THE IMPORTANCE OF CRAPPY MOVIES

The Turner Classic Movie channel is amazing…  It always provides something watchable, even if you’re not interested in the subject matter.  The other night I stumbled upon a picture that got me thinking in a way much too sophisticated for such trash.  It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958) is certainly no Citizen Kane.  It’s … Continue reading “THE IMPORTANCE OF CRAPPY MOVIES”

4.20.2021

LIGHTING DIAGRAM #38 – JUSTIFIED

            One of the biggest challenges a cinematographer can face is an expansive night exterior located far from motivated light sources.  I’m referring to such places as the open ocean, the plains, a forest, a mountainside…or, as in this case, the remote desert.              There’s no shortage of heavy artillery available to help define the … Continue reading “LIGHTING DIAGRAM #38 – JUSTIFIED”

4.16.2021

CINEMATOGRAPHER AS PRODUCER

            How is it that some smart executive hasn’t recognized the benefits of offering their cinematographer a hand in producing?  Along with the Line Producer, UPM and First AD, we are acutely sensitive to the money-time-equipment-manpower conundrum.  With so many critical elements under our control – and a profound understanding of how the pieces fit … Continue reading “CINEMATOGRAPHER AS PRODUCER”

4.13.2021

UNSUNG HEROES

            Seeing as it’s awards season and everyone’s in a froth about who’s hot, we should refocus some of that energy toward the majority of cinematographers, the unsung heroes of what we do.  You know who I mean: The lunch-pail gals and guys, the ones who always deliver first-class work yet for inscrutable reasons are … Continue reading “UNSUNG HEROES”

4.6.2021

LIGHTING DIAGRAM #36 – ISHTAR

            This’s the final entry in my series of Ishtar lighting charts, beloved relics of my days as an assistant cameraman.  I don’t quite know what I’ll be posting next in this department…but I promise it will be exciting and educational.             The Emir’s palace…and yet another scene between two people across a flat surface.  … Continue reading “LIGHTING DIAGRAM #36 – ISHTAR”

4.2.2021

MORE ’70’S CINEMATOGRAPHY

            Recently I rediscovered a trio of films I hadn’t thought about for quite some time.  Each one – Scarecrow (shot by Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC), Slither (photographed by Laszlo Kovacs, ASC), and The Last Detail (cinematography by Michael Chapman, ASC) was released in 1973 and reminds us of what a fantastic period that was for … Continue reading “MORE ’70’S CINEMATOGRAPHY”

3.30.2021

LIGHTING DIAGRAM #35 – ISHTAR

            Charles Grodin’s CIA operative Jim Harrison listens in on his prey from a cramped surveillance van.  Find this piece around the 00:47:20 mark…             This was a deceptively complex shot to light, as are all shots that take place within unusually confined spaces.  The problem is not just related to the size of the … Continue reading “LIGHTING DIAGRAM #35 – ISHTAR”

3.26.2021

READ THIS BOOK #4

            Neil Leifer – Ballet In the Dirt: The Golden Age of Baseball             Taschen (2007)             Spring training is in full swing…the new season beckons…             Like most baseball fans I picked up the obsession early, courtesy of my Dad.  His fellowship with the New York Yankees was formed during their glory years and … Continue reading “READ THIS BOOK #4”

3.23.2021

LIGHTING DIAGRAM #34 – ISHTAR

            Another day, another restaurant scene with Dustin Hoffman and Charles Grodin sitting across a table from each other.  This one was shot on stage at Kaufman Astoria Studios and was set at night.  Find it at the 00:40:42 mark…             The diagram begins with the shot that gets Hoffman into the restaurant and quickly … Continue reading “LIGHTING DIAGRAM #34 – ISHTAR”

3.19.2021