Ed MooreCredit: Medium
How do you learn the art of cinematography? You can go to college, read books, watch films, and study your favorite DPs, but in the end, some of the best training you're going to get comes from practice and experience. In a piece he wrote for Medium, London-based DP Ed Moore shares 110 things that he has learned in the 10 years he's spent working as a cinematographer, which proves to be a treasure trove of creative and professional advice.
We've picked our favorites from his list, but before we get to them, DP Matthew Workman of Cinematography Database digs into Moore's list to provide his own insight in the video below:
#15: In both operating and lighting, avoid the tendency to do something just because you can. “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”
Advances in technology will bring waves and waves of equipment and programs that will help you do new, cool things with cinematography. Just take a look at the trends in cinematography post-2013: everything is shot on gimbals now. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but cinematography isn't supposed to be a spectacle—at least not always. Make sure that all of your stylistic choices are inspired by the requirements of the story.
#22: "The close-up loses much of its impact if repeated in every scene"
How true this is. It's easy to default to including a close-up, because it's pretty easy to make them beautiful, interesting, and appealing to the eye. However, you have to keep in mind that shot size communicates something to your audience, and when it comes to this one in particular, it increases the emotional intensity of a scene; it says, "Pay attention to this." If that's not the message you want to send, don't shoot a close-up.
#107: You do your best work when out of your comfort zone — avoid re-treading past victories
Pushing yourself to grow is a difficult thing to do as a human being, but like they say, "No pain, no gain." When it comes to your career as a DP, it's easy to nestle yourself inside the comfortable groove you've carved for yourself through the years: you know how to shoot these kinds of shots and operate these kinds of tools, so why try to branch out? Why? Because a lot of times your best work is the work that you are almost certain you can't pull off.
There are 107 other great pieces of cinematography advice from Moore, so to check out his full list head on over to Medium.