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Cinematography — Art?


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#1 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 02:56 PM

I am confused and hope you can help me. In my vision: Art is a way to impress feelings. I am a musician, when i am playing a nice piece i go mad about it, it's a great feeling. I also like to read, i like british literature like H. R. Haggard or A. C. Doyle. When i read them i get very excited and almost the same feeling that i get from listening music. I want to understand, can cinematography give me the same feeling of extasy? Maybe i don't watch what is right. Please express your point of views.

Edited by Ion Buga, 26 October 2008 - 02:58 PM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:02 PM

Can it give it to you... I don't know. Can it give it, most certainly.
Can a photograph give you a "feeling?" If it can then cinematography can as well (the two are different, but share the similarity that they are conveying ideas and feelings through the reproduction of a "reality.")
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#3 John Brawley

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:11 PM

I want to understand, can cinematography give me the same feeling of extasy?



Yes.


I can't speak for you but it does for me. Both for other's work and for my own.

You've never enjoyed watching a film ???

jb
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#4 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:14 PM

Can it give it to you... I don't know. Can it give it, most certainly.
Can a photograph give you a "feeling?" If it can then cinematography can as well (the two are different, but share the similarity that they are conveying ideas and feelings through the reproduction of a "reality.")


Thank you for your answer, your last words about reproduction of reality are piece that fits in my puzzle. Can you give me example(s) of movie(s) or photo's that impress you? And you would like to do something similar, in terms of quality of course, not plagiat.
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#5 Ira Ratner

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:20 PM

I'm a musician also (although a crappy old fart one), and there's a big difference between the two:

Playing music on stage gives you immediate gratification and joy, even if your audience thinks you totally stink. And practicing songs really can't be considered work in the same way film pre-planning is.

Cinematography is all work from step one, with nowhere near the level of satisfaction until you assemble/edit all of the pieces together to create your final piece. And by THAT time, you've looked at each take and each scene and each character so many times that there's no joy at ALL in the final product.

You're usually just sick and bored of the whole thing.

I know I'm going to get flamed for this post, but that's okay:

My point of this is that if you're always giggling and having a ball while filming, and while editing in post, you're just goofing off.

It's all very serious business taking into account the many disciplines, totally unlike playing in a band.

Plus, with playing music, there are no film costs.

HAH!
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#6 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:25 PM

Yes.


I can't speak for you but it does for me. Both for other's work and for my own.

You've never enjoyed watching a film ???

jb


I am thankful for your post, and it give me a hope that cinematography is not a shadow of theatre. I guess i just need to watch the right works. I enjoyed to watch movies like 'Il bisbetico domato' with Adriano Celentano, The Godfather Triology and Schindler's List. Anyway, the 99% of today hollywood works just kills me.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:28 PM

Thank you for your answer, your last words about reproduction of reality are piece that fits in my puzzle. Can you give me example(s) of movie(s) or photo's that impress you? And you would like to do something similar, in terms of quality of course, not plagiat.


Well a lot of how I feel about certain films/photographs depends on how I feel at the moment. There is a sequence in Baraka, though, where there are just these homeless people and the synthesis of music, shots, and the like, always gets me to tear up a bit. Also, the very end of Braveheart-- the last slow motion sequence has always gotten to me.
Those spring readily to mind.
For still photgraphy, I find the work of Steve McCurry and Sabatino Salgado quite inspiring and I am starting to enjoy the work of Crewdson. But like all art it is subjective. I mean, I look at a Pollock painting and I don't feel that much; I look t Caravaggio and I really enjoy it's interplay of light and shadow. My girlfriend is exactly the opposite; she'll revel in the modern art and dismiss the impressionists I've liked (though we both dislike pop art.. so we get on).
All art, by it's nature, is subjective. It is subject not only to the creators interpretation, but also out own internalization of it. Hence the great line "I may not know art, but I know what I like"
Its like food. You taste it and see what you want to take home from the buffet.

99% of today is forgotten tomorrow... How many great films from all film history can we recall in relation to how many were made. . .food for thought.
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#8 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:33 PM

I'm a musician also (although a crappy old fart one), and there's a big difference between the two:

Playing music on stage gives you immediate gratification and joy, even if your audience thinks you totally stink. And practicing songs really can't be considered work in the same way film pre-planning is.

Cinematography is all work from step one, with nowhere near the level of satisfaction until you assemble/edit all of the pieces together to create your final piece. And by THAT time, you've looked at each take and each scene and each character so many times that there's no joy at ALL in the final product.

You're usually just sick and bored of the whole thing.

I know I'm going to get flamed for this post, but that's okay:

My point of this is that if you're always giggling and having a ball while filming, and while editing in post, you're just goofing off.

It's all very serious business taking into account the many disciplines, totally unlike playing in a band.

Plus, with playing music, there are no film costs.

HAH!


Well, while i learn a piece at guitar (by sheet of course) i am also bored a little but after i learned, practice and make it to sound brilliant i enjoy it after some time. I start to get it, movie is a combination of scene's? and the ideea is to make every scene transmit your ideea and make them all look great together? How you can tell when a movies is good, and when is bad?

Edited by Ion Buga, 26 October 2008 - 03:36 PM.

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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:41 PM

Good and bad are both personal judgments. For example, my favorite film is Bridget Jones Diary, not the best film ever, but for me it's good. Another example; I like Star Trek films more than I like Star Wars films... all personal choices.
But yes, the basic idea is to convey, on the level of cinematography, the story and emotion of a scene visually.
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#10 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:51 PM

Well a lot of how I feel about certain films/photographs depends on how I feel at the moment. There is a sequence in Baraka, though, where there are just these homeless people and the synthesis of music, shots, and the like, always gets me to tear up a bit. Also, the very end of Braveheart-- the last slow motion sequence has always gotten to me.
Those spring readily to mind.
For still photgraphy, I find the work of Steve McCurry and Sabatino Salgado quite inspiring and I am starting to enjoy the work of Crewdson. But like all art it is subjective. I mean, I look at a Pollock painting and I don't feel that much; I look t Caravaggio and I really enjoy it's interplay of light and shadow. My girlfriend is exactly the opposite; she'll revel in the modern art and dismiss the impressionists I've liked (though we both dislike pop art.. so we get on).
All art, by it's nature, is subjective. It is subject not only to the creators interpretation, but also out own internalization of it. Hence the great line "I may not know art, but I know what I like"
Its like food. You taste it and see what you want to take home from the buffet.

99% of today is forgotten tomorrow... How many great films from all film history can we recall in relation to how many were made. . .food for thought.


I understand your point of view, but IMO art is objective and our opinion about it depends of our interpretation (here i agree with you). Anyhow, it can be interpreted right or wrong (like literature criticism). For example: you read a book and you like it, but a critics (that's learn's how to appreciate) tell that the book is no good. The same thing is in all branches of art (just my opinion). We can make a perfect scene to express what we wanted in a movie, or make a not so good one. It's a question of experience and work.
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:56 PM

Yes, but then why should I care what a critic thinks ;).
Seriously, though, that's the big "gotcha," in art and filmmaking. Critically acclaimed films can do poorly in the box office, while bashed films can do greatly- or achieve art later on (2001 comes to mind here). The question is by whose or by what rubric are we defining "art?" Is this definition stagnate, or does it change? Does a urinal on a podium=art today and forever? What of a shark in formaldehyde? Is the "art" on the canvas or in the interpretation? If it's on the canvas then that could lead to there being only 1 interpretation but if it's in the interpretation then there that leads to questioning who is the real authority on it, whose viewpoint do we go off of?
These are all theoretical questions and a lot of them get muddled when you try to answer/debate them or has so far been my experience.
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#12 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:57 PM

Good and bad are both personal judgments. For example, my favorite film is Bridget Jones Diary, not the best film ever, but for me it's good. Another example; I like Star Trek films more than I like Star Wars films... all personal choices.
But yes, the basic idea is to convey, on the level of cinematography, the story and emotion of a scene visually.


I respect your point of view, and agree that the same movie can be interpreted different (because of some criteria: the level of interes of the film theme, etc). But the quality can be objective. What you think of this statement?
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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 04:01 PM

But what quality are you speaking of? Technical, or artistic quality? If it's technical then what specifics (shots in focus?) if it's artistic, then you're back trying to define what is and isn't art.

By the by, I'm not saying you're right or wrong; rather I just really enjoy these philosophic questions and dialogues.
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#14 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 04:10 PM

Yes, but then why should I care what a critic thinks ;).
Seriously, though, that's the big "gotcha," in art and filmmaking. Critically acclaimed films can do poorly in the box office, while bashed films can do greatly- or achieve art later on (2001 comes to mind here). The question is by whose or by what rubric are we defining "art?" Is this definition stagnate, or does it change? Does a urinal on a podium=art today and forever? What of a shark in formaldehyde? Is the "art" on the canvas or in the interpretation? If it's on the canvas then that could lead to there being only 1 interpretation but if it's in the interpretation then there that leads to questioning who is the real authority on it, whose viewpoint do we go off of?
These are all theoretical questions and a lot of them get muddled when you try to answer/debate them or has so far been my experience.


Just to make clear: I admit that your are a lot more experienced in cinematography and i just trying to put my thought's on debate and, maybe, change them if i find i am wrong.

