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First time I'll be working with a DOP. What does he need?


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#1 Daniel Mooney

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 08:37 PM

Hello all,

My next project I plan on working with a dedicated DOP. I'm moving out the whole "do everything yourself with an AC phase". 

What are somethings I should have for my DOP? How much, in terms of creating shots, should I expect him to do? How much should I be micromanaging? 

For example, I might have a handful of scenes that I have specific idea for it, like "Hey I want to have this camera angle because I am emulating this shot from a movie" but for the most part I'm story guy. Is that okay? Can I just - let me DOP plan all my shots for me? Or is that gross negligence on my part? 

I don't think a DOP, or a good one at least, could ever come up with a shot I didn't like - hell I'd shoot every scene as goddam medium shot if it were up to me. Not that I like medium shots, but I have no interest in the shots them selves. I'm more concerned with the action and dialogue and acting. 

If I write a scene, It goes like

Tom enters the room, he pulls out a gun and threatens Jim. - In my mind. That's all one wide shot. 

But if my DOP says "Hey, were gonna have a close up of the door handle moving, and then pull back show the door opening and pan over to Jim to get his reaction as Tom walks in...yadda yadda." I can't imagine I would really pay that any mind. 

But then again is safe to assume he'd be doing that? I think that's part of his job criteria, but I've never worked with one/around one before so what do I know?

So how far off am I? Am I going to be a DOP's nightmare because I leave every shot to him? I like to think I am extremely easy to please, so I won't be, but it seems like the workload fluctuates between films - some DOPs having more powers on certain projects then others. 

If it helps, I've been told I write very dialogue heavy (trying to work on that) with less action. I suppose there would need to be some creative camerawork to keep the audience interested. 

Thanks!

Dan
 


Edited by Daniel Mooney, 11 December 2013 - 08:41 PM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 03:36 AM

Just let the DoP know what you're after in the scene-- what the important beats are, and let them know you really want to hear their thoughts on it (also speak with the editor, if any and the actors) in preproduction and then formulate a plan of attack. It'll change, perhaps substantially, but it'll be a starting point. Tell them the ideas you like, and the ideas you don't. They are there to support you, after all, and it's nice to be given some agency to put a visual stamp on the project-- but most people in film need to know what the director wants, at least-- you have to have a direction, literally, to go in, an idea, and something to say with the film, ya know.


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