From an interview with Oscar-winning director James Cameron in The Toronto Star, April 27, 2018:

            “I don’t think you can just impress people with images.  It’s always in a context of the narrative and the characters.  Do you care?  Do you feel physically present and involved?  And then from there, now show me the magic.  You can’t just dazzle with a bunch of spectacular shots.”

            A lot of us get so caught up in what we’re doing that we often lose sight of this truth.  It goes back to my contention that a lousy movie which is beautifully shot is less than it should be, while a great movie that’s poorly shot is still a success.  Character and story dictate everything.  As cinematographers, our capacity to support and embellish those elements are what separate workmanlike efforts from the superb.



  1. Golden words! I always say that, although I’m a cinematographer and I love making meaningful images, the movie’s success is based on two elements: story and audio. If I like the story and I feel invested in it, but also if I hear the sound and I can follow the movie, then I would appreciate the effort much more than a gorgeous flick with not story and a bad audio. A cinematographer enhances the mood, the feelings and the emotions that should already be delivered with a strong message and clear audio.

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