Jump to content


Photo

FILMMAKER AND DOP COLLABORATION


  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Robert Lachenay

Robert Lachenay
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 106 posts
  • Director

Posted 12 February 2007 - 08:12 PM

I'm wondering how experienced DOP's feel about extensive collaboration with a director who isn't as proficient in cinematography knowledge, to create the look that director is looking for. Is it somewhat of a nuisance? Does the lack of extiensive, technical photographic knowledge on the director's part steal from his credibility in your eyes (even though he may be a very capable director)? Or do experienced DOP's like this sort of collaboration and established trusts/freedom?

I guess what I am trying to ask is whether or not working with a director who hasn't worked through film before, but can direct actors well and has a specific, concrete vision of how they would like each shot of their film to look, but doesn't have extiensive, technical photographic knowledge (though isn?t completely inept....knows enough about angles and lenses and film types) because they didn't attend film school, would seem be a nuisance, or could some sort of strong collaboration and trust be met to make it work?

...if that made any sense.

Edited by Robert Lachenay, 12 February 2007 - 08:13 PM.

  • 0

#2 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 13 February 2007 - 11:43 AM

I'm wondering how experienced DOP's feel about extensive collaboration with a director who isn't as proficient in cinematography knowledge, to create the look that director is looking for. Is it somewhat of a nuisance? Does the lack of extiensive, technical photographic knowledge on the director's part steal from his credibility in your eyes (even though he may be a very capable director)? Or do experienced DOP's like this sort of collaboration and established trusts/freedom?

I guess what I am trying to ask is whether or not working with a director who hasn't worked through film before, but can direct actors well and has a specific, concrete vision of how they would like each shot of their film to look, but doesn't have extiensive, technical photographic knowledge (though isn?t completely inept....knows enough about angles and lenses and film types) because they didn't attend film school, would seem be a nuisance, or could some sort of strong collaboration and trust be met to make it work?

...if that made any sense.


If the director trusts you, this can be a very good working environment. It means that you both have significant input into the final look of the movie and that you are codependent and really collaborative in the endeavor. The danger I see is that the director doesn't have enough input and his movie turns into the DP's movie without either of them noticing. The DP must have patience in this kind of team.

I'm guessing you face this situation? I would say go for it. Make sure the director knows that his word is law and not to be intimidated by you, even if he is the less experienced one. Many directors go through their first movie with a very experienced crew for the purpose of having an experienced team helping them along. If he has ideas about the look (and he does. If he says "eh, whatever" then you should be worried), talk about them and try to help him put those ideas onto the screen. If there is trouble putting his ideas into words, try looking through some photography books and still frames from movies.

Sometimes it is frustrating working with people who don't have the sophistocated visual language we tend to have. They hum and haw and try very hard to express their visual thoughts but have trouble doing it. Your job in this situation, the way I see it, is to help the director express his thoughts to you and then to help execute them to get it all on film.
  • 0

#3 John Holland

John Holland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2248 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London England

Posted 13 February 2007 - 11:59 AM

Thats why you have a DoP to take care of the required visuals , directors dont need to know about film stocks etc, but should know how he/she wants to stage a scene ,what is needed from actors and explain doesnt matter how basic how the film should look ,depending on subject etc.
  • 0

#4 Paul Nordin

Paul Nordin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 48 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Emeryville, CA

Posted 13 February 2007 - 12:14 PM

I've shot a few features with this type of a Director/DP dynamic. There can be several good things: the Director is aware of his weakness and hence finding an experienced DP that can help articulate his visual vocabulary, you (DP) get to be a fully creative partner in the filmmaking process, you (DP) get to practice your mind-reading skills by extracting what the Director "means" and turning that into a cohesive shot-list. The bad part is there will be no getting around the learning curve which you will need to spend extra time helping the Director over. You will have to be very patient. You will likely have to spend a -lot- more time in preproduction than you may normally be used to. But if you feel a sense of trust in the Director's vision and storytelling ability, and feel that he also trusts you to represent his vision in the frame, and you feel you can keep a cap on your ego and make space for the Director to Direct as the learning curve is navigated, it can be a very rewarding journey. I don't regret any of the times I've jumped into that situation, and if the project was compelling, and I admired what the Director -is- bringing to the table, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
  • 0


Technodolly

Abel Cine

The Slider

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Opal

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider