get to apply that style on certain projects. But it does affect the sorts of projects I will tend to accept over others, when possible (which is not always, because of the need to work.) But I also like variety, of trying new approaches, new techniques -- this also probably has kept me from imposing a consistent style.

Deep down, I think I'm a classicist, or a formalist if you like. I can emulate some jazzy new style if required (shakeycam with a 45 degree shutter) but my heart is really engaged when I get to create what I feel is a elegantly composed, well-designed image with a certain gravitas, of weight -- what I admire so much in Gordon Willis' work.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:10 AM

I'd have to agree with David here. I learned long ago to not worry about my personal style, and just let it "be." No matter what you do, your own personal style will show through in some manner, without any overt effort on your own part.

I do think that certain rules of thumb we follow as craftsmen do influence our style, though. Myself for example, I usually think in terms of contrast and the illusion of depth when designing my lighting, so I always tend to apply a black and white aesthetic to the frame even when I'm working in color. When I'm in a situation that doesn't lend itself to that (say, a high-key, soft-lit scene) I have to force myself to think a little harder to draw from other rules and lessons that may apply.
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#4 Ram Shani

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 03:17 AM

now that you got me thinking interm of style about my work i think i more of a formalist but i allways like to add same "jazz" element to brake it like classic soft light but of composition , classic compositon but from new of angel, use of shutter angel (slow fast) classic composition but "wild un control" light
then i think things get intersting for me
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#5 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 09:56 AM

"Your style is as much about the things you screw up and the things you do well, so that half your style is stupid mistakes that you consistently make." - Martin Scorsese [on directing]
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#6 Patrick Neary

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 10:11 AM

I'd have to agree with David here. I learned long ago to not worry about my personal style, and just let it "be." No matter what you do, your own personal style will show through in some manner, without any overt effort on your own part.


I think it's also a good idea to be able to confidently articulate some idea of your style (even if you don't think you have one) because it's one of the questions that invariably gets asked on interviews for jobs...
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 10:44 AM

I think it's also a good idea to be able to confidently articulate some idea of your style (even if you don't think you have one) because it's one of the questions that invariably gets asked on interviews for jobs...


Usually the correct answer is "My style? Well, I like to work fast..."
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#8 Patrick Neary

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:14 AM

Ha! that and "I like to save money for the production where I can" & "I like to work with minimal gear"

hang on, i'm writing this all down on the back of my hand. :)
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#9 Ram Shani

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 02:45 AM

Usually the correct answer is "My style? Well, I like to work fast..."



I'll remember this one on my next meeting with productions companies
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#10 David Sweetman

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 03:38 AM

Personally - direction-wise, a big part of my style is what I do with my action sequences. (i'd never turn over that job [completely] to a stunt coordinator, as i've seen some do...) My scenes tend to be fairly blocking-heavy, I like a lot of stuff "happening." ...and sometime in my carreer, I want to develop a new way to cover a fight scene. I've got an idear for a new way to cover a gunfight...won't unveil it before i've shot it though...

visually, I like contrast and hard light. I also love Baroque paintings (Tintoretto and whatnot), and images that emulate that style. For the time being I'm my own DP, so I guess my style is still developing...that's more out of neccessity than anything else, if I could find someone who I could trust I'd give up that job. I love doing it, but trying to do both on set is pretty taxing.
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#11 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 10:26 AM

As I see my style develop (as a director) I feel like I am trying to make things that seem as though they came out of a time-capsule, or something you found in your dead grandmother's attic. I like grain and texture and a sort of sentimentality to come across. Of course this aesthetic doesn't really work in my day to day job of DP'ing regional commercials, but that's the beauty of making your own work.
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#12 Michael Collier

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 01:37 PM

I choose my style at the outset of a project. Like a musician we all have lots of tricks in our repitior (sp?) but only certain beats are good for ska. I typically define the style of the movie by placing restrictions on myself. I create rules with the director about shooting so that will define style. Even if I have a moment of revelation on set and I want to shoot slightly different, all I gotta do is ask: does it break one of my rules? If it does I evaluate if that break will hurt the patterns I have set forth, or would it do more to tell the story. I remember when I shot 'Going North' me and the director made a choice not to have any red in the art design until the lead female role was introduced with a kid playing with a red ball. This was to establish her color, and the idea that she was a sort of muse to bring color and life to a dull existence for the lead.
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