July 2, 2014

This Stunning Tribute to Roger Deakins Puts His Masterful Career into Perspective

I'm not sure that anybody necessarily needs to be reminded of why Roger Deakins is one of the greatest cinematographers of our era. Not only has he crafted the images in a majority of the Coen Brothers' modern masterpieces, but he has been at the helm of many of the most gorgeous films of the past 20 years. But just when you think you couldn't possibly admire the man and his body of work any more than you already do, something comes along that puts his prolific career into perspective, leaving you in awe. A recent tribute video from Plot Point Productions does just that. So sit back, relax, and prepare to experience Deakins' cinematography like you never have before.

Watching this, it's easy to see a few trends emerge. First is Deakins' use of masterfully-composed extreme wide shots. There's just something about his compositional tendencies that leaves people in awe. Perhaps it's the immaculate use of leading lines, or the ways in which he toys with symmetry throughout his compositions. Then there's his use of color. He's an absolute master of implementing subtle color palettes that enhance and enrich the visuals. Ultimately, there's nothing I can say to adequately describe how inspiring Roger Deakins is to me (and I imagine to other aspiring cinematographers as well). So we'll just go to the comments and hear what everybody has to say about this one-of-a-kind cinematographer.

What are your favorite Roger Deakins films, and what shots from those films stood out to you?

Link: Plot Point Productions -- Vimeo

[via Filmmaker Magazine]

Your Comment

24 Comments

The Master. This man is a genius!

July 2, 2014 at 10:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam

Lighting was good except for a few notable exceptions where it was excellent. What was amazing in this piece was the composition. Fantastic. Also lets not forget to give credit to the amazing Art Directors, Wardrobe Stylists and location scouts who actually gave him beautiful things to shoot.

July 3, 2014 at 12:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Allan

Watching this was like eating your favorite ice cream and having its beauty remain in the belly of your beast.

July 3, 2014 at 12:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Harry Kemball

prisoners was so good. his work so real and unstyled (compliment) that the mood and acting tore threw and took my breath away from start to finish.

July 3, 2014 at 1:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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james

Wally Pfister has nothing on Roger Deakins. I still can't believe that egomaniac won an Oscar for his mediocre work on Inception while Deakins has yet to win one.

July 3, 2014 at 2:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Peter

It is hard to believe he hasn't won for cinematography yet, but nobody said the Academy was the smartest bunch out there. "The Asassination of Jesse James..." is one of several no-brainers he was denied for.

July 3, 2014 at 12:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Agent55

the Oscars is not about rewarding talent - it's politics. Deakins probably feels reward from when the movie he works on turns out amazing.

July 3, 2014 at 1:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I am not as big fan of Deakins' as others (really the best? ... vs Willis, Cronenweth, Hall) but I do applaud him for having a site and answering a bunch of questions from a bunch of yahoo nobodies.
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PS. "The Assassination of Jesse James" has the famous night train scene but the preceding scenes were IMO awful. Likewise, the court scene in "True Grit" was far too pretentious.

July 3, 2014 at 3:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

I am very curious as to what your reasoning is for calling 'the preceding scenes' awful. I just went back through and re-watched clips on youtube and I cannot for the life of me understand how you can make this claim.

July 3, 2014 at 8:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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CoolHandLuque

Vegas odds says that DLD is a cinematographer with no career to speak of. Or his comments just "happen" to be dripping with all the earmarks of reductive, bitter jealousy.

July 3, 2014 at 9:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JR

I Concur ;)

July 4, 2014 at 2:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Z-Axis

I respect your views.... but have you seen prisoners? Many his best work.

July 4, 2014 at 1:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Theo Slawin

It is arbitrary and completely subjective to say Deakins or anybody else for that matter is the best or the greatest.

Deakins is a real master of visual story-telling and I am always excited to see a film shot by him. Great video - I'd hope to have a comparable show-reel one day!

July 3, 2014 at 10:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Alex

I remember the first time I realized who Deakins was, and what his body of work was. I was just getting into filming and I remember looking up the cinematographer for NOCFOM, then going back and realizing how inspiring all of his other movies were to me. I absolutely love his work.

I do disagree on the above comment about Wally Pfister. I think his stuff is great too. A lot of times I feel it's similar to Deakins, and maybe that's why I like his stuff so much. It's interesting the path they've both taken with the whole film/digital argument.

July 3, 2014 at 11:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tyler

You actually started this post with: "I’m not sure that anybody necessarily needs to be reminded of why Roger Deakins is perhaps the greatest cinematographer of our era." You actually did that.

July 3, 2014 at 11:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steven

He's one of the best cinematographers for me. Christopher Doyle, Vittorio Storaro, John Alcott, Laszlo Kovacs, Vilmos Zsimond and Bobby Bukowsky also.

July 3, 2014 at 2:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Oswald L.H.

I just watched "True Grit" again last week and was in awe of how beautiful it looked. The opening scene alone, bleeding from unrecognizable glimmers of light slowly dollying into the gunned-down father is astonishingly beautiful, yet still supports the script and the time and place of it all so incredibly well. A true, humble master. Can't wait until digital video quality finally catches up to what he has done shooting with film, as he's an Arri Alexa man now. Nothing in "Skyfall" can compare to the images he captured in "No Country For Old Men" or "True Grit".

July 3, 2014 at 5:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Drew

Great cinematography is first the result of a great directorial idea. In this short there is undoubtedly an amazing light, but without the directorial imagination, the light would be just good.
Good directors are blessings for for good cinematographers, but good cinematographers are just crutches to bad directors making their film looks good.

July 4, 2014 at 4:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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RBWIEL

These are Beautiful Images. Beautiful.

July 4, 2014 at 12:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dheep'

Nominated for 11 Oscars, I think he deserves a win.

December 4, 2014 at 4:01AM

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I think "The Asassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" could be one of the most beautifuly shot films ever done out there.

December 4, 2014 at 8:34AM

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Mebil Rosales
Director, Screenwriter, Editor.
106

My personal, subjective opinion is that I like him, and he is probably my favorite.

...did I do OK? Am I allowed to say that?

December 4, 2014 at 1:43PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
678

Does anybody know what that slow music is in the latter portion of the video? It's got violins, and three distinctive "down notes" (I don't know if that's a real music term...). I recognize it but I just can't place it.

May 29, 2015 at 8:56PM

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It's "Song for Bob" from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

July 12, 2015 at 12:27PM

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