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Director - Cinematographer


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#1 Ashley Wing

Ashley Wing
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Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:58 PM

Hey all,

We're in prep on our short film and I just wanted to get some feedback on the relationship between the DoP and director.

As we're writing and directing, how far do we go in terms of reaserch/pre-production in the style/look of the story without pissing off the cinematographer. We're still trying to find someone to fill the role consistently, so at this time I'm not sure how to approach it. If we were using the same person time and time again I guess it would be easier because a relationship of trust would have been built over previous shoots and these developments would, hopefully, come across more as suggestions.

Depending when we find our cinematographer, if we then presented storyboards, shot lists, ideas for preferred stock/format, the tone/atmosphere we want to achieve with the lighting - is that overstepping the mark? We don't want to alienate or restrict the creativity and input but at the same time we're developing a visual identity for the story, we know the direction we want to take it.

We're also developing our writing style and we're writing more camera movements and positions into the story. I don't mean in the slug line, more in the action, as part of the story. We used to avoid any type of camera movement and still do for material we don't direct, but we are finding it helps the reader develop a stronger image and sense of pace. Is this considered offensive to a cinematographer? I've been very conscious in the past about such things, we've never presented a script with camera movements in before but we're considering whether to do so on this occasion.

Ideally we'll talk it all through after we presented our ideas, we didn't want to present them and end up annoying our collaborators in the process! Simply put, we don't want to encroach on their job. Reading the above post it sounds like something that does happen.

It would actually be great to hear how other cinematographers on here would react if presented with such things. Any advice or opinions would be very welcome.

Cheers,
Ash.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:03 PM

Each relationship is different. Talk about how you want it to feel and your ideas on how to achieve that. listen to their ideas, it's give and take, like marriage. Mutual respect is required. When/if the DP says no to something, listen to their reasoning and make up your own mind. That's how I work at least; so long as I can voice my opinion/idea, even if it's overruled, if it's at least considered, then I'm happy.
I would perhaps leave ideas such as format on the back-burner for the moment, as the DoP may have better ways to accomplish the feeling you're looking for on a format you'd've never thought of. Work more on how you want to tell you story in non-technical ways, I'd say. We know we want camera motion to feel like "X" or this scene is about 'Y'.

Tone/Atmosphere is where to focus. then you can fight between the formats and the budgets with the DoP at your side later on ;)
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#3 Ashley Wing

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:13 PM

Thanks Adrian, your advice is much appreciated.
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