Jump to content


Photo

Am I a DOP?


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 Mark LS

Mark LS

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 02 December 2010 - 03:21 PM

At what point am I considered a DOP?

I love the title and often call myself a DOP, I have shot quite a lot of videos (as an one man crew, directing/camera/lighting), and while I'm experienced setting up the lights I own (Chimeras and a couple of divas) I have never been responsible for lighting outside of my own projects. They are all corporate projects and I don't use lighting to set mood but to get a good image.

Every single project I have shot I have myself listed as DOP, even the ones where there was no lights or just green screen.

Am I a DOP? I have knowledge of lighting, light-meter, lenses and own my own gear - no experience with film, or ever been hired by someone else.

Thanks for the comments, please be as blunt as you can.
  • 0

#2 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3059 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 December 2010 - 03:54 PM

As DOP means Director of Photography, it follows that you would have a crew of grips, electricians and camera to direct. When working as a one man band, say in documentary, or lifestyle programming, I would use the term Lighting Cameraman, or just Cameraman

Lighting Cameraman comes from the old British studio system, where there was a lighting cameraman & an operating cameraman. These days it's more often used in the way I have described.
  • 0

#3 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 02 December 2010 - 04:17 PM

The term was really born from the feature film industry. Although now of course the term applies equally to those who shoot commercials and narrative TV shows. I don't think guys that shoot news, weddings, or events, can call themselves DOPs. I know some do, and they get mad at me when I say the term doesn't apply to them. I don't even think people that shoot reality TV shows with handy cams can call themselves DOPs, after all they don't light or plan shots.

Here's an interesting tid bit, if you type "Cinematographer" into Wikipedia it uses our own David Mullen as an example of when ASC is used after a persons name. Have a look:

http://en.wikipedia....Cinematographer

"Members of these organizations are entitled to put designatory letters after their names (e.g., M. David Mullen, ASC)."

Did you know that David?

R,
  • 0

#4 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:14 PM

He also has his very own Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia....M._David_Mullen





-- J.S.
  • 0

#5 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 December 2010 - 06:19 PM

I've always been terribly embarrassed to be referred to by the title. I've done a few small shorts which, while I had a crew to work with, could not really be said to sufficiently legitimise the term, but it didn't stop them putting it above my name on the credits. Happily none of them made it onto IMDB.
  • 0

#6 David McDonald

David McDonald
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Director
  • Vancouver, Canada

Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:42 PM

You could really call yourself whatever you want if you're out shooting stuff but I wouldn't really say you're a DOP until you're actually shooting films with a crew and you're directing the photography. I'm still hesitant to go around calling myself a director until I've done more projects and get more of my films seen at festivals etc. and I've directed a decent amount of stuff and even won some awards (including best director at a festival). I guess I like to be more on the modest side of things when giving myself a title but I personally wouldn't call myself a DOP until I'd shot at least 5 decent short films, music videos, or commercials.
  • 0

#7 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:52 PM

I guess I like to be more on the modest side of things when giving myself a title


Isn't that the typically Canadian approach. If you where an American you'd tell every one on the planet you where a top director five minutes after getting a short accepted into any festival. As a result you'd then have five agents, three managers, and two publicists. :D

Kidding aside, no one gets any where in this business unless they shamelessly blow their own horns.

R,
  • 0

#8 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 03 December 2010 - 12:11 AM

Here is another approach to DP qualification: http://www.facebook.com/dpredwizard



Of course, not everyone can handle cinematic success like Timmy has. . .
  • 0

#9 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 03 December 2010 - 02:06 AM

Kidding aside, no one gets any where in this business unless they shamelessly blow their own horns.





Not to toot my own horn, but - I noticed.
  • 0

#10 David McDonald

David McDonald
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Director
  • Vancouver, Canada

Posted 03 December 2010 - 02:16 AM

Kidding aside, no one gets any where in this business unless they shamelessly blow their own horns.

R,


Yeah I'm sure it helps...but I'm just starting fresh out of school and would like to get a few more projects under my belt before really calling myself a director. I guess anyone can call themselves whatever they want whenever they want really, but I like to feel like I've earned it a bit before really tooting my horn. :)
  • 0

#11 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 03 December 2010 - 03:48 AM

would like to get a few more projects under my belt before really calling myself a director




Congratulations, you're exactly the kind of person we all wish populated the film industry. You're also doomed to hopeless, miserable failure.



  • 0

#12 David McDonald

David McDonald
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Director
  • Vancouver, Canada

Posted 03 December 2010 - 03:54 PM

[/size]


You're also doomed to hopeless, miserable failure.





