Angela B. of Dallas, Texas asks:
How do you approach pre-production?
In short? As often as possible.
In almost every case, time spent in prep will pay infinite dividends during production. Much of that is spent getting to know my crew and other collaborators, consulting on the shooting schedule, visiting locations, assembling gear, shooting tests, etc. Most important of all is the time I’m able to spend with my director. The essence of the cinematographer’s job is to get inside that person’s head so as to determine the best way to deliver their vision for the project. For example, I’m currently shooting a pilot. While it’s hard to find anything good to say about Covid, the several lengthy delays it imposed upon us created a windfall of time during which we closely analyzed what we wanted to do. Now – in the middle of principal photography – I can pleasantly state that I have never before enjoyed such a well-organized experience. My best advice would be to take away the obvious lesson. When it comes to cinematography I generally believe less is more. But when it comes to prep, more is more…and more is better!