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How did you first become interested in Cinematography?


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#1 Henry Weidemann

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:08 AM

Hello everyone,

I am just curious to know how you started to become interested in Cinematography? Any specific movie that motivated you? At what point did you know that this is what you wanna do?
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:01 AM

I watched a behind-the-scenes of Garrett Brown shooting steadicam plates for the Star Wars forest chase, and I had the following thought:

I'd like as have angels fly out of my arse as end up doing that sort of work.


And I was right!

P
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#3 Simon Wyss

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:28 AM

It was La cabina which won me for the movies.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065513/
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:31 AM

In the middle of high school I saw "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and the next year, I saw "Superman". "Close Encounters" got me interested in lighting and camera movement, and the fact that "Superman" was dedicated to cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth got me interested in what a cinematographer did.

But before 1977, I was already a "Star Trek" fan, which led me to see "Logan's Run" in the movie theaters and "2001" when it first played on television, all of which were influential.

Then at the end of high school, I saw my first foreign-language movie, "Kagemusha", which got me interested in Japanese cinema, and then "Apocalypse Now" came out, which further got me interested in lighting.
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#5 Bruce Southerland

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:20 PM

In 1979 I was studying for a college exam in the college
library. I took a break from studying & went back in the
stacks to see what kind of magazines they had. Lo & Behold
there was a copy of American Cinematographer! I didn't
understand all the terminology, but I was hooked! I still
remember what was on the cover....Alien.
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#6 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:21 PM

The first movie that I remember made me aware of the camera was "A Hard Days Night" starring the Beatles which I saw when I was 8 or 9 years old.
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#7 John Allen

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 01:18 PM

I grew up in a movie loving family. We watched every kind of film ranging from the 1930's to the modern films. Anyway, when I was about 5 or 6 I would buy these cheap disposable cameras and I would just take pictures of just about anything. I actually think that at that time I enjoyed just hearing the shutter click and looking at things through the viewfinder. Then when I was 11 my parents got me a really cheap grocery store digital camera for Christmas. I started reading books on photography and then when I was 12 I had the opportunity to enter some photos in the county fair. They won first prize there and went on to win 2nd place at the Iowa State Fair. This opportunity really got me interested in photography.

Anyway, at about the same time I knew that I wanted to work in the film business but I also loved photography. At the time I thought that what I liked the most about a film was the acting or the story, but little did I know that I was actually attracted to the visual vibrance. I found that when I watched a film I responded more to the light and shadows. I had never known about a cinematographer, because I had always had the idea that the director operated the camera and lit the scene. But then that same year, when I was 12, I rented a documentary on cinematography called "Visions of Light." It captured my soul. My dad actually sat down and started watching it with me and was really impressed as well, which was really big to me, because even though he was very encouraging to me about my past career interests he never seemed like he felt they would be right for me. So I thought it was huge when after he watched it he said to me, "John, that looks like a great career to pursue." So ever since then this art has grown more and more on me.

Edited by John Allen, 29 January 2009 - 01:18 PM.

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#8 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 03:46 PM

Can't remember, really.
I was always interested in photography.
I think Zvyaginstev's 'The Return' was a 'click' for me.

Ah, and my grandma's neighbour had like a big old VHS camera.
I was about five, when I saw it, when was at grandma's in summer. Still remember it.

Edited by Edgar Dubrovskiy, 29 January 2009 - 03:49 PM.

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#9 Henry Weidemann

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 04:12 PM

Thanks for all those interesting answers!
Personally I got interested in cinematography more or less unconcious. I consumed movies like everyone does but as I grew older I dicovered that I rated every movie I watched only on the basis of its images. I was never interested in the stories itself (although I know today that the story is the basis for every good cinematography). If the cinematography was great, I liked the movie! :lol: There was no specific movie that forced me to get deeper in to this matter, I was just fascinated how these images and how their movement (in combination with the music influenced me emotionally. I wanted to be able to create something like that as well.

Edited by Henry Weidemann, 29 January 2009 - 04:14 PM.

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#10 Matthew Buick

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:31 PM

Watching Singin' In The Rain back in March 2006 was what finally got interested in being a DP. I think it was just the whole hollywood spirit of the thing.
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#11 Alex Hall

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:38 PM

I read my first copy of American Cinematographer and had the realization that it was possible to make a career out of movies. I've been hooked ever since.
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#12 Rob Vogt

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:45 PM

I remember when I was a kid seeing Raiders of the Lost Arch and thinking how impossible it seemed to make. Creating a world of the past and going on this great adventure. I always wanted to make the impossible possible.
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#13 Ira Ratner

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 10:02 AM

Debbie Does Dallas.


And if you're too young to know what that is, look it up on Wikipedia.
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#14 Paul James Savarese

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 09:01 PM

I always loved when I was stuck with the video camera at the family functions. Soon I began making little videos with my little green army men. It just snowballed from there! I just LOVE it!
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#15 Daniel Porto

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 02:49 AM

I always loved when I was stuck with the video camera at the family functions. Soon I began making little videos with my little green army men. It just snowballed from there! I just LOVE it!


When I was born I had a light meter strapped around my neck

Doctors didn't know what to do
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#16 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:45 AM

Had always been a moviegoer, but I think seeing Apocalypse Now on video in high school was when I really became aware of a cinematographer's role in telling the story. Then seeing Saving Private Ryan, Dark City, and other great films during my Saturday-long theatre hopping sessions, around that time I really started to consciously watch for image quality and effective lighting and camera technique. That's when the interest in it started, but I didn't know I wanted to be one until my mid-twenties :)
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#17 jon lawrence

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 06:19 AM

I have an older brother who was constantly recording movies off tv and borrowing them from friends, must've seen Alien, Terminator and Halloween when I was about 7. Took a film studies course at college. For some reason fell in love with the movies Buffalo 66, Lost in Translation, Being John Malchovich- I still find it difficult to articulate why I love them so much, they just seemed to speak to me. Did a little research and found that they were all shot by Lance Acord. My film teacher (who is possible the most wonderful guy I've ever met) lent me a super8 camera- I've wanted to be a cinematographer ever since.
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#18 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 07:59 AM

In school after trying every art form except glass blowing, I settled on photography but quickly got bored trying to make up and tell stories with a single image. It wasn't until I found a Super8 camera and started shooting experimental 'stan brakhage' type of stuff in my neighborhood that I began to love shooting film. That turned into a narrative thing pretty fast but if it wasn't for that super8 camera, I'd have probably given up. Video back then was all VHS and it looked godawful. But the super 8 footage was mystical too me. I had no idea why but it just looked great. It wasn't like the movies but it wasn't like TV either. I was hooked.
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