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The Art of Cinematography (4 replies and 3 comments)

gageadavis
4 weeks ago
gageadavis 4 weeks ago

Hi Roger, 

I am currently planning and working on my dissertation, where I plan to evaluate and discuss the way audiences can be manipulated through Cinematography to think a certain way.
I am wondering if this comes to mind for you? Do you think about the way you can make the audience feel and how you can accomplish it or do you focus on making the film look as appealing as possible, over everything else?

Hope you can answer, 
Thankyou, 
Gage Davis

Roger Deakins
4 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 4 weeks ago

Manipulate? I guess we do manipulate but the work has a dark connotation. The word makes me think of 'Triumph of the Will'.

Cinematography is definite not just about making appealing images. That route leads to 'candy floss'. The role of the cinematographer is, first and foremost, to help tell the story in a visual manner. So, yes, I do think about the way the audience will react to how the camera 'sees', whether that's in the choice of a lens, the movement of the camera or the interplay of light and shadow play.

gageadavis
3 weeks ago

I guess manipulate is quite a sinister word, I may go with influence for the rest of the piece as I dont want to portray cinematography in a bad light, more as an amazing skills.
Thank you so much for the reply, it may be obvious but I have always been interested in whether cinematographers really do look into emotion more than look and your reply is very insightful.
One last question if i may, Do you plan to attend Camerimage in November?

Thanks again,
Gage Davis

Roger Deakins
2 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 2 weeks ago

I plan to be on a film this autumn but, so far, things that I have been hoping to do have not been working out. So, maybe!

Tomcam1
2 weeks ago

Good Luck! Fingers Crossed!

jthomsg
2 weeks ago
jthomsg 2 weeks ago

I think what makes cinema such a great art, and rarely does it become a true great art, is the fact that we are able to experience the inner-workings of the human mind in its imaginative thought process. For someone to create an entirely new world out of ideas and to build upon those ideas and to fully realize them through the mechanical creations of science is mind blowing. I think so many people have taken for granted just how much films can inspire the future, and our very thought process. Georges Melies is a great example. He made 'A Trip to the Moon' in 1902, and when you ponder on the fact that he imagined the idea of mankind landing on the moon in a rocket in the year 1902, is completely inspiring! It wasn’t until the V-2 rocket was created in 1942, when space travel became a reality, and then man walked on the moon in 1969. So, in a sense our very imagination shapes the future of mankind, and science turns it to reality.

It is a fact that the mind possesses more than 100 billion neurons which amounts to the number of stars in the entire Milky Way galaxy, and it’s also true that we are all essentially made of star stuff. Many people don’t realize that we are all one with the universe, because all the ingredients of life come from the stars, and in the evolutionary process we became conscious living things. Consciousness, its very nature is a complete mystery, and I feel the arts and sciences are attempting to unravel the mystery of life itself. ‘Ivan’s Childhood’ for instance, you can experience an entire boy’s life, his trauma, his hatred, sorrow, and intimate memories. I only saw the film once, but that film has made an everlasting impression, because strangely, I felt like I had lived that life, it disturbed me to the point where I never want to see it ever again, but I know it and remember it to the bitter end when Ivan’s life is ended. I can’t quite put it into words, but what if our lives already have a predetermined outcome, what if our lives are essentially “scripted”, not necessarily by a screenwriter, but by our very impulses and actions which will inevitably collide with time and chance. It’s why I love David Lynch, Tarkovsky, because life is not as ordinary as you think it is, life is twisted and strange when you begin to look at the cosmic perspective of things. I know this is a bit of a bizarre post, but the movie camera isn't just a "scientific curiosity", it's there for a greater purpose.

Wouter
2 weeks ago

Thank you, I like that message 🙂

jthomsg
2 weeks ago
jthomsg 2 weeks ago

I think what cinema does best is define emotions at a more universal level, if there's a language that the entire world can understand, it is moving images. What interests me is how emotions can be defined or where they come from. Did you know that our brain is layered with traces of our evolutionary ancestors, the reptilian, limbic, and neocortex. It still amazes that we all have our very unique DNA sequence, meaning we all see the world through our very own unique perspective.

I feel, if that uniqueness could be translated into cinema, and not just into the very construct of modern Aristotelian form of storytelling, we would experience more engaging films. A good example would be 'The Tree of Life', that film could only come from a unique mind, as is 'Inland Empire' by David Lynch. They're almost gateways into the minds of these respected filmmakers. If only younger filmmakers could abandon tradition and greed, and their longing to be famous, more interesting and unique films would be made.

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