A critic that can't appreciate right a piece (a movies, a novel, a song, etc.) is bad critic and his opinion may not be accepted by us. But when a critic give argument's and we just can't fight them we must admit his opinion supremacy. For example, i like Shilov (http://shilov.su/gal.html - his masterpiece's must be watched in real) because of detalization of portrait's. It's a hard work to make every bit to look perfect, as real. This is an argument, his pieces are great because of his work on details. It's objective.

Edited by Ion Buga, 26 October 2008 - 04:12 PM.

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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 04:14 PM

The biggest problem with objectivity is that it's nearly impossible to prove it exists. To a certain level, all interpretation by anyone will be biased and all examinations will hold a taint from that singular person's life experiences (even as much as to getting down into who s/he chooses to have edit the piece they are presenting). I mean, think of it; what would real objectivity mean?

p.s. I in no way want you to think that I hold experience in high regard. Original and good ideas can come from anywhere, and I always, as I said, enjoy these types of discussions where you go back and forth trying to come up with something. It's good mental exercize and makes one reevaluate (my self included) what we believe
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#16 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 04:22 PM

But what quality are you speaking of? Technical, or artistic quality? If it's technical then what specifics (shots in focus?) if it's artistic, then you're back trying to define what is and isn't art.

By the by, I'm not saying you're right or wrong; rather I just really enjoy these philosophic questions and dialogues.


Hard to answer. I would try to explain what i mean.
Our objective: shot a short scene where a boy tell his mother that he love her. We can shot 100 different scene's, all different but trying to accomplish the same objective. But some of them can make a big impress on viewer and some not. The one's that make big impression, done the objective and other's not. Because of some criteria, hard to tell them ad-hoc (light, angle of camera, colours, the facial expression of boy, the intonation, the reaction of mom & so on.).
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#17 Ion Buga

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 04:32 PM

The biggest problem with objectivity is that it's nearly impossible to prove it exists. To a certain level, all interpretation by anyone will be biased and all examinations will hold a taint from that singular person's life experiences (even as much as to getting down into who s/he chooses to have edit the piece they are presenting). I mean, think of it; what would real objectivity mean?

p.s. I in no way want you to think that I hold experience in high regard. Original and good ideas can come from anywhere, and I always, as I said, enjoy these types of discussions where you go back and forth trying to come up with something. It's good mental exercize and makes one reevaluate (my self included) what we believe


I just have situations when someone that knew a little about a subject trying to explain me what is right and what is wrong to me when i knew a little more. And i don't want to be the same guy in other discussions where i don't know a thing.

Yea, i think that is very hard objective to critic a piece. Anyhow, we can tell when a scene transmit it ideea and when not, we can tell that a movie made to make money without big work into it is not a good one. We get into hard topic. I am starting to lose my ideea due to confusement's :).

Edited by Ion Buga, 26 October 2008 - 04:33 PM.

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#18 Ira Ratner

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 05:06 PM

My main point is that the satisfaction in making a creation isn't the same depending on the medium:

I publish a comedy magazine from time to time that I get a big kick out of doing, but it's a ton of work and sure ain't the same as playing a song on stage. This mag is something I get accolades for, but while I was doing it? Nahhh. PURE WORK!

I have some chuckles doing it, but again--it's arduous labor and nowhere near the satisfaction of just playing in front of an audience.

I think that the great artists--regardless of the medium--don't necessarily need or seek that approval from the audience. Because the audiences and their opinions from town to town...year to year...change.

"To thine own self be true."

As long as you can make a buck out of it.
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 06:19 PM

The original question is confusing because the first example is the satisfaction of creating art (music performance in this case) and the second and third are the satisfaction of experiencing the art of others (reading, not writing, listening to music, not composing it).

Since cinematography isn't a "lone" art but is part of the overall artform of cinema, I can't say that it can be experienced as a separate entity apart from the movie it lies within.

As for the creative act of cinematography, it is often satisfying, often frustrating, and often a lot of hard work. Most of the time, it's what one would call a commercial art, art in support of a commercial product, and usually in collaboration with others (crew, director, etc.) in support of other artistic contributions (writing, acting, etc.) This makes it different than a painting or book, which can be the sole work of a single person.

Experiencing cinematography is a little more like appreciating one major element in an opera or a symphony or a great work of architecture. Same goes for contributing to it.
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#20 K Borowski

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 06:42 PM

Sure, whether something is "art" or not is subjective.

But just as you can argue whether or not a film is done artisticially, so too you can argue whether or not techno music is really music. :rolleyes:

Unfortunately, commercialization can greatly diminish the artistic influence in filmmaking or music or even other sectors of art.
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