Jump to content


Photo

What is a Cinematographer's non-technical directive?


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 Andy_Alderslade

Andy_Alderslade
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1055 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London, UK

Posted 19 February 2011 - 03:51 PM

As they say Cinematography is 90% diplomacy, 5% technical and 5% art I've been thinking a lot lately when working on some difficult and tricky projects how not to lose sight of your self.

So i've decide to compose a list of principles for myself as a cinematographer to strive for beyond just the technical, this is the rough list so far, please chime in if you think I am missing something!



My Cinematography Non-Technical Directive

1) To achieve a visual image and storytelling style that best serves the script and the director's interpretation of the script.

2) Achieve the best possible desired results in the time given for the completion of a project.

3) Work efficiently and effectively in collaboration with the other departments, providing assistance when needed, and play fairly as a team.

4) To support, morally and technically the director's journey on a project, be aware of his or her's flaws but not judge them for it.

5) Ensure the health, safety and morale wellbeing of your crews.

6) Be forgiving and tolerant of errors and mistakes that are made honestly around you.

7) Remember that your duty to being a decent humane being is as important as being a good filmmaker.

8) To forgive yourself but strive for improvement if you fail to comply to any of the above.




When writing these, it suddenly occurred to me that a lot of the important factors of being a good cinematographer were almost written down by a certain Mr Kippling:


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Cinematographer, my son... or daughter!
  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 19 February 2011 - 04:00 PM

The only thing you forgot was about actors, supporting them, creating an environment for them to act in, directing the audience's eye to what they are doing, taking necessary off-camera action into account when placing equipment, and remembering that in many projects, the performance trumps the photography in terms of importance to the story... so get used to that.

Sometimes I think the number one rule in my head is "It's not all about me." Sometimes that's even true when someone is mad at you, they might be mad about something else actually.
  • 0

#3 Brian Rose

Brian Rose
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 896 posts
  • Student
  • Kansas City area

Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:03 PM

You forgot to mention non-interference in the development of pre-warp civilizations ;)
  • 0

#4 K Borowski

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

Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:30 PM

There are an awful lot of Star Trek geeks who are DPs, cameramen on here. Not ashamed (but not proud) to say I can probably recite at least six episodes of the original series from memory, listening to the bootlegged audio tapes I had of them so much as a kid.


I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned (though David, I'll assumed has put those days long behind him), but another important non-technical directive is to make sure your department and yourself get PAID, regularly, on-time, and in the full amount specified. I assume this can fall under "wellbeing" of your crew, but I think it deserves its own subsection.

Edited by K Borowski, 19 February 2011 - 06:31 PM.

  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:34 PM

I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned (though David, I'll assumed has put those days long behind him), but another important non-technical directive is to make sure your department and yourself get PAID, regularly, on-time, and in the full amount specified. I assume this can fall under "wellbeing" of your crew, but I think it deserves its own subsection.


I can't say that's ever been something I've had to think about as falling under my responsibility, it sort of falls under the responsibility of the producers, the accountant, and the payroll company to see that people get paid, not the DP. I certainly don't check everyone's paycheck to see that it's complete, truth is that I don't even check my own paychecks, I just deposit them, other than at tax time and when I have to pay my agent 10%. I'm not very good with money and it's never been much of a priority with me, I'm not hyper-concerned that I got every penny owed me. I remember some 15 years ago however in the middle of a night shoot that a 2nd AC got his paycheck and it was something like $5 short on a $2000 check and he and the whole camera crew was going to walk off the set over it... Sorry, but I wasn't sympathetic in this case, which was over the rounding off of pennies by the production accountant. I offered to give the guy $5 to calm him down but I also never hired him again.
  • 0

#6 Andy_Alderslade

Andy_Alderslade
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1055 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London, UK

Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:52 PM

Sometimes I think the number one rule in my head is "It's not all about me." Sometimes that's even true when someone is mad at you, they might be mad about something else actually.


Thats a really good point, and I suppose keeping that in mind takes the sting out of receiving a rollocking of any form, I must say I find it hard when I'm striving for professionalism and others around are perhaps not doing the same.
  • 0

#7 Gabe Spangler

Gabe Spangler
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts
  • Other

Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:58 AM

If you have a $500 palmcorder and a work light from Home Depot, you are a DP.
  • 0

#8 Simon Wyss

Simon Wyss
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1414 posts
  • Other
  • Basel, Switzerland

Posted 20 February 2011 - 03:44 AM

a certain Mr Kippling

What a certain Mr Lawrence said:

If you make a revolution, make it for fun,
don’t make it in ghastly seriousness,
don’t do it in deadly earnest,
do it for fun.

Don’t do it because you hate people,
do it just to spit in their eye.

Don’t do it for the money,
do it and be damned to the money.

Don’t do it for equality,
do it because we’ve got too much equality
and it would be fun to upset the apple-cart
and see which way the apples would go a-rolling.

Don’t do it for the working classes.
Do it so that we can all of us be little aristocracies on our own
and kick our heels like jolly escaped asses.

Don’t do it, anyhow, for international Labour.
Labour is the one thing a man has had too much of.
Let’s abolish labour, let’s have done with labouring!
Work can be fun, and men can enjoy it; then it’s not labour.
Let’s have it so! Let’s make a film for fun!
  • 0


Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

CineTape

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

CineTape

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Opal

Glidecam

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies