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Inspirational Cinematographers.


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#1 Matthew Buick

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 08:10 PM

Hi,

I was wondering, who in the cinematography world really inspires you, who made you want to take up this incredible artform?

I really don't know what inspired me to be a cinematographer, I think I was browsing an Argos catelogue on a trip to the MetroCentre sometime in 2003 looking for stuff to want for a few weeks before losing interest when I happened across the Camcorder section.
At first I just wanted to act, but I think camcorders were always something special to me, I would while away my weekends looking at camcorders in magazines or camera shops.
One day I bought a Canon Motor Zoom 8 EEE from a local flea market for £10.00 and became highly interested in 'cine cameras', it wasn't until November 2005 that I got proper internet access, one of the first things I googled was 'Super 8 Cameras' and that's how I got to where I am today.


Cinematograpers I really admire:

David Mullen ASC : He has a wonderful style and a fantastic attitude to everyone here at this site.

Roger Pratt BSC : Simply mind blowing work on Harry Potter 4, beautifully lit.

Bill Butler ASC : His work really isn't my thing, but he strikes me as a very genuine chap.

The guy who shot the Werthers Origional advert with the conversation between the yorkshire boy and his dad in the car, seriously : I have no idea who shot this if someone could tell me that would be nice but he/she has hit pretty much 100% the Matthew Buick style of shooting, once I learn how to.

Anyways, hope this turns into a good conversation thread.

Best regards,
Matthew Buick.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 08:19 PM

Too many people to name...

There are two DP's whose work I first really noticed when I was a teenager in the late 1970's: Geoffrey Unsworth (2001, Superman) and Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters). By the early 80's, it was Vittorio Storaro, and now that I'm watching the new DVD's of "Reds", "The Conformist", and "1900", it's Storaro all over again.

Allen Daviau was also an important early influence. All those late 1970's / early 1980's movies I saw at the end of high school and in college... "Alien", "Empire Strikes Back", "Apocalypse Now", "Kagemusha", "Blade Runner", "E.T.", "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Excalibur", etc.

Early on, I also went through a British DP phase, starting with Unsworth but going on to study John Alcott, David Watkin, Freddie Young, Freddie Francis, Ozzie Morris, Jack Cardiff
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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 08:26 PM

*Claps David Mullen* *Wipes tear from eye*

I don't think any paticular DP ever influenced me all that much, I don't think I even knew what a DP was, but I have this strange obsession with cameras, film, lights and stuff, I think that's what drove me, this site has been highly educational.

Thank you everyone.

Edited by Matthew Buick, 27 December 2006 - 08:31 PM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 08:48 PM

For me, part of what started the ball rolling was seeing "Close Encounters" in a movie theater and being awed by the experience, right around the time "2001" first played on TV. I was a science fiction geek since childhood and a "Star Trek" fan, so these two movies really got me interested in filmmaking. "Star Wars" too but not as much as "Close Encounters" did -- the masterful filmmaking technique was more "on display" in "Close Encounters". It was the first movie where I noticed the framing and camera movement.

Then "Superman" came out and I saw it several times; the beginning of the movie was dedicated to the DP, Geoffrey Unsworth, who died before it came out. This got me interested in what cinematographers did.

I read all the literature that came out when "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters" was released and fancied that I might go into visual effects since I was a model builder and painter at the time. When I got to college in 1980, I discovered an issue of "American Cinematographer" devoted to "Superman" and the career of Unsworth. The praise heaped upon him really impressed me, the level of respect so many directors and co-workers had for him.

Then when I transferred to UCLA in my third year of college, I discovered the film library and devoured books and old magazines on filmmaking. I read every issue of American Cinematographer going back to the 1920's, and I re-read the 1970's issues several times over.

What's great about being in the ASC is that I can now chat with all those DP's who shot those movies from the late 1970's / 1980's, like Allen Daviau, or Richard Kline, Vilmos Zsigmond, Richard Edlund, etc. Trouble is that I memorized everything ever written about these guys that sometimes I find myself politely correcting them on some fact about their movies (especially when they can't remember what film stocks were available at the time).

Not Daviau, though, whose memory is even better than mine!

Over the years of visiting the ASC as a student and beginning cinematographer, I found that it was not always the most famous DP's that were the most instructive, but often some midlevel studio or TV DP who was kind enough to spend the time explaining things to me, and had a solid understanding of the principles of cinematography and could communicate them clearly.
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#5 Matthew Buick

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 09:03 PM

Wow, that's one hell of a story, I'd love to be able to talk to these sort of DPs I've seem some of their work, and it's really well done, I think I'd especially like to talk to John Dykstra ASC, Douglas Trumbull ASC and Richard Edlund ASC, I really liked their VFX work.

If I could talk to a deceased DP (better dust off the ol' Ouija Board) it would probably be Harold Rosson ASC, I really loved what he did in Wizard o' Oz and Singin' in the Rain.
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#6 J. Michael Whalen

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 11:01 PM

For me I think the inspiration came from one of the first films I can remember seeing in a theater. It was THE BLACK STALLION and was shot by Caleb Deschanel. As I got older I really dug the work of Sven Nykvist, Christopher Doyle, John Toll, and Freddie Young(Lawrence of Arabia).
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 12:30 AM

For me I think the inspiration came from one of the first films I can remember seeing in a theater. It was THE BLACK STALLION and was shot by Caleb Deschanel.


