“A cinematographer is a visual psychiatrist – moving an audience through a movie … making them think the way you want them to think, painting pictures in the dark.” Gordon Willis, ASC.
A lot of people have no idea what a cinematograher brings to the table in the process of making cinema. They are one of the director’s closest collaborators and contribute significantly to the cinematic story telling we see in films like The Godfather, No Country for Old Men, Manhattan, The Shawshank Redemption ans do many others.
With the advent of digital film making and celluloid being phased out; DSLRs have democratized film-making, which is great thing, to indie film makers and especilally those of us in this part of the world.
Like everything in life there are two sides to the coin. It has made a lot of people that know a few setting on a camera and can set up three point lighting to call themselves “cinematographer”.
But is it really that simple? Do we disrespect the craft/ profession by doing that? Why are we so eager to claim title we have not worked for, trained for or willing to go to whatever distance required?
Isn’t it as much a craft as sculpting, oil painting? Why do so many people think that by lighting, pointing a camera and recording sharp images , they are automatically a cinematographer?
Cinematographers are often the unsung heroes of Cinema, and i think that is quite sad.
Here are some of the best in the game talking about what they do.