Jump to content


Photo

The Director and the DP


  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Sean Azze

Sean Azze
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 145 posts
  • P.A.

Posted 04 July 2005 - 01:38 PM

I've set out to make a few music videos this summer, and unlike previous shorts and music videos I've made for student projects, I'm going to hire a DP to shoot them for me.

Why? Because I want someone who knows how to light, has a familiarity with lenses, and can basically make the story I want to tell look friggin beautiful!
(FYI - we'll be shooting on a DVX-100A with a mini35 adaptor and a set of 12 lenses - still working on what the lighting package will include)

The question I pose to the members of this site is - who would normally call the shots when it comes to deciding what the camera sees? (a little vague, I know)

Without going into a full scale autobiography, I've always really enjoyed storyboarding all my camera angles and deciding how the camera moves (my school acquaintances have always complimented me on how my projects are shot - even if most everything else in the project was weak :lol: )

Is it common or realistic to expect that my DP will occupy him or herself with lighting the scene and choosing lenses, and give me free reign with storyboarding and camera movement? Or will I have to learn that filmmaking is a collaborative art :ph34r:
  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19765 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 04 July 2005 - 05:04 PM

Good lighting isn't something separate from the camera angle and movement, so you need to talk to your DP as to what you want to do. He may have suggestions that take the lighting into account to create a more attractive image (the typical thing is to stage around the source of light in the room, like a window or lamp.) A simple, beautiful light from a window can look flat or side-lit or backlit or silhouette depending on the camera placement in relation to that source.

The director is the boss but the truth is, why not collaborate if it makes the end product better? Everyone benefits that way.

Also, the camera movement may affect how long it takes to light the scene, so you don't want to just say to the DP "shoot it this way" and walk away, only to find out that it will take another hour to light the shot you wanted, but with a simple modification to the shot, it could have been lit in half the time. A simple little curve in a dolly move may be the difference between taking ten minutes to put a light on a stand versus thirty minutes to rig it to the ceiling.
  • 0

#3 Gary Robinson

Gary Robinson
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 54 posts
  • Producer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 05 July 2005 - 12:57 AM

Your dp should do his best to bring your vision to life in the way you want it, but it's really a collaborative effort because he may bring ideas from his past experiences and expertise that can help you work and plan your shots in a better way. I'll give you an example from a commercial I directed. My client from Japan wanted a shoot a spot featuring vo I wrote over actors in a white psyc. I really hadn't done a narrative style shoot in a white psyc and my dp pointed out that because we would be dollying around actors, they would just be floating in space without reference objects. That advice lead to a number of set design choices that would have been impossible to make last minute. It also had a strong effect on how I drew my storyboards. So, your dp may be very valuable to consult with while you are constructing your storyboards. In addition, on the day of the shoot, my dp reviewed my boards and came up with the most economical order to shoot them in based on the transitions from one set to another. This organization allowed me more time to focus on working with actors and composition. You can stream that spot by clicking on the leftmost commercial sample at www.sharpcut.com
  • 0

#4 Lars.Erik

Lars.Erik
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 175 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Oslo

Posted 05 July 2005 - 12:57 AM

I agree with David Mullen. As I most times do, since he seems quite gifted and experienced.

In my experience lighting does take time. This is the case for most shoots. Because it is difficult to make it beautiful. But as David points out, a single light source is sometimes beautiful too. This may not alwyas be the case for music videos though. As they are ofte shot in with several light sources to juice up the images. So don't rush the lighting too much if they sometimes fall off schedule.

But this is all up to your story. And the type of song your making a video of.

I've done a lot of stuff with fresh director's. Probably because producers say that I'm good and that I'm a guy who won't rush a newbie and that I work good with newbies. I don't know. The point is I get put with new director's sometimes.

My advice is that you have to act like the boss. Because you are the boss. It's difficult to work with directors who are veru uncertain and want to cover every scene in every way, but you said you made storyboards so I'm sure that won't be a problem.

Personally I enjoy working more with directors who have made a storyboard than the ones who just say; "give me a cool shot". With storyboards I am more competent to add great ideas to the type of shots a director want.

If you get an experienced DP who want's to do it "his" way. Just let him know that you call the final shots.

In the end, the DP is just the tool of the director, as is the editor, sound man etc.

And as Mr. Mullen said, film work is a collaboration.

Good luck with your shoot.
  • 0

#5 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:43 PM

This is a touchy subject in or recently removed from the land of student filmmaking, it seems. I am a student myself and in my experience both the DP and the director want to have the final say a lot of the time in this situation. Really, though, they both have a duty to work WITH each other, not against each other. The director might have an idea the DP doesn't, might think about something in a different way, etc. The same goes for the DP. You should probably heed your DP's advice on these projects a lot if you can find someone experienced, since you are not as experienced. Just the same, an inexperienced DP might want to think twice about playing the visual expert if he is working with a much more experienced director.
  • 0


Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Glidecam

Abel Cine

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Glidecam

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine