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Relationship with the Director


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#1 Dave Liddell

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 01:31 PM

As a very young and inexperienced Director of Photography I was wondering if anyone had advice on the very delicate relationship between a D.P and their director?

With the short films I have worked on, I have always felt apprehensive of overstepping my mark while at the same time wanting to get my views across as strongly as possible so as to serve the story and make the best film possible. All directors are different, I know, and have their own methods and styles.

Any tips on the social aspect that will inevetably help the creative side?
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 01:56 PM

As a very young and inexperienced Director of Photography I was wondering if anyone had advice on the very delicate relationship between a D.P and their director?

With the short films I have worked on, I have always felt apprehensive of overstepping my mark while at the same time wanting to get my views across as strongly as possible so as to serve the story and make the best film possible. All directors are different, I know, and have their own methods and styles.

Any tips on the social aspect that will inevitably help the creative side?


Storyboards go a long towards achieving a mutual understanding of what the visual goals
are of the movie. I'd also include the editor in this process because the will probably have good
ideas as to suggesting shots and perhaps even their philosophy on the priority of shot selections
could come in handy.
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#3 Jason Debus

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 01:56 PM

There was a similar thread a while back, there's some good advice there:

Director/DP Relationship, Guidelines
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#4 Dave Liddell

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 02:14 PM

That link was really useful.

I guess just being as diplomatic as possbile and conveying your creativity shoulde give most directors a good vibe about you and a sense of trust can begin to develope.
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 07:14 PM

No man is an island. They want input, just as you. That's important to remember - a DP that's a lapdog and does exactly what he's told without contributing anything, or questioning, won't last. That doesn't mean you have to offer your opinion on every shot just because you need to justify yourself being creative - if it ain't broken, don't fix it. Sometimes similar minds just think alike.

I've never had a fight over a shot ever. I've had disagreements and I've offered my idea, but in the end it's their call. Actually, for me, the only thing that can really get me a bit disillusioned is the grading. I have quite strong view on what direction I think a grade should be taken in, and when they go the other way, or the record company/ad agency chickens out and plays it safe (which happens on just about every project), I can get a bit disillusioned. It really is disheratening sometimes, but you'll live to fight another day.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 07:46 PM

I have quite strong view on what direction I think a grade should be taken in, and when they go the other way, or the record company/ad agency chickens out and plays it safe (which happens on just about every project), I can get a bit disillusioned. It really is disheratening sometimes, but you'll live to fight another day.


I was looking at someone else's footage the other day that a year ago, the studio had graded on the bright side, against the DP's intention, for a night scene in the woods in moonlight. Now I get shown the footage with a note from the studio saying "we feel this looks too bright to be believable" as an example of what not to do. I mean, there's nothing wrong with the original footage, just the way it was timed.
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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets