Best movies to study lighting and cinematography

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  • #176068
    LucaM
    Participant

      Greetings from Italy!

      My name is Luca and i’ve just joined the forum.

      I’m sorry for the problems for the old forum, i’m sure it was a treasure of informations and i hope you’ll find a way to recover it. This said, i’m really appreciating the podcast (i travel a lot for work and it’s very nice to be able to listen to it while driving) and the “Looking at lighting” section, it’s incredible to be able to be guided by somebody like sir Deakins in the understanding of cinematography.

      I’ve got million dollar  question, for Roger and you all. Besides the movies quoted in the “Musing” article which are the 5 “must see” movies to understand lighting and cinematography? Not necessarily masterpieces, but still movies that can teach something about that.

      Thanks in advance!

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    • #176094
      dmullenasc
      Participant

        I once wrote my own list of personal favorites of cinematography and there were dozens of titles per decade of the history of cinema. Anyone can recommend five movies with great cinematography… but as soon as you watched them, there would be five more to watch, and so on! I think what movies you want to learn for depends more on what specifically would you like to learn.

        It’s similar to when someone asks what five books they should read on filmmaking. In my mind, if someone is a fan of a subject, they will read everything they can find, good or bad. Imagine someone saying they were a huge fan of U.S. Civil War history but then saying they want to only read a couple of books on the topic.

        I would just start watching good movies.

        #176140
        LucaM
        Participant

          I once wrote my own list of personal favorites of cinematography and there were dozens of titles per decade of the history of cinema. Anyone can recommend five movies with great cinematography… but as soon as you watched them, there would be five more to watch, and so on! I think what movies you want to learn for depends more on what specifically would you like to learn. It’s similar to when someone asks what five books they should read on filmmaking. In my mind, if someone is a fan of a subject, they will read everything they can find, good or bad. Imagine someone saying they were a huge fan of U.S. Civil War history but then saying they want to only read a couple of books on the topic. I would just start watching good movies.

          Yes, i understand your point and i agree with you, but that would apply to every subject. There’s always something new to learn , new artists, new scientific discoveries, etc.
          Cinematography is a wide subject – and i know so little about it – that i am not aiming to collect a global knowledge about it, let’s say just a valid starting point (even if i realize that there’s a subjective element in it) . 🙂

          #176147
          GianniRanzuglia
          Participant

            Hi Luca,

            Here’s five films that have heavily impressed and helped mold me into what I am today:

            1. Manhattan (1979) and The Lighthouse (2019). I’m a big fan of the gothic genre, and more importantly, Edgar Allen Poe. I find the use of black and white photography, framing, and hard light in these films fascinating.

            2. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). I’m a big admirer of Kubrick’s films, and although I was tempted to pick others, The Shining really stands out with its steadicam shots, blocking, zooms and framing.

            3. The Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems (2019). This was the film that really introduced me to ‘cinema.’ I find the use of framing with its long lenses nothing short of astounding. Really cements the film as a two hour panic attack.

            4. Sicario (2015). It was on a second viewing where I noticed and appreciated the POV of the camera, there’s such a menace and presence to the way the camera moves and frames the shot, that went right through me on the first viewing. Along with a few other films, this is one where I wish I could watch again with no memory.

            This is my list of films that shaped me and my perception, you might not agree with me   or find it as inspiring and helpful as I did, but I hope you enjoy them nonetheless.

            #176157
            Roger Deakins
            Keymaster

              It is possible to learn something from every film. The more you use your eyes the more you can settle on what you like and how you want to translate an idea into an image. There are some films that I do not think are well shot and I know I am in the minority of opinion on that. But that is my taste. It is not universal and, obviously, not that of the film’s director and cinematographer.

              As the saying goes – there is good cinematography and bad cinematography and there is the cinematography that is right for the film.

               

              #176176
              Stip
              Participant

                Tough to find a movie to study good lighting because if it has good lighting, you won’t even realize it has been lit. Roger is one of the, probably the, best in that regard.

                The overuse of film lights is in my opinion the biggest giveaway of unexperienced cinematographers/filmmakers.

                “As the saying goes – there is good cinematography and bad cinematography and there is the cinematography that is right for the film.”

                Many of my favorite movies of the 80’s have Over The Top (pun intended) lighting but it works in their cases, so there’s that 🙂

                #176194
                Roger Deakins
                Keymaster

                  There are two films, ‘In Cold Blood’ and ‘Fat City’, that are indisputably brilliant pieces of film making with cinematography that could not be more perfect. Of course, there are so many films one could mention but these two, so different in style and tone, reflect how ‘right’ cinematography can be. Again, only my opinion and ……

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