Thursday, November 29, 2007

from one dp to another

it's 11:30 pm; i have to be at the park & ride at 6:15 a.m. i've been home for about 15 minutes. we wrapped around 9:15, i helped clean up, then stayed with brian as we downloaded the footage and looked at everything.

this morning we started in some business offices, and by the end i was feeling rather frustrated, due largely in part to one shot that i really just didn't like. as we were leaving, my friend ryan asked me my opinion on how things were going; i said i didn't like that my camera's ISO was 100 instead of 400 like i expected, that the depth of field was also much more than i anticipated, that my soft fx filter didn't work because of that weird ghosting, and that i sometimes look at a scene and have no idea how do it. it's just that, with art, it's so subjective that it's hard to know if you're doing a good job or not. and i was feeling the results from not having had prepared with the script as thoroughly as i should have. ryan kindly and honestly said that, from one cinematographer to another, i was doing really well with what i had to work with and that i have a very good eye. hearing that was soothing and envigorating, since ryan is a very good dp himself, and that helped carry me throughout the rest of the day.

at the next location we did a fine job of turning half a living room into a basement corporate office, where we spent the rest of the day. i thought we'd fly through, as i didn't plan to relight much. but, whether it was because of my cinematographer instinct or sheer necessity, we did augment each scene as we moved along. by the end of it all, we had an odd, organic maze of lights and stands, the kind of mess that only comes by adding piece by piece as thought or whimsy dictates. the last shot of the day i wasn't too keen on, but my feet were hurting severely [one of those times when you realize you haven't sat down since lunch six hours ago] and we all just wanted to be done. i've heard vittorio storaro [perhaps the greatest living cinematographer and philosopher of light and color] say that he can tell you which scenes he's lit after having worked 10 hours. it's nice to know i'm not the only one.

i once considered moving somewhere new and touting myself as a camera operator, as it looks like a fun and well-paid job that i like to think i'm good at. i don't consider that any more. sure, it can be fun, and i think i have a certain base talent, but in these past two days i've learned how much talent and artistry goes into something as simple sounding as 'camera operating'. framing up a decent shot that looks nice is something the average viewer takes for granted; actually, unless you've done it yourself, you take it for granted. simply keeping nice and effective framing takes a lot of work and technical talent. designing to tell the story on top is further humbling.

i'll get a little over five hours of sleep tonight, and tomorrow we have a lot of work inside of an airplane. and then we end up in hawaii in a few days. wow.

No comments: