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Seeking DP Recommendations


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#1 Andrew Colton

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 08:16 PM

I was wondering if anyone could recommend any DPs who would feel comfortable doing
something in the same filming style as what Rodrigo Prieto tends to do...
The project is a docu-drama. It will have to be filmed in that shaking style.
More like "Amores Perros" or "21 grams" and not like" The Bourne Supremacy" (sorry Oliver Wood).
Not sure how much of things like bleach bypass, etc. would be needed yet...
I would appreciate any referrals.
Thanks,
Andrew
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 03:52 AM

And where are you based?
And what's your budget?
And what are you shooting on?
And when are you shooting?
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#3 Andrew Colton

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 07:18 AM

And where are you based?
And what's your budget?
And what are you shooting on?
And when are you shooting?


And I am based out of LA.
And my budget is large enough not to worry about the budget. At least as far as below-the-line cost.
And I am shooting on 35 mm
And I am shooting in around March, 2007 - May, 2007.
And anything else I need to clarify? :)

At this point, I just want to know who of the well-known DPs has done
similar work to Amores Perros and 21 Grams. Shaken but not stirred that is...

Any non-patronizing replies would be greatly appreciated.
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#4 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 08:01 AM

If budget really isn't an issue, then you'll find that in that Emmanuel Lubezki (Ali), Harris Savides (Birth, The Yards), Barry Ackroyd (United 93) all have done work in that pseudo-documentary style. But most Dops can do a variety of looks and adapt themselves to the stylistic requirement of the project, so in the end it is more important to find the right person for the job than merely someone who has already worked in a certain style.
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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 09:33 AM

It might help if you could be more specific about what level of DP you are looking for. Do you want recommendations for DP's with the same sort of profile as Prieto, or are you looking for a good Indie feature DP? It's hard to make recommendations without knowing what league you're looking at.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 10:59 AM

Personally, I wouldn't go to a job interview where I knew they really wanted Prieto, couldn't get him, and therefore wanted someone to copy Prieto. It starts the whole creative process on the wrong foot, from my perspective as a DP. We're supposed to be flexible people, stylistically, adapting to the needs of the material. Even Prieto has different styles for different projects.

But good luck finding someone!
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#7 Keneu Luca

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 11:42 AM

Personally, I wouldn't go to a job interview where I knew they really wanted Prieto, couldn't get him, and therefore wanted someone to copy Prieto. It starts the whole creative process on the wrong foot, from my perspective as a DP. We're supposed to be flexible people, stylistically, adapting to the needs of the material. Even Prieto has different styles for different projects.

But good luck finding someone!


Andrew, perhaps you can watch those films that you like and note the specific characteristics of the cinematography that appeal to you and fit the story, then mention those characteristics to each DP during interviews, without ever mentioning any other films or other DP's unless the DP asks for other films/DP as inspiration or reference.

A well-prepared justified reason as to why these specific characteristics fit the story would probbaly be good, too.

Edited by Keneu, 11 November 2006 - 11:46 AM.

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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 01:42 PM

Hey, maybe you can get Prieto's cam op, Xavier PĂ©rez Grobet. He's done some great DP work as well, along with his cam op work on 21 Grams.

Good luck!
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 01:58 PM

Handheld and bleach-bypassed feature work... well, there is also Matthew Labitique. Januz Kaminski.

Even though not bleach-bypassed, the work on "Narc" (DP Alex Nepomniaschy) was in that style.

Jim Denault does excellent work in that realistic mode.
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#10 Keneu Luca

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 02:14 PM

There are now quite a few shows on both network tv and basic cable that feature this stlye. It's starting to lose its punch.
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 02:25 PM

It just depends on whether it's appropriately done. I watched a few minutes of "Friday Night Lights" the new TV show, and it was SO annoying. People claim it as "documentary style", but really sometimes it seems more "home movie" style with the constant zooming in and out.

I usually don't mind if there's an occasional zoom in a scene, but when there are 2 to 3 zooms in every shot of every scene, it grows tiresome.
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#12 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 02:46 PM

Rodney Charters' excellent work (and that of his operators) on '24', although not bleach bypassed, is great handheld work.
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#13 Andrew Colton

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 05:53 PM

Thank you everyone for your replies!
Just a few comments...
- I did not specifically look to hire Prieto. I probably would if I could... I just mentioned his projects
as a point of reference. Because that's the style I want to follow for this project. Please understand,
I am not a DP. I can only go so far in the tech talk...
- I do not see anything wrong with mentioning Prieto's work during the interview process. Again, because
that's my point of reference. If that hurts someone's fragile ego, I am sorry. But it's not a dating game.
- I do have the latest issue of the AC. There is a lot of information on "Babel". If anyone can point me
to anything on "Amorres Peros", that would be great.
- I realize that a professional DP should be able to emulate any style. But unfortunately this town is big on
type-casting. Sometimes for a very good reason. In the case of Prieto, every single film except "Frida" was
done in the style I want...
- Yes, I could go over several movies taking notes. Or in this case, I could just mention the two movies
that were done in a very specific way. And I actually think that if a DP did not know what I was referring to,
he or she would probably not be right for the job...
- I did think of Labitique as well. But I think he would have to scale back a lot on his hip-hop montage and
such...

