Watch the light!

If you’re interested in becoming a filmmaker – especially a cinematographer – you’d be wise to ingrain the following statement as part of your daily habits:

Wherever you might find yourself, under every condition…sensitize yourself to what you see.

Forget about the tools and technology of the trade and concentrate on the moods proffered by your environment.  Take in the light and the textures that strike your surroundings across the day and constantly ask yourself, ‘How does it make me feel?’  ‘Why do I like this?’  ‘Why don’t I like that?’ 

Making this part of your routine will keep you sharp and train you to observe things through emotions rather than technical analysis.  Anyone can learn the rudiments of cinematography in a couple of hours and there is always a legion of experts available to help get you through the rough spots.  But the essence of what we do has never been about how we use our tools…it’s about why we use them in a certain way.

Follow this advice and over time you’ll build a bank of unconscious references. Then, if you’re any good, they might one day be called upon to enrich your work…hopefully to great acclaim!


2 thoughts on “STUDENT QUICK TIP #3”

  1. This is my favorite advise and it’s similar to what I tell my students when I teach cinematography. This is a profession that mixes art and technology. I can teach the technical aspects of it, but I cannot teach the feelings that come with the artistic choices. The first step to learn cinematography, for me, is to start being aware of the world around you. It’s your weltanschauung, so it’s about how you see the world and how it does or does not make you feel.

  2. I had a professor tell me once, “Most people look at the world,
    very few actually see the world.”
    I take a small sketch book with me on all my travels, especially on hikes.
    I find a favorite spot and just sit down for 10 to 15 minuets and quickly
    do a sketch. It’s helped me to see the world around me in more detail and
    has created lasting memories.

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