Thursday, February 19, 2009

pretty pictures are hard to make

"Contrary to popular belief, the manipulation of images in the digital world takes a great deal of skill. It offers no easy fix for those who are careless with their exposures, and there is no software that can compensate for poor lighting or shot conception." - Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC 10/08

I just read this article, an op-ed really, by one of the world's great cinematographers, Roger Deakins. I don't really know shit about what real cinematographers do. It's mysterious to me; all the lenses, film stocks, lighting instruments, chemical processes, other magic potions and spells they weave to make beautiful images. What I liked best about the piece was not so much the technical jargon but Deakins humility.

Very soon I'm going to have my first solo opportunity to actually DP on a small dramatic project and I'll admit to being a little concerned about it. I think I'm as prepared as I can be but the short schedule and inability to get "playtime" on set is a concern. It seems like we might be rushing through things and I don't have the instinctual knowledge that an experienced DP would have. To know automatically know that to get a given look under such-and-such conditions I need an X light with Y diffusion at so many feet...not knowing shit always bothers me enormously. I wish I knew the answers before I start so I'd be sure to ace the test. Pencils up.