Cinematography is a lot like alchemy. It's one part science, one part art, two parts teamwork, and maybe a little voodoo sprinkled in for good measure. Cinematography is one of those practices that is so multi-faceted, yet so subjective, that it is nearly impossible to be a true master of the art. However, it's quite possible to find, define, and master your own voice as a DP, and that's what many of the greatest cinematographers in history have done. Cinefii has put out a series of short videos called "Bite Size Dailies" which feature interviews with some of the leading DP's in the industry. In these interviews they expound on various questions which should be of use to all of us aspiring cinematographers as we try to find our own cinematographic voices. Here are a few of my favorites:
Here's Sean Bobbitt (my favorite DP) on presenting violent content on film and the artifice of filmmaking:
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For me, to drive home that sense of brutality, it's important for it to look and feel real, that there's no artifice involved, that we're not fooling people into an emotion, that we're simply displaying an event from which they can draw their own emotion, and not feel that they're being manipulated in any way.
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It's not about the images. It's really about your focus. It's really about your concentration, your worldview, your personal experience. It's really about how you interact with other people. So it's bigger than just cinematography. It's the real thing.
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When you're working on a film, and when you're constructing an image, you need to be able to give answers. You're confronting yourself and the reality in front of you. The story always represents something, both culturally and humanly. The story is about us. And you can give these answers if you're prepared.
I, for one, absolutely love these videos, and every time I watch them, I find something new to take away. But, I suppose that's the nature of advice like that given above. It becomes more and more applicable as you delve deeper into the craft and continue to find and define your cinematographic voice.
Be sure to check out the rest of Cinefii's Bite Size Dailies on their website or their YouTube channel. Also, check out Joe's article featuring some fantastic bite-sized advice from the man himself, Roger Deakins.
What do you guys think? What's your take on these accomplished gentlemen and their various theories on cinematography. Do you have any additional advice for creating your unique voice in regards to cinematography? Let us know in the comments!