Oh man... I am still burning from the lesson here I learned the hard way. I was operating the camera for an interview thing and the interviewee had finished his point in such an emotional way. I wasn't entirely framed right so I asked (very loudly, not necessarily directly to the talent, maybe it was to the director, but loud enough to be heard by everyone and interrupt the moment) if we could get it again.
The director ripped my f'in head off. I am grateful - it was an important lesson. There's nuance to performance - even with documentary work, and it's up to the director to decide when the camera should be reframed or when to interrupt an organic moment, even if it's just a moment of someone contemplating or staring off into space.
I'm genuinely glad I had that experience, even though it still hurts!
Tim Cook (heh, couldn't resist, sorry) - the letter from Apple was indeed *heavily* criticized in the tech community and there's a huge disconnect between the actual technology issues and the marketing issues.
The real story is that Apple couldn't take their bite out of games and apps that run in the browser, and at the time anything interesting was all flash. By banning it from their devices they forced developers to build native apps, thereby ensuring their 30% cut of all sales. It was shrewd business, nothing else.
(outside of the scope here - but suffice to say that, at the very least, Jobs' points had more holes than swiss cheese and all apply equally to HTML5 as well which at that time was due to be finalized sometime *after* 2020. Except the point about security, which has truly been an issue but also something that could have been fixed if enough heavyweights had skin in the game- e.g. Apple+Adobe cooperation).
The major shift that had to happen for flash to succeed on mobile, was to shift all of the graphics pipeline to be gpu instead of cpu based. They technically succeeded by allowing both and pushing the Starling framework around 2011. From that point onward, Jobs' points (other than security) were complete and utter BS.
Why am I pointing all that out? It's happened again. The flash player on the web was killed for political reasons - browsers started banning it and so there's no point for Adobe to keep developing it. How do we know this? Because they are still building flash technology rigorously[*] - it's simply that they're only allowing native app exports via AIR. That's the only shift that happened.
But, because Adobe Flash sucks at PR, nobody gets this difference, and so everyone thinks flash died - even as a dev environment, even though it's probably the best cross-platform 2d dev system out there (even better than Unity, for certain things).
Now why am I writing all this out on a nofilmschool forum? That's a whole other subject - but basically I see VR and immersive storytelling as an unexplored frontier and I think interactivity will play an important part in that (along with traditional cinema techniques)
Can the amateur follow a brief to get a specific look? If they have problems with the shot (glare, need more contrast, etc.) do they know how to do it?
Maybe photography is different, I dunno, but cinematography is way more often about accomplishing something specific-ish. Even for an art film, you're trying to evoke a certain emotion or association on purpose. OK, fine, not for experimental pieces or camera tests - but generally filmmakers are trying to say *something*.
Especially with films that are rooted in a story (be it fiction or documentary), on the most technical of levels. For example, if the character looks out the window onto the ocean in california, but the shoot is in some studio setup in NY, the cinematographer needs to emulate the feeling of light that would have happened on location - otherwise the magic is lost and attention is called to the wrong details. They can also talk about the beauty of the shot and how the latitude of better equipment helps sell it - but the difference is more about capability in situations like that.
There's different kinds of rules.
"You must do so and so by page 10" is silly.
"You must give your character actions and words that fit their worldview, make it believable that they'd make such and such a choice" is not.
If Don Corleone decided to suddenly leave the mafioso and go work long hours at a hot dog stand, it would be bad writing - not because it's boring (that would actually be fascinating to watch if it the problems were fixed - which is kinda why Breaking Bad did wonders with even the mundane scenes), but because it breaks a rule of good writing. Unless it's a parody (or the problems are fixed) - it just makes him into an unbelievable character and the magic of storytelling is broken.
Additionally, I think smart actors and directors would turn down a script that breaks rules of good character development and things like that, because ultimately they need the suspension of disbelief to keep the audience engaged, and if that magic is broken- the story becomes boring, no matter how artistic the cinematography
Fantastic article, even better than some of the glimpses found in DGA back issues. Thanks for doing this!
Except discussions about technical factors like these should occupy the minority of considerations for a worthwhile project. Story is a crucial part of it, as are other issues (where't the light coming from, do we want it to feel organic, how can we adjust it with blocking, etc. etc.)
Resolution and camera choice should be debated for a bit, concluded with some tests and budget considerations, and then taken as a given as the DP really gets to work.
Sure it is important to be aware of the state of the art and the options available, but it's the easiest low-hanging fruit part of the art+craft which is why everyone jumps to comment on issues like these but don't have much to say when it comes to enhancing compelling characters through lighting and composition.
Even on technical issues - on forums with proper working DP's like Roger Deakins' it's far more about wading through the plethora lighting options for a specific look/shoot. Camera choice takes up like 5% of the bandwidth.