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DP FOR FEATURE (not cameraman)


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#1 john Spear

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:10 AM

We are conducting interviews strictly to DP's who are specialized in lighting and creating the right feel for each scene/shot/sequence for a feature film to be shot in Miami. This is a Romantic Comedy genre grounded in drama. Up beat teenage. I wll be shooting on a JVC GY HD 110U with a Letus Ultimate and a set of zeiss primes. This is a low budget flick but the story is well motivated to be so. High content. I would like to see your reel on line if you have one.

spifilms@yahoo.com
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#2 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 04:08 AM

We are conducting interviews strictly to DP's who are specialized in lighting and creating the right feel for each scene/shot/sequence for a feature film to be shot in Miami. This is a Romantic Comedy genre grounded in drama. Up beat teenage. I wll be shooting on a JVC GY HD 110U with a Letus Ultimate and a set of zeiss primes. This is a low budget flick but the story is well motivated to be so. High content. I would like to see your reel on line if you have one.

spifilms@yahoo.com


So from your comment on the edgelight forum are you asking for a gaffer and you're DPing? Or you're directing and need a DP? I would be interested in either one really. My schedule is booked for a 19 day shoot (Dec. 1-19) in Wilmington for, ironically, another Romantic comedy that I am DPing.

If you go to my website - www.singhoweyam.com and go to my reel section and play the narrative you can watch the film with the girls in the yellow and red outfits.

I would be coming from VA, I know you said you wouldn't mind bringing in someone else. Drop me an e-mail at sing@singhoweyam.com with more information about the shoot (script, dates, type of budget, etc.)

Thanks,

Sing Howe Yam

Edited by Sing Howe Yam, 16 November 2008 - 04:09 AM.

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#3 john Spear

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:57 PM

Hi, Conflicting dates. Thank you for your response. We have already secured talent locations etc. but in response to your question it is a Director of Photography which we are interested in, not a camera operator, since I will be blocking the shots with the director. He is very critical about being on the same page with the DP and so am I. The romantic comedy is a story which I wrote and am producing as well (2 producers) with a partner of mine. I am wearing a few hats and would really like the DP to take on his role strictly as creating an enviromental atmosphere with light. We have seven finished scripts ready for pre-production (years in the making) and we'll be in touch, I'm sure. Let me know how you do.

The best to you,

John Spear
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#4 andy patch

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 03:12 PM

Hi, Conflicting dates. Thank you for your response. We have already secured talent locations etc. but in response to your question it is a Director of Photography which we are interested in, not a camera operator, since I will be blocking the shots with the director. He is very critical about being on the same page with the DP and so am I. The romantic comedy is a story which I wrote and am producing as well (2 producers) with a partner of mine. I am wearing a few hats and would really like the DP to take on his role strictly as creating an enviromental atmosphere with light. We have seven finished scripts ready for pre-production (years in the making) and we'll be in touch, I'm sure. Let me know how you do.

The best to you,

John Spear


John, sounds like a fun project. I am interested in the job and would love to come out for it. Please take a look at my site and reels, (which are in the process of being updated with additional work.) I have some questions for you about the project, and would love to discuss them with you, should you be interested in working together. Either way, good luck on your project and drop me a line if you would like to talk. thanks.
-andy
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#5 Gus Sacks

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 03:16 PM

Hi, Conflicting dates. Thank you for your response. We have already secured talent locations etc. but in response to your question it is a Director of Photography which we are interested in, not a camera operator, since I will be blocking the shots with the director. He is very critical about being on the same page with the DP and so am I. The romantic comedy is a story which I wrote and am producing as well (2 producers) with a partner of mine. I am wearing a few hats and would really like the DP to take on his role strictly as creating an enviromental atmosphere with light. We have seven finished scripts ready for pre-production (years in the making) and we'll be in touch, I'm sure. Let me know how you do.

The best to you,

John Spear


John, I still don't understand... You're going to be the Camera Operator doing blocking and movement and you're looking for a 'Lighting Camerman,' in essence? Kind of an odd deal, as far as the Northa American system goes.
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#6 andy patch

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 03:22 PM

John, I still don't understand... You're going to be the Camera Operator doing blocking and movement and you're looking for a 'Lighting Camerman,' in essence? Kind of an odd deal, as far as the Northa American system goes.


Yeah, this was my question exactly.... not something most people are used to.
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#7 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 03:32 PM

John, I still don't understand... You're going to be the Camera Operator doing blocking and movement and you're looking for a 'Lighting Camerman,' in essence? Kind of an odd deal, as far as the Northa American system goes.