Yes, that was another memorable film I saw when I was a senior in high school. I remember telling all my friends about how good the photography was.
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#8 Justin Hayward

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 01:06 AM

Over the years of visiting the ASC as a student and beginning cinematographer, I found that it was not always the most famous DP's that were the most instructive, but often some midlevel studio or TV DP who was kind enough to spend the time explaining things to me, and had a solid understanding of the principles of cinematography and could communicate them clearly.


Do you find that the people that can admire truly great cinematographers are the same ones that can't be great themselves? And, vice versa? Sometimes I watch documentaries on some great filmmakers and I'm shocked at how uninformative it is. It's almost like they don't know how good they are. But, I appreciate that as I?m in with the admirers.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 02:07 AM

Well, only a select few can be "great" -- that's what makes them special. If a lot of people were great, then that would be the norm and only the greatest of the greats would be considered great...

But most of these great cinematographers have their own personal heros of cinematography, past or present, that they admire.

I guess my point about the mid-level DP's is that one can be inspired by exposure to all levels of arts and artists, not just the greatest examples in the field. If you go to a major museum like the National Gallery in London, once you get beyond looking at the greatest works in the history of art, you find yourself inspired by some of the less famous stuff - that doesn't mean that the works of some minor artist are actually better than the famous stuff, only that certain elements can inspire you personally.

The first movie I really loved as a child was the original b&w "Godzilla" and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the mood of that movie has found its way into my work in subtle ways that I can't understand. Same goes for all the animated Disney cartoons I saw as a child.
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#10 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 04:24 AM

Dante Spinotti, i found out not a long ago that he comes from an italian village very close to the one i come from...and Seamus McGarvey, one of the nicest, humblest and kindest persons i have ever met.
Oh and how can i not mention David, who i consider somehow my "cinematography teacher" on the internet. i have learned more from him on this site than from my film course

Edited by freddie bonfanti, 28 December 2006 - 04:26 AM.

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#11 Matthew Buick

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 12:52 PM

Yes, Seamus Mc Garvey BSC is great, I loved the was Sahara was shot. I also particuarly admire the cinematographers who work on animations such as Wallace & Gromit, it must be hard lighting such a small set, a couple of Brickfilms I've watched have had some pretty impressive cinematography.
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#12 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 01:51 PM

can't believe i forgot to write his BSC title after his name...
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#13 ArturKummer

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 01:52 PM

Hi All,I hardly post here(still kind of shy to do it I guess)but I do read it a lot and I have to say all you guys that come here discussing and always sharing experiences and knowledge in the forum are very inspirational to me.All of you from the students to the more experience people like David and Claudio.

I also look up to Lazlo Kovakz(Easy Riders and Five Easy Pieces are my favorites),Jean-Yves Escoffier,Darius Khondji,Heskell Wexler Conrad Hall and Willian Fraker(specially because Rosemarys Baby) and Robby Muller.
I am very interested in films shot in New York.I think Gordon Willis and Owen Roizman are the cinematographers that best portrait the city I chose to live and work.
Happy new Year to all of you.
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#14 Daniel Smith

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 04:18 PM

It's got to be Conrad L. Hall for me. Call my choice mainstream if you like but I don't care.

Through his cinematography he tells the story, creates beautiful shots, and manages to keep it looking realistic.


I've only seen one of Gregg Tolands films (Citizen Kane) but that guy was way ahead of his time.


And David Mullen's work on Northfork looked very interesting also. And he's always willing to lend a hand around here.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 28 December 2006 - 04:20 PM.

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#15 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 06:58 PM


I am very interested in films shot in New York.I think Gordon Willis and Owen Roizman are the cinematographers that best portrait the city I chose to live and work.



i really liked the way Libatique portrayed the Big Apple both in Pi and in the Inside Man, with two different but striking visual styles
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#16 Greg Gross

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 10:43 AM

I'm recovering from a small heart attack so I've been sitting in my studio watching good
films on the big screen. I just finished "The Two Jakes" and I love how Vilmos lit this pro-
duction. One my of favorite films is "North Fork" and I've just slid it into the dvd player.
Mullen did such a great job lighting Nick Nolte in his scenes. I just love the one scene with
Nolte where David used a small practical. I'm a big fan of practicals and especially so when
used as key(dominant) light. "Chinatown" will always be at the top for me. Its a film that made
a huge impact on my thinking about filmmaking.

Greg Gross
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#17 ABIODUN

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 10:55 AM


I am very interested in films shot in New York.I think Gordon Willis and Owen Roizman are the cinematographers that best portrait the city I chose to live and work.

i really liked the way Libatique portrayed the Big Apple both in Pi and in the Inside Man, with two different but striking visual styles

Dioon Beebe thumbs up on Memoirs of a geisha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 12:05 PM

You should change your User Name to your first and last name.
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#19 Frank Barrera

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 03:53 PM

Back in 1998 i saw Christopher Doyle's work in Happy Together in the theatre and was astounded by the complexity and depth of his photography. It was a beautiful example of the heights that a director and a dp can reach when they push each other to the edges of story telling. This work is like a steam roller driven by a wild eyed camera man. What draws me to this type of filmmaking is that all the varied photographic technique is essential to the story. It is not gratuitous. It is naturally fantastic and ultimately simple. Doyle has gone on to do similar type work as well as straight hollywood fair and other styles that reflect the trends and innovations all over the world. He is a traveler. A complete artist. Pure inspiration.

Fallen Angel
Chung King Express
Days of Being Wild
Rabbit Proof Fence
Last Life In the Universe
And of course his work in 2046 and In the Mood for Love


f
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#20 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 10:00 PM

There are many whom I admire as in the cinematography world but two have been the most influential on me: Dion Beebe ASC, ACS and Vittorio Storaro ASC, AIC.


Kev
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