While chatting with an ASC colleague a few days ago, we noted some of the shifts that cinematographers have encountered since the film negative lost its primacy to the digital sensor. Rather than hash over the obvious (bits of gear, drones, LED volumes, etc.), we cast a somewhat broader net.
Our bullet points are in random order. I make no judgement as to whether they’re good or bad. They just reflect the way it is at this moment in the evolution of the craft.
– shooting in mixed color temperatures, whether by chance or design
– unimaginably low light levels
– switching to a lower resolution in-camera so as to gain a tighter focal length
– more of a tendency to light spaces as opposed to people
– less of a tendency to light for a specific, consistent T-stop
– riding exposure on-the-fly through the monitor with the single-channel unit
– letting daytime windows and extreme highlights blow out more frequently
– letting the camera roll until the memory card is filled
– the use of multi-cameras when a single-camera would do
– decline of visual structure; shows are often hosed-down rather than composed
– reliance on post-production wizardry as a fix rather than an enhancement
– camera assistants and operators, once inseparable, are now quite separate
– the rare appearance of the camera assistant’s tape measure
– the even more rare appearance of the geared head
– the disappearance of the light meter
– being addressed as “dude” by a twenty five-year old production assistant
I’m sure there are many more. Enter your own observations in the comments box!