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Cross-Pollination in Departments (2 replies and 1 comment)

Aleks White
3 months ago
Aleks White 3 months ago

Hi James and Roger,

Do you think it is important to have a more than surface level understanding of the other departments? For instance, Hans Zimmer said he loves working with the editor Joe Walker because Walker was originally trained as a classical composer, so he can better articulate what he needs from Hans. If you think it is important, which departments do you think DPs should be the most familiar with? Thanks!

 

Roger Deakins
3 months ago
Roger Deakins 3 months ago

I think it is important to have a general understanding of everyone's role on a film set. Knowing what is involved for the 1st AC would seem pretty important but I would have to include a knowledge of what everyone on a film set or behind the scenes does. You need to know editing otherwise you can have no understanding of how a scene ca be constructed using a series of separate shots.Then there is production design, mechanical effects, VFX, sound, production management, the work of the electrical crew, the grip crew, the make up artist .... How can you make decisions unless you understand what is possible? I am not saying you need to know everyone's role in great depth, as you can always ask when you need to know something specific, but a general understanding is very helpful.

Aleks White
3 months ago

Thanks for the reply; I'm aspiring but very amateur when it comes to filmmaking, so this forum and the podcast have provided indispensable information!

If it's alright, I just have two more follow up questions. First, is there a department that you find particularly difficult to become fluent with? So far, most things dealing with VFX feels a bit over my head. And second, are there any other departments that you think especially elevate your own? For me, whenever I add music to whatever I'm working on, it almost always is more emotive. Obviously all the departments are interconnected and important, like you intimated at above, but I'm just curious if you find one especially good at bolstering your own. Thanks again for the reply!

Roger Deakins
3 months ago
Roger Deakins 3 months ago

It is really important that VFX work fits the intent of the photography. Done well and it can elevate but done badly and it can make a film look cheap and, worse still, fake.

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