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How much involvment in shot selection? (4 replies)

simon m
8 months ago
simon m 8 months ago

Hello Roger,

I've made a couple short films where I was both the director and the DP. I'm planning a new short film where I would be the director, but I would like work with a DP.

I feel very open to hearing ideas from the DP, or anyone else, but I don't want a co-director, as I have a strong visual sense of how I see it. I'm starting to develop storyboards for the project.

I'm a little confused about that balancing act of encouraging creative ideas from the DP, yet staying with my clear concept for the film. I'm wondering if you could shed some light on this topic from your experiences working with different directors?

Thanks so much.

Roger Deakins
8 months ago
Roger Deakins 8 months ago

If you are the director it is your choice how you will proceed. It is the job of a cinematographer to offer ideas and solutions to problems but the director must have the final say. Sometimes I work closely with a director on storyboards and at other times I am less involved. Sometimes a director will not do storyboards, preferring to block a scene with the actors before deciding on the way it will be shot. At times I have mapped out a way to shoot a scene during the rehearsal period and the director has said OK! And that is what we do. But everyone is different, which is what makes the work so interesting.

simon m
8 months ago
simon m 8 months ago

ok got it. Thanks for that.

I imagine that if you offer an idea, but the director is uncertain about it, that set up can still be shot if there's time for it, and then looked at again in the edit. Does that sort of thing occur also - filming something two ways?

Roger Deakins
8 months ago
Roger Deakins 8 months ago

Rarely, but it does happen. It also happens that you or your director come up with another idea while you are shooting and then you shoot an alternative that way. I have also re-shot something because neither the director nor I have been happy with a shot. But those things are rare. I know some shoots do weeks and weeks of re-shoots, long after the original shoot, but I have never experienced that. Most of the time I feel that I am struggling just to make the day's work.

simon m
8 months ago
simon m 8 months ago

That's great. Thank you for clarifying the director/DP roles for me.

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