Jump to content


Photo

What is real cinematography? Does it exist?


  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Peter James Scott

Peter James Scott
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 April 2013 - 04:40 AM

Hello cinematography people. These are several related questions that have been bugging me for a while. I believe the answers are in a bit of a grey area, but being relatively inexperienced in the field of film I thought I would get some other opinions. Here it goes...

 

 

With the onset (some would say onslaught) of CGI and digital in contemporary film, does true cinematography still exist, or has its definition changed?

 

For example, if we look at films such as the Star Wars prequels, 300, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, we can see that there is a heavy use of CGI and greenscreen. If everything is virtual, does the Cinematographer have to make decisions in a virtual sense (i.e deciding camera movement, designing set pieces within a 3D environment) or do they have to take a back seat and leave it to the Digital production house?  

 

Furthermore, if it's a sequence in a movie made entirely from CGI with no actor intervention, does this class the film as an animation? If so, doesn't this make the DP's role defunct, or do they have an ongoing creative input?

 

 

I hope I have worded my question correctly. The reason I am asking is that I'm having difficulty making a career choice. I'm finding it difficult figuring out the boundaries of the director, the cinematographer and the animating director, all career paths I have thought about pursuing. I am confused as to how much these roles overlap and furthermore how they are defined.

 

I would like to be in a position where I can have a real input into the creative decision making and not let my ideas get watered down too much. Maybe I'm just scared of collaboration and should trust my fellow man to do a great job! Anyway, if you have a look in my other posts you will be able to find some of my work and judge whether it is cinematography, directing or animation, or a mixture of all three and end my confusion.

 

I know I have rambled, but I think the question of cinematography as a true existence is an interesting point of contention. Thanks for reading and please discuss! 

 

 


  • 0

#2 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:21 AM

The stuff that happens in a computer is not cinematography. This is more the realm of VFX.

The decisions made about the computer VFX will be made by the VFX house and the director more then the cinematographer. Obviously the way the scene and actors have been lit will affect what is done later, but the cinematographer won't be involved in that later stuff. To be honest, it's sometimes the case these days that the cinematographer is even left out when the film is graded (a bit shocking I know!) 

 

I DO understand why you are asking this question as I have been wondering about where you were looking to go from your short video.

 

Furthermore, if it's a sequence in a movie made entirely from CGI with no actor intervention, does this class the film as an animation? If so, doesn't this make the DP's role defunct, or do they have an ongoing creative input?

 

Yes that would be computer animation. It's rare that such a movie would have no actor involvement because usually there are actors doing voice over or these days even things like motion capture of the actors or at least the animation team looking at real actors movements.

 

Just to confuse you further, VFX and cgi is often thought of as being different to animation too, tho these days they closely overlap. I've only seen one little movie you made but it seemed more like a VFX driven affair to me.

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 17 April 2013 - 06:22 AM.

  • 0

#3 Peter James Scott

Peter James Scott
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 April 2013 - 07:04 AM

Thank you Freya for once again replying to my questions you have been very helpful on this forum!
 
Firstly, not having the DP present whilst grading is very surprising. Sounds like that approach is a job half done!
 
From what you said it is more the Directors responsibility to make these creative decisions, and the Cinematographer to carry these ideas out. It’s still a fine line but you’ve helped me to define the two roles with you’re answer.
 
I was bewildered particularly with cinematography in the context of animation/ VFX, as many of the VFX programs I used have controls for adjusting depth of field, shutter speed and focus. But again, like you said, I guess it is up to the Director and the VFX house to decide on these aesthetic qualities.
 
Moreover, I’m guessing the creative skills used in Cinematography such as shot composition and understanding how light and shadows work and storytelling are transferable to other work positions such as Director or Animator. This adds to my confusion, but thanks to your answer Freya I am a little more clear on the subject. Thanks again!

Edited by PETER JAMES SCOTT, 17 April 2013 - 07:05 AM.

  • 0

#4 Peter James Scott

Peter James Scott
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 April 2013 - 07:15 AM

Also for anyone who is interested, here are some links to my work. These video’s unravel the mystery of why I’m asking the above question. I’ve got to the point where I don’t know which road to take and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m now heading towards the directing path but the camera still intrigues me. 

 

“Lights” by Feeds music video. A mixture of illustrated animation, 3D and live action.

 

 

“Death was the West”; a short film I made in front of a green screen.

 

 

My future plan is to do something which is completely live action/ not animated but we shall see. 

 

Thanks again for your help.


Edited by PETER JAMES SCOTT, 17 April 2013 - 07:16 AM.

  • 0

#5 Christopher Sheneman

Christopher Sheneman
  • Guests

Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:16 AM

You definitely have talent. Your "Death was the west" short film don't load so well..


  • 0

#6 Peter James Scott

Peter James Scott
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:51 AM

Thank you for your kind words Christopher. I must give credit to my friend Rob Skene for compositing the illustrations and 3D stuff together in the music video and Liam Wells for his acting in the Western, Frazer Merrick and Adam Clarke for their music and sound design.  I’m not sure why the video isn’t loading so well it might just be a large file size though I compressed it as much as possible. Needless to say I’ll have a look it see if there is something wrong in the settings. Thanks again.


  • 0


Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Opal

CineLab

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

Visual Products

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Opal

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Technodolly