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#1 Ger Leonard

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:11 AM

I am a writer/director whose DP has become unavailable for my first feature in Ireland.

Having built up a strong relationship over the last 3+ years and feeling very much in tune on a project that we are both passionate about and share a vision for, my Hungarian DP has had to commit himself to another feature film.

I know he struggled with this decision and I understand and respect his choice. He needs to shoot one feature a year along with commercials, shorts etc or else "he goes nuts". and last year none of his features were made. As he has shared our many false dawns and frustrations, (testing our patience but never wavering in our belief in this film) and knowing that despite our commitment to finally go into production this year, on a budget ranging between 1m and 1.4m euro instead of our initially projected 2m.. we simply could not 100% guarantee production this autumn.. he committed himself to a film that has its budget fully in place and dates locked.

There is no hard feelings only best of wishes (laced with mutual regret)

I will not share with you the painful details, the near misses, the almost theres, the talent coming and going, over these years.. as i'm sure you know these frustrations well enough.

If for whatever reason production becomes delayed yet again and we run into 2009 he would like very much to shoot our film, while at same time he hopes that after these long and frustrating years we can finally get to shoot this film before this year passes.

It would pain me to have to delay production again until next year especially if all else is in place. He understands this of course, and naturally once we start looking for a new DP, if would be difficult/unfair to turn back.

So as a writer/director with his first feature finally approaching production this autumn/winter.. I am writing here to ask for suggestions. I would of course be simpler to find a DP in Ireland, and there are no doubt many strong candidates, but I have always liked idea of bringing in an "outsider" perspective.

Below is a short synopsis of the film SHELTER (name may have to change to FIVE DAYS SHELTER) and some brief notes on cinematography.

I know most here are american cinematographers and most likely our new DP will come from ireland, Uk or mainland europe.. I appreciate your taking time to read this and although i am not here looking for applications, I would appreciate your opinions, suggestions, and advice.

SHELTER is a highly visual ensemble drama interweaving the lives of several characters in a contemporary urban setting over five days. All the characters live untenable existences of quiet desperation. It is only by letting go of the lies they?ve forced themselves to live, that they can ultimately find release and connect with the ?beauty?, the poetry, that their numbing routines have made them blind to. Shelter looks at the interconnectivity of all things in the face of man's inherent isolation, with themes of human nature and animal instinct, through a language beyond that of words. These lives are portrayed and betrayed by their fleeting interactions with each other and crucially the animals in their lives. This is a unique serious convergent drama revealing the poetry of the everyday. It is this recognition of and connection with the poetry and beauty in and around us that can lift us out of our sometimes despair and suffering.

The first draft contained no dialogue. Once I knew I had found the film the characters found their voices. It now has sparse, minimal dialogue and although strong on narrative it works more as a thematic exploration, closer to poetry and music.

The script yields its meanings (and asks provocative questions, for it is not morally prescriptive) through its overall conception, metaphorical constructs, structure and tone.

If asked to offer examples of films of its kind one could mention aspects of the work of Krzystof Kieslowski, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Terrence Davies, Robert Bresson, Lynne Ramsey?s Ratcatcher, and Leos Carax?s Les Amants du Pont Neuf, amongst others.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
* A lyrical/heightened naturalism.

* Observational, non-intrusive.

* Limited coverage. Masters where possible. Plan sequence. Dialogue often offscreen. Laconic minimal style

* Camera movement (finding/losing/leaving/abandoning) holding still at end of shot.

* Slow deliberate camera moves, giving unsettling edge, a shift in perspective.

* Objects obstructing view.

* Negative space.

* Frames within frames. (doorways. windows, mirrors)

* Reflective surfaces

* Empty frames, characters entering and leaving.

* Abandoning angles.

* Detached point of view (anthropological) Limited use of close ups.

* Occasional use of macro lenses for intimate scenes

* Mixed source lighting. Conflict between natural and artificial light sources. Use available light and practicals.

* Light places not faces.

* Limited use of fill lighting

* Spartan approach, work with darkness, let things fall off, and highlights bloom and blow out.

* Musicality, rhythm, repetition, coherence

This film has been playing in and on my mind for 4 years, but these haven't been wasted, the film is now much more clearly defined and refined, and will be all the better for the faith held in it for so long...

Thanks again for your time.. and BTW.. this is a wonderful forum for informative and inspiring discussions... much appreciated...

GER
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#2 Paul Bruening

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:28 AM

Are you kidding? From what I can gather from our European posters here, there are plenty of DPs here that would love to work on your stuff. Employment seems to be a little lean there, these days. Good luck with your production.
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#3 Ger Leonard

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:40 AM

Are you kidding? From what I can gather from our European posters here, there are plenty of DPs here that would love to work on your stuff. Employment seems to be a little lean there, these days. Good luck with your production.


my mistake.. thanks paul, good to hear. . I did say most though... ;)
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:40 AM

Hi Paul yes it has to be a joke .
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#5 Ger Leonard

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:47 AM

Hi Paul yes it has to be a joke .


ok clearly my thinking that most members/DPs here were american was mistaken...
but rest of my post is true, no kidding
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:55 AM

Ok sorry for being so cynical ,best of luck to you .
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#7 Paul Bruening

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:56 AM

Ger,

I didn't mean to sound condescending. If you've got payroll in your budget, you've already got good European people here ready to work. That's what I was intending to communicate.
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#8 Ger Leonard

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 12:14 PM

Ger,

I didn't mean to sound condescending. If you've got payroll in your budget, you've already got good European people here ready to work. That's what I was intending to communicate.


