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    Which 'classics' to get a understanding of cinematography?
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    Which classic movies would you recommend to get a 'feel', a understanding of cinematography? What are the must watch movies?


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    Cinematography/Lighting Mod Ryan Patrick O'Hara's Avatar
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    What do you classify as a 'classic'? For me it's films generally before 1960... but today's kids might consider it films before the 1980's. lol

    And I'm not sure what you are asking. There are many very very well shot films... and many give you a feel of story emotion, not really an understanding of cinematography. Cinematography does not reveal itself, but rather the world of the story.

    If cinematography wasn't infinite, I'm sure I would have found the end by now.


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    Unscripted Mod Erik Olson's Avatar
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    Toland, Miyagawa, Zsigmond, Hall, Pope, Wong Howe, Storaro, Cortez, Deschanel, Edeson, Davieu, Wexler, Nykvist, Cundey, Kaminski, Deakins. I recommend familarizing yourself with all of these cinematographers and enjoy the amazing films they contributed to. You'll find that it is difficult to concentrate on their technical work, because they accomplish it so quietly and perfectly. Watching my favorite films by these artists, I often find myself smiling as I realize how their masterful choices affect me as a viewer.

    Others might chime-in to recommend one of the "perfect films" - which are rare, perfect movies where everything came together across all departments. Start here, and work your way through the Top Ten in each category.

    Also take up reading books like The Five Cs of Cinematography, which is tedious to get through, but provides a fantastic foundation for techniques and why they should (or shouldn't be used).
    Erik Olson



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    Have a look at the documentary 'Visions of Light' (do a google video search ). Lots of examples of great works from the masters Erik has mentioned. Very good doc. There's another cinematography documentary called 'Cinematographer Style' which i haven't seen but heard is worth watching.

    Also look up 'The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff-Cameraman'. Very good film about the work and life of Jack Cardiff who lensed alot of Powell and Pressburger's films such as 'The Red Shoes', Matter of Life and Death' etc.

    Some other good cinematographers:-
    Freddie Francis (The Elephant Man, Cape Fear)
    Douglas Slocombe (Indiana Jones, loads of Ealing Comedies)
    Geoffrey Unsworth whose most notable film is Kubrick's 2001
    John Alcott (Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining)
    Kazuo Miyagawa (Roshomon)
    Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, The Conformist-great lighting in that, The Last Emperor)
    Chris Doyle (Wong Kar Wai's DOP, Hero, Infernal Affairs)
    Gordie Willis aka Prince of Darkness (Godfather films plus many more)
    Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire, Dogville, 28 days later - notable for embracing digital cameras)
    Lance Acord (Lost in Translation, Where the Wild Things are)
    Jordan Cronenworth ( Blade Runner)
    Jeff Cronenworth (Social Network, Fight Club)
    Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights)
    Guillermo Navarro (Desperado, Jackie Brown, Pan's Labyrinth)
    Wally Pfister (Chris Nolan's film)

    IMDB them all-loads of great films i didn't mention As Erik recommended get some books to understand the language of cinematography. Five C's is good. As is Cinematic Storytelling, The Filmmaker's Eye and The Conversations:Walter Murch and the art of editing.


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    Cinematography/Lighting Mod Ryan Patrick O'Hara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingswell View Post
    Some other good cinematographers:-
    Freddie Francis (The Elephant Man, Cape Fear)
    Douglas Slocombe (Indiana Jones, loads of Ealing Comedies)
    Geoffrey Unsworth whose most notable film is Kubrick's 2001
    John Alcott (Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining)
    Kazuo Miyagawa (Roshomon)
    Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, The Conformist-great lighting in that, The Last Emperor)
    Chris Doyle (Wong Kar Wai's DOP, Hero, Infernal Affairs)
    Gordie Willis aka Prince of Darkness (Godfather films plus many more)
    Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire, Dogville, 28 days later - notable for embracing digital cameras)
    Lance Acord (Lost in Translation, Where the Wild Things are)
    Jordan Cronenworth ( Blade Runner)
    Jeff Cronenworth (Social Network, Fight Club)
    Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights)
    Guillermo Navarro (Desperado, Jackie Brown, Pan's Labyrinth)
    Wally Pfister (Chris Nolan's film)
    If you want just good films with good DPs:
    Emmanuel Lubezski (Meet Joe Black, The Little Princess, Children of Men, Sleepy Hollow, Tree of Life)
    Seamus McGarvey (Atonement)
    Roger Deakins (Shawshank Redemption, The Assassination of Jesse James, Cohen Brother's Films (not Burn after Reading))
    Darius Khondji (Se7en, Panic Room, The Beach)
    Robert Richardson (Natural Born Killers, Casino, Inglorious Basterds, Platoon, Aviator, etc)
    Nestor Almendros (Days of Heaven, The Last Metro, Kramer Vs Kramer, Sophie's Choice)
    John Toll, (Thin Red Line, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, Tropic Thunder, Legends of the Fall, Braveheart, The Last Samurai)

    and let's not forget one of the best that has ever lived:

    Conrad Hall (Road To Perdition, American Beauty, Fat City, The Day of the Locust, Without Limits, Cool Hand Luke, In Cold Blood, Tequila Sunrise)
    Last edited by Ryan Patrick O'Hara; 07-11-2011 at 04:00 PM.

    If cinematography wasn't infinite, I'm sure I would have found the end by now.


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    Director of Photography TimurCivan's Avatar
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    Watch citizen kane, and touch of evil.


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    Senior Member Gabel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimurCivan View Post
    Watch citizen kane, and touch of evil.
    Definitely! While Kane understandably gets all the praise, I think Touch of Evil is one of the most beautiful films ever shot. I had the chance to see it on the big screen at the Swedish cinematheque and while a great movie I was completely taken by the cinematography.


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    My 2 Cents
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    I consider myself as a admirer of great cinematography. I watch a variety of films from all over the world. To understand great cinematography I usually watch the movie with no sound when I watch the second time. Watching a movie with zero volume makes you appreciate cinematography better. I believe visual communication is what cinematography is all about. some of iranian movies like children of heaven, and the great cinema paradiso are some of my favorites. Some movies made in India has great cinematography and vibrant colors. One of the Indian movie which I love the most is "Black". Check it out on Netflix.


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    Is this a question coming from a filmmakers perspective or DP's perspective?

    There is a million and a half of pretty films but way smaller number of good films. As a matter of fact we should make a list of films that could use better cinematography.
    Patryk Rebisz
    director/DP
    www.swlthemovie.com - my feature-lenght documenatry
    www.tupeloproductions.com - my production company
    www.patrykrebisz.com - my directing/DP work
    (917) 291-2565


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