Pursuit of excellence vs. acceptance of adequate…

            To be a cinematographer is to engage with this challenge every minute of the day. It can be like dealing with a liquid puzzle, one that frequently changes and that we do not have absolute control over.

            Therefore, we must constantly measure our creative vision in practical ways.  Consider the eternal equation:


            Great cinematography is not just about lighting or any single part of our skill set.  All four aspects must be managed effectively so as to enable everything else.  To do so is to take the first step toward separating pedestrian work from the superb.


6 thoughts on “STUDENT QUICK TIP #14”

  1. The eternal push/pull. When is a painting finished? One last dab of paint…one last highlight…one last flag…
    You could certainly add to the equation SCRIPT – VISION (both Director’s and DP’s) which would tie in to SCOPE. Lots of balls to juggle, but that’s what makes it so satisfying.

  2. One director I work with often has gotten into the bad habit of saying “good enough” when he’s ready to move on… I don’t want to hear that, I want to hear an enthusiastic “awesome!” or “perfect!” yelled behind the monitor and encourage everyone to strive for those words as well!

  3. Sometimes students ask why one type of light was used for a shot on location instead of another, and are surprised to hear that it was because it fit on the electric truck! Or because the weight limitations of the crane determined the unit, or because the other type of light needed more crew people to lift and rig, etc. Lights have to multi-task, especially on location working out of trucks.

  4. David – as always, you are so correct!  I think everyone would be surprised at how little goes so exactly to plan…

  5. Josh – That’s the same as the First AD who greets you in the morning with the phrase, “We’re never gonna make this day!” Man, how I hate that!

  6. Josh – I’m a bit like that unfortunately… the phrase people use on my set is “happy-ish” — “Was David happy with that last take?” “He was happy-ish!”

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