No worries Paul..
Yes there are many excellent european DPs out there... I had an extremely talented one attached.

A while ago there was a topic running about "best new cinematographers"... what i guess i'm asking is for opinions on some up and coming european DPs that might seem suited to this type of film. I have a number in mind.

I'm not an prolific poster on these forums so I hope that this topic is appropriate to this forum ...
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#9 Dave Green

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 12:37 PM

Ger, you have a PM.
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#10 Nate Downes

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 09:50 PM

Sounds very nice. I'd apply but you're likely not seeking an American, even if the Euro vs Dollar ratio right now would make me quite cheap... 8)
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#11 Ger Leonard

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 09:36 AM

This topic was originally posted in the CINEMATOGRAPHERS forum, but has obviously since been moved to JOBS, REUMES, SHOWREELS forum.

As said in post I was not as such looking for applications but suggestions of and recommendations and opinions on up and coming and more established primarily european based DOPs that you feel might be a good fit with the type of film I want to make.

Of course since this is a cinematography forum and especially now that i've been moved to this forum, a number of DOPs have contacted me to put themselves forward.

While I really appreciate people's interest, you'll understand that right now we are considering our options and are not as yet accepting showreels. I will, however consider everyone, but as said in original post, we have a number of DOPs already in mind. You'll understand my not wishing to mentions any names.

A related query:

My PM box only accepts 5 messages and in trying to archive them just now i found that when opened the attachment to my email it came out as an ugly txt with html code etc.. making it hard to decipher..

I dont want to be unable to receive PMs due to being full, nor do i want to delete messages without being able to have them clearly archived.. How do i resolve this affectively?

Thanks..
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#12 Dave Green

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 10:40 AM

You could always make your e-mail address public. Or become a Sustaining Member (the option's in 'My Controls'), who get a message box capable of storing up to 50 messages.

If you're having problems with PMs, would you be so kind as to confirm you received my DoP recommendation?

Good luck,
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#13 Ger Leonard

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 10:53 AM

You could always make your e-mail address public. Or become a Sustaining Member (the option's in 'My Controls'), who get a message box capable of storing up to 50 messages.

If you're having problems with PMs, would you be so kind as to confirm you received my DoP recommendation?

Good luck,

Yeah i did dave cheers... now ill try become a sustaining member as you suggest..
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#14 Morgan Peline

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:08 AM

My name is Morgan Peline. I am a former London based cameraman. Currently I am living and working in Beijing but I should hopefully be coming back to the UK soon to shoot a feature film in the north of England in a few months. I saw your posting and decided to contact you.

I hold an MA in Cinematography from the English National Film and Television School and I am experienced in lighting and operating 35mm, 16mm, HDCAM and various other digital formats.

At the NFTS I trained in studio, location and commercials lighting and operating under the mentorship of Brian Tufano BSC (BAFTA nomination for Billy Elliot), Stuart Harris (Golden Bear winner for Wetherby), Billy Williams BSC (Oscar winner for Ghandi) and many other very respected English cinematographers.

In 2007, I was chosen to participate at the Budapest Cinematography Masterclass all expenses paid. At the masterclass I trained in 35mm cinematography under Vilmos Zsigmond ASC (Oscar winner for Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and Elemér Ragályi HSC (Emmy winner for Rasputin).

To watch examples of my work please visit my website:

http://web.mac.com/m...ge/Welcome.html

Should you wish I would be happy to send you my showreel.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards
Morgan Peline
+86 13 04100 7452
+44 (0) 7808 336955
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#15 Freya Black

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 07:00 AM

Are you kidding? From what I can gather from our European posters here, there are plenty of DPs here that would love to work on your stuff. Employment seems to be a little lean there, these days. Good luck with your production.


Yes theres loads of Europeans here! It's just that often there isn't much going on in the way of production or the productions are not very glamourous so they end up being less visible.

When I first read your posting and saw you were in Ireland I immediately thought of Steven Murphy who is a bit of a jetsetter and works in both London and Ireland. I really liked his last shoot on Sony Ex1 video cameras. I loved the lighting and I have some preety strange tastes in movies etc, so I suspect he might be able to help you make something different.

Also I was always really impressed by Morgan Peline's showreel (see above). I'm always very impressed when someone creates something magical on 5222 stock, because it's not a very magical stock.

There's loads of really talented people around here in Europe. Just very little work. :(

love

Freya
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