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Old April 20th, 2004, 12:33 PM   #16
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Michael glad you liked the story it was far more fun telling it then it was living it.

Ed, just out of curiosity who do you work with in Atlanta? I'm thinking of moving back there and I'm trying to get a feel for whats going on.

As to your out loud thoughts I think that you've got some great points.


1) I believe that it is the DP's job to exercise total control over what the audience ends up seeing (and then the editors job to narrow it down) However you'll come across many directors who feel like it's there job to control what the audience sees, even though they might not know what they're talking about, but if you want to continue working as a DP you'll have to occasionally give up some of that control (but it doesn't mean you'll have to like it) It's not wrong to copy something in your favorite movie (I know I do it all the time) but you want to make sure it contributes to the story and doesn't detract (think of all the horrible matrix things that people did after the first one came out and how it just seemed so cliche, or any blair witch spoof... ceptin' the simpsons)

2) I think you're dead on with that statement, but don't feel limited to jsut using the people in the shot, for example lingering on a gun while two people are arguing out of focus in the background can have a better effect then keeping the subjects in focus.

3) Cool and complex is usually pretty cool, just make sure you're not doing it just to be doing it. The best thing you can have someone say about your work is "that was cool, but I don't remember why"

4) the emotions of the actor is going to be a judgement call, sometimes the actors emotions just won't be there (usually one would blame the director for that) the important thing is that every shot has a purpose.

5) it doesn't have to reveal the personality of the story CHARACTERS (though I'm not saying it can't) but it should reveal the personality of the story.

6) Sure.

I think you're going about this the right way. whether or not you take my or anyone's suggestions the important thing to do is plan out what the feel and look of the movie will be and it really sounds like you're doing that. After you've done that you can add in some film look "tricks" (24p, bpm's, shallow DOF, really hot actresses..)which will add to your film.

I read a good book once called "making movies work" that discussed a lot of the subtleties of putting together a film, then I worked with a really good DP (but not such a great boss) and he really helped me to get inside what the story was telling and try and bring that out with the camera work.

hope some of this helps, if anything it helps get things in my head straight about what I'm doing.
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Old April 20th, 2004, 01:41 PM   #17
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What the audience sees IS under total control of the director. Most collaborate with the DP about the look of the film but ultimately it is the directors call. Some directors want nothing to do with the camera at all and leave that up to the DP. But on professional shoots, see how long the DP lasts if he doesn't do what the director calls for.
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Old April 20th, 2004, 02:24 PM   #18
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I agree that the director has the final say and I believe that I mentioned that if you want to continue working as a DP you have to accept the notion of the director is always right or get off of the shoot, however I still believe what the audience see's is under the control of the DP, what's happening on the screen is under the control of the director. SO the audience sees is what the director wants them to see how the DP wants them to see it. (The way-order- that the editor believes it should be seen.)
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Old April 20th, 2004, 03:32 PM   #19
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There are many "schools" around the world on the different responsibilities on the set.

The one I prefer is the Murnau/Lang/Hitchcock/Polanski way. Where the director is the one responsible for the visual style. The montage and tempo in acting and editing. The look of the film. The DP's responsibiliy is to bring the directors ideas to the screen through lighting. To paint with light is the job of the DP. A DP has to know everything about emotions told through light scenery. The director has to know everything about acting and everything about lenses so that he knows where to place the camera. In this style the camera is one of the actors and the director directs the camera.

There are other styles. The tradition of the DP inventing camera placement and decision on lenses (and the director focusing on the actors) comes from television and has found it's way into films.
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Old April 20th, 2004, 03:46 PM   #20
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I agree with all of you.
I agree with none of you.

Please rent of purchase, "Visions of Light."

Available at Amazon.com, or maybe your local rental store.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old April 20th, 2004, 05:06 PM   #21
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Wayne you should really only agree with Martin and Rob and Ed because I'm just making this stuff up as I go along. Will check out the tape though.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 03:10 AM   #22
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There's a very nice segment in VISIONS OF LIGHT where William Fraker talks about how Roman Polanski directed a scene in ROSEMARYS BABY where he didn't want us to see a person sitting on a bed talking on the phone. You only see the doorway and part of the actor and you hear the actors voice. Fraker didn't understand the shot at all - he wanted to do the natural and logical - show the actors face. When that shot came up in the theatre and everyone in the audience leaned to their side to try to see the persons face he understood Polanskis idea. That's visual tensions and it's a great example of the directorial style I like. The camera as an actor. It's also an extremely well shot film. William Frakers lighting tells the story on a sub concious level.

Cinematic storytelling is often more about what we don't see than what we do see. Filmmaking has a lot of things in common with performing magic and illusionists.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 01:29 PM   #23
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>>Ed, just out of curiosity who do you work with in Atlanta? I'm >>thinking of moving back there and I'm trying to get a feel for >>whats going on.

Nick,

My friend Ben and I started HighlyDef productions this year.
We've had 2 good projects this year and working on selling more.
Currently editing a docudrama.

I started shooting & gripping 16mm film in 1980, then did TV commercials and TV news editing and shooting. Became a grip, assistant tape editor and camera operator for Production Associates in Tampas, FL, switched to freelance shooting and editing for several years, switched to writing and producing PR materials and videos, did 12 years of database and web application development, did sales for 2 years, now I'm back in video production.

Production in Atlanta? My friends at studios here say its getting better compared to 2000-2001.

Try: www.filmgeorgia.org

If my sales skills don't bring us more good projects to do then I'll be finding out how the Atlanta market is by hiring out as a freelance cameraman and lighting grip.

The rest of you guys:

Thanks for the comments on film look and visual story telling. It really helps to think about these things.

Ed
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Old April 21st, 2004, 05:29 PM   #24
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Ed, I've been hearing the same things as you as far as production in atlanta that it's picking up, I'm just afraid that instead of 1 HD movie a year there doing 2 and thus thigns are picking up, maybe it's not as bad as all that but I guess time will tell.

Martin, I've heard about that shout (actually I think I saw a segment of it on TV where they discusses the entire audience leaning to the right to try and see the actress) I'll keep looking for visions of light.
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