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Roger Deakins to Aspiring Cinematographers: 'You Have to Have Your Own Perspective & Way of Seeing'

04.25.13 @ 10:34PM Tags : ,

Roger Deakins is no stranger to this site, but that’s because he’s been extremely generous throughout his career about giving advice and trying to help those who are just starting out (in fact that’s why he started a forum). If you aren’t an Academy Award-nominated Cinematographer (I’m guessing you aren’t), Roger Deakins has some sage advice for you. Check out the video below.

Thanks to Cinefii for the video:


It might seem obvious at first, but it’s clear that many of the great DPs have developed a very particular perspective not only with their work, but in their lives. This certainly gives their films a distinct character, and it’s one of the reasons you can point out the work of your favorite Cinematographers. I think his comment about it getting harder to be a DP as your profession certainly has some truth to it. There is more competition than ever, and filmmakers are trying to make movies with the least amount of money possible — which doesn’t always mean that you’re getting a healthy salary every time you step on set.

I think if you’re trying to be a DP, it’s also getting harder to simply make it as one kind of DP. Those who familiarize themselves with lots of different kinds of shooting can have an advantage when it comes to finding work. I think just like only being a director of low-budget movies is probably not enough to sustain you, just being a DP of low-budget feature films will probably not be enough either.

I don’t think all hope is lost though — a huge advantage to equipment getting cheaper is that anyone can go out a build a great-looking reel — a lot of it comes down to how willing you are to put yourself out there.

What do you guys think?

Link: Cinefii — YouTube Channel

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COMMENT POLICY

We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 23 COMMENTS

  • Great post and find! One of the best Cinematographers of all time shares his wisdom and there are 0 comments? Wow.

  • Roger has been so gracious in passing “stuff” to the next/younger generation, for that he is most beloved and will always be. @ Luke. It’s not a gadget post! :)

  • john jeffries on 04.26.13 @ 3:58AM

    Roger Deakins on the sky: ‘It is blue’

  • one of the great people in earth ! yes ….just the forum that it give his experience and his advice on it can tell that

  • Someone needs to give this man an academy award. Nominated… 10 times?

  • Hmm, I have massive respect for his skill and body of work, but he seems jaded here and I think it results in a narrow perspective in this case.

    • Would you care to elaborate… What part of his perspective do you think is narrow? I think he was very candid and voiced an opinion about the state of “mainstream” cinema that a lot of people around the world share.

    • Woody Allen said in 2004. Films are made for commerce, not art. I know that sounds pretentious, but it’s true. I mean, more money is spent on advertising one of these films than Ingmar Bergman spent on making all his films in his entire career. It’s ludicrous.
      Deakins is completely right and speaking his mind.
      Oscar or not he obviously has an amazing body of work that far exceeds the work of others that have won Oscars. So let’s not get caught up in the “Academy” because we all know its bullshit.

  • Love this guy and agree 100000% with him on lack of story vs product driven films!

  • great body of work..he doesn’t need an Oscar to prove it.

  • Relationships are key. Talent and ambition are just prerequisites. It’s the hardest lesson to learn for building and sustaining any career in motion pictures.

  • One of the reasons why I love this dude so much. He’s not selfish, proud, and secretive like many cinematographers and photographers out there.

  • He is an inspiration to many. I agree that perspective is very important. Unfortunately, people believe some fad (for example shaky handheld footage) will make their videos/films shine.