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Cinematographer & Director Relation (2 replies)

Mustafa Irshaid
2 months ago
Mustafa Irshaid 2 months ago

Hi there, I'm here to ask about the relation and chemistry between the dp and the director. I understand that the director has the overall vision of the film but what happens if they get too involved into the execution of the ideas and into actually the work of the dp, leaving the dp so narrowed down to camera operating. (controlling angle, shot size, movement, etc .. )

How can I as dp, negotiate with the director without making conflicts and is it healthy to do so? 

What are your thoughts?

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

Every relationship is different and every director demands something different from a collaborator. I don't see why there should be conflict if you have an honest conversation about your proposed working relationship. I have always made a point of being the operator, for instance, which has counted me out of working with some directors.

James Parsons
1 month ago
James Parsons 1 month ago

I’m currently shooting my 5th feature with the same writer/director/actor and we have nearly the opposite relationship to the concern you describe. Since on the day he’s often in front of the camera himself, plus working with the other actors, plus, plus, and plus, he’s very hands-off on the look of the project. This leaves me a lot of leeway not just on technical matters, but also on creative decisions that might technically be outside of the camera/lighting purview.

That doesn’t mean I’m co-directing the movie or anything like that, though! All my ideas are suggestions or questions until approved by the director, and we take extra care to have detailed discussions ahead of production so that any liberties I take on set are still within the parameters we agree upon ahead of time.


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