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Directors and the Viewfinder


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#1 Seung Han

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 03:54 PM

How do cinematographers feel about the Director actively sharing the viewfinder?

I ask because I directed my first feature and spent a lot of production time in front of the monitor and almost never looked through the viewfinder.

But I always see pictures of directors looking through the viewfinder, and I feel like I missed out on something. As a first time director, I didn't want to encroach on the DP's territory since he had a lot more experience than me.

What do you guys think about sharing the viewfinder? What is a good working relationship between the DP and director in dealing with the camera?
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:00 PM

It's something that was done more before video assist become standard kit. You're still looking for the same things as you do on the monitor, although perhaps a little more interactive with the crew. It's something that depends on your working relationship with your DP and/or operator (if you have one) and how you exchange ideas.
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#3 Bruce Greene

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:40 PM

How do cinematographers feel about the Director actively sharing the viewfinder?

I ask because I directed my first feature and spent a lot of production time in front of the monitor and almost never looked through the viewfinder.

But I always see pictures of directors looking through the viewfinder, and I feel like I missed out on something. As a first time director, I didn't want to encroach on the DP's territory since he had a lot more experience than me.

What do you guys think about sharing the viewfinder? What is a good working relationship between the DP and director in dealing with the camera?


You're the director. You can look through the viewfinder whenever you like. No need to be shy :)

If you're shooting digital though, you might just prefer the monitor as it will have a better quality image.
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:51 PM

I worked with a DP/operator once who was very concerned about eye infections, and would wipe the rubber with alcohol after anybody else touched it. Like any working relationship, it's specific to the two people involved. But other than special cases like that, it's not a problem.




-- J.S.
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#5 Seung Han

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 02:54 PM

Thanks for your input guys.

When I directed behind the video assist, I felt like I was communicating from a safe but distant location.

Whenever I had a big scene with the actors, I got my ass up and directed from next to the camera. I always felt like I was disconnected from the set and crew after being behind the video so long and was finding my place again on the shoot again.

I'm hoping to find a balance between the video assist and the camera the next production.
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