Jump to content


Photo

Beginning collaboration - Director and DP


  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Scott Copeland

Scott Copeland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts
  • Other
  • Savannah Ga

Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:43 PM

Cinematographers,

Will be starting preproduction on a short film. What do you want your director to know? How is the process begun with the DP? Are Zones discussed heavily b\t the director and DP?

We're doing a lot of naturalized daylight exteriors in shade. What do I need to be aware to communicate better with my DP? More than "what time of day".

Can somebody help me start thinking in the right direction so as to communicate efficiently with my guy? I'm learning about cinematography right now (a whole lot of numbers) so I'm thinking that way, just wanted the advice of the real world people.


Thanks.
  • 0

#2 Thom Stitt

Thom Stitt
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 68 posts
  • Other
  • Vancouver

Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:58 PM

It's going to be different with every DP. But a good DP, I think, more than technical details, wants to know the emotional details - If you can find a way to communicate the mood and emotion of the scenes, it's going to be a stronger collaboration.

One great way that a lot of Directors and DPs do this is that, during prep, they look at art together and discuss mood and influence - Paintings, photographs. Edward Hopper comes up a lot. If there are any pieces of art, film, painting, photograph, music, or otherwise, I would share them with your cinematographer - the most crucial aspect that he needs to understand is the tone. Of course some technical knowledge helps, and naturally he needs to break down the specifics of time of day, etc with you. But for the most part, his job is going to be to translate your vision using his own techniques, so you don't need to really decide what exposure, film stock, or depth of field your film would look best in. Communicate tone, and mood, and just open up a discussion and be open to ideas, and I'm sure you'll enjoy the collaboration. The director-dp relationship is one of the most important (and rewarding) in filmmaking.

Edited by Thom Stitt, 22 September 2009 - 07:59 PM.

  • 0

#3 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:59 PM

Take it on a case by case basis. Each DP will be different. Talk to him/her about your overall visual idea and let s/he tell you their own ideas. Work them together and once you get the visual concept out, then listen to the DP about what s/he needs and the producer 'bout what you can/can't afford. Then you start to figure out ways to get it done. That's just my own advice and how I approach it.
The numbers are necessary for the DP, but you don't need to necessarily ask him/her whether we should be at a T5.6 on this stock during some day in the future, or how much voltage drop there will be, or how many feet in focus you want need. Things such as "I'd like shallow DoF to focus in on the characters" or "We can power from a building across the street, or park a genny on the far corner." DPs, as much as we are craftspeople, I tend to think we are creative problem solvers at heart, figuring out how to make something work when it just isn't working, or how to translate page to film-print, thats what we do.
  • 0

#4 Thom Stitt

Thom Stitt
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 68 posts
  • Other
  • Vancouver

Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:09 PM

Take it on a case by case basis. Each DP will be different. Talk to him/her about your overall visual idea and let s/he tell you their own ideas. Work them together and once you get the visual concept out, then listen to the DP about what s/he needs and the producer 'bout what you can/can't afford. Then you start to figure out ways to get it done. That's just my own advice and how I approach it.
The numbers are necessary for the DP, but you don't need to necessarily ask him/her whether we should be at a T5.6 on this stock during some day in the future, or how much voltage drop there will be, or how many feet in focus you want need. Things such as "I'd like shallow DoF to focus in on the characters" or "We can power from a building across the street, or park a genny on the far corner." DPs, as much as we are craftspeople, I tend to think we are creative problem solvers at heart, figuring out how to make something work when it just isn't working, or how to translate page to film-print, thats what we do.


I have seen a number of directors on set try to make technical suggestions to the DP that aren't always appropriate, it is good to respect his craft and give him the space to solve those problems. Believe me, you don't need to devour a manual on cinematography and learn all the tools and how to use them, the DP, as Adrian mentioned, is hired to be a problem-solver as much as a creative artist.

Ultimately, you get to build a unique relationship with your cinematographer, and it may be totally different with someone else. And everything you learn from one relationship may end up going out the window when you work with someone new!

The best piece of advice, I think, is just to be honest and open with your cinematographer - ask him what you just asked us! Build the relationship from the ground up.
  • 0


The Slider

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Opal

Technodolly

CineLab