Yeah, that is where I was confused. Because traditionally the DP relates what the Director wants to the camera operator in terms of the movement and composition. But blocking is laid out with the director and DP and then the camera operator helps the DP in that sense. To me it appears you're looking more for a gaffer. I feel you're more of the DP if you're handling the blocking and movement and want a gaffer who can come up with lighting schemes from what the director says. I guess I was confused because most low budget indies usually don't have the means to pay for a camera operator in the camera department.

I would be interested in your future films, do you have anything lined up between January - March? Let me know, so if you're looking for a gaffer/chief lighting technician you should check out my friend/DP's website: www.magarcia.com his DP reel is mostly lit by me, all the bleached footage and the gangster with the rain is by me. One was on Super 16mm and the other was on 35mm.

I'm currently resorting my gaffing reel (my macbook pro and a lot of other gear was stolen on the first day of a feature I was doing 2 months ago!), recently just got all the footage and a new macbook pro.
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#8 SpikeUM

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 08:00 PM

email sent
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#9 john Spear

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 02:00 AM

John, I still don't understand... You're going to be the Camera Operator doing blocking and movement and you're looking for a 'Lighting Camerman,' in essence? Kind of an odd deal, as far as the Northa American system goes.


There are plenty of American movies in which the DP or Director of Photography and the cam. department have worked together but not necessarily been the same person. I agree that perhaps more in Europe than here in the states. Blocking is just as important for a Cinematographer as it is for a Director, and sometimes even more so. Ideally, it's not either the Director or the Cinematographer who makes blocking choices, but an intimate collaboration. When both have blocking skills, the process becomes much more intuitive, and creative. Directing is a full-time job, and so is operating the camera. Some Directors want to dedicate their attention to developing and nurturing the actors' performances. In that event, the Cinematographer should be able to develop the camera-plot, and pick the angles and moves that accentuate the emotions in the scene, and have the DP work the atmospheric layout of the scene with the lights to compliment that setup, as agreed by the Director, The Cinematographer (Cameraman), and the DP. I never used the term 'Lighting Cameraman' but I presume it means a Cinematographer who also takes the role of Director of Photography... Thanks for the lesson in terminology.
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#10 john Spear

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 02:20 AM

Yeah, that is where I was confused. Because traditionally the DP relates what the Director wants to the camera operator in terms of the movement and composition. But blocking is laid out with the director and DP and then the camera operator helps the DP in that sense. To me it appears you're looking more for a gaffer. I feel you're more of the DP if you're handling the blocking and movement and want a gaffer who can come up with lighting schemes from what the director says. I guess I was confused because most low budget indies usually don't have the means to pay for a camera operator in the camera department.

I would be interested in your future films, do you have anything lined up between January - March? Let me know, so if you're looking for a gaffer/chief lighting technician you should check out my friend/DP's website: www.magarcia.com his DP reel is mostly lit by me, all the bleached footage and the gangster with the rain is by me. One was on Super 16mm and the other was on 35mm.

I'm currently resorting my gaffing reel (my macbook pro and a lot of other gear was stolen on the first day of a feature I was doing 2 months ago!), recently just got all the footage and a new macbook pro.


Nice work. Nice interiors. Keep up the good work.
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#11 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 02:49 AM

There are plenty of American movies in which the DP or Director of Photography and the cam. department have worked together but not necessarily been the same person. I agree that perhaps more in Europe than here in the states. Blocking is just as important for a Cinematographer as it is for a Director, and sometimes even more so. Ideally, it's not either the Director or the Cinematographer who makes blocking choices, but an intimate collaboration. When both have blocking skills, the process becomes much more intuitive, and creative. Directing is a full-time job, and so is operating the camera. Some Directors want to dedicate their attention to developing and nurturing the actors' performances. In that event, the Cinematographer should be able to develop the camera-plot, and pick the angles and moves that accentuate the emotions in the scene, and have the DP work the atmospheric layout of the scene with the lights to compliment that setup, as agreed by the Director, The Cinematographer (Cameraman), and the DP. I never used the term 'Lighting Cameraman' but I presume it means a Cinematographer who also takes the role of Director of Photography... Thanks for the lesson in terminology.


From Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia....Cinematographer
"A cinematographer is one photographing with a motion picture camera (the art and science of which is known as cinematography). The title is generally equivalent to director of photography (DP or DoP), used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The term cinematographer has been a point of contention for some time now; some professionals insist that it only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person, although this is far from being uniformly the case. To most, cinematographer and director of photography are interchangeable terms.


The English system of camera department hierarchy sometimes firmly separates the duties of the director of photography from that of the camera operator to the point that the DP often has no say whatsoever over more purely operating-based visual elements such as framing. In this case, the DP is often credited as a lighting cameraman. This system means that the director consults the lighting cameraman for lighting and filtration and the operator for framing and lens choices."




