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The Historical Development of Cinematography


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#1 Jordan Alber

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:37 PM

I have been searching the web for any solid work regarding the historical development of Cinematography and the role of the Director of Photography within the world of cinema. However I can't seem to find much written about both subjects, does anyone have any good recommendations where to look?

I have also heard that films such as Gone With The Wind and Star Wars during their respective eras had switched up the ways films where made up until then and rewrote structure and distribution of roles and work within the industry. I have found a few online articles backing this up slightly but if anybody has any ideas on where to look for further insight into how these (and any other movies for that fact) changed the way the industry (and more specifically cinematography) worked.

thank you very much for your time
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 02:11 PM

I have been searching the web for any solid work regarding the historical development of Cinematography and the role of the Director of Photography within the world of cinema. However I can't seem to find much written about both subjects, does anyone have any good recommendations where to look?

I have also heard that films such as Gone With The Wind and Star Wars during their respective eras had switched up the ways films where made up until then and rewrote structure and distribution of roles and work within the industry. I have found a few online articles backing this up slightly but if anybody has any ideas on where to look for further insight into how these (and any other movies for that fact) changed the way the industry (and more specifically cinematography) worked.

thank you very much for your time


A good book on the technical development is "Film Style & Technology: History & Analysis" by Barry Salt. A recent book on the development of lighting conventions in Hollywood studio cinematography and the role of the cinematographer is "Hollywood Lighting From the Silent Era to Film Noir" by Patrick Keating.

The monster success of "Gone With the Wind" and "Star Wars" caused a number of imitators and some technical developments / industry change, but in some ways, they are both exceptions to the rule rather than trend setters. "Star Wars" probably had a bigger influence coming during the doldrums of the industry rather than at its height as GWTW did... the success of "Jaws" and then "Star Wars" did restart the blockbuster mentality of the industry, the nature of cross-marketing (toys, records, books, etc.) but not from scratch, there were earlier examples of all of these things.
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#3 montjovent

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:12 PM

You should watch the superb documentary "Visions of Light". There is a DVD.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105764/
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#4 Jordan Alber

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:25 AM

Thank you both very much, I have since got hold of both Salt and Keating’s works. I already own Visions of light but it had slipped my mind, so I will give it another thorough watch.

Ultimately I want to chronicle the evolution of cinematography from silent film era until the new rise of digital, and have found a couple of insightful book regarding the shift into digital, however if there is any other particular book, magazine (am already scouting through all recent American Cinematograher issues) or Cinematographer (also looking into Zilmos Szigmond and Yuri Neyman’s GCI) who are doing anything particularly relevant to research.

Once again thank you very much for your time
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#5 Arturo Sinclair

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 09:29 PM

You are on the right track with the books and videos suggested. Another great source and a fascinating one is "The Story Of Film" by Mark Cousins. THe book is great as well as the DVD set (5 disks) called The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011)
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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:37 PM

You are on the right track with the books and videos suggested. Another great source and a fascinating one is "The Story Of Film" by Mark Cousins. THe book is great as well as the DVD set (5 disks) called The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011)


"The Story of Film: an Odyssey" is currently being shown on free-to-air TV here in Australia, on SBS 2 every night from tue to fri.

Worth a look for the fascinating subject matter, the blow-by-blow invention of each grammatic step in the evolution of film language. What drives me nuts though is the appallingly shot video 'filler' that pads the doco out between snippets of beautiful old movie footage. Blown out, poorly framed, utterly banal video that completely undermines Cousins' attempts to wax lyrical about the poetry of the moving image.

If ever there was an argument required to refute the old "it's all about the story" chestnut, this is it. Despite a compelling and fascinating story, the series is almost unwatchable.
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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:21 AM

There is a documentary about Jack Cardiff; "Cameraman: the Life and Work of Jack Cardiff" You can get a fix of old Technicolor cameras as well him discussing light and lighting.
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Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

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Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Opal