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Role in Post Production


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#1 Cara Jenner

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:40 AM

Firstly, my name is Cara Jenner and I am studying Media Practices at University and I am hoping to gain an insight from practitioners for my dissertation.

I am aware that a lot of the post production work of a Cinematographer goes into the colour grading and, perhaps to a greater extent in the past, lab processes. My question aims to establish the post production role of the Cinematographer today and to explore the changes that have happened(recently with digital and in the past)in the processes of Cinematography during the post production phase.

Additionally, to what degree does the contemporary Cinematographer have creative control over finished look of the film during post (i.e during editing)?

If anyone could spare a few minutes to share their thoughts and/or experiences regarding this, it would be very much appriciated.
Thank you.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:22 AM

I am aware that a lot of the post production work of a Cinematographer goes into the colour grading and, perhaps to a greater extent in the past, lab processes.




Certain lab decisions will be made ahead of shooting, because it may affect how the negative is processed. Likewise, with digital systems, camera setup parameters can alter the way things look, as can decisions like exposure and lens choices. Although many modern digital systems seek to defer as many decisions as possible until postproduction, the creation of a photographic style for the production isn't something that solely happens afterward. After all, the first thing that affects the way the picture looks is what you point the camera at. We used to get a lot of questions along the lines of "how did they make the matrix look green". First step: shoot green objects.


So it isn't just a post task. What's a bit less obvious is that cinematographers very rarely actually get paid for the time they spend grading, and often do it out of an artistic desire to exercise control over what the movie looks like - after all, it's going out with their names on it. These days practically all films are graded electronically and the amount of control that's available is enormous, right down to practically relighting a shot, so you can completely control what happens - and completely change the DP's intent, if that's what you want.


Additionally, to what degree does the contemporary Cinematographer have creative control over finished look of the film during post (i.e during editing)?




Generally the final grade is done after editing. The low-quality offline version used to edit can look considerably different - often pretty awful, compared to the final movie. The public are now exposed to this sort of footage much more often in behind-the-scenes documentaries and deleted scenes are made available on DVD and the internet. Generally the DP will have communicated a broad intent as to how the footage should look, but the offline versions are often all over the place. Because this can unsettle nontechnical producers, executives, agency people and other people who don't understand how it works, considerable work has been put, and is being put, into trying to make the on-set monitors and the offline versions more closely approximate the final version. This is difficult as there are several areas of technology involved, which may not be entirely compatible with each other, communications issues, and the sheer number of people involved.


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Glidecam

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

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Metropolis Post

Opal