What exactly do you do on this show you are talking about?
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#12 Gus Sacks

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 03:11 AM

There are plenty of American movies in which the DP or Director of Photography and the cam. department have worked together but not necessarily been the same person. I agree that perhaps more in Europe than here in the states. Blocking is just as important for a Cinematographer as it is for a Director, and sometimes even more so. Ideally, it's not either the Director or the Cinematographer who makes blocking choices, but an intimate collaboration. When both have blocking skills, the process becomes much more intuitive, and creative. Directing is a full-time job, and so is operating the camera. Some Directors want to dedicate their attention to developing and nurturing the actors' performances. In that event, the Cinematographer should be able to develop the camera-plot, and pick the angles and moves that accentuate the emotions in the scene, and have the DP work the atmospheric layout of the scene with the lights to compliment that setup, as agreed by the Director, The Cinematographer (Cameraman), and the DP. I never used the term 'Lighting Cameraman' but I presume it means a Cinematographer who also takes the role of Director of Photography... Thanks for the lesson in terminology.


Haha, well, John, I've shot a few films and do know the way a Cinematographer or Director of Photography works with a Director, and the decisions they're responsible for making. Some might say it's semantics, and some (like Storaro) believe a Cinematographer and DP are different animals all together... but in the case of the way your original post sounded, it sounded like there was a Camera Operator and a Lighting Cameraman, as in the British system, as Saul referred to above.

I guess you just don't understand that most people regard the DP and the Cinematographer as one and the same. I would always welcome a Camera Operator, and they're totally welcome to have discussion with the Director over moves, and their ideas. But when it comes down to it the DP should be a part of the decision making process in terms of what the operator does. Planning the "atmospheric layout," by a decision by committee, while not being a part of the blocking and motion sounds like a recipe for disaster.
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#13 Tim Fabrizio

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:37 AM

Hi John,
I would love to hear more about your film. Take a look at my reel here: My website
I have also sent you an email.
I hope to hear from you.
Tim
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#14 john Spear

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 03:24 PM

From Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia....Cinematographer
"A cinematographer is one photographing with a motion picture camera (the art and science of which is known as cinematography). The title is generally equivalent to director of photography (DP or DoP), used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The term cinematographer has been a point of contention for some time now; some professionals insist that it only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person, although this is far from being uniformly the case. To most, cinematographer and director of photography are interchangeable terms.


The English system of camera department hierarchy sometimes firmly separates the duties of the director of photography from that of the camera operator to the point that the DP often has no say whatsoever over more purely operating-based visual elements such as framing. In this case, the DP is often credited as a lighting cameraman. This system means that the director consults the lighting cameraman for lighting and filtration and the operator for framing and lens choices."

I operate the Camera and block actors to achieve a "flow" within the Scene the Director has set up. In other words, enhance the content. Always with the approval of the main Artist, The Director himself. Ultimately it is his piece, and although we give advise and suggestions, be it The Operator (Cam) or the DP or the combination of both ( Cinematographer AIO all in one ). In my humble opinion, when these professional "animals" get together and work together with the highest goal in mind, the limitations are overcome, and therefore "real" creativity manifests. The outcome is much more pleasing to the eye. After all is said and done man's ego is a small thing, the film speaks for itself. Many would take credit for something which is a work of many (including PA's etc.). The greatest pros which I have met were the ones you did not notice... like air we breathe... AHHHH when you inhale and what a gift it is....


What exactly do you do on this show you are talking about?


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#15 john Spear

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 03:28 PM

From Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia....Cinematographer
"A cinematographer is one photographing with a motion picture camera (the art and science of which is known as cinematography). The title is generally equivalent to director of photography (DP or DoP), used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The term cinematographer has been a point of contention for some time now; some professionals insist that it only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person, although this is far from being uniformly the case. To most, cinematographer and director of photography are interchangeable terms.


The English system of camera department hierarchy sometimes firmly separates the duties of the director of photography from that of the camera operator to the point that the DP often has no say whatsoever over more purely operating-based visual elements such as framing. In this case, the DP is often credited as a lighting cameraman. This system means that the director consults the lighting cameraman for lighting and filtration and the operator for framing and lens choices."




What exactly do you do on this show you are talking about?



I operate the Camera and block actors to achieve a "flow" within the Scene the Director has set up. In other words, enhance the content. Always with the approval of the main Artist, The Director himself. Ultimately it is his piece, and although we give advise and suggestions, be it The Operator (Cam) or the DP or the combination of both ( Cinematographer AIO all in one ). In my humble opinion, when these professional "animals" get together and work together with the highest goal in mind, the limitations are overcome, and therefore "real" creativity manifests. The outcome is much more pleasing to the eye. After all is said and done man's ego is a small thing, the film speaks for itself. Many would take credit for something which is a work of many (including PA's etc.). The greatest pros which I have met were the ones you did not notice... like air we breathe... AHHHH when you inhale and what a gift it is....
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#16 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 05:53 PM

It's very strange how you are separating the camera side of being a DP and the lighting side. May I ask why? I find it foolish to hire a professional DP to light it but not take advantage of his/her expertise in camera blocking, lenses, filtration, et cetera.
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#17 john Spear

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:13 PM

I'm not trying to separate anything but some people are more endowed than others to fulfill a specific function. I don't want to blow anyone's bubble about the concept they have about something or other, but it is interesting to see other peoples opinions and where they base them. I for one remember when I was an actor, on a shoot with Saul Swimmer ("Let it Be" The Beatles, The concert of Banghla Desh, etc.) we had a camera man TEO ESCAMILLA who has done most of Carlos Saura's shoots, so it isn't like he wasn't qualified to DP...and possibly the best Director of Photography MANUEL BERENGUER in that country. The Director insisted in having the lighting technician and the Camera operator to be TWO INDIVIDUALS WHO CONTRIBUTE WITH THEIR UNIQUE TALENT (The shoot was in Menorca, Spain). The combination was sublime and probably could not have been accomplished, at least in the same manner by a single man's work. In that case veryone's talent was put to good use, but the final say is the Director's, and the buck stops there. Like I say, it is a concept that is grounded and based on different opinions and not a rule per say... a collaboration of sorts. A King has many who suggest, but he (the Director) decides.

The DP works very closely with the director to create the proper lighting mood and camera coverage for each shot. "They are one of the main reasons we fork over our hard-earned money to be entertained. Because, if not for the cinematographers' talent and knowledge, there would be no way to make a writer's words into pictures for everyone to see," quotes Cinematographer Michael Benson.

The DP is considered an artist who paints with light. He or she is intimately familiar with composition and all technical aspects of camera control and is frequently called on to solve many technical problems that arise during film recording. The DP rarely, if ever, actually operates the camera. Cinematographer Michael Chapman comments "in the 19th century, opera was the amalgamation of all the arts of the time, movies have taken on that mantle today." What makes a cinematographer put the camera here rather than over there? Janusz Kaminski states, "all one's experience of life subconsciously informs every creative decision one makes. That's what makes each individual cinematographer different."
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#18 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:41 PM

The DP rarely, if ever, actually operates the camera.


That's not at all true. I know a lot of DPs who operate all the time and a lot more who like to do particular shots from time to time. Even when they don't operate, they always are communicating to the operator the shot that is desired and making decisions on lens, stop, filtration, camera movement, etc.

Your explanation makes a bit more sense now. I got the impression before that you didn't want this person to have any say in camera blocking because you wanted to do it yourself.
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#19 john Spear

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 08:29 PM

That's not at all true. I know a lot of DPs who operate all the time and a lot more who like to do particular shots from time to time. Even when they don't operate, they always are communicating to the operator the shot that is desired and making decisions on lens, stop, filtration, camera movement, etc.

Your explanation makes a bit more sense now. I got the impression before that you didn't want this person to have any say in camera blocking because you wanted to do it yourself.



I agree. The statement is on the extreme side. Perhaps more oriented towards the past. Most DP's engage in almost all visual aspects. And yes, I want to do the blocking along with everyone else who is involved in the process, to get the Director's vision effectively manifested. I would expect no less from a good DP.
It is very fulfilling working to a directors wishes and giving what is wanted and hopefully even more. Alternatively the director may have very firm ideas as to how the film should look and it will be the DP's task to fulfill these wishes.The director is the captain f the ship. How much or how little he wants collaboration is his decision.
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#20 Gus Sacks

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 09:27 PM

I agree. The statement is on the extreme side. Perhaps more oriented towards the past. Most DP's engage in almost all visual aspects. And yes, I want to do the blocking along with everyone else who is involved in the process, to get the Director's vision effectively manifested. I would expect no less from a good DP.
It is very fulfilling working to a directors wishes and giving what is wanted and hopefully even more. Alternatively the director may have very firm ideas as to how the film should look and it will be the DP's task to fulfill these wishes.The director is the captain f the ship. How much or how little he wants collaboration is his decision.


Yeaaaah, but quoting Janusz Kaminski and Michael doesn't really make any sense in your assessment of the situation. You just have a very European (I'll say) view of the way a Camera Man and a DP should be seperate people. In America, however, that's normally not at all the case. I've seen Operators very involved with productions, but not to where they're making decisions over the DP. I just personally know I wouldn't want to be involved with a whole feature that that would be the case. A short might be a nice experiment, but jeez, what a frustrating experience that would be... Just one man's opinion...
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