March 28, 2014

'In the Mood for Doyle': An Insightful Doc about Legendary DP Christopher Doyle

At this point, it should be no secret that Christopher Doyle is one of my absolute favorite cinematographers (he might even be my spirit animal). I've talked about him on many occasions, sharing a fantastic cinematography masterclass, as well as tons of interviews, plus a few more interviews. Maybe it's his unique perspective on the filmmaking and artistic processes, or the fantastic way in which he moves the camera in relation to character blocking, or maybe it's just that amazing hair style. Whatever the reason, Doyle is an amazing cinematographer and a one-of-a-kind artist, and there is much that we can learn from his unique, eccentric way of being.

Now that I've declared my love, let's get down to business. Here's a fun little documentary about the world-renowned Hong Kong-based cinematographer, Christopher Doyle. It's about an hour in length, so get comfortable, grab a beer (in order to channel your inner-Doyle), and get prepared for some insight into the life and work of this unique filmmaker.

For me, the one of the biggest takeaways from this documentary is the importance that Doyle puts on locations. With many of the films that he has shot for Wong Kar Wai, the locations in which they shot played an enormous role in defining the look and feel of those films. Unlike many cinematographers, Doyle is less concerned with how the space will facilitate character blocking and lighting than he is about the minute textures and details that give a location a sense of both innate character and story. Ultimately, that's what sets Doyle's cinematography apart from many others. It's incredibly organic in a way, and completely grounded in a sense of the time, place, and culture from which it came.

A special shout out to Cinephilia and Beyond for uploading this doc to their YouTube channel. We may never have had the chance to see it otherwise.

What are your thoughts on Christopher Doyle, his artistic process, the films that he's shot, and so on? Let's hear your thoughts down in the comments!

Link: Cinephilia and Beyond -- YouTube

Your Comment

12 Comments

I love Doyle's perspective. He just sees things differently. His book, R34G38B25 Hero, is one of my prized possessions.

March 28, 2014 at 3:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Matt

Wait...what? I just looked up that book on amazon...the cheapest copy is over $1000USD. Wow...

April 13, 2014 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

I love all of his work, but the films he made with Wong Kar-wai and William Chang (genius production designer/editor) are just unbeatable. I saw a 35mm print of Days of Being Wild once; it was eye-meltingly beautiful. The decision to go with a heavy green bias in the colour-timing was a weird one,but God it works on an emotional level.

March 28, 2014 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mak

Cool doc on my favorite cinematographer ever. The Happy Together DVD also has an awesome behind-the-scenes doc.

In an effort to figure out how to exactly achieve the step printing look Doyle and WKW employ in their films, I did a few tests. Shooting at 300% on the GH3 (8 fps) and then slowing the footage down by 33.3% (with frame blend off) seems to do the trick!

https://vimeo.com/90351500

March 28, 2014 at 4:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nice. You got really close to the feel of some of those WKW/Chris Doyle shots. There was a short breakdown on Roger Deakins's forum by someone who was trying to recreate a similar feel. Apparently step-printing has a lot to do with achieving that jittery quality: http://www.rogerdeakins.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=249&p=1087&hilit=...

March 29, 2014 at 5:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mak

Oh, I just do cinema style and shoot with a shutterspeed of 1/8...

April 11, 2014 at 4:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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AnotherFellow

"To be an artist you have to be generous"
This is a great documentary, it captures Christopher Doyle well and is very inspiring.

March 28, 2014 at 8:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rashad

March 28, 2014 at 10:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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YouFirstEye

Chris Doyle and Wong Kar-Wai are my favorite cinematographer/director.

There is also a documentary on Doyle at Amazon. Orientations -- Chris Doyle: Stirred not Shaken.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000OR6W5Q/ref=atv_yvl_list_pr_1

Some short films of Wong Kar-Wai
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNoYLm3a-nI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is3Lpl9n_zQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR84e-Mowgc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKcEs2aFItM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQav_oNLRjE

March 28, 2014 at 11:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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YouFirstEye

And let's not forget his use of 1:66 when everyone and his mother think that 2.40 is the only way to shoot drama.

March 29, 2014 at 1:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

April 4, 2014 at 10:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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CraneStyle

Does anyone know where I can find a copy of Fei xia a da / Red Lotus Society? It's a Stan Lai / Chris Doyle film from 1994.

July 9, 2014 at 4:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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