A Tribute to the Picturesque Wide Shots in Michael Cimino's Films

Sometimes you just have to stand back and gaze in awe at the sweeping beauty of a scene. 

Director Michael Cimino only made seven films during his career, but those seven films all have something in common: absolutely gorgeous cinematography, especially when it comes to extreme wide shots. In this video, Jorge Luengo Ruiz pays tribute to collaboration between Cimino and the four DPs he worked with to capture these stunning, picturesque images.

When filmmakers first start out and are flexing their creative muscles, many of them go straight for the close-up. Yes, this kind of shot can be beautiful and artistic, but in a lot of ways it can also be easier to work with. You've got one subject, a nice bokeh, and an inherent abstraction to reality that appeals to the eye. 

Once you open up the world, though, things get a little complicated. Capturing a wide shot means introducing more planes, vertices, shapes, maybe even colors, until you've got an immense amount of elements in the frame to deal with. I think that's why, personally, I particularly respect DPs who can manage the frame when it's capturing something on a grand scale.

Don't get me wrong, shooting a good close-up has its own set of challenges (I respect Carl T. Dreyer for essentially making the close-up famous with The Passion of Joan of Arc—in fact, I cried in front of my entire class when I first watched it), but I marvel at the work Frank Stanley, Vilmos Zsigmond, Alex Thomson, and Douglas Milsome did in Cimino's films because they were able to capture the gentle stillness, beauty, and grandeur of the wide open space. 

What's your favorite extreme wide shot? Which DPs do you think capture the best? Let us know down in the comments.     

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3 Comments

Wow! And wow again!

August 4, 2016 at 1:00AM

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Magnificent!

August 5, 2016 at 8:21AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
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Those, kids, were The Movies.

August 5, 2016 at 1:11PM, Edited August 5, 1:11PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
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