Thursday, 3 September 2009

What does a cinematographer do?

It's a question that seems to be asked a lot, and the answer always varies because it's different on every set. In my case, I've found that in order to give every single detail the attention it deserves, I can't do every single task myself; that my priority is working with the actors because there's a crew member for everything else; and that I might have the organizational skill to coordinate an entire film, but I don't have the technical skill, on the professional level that some of my friends and collaborators do, to achieve the most complex shots that I imagine. I'm a decent cameraman; but I know people who are prodigies, so why not use them?

For Chatterton, Carlos Valdes-Lora and Aljosa Zovko will be my cinematographers. They digest my descriptions of every shot and translate them into physical camera rigs and lighting schemes, then they operate the camera to make sure every shot is executed perfectly. They both just finished shooting with Matt Porterfield on a new short film, where Carlos was key grip. In addition to being my friends, they are ridiculously talented.

Here's a taste of Carlos's work, from a class we both took last year in which choreographers teamed with filmmakers to make dances for the camera. I'm not sure if Aljosa has any of his work posted online, but if I find it I'll post it as well. Aljosa's work with close-ups and his attention to detail are aspects that make him a promising cameraman.

In Carlos's Hallway, you can see the graceful camera movement and expressive lighting that Carlos excells at. I'm very excited to have him working on my set.

Shooting begins this weekend and continues next weekend. By Tuesday, I should have pictures of the first shoot to share here!

Hallway from Carlos Valdes-Lora on Vimeo.


  1. your blog is so perfect about cinematography,thanks for posting this.

  2. whoa!!!, you had a passion in blogging, thumbs up for your work of love.. Hehe very inspiring ideas,

    anyway I'm william
    mind if I put a link back to you?

    (clickable) ------> Big and Tall Suits

  3. I like the cinematography many film sometime documentation is commonly use.