I see what you're saying but I don't think you're right about that. I don't think going around tooting your horn has anything to do with being successful. It has everything to do with doing good work. Obviously you have to promote yourself a bit and try to get your name out there...but I see so many terrible filmmakers making crappy low budget zombie movies and cliché rap music videos and they're really not going to get any further than where they're at now because no bigger companies are going to pick them up simply because their work is bad. I truly believe good work will prevail. You can do as many crappy projects as you want and make a million posts on twitter and facebook about how you're a big director with your IMDB page but it doesn't mean poop if your films suck.
  • 0

#13 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 03 December 2010 - 04:56 PM

but I see so many terrible filmmakers making crappy low budget zombie movies and cliché rap music videos


Hmmm, well this is where James Cameron and Peter Jackson came from, look at them now.

R,
  • 0

#14 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 03 December 2010 - 06:49 PM

I don't think going around tooting your horn has anything to do with being successful. It has everything to do with doing good work




Quite the opposite, I'm afraid.
  • 0

#15 David McDonald

David McDonald
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Director
  • Vancouver, Canada

Posted 03 December 2010 - 08:09 PM

Hmmm, well this is where James Cameron and Peter Jackson came from, look at them now.

R,



Not exactly....James Cameron's film were quite original at the time...as were Peter Jackson's if you've seen them. They were both innovative as hell and showed people things they had never seen before. Neither of them made cliché zombie films or crappy rap music videos (those things were barely even being done in their day).

I stand by what I said about good films being better than good self promotion. Obviously you can't be completely quiet and do no promotion...but without good films, you won't be going far. You might be able to get some people to notice you and get some attention by tooting your horn but once you've got everyone's attention you better have something that will impress them or you'll never move up.
  • 0

#16 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 03 December 2010 - 10:36 PM

Not exactly....James Cameron's film were quite original at the time...as were Peter Jackson's if you've seen them.


What I am saying is that Jackson self describes his early work as "splatter movies."

Cameron made a self described, "flying pirana movie". A low budget genre pic that also relied heavily on the use of naked women.

And of course Sam Raimi made a name for himself with Evil Dead, also from the low budget horror genre. It was a well made genre film of course.

I agree that well made work is never a draw back. However, I have seen some incredible short films at film festivals and the makers of those films are still flipping burgers. At the other end of the spectrum I have seen guys that have made poor to fair short films move up the ladder at break neck speed.

What's the logic to this? I dunno there isn't any "logic" in this business.

R,
  • 0

#17 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 04 December 2010 - 11:56 PM

When working as a one man band, say in documentary, or lifestyle programming, I would use the term Lighting Cameraman, or just Cameraman

That's fine for you and for the original poster - but it's not a term that is available to the rising numbers of women in the business.

In this part of the world at least, the term cameraman tends not to be used for that very reason. After all, we don't have "editman" or "microphoneman" - and "continuity girl" went the way of the dinosaur.

OK, don't bother to reply about "best boy". It's a curiosity, not a useful example.

What is wrong with "Cinematographer" - after all, ACS, ASC, CSC, BSC and countless numbers of other organisations seem comfortable with it -and many of them include levels below accredited DOPs among their members.
  • 0

#18 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3059 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 05 December 2010 - 12:23 AM

That's fine for you and for the original poster - but it's not a term that is available to the rising numbers of women in the business.

In this part of the world at least, the term cameraman tends not to be used for that very reason. After all, we don't have "editman" or "microphoneman" - and "continuity girl" went the way of the dinosaur.

What is wrong with "Cinematographer" - after all, ACS, ASC, CSC, BSC and countless numbers of other organisations seem comfortable with it -and many of them include levels below accredited DOPs among their members.


If the term Lighting Cameraman offends, then perhaps just Lighting Camera would do.

As for Cinematographer, I spent many years shooting news, reality tv, and documentary. At no point would I have described my work as Cinematography.
  • 0

#19 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 05 December 2010 - 04:50 AM

I've said this before, but there is a bit of a problem with this sort of thing when you do the sort of thing I used to do, which was sort of middling short films and music videos. You have a crew, you have lights and filters and lenses, it'll be graded, but frankly it's all pretty low end. What on earth title are you supposed to take?
  • 0

#20 Mark Williams

Mark Williams
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 811 posts
  • Director
  • United Kingdom

Posted 05 December 2010 - 05:27 AM

I've made a couple of shorts with cast and crew now and auditioned rehearsed and directed the films and so feel like a bona fide Director. My second film I was the DP Camera operator Director and Production manager and loved every minute of it. FULL CONTROL Yeah baby.

I can call myself by those titles and know I earned them. If I was suddenly placed in a Hollywood major production I don't know how that would be But I have a feeling a lot easier than what I've already done and if not. So what.

Mark
  • 0


Ritter Battery

Glidecam

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Technodolly

Tai Audio

CineTape

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

CineLab

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Opal

Ritter Battery

The Slider