Q & A # 3…

Jake Quinn of Silver City, New Mexico asks:

            How did you become a cinematographer and what do you like most about it?

            I wasn’t one of those kids who always knew what they wanted to do when they grew up.  I went through all the usual phases and obsessions, but the vast portion of my interest concerned sports.  An elective film course in college put me on the path and I found that the deeper I got into it, the more I liked it.  My passion for cinematography developed quickly from there.

            After graduation I worked as a PA while attending film school in my free time.  I also shot quite a few student films and what-have-you, but my real education began when I gained entry to IATSE Local 644 (since merged into Local 600) as an assistant cameraman.  I was fortunate to work with some of the world’s best cinematographers and from there it was just a matter of being tenacious and putting one foot in front of the other.

            Understand that the film industry was very different at that time.  There was no such thing as a twenty five-year old cinematographer.  Most of us never got our first significant chance until our mid-thirties…and I was no exception.  But I was super prepared for the opportunity and made the very best of it.  I had no connections in the industry and had started from scratch, so I had no grand plan.  There was always a goal however, and that was to become a full-fledged Director of Photography.  So, I set my intention on that – and got after it!

            To this day I really enjoy every aspect of what I do.  Perhaps the best part is having new experiences and meeting new people, mixing it up with the directors and crews, etc.  Internally, I derive enormous satisfaction from creating a moment in time, capturing it and sharing it with other people.

         I’m fielding any and all questions on cinematography and filmmaking from readers of this blog, so fire away with whatever you’d like to hear about.  Post your query in the comments box and I’ll reply as soon as I can get to it!


One thought on “Q & A # 3…”

  1. Hi Mr. Crudo, ASC! Thank you for sharing your decades of knowledge and experience on here, I’ve learned a lot from you. It’s always interested to learn about how the top cinematographers got their start in the industry.

    I was wondering if you could make a post about your process exposing and lighting low key scenes, specifically night exteriors and interiors. While normally I try to get things right “in camera”, and expose how I would like it to look, I’ve heard that it is often better to overexpose 1-2 stops so that there is detail in the shadow areas and then pull it down in post. Also, I know this is a generalized question, but what IRE or f-stop are you lighting skin tones to in these scenes? Can you give some examples from your work?

    How do you make sure you are maintaining consistent exposure, and how involved are you in the color correction and grading processes? Do you make LUTs beforehand to monitor what the look will be like in the grade?

    I know it is a lot of questions but I appreciate any insight you have.

    Thank you,

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