Roger Deakins is one of the most admired, respected, and talented DPs working today, so when he speaks, we'd all be wise to listen. Over the course of his nearly fifty-year career of telling stories with light and composition, he has shared a wealth of knowledge about the craft of cinematography. Lucky for us, the team over at StudioBinder has culled through the many interviews Deakins has given over the years to come up with six essential pieces of advice from the Master himself. Check out the video below:
Even though every interview and sound bite Deakins has given is worth watching and listening to in full, the video acts as a convenient compendium of expert cinematographic insight from one of the greatest DPs of all time. Here are the six tips StudioBinder goes over:
- Give each film a unique style: As a cinematographer, part of your job is capturing the director's vision for the project, but the other part is figuring out the style. Deakins quotes DP Freddie Francis when he says that there's "good cinematography and bad cinematography and then there's the cinematography that's right for the movie."
- Use references for inspiration: The world is full of things to draw inspiration from. Look at films and paintings, talk to different kinds of people, read all sorts of books, magazines, and articles, and really study everything around you.
- Roll with the punches: Things never go as planned when shooting a movie, so rolling with the punches and adapting to change is one of a cinematographer's greatest assets.
- Keep an open mind: Embrace "happy accidents" and allow yourself to learn from new things.
- Operate the camera: If you're the one operating the camera, it gives you the ability to react to what's going on during the shot.
- Embrace intimacy: Even though the tool you use to do your work is humongous and intrusive, what it has the potential to capture is something incredibly intimate. So, find ways to "get closer" to your subjects, whether that's by using certain lenses or moving your camera closer.
Again, if you want to learn about cinematography from a master, go on YouTube and look up interviews with Deakins. He consistently dispenses so much excellent wisdom, much of which focuses on his philosophy of the craft rather than the technological side of it. He definitely offers a lot of inspirational quotes to get your motor running.