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Different Jobs Within Cinematography


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#1 Tim L.

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 01:05 PM

Hi, I'm in the process of trying to find an internship, and I've been asked in an email exactly what job WITHIN cinematography I would be interested in. They said "Would you want to opperate the camera? Or would you want to tell the cameraman what to do?" I would want to do whichever requires more creativity/knowledge of photography...so I'm thinking that would be the second one (telling the cameraman what to do). Am I right to think that? And is that person called the director of cinematography? Thanks!!

Tim
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 01:34 PM

Hi,

Depends what you mean by "cameraman". On a large scale feature film, usually two people are hands-on the camera while a take is in progress - the operator (who controls framing) and the focus puller. Other people who are directly camera-related include specialists like steadicam and jib operators, and camera assistants. Don't underestimate the assistant positions because of the name; people make very big careers out of being camera assistants, and it's an involving job.

However, the thing is this: if you're in the US and therefore have a predictable career structure to look for, many of these jobs start at the point of being a loader and progress gradually through a tree at the top of which is the position of director of photography. It's by no means the only way to do it, but it's certainly the route you'll hear most often. I know of plenty of people who've moved in sideways from other positions, most notably in the UK from television studio work.

If your interest is not just features, there are many other camera-related jobs you can make a successful career out of, from an ENG (news) cameraman, where you have overall responsibility for everything to do with the camera yourself, through documentary and TV drama work to being a studio camera operator on live TV shows. These are all very different jobs, and actually most of them involve more individual responsibility than feature film work (for example, the only place people have a person to control focus for them is feature films and big budget TV).

So the answer, as so often in the field, is "it depends".

Phil
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#3 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 03:08 PM

Hi,



If your interest is not just features, there are many other camera-related jobs you can make a successful career out of, from an ENG (news) cameraman, where you have overall responsibility for everything to do with the camera yourself, through documentary and TV drama work to being a studio camera operator on live TV shows. These are all very different jobs, and actually most of them involve more individual responsibility than feature film work (for example, the only place people have a person to control focus for them is feature films and big budget TV).

So the answer, as so often in the field, is "it depends".

Phil

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Not sure where you are Tim,but Phil here is right.A lot just depends on what you find creatively satisfying AND can make a living.If you're not in LA or NY,you may consider one of these other avenues.

I ended up shooting news for TV,not what I originally set out to do but I can honestly say I get alot of satisfaction out of handling a good bit of the whole production.Conversely it can be a real pain in the butt doing independent commercial and industrial work because the clients expect you to be producer/director/writer at the same time.It's tough sometimes to find that balance .
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