All DPs face professional and emotional challenges when it comes to their work, but emerging cinematographers in this day and age face a different set than their veteran counterparts. In the same way, though, today's DPs get to enjoy many advantages that weren't available to those who started out 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. 

So, what is it like to be a young cinematographer today? Well, in this video from Cooke Optics TV, acclaimed DPs Paul Cameron (Westworld, Collateral), Roberto Schaefer (The Kite Runner, Monster's Ball), Michael Seresin (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Angela's Ashes) and Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog MillionaireSnowden) share what they think the pros and cons are of getting your start in today's cinematic environment.

There are going to be pros and cons with everything in life, but the strange thing with today's young cinematographers is that their advantages can actually quickly become disadvantages and vice versa. Here are a few that were talked about in the video.

  • You're young: Enjoy it while it lasts, sucker. Your body and mind are spry and strong, but remember to tap into the wisdom and knowledge of those more experienced than you.
  • Decent cameras/equipment are super accessible: In the past, if you wanted to make a movie you'd need to jump through a hell of a lot more hoops and have a hell of a lot more money. Now, just about everyone has a decent camera that shoots 4K right in their pocket, and inexpensive camera gear/software, like stabilizers, external recorders, mics, lights, and NLEs are everywhere.
  • Everyone's a cinematographer now: The downside to the ubiquity of cheap camera gear is that now everyone can make movies. Not that that's a bad thing—the more filmmakers who get to pursue their dreams the better—but the result of such an extreme influx of DPs in the workforce means one thing: insane competition.
  • Tech isn't reserved only for elites: It's not just the big time Hollywood cinematographers that have access to high tech gadgets. Young cinematographers can easily get their hands on so much affordable advanced cinematic technology, be it a drone, gimbal, or a camera that has an ISO of almost 410,000.

If you're a burgeoning DP, take heart as you face the massive sea of hopefuls that are trying to stay afloat just like you, but also take advantage of all of the opportunities available to you—ones that may have not been around for others who started years ago, like inexpensive gear and free online education. In the end, it's hard work, determination, and perseverance that can take you further than you might think—much further than a fancy camera anyway.

Source: Cooke Optics TV