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.