Again, thank you for all your help.
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#14 Andrew Colton

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 06:07 PM

It might help if you could be more specific about what level of DP you are looking for. Do you want recommendations for DP's with the same sort of profile as Prieto, or are you looking for a good Indie feature DP? It's hard to make recommendations without knowing what league you're looking at.


Stuart,
At this point, with the same sort of profile as Prieto. But I am open to learn of any interesting Indie feature DPs.
Thanks
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#15 Andrew Colton

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 06:22 PM

It just depends on whether it's appropriately done. I watched a few minutes of "Friday Night Lights" the new TV show, and it was SO annoying. People claim it as "documentary style", but really sometimes it seems more "home movie" style with the constant zooming in and out.

I usually don't mind if there's an occasional zoom in a scene, but when there are 2 to 3 zooms in every shot of every scene, it grows tiresome.


Thank you, Jonathan!
You actually prove my point. One would walk a fine line between making it look seamless and powerful, or just plain annoying and dizzy... Hence, again my reason to be very specific on what I want...
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#16 Keneu Luca

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 12:07 AM

I think the show that really went waaay too far with this style was that football show, Playmakers. I think it was on ESPN. I never really watched it, except when flipping through the channels. I noticed it and watched a few minutes, but it went crazy with the snap zooms and jerky camera.

While yes, it can be effective when used in some scenes or if youre intent is to mimc a documentary. But other than that, it comes across as being quite self-conscious, or having a lack of faith in the content and how the scenes are constructed and how they unfold.

But yeah, if you feel your script calls for it, good luck t oyou in finding your guy.
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 02:15 AM

- I do not see anything wrong with mentioning Prieto's work during the interview process. Again, because
that's my point of reference. If that hurts someone's fragile ego, I am sorry. But it's not a dating game.
- I realize that a professional DP should be able to emulate any style. But unfortunately this town is big on
type-casting. Sometimes for a very good reason. In the case of Prieto, every single film except "Frida" was
done in the style I want...
- Yes, I could go over several movies taking notes. Or in this case, I could just mention the two movies
that were done in a very specific way. And I actually think that if a DP did not know what I was referring to,
he or she would probably not be right for the job...
- I did think of Labitique as well. But I think he would have to scale back a lot on his hip-hop montage and
such...


You are being way too judgemental on DP's -- for one thing, Prieto has done other films besides "Frida" that are in a different style than "Amores Perros", such as "Alexander", "Brokeback Mountain", and "8 Mile". And Matthew Labitique has done many movies where he has avoided any "hip-hop" style. Most DP's can manage the simple trick of moderating the amount of handheld to the level that the director wants to employ!

These people are artists and have to be treated with more respect than "if you're going to work for me, you have to curb any hip-hop tendencies..."

It's totally the wrong attitude to take with a serious artist, as if you are ordering from a Chinese menu. Commercials are approached with this attitude ("find me someone who can shoot red wine, not white wine") but features are more collaborative processes where you hire an intelligent, artistic DP who breaks down the script and then works with the director and art director to create a visual approach tailored to the project.

Generally you look at a LOT of DP reels, maybe from the agencies, create a list of people in the ballpark stylistically and experience-wise, interview them, tell them that the movie will be in the style of "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams" and get their feedback, hire the person who fits the bill, and then let them work out the details with the director. In the end, they may even decide to employ a totally different style.
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#18 mattuhry

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 03:00 AM

Meet as many people as you can, but go with someone you trust. Lots of DP's are able to work in a multitude of styles. Someone might be known for a certain style and be looking to break out of that mold. You might be surprised - The names that you are throwing around get from $12k to $35k a week ( and their crews and appetite for equipment can be large too ). if you have that kind of cash to spend on your DP+Cam Dept and your script is GREAT I would think that you would have many interesting choices. Pick someone who you think will stick with you when the sh!t hits the fan in some unexpected way and you get in trouble with an star/actor or the studio both of whom love to squish 1st time directors for the sheer fun of it.

Matt Uhry
www.fuzby.com
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#19 David Sweetman

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 03:11 AM

"Shooting a movie is an act of love. You need to understand the director's vision, build on it with your input, and translate it into every image."
-Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC

I think that's the kind of thing cinematographers like to hear they'll be able to do on a project...which is why they want to hear about that "vision" and may be put off if they sense the only intention is to copy the latest fad. To you, you're referencing a look you want, to them, you're asking them to steal someone else's vision and infringe on their "act of love." (heh, sounds sketchy)
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#20 Andrew Colton

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 05:15 AM

"Shooting a movie is an act of love. You need to understand the director's vision, build on it with your input, and translate it into every image."
-Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC

I think that's the kind of thing cinematographers like to hear they'll be able to do on a project...which is why they want to hear about that "vision" and may be put off if they sense the only intention is to copy the latest fad. To you, you're referencing a look you want, to them, you're asking them to steal someone else's vision and infringe on their "act of love." (heh, sounds sketchy)


I think a lot of you take your self too seriously. To follow the docu-drama style with shaking that does not make you too dizzy is to "steal an act of love"? Give me a freaking break! What if I told you I was making a dogma movie? Would I be stealing from Lars?

And where do you get off telling me that I want to copy the latest fad? I don't even know what the latest fad is. Try to wrap your brain around this... Maybe my "vision" is to shoot the movie in the style I want.
If I was making "Aquaman", I would certainly be open to more ideas... Then again, I could be looking
to hire the guy who worked on "Waterworld". :)
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