Over the past few months I have been interviewing some of the world’s top commercial cinematographers. These are guys that are working for the biggest directors and the biggest brands in the world on a daily basis. From Belgian DP Bjorn Charpentier to Canadian DP Evan Prosofsky, I have spoken to guys working all over the world and though they may come from different areas and different backgrounds I started to notice a pattern emerging in their cinematography language and beliefs.
For those of you that prefer the cliff notes version of what these amazing cinematographers all have in common when it comes to the art of motion capture I made up a list of what I have learned from the interviews.
Style
Being technical is great but having vision is what is important. The role of the cinematographer is both technical and creative. A good DP has to know both sides and be able to communicate in both languages if they are going to be successful but when push comes to show a DP is hired for their vision. Every DP has their own eye, which is influenced by the way they see the world around the, and it is their eye that people will recognize and want to use for their projects.
Discovery
It is great to say that the technical skills aren’t as important as the vision but that isn’t entirely true. The cinematographer is a craftsman and a technician and you have to know your stuff to get ahead. If you don’t know the technical sides of exposure, lighting, capture, lensing, framing, and all the rest than you will end up a slave to mediocrity. Work like mad to learn all the tech and then give yourself the freedom to forget it all.
Inspiration
There is no such thing as copying, that is a direct quote. As a DP just starting out you should be building a library of stills and references to draw inspiration from. You don’t want to amass image after image of a style you want to copy but you do need to start to gather ideas, images, clips that you are drawn to so that you can find your own voice.
—Source: The Wandering DP