What is the role of the cinematographer in film making?
The cinematographer, or director of photography, has various roles.
They work alongside the director, making decisions such as the look and feel of the film and choosing the film stock, lens, filters etc to realize the scene in accordance with the intentions of the director. They are chief over camera and lighting crews.
The cinematographer develops a way to visually represent the story and guide the viewer through the scenes using lighting and carefully planned scenes , “manufacturing and heightening reality to get the audience to feel a certain way”.
The director is the author of the story of the film, the cinematographer is the author of the use of light in the film and how it contributes to the story.
Why did director Roman Polanski insist on using hand held camera in the film Chinatown?
The use of a hand-held camera allows the cameraman to film intimate scenes, close up to the actors and the scene. It made things much easier to shoot and much easier to handle. This is why Roman Polanski insisted on the use of hand-held in the film China Town. He liked that he could push the cameras in front of the actors, and “intimidate” them.
With hand-held he was able to get shots that otherwise would have had to be done on stages and moving walls. The extreme closeness of the camera towards the actors provides the viewer with an intense perspective which was the intended response from Polanski.
Name two films which use colour in a very symbolic way, and describe what they suggest.
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ uses colour in a very symbolic way. Such as the use of black in the beginning to connote the beginning of life being nothingness. The large use of red represents the intelligence and understanding of the new intelligence serving those who seek answers. The large use of white portrays the innocence of certain characters in the film.
‘The Last Emperor’ is another film that uses colour in a symbolic way, golden light representing the Imperial China, Red portraying Communist China, and Post-Communist china being shown by light brown.
In the film Raging Bull why was the fight scene filmed at different speeds?
The fight scene is filmed at different speeds, switching between 24 and 48 fps, adding emotional impact, as the audience can really see the passion of the characters in the fight. For example, slow motion shows the characters expressions and feelings, whereas real-time parts show the more physical impacts.
Certain shots were filmed in a much slower and dramatic way, drawing you into the role of the character by stepping into the character’s shoes before being flung back into the action.
Who is the cinematographer for the film Apocalypse Now, and what is his philosophy?
See “Visions Of Light, The Art Of Cinematography” Arnold Glassman
Vittorio Storaro is the cinematographer in the film ‘Apocalypse Now’.
He believes cinematography is a ‘community’ art form, unlike photography which he believes is a to be a ‘single’ art form like painting or writing.