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Old September 9th, 2008, 09:45 AM   #1
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Questions for Cinematographers


I will be directing my first low budget music video and will be interviewing DP's soon. The video will include greenscreen, crowds, and other music video elements. I have some ideas, but what questions should I be asking my potential cinematographers?

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Old September 9th, 2008, 10:13 AM   #2
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First you will presumably be viewing prospective cinematographer's reels or examples of their work, either online or via DVD submission to make sure that you like their work and hopefully see something in there that relates to the look of your project.

Once you've made a short list of people you want to interview, send them the treatment for the video ahead of time. When you meet them, ask them what their thoughts are on the treatment and how they might approach it in terms of color palette, look, technique etc. If you have a particular look in mind, it should be pretty easy to see who shares a similar aesthetic. Conversely, others may come up with a look that may be very different and something you want to explore. It can be helpful to discuss visual influences, be they from other music videos, films, photography or even paintings.

Your DP will be your primary collaborator on this so make sure that you get along well--keep an eye on how the conversation proceeds, make sure that he or she listens to you, doesn't cut you off etc.

Feel free to bring up any and all technical questions--how they approach green screen work, what type of camera they prefer to use, thoughts about specialized support gear (crane, Steadicam etc). The expectation shouldn't be that they have every answer for you regarding this video, a lot of it will come once they are hired, but you want to make sure that they are capable and experienced enough to deliver the goods.
Charles Papert
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Old September 9th, 2008, 10:53 AM   #3
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Yes, I have viewed their reels. Thank you Charles for your clear and concise post, I will be incorporating your advice.
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