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Overcoming not knowing (5 replies)

rbharucha
6 months ago
rbharucha 6 months ago

Hi there Roger,

Have you ever not known how to compose (or light) a shot? (I imagine so)

If so, how do you overcome that; how do you approach the shot?

Thanks!

Roger Deakins
6 months ago
Roger Deakins 6 months ago

I don't think you ever 'not know'. Maybe you have a problem visualizing what you want or translating what you want into reality but that is always the case to a greater or lesser degree. If I always knew what to do and how to do it I would retire! Where is the discovery? Where is the challenge?

rbharucha
6 months ago
rbharucha 6 months ago

Wow, thanks! I see what you mean... Did you ever have a point in your career when you didn't feel challenged?

Also, quick (unrelated) follow-up question about when you did documentaries: How would you prepare for them? I imagine it being quite unpredictable (depends on the film I guess), but how would you go about planning those shoots in comparison to a feature film?

Also, do you miss filming documentaries?

Sorry to bother you, you must be very busy, thanks for taking the time!

RB

Roger Deakins
6 months ago
Roger Deakins 6 months ago

I always feel challenged because I constantly challenge myself. Of course, I could easily light a shot in a simple cosmetic way and that might satisfy others but it wouldn't satisfy me. What would be the point of that?

Yes, I miss shooting documentaries because I miss experiencing the world in the way I used to. But I am not nostalgic and I was lucky to have that time in my life.

Prepping a documentary? There is always research to do, research on the subject as well as technical research, but what that is depends on the film.

rbharucha
6 months ago
rbharucha 6 months ago

Thanks for answering!

I am new to this, so forgive my shameless exploitation of your very generous website, but when it comes to still photography, how often do you rely on spontaneity or instinct and how often do you have a concept or general idea so-to-speak of what you want to capture?

Do you still get the opportunity to take stills?

And also for documentaries, how did the spontaneous nature of the films and the idea or plan behind them coincide or clash during the filming process?

Thanks ever so much!

KR, RB

Roger Deakins
6 months ago
Roger Deakins 6 months ago

For the most part my stills are a reaction to something I see and my documentary work was the same. I really don't like documentaries that start out as preconceived ideas. I like 'discovery'.

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