Getting your start in cinematography may feel like getting dropped in the middle of nowhere without a compass, which is why advice from those who have found their way out is so invaluable. DP Rob Hardy, who has worked on films like Boy A and Red Riding: In the year of Our Lord 1974 offers some great advice, as well as some valuable words of encouragement, to beginning cinematographers in this BAFTA video. Continue on to check it out.
First of all, here are the trailers to a couple of films Hardy has worked on, so you can get an idea of his aesthetic sensibilities.
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VaSQNUt9H4
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx5rqw9tXB8
In this short video, Hardy's advice lays the foundation for any aspiring cinematographer. Now that cameras are more accessible than a stick of gum, the first obstacle one must overcome to begin honing their craft is simply pushing record on a smartphone (or prosumer camera for all of you lucky ducks). Hardy says to just go for it -- after you get your hands on a camera, get shooting -- and keep shooting.
My advice would always be -- just start shooting as quickly as you can. Get used to the idea of lighting and also using cameras, but in a way, if you're interesting in shooting films as opposed to anything else, in a way that tells stories. Just do as much as you can.
As you practice, your work is going to (hopefully) get better, and eventually your gaze will go to the future. "How am I going to get my work noticed?" Hardy advises, however, to focus less on doing projects that you think will get the attention of someone somewhere who might further your career somehow sometime. He says to simply focus on making films that are "you", that mean something to you and speak to you. Which is really great advice, because at the end of the day, when you take a step back and look at your body of work after a long career, you're most likely going to want to see projects in which you funneled your passion and inspiration.
One of the things Hardy says that truly hits home for many of us is that there is no such thing as a "perfect" camera, only the "perfect" camera for a certain project. If you feel tempted to beat yourself and your project up for the kind of "amateur" camera was used -- just -- please don't do it. Great cinematography can be made with anything, whether it's an ARRI or smartphone camera. If you can't afford the camera you want, no biggie. Ain't no shame in your game! Use what you've got!
What did you think about Rob Hardy's advice? Do any of you experienced cinematographers have any advice or words of encouragement to share with the beginners out there? Let us know in the comments.
[via BAFTA Guru]